Science Sandbox Holds Inaugural Awardee Summit

For the first time, the community of Science Sandbox awardees convened for a two-day summit at the Simons Foundation


Credit: Emily Tan

Spring 2022 has been a time of great pride and gratitude for the Science Sandbox team, as we hosted the first ever Science Sandbox Awardee Summit on March 31 and April 1. More than 70 representatives from our far-reaching community of active awardees, along with some special guests, attended the two-day convening. The Summit took place at the Simons Foundation headquarters in New York City, and featured several professional and organizational development workshops, panel discussions and networking sessions.

Day one of the Summit kicked off with two panels that featured representatives from several Science Sandbox awardees, including Ciencia PR, SEM Link, Techbridge Girls and the Universal Hip Hop Museum, among many others. Panel topics included COVID-19: Weathering the Storm, and Lessons Learned and The World Has Changed. How Can We? and were moderated by John Tracey, program director of Science Sandbox, and Ivvet Modinou, director of Outreach, Education and Engagement at the Simons Foundation. Following the opening panels were a series of workshops, for which we invited experts to help awardees work through some of the issues most relevant to their organizations, such as building a messaging framework, creating sustainable organizational strategies, integrating diversity and inclusion efforts in organizational culture, and demystifying community engagement.

Day two of the Summit moved beyond our community of awardees as we invited outside guests — all members of the Science Sandbox community in some form — to join the conversation. We divided attendees into roundtables for targeted, deep-dive conversations, and later convened two more groups of panelists. To close the day, Talking Heads front man and artist David Byrne joined the Summit to discuss his new Science Sandbox-supported project, Theater of the Mind, an immersive 15,000-square-foot installation that takes its audience, 16 people at a time, on a sensory journey through the human brain.

The Summit was an opportunity for our awardees to grow, develop professionally and organizationally and to meet the Science Sandbox team. Ultimately, the Summit was an opportunity to build community and explore potential collaborations together, with the goal of enriching the science engagement ecosystem.

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