While a main part of my career is research and discovery, I believe it is also important to promote scientific literacy to students, teachers, and the general public. The Dixson lab is dedicated to providing educational opportunities where people can enhance their scientific understanding and participate in the research process.
Through my research, I have spent large periods of time working in third world countries. Local villagers grow up near coastal reefs, yet they have limited education about marine environments. For this reason, a few years ago I began creating short DVDs that could be distributed to local villages. These DVDs explain the research I am conducting as well as the potential for the results to improve conservation and restoration of local reefs. Each research project leads to a new DVD (see our YouTube Channel). More recently, I have begun writing and illustrating children’s books to provide another medium to disseminate our research.
The Discover Science Center
The Dixson Lab has recently paired with the Discover Science Center (website) to provide educational materials to K-12 educators and students throughout Atlanta and the United States. The Discover Science Center is an informal science education enrichment lab that seeks to provide an interactive education experience and opportunities related to marine science. Through this program, we are able to provide teaching materials, including lesson plans, to K-12 teachers. We also are working to provide research organisms to stock tanks at the center to give visitors first-hand access to our research.
Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Program
University of Delaware is the home of REU Marine Science Program (website). REU programs are funded by the National Science Foundation (REU website). They provide the opportunity for undergraduates interested in pursuing careers in research to complete an independent project under the guidance of a faculty mentor. The REU program also provides housing with other REU students, group lectures, career advising, and social activities.