Welcome to From Florida, a podcast where you’ll learn how minds are connecting, great ideas are colliding and groundbreaking innovations become a reality because of the University of Florida.
Students and teachers throughout Florida are learning more about scientists and their work through UF’s Scientist in Every Florida School program. Bruce MacFadden, director of the Thompson Earth Systems Institute, oversees the program and in this episode, he shares how the program got started and why it matters. Produced by Nicci Brown, Brooke Adams, and James L. Sullivan. Original music by Daniel Townsend, a doctoral candidate in music composition in the College of the Arts.
Nicci Brown: Welcome to From Florida where you’ll learn how minds are connecting, great ideas are colliding and groundbreaking innovation is becoming a reality because of the University of Florida.
I’m your host, Nicci Brown. Our guest today is Dr. Bruce MacFadden, who is director and distinguished professor at UF’s Florida Museum, among other titles.
Dr. MacFadden’s research specialization is in paleontology and he is the author of more than 200 peer-reviewed scientific articles, along with numerous other achievements, including multiple grants from the National Science Foundation.
Obviously, we could talk with Dr. MacFadden about any number of fascinating subjects, but today we’re going to focus on something that I believe is close to his heart — the education of future scientists and specifically the “Scientist in every Florida School” program. Bruce, thank you for joining us. It’s much appreciated.
Bruce MacFadden: It’s great to be here. Thank you.
Nicci Brown: Can you tell us a little more about the Scientist in every Florida School” program and how it came about?
Bruce MacFadden: Sure. So, I’m the director of the Thompson Earth Systems Institute that was created in 2018, and the UF president challenged the UF faculty with what was called the moonshot programs just after we formed the institute. So, we submitted a proposal to develop a pilot program called a “Scientist in every Florida School,” And we were fortunate enough to be one of the projects that was funded. So, that’s the origin of the project that I’d like to talk about today, the “Scientist in Every Florida School.”
Nicci Brown: So, is the program unique or are there others like it in the United States?