• Question: Were there questions or comments from the students that surprised you? If so, why or how?

    Asked by katieeprater to Andrew, Lindsay, Paige, Sean, Jeff on 13 Feb 2016.
    • Photo: Andrew Maynard

      Andrew Maynard answered on 13 Feb 2016:

      All the time! As soon as you’d realized there’s no room for ego here, that was part of the fun of the engagement/conversations. This didn’t happen when I was participating, but one question in another zone that sticks with me was ‘how do magnets work’. What the scientists discovered was that they couldn’t answer clearly because … They actually didn’t know! But what happened then was a great discussion (as I recall) between the scientists and students that was honest and engaging about limits of understanding – and wasted the connection between participants substantially.

    • Photo: Lindsay Hunter

      Lindsay Hunter answered on 13 Feb 2016:

      I guess I was a bit surprised by the extent to which students are interested in you as a person, not just your science. It’s almost as though I could see some of them testing whether or not I was the kind of person that they would like to be when they grew up, if my life would suit them, not just my job. Some questions betray a kind of “trying you on for size” to see if they can imagine themselves having success and joy if they were to follow a similar path. That’s why I’m always quick to answer that I love playing with my animals (and internet cat videos), reading young adult fiction, bingeing on TV series, and getting dirty. It’s not just all bones. 😉

    • Photo: Sean Murphy

      Sean Murphy answered on 13 Feb 2016:

      Yes sometimes a simple question can have a much larger impact than it seems. Especially when someone if learning about they type of work we do for the first time, some questions can make us look at a problem in a different way and try new approaches I may now have thought of before.

    • Photo: Jeff Shi

      Jeff Shi answered on 13 Feb 2016:

      I often am surprised at the quality of questions I get from students – especially young ones. Often when I am pointing out the diversity of bat feeding behaviors, I am surprised at how young some of the students are that will bring up terms like “symbiosis” and “parasitism,” or will make metaphors for different behaviors before I do! It constantly keeps me from underestimating audiences when I present, and makes sure that I am comfortable with challenging particularly receptive members of the public that are extremely engaged.