What is the field about?
A space educator is someone concerned with spreading knowledge about space with the general public. Space educators carry on activities with the public such as solar and night sky observations, talks, debates, workshops, contests, courses, and a variety of other events to enhance the public’s interest on the subject of space. The audience can range from pre-school children to elderly groups, so all activities are prepared targeting the specific audience. The actions a space educator promotes may open the mind of people to the subject of space for the first time, feed their love for it if they are already acquainted to it, and even turn young people into future scientists/engineers.
What would I do every day?
You would work on the content of your activities, always seeking to bring novelty to them since the general public is interested in fun, accessible and stimulating activities. You can also build content for websites, books, leaflets, posters, etc. This is a job that is different every day. One day you can be preparing activities to carry on with schools, the other day you may be searching for resources to fund your projects. You work in close collaboration with schools, companies, research centers, funding agencies with the aim of bringing scientists and science closer to the general population.
How much and what do I need to study?
As a science educator, it is useful to have a good knowledge in science topics. Many space educators have a background in physics, mathematics, biology, etc. In this case, it is important to acquire experience with dealing with the public, presenting things in a didactic way, and learn pedagogy. Many others come from the field of education or associated fields.
Where can I work?
You can work in outreach departments of research institutions, universities, museums, space agencies, government agencies, NGOs, and also in dedicated institutions for outreach, which are growing in number in Europe.
This is the job for me, if…
…you are passionate about science
…you like contact with the public
…you aim and like to communicate science and share your enthusiasm for it
A space educator should be:
Passionate: It is important to love science in order to share and infect others with the same enthusiasm for science.
Good at communicating: This job involves talking to the public and writing content for various resources like websites, books, leaflets, posters, etc, so good skills in oral and written communication are essential. It is also important to be able to deliver complicated information in an accessible way.
Up to date with science topics: Since you are transmitting knowledge in science, it is important to have a good grasp and be up to date in the field.
Learn more about space education and outreach:
- "Education at ESA - a mission to inspire and engage youngsters" video
- ESA Education portal
- Universe Awareness project
- "Astronomy for the public" webpage of the International Astronomical Union
Image: Science on a Sphere
Credit: Photo from the Space Foundation