The South Side Science Festival aims to foster connections between the UChicago campus community and the broader South Side community. The goal is to promote diversity in the sciences and provide opportunities for local students, educators, and residents to engage with fields that are expected to grow in the future, according to Christian Mitchell, UChicago’s vice president for civic engagement.
For Michelle Warden, a STEM specialist at Wadsworth STEM Elementary School, last year’s festival was a valuable experience for her students. It allowed them to step out of their usual environment and learn about a wide range of science topics and interact with specialists they wouldn’t have otherwise encountered. Having the opportunity to visit UChicago’s campus and engage with individuals actively studying or pursuing scientific disciplines made a significant impact on the students’ learning experience.
This year’s festival introduces a new activity called the Science Slam, which features a competition among five UChicago graduate students and postdocs. They will deliver eight-minute science presentations, and the audience will judge which presentation is the most engaging. The Science Slam promises to offer a variety of presentation styles, from Ted-Talk-style lectures to music and dance performances, covering topics such as ChatGPT and quantum physics.
The organizers of the festival hope that attendees will have fun and come away with the realization that science is diverse and inclusive. Science offers various pathways and opportunities for individuals from all backgrounds, and demonstrations and students come from diverse perspectives. The festival aims to convey the message that science is truly for everyone.
The South Side Science Festival will take place on September 30th from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on UChicago’s campus at 929 E 57th St. Registration for the event is free.