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University of Georgia Participates in STEM Video Showcase

Breanna Ondich

May 10, 2022

The Society for Freshwater Science’s Emerge program, based at the University of Georgia Odum School of Ecology, is featured in the 2022 STEM for All Video Showcase funded by the National Science Foundation. The event was held online May 10-17 at

Emerge is led by the Odum School’s Breanna Ondich, public service professional and program coordinator; Amy Rosemond, Distinguished Research Professor; and Amanda Rugenski, lecturer and undergraduate program coordinator.

Their presentation, “Emerge: Broadening Participation and Leadership in Freshwater Science,” looks at developing sustained peer-peer and peer-mentor relationships to help recruit and retain individuals from historically marginalized communities as they pursue careers in the freshwater sciences. The project was funded by the National Science Foundation.

The society’s Emerge program, currently in its second year, builds on the core strengths of the existing Instars program. Instars, launched in 2011, is a continuing program that seeks to increase diversity and inclusivity within the freshwater sciences.

“The Emerge program aims to be a transformative training and mentoring program, offering series of in-person workshops and online networking events to help individuals from historically marginalized communities pursue careers in the freshwater sciences,” said Ondich.

Ondich said that broad and accessible communication is a hallmark of the Emerge program.

“Shared values are entrenched in Emerge communication efforts as participants and mentors share their personal narratives, including struggles and successes, with each other and with general audiences,” she said.

To share these personal stories with the largest possible audiences, Emerge collaborates with Freshwaters Illustrated, a nonprofit that specializes in documentary film making about freshwater ecosystems. Emerge submitted preliminary reels to the STEM for All Showcase to tell relatable, engaging stories of people from historically marginalized communities achieving success in freshwater science, and to provide an important tool for future recruitment.

Now in its eighth year, the annual showcase will feature over 250 innovative projects aimed at improving STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and CS (Computer Science) education, which have been funded by the National Science Foundation and other federal agencies. During the eight-day event, researchers, practitioners, policy makers and members of the public are invited to view the short videos, discuss them with the presenters online, and vote for their favorites.

The theme for this year’s event is “Access, Inclusion, and Equity.” Video presentations address broadening participation; STEM learning in formal, informal, community and home settings; design and implementation of STEM and CS programs; research informing STEM and CS teaching and learning; and measuring impact of innovative programs. Collectively, the presentations cover a broad range of topics including science, mathematics, computer science, engineering, cyberlearning, citizen science, maker spaces, broadening participation, research experiences, mentoring, professional development, Nest Generation Science Standards and the Common Core.

Last year’s STEM for All Video Showcase is still being accessed, and to date has had over 103,000 unique visitors from 178 countries.

The STEM for All Video Showcase is hosted by TERC, in partnership with: STEMTLnet, CADRE, CAISE, CIRCLS, STELAR, CS for All Teachers, NARST, NCTM, NSTA, NSF INCLUDES, and QEM. The Showcase is funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation (#1922641).

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