Education and Public Outreach Program

The IRIS Education and Public Outreach (EPO) program is committed to advancing awareness and understanding of seismology and geophysics while inspiring careers in the Earth sciences. The program draws upon the rich seismological expertise of IRIS Consortium members and combines it with the educational and outreach expertise of the program staff to create products and activities serving a wide range of audiences. EPO has established itself nationally as a model educational initiative among NSF-funded programs and has made significant impacts, along with its partners, in a variety of arenas. Examples range from creating real-time seismicity displays for millions of Web users, visitor centers, and museum visitors, to contributing to the development of the Earth science workforce through a highly competitive summer research program for undergraduates. The guiding principles of the EPO program are to deliver programs, products, and services that:

  • Target a range of audiences, including grades 6–12 students and teachers, college students and faculty, researchers, and the public
  • Emphasize seismology and the use of seismic data
  • Benefit IRIS through broader impacts to students and society or through services supporting members’ needs
  • Undergo continuous improvement, leveraging both internal and external evaluations of products and programs
  • Promote increased participation of underrepresented groups
  • Maintain high levels of scientific accuracy while employing best educational practices

 

The program’s recently updated strategic plan (see below) includes a set of broad goals that underpin the ongoing and new initiatives in this proposal. These goals include:

  • Improve Seismology Education. Increase the quantity and enhance the quality of seismology education
  • Expand Earth Science Awareness. Expand opportunities for the public to understand and appreciate seismology
  • Support Consortium Members. Provide education and outreach products and services for members of the IRIS community
  • Expand the Earth Sciences Workforce. Support development of a larger and more diverse Earth science workforce

These goals allow the program to maintain successful programs in grades 6–12 and informal education while emphasizing new development efforts aimed at undergraduate instruction, and workshops/training for the IRIS community. EPO also supports of broader IRIS activities, particularly through close involvement with Data Services and International Development Seismology.

Governance and Staffing

The IRIS Education and Public Outreach program is managed by Dr. John Taber. The EPO program receives oversight from a standing committee that represents the seismological and science communication communities. The EPO staff expertise includes formal and informal education, seismology, computer science, and graphic arts.

Guiding and Supporting Documents

Education & Public Outreach Brochure  | Download 3 Mb pdf
EPO Strategic Plan (2010 – Present) 
IRIS EPO External Program Evaluation (2009) 
EPO Program plan (2002 - 2009)

For more information or to explore partnership opportunities:

Dr. John Taber
taber@iris.edu
202-682-2220