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SciStarter Robot with Robin on hand

About SciStarter

Mission | Team | Join Us

SciStarter is the place to find, join, and contribute to science through more than 1600  formal and informal research projects and events. Our database of citizen science projects enables discovery, organization, and greater participation in citizen science.  Learn more about citizen science and check out these Ten Principles of Citizen Science.

With support from the National Science Foundation, Arizona State University's Center for Engagement and Training in Science and Society and SciStarter are creating SciStarter 2.0 (coming soon):

  • An identity management system and open integrated registration for participants to more easily engage in multiple citizen science projects, even across platforms and disciplines
  • GIS implementation so would-be participants can find opportunities near them
  • Ability for participants to track their projects, participation, and contributions to science
  • Participants can create privacy-protected profiles and find people and projects of interest to them

If you are a scientist or a representative of a citizen science organization or community: SciStarter is the organization and community to  tell eager people about your work and get them interested in helping out.  Make sure your project is listed and up to date so we can help you. Thanks to support from the Simons Foundation,  we share the database with anyone interested through global partnerships, media partnerships and open APIs with PBS Kids, Discover Magazine, Serve.gov and others. 

If you would like to promote SciStarter as citizen science resource during presentations, we have created two slides that explain the site. One is geared toward citizen scientists (download here) and the other for project managers (download here). 

Our Mission

SciStarter will bring together the millions of citizen scientists in the world; the thousands of potential projects offered by researchers, organizations, and companies; and the resources, products, and services that enable citizens to pursue and enjoy these activities. We aim to:

Our Team

Darlene CavalierDarlene Cavalier Bio Photo

Darlene Cavalier is a Professor of Practice at Arizona State University's Center for Engagement and Training, part of the School for the Future of Innovation in Society. Cavalier is the founder of SciStarter, founder of Science Cheerleader, and cofounder of ECAST: Expert and Citizen Assessment of Science and Technology. She is a founding Board Member of the Citizen Science Association, a senior advisor at Discover Magazine, a member of the EPA's National Advisory Council for Environmental Policy and Technology, author of the Science of Cheerleadering, and co-author of The Rightful Place of Science: Citizen Science. She resides in Philadelphia, PA with her husband and their four children. And, yes, she cheered in high school, college and for the NBA (76ers).  She has held executive positions at Walt Disney Global Publishing where she created national science awards programs, science education initiatives, and a series of science-themed roundtable discussions for, among others, the Disney Institute, Space.com, Sally Ride's Imaginary Lines, and the Franklin Institute. She also serves on the Steering Committee for Science Debate and she originated and managed the Emmy award-winning Science of NFL Football series produced by the NFL, NBC Sports, NBC Learn, the National Science Foundation and Science Cheerleader.

Darlene does not regret the years she gabbed through high school science classes. Years later, she found her calling when she worked at Discover Magazine. She later earned a Master's degree at the University of Pennsylvania, studying science history, sociology, and science policy to learn more about people like herself: hybrid actors, citizens interested in but not formally trained in the sciences. Discovering it was remarkably difficult to find opportunities to participate in science in any meaningful way, she launched SciStarter. Shuttleworth Funded logo

Cavalier is the proud recipient of a Shuttleworth Foundation Flash Grant to support people with brilliant ideas and she is investing that grant in the development of a series of media partnerships to help bring more citizen science opportunities to more communities. Follow Darlene on Twitter @SciCheer



Arvind SureshArvind Suresh Bio Photo
Managing Editor

Arvind Suresh is a science communicator and former laboratory biologist. He graduated with his MS in Cell Biology and Molecular Physiology from the University of Pittsburgh. He is also an information addict, gobbling up everything he can find on and off the internet. He enjoys reading, teaching, talking and writing science, and following that interest led him to SciStarter. Outside the lab and the classroom, he can be found behind the viewfinder of his camera. Follow Arvind on Twitter @suresh_arvind



Carolyn GraybealMissing Bio Photo Robot Holding Image
Projects Editor, Contributor

Dr. Carolyn Graybeal holds a PhD in neuroscience from Brown University. She is a former National Academies of Science Christine Mirzayan Science & Technology Policy Fellow during which time she worked with the Marian Koshland Science Museum. In addition the intricacies of the human brain, she is interested in the influence of education and mass media in society's understanding of science.



Missing Bio Photo Robot Holding Image

Eva Lewandowski
Newsletter Editor and Co-ordinator

Eva Lewandowski is a PhD candidate in the Conservation Biology Graduate Program at the University of Minnesota. She is part of the Monarch Lab, where she studies citizen science and conservation education. In her free time, she volunteers with environmental education and wildlife rehabilitation.



Catherine About UsCatherine Hoffman
Managing Director

Catherine Hoffman is a science education enthusiast who sees citizen science as a way to engage people in the process of real science. She has contributed to a variety of science outreach endeavors in museums, classrooms, and aquariums as both an educator and program coordinator. She holds a Masters of Science from the University of British Columbia where she became passionate about connecting researchers with educators and students. You’ll find Catherine’s mark on SciStarter at our Twitter and Facebook pages where she helps promote projects, newsletters, and blogs. When she’s not tweeting, you can most likely find her at the beach in sunny Southern California.


Dr. Caren CooperCaren Cooper Bio Photo
Director of Research Partnerships

Dr. Caren Cooper is also a blogger for Scientific American and the Public Library of Science. She is a research associate at the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology and Senior Fellow in the Environmental Leadership Program. She is co-chair of the publications committee of the newly forming Association for Citizen Science and co-editor of an upcoming special feature on citizen science in the open-access journal Ecology & Society. She has authored over 35 scientific papers, co-developed software to automate metrics of incubation rhythms, and is co-creator of NestWatch, CamClickr, Celebrate Urban Birds, YardMap, and the House Sparrow Project. Follow her @CoopSciScoop. She likes to propel herself on one wheel, two wheel, and eight wheel devices.


jill about usJill Nugent
Social Media Manager

Jill Nugent works in higher education and is a Ph.D. candidate at Texas Tech University investigating locally engaged, globally connected citizen science. Her B.S. degree is from Texas A&M University and her M.S. degree is in biological sciences where she studied canid behavior and conservation. TwitteR: @ntxscied




Dr. Anne BowserDr. Anne Bowser Bio Photo
Research Associate

Dr. Anne Bowser is coDirector of the Commons Lab at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, a Washington, DC think tank. At the Wilson Center, Anne supports cross-cutting research agendas on topics including data and metadata, privacy and ethics, and the role of citizen science in shaping public policy. She also supports similar projects through the US Citizen Science Association, for example by leading an international working group on data and metadata standardization. Anne found citizen science through two entry points: personally, through the Audubon Christmas Bird Count, and professionally, through cooperative technology design. She envisions a world where citizen science is the new social media. Anne is leading SciStarter's efforts to organize and implement data tags for projects and observational data, and exploring pilot projects to improve volunteer's experience on and off the SciStarter platform. 


Steve GanoSteve Gano Bio Photo
New Product Developer

Steve has been trying to make computers do interesting, beautiful, useful things that help people learn since the days of punched cards. Most recently that was at the American Museum of Natural History where his technical and user interface designs for the museum's websites won many awards. There, Steve developed new ideas for citizen science projects like the Urban Biodiversity Network, sponsored by the MacArthur Foundation, which produced a mobile app to help kids discover and document the biodiversity in their neighborhoods. He's very excited to be working with SciStarter to help innovate new ways to connect citizen scientists with rewarding projects, and better ways to manage their activities across projects. Back in the day, Steve was lucky to experience first­hand the heady days of the birth of the digital era as a researcher at MIT's Architecture Machine Group, Atari's Sunnyvale Research Lab, HP Labs, and the Apple Multimedia Lab, and still holds out some hopes that we'll learn how to make these digital tools truly enrich our lives.


Jonathan BrierJonathan Brier Bio Photo
Strategic Advisor

Jonathan Brier is citizen science enthusiast from Michigan now living in the Washington D.C. area who enjoys working with Internet connected technologies a little too much. He is a PhD student at the University of Maryland, College Park in the College of Information Studies advised by Andrea Wiggins. He holds a M.S. in Information and specialized in social computing from the University of Michigan School of Information and a B.S. in Media and Communication Technologies from Michigan State University's Department of Media and Information. His interest for science was fostered by a father, an engineer and mother, a teacher which took the time explain the pesky "what if" questions to the level that would make any scientist proud. Jon’s citizen science passion began with his discovery of the SETI@home distributed computing project after watching the movie Contact. This branched to all things citizen science as he learned of more ways research could be magnified when harnessing community participation. Outside his Graduate Research, he works with GridRepublic on BOINC powered distributed computing projects and scours the Internet for anything and everything related to citizen science. He brings added enthusiasm and information management expertise, and coding skills to SciStarter. Follow Jonathan on Google+ +brierjon or Twitter @wolfgang8741.


Mark SeveranceMark Severance Bio Photo
Director of Space-based citizen science projects

Mark Severance is SciStarter’s Space Guy and he has been a Space Guy all of his life. A NASA engineer at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Mark has spent most of his career in Mission Control Center-Houston as a Flight Controller for the Space Shuttle and International Space Station. He also spent time in Mission Control Center-Moscow as a NASA Operations Lead early in the ISS program and when NASA had Astronauts working onboard the Mir space station. He has had a life-long interest in spaceflight and views the space program as a catalyst for engaging minds of all ages in a deeper understanding of science, engineering, technology and mathematics. Mark holds BS degrees in Physics and Electrical Engineering from SMU and MS in Physical Science, with a concentration in Orbital Mechanics, from the University of Houston. He began his hands on interest in space as teenager through his radio tracking of Soviet and Chinese human and robotic spacecraft in conjunction with the Kettering Group. He credits his satellite tracking as the most directive force in his educational and professional careers. Mark is currently a NASA engineer and manger for a space communications lab at the Johnson Space Center. Previous to this assignment, he worked in NASA’s Office of Education to start a program of educational activities and experiments onboard the ISS. He is heading up SciStarter’s in-development suite of space-related, citizen science projects.


Sheri PotterSheri Potter bio picture
Program Director

Sheri the director of community and stakeholder engagement for the Association for Women in Science. She is also a project director for SciStarter implementing a collaborative program to bring citizen science to classrooms and broader audiences, hand-in-hand with NASA's GLOBE initiative and National Wildlife Federation's Eco-Schools program. Sheri has a strong commitment to developing more effective strategies to connect people to science. Her personal mission is to build a scientific citizenry of people who understand how science works, why science matters, and what scientists do; and to help them connect that knowledge with their own lifelong journey as a citizen who benefits from, participates in, and uses science. Sheri worked at the American Institute of Biological Sciences for over ten years in multiple capacities, including as director of membership and public programs. She launched the Leadership in Biology initiative, Coalition on the Public Understanding of Science, ActionBioscience.org and Year of Science 2009. Sheri earned an Executive Certificate in Social Impact Strategy from the University of Pennsylvania and has a bachelor's degree in biology.

Jenny CutraroJenny Cutraro bio picture
Family Programming Producer

Every report card Jenny brought home from elementary school included the comment "Is too talkative during class," a comment she translates as "enjoys communicating with her classmates." Today, she’s channeled that love of talking, combined with a lifelong love of science, into a career as a science communication and engagement professional. As an Editorial Project Director at WGBH in Boston, Jenny created resources for the Emmy-nominated PBS KIDS ecosystem science program Plum Landing. She also led numerous workshops and presentations on integrating digital resources into informal and outdoor learning settings. She is an active member of the National Association of Science Writers and former director of their internship program at the AAAS annual meeting, as well as member of theCOPUS (Coalition for the Public Understanding of Science) Advisory Council. Jenny create programming and ancillary materials to help more families engage in citizen science. When she’s not talking about finding science in the outdoors to anyone who will listen to her, you’ll find her kayaking with her family, cheering for the Green Bay Packers, and looking for slimy things under logs.

Our Contributors


Kristin ButlerKristin Butler Bio Photo

Kristin is a freelance journalist and Outreach and Communications Director for the San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory. She holds a B.A. degree in Political Science from Whitman College and an M.S. in Mass Communications from San Jose State University. Kristin has worked as an environmental reporter for The Argus Newspaper and was a monthly contributor to Bay Area Businesswoman News. She's also directed communications and fundraising initiatives for a number of environmental and youth serving organizations, including Earthjustice and Girls Inc.



Melinda T. HoughMelinda T. Hough Bio Photo

Dr. Melinda T. Hough is a freelance science advocate and communicator. Her previous work has included a Mirzayan Science and Technology Graduate Policy Fellowship at the National Academy of Sciences (2012), co-development of several of the final science policy questions with ScienceDebate.org (2012), consulting on the development of the Seattle Science Festival EXPO day (2012), contributing photographer for JF Derry’s book “Darwin in Scotland” (2010) and outreach projects to numerous to count. Not content to stay stateside, Melinda received a B.S in Microbiology from the University of Washington (2001) before moving to Edinburgh, Scotland where she received a MSc (2002) and PhD (2008) from the University of Edinburgh trying to understand how antibiotics kill bacteria. Naturally curious, it is hard to tear Melinda away from science; but if you can, she might be found exploring, often behind the lens of her Nikon D80, training for two half-marathons, or plotting her next epic adventure.


Ashley Rose KellyAshley Rose Kelly Bio Photo

Dr. Ashley Rose Kelly is an Assistant Professor at Purdue University in the Brian Lamb School of Communication (Fall 2014). Ashley studies how emerging technologies may be changing science communication. She holds an M.A. from the University of Waterloo and a Ph.D. from North Carolina State University. You can find Ashley on twitter as: @ashleyrkelly




Karen McDonaldKaren McDonald Bio Photo
Contributor - Citizen Science in the Classroom Series

When not writing her blog The Infinite Spider, Karen McDonald is a guest blogger, curriculum developer, science content editor, and outdoor educator with over thirteen years in informal science education. She has an MS in Biology and a BS in Environmental Science and Philosophy. Currently she works for Smithsonian and contracts for Discovery Channel.



Ian VorsterIan Vorester

Ian Vorster has a MS in Environmental Communications and most recently served as director of communications at the Woods Hole Research Center in Massachusetts. Prior to that he worked in the health communications field. Ian has served as a designer, writer, photographer, editor and project leader in the field of science, and now works freelance in a blend of these roles. You can see more of Ian's work at dragonflyec.com.




Join Us

We're looking for volunteer contributors and interns! If you interested in science, Web publishing, and being part of an exciting, creative new venture, send a note describing your qualifications to info@scistarter.com.


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