I learnt so much about the practice of meaningful two-way engagement, which still informs how I think about and approach engaging with others. I’m not sure whether I do more public engagement as a result of IAS, as this is core to what I personally aim to do anyway. But it certainly influenced how I engage.
Interestingly, I think that there are a lot of takeaways from working with kids through IAS that are directly applicable to working with other demographics – including developing a deep respect for others who don’t have your specific training, and realizing that knowledge has little to do with intelligence, and “intelligence” has nothing to do with whether someone is worth listening to and engaging with.
I absolutely do more, now, though that’s just a general ramping-up-effect of my renewed focus on education and public outreach. In fact, I just got back from a huge community event focused on conservation and presenting science to the public! In general, my experience with I Am A Scientist, among other events, has gotten me used to the enormous well of curiosity and interest that the public draws from when asking questions.
I was so taken with the IAS program that I have determined to bring it to South Africa! I’ve always been one for public engagement, so the biggest influence was on using technology more in my scicomm, since a lot of my previous outreach has been more face-to-face and low-tech.