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  • Writer's pictureTanya Dapkey

Educational Outreach

Updated: Apr 20, 2019

Over the past 10 years, I have grown as an educator. I thought having kids would stall my career, but it actually taught me a lot of new skills. From small elementary schools to the Philadelphia Science Festival, I have gained the know-how to make entomology fun for everyone.

Women and Girls In Science Fair, Cheltenham Elementary 2014, Image by Isa Betancourt

I did leak out of the pipeline, but I also grew a new set of wings where I could fly over that pipeline. My children led the way, I did my first insect presentation at the preschool where kid #1 was attending. It was a simple show and tell of an insect I had found outside to toddlers. It was surprisingly easy and fun, and the kids LOVED it. I was hooked!

So I started asking the teachers if they wanted me to bring in some of my dead insects and some coloring pages and maybe an activity. And sometimes the answer was no, but most of the time it was yes!

I thought having kids would stall my career, but it actually taught me a lot of new skills.

I asked those teachers if they knew other places I could go to, and I began my life in Science Fairs. Science Fairs are a little bit different, there are a lot more kids and you have to be "on" for a much longer stretch of time. I kept going to places all over Philadelphia, and I started making connections.

I have worked with Let's Go Outdoors, an amazing organization dedicated to bringing Philadelphia children outside and into nature. I started participating in Science Fairs, I created lesson plans for the Girl Scouts Bug Badge and the Cub Scouts' Adventures in Science pin. And in 2018, I finally had a booth at the Philadelphia Science Festival, a dream since the first time I attended with my own kids before they could even walk.

I still regularly participate in many science outreach activities, and since I am so busy I love the virtual ones like Skype a Scientist and Letters to a Pre-Scientist. They are both easy ways to engage children all over the US and spread my love of all things creepy crawly.

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