In lieu of the usual Monday morning HighMag image post, today I'd like to encourage everyone to participate in the MLK Day of Service today. President Obama has called for all Americans to help our communities and neighbors...and as scientists (or science-lovers!), we have a lot to offer!
-Volunteer to tutor local kids in after-school programs
-Serve as a judge for local science fairs
-Offer local school kids to come in and tour or "work" in your lab (feeling really ambitious? then start an entire program for this!)
-Talk at a school about science and how freaking awesome it is
-Volunteer at a local science or natural history museum
-Become an "On-call scientist" with AAAS for human rights organizations in need of experts (click here)
-Send in your own cell biology images to The Cell Image Library, which helps educators to teach biology (click here)
-Donate to non-profits that support biology research and/or education, such as the ASCB, Carnegie Institute for Science, AAAS, or the Science Friday Initiative (to name just a few)
-Help educate your state/local representatives about science-related issues by writing letters (click here and here)
-Ooze science-coolness. Make it a personal goal to serve as an everyday advocate of science, progress, and education. Don't be afraid of speaking up as an expert or geeking out about science at dinner parties. Fight for your department to train, hire, and promote underrepresented minorities in science. Don't give your neighbor's little girl a princess dress for her birthday...give her an ant farm. Don't try to impress folks with fancy words like endoplasmic reticulum or kinetochore...make science accessible.
These examples don't include the myriad of other ways to help our communities, both science and non-science-related. Help honor the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. for all of 2012.