Pro Bono work is a type of volunteer work. However, it is distinct in the fact that the work that is done, uses professional skills (ones that you would normally get paid to use), without pay and for the betterment of the community.
Giving back to the community has always been an integral part of my personal philosophy and I have done volunteer work from my childhood. In this section however, I will describe only those instances in which I used my professional skills - as a science researcher and educator.
Workshop on Systems Thinking - Spring 2018
18th April, 2018. KBS K-12 Partnership 2018 Spring Workshop, Kellogg Biological Station. Topic: Quantifying systems thinking skills: Using modified Data Nuggets
I developed and conducted a workshop for K-12 teachers that was geared towards helping them integrate and assess systems thinking skills in their students. I used data from my research to build the workshop.
Using a modified Data Nugget, and basic principles of box and arrow modeling, the teachers were first asked to construct a model of the system that was described in the Data Nugget. Subsequently, using the models that they had developed, and data from my research, I showed them how they could quantify some systems thinking skills in their students.
7th December, 2017. Michigan State University The Ecology of Isle Royale
I designed and conducted a lesson that was intended to introduce the FAST fellows to co-operative learning strategies in the classroom. Besides principles of co-operative learning, I also included principles of place based learning.
Using a local ecosystem - i.e., Isle Royale, I walked the students through a series of activities that were designed to help them construct models to predict population growth and interactions. During the course of the lesson students also had to develop hypothesis to explain patterns that they saw or predicted.
Some of the co-operative learning strategies that I used were:
In 2012 and 2013, I was a full-time volunteer at Michigan State University's Kellogg Biological Station (KBS). During that time this is some of the work that I did:
I developed educational activities and teaching materials for the Long Term Ecological Research Program at the W.K. Kellogg Biological Station (KBS), Michigan State University. These activities were based on research being done at the station and were aimed at improving students’ understanding of agriculture and agricultural practices. Subsequently, I co-authored a teacher’s manual for these activities and a manual for the tour guides. I also trained people to lead tours and led multiple tours myself for students and adults. (See Materials Developed)
As part of the KBS Graduate STEM Fellows in K-12 Education Program (GK-12), I evaluated lessons conducted by graduate students in K-12 classes and provided feedback to improve teaching skills. I also wrote some blog posts on the activities that were done as part of the program.
I helped organise and conduct seminars, field trips and outreach sessions based on dairy related research at the KBS Pasture Dairy. I also led tours for various audiences and helped organise open house days.
I helped coordinate the Research Experience for Teachers (RET) program at KBS.
I developed educational materials at the W.K. Kellogg Bird Sanctuary, KBS.
Science education and outreach in India - 2011 and prior
In India, I was very involved in science education and outreach. Listed below are some of the instances in which I used the skills that I developed to contribute to society.
I mentored trainee teachers from Nirmala Institute of Education, Goa, India. I helped them design their lessons and evaluated their classes. 2009-2011
Co-organised and co-hosted a national seminar on ‘People’s Agenda On Climate Change’. Organized by Indian Environmental Society (IES) and Don Bosco High School, Panjim, India. 2010
Conceived and mentored two research projects by students ‘Air quality changes from 2004 – 2009 in Panjim, India’ and ‘Water quality changes from 2004 to 2009 in Goa, India’ which were presented at the 2nd Annual Conference on Earth System Science Research. Conducted by Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) Thailand and the Institute for the Promotion of Teaching Science and Technology (IPST) in Ayotthaya, Thailand. 2009
Guest lecturer at Nirmala Institute of Education, Goa India. I conducted a workshop on recycling paper at home. 2009
Conducted a session for Indian and Thai students, teachers and scientists and participated in the ‘VIII Global Conference on Environmental Education’. Organized by IES, in association with Department of Science and Technology, Ministry of Environment and Forests and GLOBE, Panjim, Goa, India. 2009
Wrote and edited articles on science and environment as part of the editorial board of the parish magazine, ‘Voice of St. Thomas’. 2009 - 2011
Hosted the state level seminar ‘Know Your Madhei’, Carmel College of Arts, Science and Commerce for Women, Nuvem, Goa, India. 2004