The Graduate Program in

Student Outreach

OEB graduate students are committed to science outreach and to making science more accessible to non-scientists. These activities remind us why we chose science as a career, and also enrich our community. During the academic year, OEB students offer a monthly Science Café series. Current and previous Science Cafés are listed below.

The Fernald Entomology Club brings Insects in the Hallway to local schools. The goal of Insects in the Hallway is to get students excited about insects. The program features live insects, highlights from the insect natural history collection, a slideshow presentation and interactions with graduate students working in insect science. A link to their flier is at the bottom of this page. Contact Matt Boyer, the Outreach Coordinator to find out more: Matt Boyer or 413-577-1824.

Science Café

Q: What's a Science Café?
A: The Science Café series is designed to facilitate an engaging science discussion outside university walls in an informative but relaxed atmosphere. Each event is focused on a single topic, with a guest speaker, quiz bowl, and questions and answer. All events are free and open (targeted to!) the public. For more information, please see

The Science Café series, organized by graduate students in the Organismic and Evolutionary Biology (OEB) program at UMass, is supported by the Society for the Study of Evolution, the Massachusetts Academy of Sciences, OEB, and the UMass Natural History Collections. We strive to bring engaging conversations about science to broad audiences by hosting Science Cafés throughout the year.

FALL 2013 Science Café Schedule

Science Cafés are held at Esselon Café on Route 9 in Hadley. All events start at 6:00 p.m. and are free.

Monday, September 9th Some Like it Hot, with Dr. Bethany Bradley Climate change, invasions, and marauding honeysuckle.

Monday, October 7th How to Scare a Spider, with Skye Long A spider’s view of the world.

Monday, November 4th Live Wires: Bacterial Batteries, with Dr. Derek Lovley How to turn microorganisms into living fuel cells. Really.

Monday, December 9th To the Sea (and back again), with Dr. Steve McCormick Fresh water, salt water, lather, rinse, repeat. Migratory fish tackle major environmental challenges.

March Science Café: Beyond the Chatter

March's Science Café features Sarah Partan, Hampshire College, who will present Beyond the Chatter: Adventures in Animal Communication on Monday, March 4 at 6 p.m. at Esselon Café, 99 Russell Street (Route 9), Hadley, MA. Learn about the fascinating world of animal communication and the answers to such questions as: Why did the robot squirrel wave its tail? What do female pigeons really want, his song or his dance? Do urban birds find it harder to get a date over all that noise? Light snacks are provided and drinks available for purchase. All Science Café events are free and designed for a public audience.

February Science Café: Smell

February Science Café FlyerMonday, February 4 2013 at 6:00 p.m.
Esselon Cafe, 99 Russell Street (Route 9), Hadley, MA
February's Science Café topic Smell: the Secret Sense features the work of OEB doctoral candidate Tom Eiting. Learn how the sense of smell works in mammals, from the anatomy of nasal passages to how smell is perceived. .

November Science Café: Microbes

November Science Café FlyerMonday, November 12th 2012 at 5:30 p.m.
Esselon Cafe, 99 Russell Street (Route 9), Hadley, MA
Join us at Esselon Cafe on November 12th at 5:30 for “Microbes: Shaking the Tree of Life.” Guest speaker Dr. Laura Katz will weave a tale of how some of the smallest organisms have played a big role in shaping diversity.

October Science Café: Forbidden Love

October Science Café FlyerMonday, October 8th, 2012 at 5:30 p.m.
Esselon Cafe, 99 Russell Street (Route 9), Hadley, MA
Join us at Esselon Cafe on Monday, October 8th at 5:30 for “Forbidden Love: Crickets in the Hybrid Zone.” Guest speaker Dr. Charles Ross will wow the audience with a tale of ecology, reproductive isolation, and speciation starring crickets. The event begins at 5:30pm.

September Science Café: How to Build an Organism

September Science Café flyerMonday, Sept. 10th, 2012
The OEB Science Café kicks off their Fall series on Monday, September 10th at Esselon Café in Hadley, MA with “How to Build an Organism: a DIY Guide.” Dr. Craig Albertson from UMass will discuss some of his work exploring the design and diversification of the animal body form, proceeding from the genetic blueprint to principles of animal development.

February Science Café: Antibiotics: Resistance is Futile

Picture of Antibiotic Resistance Science Cafe PosterMonday, Feb. 27th, 2012
Antibiotics: ‘Tis the season for…sniffles. Join us for a conversation on the war we wage on germs. We’ll have a fun hour of discussion, games, music, and a talk by UMass Professor and founder of the MA Academy of Sciences, Dr. Peg Riley. Dr. Riley will discuss her own work on our need for new drugs to combat germs, and how we find them.

December Science Café: The Big Chill: Surviving Winter

Picture of Big Chill Science Cafe PosterMonday, Dec. 12th, 5:30pm, 2011
Brrr – winter is upon us! Come out to the Science Café to learn how organisms get through this cold weather. You can look forward to a fun hour of discussion, games, music, and a talk by local author and naturalist Charley Eiseman on insect strategies for winter survival.

October Science Café: Out of the Dark: Demystifying Bats

Picture of Bat Science Cafe PosterMonday, Oct. 3rd, 5:30pm, 2011
BATS To many, they conjure images of dusty attics, belfries, rabies, blood-sucking tendencies, and of course, Halloween. We cry foul! Er, mostly. Join us for a night of dispelling some common batty misconceptions in a spooky format with a dose of engaging scientific exchange. Dr. Betsy Dumont will join the conversation and discuss some of her own research on the world’s coolest flying mammals.

Gallery of research projects done by current OEB Graduate Students

OEB grad students are eager to be involved in classroom education. Students and educators can find resources and connect here. Click on a picture below to learn about the research done by OEB graduate students.

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