Cities across the United States and Europe have science festivals, but what makes Atlanta’s festival unique is that it doesn’t belong to a university or museum, according to Jordan Rose, science festival executive co-director. It means belonging to a community. ATL, the organization that runs the Atlanta Science Festival.
Science ATL Inc. says on its website, “A 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to connecting people through the wonders of science. Our mission is to connect and inspire the wonders of science. To foster an equitable community of lifelong learners in metro Atlanta, through public events such as the Atlanta Science Festival and communities such as the Georgia Chief Science Officer’s Youth Leadership Program and the Science Technology Engineering Math (STEM) Professional School Partnership program. Through our building initiatives, we are improving access to STEM/STEAM learning opportunities and building communities about science.”
Although not an official Emory project, the science festival has been sponsored by Emory University throughout its history. “Science ATL has a longstanding partnership with Emory University, but the festival is not the university. It is the collaboration of many institutions and individuals throughout the Atlanta area,” said Rose. . Recently, Science ATL and Emory University formally agreed to continue their partnership through 2027. The two organizations will work together to strengthen public engagement with science and expand access to science among minority groups, Rose said.
Emory was a founding sponsor of Science ATL when it launched in 2014 and continues to be the primary sponsor of the annual Science Festival. “Through our partnership with Emory, Science ATL has provided engaging science learning experiences to her more than 300,000 people in metro Atlanta,” he said.
“Emory University has been a key partner from day one,” he continued. “Their leadership in the community has catalyzed our work since 2014, advancing Atlanta-based scientific discovery, shining a light on diverse scientists and students, and empowering young people and families. It will propel us forward to connect to scientific learning opportunities.”
It all started with Emory, Rose explains, as he and a few people connected to Emory over coffee planned a science festival, then approached university officials down to the president for support for the event. pointed out that “They immediately agreed,” he recalled. “Over the years, there have been many leadership changes at Emory, each new leader enthusiastically supporting Science ATL.”
One of Science ATL’s goals is to “build a community of lifelong learners who are connected and inspired by science through two initiatives: science storytelling and public science events.” “We want to show that underrepresented women and members of minority groups in the scientific community can not only be part of the scientific community, but find exciting careers there. Science Stories Through Telling Project, Science ATL will advance scientific discovery in Atlanta and create content that highlights Black and Latino voices in STEM,” he said.
“Science festivals also help create a more scientifically literate community. You have to know how it works,” said Rose.
Science ATL hosts monthly public science events enhanced by collaboration with Emory faculty and students. New interactive events include self-guided discovery walk tours of the Emory University campus and other events highlighting the university’s scientific contributions.
Announcing the continued collaboration, Ravi V. Bellamkonda, President and Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs at Emory University, commented: I believe that all humans are inherently curious. Science provides one way for him to be interested in the world and to explore it using organized methods and approaches.
Curious, science-savvy citizens are essential to thriving as a free and democratic society in this technological age. “
For more information about Science ATL, visit scienceatl.org or call (770) 322-4992.
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