The year was 1991, I was a senior at Temple University (where many thought I dual majored in cheerleading and mixology) and I was starved for cash. I supplemented my pitiable income by becoming a professional cheerleader for the Philadelphia 76ers basketball team. After a couple of exciting years sharing the spotlight with Sir Charles Barkley, I had to retire the skimpy outfits and pom poms, as “serious” work was calling. I was hired as a part-time temp to stuff envelopes for the Discover Magazine Technology Awards. Eventually, I was hired full-time by Discover (owned by the Walt Disney Company at the time) to run the awards and to manage business development activities for the company’s magazine group.
I returned to school at the University of Pennsylvania and dove into science history, sociology, and science policy to learn more about people like me: people with no hard academic background who are deeply interested in science, especially in its public faces in science policy and science literacy.
In the process, I uncovered a remarkable group of people I’d never seen or even heard about before. Scientific Citizens. Through their grass-roots, bottom-up efforts they aid research in a plethora of science fields by tagging butterflies, monitoring the health of water, keeping an eye on migratory patterns of birds, discovering new galaxies, and so much more.
Her May 13, 2010 post about the challenge that Andrew Revkin at the DotEarth New York Times blog set for researchers and other interested parties to come up with solutions for the current BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico offers some interesting insight into the politics of how BP is handling suggestions from outsiders along with commentary about the US federal Minerals Management Service which is charged, amongst other responsibilities, with overseeing oil rigs. She offers an excerpt of her May 13 , 2010 post here on Science Cheerleader and the full post here on DiscoverMagazine.com where she is a guest blogger during May 2010.