To encourage involvement in toxicology outreach, the Society of Toxicology (SOT) is providing resources for members, including funding, materials, and advice. Many SOT members already are engaged in outreach to K–12 students, and many more indicated on the Fall 2013 K–12 Interest Survey a strong desire to be involved in helping students learn more about science and especially careers in toxicology. Members of SOT Regional Chapters (RC) are involved in education and out-of-school activities in their communities and have the contacts and knowledge to effectively leverage SOT interest in outreach with meaningful activities, whether it is participating in local or regional STEM events, assisting in classrooms, speaking for career days, judging science fairs, or facilitating incorporation of toxicology activities in scouting and other informal science education opportunities.
Proposals from RCs for support of strategic activities, including outreach, are made to the NonSOT Annual Meeting Funding Subcommittee (see the SOT website for the application form and instructions). An RC may apply each year for up to $2,000 for speaker travel and strategic activities. The SOT fiscal year begins in July and deadlines are July 1, October 1, January 1, and April 1, so apply early while funds are available. SOT is especially interested in promoting toxicology careers to students in the higher grade levels.To stimulate creative proposals to bring toxicology to the K–12 environment, the strategic funding budget has been increased to enable supporting additional prioritized requests from the RCs.
The SOT Education Committee K–12 Subcommittee is at the ready to suggest resources and ideas for the RCs and works in coordination with the K–12 RC Outreach Contacts. Information is found at K–12 Outreach for Scientists on the SOT website. Please be in touch with your RC outreach contact, staff at SOT Headquarters (Betty Eidemiller), or K–12 Subcommittee members to discuss your ideas, access resources, and report what you are doing.
Examples of outreach activities previously funded include a Girl Scout Science Day supported by the National Capital Area Chapter and science fair recognition by Allegheny-Erie Regional Chapter.