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Why volunteer to ‘Celebrate Science’ at Durham’s annual science festival?

celebrate-science-2016 I volunteered to help out at the Celebrate Science Festival in both 2014 and 2015 because ultimately I thought it’d look good on my CV. Future employers love that kind of thing, don’t they? Well, yes they do, but also I’m lying when I say I volunteered just to make my CV look better. Volunteering at Celebrate Science is something that, for me, is much more rewarding than that. The CV argument is pretty much redundant when you consider there are other more important benefits.

 Firstly, I love talking about science and especially love talking about my specialism: geology. In fact I’d go as far as saying I’m quite passionate about rocks because of all the things they can tell us, and because they are so important in our everyday lives. Whatever subject you study, I’m guessing it was chosen because you like it and you want others to know why it’s so interesting. Celebrate Science is an opportunity to engage with what will be our future generation of scientists to talk about what you’re passionate about. What’s not to like?!

celebrate-science-kids This brings me onto the second reason why I volunteered: communication skills. Whether you have a science background or not, communication is key to ensuring knowledge is passed on. Volunteering at Celebrate Science allows you to build up your confidence in talking about science in an accessible way. You have to work hard to make sure you can explain your knowledge in a simple and engaging way: some people might be more engaged than others and as such you learn to be dynamic in your delivery. Sometimes things don’t quite go to plan, sometimes they do. Either way you will learn a lot about how to communicate effectively to a variety of people with differing levels of knowledge. Lastly, I’d recommend volunteering because it really is fun! You get to talk about stuff you really like, play with interactive exhibitions, hang out with like-minded people and talk about cool science all day! You might even learn something new yourself!

celebrate_science_helper So those are the reasons why I’d recommend volunteering. With regards to what is expected of you, all you need is enthusiasm, a basic understanding of the science being covered and a few spare hours. The days are typically split into morning and afternoon volunteering sessions lasting around 3 hours each. From my experience the organiser of each exhibit will have all the information and materials you need in order to deliver an activity so all you need to bring is you!

Visit the Celebrate Science 2016 website for details of this year’s event, taking place Tuesday 25 – Thursday 27 October.

If you are interested in volunteering at Celebrate Science please contact

Cat Hirst

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