Graduate Student Outreach Committee at Isla Vista Elementary Science Fair


2017 IV Science Fair

(Left to right) Xin Feng, Jasmine Arpagian, Sari Blakeley, and Susan Meerdink beside their station at the Science Fair, Isla Vista Elementary.

The Outreach and Visibility Committee introduced students at Isla Vista Elementary to UCSB Geography by showing examples of remote sensing applications.  On May 18th, four dedicated committee members manned two tables at Science Night at Isla Vista Elementary, which is a biennial event where groups from the surrounding community teach students about science through hands-on activities. Jasmine Arpagian, Sari Blakeley, Xin Feng, and Susan Meerdink manned the booth that introduced elementary students to a part of Geography.

At a table strewn with aerial photographs, students were invited to piece together the pictures into mosaics that revealed bird’s eye views of Santa Barbara and Goleta areas. Parents and children were also amused by the Landsat timelapse videos that featured moving rivers, urban growth, and deforestation to name a few. In addition, USGS Earthshot photos were given to Science Night visitors to inform and continue the entertainment at home. By combining the power of high-tech tools and the visual interest of aerial image puzzles, the committee members showed the young students just how fascinating geography can be.

“All I can hope is that our Science Night presentation will spark an interest in one of the students and he or she will decide to pursue scientific endeavors in the future,” said Susan Meerdink, one of the Outreach and Visibility Committee members. By the end of the evening, the committee members had enjoyed themselves as much as the students had, and they look forward to future opportunities to help make Science Night a success!