SpectrUM, SciNation Receive Award for Science Communication

October 16, 2015

MISSOULA – The University of Montana spectrUM Discovery Area and its partner on the Flathead Indian Reservation, SciNation, have received the 2015 Paul Shin Memorial Award from the Coalition on the Public Understanding of Science. The award recognizes dedication to communicating science to the public and inspiring others to do the same.

The award, which carries a cash prize, was announced at the COPUS annual conference on Oct. 2. SciNation members Whisper Camel-Means and Stephanie Gillin, both wildlife biologists with the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribal Wildlife Management Program, and Jessie Herbert, spectrUM’s STEM Education Program manager, jointly accepted the award.

The award honors spectrUM and SciNation’s collaborative engagement with the Flathead Reservation’s communities. Their cooperative efforts include the Science Learning Tent at the annual Arlee Celebration and the Science Bytes program that provides hands-on STEM enrichment at free lunch sites during the summer.

SciNation and spectrUM’s community-based approach to rural and tribal STEM engagement previously earned an award through the Noyce Foundation’s Bright Lights Community Engagement Awards competition. An award from the Simons Foundation also recognized spectrUM as a national model in the “just add science” approach to embedding STEM engagement in community events.

SciNation, which steers spectrUM’s engagement on the Flathead Reservation, is an organization of STEM and education leaders from Tribal Health and Human Services, Ronan Elementary School, the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Wildlife Management Program and Salish Kootenai College.

Committed to inspiring a culture of learning and discovery for all, spectrUM is an interactive science center located in the heart of downtown Missoula. Annually, spectrUM serves more than 50,000 Montanans through in-museum and mobile programs.

Since 2006, spectrUM has brought exhibits and educators to 71 schools and three public libraries in 29 Montana counties, including all seven American Indian reservations in Montana. MosSE, spectrUM’s mobile science program, has reached every school on the Flathead Reservation and served over 51,000 people living on reservations and in rural areas.  

SpectrUM’s sponsors and partners include the UM Center for Structural and Functional Neuroscience, Community Medical Center, the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation, the Jane S. Heman Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation EPSCoR Program, NISE Network, the Noyce Foundation, the O.P. and W.E. Edwards Foundation, SciGirls, the Simons Foundation, and the Western Montana Area Health Education Center. SpectrUM’s Science for All Scholarship Fund has given the gift of science to more than 12,000 Montana children. 

The public can visit spectrUM at 218 E. Front St. in Missoula from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday. Admission costs $3.50 per person.

For more information or to book a school visit, call spectrUM STEM Education Program Manager Jessie Herbert at 406-243-4828 or visit http://www.spectrum.umt.edu.

Contact: Jessie Herbert, spectrUM STEM Education Program manager, 406-243-4828, jessie.herbert@umontana.edu.