2017 AM: Executive Session: Biological Anthropology and the Public


– [Presenter] All right
everyone, we’re gonna go ahead and get started. Take your seats, pull out your popcorn, get your Twitter ready. Welcome to Biological
Anthropology and the Public. This thing’s like weird, okay. So first off, thank you all for coming. I just have a few thank
yous that I wanna shout out before we get started. Thank you first to Agustin
Fuentes and Jim McKenna who without whom we would
not have had the funding to do this project. Thank you to my wonderful
organizer, Natalia Regan without whom I would not have
been able to do this project. There we go, yes. Thank you to the Smithsonian
Institute for allowing us to invade the Hall of
Human Origins Wednesday night and film all of these videos. And thank you, of course,
to all of our speakers whose work just I am in awe of. They inspire me every day
and I am really excited about these videos and
I hope you all are too. With that, we will go
ahead and get started. So if you are tweeting this,
the hashtag is bioanthpub. We are going to be putting
these videos on YouTube there was slight technical
glitch this morning, so they are not currently up on YouTube, but they will be hopefully
by the end of the day. And so you are going to
be able to share these with your colleagues,
students, friends, family, you know, whoever you feel
would appreciate these videos after the fact. Okay, switch to video, so first up, Oh so the way this session is gonna work, we’re gonna play each of these videos in the order that’s in the
program and then our discussion will be led by Agustin
Fuentes and that is going to be like a bigger Q&A with the speakers who are all here as well. So first up with have Sue Sheridan from the University of Notre Dame. And this is, – Hi I’m Sue Sheridan. I’m a bio-archeology professor at the University of Notre
Dame and I’ve been asked to discuss how I engage with social media. You’re looking at it. One of the real advantages
of social media is that you can do it from the
privacy of your own home. You can exfoliate, you
can have weekend hair, be in your bath robes,
cuddle with kitties. Are you an insomniac? No problem. Are you an introverted home body? Now you can still network with
abandon in your discipline without every having to leave the comfort of your own home. You can check in during your workday, between classes while
you’re doing research, help break up the routine of your day. Running between business meetings at a professional conference? No problem. I feel like I’m forgetting something. Ah, the anthropology scarf. (audience laughing) Whether you’re using your
phone, a computer, iPad, tablet any of these will work
as long as you can sign on and add to the conversation. Today we have 20,000 members
across all the platforms of BioAnth News with nearly
100 countries represented and people from all seven
continents including Antarctica. Most of our members are
professors and students with a relatively large lay audience. We even have a couple of
journalists that are members. For example Steve Inskeep, the host for NPR’s Morning Edition,
once exclaimed on the site, “I live for BioAnth News!” So what is BioAnth News, you ask. – [Woman] No one asked! – I think they asked. I heard you ask. BioAnth News is a social
media network that crosses multiple platforms to
bring together scientists conducting research in
discussion with the general public and students as
an educational tool. BioAnth News communicates the excitement and relevance of anthropology
to a non-academic audience. It utilizes an integrative
anthropological approach to foster discussion. Although named for a specific
subfield, to capitalize on Facebook’s search
parameters, the selection of articles cross all
areas of anthropology. The purpose of BioAnth
News is to use social media to educate people about
anthropology with an emphasis on connections to bioanthropology. To explore current
research and its treatment by the popular press. To foster collegial interaction,
demonstrating first hand that people can actually disagree strongly yet remain professional. Provide teaching tools for
professors and graduate students. Network students and faculty far and wide. And foster input from top
scholars in anthropology. The inclusivity inherent
in the open access nature of social media and the
ability to address social justice issues related
to health, race, poverty, sex and gender and human
rights are additional benefits. Pat Shipman Professor emeritus
at Penn State once observed, “This is a huge and very
important service to the field.” Bill Youngers, an emeritus
Professor at Suny Stony Brook added, “I’ve become addicted
and depend upon BioAnth News “daily for commentaries,
educational resources “and good natured collegiality.” And Bob Martin, an emeritus
curator at the Field Museum and adjunct professor
at University of Chicago once stated, “I
unconditionally declare my love “for BioAnth News.” Over the eight years the
Facebook group has been active, we have had several success
stories to point to. For example the Facebook
group helped generate participants for the
ground-breaking safe study exposing sexual harassment
in bioanthropology. It helped rally a public outcry
about National Geographic’s proposed airing Nazi War
Diggers that resulted in cancellation of the series. Earlier this year, a white
supremacist generated dialog box describing
Jewish conspiracy to teach racial equality appeared
at the top of any search for the Boasian approach on Google. A write-in campaign by our
group members helped get the post removed very quickly. One of our happiest uses
was realized when Lee Berger needed paleontologists with
doctorates who were also advanced cavers to access
a newly discovered cave filled with human fossil remains. He posted notice on BioAnth News. Several of the resulting
underground astronauts as well as a senior scholar
with the Rising Star Excavation directly credited our
network with the speed with which they were able
to assemble their team. On a smaller scale, a
retiring professor who wanted to gift his skeletal
collection to an interested anthropologist found a faculty
member at a small college via BioAnth News, providing
teaching research opportunities that otherwise would
not have been possible. Many people use BioAnth
News in their teaching and have their students join
at the start of the semester so they can incorporate
the newest findings into class discussions. I take at least 10 minutes of every class to let students describe
articles they found of interest. Touching on topics we might not
otherwise get to in a class. Deb Martin, the linsy
professor at UNLV commented that all of her students
are linked to the site through Facebook and its
coverage creates a lot of provocative things to talk
about in the class and beyond. About a dozen faculty have
reported that large portions, even whole classes have been
designed around the network. Gretchen Dabbs, associate
professor from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale,
commented that she structured her entire graduate seminar around it. One innovative project uses
John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight HBO program as a model
where teams of two students pick five stories from BioAnth
News, summarize four of them and then drill down on
the fifth topic in depth. These shows are filmed
for later evaluation. While humor’s not a
requirement, the inventiveness of undergraduates often shines through. Inter-institutional and
multi-campus collaborations have resulted from the use
of the network in classroom activities and the BioAnth
News Network has been linked to at least four high enrollment and gateway courses or MOOC’s. There are numerous novel
teaching and research aspects. Our banner photos change
monthly to highlight a member’s research, sampling across
the many and varied sub areas of biological anthropology. Weekly features such as Monday
Memes are often quotable quotes from anthropologists
or about the field suitable for sharing widely. Tuesday Tourist samples sites
a bit off the beaten track, of interest to anthropologists
while traveling. Thursday Theater suggests
often notoriously bad movies featuring bioanthropology themes. Friday Fun Facts offer
tidbits of esoterica suitable for impressing friends and
neighbors at parties, or not. Our BioAnth Mug Shots album
of over 260 BioAnth PhDs offers a way to look up a
person of interest when reading about their research
and a handy cheat sheet at professional meetings. Undergrads and graduate
students can find permanent files on the Facebook group
compiled from members comments about what can you do with
an anthropology degree? Are you considering a
graduate school visit? Or academic interview tips. John Marks a professor at the
University of North Carolina Charlotte said, “It has
managed to link up thousands “of senior scholars, junior
scholars and students “into a broad intellectual
network of opinions, “discussions and debates about the latest “relevant science headlines. “This has been a great
service to the discipline, “unimaginable when I was a young scholar.” The BioAnth News Network
recently hosted a conference on the use of social media
for research, teaching and public outreach. We had multiple people
speak at the conference, including Bob Martin, Barbra
King, Agustin Fuentes, John Hawks, from a cave in South Africa, Marc Kissel, Anna Osterholtz,
and Natalia Reagan. These are going to make up the beginning of our professional series
on our YouTube channel for use in classrooms and
we’ll have learning modules associated with them for students and the general public to use. Just a simple Facebook Live
videos from the conference generated 1500 views per talk. A crack team of undergraduates
and graduate students have helped us build
the social media network for bioanthropology News. We have 17 administrators
from all the sub-areas of anthropology to make sure
we maintain the integrative anthropological approach to the site. As we continue to grow,
we have begun a signature video lecture series by
leading scholars who understand the importance of new digital
media, created a series of interactive virtual
reality and 3D activities for the site, are developing
a series of Buzz Feed quizzes and lists for public
outreach and will begin an interview series to illustrate
non-traditional careers in anthropology beginning next fall. We will continue to expand
our educational goals using digital immersive
technologies to show students and the public the
excitement of anthropology while enhancing critical thinking skills, fostering international
interaction and promoting inclusivity, civil discourse
and social responsibility through the creation of new
offerings and the maintenance of the exciting nature
of bioanthropology news. So come join the conversation. Sign up for Facebook which
acts as the mother ship for the BioAnth News Network. Tweet us, sign up for Instagram
or follow us on YouTube where we have a bi-weekly
BioAnth News and review segment. We oftentimes post videos
from different conferences. We have clips, comical and
serious for use in the classroom and just general edification. Thank you. – [Presenter] Next up we
have a video by Kathryn or Kate Clancy, I don’t actually know
which one you prefer, I’ve just realized, from
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. – I have been involved
in science communication for about seven years now. And I started out as
an independent blogger. I was just on you know, a Blogspot Blog. And you know, a few years
in, I got invited to be in the Scientific American Blog Network. This was a really big deal. I was so excited, this was the
hay day of science blogging in a lot of ways. There was archipelago of
blog networks that were all starting at this time. There was a, there was a
conference called Science Online that had been running for
a few years at this point. And you know, you had to
be kind of in the in crowd in order to get in, to
get lottery to get in. And you felt really cool
to be part of the in jokes, to be part of this really
fun crowd of people who really cared about science. Unfortunately, not too long into my time at Scientific American my
boss, who was also called the Blog Father, sort of
the person who was looked at with a ton of admiration in our community, turned out to be a serial sexual harasser. And I had never experienced
any of this myself. I had been affirmed and supported and lifted up by this person. And so what was really hard about it is that on the one hand it
was devastating to learn about all of these victims
who had been deeply hurt and who for a long time
had felt like they couldn’t share their stories. And then what was worst was
that moment inside of me, at first when I was like well
this hasn’t happened to me, and this is a person I really care about. And I had to learn, this was
a really major tough love moment for me, where I had
to learn what it looks like to support victims whether
or not the perpetrator is your friend. And you know, it led to a
lot of sort of soul searching and I began to really doubt
whether or not I belonged as a science blogger. Because I and several other
female science bloggers who had never been
harassed at all by this guy were all, came to
realize that we were his, we were his feminist
front in a lot of ways. We were the folks that made him look good, made him look like he
wasn’t doing anything wrong. And that really took the
love of science blogging out of me, to be totally honest. I managed to be at SciAm
for a little bit longer, but at a certain point I just had to stop. It just wasn’t the right place for me. At the same time that this was happening, it led to me thinking
a lot about our climate and our community, and
this in crowd that at first I thought I so desperately
wanted to be a part of, and I so desperately
wanted to be in and cool and in this clique. I began to realize maybe
the way we were organized which was, are you cool? Does the Blog Father like you? Is maybe not the
healthiest way to have any kind of community. And are we even reaching the
people that we wanna reach? Are we stepping outside the ivory tower? Or are we just writing posts
that our friends really like? And that’s what really
changed things for me and made me decide I didn’t
really wanna do it anymore. So to my mind some of the big problems that I face with science
blogging, and I don’t think this is true for everybody, but for me, the big problems were a narrow audience. I surveyed my readers
fairly early on to find out just who tends to read
my blog and the majority of my readers were white
female anthropologists. So, like me. And while it’s really
important for blogs to, you know, to produce scholarship
and there are scholarly blog posts and whole
communities of scholars who engage on blogs, my
goal was not just to talk to my people. My goal was to talk to lots of people and I clearly was not achieving that goal. And so I began to think
more about the medium and more about one of the main problems, for me at least for science blogging, which was that it’s really
easy to adopt the deficit model when your whole job is
just talking at people and giving them your
HOT take on something. And I wanted to move away
from a model that said I’m the expert and I’m going
to just in a top down way pass on information to other people. And try to do what’s
called the dialogue model. So one that understands that people are, that you know, anybody in
the public can contribute to the scientific conversation,
can aid in scientific advances and discovery. And not that there’s just
a certain ivory tower full of scientists that are the keepers of all the knowledge. That instead this knowledge
can be gained in many ways. There’s also science
communication literature out there that says there’s a few
other key components to really get your message across. And that’s emotion, narrative
and perspective taking. So you know, I think
that this past election taught us a lot about
the fact that facts don’t actually matter when it comes
to passing on information and changing people’s minds. The appeal to emotion and
understanding people’s lived experiences and where
they are coming from, is how you’ll actually reach them. So you now, the deficit
model is never gonna get us to a day where climate
change is real is like somehow part of our Pledge of Allegiance or the NIH or NSF suddenly
have unlimited funding and we all are doing all
the science of our dreams. If we wanna lead to, if
we wanna get to a more scientifically more literate
public, we have to be engaging in dialogue. For me podcasting was how
I could make that happen. Podcasting is a space where
because you’re using audio and because many of the
models of podcasting is bringing other people into your space, you get to have conversations, so you’re having dialogue, right? But the other thing that’s
really great about podcasting is that I’m no longer the
expert with all the knowledge. Instead, yes I have some expertise, right? There’s some thought that goes into it. My voice is a major part of
what makes Period Podcast work. But at the same time,
what I’m getting to do is instead of blogging where
it was people on Twitter were constantly asking
me, I want the Kate Clancy take on this event or this
paper, which got really tiring. Instead what happened was I got to say, well who are the takes that I wanna hear? Who are the people whose
voices I wanna promote? And can I be really thoughtful and intentional about that? So that’s how it went from
you know this being a podcast that’s just interviewing
say, scientific experts to certainly interviewing
scientific experts, but also interviewing
activists, educators, kids, entrepreneurs, activists. You know, a whole range of
people for whom there was a connection between the
topic of my podcast, periods and women and fem reproductive physiology or really any menstruating physiology to other issues in the
wide world, so politics, education, hygiene,
health, things like that. So, one of the great
benefits of podcasting is that unlike science
blogging which has been shown to be a bit narrow in its
focus where people who already like science read science blogs and people who are
scientists themselves read science blogs, podcasts are
listened to by everybody. There’s a podcast for everything
you can possibly dream of, but what’s more, once you
kinda get into listening to podcasts, it’s, you kinda get addicted. And you listen to more and more and more. And so people find
themselves following lots of different types of
podcasts that they might not have before, and then
suddenly they find themselves, ya know, hearing from scientists. So one of the first things
that I did was try to work with and reach out to some other
podcasts that aren’t just science audiences, so a feminist podcast, general health podcast, and
actually another period podcast were some of the places
where I was a guest. And it was a really wonderful
experience to share my perspective, but then
also to learn from them, to learn from their audience
and ya know, to gain some of their audience by
moving into these other spaces. One of the other great benefits for me, for podcasting is it’s
seasonal rather than sort of weekly content. Blogging can get really
tiring and if you already have a full time job like I do, it’s really hard to come up
with new content every week without going crazy or
without it frankly being to the detriment of your other job. So I enjoyed that I have
one season already done and I’m part way through
season two right now. And that has really made
it much more manageable for me to find guests, record
them and then with my sister, do the editing later. One of the things I really
like about my podcast is like I said, I’m not
just interviewing experts. I’m interviewing lots of
different types of people who might be, have a vested
interested in periods in some way or sometimes
have no interest at all. And so I’m gonna share
with you three clips that are, that illustrate
some of the important elements of science communication
to me, around emotion and narrative and perspective taking. So the first episode
clip is from episode four in season one and this is
one where I interviewed a whole bunch of kids. I actually talked to my daughter and a whole bunch of her friends and then all of their moms,
and asked them about periods, if they knew what they were,
what they were made of, what they were like and
then asked the moms, who were then listening to the kids and reacting to the kids
and half the time horrified at what their kids were
saying because they thought they had done a good job
educating their children and their children knew
nothing about periods. So it was just a really, it
was a really fun experience. So I’m gonna share with you
a brief clip of my daughter. Do I get my period? – [Daughter] Yeah. – [Kate] Yeah? Have you ever seen it? – Mm hmm.
– What’s it look like? – [Daughter] It’s red. – [Kate] Do you remember
anything else about period besides its color? – [Daughter] I know the
other things I just told you. And comes out of your body. – [Kate] Where, what part of my body? – [Daughter] (whispering)
What is this called again? – [Kate] What do you
remember? That’s okay. – [Daughter] Can you just
please tell me please? – [Kate] So do you
remember there’s urethra? And vulva and anus down
there in that area? – [Daughter] Yeah, but this. – [Kate] Yeah, so that ones the vulva. – [Daughter] Vulva, um vulva. (Kate chuckling) Vulva, vulva, the vulva. – The next clip I wanna share
is one that’s actually me. And so for the first
episode of season two, so episode 13, my sister
who’s my editor said, why don’t we interview
you, so that your narrative can actually be shared. You’ve asked the narratives
of a lot of other people and heard why they got into what they did, but nobody knows why you have this podcast and why you study periods to begin with. So we decided to kind of turn the tables. She got out from behind
the mic and interviewed me. And one of her questions was when I first learned about periods and
where babies came from and so this is a clip from that. I was at my friend’s house, my
best friend when I was little and we were playing and
then this must have been by mutual agreement between the two moms, but my best friend’s
mom walked in and said, I got a video for you kids to watch on where do babies come from? And then she just popped it in the VCR and walked out. And then we sat there, we
watched a video that included graphic cartoon sex and we
were like seven years old. And it was super weird. The third episode I wanna
share is episode six in season one and this
is with Laura Shanley also known as Sue Magina. Sue Magina is an activist
and she started the group Periods for Pence which you might remember from a little over a year
ago when then Governor Pence had created this omnibus
abortion bill that created, that had a pretty obvious
misunderstanding of just how reproductive biology worked
because part of it included any time a woman has a
miscarriage or an abortion she must inter the remains. You know like basically
have like a funeral. Except that lots of miscarriages
are just menstruation. So she started calling
Pence’s office every time she had her period and
encouraged other women to do the same to say
oh, I just got my period and I may or may not have been pregnant, so I may or may not have miscarried. I guess I’d better inter
my menstrual blood. Where would you like me to send the pads? And this sparked a giant movement. Thousands of women were calling his office until it got shut down. So this is just a brief
clip of her talking about sort of that
moment that she got angry and was spurred to action. – [Laura] One night I remember
looking over at my husband, and I said this is ridiculous. If he wants to know
this much about my body and why I’m making choices for it, he might as well know every
little detail of my period. Maybe I should just call him and tell him. My husband looked at me and was like, you might be on to something. – The last point that I wanna make is that I think a lot of different
media in science communication can be enjoyed differently
and can be enjoyed alone or in a group. And what’s great about the written word is that you can share
it online really easily so people can share things
on Facebook or Twitter and there could be huge comment streams of people reacting and
engaging with material in that way. One of the things I love about podcasting is that I don’t always get
to see that engagement, but I hear afterwards about
it happening face to face. So, ya know, some of the
more typical engagements that I’ve heard from a lot of my listeners are moms listening with their daughters. And so they listen to the
episodes and then they have a conversation afterwards,
like what did you have questions about? What did you think about this? Did you know that this
is something periods did? And they’ve had a lot of
fun using this as a starting point for talking about just
female reproductive biology with their daughters. Another fairly obvious one is ya know, I’ve heard that college
professors are sometimes using my podcasts in their
syllabi or are playing clips of it in their classes. But some of the other
really fun ones I’ve heard is one listener is a prison guard. And she actually plays it in
the prison where she works for the people who work there
as well as for the prisoners. And she doesn’t necessarily
report that they always love it but it’s kinda fun to imagine
that that’s another place that Period Podcast is making it’s mark. I also heard from a garbage
truck driver that he often blares it when he’s working
so that he and his co-workers can be listening to it together. So, we don’t always know
how these things are getting enjoyed and listened to
together, but what’s great about audio is it’s so
portable that sometimes it can be shared among
people in a way that we don’t always see but maybe has
an even greater impact. At the end of the day
there are a number of ways to break down the ivory tower. And a number of ways for
science communication to make its mark and engage
differently with the public. As long as your goal
to make science bigger, to make more room, to make
it just and more equitable and a place where different
types of questions can be asked, data can be collected differently and interpreted differently,
then you’re doing it right. – Okay. Next up is Julie Lesnik
from Wayne State University. – Hello and welcome to this,
where I’m gonna talk to you about how I engage the
public using edible insects to talk about important
topics like human evolution and the problems of
ethnocentrism and the importance of sustainable agriculture. My name is Julie Lesnik. I’m a biological anthropologist
who studies the evolution of the human diet. And I primarily focus
on the role of termites. I started this work in about 2006. But in 2013 the United
Nations Food and Agriculture Organization put out a
monograph over 200 pages arguing why we should use edible insects as an alternative for our
traditionally raised livestock. And so it was at this point
that I realized that I’d heard this before, I’d of course,
come across people saying this on the internet and I
had thought they were crazy when I was working on my dissertation. But by the time 2013 rolled
around, I’d been working on this for six years and I realized
that the nutritional value of edible insects could not be avoided. You can’t argue that insects are not a nutritional food source. And so I realized that
I had a lot that I could offer this conversation. I looked at the statement
and the authors of it were entomologists and agriculturalists or agriculturologists or
people that study agriculture. And there were no social scientists. And so I realized that there’s
a lot of important things that I could bring to this
about culture world views. That the disgust here in the United States is not the same around the world. People eat bugs everywhere. And that we have these views
because of our own history. And so I knew that I could
contribute to this conversation. So my foray into outreach
really started with talking to other scientists. I talked to these entomologists and these agricultural scientists. And tried to impart in them
that the value of sort of the humanities and the
social science perspective. And so that’s one of my
points that I wanna start with is that other scientists
are still public engagement, talking outside of our specialty. Whether we like it or not,
academics, we’re a part of a society and so we can
talk to other academics outside of our field and
that’s still engaging people with our work. And then from there I then started talking to environmental activists. People who are really smart
and care about the planet. And so I realized talking
to them wasn’t actually much different than talking
to other scientists. And then from there, now
people just are excited about edible insects. People just wanna know more about it. And so I talked to a wide range of people. And it’s all the same. You just kinda use common language. Talk to people like their
people and it goes a long way. And so what I’m gonna talk about here is how I, how I engage people. Some of my tips and tricks. I have a web site, I have a
blog, I have social media. But there are people
that do that a lot better than I do. I use that though, to make
sure I have a web presence so people can find me. And then they invite me to go give talks. And so all of my tips and
tricks are really about giving talks, how can we
communicate to the public in different sorts of
public speaking engagements. So Julie’s tips for public engagement. Tips and trick number
one, use bad graphics. Case in point. So I argue for using bad
graphics for a couple of reasons. If you can create
beautiful graphics, do it. But there’s some really
good reasons why you should use bad graphics. One, they shouldn’t take
much time to put together. You’re not looking for perfection and so you can cut time
by throwing it together and not worrying that all your shadows are facing the right way. As academics who want to
engage with the public, it adds more time into our work day. If you’re on the tenure track,
of course public service is a slice of that pie chart, but we really know what the
universities are looking for. They’re looking for
research, research, grants, grants, grants, research when you’re up for your tenure case. So as much as they might
say public engagement is valued we kind of get a
different response from them when we put a lot of time
into public engagement. So to do it you need to value it yourself. And do it ’cause you want to. But in order to kinda
maintain your academic career, it’s good to find ways
to do it efficiently. And so bad graphics is one. I’m not trying to create
a coffee table book with any of my visual aids. I’m just trying to get my point across. The other reason why I really
like using bad graphics and probably the most important way, is that they work as bad visual jokes. All right, they stand out
as something kinda odd and it brings the
attention back to the talk. As lecturers we all know
that point where eyes are gonna glaze over. And when I’m teaching my
students, I don’t really care ’cause I have a lot to get
through, they have a bunch of resources in which
they can look things up, and they’re still responsible
to do well on the test. But when I’m talking to a
public audience it is my job to keep them engaged. When we’re publicly engaging
people with our work we need to be entertainers as well. And so those graphics just show them that I’m not taking myself too seriously and it might, might get
a laugh, that’s my goal. Maybe I’ll get a laugh. The last reason why I really
like using bad graphics is that it keeps my talks fresh. I give the same talk over
and over and over again. And so that’s one way it’s efficient. If I can keep using the same talk, I’m not putting a lot of work into it. But the problem after years
of giving the same talk, I just wanna shake people. I’m like why do you not know this already? I’ve said it a million times. So by creating a little
bad graphic each time I give a talk, it keeps me
fresh, it keeps me engaged. It keeps me excited to
see if I’m gonna get the laugh I’m looking for and it makes me a better presenter when I give that talk. Tip and trick number
two, target the kiddos. Wait, we’re really, we’re
gonna use that graphic again? No, I put 10 minutes into so,
all right, let’s go with it. All right, so tip trick number two, we’re gonna target the kiddos. Now this is funny because
I don’t like kids. I just don’t. I don’t get them, I don’t
know how to talk to them. They don’t like me, but I
see the value in interacting with them and so I’m very engaged
in all of our university’s STEM Days or Alumni Days
where people bring their kids. I participate in other
summer camps run outside of the school and the
reason I do it is because although I am rapidly
aging, I still remember what it was like to be a kid. And I remember the
things that stuck with me when I was a kid. For instance when I was five years old, I learned from the late,
great Whitney Houston that the children are our future. Teach them well, let them lead the way. And no joke, when I was
five I’m like preach it! I did not think she was talking about me. I’m like we gotta teach the kids. Like that’s how I felt,
and I still feel that way. It is important, the
children are our future. So the reason I engage with
kids is because the scale of impact is greater. The things I learned as
kid still, when I was a kid still affects me today. And so things I really
remember from being a kid is when somebody would
come from the outside and come to the classroom. Right, because you get sick
of listening to your teachers or your parents and we
still do it as an adult. Like my husband can tell me
the same thing all the time, and then somebody else comes in I’m like that’s a great idea. All right, we do it all the time. It’s the same with kids. Be that person that comes
in from the outside, be that expert testimonial. To this day I remember somebody coming in and telling us about conserving resources. And ever since then, I have
never let the water run while I brush my teeth. Right, that still affects me today. But it also made me realize
that I can affect the planet. I can do things. And so I remember that and
that’s what I try to get to with teaching kids and
reaching out to them. The other great thing about kids is that they don’t have the
same biases and disgust that their parents have. So when it comes to edible insects, it took me years to overcome the bias. Like it still can be
hard for me to eat a bug. And I studied it for years. So if somebody doesn’t wanna eat a bug, I’m like it’s fine, you don’t have to. Because I understand the cultural stigma that you’re trying to
overcome in that moment. I don’t expect after a
half hour of me talking you’re all the sudden gonna change. But your kids don’t have that yet. And actually the things that
gross us out intrigue them. Right? So they’re actually more
curious by the things that are disgusting. The other thing I wanna mention
about engaging with kids and it also comes from another memory from when I was in elementary
school, is that I remember dissecting owl pellets. I was so proud that my
owl pellet had a whole mouse skull in it. And undoubtedly that has affected my path to where I am today. And so, we can bring that to kids. We don’t have to be only
talking about the things that we are experts on. We’re biological anthropologist,
we know about digging bones out of stuff, right? So we can teach an owl pellet class. We don’t need to be the
expert in owls or the rodents they eat, but just showing
up, being that expert from the outside. If you have grad students make them do it. Right, there are teachers
that would love an afternoon off and have you come
in and show their kids how to do things. And so that’s the other thing is that yes, I do a lot of engagement
on edible insects, but I do a lot of things
that I’m not necessarily an expert on because I know
a lot more than those kids, and that’s often all you need
to do to engage with them. Tip and trick number three. Talk to your allies. There are a lot of life
long learners out there. As academics we’ve made a career on it, but there are a lot of people
who just want to learn. And maybe they get that from YouTube. And that doesn’t make them any less eager or any less smart than us. And so reaching out to
them is just as effective. And actually it can go a lot further. Most often these are people
that believe in evolution, but they might not be as up
to date on the mechanisms and processes or know how to discuss it with their friends and families. And so this is a great target for us. If we can talk to these
people who are just life long learners and wanna be our advocates, we should definitely do that. Some of the most rewarding
outreach I have done is speaking at sci-fi
and fantasy conventions. These are my people. I know how to speak their language. I’m a geek just like them. And so I can use metaphors
and references to my little slice of pop culture and they’ll get it. And they’ll laugh and
they’ll engage with it. I can quote Tyrion
Lannister to my students and they might get it,
but they kinda have this sort of uncomfortable
thing like oh she likes Game of Thrones too? I don’t know how I feel
about my crazy professor who eats bugs also liking
the same show I like. So using pop culture
references never really works for me in the classroom
and it makes me sad ’cause I love doing it. So getting to the sci-fi
fantasy conventions has been great, I get to use all of this. And the wonderful thing
is there’s often these tracks for authors. So think of a sci-fi author,
sci-fi is to take scientific principles and just kind of bend them or think about them,
what it’s gonna look like in the future. And we have these panels
where we kinda offer the science to the authors
and then they use it as inspiration in their writing. And so I’ve spoken on
topics of what will the food look like 3000 years from now. What could we eat on
Mars besides the potatoes we see in the Martian. I’ve also talked about for
kinda the fantasy side, what would, how would
mystical beasts reproduce? Right, so these are things
that I get to engage with, ’cause they want to use real
science in their writing. They want it to be believable, and I get to contribute to that. But the best part is that
I get to have a panel on edible insects and then
afterwards I get to talk to people about insects
are used in elixirs in Breath of the Wild, or
why don’t they eat more bugs in the Walking Dead? Oh come on Daryl ate like one bug. He ate an earth worm. And it was like presented
in the like Daryl’s crazy and he eats a possum and such. It was not, no, right,
Georgia is the south, it’s like the tropics
of the United States. There’s tons of bugs. I don’t know, I don’t know
why they don’t eat more bugs. But those are the conversations
I get to have, right? Because now all of the
sudden I get to point out these things, these
inconsistencies or how we just inadvertently speak bad about eating bugs without even realizing. And I get to engage a whole
audience with the kind of the pop culture
surrounding edible insects. Tip and trick number four. When in doubt, show a chimpanzee clip. As biological anthropologists,
we’re advocates for the rights of non-human primates and it is important for us to do that and to say that primates
are terrible pets. And that they should not
be used in movies or TV or commercials, right,
and it’s important for us to say that. However, we can use the
same tricks as Hollywood because gosh darn it, watching
primates is really fun. And so we can use videos of
them in their natural habitat and then use that as our
opportunity and our platform like these are great,
shouldn’t we save them? Shouldn’t we conserve their environment? And they’re terrible
pets and that’s one way you can ruin their habitat
and how they live their lives. So don’t make ’em pets. But we can learn so
much from watching them. So chimp videos are my go to. If I’m a little worried that
my audience might not be there, I slip in a chimp video. And for me it’s great
because chimpanzee tool use especially is amazing. It is hard to watch them
and not realize how closely related we are to them. They solve problems and
they’ve built an entire culture around eating bugs none-the-less. And so for me it’s an excellent tool to engage the public with our work. But you can use any
primate video in any topic and they’re popular on
Buzz Feed for a reason. Because people enjoy them. So let’s use them and
teach with them as well. So those are my tips and tricks. They’re mostly for going out and speaking. But there are lots of ways
to engage with the public. But hopefully these might
help you think about how you might do your next talk. Or maybe give you a little
more confidence to go out and show people what we do. ‘Cause the more people know what we do, the more scientific
literacy there’s gonna be. And the better future
everyone’s gonna have. Thank you. (audience applauding) – All right next is Becca Peixotto from the American University. – Hi, my name is Becca
Peixotto, I’m an archeologist in residence at American
University here in Washington D.C.. And when I’m not in D.C. I
have one of the best commutes to work ever. I get to crawl and climb
and scramble through the Rising Star Cave to excavate fossils of a not so ancient human relative that was discovered in 2013. And since this video series
is about bioanthropology and the public, there’s something
you should know about me. I’m not a bioanthropologist. I’m an anthropologist, yes,
but my academic training is in archeology and not in
the field of bioanthropology. I’m part of a team of
more than 100 scientists with all different specialties. Everything from
bioanthropology and archeology to geology and different
parts of technology, that are all working
together to try to understand fossils of Homo Naledi
and the cave in which they were found. Back in 2013, two South
African cavers, Rick Hunter and Steven Tucker discovered
fossils 30 meters underground in the Rising Star cave system
in a really remote chamber. Rising Star cave is in
the Cradle of Human Kind World Heritage site just outside
Johannesburg South Africa. And with more than 2000
fossil specimens recovered from two separate chambers
in the cave, representing more than 17 individuals and
dating to only 236 to 335,000 years ago, Rising Star has
become one of the richest fossil hominid sites and
in my mind, one of the most exciting fossil hominid sites in Africa. But before we knew all that. Before any of us had any
idea what we were getting ourselves into with this project, Rising Star made its debut
on social media with this ad posted by Lee Berger. The ad was asking for people
who were willing and able to excavate fossils on the
wrong side of some really tight squeezes in this cave. The post was shared through
bioanthropology News Facebook group and through other
social networks where a friend of mine saw it and sent it on to me. Now back then I had just finished my MA and I was focusing on
historical archeology. I was pretty far outside
what you might call the main stream of bio
or paleo anthropology. But I had this unusual
combination of excavation skills and technical skills and yes,
physical characteristics, I can squeeze through an 18 cm gap, that Rising Star needed. So here already, before
we’ve even found any fossils, before any excavation’s happened, before really any science is being done, already social media is
helping us build connections and build a stronger network. Throughout the month long
2013 Rising Star expedition, while some of us were busy
underground excavating, our colleagues on the surface,
people like Lee Berger from the University of Witwatersrand, John Hawks from University
of Wisconsin in Madison, and Andrew Howley from
National Geographic, they were busy on the surface tweeting and making Facebook
posts and producing blogs and producing videos,
all telling the story of what we were doing underground. This is part of a almost
paradigm shift for field science where researchers are willing
and are taking the risk to share our process, what
we’re doing in real time before we even have any
idea what we’re gonna find, before we know what our
results are gonna be. When we went back to
Rising Star in September of this year, both chambers
of the cave, the Dinaledi chamber where the original
Homo Naledi fossils were found, and the Lesedi chamber where more remains of Naledi were found, both
chambers were equipped with wifi. That let us as excavators
make our own posts. To tweet, to post on Facebook,
to engage with students in classrooms all over the
world thanks to Joe Grabowski’s National Geographic Classroom
Skype and Google Hangout. We were able to talk to
people from the cave. Which you know, that’s pretty cool, even if the science you’re
doing is totally awesome too. And those archived National
Geographic Explorer Classroom videos are available on YouTube and they’ve been viewed
3500 times in the last two and a half months. That’s a lot of connections
and a lot of people seeing what we’re doing
who might not otherwise have access to science in real time. Some of the kids and teachers
who tuned in to watch us live from the cave got to see fossils that were discovered while
we were online with them. These kids were seeing fossils
onscreen at the same time as Lee Berger and John
Hawks were seeing them for the first time on screen. Talk about social media
bringing you to the front row of human origins, the
study of human origins. John Hawks points out that
using this use of social media, sharing our excavation in
real time shifts the power dynamic giving voice to the
scientists and a direct line to the public. For example, the narrative
arch of the 2015 Nova National Geographic
documentary Dawn of Humanity, that narrative was practically
written by the tweets and Facebook posts produced
by the science team during the excavation itself. And the story was already written and the producers of
that film really did need to follow our story as opposed to one that they thought they understood. I see social media in
Rising Star and Homo Naledi shifting the power dynamic
in a second exciting way. Many of these tweets and posts and videos go on to have a life of their
own outside of the cave. During the 2013 expedition
the inimitable John Meed at evo_explorer, that’s
this guy, created a series of video twitter play by plays for his middle school science classroom. Those videos have since been
viewed more than 84,000 times in 20 countries. And in 2015 John came back and interviewed many of our excavators and
explorers from the team, and his video interviews
with us on his blog have been viewed 125,000 times
in countries from Hong Kong to Hungary, from South Africa to Sweden. And this is really great
outreach for our project and for John as an educator. It’s not just our original
posts on social media that build connections
between us, our research and the public. It’s also the cascade of
networks that are built through those connections as they multiply. And it’s not just in
the educational realm. Homo Naledi has had this
whole other life outside of the classroom and outside of the cave. Rising Star and Homo Naledi
have appeared in memes like the Tupperware party meme
and it’s been in political cartoons and comics as
a long lost relative, and editorial cartoons as a sports fan, and even as a political
candidate for two different countries, and often those
reference that it has the brain the size of an orange. My underground astronaut
colleagues and I have lost track of the number of out of the
blue twitter and Facebook connections that we’ve made
with teachers and with students and with community groups. We’ve beamed ourselves into
classrooms all over the world, been able to talk to people,
answer student questions, and really engage with
people using social media. Whether it’s on a tweet
and responding to posts or whether it’s face to face so to speak through a video screen. One group of students
contacted Hanna Morris and asked if we would
lip sync on the video for their class project. They’d written Homo Naledi themed lyrics to the song Shut Up and Let Me Dance. With lyrics like are you an Australopith or in the genus homo? How could we say no? Of course we did. That was really fun. And Lindsay Hunter was
contacted, or found out through social media that a little
girl she’d never met had dressed up for her as Halloween. I’m not saying all this to show how cool, to say how cool we are,
rather I’m trying to give some examples of how
for us, for Rising Star and for Homo Naledi
social media gives people an opportunity to be
excited about these fossils, about science and about human
origins right along side us. When we share our stories
of science, discovery and exploration, we’re
creating space for kids and adults too, to weave these things into their story as well. Now, sometimes social
media has let Homo Naledi go off on adventures all its own. Sometimes Homo Naledi’s
social media trajectory has gone way outside of our core networks, had a grand old time by
itself and then filtered back to us through other connections. Take for example the
video from a South African music festival called
Oppikoppi where this band right here, with a death metal
name, Satanic Dagga Orgy, sings a cheerful, happy,
pop-punk fusion song about Homo Naledi. It’s not science, it’s not
bioanthropology strictly speaking but I seriously doubt
that many fossil hominids would show up at music
festivals if it weren’t for social media. We take a big risk when
we decide to put our work out on social media. When we put hashtag
Homo Naledi, when we say hashtag Rising Star
Expedition, which is too long for a practical hashtag. When we say hashtag Dinaledi chamber or hashtag Lesedi chamber,
when we add all that stuff to our tweets and our
Facebook posts and blogs and our videos, we take a risk. Yes, we’re connecting
with other scientists, we’re connecting with
experts in our field, we’re building connections
that we can ask people who might have answers
to what we’re finding or to troubles we run into
during the excavations. We’re also connecting with
students and with the public and with people who might
not even think that they have an interest in a South African cave or hominid fossils or any of these things. We take a risk when we do
this, but the connections that we build with students,
the opportunity that we give people to ask us questions
as things are happening and ask us questions in
person without having to wait for it to show up in a journal article or in a textbook somewhere. Those connections are really important. I hope that our experiences
with Homo Naledi and with Rising Star and all
the social media outreach that we’ve done and that
we’re continuing to do gives you a hand and
is an invitation to you to try these things with your projects and with your research. – Now we have Natalia Reagan
from the Boas Network, also organizer of the session. – It is said that in the
darkness of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural
History lurks a fearsome yet strange beast. She, yes she, engages in
what is best described as a lyrical interpretive
dance as if a rabid yak had made furious love with a ferret. She wears her best kimono
and sequined beret, flits about the hall of human
origins in an ecstatic tizzy until she collapses from sheer exhaustion. And then, and only then,
does she produce the skull of her favorite hominin
Paranthropus boisei and recites this soliloquy. Let us listen as she says
it in her native tongue. (grunting and mumbling) Ah, let me see, alas poor
Zinj, I knew him Horatio, a robust hominin of infinite
jest, of most excellent flaring zygomatics he had
born bipedal ancestors on his back commencing
roughly 1.8 million years ago. And now how abhorred in
my imagination it is, my Olduvai Gorge rises at it. Here hung those lips that I have kissed, I know not how oft,
where be your jibes now? Your Leakey’s? Your songs? Your flashes of merriment that were want to set the Savanna on war? (grunting and panting) What? You act like you’ve never seen a Sasquatch in the Smithsonian before. Well here I am. And yeah, this might look kind of absurd, but I got your attention, didn’t I? Right? Well, that’s why I’m here. I’m here to talk about,
I’m gonna take these off, why bioanthropology matters. And why it matters now
more than ever to engage with the public as bioanthropologists. Now, you might think it’s kinda silly, here I am dressed as Bigfoot,
however, when I do shows, like $10 million Bigfoot
Bounty, I get to talk about what I love,
biological anthropology. Now, follow me here. So when we did the show we were dealing with Bigfoot hunters. Bigfoot hunters, affectionately
known as Squatchers have really interesting
ideas of who, what, where and well when Bigfoot exists, ’cause sometime they think he
bounces between dimensions, really weird stuff. But a lot of times these guys and girls know diddly squatch, yeah I
went there, about primatology. Now if you’re looking for
a new species of primate you would think you would know
everything there is to know about primates, right? Like if wanted to go back to the future, I would have to know everything there is to know about physics. I’d need Doc Brown, a
DeLorean, plutonium from those pesky Libyans, I’d need a red puffy vest, ya get to the Back to
the Future reference. Basically I would need
to know about physics to go back to the future. If you wanna find a
new species of primate, you need to do the same thing. So, on $10 million Bigfoot
Bounty I got to talk about all things primate. Life histories, behavior,
diet, dentition, locomotion. Some squatchers think that
Bigfoot walks on four legs and then gets up and runs on two. And I got to explain to them why that’s pretty much impossible. Some think that they are big meat eaters, that they fell wild game
and I also ask them, where are the tools, guys? Where are the tools? And a lot of times they
don’t have an answer. And a lot of times they
also amend their theories with this new information. So we’re actually seeing
learning in action. And the cool thing about
this is I could talk about this in a classroom, I could
teach a primatology class and reach 30 students,
but in theory if I’m doing a television show and it’s well watched, I could reach tens of
thousands if not hundreds of thousands of viewers
that might never have the interest or inclination
or opportunity to learn a darn thing about primatology
or biological anthropology. So it’s kind of a win-win. I get to tell the story of
one of my favorite things, which is primates and hopefully
I get to entertain people. Hopefully you’re slightly entertained, because I am hot. Which reminds me, I’m gonna
change for the next portion. Stay tuned. Woo! I feel a lot better. Now we’re gonna switch gears. I have also talked about
the story of boobs. Yep, I’ve talked about ta-tas. I’ve made videos about them,
I was even on the Today Show talking about flat doodles,
chesticles and whatnot. And the thing is people
might roll their eyes and be like oh come on, really Natalia? Boobs? But people come for the boobs
and they stay for the science. Isn’t that what we want, right? And when I talk about boobs,
I get to talk about things like concealed ovulation
and sexual selection. Miocene apes evolving
from being quadrupedal to bipeds, all these
things that when you go to a cocktail party you
don’t expect to find yourself talking about that, but then
you do and all the sudden you are the coolest person in the room. So that’s a way that
you can kind of engage with the public again, that
might not think they wanna know about why exactly
human women have boobs. They might be actually
very intrigued once you’re done telling them all
about the story of boobs. The breast tale ever told. Boob puns, I love ’em. Same with butts. When you talk about butts you
get to talk about new forms of locomotion and I mean who doesn’t like a good keister joke, really? Anybody? No, nobody? Okay. Yeah, right there, right there. You’re my bud. Moving on, I now work on
a show with a guy you may have heard named Neil
deGrasse Tyson who is the best boss in the universe. Or multiverse if that really exists. But it’s a great platform to be on. There’s actually two
platforms, there’s the podcast, and the TV show which is on
NatGeo and you should watch it, ’cause it’s awesome. And on the podcast they have
a star talk all star podcast which allows me to talk about
anthropology to an audience that might be looking for
more space related stories. And so on that particular podcast, I’ve been able to talk about Neanderthals and anatomically modern humans and mixing. Climate change and how it’s
affected primates past, present and future. I’ve been able to talk
about what makes us human. I’ve been able to discuss
teeth and how they’re basically fossils in our mouths. And the cool thing is I get to
bring on experts in the field so it’s not just me
talking about anthropology I get to feature some great
colleagues that are doing excellent work in their fields. So it’s a way that I get to
get anthropology out again to a broad audience, and
who does not love that? On the TV show, I get
to combine my two loves. I’m a comedy writer on the TV show so I get to combine science and comedy. And I even got Neil
deGrasse Tyson to dress up like Katy Perry, I’m
sorry, that right there is like the win of the universe. And I’m a correspondent. And on the show that’s
generally very much focused on space, I get to bring in anthropology. I did a segment at a chimpanzee sanctuary for rehabilitated chimps
who had been living at a medical facility. And I got to talk about why
primates make horrible pets and should never be used
in medical research. I also got to do a participant
observational study, ethnographic study of
CosPlayers at ComiCon. I got to dress up like
Lady Star Talk who was like a David Bowie meets a
space warrior hybrid. And I got to talk about
basically why these quote unquote nerds dress up and well, like
to look like ya know Superman or Captain America and
show that they’re humans just like the rest of us
and they just want to play, engage in play. Again, bringing it back to
primates, primates love to play. So I’ve also tackled social issues. I’ve realized that biological
anthropology doesn’t just have to talk about boobs and
Bigfoot and whatnot. We can talk about things that
really matter in the world like race, gender
pluralities and sexuality. In 2015 I did a video
talking about something that biological anthropologists already know, that there’s no biological
basis to racial classification, that race is a cultural construct. It is very much real,
but there’s no clear line that you can cut between groups commonly referred to as races. And it’s something that
anthropologists seem to understand and we know, but America seems
to have not caught on yet. And fortunately anthropologists
liked the video, shared it, whatnot, neo-Nazis
and white supremacists hated the video, shared
it on their own web sites, came back with their own response videos using pseudoscience and
misinterpreted science to back up their racist ideology. And that’s when I realized
that wow, we really need to tackle these myths
and debunk them head on because it’s just going to get worse. And so I feel like biological anthropology is coming into a time
where we are in a unique position to change the way
the world thinks and feels. We can tell our stories. The human story in a way
that helps people understand that we are all far more
similar than different. Hopefully uniting a United
States that is very much divided right now. In 2016 and 2017 we are
seeing a rise in hate crimes. A rise! And I don’t need to tell you why that is, I think we all know. But this is a time that
biological anthropologists can get out there and change that. We have a voice. I know, I know it’s scary sometimes, you don’t wanna get in front of a camera, you don’t wanna put yourself out there. ‘Cause let’s face it, scientists
can be mean to each other. However, there’s other
ways you can do that. You can take to Twitter,
you can take to Facebook if you want, although that can get messy, let’s all be fair. But know your strengths. If you’re an excellent
writer, write a blog. Write an op-ed. If you’ve got a great sense of humor, again Twitter’s a great way to
tackle those sorts of things. Or write a funny blog. If you do feel comfortable
in front of the camera say yes to being a talking head. We need talking heads out
there talking about what they know as experts because
if you don’t do it, somebody else is gonna do it, and they’re gonna mess it
up and you’re gonna be mad. We’re all gonna be mad. And if you’re really
brave, run for office. How awesome would it be to
have biological anthropologists informing policy, actually making change? So, biological anthropology matters. You matter, your stories matter. So get out there and keep
telling the human story because you can make a difference. Thank you. (audience applauding) – All right, our last
video is Briana Pobiner from the Smithsonian Institute. – Hi, my name is Briana Pobiner and I’m a paleoanthropologist
and I am extremely privileged to work in this building. This is the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History and I am standing in the Hall of Human Origins. And my office is two floors up. And I started working here
in 2005 as a research fellow as I was finishing my
PhD and then in 2007, right as I was finished, I
actually spent about three years helping to put this exhibit together. My research is evolution of human diet. That’s not what I’m gonna be
talking to you about today, although I could talk to
you about it for hours. It’s something I’m really excited about. I’m particularly interested
in the origin of meat eating. So I spend some of my time
here at the Natural History Museum actually doing research,
and I often go overseas to places like Kenya to do excavations or to study fossils. But a lot of what I do here
in the Natural History Museum deals with education and
outreach and really engaging the public about the
science of human origins. And so I’ll talk to you
about the different ways that I do that and how I
find that really fulfilling. So one thing that I do
is that I help to manage a group of volunteers
that really help bring this exhibit alive. They work in the Hall of Human Origins doing a few different things. One is that they give tours
to people who wanna kinda see the highlights of the exhibit. Another is that they do
cart based, or object based activities on carts where
visitors can come in, they can touch real objects, they can learn what scientists learn. They can do the work of scientists. They can talk to the volunteers
about what they know, and ask them questions. And then another one is
just much more casual conversations with visitors. And so I have a wonderful group
of 46 dedicated volunteers who last year donated more
than 3700 hours of their time and engaged in over 50,700
interactions with visitors. So I can’t be out on the floor
here every day all the time. But this is a way for me
to help extend that kind of interaction with visitors. And in order to help them do
that, we have monthly meetings. I facilitate a Facebook
group where they can talk to each other and ask questions
and talk about events going, local events going on,
and new studies going on and they actually keep me
on my toes about everything that gets published in
the scientific literature. And then whether things
are kinda valid or not. And whether they’re
things that we wanna talk to our public about or not. I wanna give a shout-out here,
particularly to the Office of Education staff here at
the Natural History Museum. So Lisa Porter who’s the
volunteer manager actually gave me all of those numbers
that I just told you about. And really it takes a
team of people to build and facilitate and measure
all of the wonderful engagement that happens
here at the museum. So that’s one of the things that I do, kind of indirectly working with visitors here at the Natural History Museum. Another one is that I get to facilitate public programs here. So one program that we
have that happens twice a month is called our
Scientist Is In program. And that’s usually for
two hours at a time. And that is based on very informal interactions with visitors. Usually I bring in experts, scientists, they can be everything
from faculty members and researchers to graduate
students, even undergraduates. And they have objects on
carts the visitors can touch and it’s really informal
and it’s meant to be very visitor driven and I’ll touch
back on that in a moment. Another program that
I facilitate is called the HOT Topic Discussion. And H O T, HOT stands
for Human Origins Today. And that’s where we have a
discussion also that happens right here in the Hall of Human Origins. Happens for an hour. There’s a sort introduction by an expert on a certain topic and
then it’s again a visitor driven informal question
and answer conversation. And there we get to touch on topics where the science of human
origins really intersects with societal interest sometimes. So sometimes it’s hot
unpublished research. Sometimes it’s about things
like biological variation. It’s about race and what does that mean? It’s about conservation. It’s about really anywhere
that where as I said, the science of human
origins kind of intersects with societal interests. And those are really wonderful
conversations to facilitate. So, one of the things that I offer as I put on my educator
hat for anybody who’s doing one of these expert led
programs in the Hall of Human Origins is a little
bit of coaching and training about science communication techniques. ‘Cause that’s something
that we can all use. So I, when I’m talking
particularly to graduate students or maybe to people who
aren’t as comfortable with, or familiar with or haven’t
had a lot of practice with engaging with the
public, because as we go on our scientific careers and
get more and more kind of deep into our research, sometimes
we forget how to talk to the general public about what we do. And actually one of the fun
things about getting to do these programs is that it reminds me and it reminds a lot of
my colleagues about why what we do is really fun. So some of the principles
that I talk to them about are things that are really
simple, but sometimes we forget, like introduce yourself,
say your name, tell people where you’re from, tell
them where you work. Try to connect on a personal level. Talk about things like, oh
I have a kid that’s the age, the same age as your kid
and they’re interested in these things and here’s
the part of the world, or the part of the
country that I come from. I talk about trying to avoid very specific scientific jargon or
technical terminology. Because frankly it can make
people feel a little bit dumb and it can be off putting. So I say if you’re gonna
introduce scientific terminology, then at least define
it or use another word. Something that’s maybe kind
of, something that means the same thing but is maybe more familiar. I also talk to them about using analogies. And this is a really important principle in science communication. So if I were to tell
you that the brain size of a particular early human
species is 400 cubic centimeters you might not really know what that means off the top of your head,
or inside your head, or something like that. But if I tell you it’s about
the size of a baseball, then we’re all set. So, trying to make the unfamiliar familiar by using an analogy can be really helpful. I also talk about, particularly
when engaging with kids, just bend down and get on their level. Look them in the eyes. Validate their questions. Tell them that they could be
scientists when they grow up. And one of the things that I like to do when I’m participating
in these public programs is I always tell kids
that I’m gonna let them in on a secret, I’m a scientist
because it’s really fun. I get to solve mysteries and
I get to go on adventures. And I’ll talk a little bit
more about my own experiences doing this in a moment. I had a really great conversation
recently with a graduate student from George
Washington University who’s done her fourth Scientist
Is In program now. We were talking about how
it’s a different experience when you’re surrounded by a lot of people which happens here in the
spring and summer particularly at the Natural History Museum,
than in the fall and winter when it’s a little bit quieter. She was also talking
about how in her earlier Scientist Is In program she
had developed an activity that she was kind of
leading visitors through and how that was a particular
kind of interaction that was more scientist
driven because she really wanted them to go through particular steps and come up with particular conclusions. And while it’s important,
one of the things I will coach the participants
to do is think about what are your main messages and think
about maybe some hook lines and questions that can draw people in. But she realized that when she
had more casual conversations that they tended to be more visitor driven and they tended to be longer
and deeper interactions. And so I think having more practice in that can be really helpful. And the last thing that I
tell people is to really try, and it’s hard for scientists
because we’re so excited about what we do, we wanna tell everybody about it all the time,
maybe that’s just me, ’cause I’m excited about what I do. But to listen more and talk less. And then you can really
develop connections even in a 30 second
interaction, you can have a deep and meaningful connection and
engagement with a visitor, particularly young visitors. It can be really inspiring. So some of the things that I like to do when I’m doing these Scientist
Is In programs particularly, I like to talk about the
adventures that I have. I like to talk about the
trials and tribulations of doing research and the
failures and the questions. And the thrill of discovery
when I’m out on excavations and I’m actually digging
up fossils of one and half million year old animals that
my ancestors butchered and ate and nobody has had a
chance to touch or see this until now when I found it. And that just sends chills up my spine. And being able to
communicate that excitement and that discovery is something
that’s really important. I can talk about how science is actually a really social endeavor. I met my best friend on
an excavation in Tanzania when we were in graduate school. 10 years later she
invited me to participate back on her research project that she was leading in Tanzania. So I talk about how it
really, it takes a village to kind of do really good
science a lot of the time. And I also really talk
about why do I study what I study? It’s because biological
anthropology is about all of us. It’s about everyone on the planet. It’s about understanding the
past to figure out why we are how we are, you know who we are today and potentially where
we’re going in the future. And so I think it’s almost
the most fundamental science that we can think of,
and as I mentioned before, it’s a lot of fun. So I encourage biological
anthropologists to definitely get more involved in doing
outreach whether it’s online, whether it’s on site,
but it’s a lot of fun and it can remind you really,
of why what you’re doing is so satisfying,
interesting and a lot of fun. Thank you. (audience applauding) – All right, at this time
I would like to invite our speakers to join
me up here on the table and Agustin Fuentes is
going to be leading or, sorry, Agustin Fuentes from
the University of Notre Dame is going to be doing the discussion. I’m doing way too many
things at once here. Don’t mind me at all. And I’m just gonna put this one slide up. – I’ve been staring at
this water the whole time. – You don’t have slides, right? (laughs) – Cool. – [Presenter] Okay, that
may or may not show up so, just a reminder these are
going to be online later. – Okay so thank you all for attending, for participating in this. I wanna thank the organizers
for putting it together and I’m just gonna give
you some very very brief comments and then point out why we’re here and then provide the
opportunity for you to talk with our presenters. So, if you try to find science
on many of the websites supported and put up by
our government you will find it rapidly disappearing. Our current Vice President is
explicitly anti-evolutionary. Does not believe it exists
and also, as we heard, has no idea how women’s bodies work. But that is not a surprise. Science is not just fun. It’s not just informational,
it’s not just important to engaging with the world,
today science in the public, getting knowledge translated
from the academy to the public is absolutely critical. It is a moral and ethical
demand that must be met and followed by academics. We can no longer do what we
do behind the closed doors or only in the ivory tower. If we don’t do it now,
it will not get done and it’ll just get worse. What we saw here today
are multiple ways in which innovative scientists are
engaging with the public by using social media, by doing podcasts, giving lectures, museum
exhibits and engagements, educational context, being
active in television and radio. By attending and giving lectures. All of these take extra
work, much of which is not recognized on the contemporary
academic landscape for promotion tenure and retention. These are problems but they
cannot inhibit the desire or the capacity or the
action of these scientists going into the public. So we as fellow scientists,
as anthropologists must make science matter as they’ve pointed out. And matter by supporting
them, by allying with those individuals who are in the
public and by engaging with them and by seriously considering
doing some of this yourself. These videos will be up on
YouTube, they will be accessible. We ask that you use them,
show them, engage with them, and convince your students,
your colleagues, your relatives to watch them. Science in the public is really important, but it is very difficult. I think every one of our
speakers here pointed out that you don’t just get
up and do something. You actually have to prepare,
you have to think about, not yourself, but your audience. Science is fascinating. We’re all geeks and we love it. We can, many people in this
audience can get really overjoyed about a metatarsal,
that is not the pattern of most people out there. Yet there are funny and interesting things about metatarsals! And it’s that capacity
to think about what your target is, what your outcome is, how you get there, and to
use entertainment, comedy, visuals, whatever it
is, personal narratives, to get that information across. We must get better at doing this. And here I think we have
six amazing examples that show us a diverse way,
diverse ways and context in which we can do this. So, rather than going through
and talking about each one, I think there’s much more
benefit by opening this up to the audience and public
for you to ask questions of our panelists here. So we have a good bit of time. So I would ask anyone who has questions please stand up, come to one of the mics and ask the question. Yes. (speaking faintly) – [Audience Member] Okay,
so given what you just said Agustin about tenure and promotion, why are these all women? Where are the men? Are they the ones getting NSF
degrees and getting promoted and higher salaries? – Well actually there’s
two things going on there. And I had my notes here on that. One thing is many of the
non-scientists getting press for conveying science information are men. Many scientists getting press are men. This is an opportunity to
highlight scientists doing excellent public outreach and work. In this case it happens to be six women. There are also men there
and we can get into a longer conversation about who’s
doing this and who’s getting credit for it, but I think
from our perspective, and I’ll just speak, I
won’t speak on behalf of the organizers, but
I’m going to interpret from the organizers said, there
are not enough female faces publicly put forward by
associations and by formal organizations to be
doing this kind of work, and we thought this would
be an opportunity for more female voices to engage
and to be represented. There are many men doing this as well and we hope that this is not
the only panel ever like this and that there will be more voices heard in these panels. Diversity and inclusivity
is a massive issue and a huge problem, not
just in the public voice, but in promotion, tenure and retention and in science in general. And we are many many of us
actively working on that. Does anyone wanna? – That little motion of mine
was ’cause I agree with you in a lot of ways. I do think, you know, I think
Agustin makes an important point that Natalia and Caroline again, you guys should speak for
yourselves, but they were very intentional in trying to
choose some under represented, ya know the category of cis
female is still somewhat under represented in science
so it’s kind of a nice thing to laud our voices, but I also do think that we are the ones who
still carry the service burden and public engagement is still
considered a type of service. So, on the one hand, I
am always gonna be doing this kinda stuff whether or
not it helps my tenure case or in the cases where it hurts
my tenure and promotion case. And I know that it’s gotten me in trouble, and I’ve been told that
it’s gotten me in trouble. But, and I think that that’s
why, you know the AAA, I actually served on a
committee on the AAA last year to look at tenure and
promotion guidelines around issues of public engagement
because there’s all this hidden stuff that happens
where people tell you, in your meetings with
your department head, oh hey uh, just so you know,
you maybe shouldn’t be doing so much of this blogging. That’s like for instance,
stuff I was told, is I was told to quote re-budget my time, but there was nothing in our
tenured promotion guidelines that explicitly said how much
I should be doing of anything. And so we did an actual,
we did both a qualitative and quantitative assessment
of what’s out there and it’s pretty grim. But there are some universities
that do prioritize it now. And so I think the report
should be out, if it’s, – [Agustin] It is, it’s out
and, well the recommendations are out and available on the website. – Yeah, and so, I would
encourage people to go there and take a look at that. And then maybe go back
to their departments and consider what they
can do to change their departmental guidelines so
that it isn’t just women with the broom every single time. And that they’re, and that
when there’s more appreciation for this work that maybe
more types of people will continue to do it. – [Agustin] Lemme just
point out that I don’t have the web address but it is
available on the AAA website and I encourage everyone who has access to administrators in
their institution to share this document with them. – Agustin, I’m gonna
follow up on that with just two simple questions. How many people on this
panel are tenured professors? How many people on this
panel are full professors? Yes, the burden for service
work is not fully appreciated in an academic setting and
it does tend to fall to women to be carrying this burden
and so I think that all of us need to be making much more of a pitch to get this kind of stuff
counted because it is important for outreach, but it’s
also attracting attention for the next generation of
people that are coming in to do this kind of work and
it, I don’t think we can lose sight of that when
we’re using federal money to support our research. We’re justifying ourselves by doing this and we can’t overlook that. But we can’t overlook also
the fact that it has a cost that’s very real. And so I appreciate your question. It’s an important one. – And just as an organizer,
when Caroline and I were making the list, I don’t
think, there was no intention to making it an all female panel actually. We did have on the list, there were men. – Some of whom are in this room. – Exactly. Sorry guys. (several laughing) – Didn’t make the cut. – Well, I mean but, we do appreciate, and being a woman that works
on for instance Star Talk we get a lot, there’s
always a lot of flack that we hear on Twitter,
online about why are there never enough female science communicators and there are, the thing is, we do exists, there’s tons of female
science communicators. We just don’t always
get the biggest platform or the shout-out. And I don’t wanna speak for all women, but ya know sometimes we
don’t necessarily jump in front of the spotlight all the time. And so I wanted to showcase
some women that I find their work, I mean it’s
such a broad panel here too. There’s nobody else at BioAnth News and BioAnth news is a
huge part, so of course we’re gonna pick Sue. So again, well you know like
there’s no male counterpart to Sue that I know about. – Well we have male administrators. – But you are BioAnth News so, Anyways, that’s my point
is it wasn’t necessarily intentional, but I’m more than thrilled that this is the way it came out. – Yeah. – [Audience Member]
Thank you all very much for putting this on. This was pretty wonderful. One of the issues that I’ve
struggled with at times in thinking about this kind
of dynamic public engagement is I feel like much of our
knowledge in anthropology is still at a very preliminary
or provisional stage. Where new fossils or new
genetics or new papers can really turn over what we
think we know is established. And in that sense, these
kinds of alternative forms of engagement are wonderful
and they allow us to respond very rapidly, but one of
the things I’ve struggled with is how do we curate
this in a way that makes it accessible to public,
because it’s not always clear what’s the most recent,
or what’s the most sort of up to date way of getting access to this. So we have maybe multiple digital archives that exist that are
saying different things. And I wondered if you
had suggestions as ways of dealing with that aspect
of these kinds of engagements. – So I’m happy to respond to that. So I actually think that
talking to the public about that process is
a really important part of science communication. And so I will often say to visitors in the Hall of Human
Origins like this is what we know so far. But I think there’s, there’s
a nuance between saying like we have this really
robust body of knowledge and maybe we’re gonna
tweak a date here or there, but kind of the over
all really big patterns are things that have
stood the test of time. So I think talking about
the process of science and the nature of science
during our science communication is actually really important. – I think also being entertaining as all of you are and sort
of emphasize preparing and knowing how to say these things, and to be able to get
out there and say whoop! Oh, so we were actually wrong last week, there’s this other thing
that just showed up. You know, for example anyone
who does human, you know paleoanthropology now
just basically forget it. Don’t write anything down. (panel members laughing) ‘Cause it’s gonna change. But I think that those are,
that’s a very important thing and every, in each of
these cases we saw modes by which novel information
can get out there and a kind of humor or
engagement with what science is which almost never happens in much of the standard science communication. – And I have one more thing also on that. Is that one of the things
that I forgot to say when I was in front of the
camera was that I actually really like being asked
questions that I don’t know the answer to, and I think
that scares a lot of people. Especially when they’re
talking to the public. Oh we’re supposed to know
the answers to everything. Well, science in general
doesn’t have the answers to everything, but I find it
a real opportunity to say, okay, well what kind of
evidence would we need to answer that question? And then you bring that
person who you’re talking to, who may not have a strong
background in science or think scientifically,
into the process of thinking like a scientist and so I think that is a really huge opportunity. – [Agustin] Next question. In the back. – [Audience Member] I’m
sorry, this is really short for me, hold on. (people chuckling) Okay, all right, hi everybody. My question actually goes off
of Dr. Clancy’s presentation. So when you were talking
about the demographics of the people who are reading
your blog, your readership, you mentioned that there
were a lot of white women. And that was the first
thing I noticed as well, like the overwhelming like
whiteness (laughs) of it all. And I was thinking about when
it comes to people of color, especially people of color
with different intersections of identity, all of these
identities are necessarily public and necessarily politicized. And when I think of science engagement from these people of
color to tend to be other people of color it tends to be embedded in these political things. And we’ve been talking
about politics a little bit, you know, brushing on Trump
and his lack of knowledge and those things. So I guess my question
is not only how do we get people to science, or how
you guys think about getting people to science, but how does people, how do science come to people
where they are already? You know, there are a
lot of political things that are happening right now
that I think bioanthropology has some very important,
I guess, interventions in. You know, when I was thinking about Flint, there’s a lot of black
physical scientists I’ve been following who’ve been
talking a lot about Flint and doing a lot of studies about Flint and about how it’s
affecting women’s bodies and children for instance
and so on and so forth. So I would like to hear
about how I guess you guys suggest BioAnth comes to the people as well as bringing people to BioAnth. – And I can speak a little
about, ’cause I’m in Detroit. And so, and I can speak a
little bit about that just, and that’s what I do with
like the kids things, you know, summer camps and
we do a lot of outreach, you know STEM and we have
a very diverse student body and so our alumni are diverse. And so, I try to speak
to Detroit public schools and target getting them
admission, like free admission to museum things that I’ve done. Like if you are a member
of Detroit public schools you get free admission to
the Michigan Science Center where I did a talk. And so I just, but I make
sure that those things are available for, you know
the population of my city is very different than
the population of where any of us went to grad school, right? And so I really have tried to just change and think about ways that I
can make this more accessible. I haven’t been the best at it. I’m still trying to figure it out. We just hired a museum curator
who has an outreach job and so we’re really working
together to really try to engage the Detroit public
schools ’cause these are kids who maybe don’t even go to
school every day of the week. Right? I mean their parents
aren’t necessarily even taking them there. And so if we can get those kids excited, then maybe they show up,
they want to go to school. Maybe they ask their parents,
can they ride the bus? Can they go in? And so we’re, like we’re trying. And that’s the only thing
I can really speak on. The other thing I do
wanna mention there though is from BioAnth News and
the Mug Shots, right? So like trying to talk about
science and put up the faces of the people and then
you start seeing diversity of who is doing this. And especially representing the diversity. I don’t think I put a
face of every researcher that I talk about, but especially
if it’s gonna represent diversity, I make sure
to make an extra effort. – There’s a major issue
in biological anthropology and we don’t wanna take
up too much time here, but there is the unbearable whiteness of biological anthropology currently
and we are tackling that as an association, American
Association of Physical Anthropologists through the
Ideas program Susan, Anton, Rip and Molly and I have put this together and are working hard to
change the demographic makeup which is at the upper levels,
not at the undergraduate level but in fact we get reductions at the, at masters for the reductions of the PhD. Massive reductions in the professoriate. It is a real problem. It’s a problem for
anthropology writ large. But one of the things I think
that is underplayed currently is also the pressure on
anthropologists of color not to deal with issues
related to some of these STEM areas or some of the sciences. And there’s an incredible
system or bias inherent just even in the science
communication community. And those are realities
and I think realities that it’s worth acknowledging
and speaking out about. – Yeah, just to also add
on to what other folks have said here, you know
there’s a little bit of a mistake, and I should
have caught it when I saw the rough cut in my video where
they show my podcast guests at the moment when I talk about
white female anthropologists that shows, those should
not have gone together. That was actually a really
diverse group of primarily cis women, but they were of
many different racial categories and sexualities and that
was something that’s been very intentional for
me for Period Podcast. Has been actually trying to
represent a lot of different you know more intersectional,
identities than just again white female anthropologists,
which I know a lot of those. So it’s really easy,
I could just flood my, I could just flood the
podcast with those voices, and I’ve tried to choose not to. I’m not saying that’s sufficient,
it actually really isn’t. That’s the first step I’ve taken. I think another step is, again
what Agustin has pointed out and what Julie has pointed
out in terms of actually putting yourself physically
in these other spaces in order to make a difference. So I think there’s sort of
a multi level approach here in terms of lifting up the
voices of under represented folks within STEM and making
sure those voices are heard. And then making sure we’re
going to those spaces in different ways. I’ve created an initiative
on my campus called the 21st Century Scientist
Initiative that aims to do this, we’re about diversity and inclusion and not about disciplining
diversity, which I feel like a lot of this is about, it’s about create, like a lot of diversity
initiatives are about creating cultural competence for
folks who identify as diverse in some ways or non-majority in some ways. And we’re not, that’s necessarily
the goal is to getting them to code switch and
behave in an appropriate way in the sciences, it’s
actually to try to figure out how can we change science to
make more room for different types of people? (Agustin mumbles) – [Audience Member] I
just have a quick comment. Terrific job, Caroline, thank you. All of you, it’s wonderful. And I understand that a panel of all women multiplies your voice. I think it’s great that
you did it because people will listen and I think
it’s terrifically great that you put it on YouTube
because it gives people a chance to listen. I’m not sure you’ve gotta advertise it. I think it’ll spread quickly.
– Here’s hoping. – You’re actually on Facebook Live right now.
– You’ve just the last– You’ve just done the last
lecture of my course. (panel members laughing) modern human origins, they
know what I’m gonna say. I think this is a good thing
to present over and over again to undergraduates. It’ll help solve our problem,
maybe building the number of students that take our
courses a little better. Thank you.
– Thanks Alfred. Daniel? – [Audience Member] Wonderful panel. Really enjoyed it. My question is a lot of
what you’re talking about is how anthropology matters,
how it can reach out and I think biological
anthropology’s really been at the forefront of this so how can what biological anthropologists
have learned be, go further to the four fields, go to cultural anthropologists? I’d just like to hear you
reflect on what cultural anthropologists could do to
engage more with the public. – Your Facebook group,
your blog is part of that. Very clearly. The neuro anthropology interest group that you and Greg do very
definitely helps cross those borders and I’m pretty
cautious at BioAnth News not to overly repeat
stories that you guys have on your different venues
because I wanna see as many people in our group join
your group and vice versa. To try and keep that
dialogue going we try to, on BioAnth News at least,
we have gotten in trouble in the past especially
with European scholars that say such and such post is
not biological anthropology. And they’re defining it very
narrowly in what I would argue is the old physical anthropology terms. We try to get linguistic anthropology, we try to get cultural
anthropology quite regularly on the group and when you look
at who the administrators are they’re all people that
are engaged in integrative anthropology, several of them
are cultural anthropologists archeologists, linguistic
anthropologists in order to make sure that we
keep that approach so. I think it takes directed work
to make sure we’re bringing in the other sub areas of anthropology. – [Agustin] I think that
the skills, oh I’m sorry. Go ahead.
– I’m sorry. – [Agustin] I thought you stopped. – I have no idea what you just said. – [Agustin] Oh no, sorry. I thought you had stopped
talking so I interrupted you. Go ahead. – I’m done. – Sorry. I was gonna say the skill
set that was presented in each one of the videos. Each of the videos
outlines a set of skills and the sets of ways in which
of transferring information that are completely usable
by a diverse anthropological audience and diverse
anthropological knowledges and so I think it’s, there’s
tricks when you get to have bones or blood, but there are other tricks when you get to have politics,
religion, ritual experience, etc., etc., etc. and so I
think, I think the benefit of some of these videos is
that there are tool kits present in them. Go ahead. – Yeah, I got off a, when
I was in the cave just in September I Skyped into
a graduate school classroom as a archeologist on this
project and the student reaction was so terrific that I got off the Skype and I emailed the professor
and said, why aren’t we doing this with all of PhD
students and recent graduates from this program? You know, sometimes it’s
yes, we as the scientists need to be starting to
put ourselves out there, but sometimes we need
an invitation as well. So I was trying to encourage
that particular professor to reach out to some
cultural anthropologists and linguistic anthropologists
who are in the field right now and ask them
will you come and do this? Because we all have these
ideas, but sometimes you do need that invitation to come in. – [Agustin] John. – [Audience Member]
Yeah, I wanna raise a bit of a darker question. Two of the major themes
in biological anthropology are of course race and evolution. And we teach, but there
is a large confrontational element in the United States
about both of those issues. And there are a lot of wackos out there. My question is have any
of you actually received a death threat and if so,
how do you deal with it? – I have and I told the police about it. And then they said, well that’s
not really a death threat. They just said that they
hope someone shoots you in the head, not that they’re
gonna shoot you in the head, so it’s all okay. So that’s basically been my experience. Unfortunately right now,
academic freedom is supposed to protect us in all sorts of ways to say what we want and that
sounds like a really awesome thing, but unfortunately
the physical protection is really currently not there. I mean I know people
who are on watch lists. I know people who have felt at risk. You know, my experiences have
been largely social media ones that you know, I’ve had
threats happen via email, Facebook message and
rape threats on Twitter and then some, I’ve gotten
some letters, like hand written letters as well. I don’t enjoy any of that. It messes with my mental
health and I don’t like that, again as a woman putting
myself out there, performing additional service in public
engagement for my discipline, I don’t feel protected. At the same time, for
me at least, nothing has come of it yet. And there’s an open case
for one person in particular who has been contacting all
my journals that I publish in, contacting I think has contacted
the AAA before as well. Contacted my IRB office,
trying to get some of my work taken down. This is more my sexual harassment research than my public engagement, that guy. But I do think it’s worth,
it’s important for people to know that kind of stuff
and that know that if you have any identity that takes you
a step away from cis white straight male and I’m only
one step away from that, ’cause I’m cis straight
white female, that already puts you at additional risk
for those kinds of attacks. – I hadn’t realized what
a difference there was, I mean obviously I knew
women had more issues to deal with when they were, had a public face. But I can remember one time saying, and this is the behind the
scenes stuff nobody sees, but I find that we get a
lot of Facebook messages, emails, always from males
who get mad at something that’s said on the site and I remember, I think I whined one day
about it on BioAnth News, and Greg Downey wrote to me. And again with Dan, he
runs the Neuro anthropology interest group, and Greg
said that no matter what kinds of interactions
they have on their group, it ends at the group page. And that he’s never
gotten a Facebook message after the fact, he’s never
gotten an email after the fact. My Facebook box is loaded with
things where people get mad because we dare to say the
word mansplain or because we put up some kind of
post about a biological anthropologist who was committing sexual harassment activities
and how dare we do that on a biological anthropology page? There was one guy, I don’t know
where people find the time, but there was one man who,
and I thought one of my the other administrators
was crazy when she told me this was happening, but there
was a guy that would come on and start sending very sexual comments to different female administrators. And largely Lesley Gregoricka
got the brunt of this, but so we’d get rid of him. And then a little while
later someone would come back and they’d be saying similar
things and we’d get rid of him. And Jamie Olinger realized that
they were all the same guy. And so she went through, we
now have, we’re pushing 18,000 just on the Facebook group. She went through almost
everybody and she saw a pattern. And he was always at one of
the universities in Texas, I don’t remember which one. And so that was always his email address. And he always had a
picture of a flower up. And when we went through it,
he had, there were something like 18 personas that
he had on BioAnth News that he would switch to once
we would get rid of one. So we got a huge number
of people to all report all 18 of his sites. And he hasn’t come back yet. But it does take a concerted,
and I had to write to people like Lee Berger and others
who accept everybody as their friends because
the problem is they show up in our feeds saying such
and such and such and such are friends of this
individual and so you think that they’re okay. When in fact people are
just accepting anybody that writes to ’em. And Lee told me that in
fact they had a legal case pending against this guy. And the amount of free time
that this kind of stuff represents is astonishing to me, but also just scary when
you start to think about it. – I was gonna say as a woman
that has put myself out there for a while, I’m sorry,
I’m doing Facebook Live so say hi everyone. Has been doing this for a while
and have covered sexy topics but have done very serious
topics including race, gender pluralities, I
did one on sexuality. I did a Facebook Live for
Transgender Day of Visibility, but yes, I get horrible,
the ones that I’ve gotten like the closest to death threats
where they wished me dead, were for race. It was all things that
had to do with race. I’m trying to think of what else. Oh vaccines. Anti-vaccers came at me
pretty hard ’cause I did a heart immunity vaccine. And anti-intellectualism video
that talked about evolution. So yeah, so it was really
heavy controversial topics I think bring with it a lot of baggage. And unfortunately, I used to
work for Discovery Digital Networks which is an online
site, and a lot of times, yeah, the male hosts never
got comments about their appearance or their, there’s
children in the room but, their blank-ability. But I would get a ton of
these ridiculous, disgusting comments and I would say things. And sometimes I’d combat
them, because I’m snarky and I can be, ya know,
come at them and bite back. But what as disappointing was the, it’s hard to curate these things, but just it was so disappointing
realizing that if I immediately just could snap
my fingers and be a man, I would never have anybody
commenting on wanting to hurt me or kill me or blank me. And when I did that
race video, I came home, I was on a trip and I remember
being afraid to come home because they were like watch
your back, blah blah blah blah and I live alone, ya know? And it was terrifying. So I think going forward, you know, being, having to let people know
that this is happening, being honest about it, because
sometimes it is embarrassing. You don’t wanna talk about it. But it is important to get it out there, because otherwise you
could be in harm’s way. – [Agustin] We have time
for one quick question. Persephone and a quick answer or three. – [Audience Member] Yeah,
this is coming off thinking about going to grad students in school and that made me wonder
what you see as the role of grad students for this kind of outreach and science communication? I know quite a few grad
students who are social media mavericks, but also then
considering that grad students don’t always have the
same level of expertise. So I just wondered what
your thoughts were. – I had made a comment about
it that sending my grad students to go to the schools
’cause I can’t always do it. I mean there is a limit to my schedule. Like I give so many talks,
and I’m honored to be invited to talk so much, but I can’t do it all. And that’s sort of also the
like you just have to be smarter than the kids you’re teaching. ‘Cause like students
of mine who don’t study edible insects in the
same way I do have gone and given edible insects
talks in classrooms. And so I really encourage
it as part of it. I also am trying to make
sure that my grad students’ research projects have
kinda easy way to like an outreach part to it. You know, that there’s
more to their research than just the ivory tower,
I wanna know the answer to this question. I wanna make sure my
students have broader impacts to their research and so I
automatically start sending them out to start explaining
those broader impacts so, when I get contacted by school teachers, a lot of times I have my
grad students go in my place. – BioAnth News wouldn’t exist without grad students and undergrads. I’ve been able to generate
grant money to pay them to work on the site, but and I think we need to
include undergraduates in the question that
you’re asking, because they have a tremendous amount
of expertise in this too, but they are a phenomenal help. Oftentimes they’re taking
the lead in showing me things that we should consider
doing that will reach a broader audience,
particularly of younger ages. And from just a purely
pedagogical standpoint, it sets up a multi-tiered
teaching system for engaging with the public in science. But I can’t emphasize
enough the fact that I wouldn’t be able to do
it if it weren’t for the grad and undergraduates
that were involved. – As someone who’s recently
not a grad student, I think that some of this
outreach and this going to classrooms as a grad student to give, to give these talks and to
participate in social media projects, I think that should
be part of grad students’ training you know? Just as we want it to be part
of our package for tenure and professional development
I think that teaching grad students to engage with the public and giving them opportunities
to practice that, I think that that’s really important and as professors and
teachers if we can build that into our classrooms and
our training programs that that would be helpful. – [Agustin] So I’m gonna, Oh do you wanna? – Well there are, including
one recent grad student who’s on the panel and a grad
student and former postdoc who’s in the audience I really reach out to graduate students,
postdocs, younger faculty to do programs at the
Smithsonian and so thank you guys for having done that and
I hope it’s been useful. – So I wanna thank the
organizers and all the panelists for their incredible contributions here. Wanna thank the audience for attending and please everyone, once
they’re up on the YouTube site, go check them out, share
them, be loud, be proud. Be anthropologists. Thank you.
– Thank you. (audience applauding)