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Fellowship Update: Learning the BYB Way and Preparing to Blog

Happy Memorial day! We hope that you are enjoying yourself on this day of remembrance.

The 2017 fellows have survived their first, grueling week… their days were packed with excitement, learning, and planning! They’ve got a lot of work to do developing their research projects over the next several weeks, but this first week was a great opportunity for them to learn about Backyard Brains, our approach to science, and our kits.

Some fellows were already thinking about expensive microphones and other recording equipment, so we gently reminded them that a high school teacher or a student wouldn’t be able to get such expensive equipment. The spirit of Backyard Brains is in accessibility and reproducibility! To reiterate this point, we trained the fellows on, and had them perform experiments with, the Spikerbox, The Claw, Human-Human-Interface, the RoboRoach, Heart and Brain Spikershield, and Plant Shield. These demonstrations were punctuated, like always, with exclamations like “What?! Do it again,” and “Oh my god, our planet is so alive!” These experiments all used to require expensive lab equipment, but have been made more affordable now thanks to efforts like the fellowship projects.

There are many tools that DIY scientists and communities use, so we began training the fellows on some of our prototyping tools. They learned how to use our Laser Cutter, the 3D printer, and they practiced their soldering skills! The fellows also held daily journal clubs this week. Journal club is a great way for a group to tackle tricky scientific publications together, which is exactly what the fellows have been practicing with publications related to their own projects.

The fellows have the holiday off today, and they’ve got a barbecue to attend later this evening, but tomorrow they all dive into the meat of our work!

The fellows also start writing blog updates tomorrow! Each fellow will be posting updates on our blog documenting their scientific journey. These posts are “behind the scenes,” or rather everything you don’t know about taking a project from an idea, to an experiment, to a publication. They’re excited to introduce themselves to you, and we know you’re excited to meet them!

Check back on Tuesdays and Thursdays for these updates! Also, if you don’t follow us yet on social media, please join our newsletter for monthly updates, and Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for a window into our little corner of the world.