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Our campus and city are home to many science outreach efforts. From star parties to festivals to citizen science projects to camps, The University of Texas at Austin and our broader community have much to offer. Visit our events calendar for more.

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Summer Camps and Academies

Computer Science Summer Academies (Host: Computer Science Department, UT Austin)
All computer science camps are for high schoolers. They include:

  • Academy for Women: (previously First Bytes) A one-week summer residential program on campus serving high school girls interested in computer science. First Bytes 1 is a week for high school sophomores girls, and First Bytes 2 is for high school junior and senior girls. 
  • Academy for All (previously Code Longhorn) A one-week summer residential program serving primarily students who are underrepresented in computer science (Black, Latino and Latina, and Native American students are encouraged to apply). 
  • Academy for Robotics (previously Robotics Camp) High school students build a robot from the ground up and learn about artificial intelligence and its applications. They also meet faculty and industry representatives who are inventing the future.
  • Academy for iOS App Development: The Academy for iOS Development is geared toward students who have prior experience with object-oriented programming and possess a working knowledge of the Swift programming language. Participants will learn advanced features of Swift, and learn to use Xcode and Swift to create simple apps for the iPhone and iPad.
  • Academy for Game Development: Participants will explore the world of game development, gaining experience in programming, art, and design.  This academy is suitable for students with all experience levels, from those who have never programmed before to those who already have some experience.

UT Culinary and Fitness Camp at Susie's Kitchen (Host: Department of Nutritional Sciences)
Science-based culinary nutrition and fitness camps for youth (Susie's Kitchen, Jr. for ages 11-17) take place on the University of Texas at Austin campus. All camps spend time in Gearing Hall's first-rate teaching kitchen, named for alumna Susie Jastrow.

High School Summer Research Academy (Host: College of Natural Sciences, UT Austin)
This program offers high school students and incoming University of Texas at Austin freshmen the chance to join researchers in the College of Natural Sciences working on a variety of experiments. Become members of a research team in this special academy.

UTeach Outreach’s Summer STEM Programs (Host: The College of Natural Science, UT Austin)
These rigorous academic camps last for one to six weeks on UT’s main campus. Students take advanced courses in science, technology, engineering, and math while exploring campus, interacting with industry professionals, touring labs and having fun. Four levels of UT PREP, taken during four consecutive summers, are offered and encouraged. 

Alice in Wonderland (Host: Advanced Atomic Design Group, UT Austin) 
This outreach program from the Department of Physics connects high school girls with opportunities to learn about concepts and careers in physics.

UT Summer Science (Host: Marine Science Institute, Port Aransas)
An exciting, inquiry-based learning experience for students entering 3rd through 8th grades. Work alongside marine scientists from the University of Texas and experience science outside of the classroom on the Texas coast.


Events, Venues & Programs for All Ages

image2 210x210pxAstronomy on Tap ATX (Host: Professional astronomers in Austin)
Each FREE event features accessible, engaging science presentations on topics ranging from planets to black holes to the beginning of the Universe. Events are held every third Tuesday of the month.

Explore UT (Host: UT Austin)
Known as "The Biggest Open House in Texas," this day long event features close to 400 programs across campus including performances, exhibits, lectures and activities for the entire family. Held every year in March. Free.

Hot Science – Cool Talks (Host: Environmental Science Institute, UT Austin)
Leading researchers from UT Austin and other prominent universities communicate their research to the public. Each event features a lecture, interactive science demonstrations and educational materials for teachers and families.

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
The University of Texas at Austin Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center uses native plants to restore and create sustainable, beautiful landscapes, carrying out its mission to inspire the conservation of native plants through  gardens, research, education, consulting and outreach programs. Officially designated the Botanic Garden and Arboretum of Texas, entrance to the center is free for UT students, faculty and staff with their UT ID.

Science Under the Stars (Host: Brackenridge Field Lab, UT Austin)
A free, monthly public outreach lecture series founded and organized by graduate students in the Department of Integrative Biology at UT Austin.

Star Parties (Host: Dept. of Astronomy, UT Austin)
The Astronomy Department hosts three weekly viewing nights for the public - every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday while UT is in session. Be sure and double check the website for current schedule and locations.

Texas Memorial Museum
The university's natural history museum features exhibits on paleontology, gems and minerals, plants and animals. Spotlighted in the exhibits are spectacular specimens found in Texas, including the largest flying creature ever found – the Texas Pterosaur, with a wingspan of 40 feet – and the 30-foot Mosasaur that swam the shallow sea that once covered most of the state. The museum is also site of numerous education and outreach activities, including Identification Day and Texas Wildlife Day.

Texas Science Festival (Host: UT Austin College of Natural Sciences)
This virtual spring festival provides opportunities to interact with scientists, engage in science lessons and take dives into exciting areas of research.

UT Brainstorms: A Conversation on the Brain (Host: Department of Neuroscience)
This public outreach series provides monthly talks for non-scientific audiences about a variety of neuroscience subjects related to normal brain function, neurological diseases, overall brain health and how neuroscience research can improve everyday life. Events are free to the community and typically held on an evening or weekend on the UT campus.

UT Nutrition Institute (Host: College of Natural Sciences, Department of Nutrition & Partners)
Webinars, workshops, recipes and video demos, events and layperson-friendly offerings that help to bring nutritional sciences to life.

Views & Brews (Hosts: KUT-FM and Cactus Café, UT Austin)
Twice a month the Cactus Cafe hosts KUT’s Views and Brews, a free space for the community to explore a wide range of subjects and ideas, sometimes including science. 


Events & Programs for PreK-14 (See also academies and summer camps)

image1 210x210pxCoding in the Classroom (Host: Dept. of Computer Science, UT Austin)
Members of the computer science department visit elementary and middle schools to introduce students to computer science and programming. Several hands-on technologies are used in a series of lessons and projects, such as Kano Raspberry Pi Computer Kits as well as Lego Mindstorms. The program includes the Hour of Code, designed to encourage non-programmers to spend an hour programming, held in schools every December.

Chemistry Outreach Program (Host: Department of Chemistry, UT Austin)
The program, that goes into schools and elsewhere in the Austin community, makes chemistry come alive and fosters interest in learning and discovery for students of all ages by participation in hands-on activities. 

Girl Day at UT Austin (Host: Women in Engineering Program, UT Austin)
This event includes the Girl Day STEM Festival and Introduce a Girl to Engineering, attracting thousands of school-age girls to campus for hands-on science and engineering activities one Saturday in February.

Green Energy at Texas (GREAT) (Host: Sean Roberts, Department of Chemistry, UT Austin)
Summer research program that brings students from Austin Community College into labs at UT Austin to work on research projects under the guidance of faculty in chemistry and chemical engineering.

H2 from H2O (Host: Department of Chemistry, UT Austin)
The H2fromH2O outreach program is designed to educate high school chemistry students and middle school science students about the possibility of generating a renewable resource (hydrogen fuel - H2) from one of the simplest molecules on Earth - water (H2O). Instructors can check out, free of charge, an all-inclusive class experiment kit and are also provided with UT Austin student volunteers to assist during class.

High School Research Initiative (Host: College of Natural Sciences, UT Austin)
This scientific-inquiry program provides dual-enrollment research courses for high school students, trains teachers to successfully lead research/inquiry experiences, and provides supportive resources to introduce and lead scientific inquiry experiences in a high school environment.

Physics Circus (Host: Department of Physics, UT Austin)
A traveling educational program for K-12 schools with exciting demonstrations of heat, motion, states of matter, and key concepts of classical physics.  

Scientist in Residence Programs (Hosts: Marine Science Institute and Environmental Science Institute, UT Austin)
These programs provide teachers and students with innovative learning activities in partnership with scientists. Click on the links above to learn more.

Shadow a Scientist (Host: Freshman Research Initiative, UT Austin)
This summer program pairs middle school students with a scientist at the University of Texas for a tour of the scientist's lab and experiments in progress. The goal of the program is to provide the opportunity for young students to cultivate their interest in science and allow them to experience first-hand what a scientist does on a daily basis.

Sunday Morning Math Group (Host: Department of Mathematics, UT Austin)
This program is aimed at junior high and high school students, their teachers and their parents. Math professors and graduate students present entertaining and informative lectures and activities.

Texas Code Orange (Host: UT Austin)
A UT student organization that aims to tackle the issue of the digital divide in Austin through mentorship and computer science education for children in underserved communities.

UTCS Roadshow (Host: Department of Computer Science)
UT Austin students go to middle school and high school classrooms to excite students about computer science. They give a 45-minute presentation about cutting-edge technology, challenge the students with logic puzzles, and demo an AIBO robotic dog that plays soccer.

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UTeach Outreach (Host: UTeach)
UTeach Outreach is one of the college’s largest outreach initiatives, with over 300 UT students and volunteers teaching hands-on science lessons in 40 Austin-area schools every semester as part of the UTeach Outreach service-learning course. UTeach Outreach also organizes middle school after-school STEM clubs, leads hands-on science activities during community events, hosts sustainability-themed field trips, runs a first-year interest group, sponsors a student organization, and supports CNS research educators with strategic partnerships in NSF grants and more. To find out more about UTeach Outreach, please visit their website or get information about their impact here.

 


Out of Town

Bay Education Center (Rockport, TX)
The Center recently reopened after experiencing damage from Hurricane Harvey and with the latest renovations will once again provide a venue for locals and tourists to experience the wonders of the natural environment and see the importance of estuaries to the Texas coastal communities and beyond. The Center is free of charge and open Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. - 4 p.m, beginning May 8, 2021. 

Estuary Explorium (Port Aransas, TX)
The Explorium, located at the University of Texas Marine Science Institute in Port Aransas, encourages self-guided exploration of estuaries through the use of interactive exhibits that you can feel, move, and hear.

McDonald Observatory (Fort Davis, TX)
At the Observatory Visitors Center, outreach events include star parties, public tours, K-12 teacher and student activities and more.


Media

Cook'Em
Based in the in the UT Nutrition Institute, a part of the Department of Nutritional Sciences, Cook'em is an online collection of student-produced instructional videos designed to promote healthy eating through the application of nutritional science in daily life. 

EarthSky
EarthSky is a news service and blog covering the entire spectrum of science and nature, from the deepest ocean to the farthest stars. It's produced in Austin by UT Austin alumna Deborah Byrd.

It's Okay to Be Smart
From PBS Digital, this wildly popular YouTube show about science is produced by biologist and College of Natural Sciences alum Dr. Joe Hanson.

Point of Discoveryimage6 100x100pxThe Point of Discovery podcast takes you on a behind-the-scenes journey to the front lines of science where you'll meet the brilliant, quirky scientists who do it. Produced by UT Austin's College of Natural Sciences.

Science and the Sea
Science and the Sea is a weekly radio program produced by the University of Texas Marine Science Institute that provides entertaining stories and activities that teach about the marine world and even convey how scientists approach, and ultimately solve, some of the oceans' mysteries.

StarDate (Radio and Magazine)
StarDate is the public education and outreach arm of the University of Texas McDonald Observatory. The StarDate radio program airs daily on more than 300 stations and the StarDate bimonthly magazine is the perfect skywatching companion for amateur astronomers or anyone interested in celestial events and space exploration.

STEM Fatale Podcast
A podcast about historic and current women in STEM, created by two College of Natural Sciences graduate students.

Texas Scientist / Texas Science News
The annual magazine & monthly e-news of the College of Natural Sciences.

Tumble
Tumble is a science podcast for kids, hosted by Lindsay Patterson and Marshall Escamilla, with associate producer and UT Austin staff member Sara Robberson Lentz.

Two Guys on Your Head
This lively, often humorous weekly radio show about human psychology features professors Art Markman and Robert Duke from The University of Texas at Austin. Produced by Austin public radio station KUT. 


Citizen Science and Volunteer Opportunities

Dark Energy Explorers
The Hobby-Eberly Dark Energy Experiment (HETDEX) is designed to find over one million galaxies that are 9 billion to 11 billion light-years away, yielding the largest map of the universe ever produced. The map will allow HETDEX astronomers to measure how fast the universe was expanding at different times in its history. Changes in the expansion rate will reveal the role of dark energy at different epochs. Various explanations for dark energy predict different changes in the expansion rate, so by providing exact measurements of the expansion, the HETDEX map will eliminate some of the competing ideas. Your help is needed to identify the signals that are from distant galaxies.

Volunteer with the Mission-Aransas National Estuarine Research Reserve (Host: UT Marine Science Institute)
There are many opportunities for you to get involved in and around Port Aransas, Texas: Help monitor water quality; lead educational tours in the salt marsh; care for injured coastal wildlife; conduct sea turtle surveys; or remove invasive plants.

Nurdle Patrol (Host: UT Marine Science Institute)
A citizen science project led by the Mission-Aransas National Estuarine Research Reserve at the UT Marine Science Institute in Port Aransas, Texas. Nurdles are small plastic pellets that are a common pollutant along the Gulf Coast that can be harmful to some animals. Help us collect information on when and where nurdles are present.


For the UT Community

Present your PhD to a 12 yr-old (Graduate Science Outreach student group)
Science Doctoral students at UT Austin present a simplified version of their Ph.D. thesis in kindergarten through 12th grade classrooms.

RESEARCH+PIZZA (Host: University of Texas Libraries, UT Austin)
Wondering about the work professors do outside of the classroom? Want to know more about how research is done? RESEARCH+PIZZA brings together UT students and researchers for informal lunchtime presentations (sometimes on science topics) and discussions over pizza.  To receive event notification emails, drop a note to: research+pizza@utlists.utexas.edu

Science Study Break (Host: University of Texas Libraries, UT Austin)
Join UT researchers for food and chat about popular movies and TV shows that deal with science topics. To receive event notification emails, drop a note to: sciencestudybreak@utlists.utexas.edu

Young Scientists and Kids Who Code (Host: Natural Sciences Council, UT Austin)
UT Austin students volunteer to help local Austin elementary and middle school students to pursue a career in STEM fields. Volunteers teach weekly lessons focused on general sciences or coding every Friday.


More Organizations, Venues & Programs around Austin

Austin Community Colleimage4 210x210pxge Hands-On Science (Host: ACC)
A hands-on traveling science program that works to get the message to children that science is fun and anyone can do it.

Austin Nature & Science Center
The ANSC is dedicated to the exploration of the natural world through wildlife viewing and hands-on educational exhibits such as the Dino Pit, where kids can dig in a sand pit for life-size dinosaur fossil replicas.

Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum & IMAX Theater
The museum tells the story of Texas, including the history of human spaceflight (Texas is home to the Johnson Space Center after all), and the state's vital contributions to the nation's energy supply and computer industry. The museum's IMAX theater often features films about science and the natural world.

Girlstart
Girlstart is the only community-based informal STEM education nonprofit in the nation specifically dedicated to empowering and equipping girls in STEM through year-round STEM educational programming.

The Science Mill
Located in Johnson City, this science museum provides students with a safe, permissive environment for exploring, questioning and discovering science, engineering and math at interactive and innovative exhibits and programs. 

Informal Science Education Association of Texas
A community of teachers and science communicators from museums, zoos, parks, and nature centers working to improve bridges between schools and community spaces where learning science is part of the focus.

Nerd Nite Austin
A monthly event held in more than 75 cities across the globe during which several folks give 18-21-minute fun-yet-informative presentations across all disciplines – while the audience drinks along. Austin's Nerd Nite is every second Wednesday of the month.

Starry Nights at Girlstart (Host: Girlstart)
Girlstart's STEM Studio and Mini-Planetarium is a unique space for families to explore astronomy! Starry Nights are held the first Thursday of every month (except January, June, July and August), with each month featuring a new astronomy experience.

SXSW
Every October, SXSW Eco attracts a global community to explore, engage and co-create solutions for a sustainable world. In March SXSW Interactive is considered by many the leading emerging-technology festival in the world.

Thinkery
The Thinkery is an evolution of the Austin Children’s Museum, a place where science and families play side by side. With an emphasis on hands-on learning, kids explore water, electricity, engineering, woodworking, nutrition and much more.


Austin ISD Middle School Science Mentorship (Host: UTeach Outreach, UT Austin)
Undergraduate students mentor middle school students who are participating in science fairs and discovery-based school projects.