Citizen Science Speaker Visits Capitol College for Innovation and Leadership
Institute’s President’s Forum
LAUREL, Md. (April 18, 2011) – Renowned citizen science speaker Dr. Pamela Gay visited campus on Wednesday, April 13, and spoke to Capitol students, faculty and staff, as well as high school students from Friendship Academy of Science and Technology in Baltimore.
During her speech, Gay spoke about how ordinary citizens have helped make scientific breakthroughs and discoveries throughout history. She first mentioned John Audubon, who began simply painting various North American birds and would later catalogue and characterize bird species like no one previously had. Because of his painting occupation he would become the father of the modern conservation movement.
Dr. Gay also mentioned the work of Mary Anning, a poor, uneducated British woman who eventually classified numerous species of dinosaurs and marine reptiles after discovering their fossils. She became such an expert on fossils that scientists were bringing their questions to her, Gay explained.
“[Anning] wasn’t well educated at all, but she was observant,” Gay said. “That’s the lasting impression that you can discover, just by observing the world around you.”
Today, citizens across the globe are helping scientists study astronomy from their homes with their own equipment and telescopes. A watchful eye and a strong curiosity is all citizen scientists need to contribute.
“It doesn’t matter what your degree is in, you can just go outside and look up,” Gay said.
As an astronomer, educator, writer and podcaster, Gay was the latest guest for the Innovation and Leadership Institute’s President’s Forum, which welcomes government and business leaders to mentor and teach students. The knowledge and experience shared by these speakers is instrumental in motivating and encouraging budding students.
“The Capitol College community was honored to welcome Dr. Pamela Gay, for her engaging and fitting speech” Dr. Michael Gibbs, vice president for advancement, said. “Her inspirational talk motivated students from Capitol and the local community to engage in citizen science.”
In addition to receiving her PhD in astronomy from the University of Texas, Austin, Gay currently co-hosts the scientific podcast “Astronomy Cast” and is an assistant research professor of physics in the interdisciplinary Center for STEM Research, Education and Outreach at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.
For pictures from the President’s Forum, please contact Kyle Anderson at the email address and phone number listed above.
Capitol College is the only independent college in Maryland dedicated to education in engineering, computer science, information technology and business through practices of leadership and innovation. Founded in 1927, Capitol offers associate, bachelor’s and master's degrees, a doctor of science in information assurance, professional development training and certificates. Academic programs are grounded in centers of excellence; these include the Space Operations Institute, the Critical Infrastructures and Cyber Protection Center, the Innovation and Leadership Institute, and the Center for Space Science Education and Public Outreach. The college campus is located in Laurel, Maryland, a suburban setting midway between Baltimore and Washington, DC. www.capitol-college.edu.
11301 Springfield Road
Laurel, Maryland 20708