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Teaching the Teachers: Talking Science Communication with Julie Bolduc-Duval

3 Mar 2020, 17:32 UTC
Teaching the Teachers: Talking Science Communication with Julie Bolduc-Duval

Earlier this week, Julie Bolduc-Doval received the Canadian Astronomical Society’s Qilak Award.
Julie has dedicated her career to making astronomy accessible to elementary and secondary school teachers. An educator herself,  Julie has taught physics and astronomy across the country for over fifteen years. She has been the coordinator for Discover the Universe since its launch in 2011. Through Discover the Universe, Julie offers free, accessible training in astronomy to teachers across the country and around the world, in both French and English.
The team at the Dunlap Institute sat down with Julie to chat about public outreach and science communication.

Congratulations on your award! Much of your outreach work has been through Discover the Universe. How did Discover the Universe first begin?

Discover the Universe was created as a Canadian legacy program of the International Year of Astronomy (2009). We thought helping educators across Canada would have a multiplicative effect since each educator will affect hundreds of students throughout their careers. The program started very slowly with one online workshop the first year and then adding new workshops and webinars

every year after that. We’re really been able to expand the reach and create new resources when the Dunlap Institute adopted the
program in 2016. I’ve very grateful for that.

What inspired you to first become involved in outreach?

I was lucky I had the opportunity to try different jobs as a physics and astronomy student, including at two observatories in Quebec and BC. While I
found research very interesting, I quickly realized I preferred sharing my passion with the public. Since then, I’ve provided public programming for all kinds of audiences, in both formal and informal education settings.

Why is it important to teach teachers about astronomy? 

Astronomy is part of the K-12 curriculum in all provinces and territories, but the vast majority of teachers have no training or background in the subject. They do the best they can, but they have very limited time to look
for resources. That’s where I come in! I use my astronomy knowledge to create training and educational resources to make the content accessible to teachers and their students. It’s a very rewarding job because I know it’s having a positive impact on thousands of youths across Canada every year.

 
I understand that Discover the Universe have been working with educators in countries all over the world. Can you tell me more about your international work? 
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Discover the Universe has been a partnership among CASCA, the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, and the Fédération des Astronomes Amateurs du Québec. Dunlap and Discover the Universe are now partners  in offering and developing free training and resources to educators teaching astronomy across the country.
 
 
 
 
 
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