Lunar and Planetary Institute

Engaging Multicultural Audiences in Planetary Science

Agenda | Participants | Resources | Notes | Evaluation Responses

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March 11, 2007
Lunar and Planetary Institute
Houston, Texas

Evaluation Responses

Quantitative Evaluation

Strongly Agree




Strongly Disagree

I have a better understanding of why it is important to engage diverse audiences in planetary science because of my participation in this workshop.  






The sessions were effective in exchanging information and encouraging discussion.  






I have a greater awareness of the needs of multi-cultural audiences because of my participation in this workshop.   






The presentations were effective in providing a deeper understanding of the issues.   






I have a greater understanding of the challenges in engaging audiences of different cultures because of my participation in this workshop.  






I have more strategies and tools to engage audiences of different cultures because of my participation in this workshop. 






I have acquired a new understanding while at this workshop that will be valuable in my future programs and activities. 






Qualitative Evaluation:

How do you define a multicultural audience (at beginning of workshop)? How do you define a multicultural audience (at the end of the workshop)?

Paul-- an audience that is composed of a variety of ethnic/cultural groups with contrasting social values.

Paul-- almost the same

Internet Angel-- I came in a little late but my thoughts about diversity is that it is something difficult and complex to identify. Multi-cultural audiences is a colorful spattering of people

Internet Angell-- Enlightened about the topic

Kitty Witty-- People with variety and diverse backgrounds temporarily occupying the role of representatives of their culture; adopted and by birthright.

Kitty Witty-- It are us!

AMS -- an audience w/different sexual, ethnic, religious, and social economic  background.

AMS-- audience w/different live experiences that are shaping their current lives.

BS-- People grow up on different folk tales.  They live in different everydays, they learned to see according to their life

BS-- Community with various living backgrounds, history, education, knowledge and understanding ability.

ESK-- Made up of people from many different countries and walks of life

ESK-- Different levels of learning and cultures via past generations and current practices.

McLeon-- Representation from many different cultural groups

McLeon-- Representation of one language, history, art, social customs of different cultural groups

Buddy-- An audience made up of people from different cultural backgrounds.

Buddy-- An audience made up of different people, different ages, from different backgrounds, and different worldviews.

Rigel-- Groups of diverse backgrounds and interests, some of which have an alternative understanding of our universe.

Rigel-- Cultures that all have an interest in understanding the universe and educating youngsters.

Nisse-- An audience composed of persons of a great variety of ethnic and cultural backgrounds.

Nisse-- about the same

-- A diverse audience (population) representing a variety of ethnic backgrounds. -- Representing a variety of ethnic backgrounds that actually connect with their heritage.
-- Any group with mixed communication styles -- Any group with mixed communication styles and different resources, backgrounds, heritage, etc…
-- A global population -- Target US audience
-- one which contains diverse values and perspectives -- one which contains more than one person
-- Numerous different backgrounds, religions, languages, and habits; brought together by a common interest… -- people of different backgrounds
-- people of varying cultures -- Same (1a.  Various cultural learning communities.)
-- Various cultural learning communities.  
Describe some benefits to engaging multicultural audiences in planetary science (at the beginning of the workshop). Describe some benefits to engaging multicultural audiences in planetary science (at the end of the workshop).

Paul-- Opening up the field of planetary science to a greater variety of students, some of which derive from previously disadvantaged backgrounds

Paul-- sustainability, basic technology, training of underserved populations

Intenet Angel-- Different views regarding the origins of the universe. Internet Angel-- More….

Kitty Witty-- The earth: nature in the terrestrial form is abstract to many people; science is often viewed with fear, suspect and confusion; often as a second language.  Space nature is really abstract then; so we as educators must facilitate where ever and whenever possible the ease and acceptance of space as a part of nature as we must see ourselves as part of nature rather than apart from nature.

Kitty Witty-- It is nature.  We are part of nature.  In order to benefit as many people as possible we must find ways to empower as many people as possible.

AMS-- Benefits include: a different range of opinions, ideas, and ways of solving a problem/scientific research; dissemination of new discoveries to a wide range of people.

AMS-- New perspective!  Reach out to community.  Better science.

BS-- From different countries different geologies   , technologies.  These can be summarized, compared

BS-- They color and stimulate lectures in preparation.  They propose to study their history, myths, developments, any achievements.  They wish us to be open.

ESK-- Share the wonder of Space from many different points of view.

ESK-- New approaches to science and discovery.  Prepare future generations for space.

McLeon-- Will bring different perspectives to planetary science as well as involving different culture groups that may not already be engaged

McLeon-- Ensure global participation in space.
Buddy-- Adds to the richness of the worldview. Buddy-- Adds to the cultural richness.  Adds to the world view.

Rigel-- Potential for a greater understanding of the universe.  Potential for a unique approach to design and engineering.  Potential to approach investigation in a manner that does not desecrate but builds.

Rigel-- A better of understanding how to explore and how to learn.

Nisse-- A broader set of views and make the topic richer

Nisse-- Workforce growth; Increase science literacy; New perspectives; Reflect community.

--  Bringing more ideas – new perspectives to the table. -- More scientists and science friendly educators to fill future needs; A more scientifically literate, friendly citizenship!
--  A wider (multicultural) perspective to approach questions in planetary sciences in the future.  More of the world’s people understanding their place in it together from the perspective of space. -- Same as before plus the people that you have inspired will undoubtedly create new avenues for their futures using planetary science than you could have imagined to tell them were possible.
--  Aware of the hopeful and positive potential of developing space based resources --  Broaden the conversation and  share the value with the diversity  audiences.
--  providing the opportunity to enrich the dialogue of all cultures involved. The “stars and planets” are integral to most cultures-- sharing knowledge on these themes is deeply reflective of culture and is often personal and sacred. --  helps to increase personal integrity and responsibility.
-- Sharing the passion!!! -- More ideas; more brains produce better results
-- Bringing different backgrounds to a problem/situation allows for a variety of insights -- Diversity
Describe some of the challenges in engaging multicultural audiences in planetary science (at the beginning of the workshop). Describe some of the challenges in engaging multicultural audiences in planetary science (at the end of the workshop).

Paul-- Class management determining meaningful ways to approach students with varying cultural assumptions and communication styles

Paul-- family is a critical issue; basic research

Internet Angel-- Working with diverse culture and bringing new blood into the science community.

Internet Angel-- Sustainment is a complex topic.  Developing tools bring out the creative ideas in people.

Kitty Witty-- We are often ego cultural centric;  listen to yourself next time you are giving oral driving directions to a stranger that pulls up in their car asking:  We see a map, clear in our mind, but what comes out of our mouth is often far from clear and concise.

Kitty Witty-- What is in it for me?  Factor.  Why is it important to them.  What about the challenges on Earth?

AMS-- lack of interest; language; subject not “relevant” in “daily lives” AMS-- Making planetary science relevant
BS-- Knowledge on various hierarchy levels.  Lecturer must normalize them.

BS-- recent  life and old myths of different people should be balanced in our lecture.

ESK-- Some cultures do not accept some scientific concepts.

ESK-- Communication, funding, not offending cultures, involving the community.

McLeon-- Getting past the “fear” of Math Sciences and Technology – making these disciplines appealing


Buddy-- Few mentors; Historically do not study science;  Don’t attend “mainstream” events or museums.  Parents of students don’t understand language.

Buddy-- Immigration;  language; logistics

Rigel-- Cultural barriers to learning and understanding.  Socioeconomic difficulties that inhibit learning.  Lack of understanding of learning styles and communication modes.

Rigel-- Money, sustainability, communication barriers, short-term funding but need to make long term relationships.

Nisse-- Misunderstandings are possible

Nisse-- Recruitment (many facets);-building connections of various communities.

-- The population we are dealing with may not be diverse. -- If you are in a non-diverse area what then – How do you display diversity to your small # of multi-cultural students.  They come to campus from other states thinking they can’t do science.
-- Communication styles. –Language barriers. – Survival priorities. (If basic needs aren’t met, planetary science is not a high priority).  –How do you attract a multicultural audience to show up if they aren’t already attending? -- How will they benefit? -- Keeping the family/head of community involved is important.
-- Mutual respect; listen; exchange -- Same (Mutual respect; listen; exchange)
-- the free-exchange philosophy of the modern, scientific perspective is often at odds with other cultural philosophies on how knowledge should be shared. -- involving parents and the community;  addressing concerns about the  student lost in the “new culture of science” and abandoning the culture of origin…
-- * Language barrier  * Transport issues  * Pre-conceived ideas  * Competition --  Logistics; Community support

-- Communication is challenging because of differing interpretations
-- Logisitics  
How might enhanced understanding of diverse audiences influence the way in which you teach and share science content, or approach new projects (at the beginning of the workshop)? How might enhanced understanding of diverse audiences influence the way in which you teach and share science content, or approach new projects (at the end of the workshop)?

Paul-- It might allow me to provide content material in a variety of ways that would also appeal to a variety of learning styles and increase engagement.

Paul-- Varying sensory experience; cultural assistance including legends, story telling, art, music

Internet Angel-- Knowing more about their background.

Internet Angel-- Brain storming is an evolutionary process in pushing a paradigm.

Kitty Witty-- This is a constant challenge to me as I am quite obtuse: I have had much training in this but I need to be more effective.

Kitty Witty-- Enhance my effectiveness with all students and parents no matter what their cultural background.

AMS-- Provide w/more  relevant information according to audience background.

AMS-- I may be able to attract more students of diverse background to take my classes and do planetary research.

BS-- Find common fix points (from nature, everyday phenomena, axioms, common background in knowledge).  I gave homework to widen observational basis.. Parallel phenomena, processes.  Sometimes Shakespear tells it better…

BS-- Focus the light on the topics from many directions which contains those of the multi-cultural audience members.  (simpler example, higher level analogs, metaphores)  Multiple demonstrations are also useful..

ESK-- I could change my presentation style to meet their needs.

ESK-- Instigate mentoring programs, incorporate culture into the curriculum

McLeon-- Will allow me to understand perspectives and teach accordingly

Buddy-- Enrich projects

Buddy-- Develop new more meaningful relations.  Reach out into the community.

Rigel-- Understanding will facilitate collaboration and help us shape how we  teach and learn about science.

Rigel-- How to make long term relationships that result in multicultural collaborations.

Nisse-- Awareness of differences and similarities on which to build

Nisse-- Building relationships is critical.

-- I hope it helps me connect and encourage my students to become science. -- I am more aware--and I have contacts – names of people to go to – I have seen/heard examples to model from.
-- In general I will always be looking for opportunities to teach or share science content with multicultural audiences.  Specifically I’d try to emphasize the importance of communication to the success of science. -- I'd listen to their cultural experiences and points of view as well.
-- better has a more limited -- Better pictures of specific initiation program and of successful ventures and activities.
-- Unaware of cultural differences and possibly offending some by doing things that are normal to me.. -- Specific community approaches
-- More consciousness of words, actions, examples during teaching.  

Describe some new insights you gained by participating in this workshop.

Paul-- A lot of other people are interested in multicultural audiences.
Internet Angel-- The ideas which came out of this workshop border on enough to write a white paper on STEM education.
Kitty Witty-- There is a great deal to learn and consider;  optimism is catching but we must always consider as many people as possible wants and needs.
BS-- How rich is USA in multi-cultural ethnic groups.  How multiple is the way of approach to audiences.  How enthusiastic are teachers teaching space and planetary science.
ESK-- Sometimes people are more tolerant of other cultures than their own.  Solving problems can take considerable time.
McLeon-- A look at different aspects of cultural relationships not thought of
Buddy-- That working in sustainability all the time iIs actually a valuable thing.
Rigel-- How to cobble together long term relationships with multi-cultural communities that build upon honesty, trust, and reliability.
Nisse-- How historical truth can differ between cultures, and the importance of cultural values and belief systems.
-- Exposure to many new people in new fields.
-- More insights about different minority cultural communication styles.
-- A set of detailed notes and contacts.
-- Sharing passion goes a long way
-- Learn more community perspectives and outreach ideas


Describe what you still need to successfully engage multicultural audiences in planetary science.

Paul-- Short (one hour duration) lessons or projects that are aimed at state mandated content requirements and curricula, but are relevant to planetary sciences.
Internet Angel-- Too much to describe here.
Kitty Witty-- More sessions like this!
AMS-- How to make planetary science research relevant
BS-- NASA production of educational materials is very useful and gives possibility for maintain and develop planetary science lectures to any (and multi-cultural) audiences.
ESK-- Networking of educators and other involved persons.  Ideas on mentoring.
Buddy-- Expert list of bilingual, Spanish/English science educators.
Rigel-- More networking opportunities.  A central resource for communication.
Nisse-- I’ll know more after I reflect on this awhile.
-- A mentor for me – we talked of mentors for students – but mentors at this level would be good. – People who have successful programs
share/help others to follow in their footsteps.
-- Information on different cultures.
-- Time for additional thought.  Follow up contact with workshop participants.
-- time, money, more partners
-- People resource list; Program listing


What were the most valuable aspects of this workshop?

Paul-- Interaction with other educators; information about programs and resources.
Internet Angel-- The speakers
Kitty Witty-- The collaboration
Space-- Speakers were great.  Lots of good information about how to respect fully approach/engage different cultural communities.  I learned how I can modify my communication style ( w.r.t.  to the style checklist) depending upon the situation/audience/cultural sensitivities.  I learned a lot about ways to reach out and build sustainability.  I made contacts.
AMS-- Round table discussions
BS-- Excellent lectures (for example: Winterton, LeSallos, etc.)  Exciting small-group discussions, summaries.    I could meet and get acquainted with enthusiastic teachers.
ESK-- Discussions, presentations
Buddy-- The speakers and breakout groups
Rigel-- Networkling, some of the speakers were great.
Nisse-- Interacting with people from many backgrounds.
-- Speakers – sharing sessions
-- The opportunities to interact with other participants
-- Learning that it’s not great to bring tribal college students to a far away college without support; better to bring infrastructure to the reservation.
-- Valuable background and insight into other interpretations
-- Discussion groups


What were the least valuable aspects of this workshop?

Paul-- Nice balance between group discussions and lectures.
Internet Angel-- There weren’t any
Kitty Witty- N/A
Space-- There were none.  It went by too fast—could have talked two days.
AMS-- n/a; everything was valuable
ESK-- Those that did not learn from the experience.
Buddy-- Chocolate  J
Rigel-- Some of the presentations were only superficial
-- It seemed short  J
-- A better pacing between presentations, workshops.  More interspersed.  Our dialogue cutoff.
-- Personal communication style


What are additional resources or materials pertinent to this topic that you recommend the community become familiar with?

Internet Angel-- None
Kitty Witty-- Attend training; stop and consider; always protect everyone’s dignity
Space-- NASA Space Grant
BS-- History of science, history of technology, useful approaches to science making accepted and understood.
ESK-- Student feedback.
Rigel-- Need to continue networking and have a central repository
Nisse-- I will share communication patterns/assumptions with mentee teachers. Also with post Spanish space sciences on my listserv. 
-- Website with contacts of people with more experience.


Other thoughts that you would like to share?

Internet Angel-- I completely enjoyed, this was the best!
Kitty Witty-- Thank you for including teachers K-12.  This session was so rewarding.
Space-- I would have benefited from a reference list (links) of contacts, programs, community events, organizations, etc.  that happen in ethnic communities.  If I wanted to be a speaker (or provide a relevant “ambassador” speaker) at an event that draws large ethnic groups, I wouldn’t know what/when the events are because I don’t live in that community.  Now that I learned some basics about reaching out to these communities in the first day, a second day of identifying/listing contacts would be helpful.
AMS-- More researchers need to be involved in these kind of workshops!
BS-- I am optimistic in the future of space science in education and life.  Great space race begins  between Atlantic-Euro-America  and Asia (i.e. in 2007 China, Japan and India launch moon-space-probe).   Sometime in the near future commercial space travel begins, mainly for tourism, which has large amount of stored potential (6000.10$-tourism/year vs .37.10ġ $ space/year)
-- Thank you:  it occurred to me that issues of poverty would be another good topic.
-- The speaker was well informed and excellent resources.
-- Great ideas, thanks!

Last updated
July 18, 2008