Outreach Activities

PEB has developed a variety of outreach activities to share scientific knowledge and the excitement of science with others. We believe outreach opportunities are a wonderful way to give back to the community and the public, while allowing one to master communication skills that will be valuable in whatever career one pursues.

Below we describe outreach activities that have been developed by PEB leadership and students.

If you are interested in participating in any of the outreach activities described below, please send an e-mail to peb@yale.edu


Interactive Science Talks for Schoolchildren

PEB students together with NSF REU students and Yale Science Diplomats work with elementary and middle school students to introduce them to various scientific concepts, approaches, and problems, pique their interest in STEM, and their raise awareness in careers in research.

The graduate students work with the PEB associate director to put together short, ~4 minute presentations on their research or a science topic of their choice. Most presentations are also linked with a science demo or a hands-on activity the students can work on in groups of three or four.

The past summers, our visitors have learned about:

  • electron microscopy
  • membrane fusion
  • diffusion
  • engineering bacteria
  • cells and protein
  • overarching themes about the macroscopic vs. microscopic world as well as the relationship between structure and function in biology
  • the special properties of water
  • polymers
  • enzymes
  • spectroscopy
  • 3D image reconstruction
  • chromatography
  • magnetism
  • protein machines and self-assembly
  • computational biology
  • using fluorescence in research
  • magnets, electromagnets, and NMR
  • collisions and particle physics
  • mathematical modeling
  • protein folding

For example, visiting students made home made ice cream via freezing point depression (simply using ice and salt), worked together to build the tallest structure possible with limited time and resources, matched objects and tissue types with images of the object or tissue taken under a microscope, by thinking of their functions in nature or in the body.

This activity has also given us an opportunity to use designs made as part of the 3D printing: Design and Fabrication Integrated Workshop (IW) module. For example, in one of the demos, a presenter used the 3D printed protein bio-gel model that PEB students made as part of the IW.

We conclude our session with the schoolchildren by eating lunch together.

In the past, we have had half-day outreach events for summer science camp from the Eleanor Buck Wolf Nature Center in the town of Wethersfield, CT and for middle school participants of Hopkins Pathfinders in New Haven, CT.


Pathfinder Hopkins School


Pathfinder Hopkins School (previously known as Breakthrough New Haven) prepares New Haven middle school students for successful entry into high school. The summer component of the program, held at Hopkins School in New Haven, is comprised of hands-on laboratory modules combined with classroom instruction. Participants not only learn about various areas of science but also master transferrable skills and good study habits.

PEB students, as well as the PEB director and assistant director have worked with Pathfinder teachers to develop new modules and/or refine existing ones.

Most recently, a MEMS/PEB graduate student devised a module on electronics and computer programming. Breakthrough New Haven students can test their understanding of the concepts behind building an electrical switch, modify their device, and learn how to trouble-shoot problem areas. They also learn how to control the electrical switch with a programmable Arduino microcontroller.


Feel free to use our module write-ups below to lead your outreach activities.

Constructing and Controlling Electronic Circuits

Exploring Biopolymers through Hands-on Models

please contact us at peb<at>yale.edu for 3D printing files.

The Physics of Collisions




PEB Lab Tours for Undergraduates

PEB students, postdoc, and summer Sackler/NSF REU students give a tour of their lab to Connecticut College undergraduates. The hosting students discuss their research and show one or two specialized instrumentation in the laboratory, many of which are not available in a small school setting.

The undergraduates and the graduate students have lunch together where they can discuss what graduate school is like. This is a great way to interact with undergraduates who are excited about science and may be considering graduate school. Each lab tour is approximately 15-20 minutes.


Additional Outreach Opportunities

There are many opportunities at Yale to get involved with outreach.

Many PEB students have participated in the New Haven Science Fair, for example through being a judge or helping organize for the event.

PEB students have also participated in events hosted by the Yale Science Diplomats. One of these includes Science in the News, a public lecture series exploring a variety of topics in science.