With a bright smile, Jerrod Buckner will tell you that science is meant to be shared.
He’ll tell young children and their families about solar eclipses even and ask them to hold fossilized sunshine during a free Saturday Science event August 5. And on a Wednesday afternoon, he’ll greet elementary and middle school students hopping off buses at the Discovery Building to show them how to peer through a microscope to look at the tiny, tiny things that make up our world.
Buckner, who was recently hired as the Assistant Outreach Coordinator, is the newest member of the Morgridge Institute for Research Outreach team. With his background in designing afterschool programs, Buckner is working to connect elementary and middle school students and their families to the wonder of science happening here at Morgridge and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
“I feel like everyone here at Morgridge is ten times smarter than me!” Buckner jokes. “But I’m catching up. Being here is fun and exciting, and I get the opportunity to work with under-represented communities in the Madison area.”
In his role, Buckner is working to strengthen relationships with afterschool programs, schools and community centers, and design accessible science programs to spark a curiosity for science in young hearts and minds.
“He enjoys sharing science with the public. That’s such an important factor because it helps inspire children and their families to explore science – even if science can feel difficult or confusing”
“Jerrod is extremely personable and he can talk to anyone,” says Val Blair, Education and Outreach Manager at Morgridge. “He enjoys sharing science with the public. That’s such an important factor because it helps inspire children and their families to explore science – even if science can feel difficult or confusing.”
Buckner is currently working on Afterschool Expeditions and Summer Expeditions, two free programs that run during the academic year and summer term respectively, that bring K-8 students to the Discovery Building to explore, engage and discover science. Thanks to generous support from private donors, the free program helps students – particularly underrepresented students – visit the Discovery Building to learn, but more importantly, to do science.
In addition, Buckner helps develop and implement activities and programs for Saturday Science, a free, monthly series at the Discovery Building with interactive exploration stations centered around a particular topic.