SciStarter – Caroline Nickerson

What follows is a long (sometimes people tell me it is "too long") list of projects, involvement, and affiliations. I’ve gotten a lot of flack over the years for “doing too much.” How I justify it: I care deeply about everything I do, and I only feel overloaded sometimes (for example, exam season). I feel blessed that I can serve in roles that I truly enjoy. I am a Master of Public Policy student at American University (AU) with a focus on environmental and climate change policy, and I am passionate about science communication in the policy space and engaging citizens and voters. Before attending AU for graduate school, I was an undergraduate at the University of Florida (UF), where I graduated with honors in history and Chinese and received the Excellence Award, given out to the three top graduates of the UF College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (a pool of over 5,000 students). I keep up my connection with UF through serving as a board member of the DC Gator Club. I also currently serve as secretary on the national board of the Commission on Local Debates (, an emerging nonprofit seeking to leverage technology to make debates for local elections better and more accessible. This past fall, I helped organize debates in Orange County, Florida, writing many of the questions and striving to make them substantial and research-based. I also volunteer in textbook and curriculum development for the UF Psychiatry Department. In my role there, I am a project manager for the Christensen Project, which honors and furthers Dr. Richard C. Christensen's legacy of advocating for homeless and under-served individuals. As part of this project, I was a co-author of the Christensen Ethics Curriculum, a peer-reviewed curriculum by AADPRT. View it here: In my capacity as Executive Assistant to the UF-VA UNESCO Bioethics Unit, I presented this curriculum at the UNESCO World Bioethics Congress last year. Beyond this other involvement, my full-time job is with SciStarter. I am the Managing Editor of SciStarter's Syndicated Blog Network, helping tell the story of citizen science on the Public Library of Science, Discover Magazine, and SciStarter blog platforms. Anyone who writes these blogs can inspire others to get involved and do real research. Never underestimate the power of a well-crafted narrative! My philosophy for these blogs is inclusive; I believe anyone can write and anyone can tell a compelling tale. If you want to give it a try, send me an email. No prior experience necessary! We’ll work together to publish a product that you’re proud of and that honors the spirit of citizen science. I also serve as the community manager of SciStarter's Citizen Science Day Program, where I am helping organize a number of celebrations in libraries; on April 13, 2019, we hope to have over 100,000 people playing Stall Catchers, a gamified way of contributing to Alzheimer's Research. We have the potential to break a Guinness World Record for largest distributed science lesson! I absolutely love my job with SciStarter. It is a joy to connect regular people with the real science they can do, and my efforts increase this engagement. I view my job at SciStarter as a huge privilege and very important work.

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