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Engaging the Public Through Featuring Diverse and International Scientists on a Science Outreach Website
  • Rose Borden,
  • Adriane Lam,
  • Jennifer Bauer
Rose Borden
University of Tennessee, University of Tennessee

Corresponding Author:rborden4@vols.utk.edu

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Adriane Lam
University of Massachusetts Amherst, University of Massachusetts Amherst
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Jennifer Bauer
Florida Museum of Natural History, Florida Museum of Natural History
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It has become apparent in recent years that scientists need to find new ways to communicate and connect with the public to increase science literacy and trust of scientific results. To address these issues, the Time Scavengers website (timescavengers.blog) was created. This website is maintained and continuously added to by a team of collaborators including graduate students, post docs, museum staff, professors, avocational scientists, educators, and an editor. The website also includes static pages on the scientific method, geology, and climate science methods, as well as a number of resources for educators and others interested in science. The collaborators contribute regular blog posts on a variety of topics related to being a scientist, including the work we do in the field, learning new methods, and various aspects of our academic and career paths. One of our more popular blogs is called ‘Meet the Scientist’, which showcases diverse scientists in many different fields, from graduate students to experienced professional scientists, both U.S.-based and international. The website has reached almost 63,000 unique visitors in the two years since it was created, reaching folks speaking 155 languages in 196 countries. Using data from Google Analytics and social media accounts, including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, we examined some of the trends related to our broad international reach, to determine if any specific posts or types of posts attracted more international or non-English speaking visitors. Besides examining the general geographic reach over time, a few more specific comparisons were conducted. We examined whether or not Meet the Scientist posts featuring international scientists attracted more international visitors than those featuring U.S.-based scientists. We also analyzed data forField Excursions posts that described places people could visit to see if they attracted site visitors from those areas described in the post or had a broader national and international reach. Preliminary data indicate that posts about international scientists reach more countries, on average, than those featuring U.S. scientists, and geographic-specific posts reach a broad national and international audience.