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Science literacy encourages students to find practical solutions to environmental problems

Updated: Feb 27

Parami first-year students have finished the three-week-long Citizen Science (Cit. Sci) Program. At the end of the three-week-long program, Parami students were able to apply scientific concepts and scientific evaluations learned from the program and come up with practical solutions to the climate change and environmental issues facing their community. Incorporating the curriculum of Bard College, all incoming freshman students are required to take mandatory workshops, such as the Citizen Science (Cit. Sci) Program that prepare them for the transition to higher education

Citizen Science (Cit. Sci) Program is a science literacy foundation program that introduces students to various approaches to scientifically analyze pressing issues in society. The program aims to equip first-year students with the knowledge and skills to become scientifically literate by developing a core understanding of both the conduct and the content of science. At the end of the program, students will be able to demonstrate the importance of science literacy in everyday life, provide concrete examples of the role of science in society at large, and connect some scientific concepts to their studies at the university. 

The theme for the project is different from year to year, and the selected theme for each year reflects its importance and relevance to society. The chosen theme for this year's citizen science projects was ‘Climate Change and Environment,’ and students were put into four groups to work on four areas: (1) Air, (2) Life, (3) Land, and (4) Water. 

Parami's students are excited to talk about the inspiration for their projects and their experiences with the Citizen Science Program. 

Team 1: Air

Platinum Award Winner 'Air' Project

The ‘Air’ project team was awarded the Platinum Prize (1st Prize) for their project, raising awareness about the negative impacts of air conditioning on the environment and encouraging individuals to participate in solving this problem. 

“The demand for air conditioners has been increasing. People are trying to comfort themselves with air conditioning, but they do not see the dark sides of it. The more they use the air conditioning, the more they feel the heat. Only a small percentage of people have noticed it. We believe that our project can raise awareness of how air conditioners are affecting the environment. At least, if people recognize that, we can say our project is successful.” — Hnin Ei Wai Lwin, a member of the 'Air' project team

Team 2: Life

Gold Award Winner 'Life' Project

Many people may be aware that coral reefs are crucial for an ecosystem of life underwater and protect coastal areas from storms and erosion. Read more about the research by the Gold prize winner 'Life' project team advocating individuals can simply contribute to protecting the coral reefs by recycling their trash properly and making sure that the fish or a group of fish you are buying at the market is ethical.

“Our team aims to raise awareness of the effects of climate change on the coral reefs, and we hope this project will make the public more aware of climate change. Furthermore, we hope that our efforts could help the biodiversity, especially the coral reefs, to recover from the weakened condition to its best by making people realize that they are important for the ecosystem and must protect them at all costs.” — Sai Sai Ohum Khay, a member of the 'Life' project team 

Team 3: Land

Silver Award Winner 'Land' Project

Mining is another major contributor to climate change; however, not many are aware of the consequences on lives. Learn more about climate change on mining from a project by the Silver award winner 'Land project team.

As we, human beings, live on the land, the well-being of the land is also important. Thus, it is relevant to all of the people who are living on the land, and it is also everyone's responsibility to maintain it. — Min Thant Hein, a member of the 'Land' project team 

Team 4: Water

Bronze Award Winner 'Water' Project

Water pollution and water shortage are other environmental issues faced by many societies around the world. Through close observation of their communities combined with their curiosity, the Bronze award winner 'Water' project team came up with solutions to address these problems in their communities.

 “As a ‘Water’ team member, I got to observe the harmful actions of citizens from various sectors damaging the water resources: flooding, water scarcity, and pollution. Water is the survival need of all species, so it is more than essential for the public to be aware of the environmental limitations to resolve and prevent future risks. We focused on delivering the foundation of the water problem in the 21st century’s causes and presenting some solutions for households to businesses level so that people could participate in this journey to a sustainable environment.”― said May Lawoon, a member of the 'Water' project team 

Students’ key takeaways from the Citizen Science Program: 

“The Citizen Science program is a valuable program that has equipped me with scientific and environmental knowledge, which was very helpful in working on my group’s citizen science projects with a better understanding of making the right action and decision as a responsible citizen. Scientific literacy is specifically essential for students and young people, who can be referred to as the ‘ hope of the nation,’ to be aware of how technological developments can be utilized for future sustainable development,” said May Lawoon.
“This workshop gave me the opportunity to work with a team of 20 people for a citizen science project related to climate change and biodiversity. Cooperating with a large group is challenging, but our team managed to work together well. I am grateful that this experience made me improve my adaptability, flexibility, and teamwork skills for future group activities,” said Sai Sai Ohum Khay.
“Before this workshop started, I thought it would be boring. When I was in the workshop, I knew how important it is to take care of our environment and value the resources we have. Now, in my daily life, I start to realize the need for our humans to take care of the environment. I am now planting trees and flowers in my small garden at home,” said Hnin Ei.
As a member of the 'Land' group, I acquired a lot of knowledge about maintaining the environment, especially maintaining land, and experiences such as project management. Although I also applied my project management skills in a computer training project from Parami, I got more satisfaction from my project management experience. It is because there are more than twenty members from different backgrounds, and it was challenging to get organized in the first one or two days. However, I could facilitate myself as a project manager to better communicate with my team members. Afterward, our project group became collaborative and better communication. Thus, I really enjoyed working with my team members from the 'Land' group," said Min Thant Hein.

See all the research projects from the Citizen Science Program in 2024:

Click here  to see the highlight of the 2023 Citizen Science program themed ‘Infectious Diseases.’

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