Science runs through Boston, education and sponsoring local field trips

Two runners pose with the dinosaur mascots after completing the Sci K fun race. Boston, Mass., Oct. 6, 2019. Danielle Daphne Ang/ BU News Service

By Danielle Daphne Ang
BU News Service

Scientists, astronauts and dinosaurs gathered at Fiedler Field Sunday for the inaugural Sci-K 5K Fun Run the Museum of Science launched this year to bring awareness to the museum’s offerings and science in general. The museum encouraged participants to dress in their favorite science-inspired outfits, and raise funds that will go towards various museum initiatives.

Runners took their marks promptly at 9 a.m. The race was dog-friendly, stroller-friendly and untimed to encourage everyone to participate. In a statement last month, the museum announced proceeds raised from the Sci-K would be put toward providing free museum access for Massachusetts foster families, funding for more classrooms to participate in field trips to the museum and allowing more students to participate in overnight programs.

According to Colleen Casey, manager of advancement, marketing and communications at the Museum of Science, the event brought about 400 people together and raised around $20,000. This included participant fundraising efforts, sponsorships and additional donations.

Ellie Starr, senior vice president of advancement for the Museum of Science, said STEM is having a big moment in Boston.

“The Museum of Science is literally the bridge between Boston, Cambridge, hospitals and the hub of innovation,” she said Sunday as her twin daughters, dressed in space costumes, walked toward the finish line. “We’re really where it’s at – we’re at the center of the STEM universe.”

STEM, which stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics, encompasses a range of fields that spearhead innovation and scientific discovery. In 2015, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics found that STEM professions more than doubled between 2009 and 2015 and estimated that STEM opportunities will expand faster than any other occupation through 2024.

The event included a number of science-themed stations where both kids and adults played, experimented and learned basic scientific principles. Many of the museum staff who attended the event said science is not only applicable to those in the field, but also to those with little exposure.

“In today’s economy and workplace, it’s important for kids to solve problems,” said 36-year-old Kate Bednar who works for the Museum of Science. “I think when you’re trying to think like a scientist, you take on a mindset that helps you process and see problems in real life.”

A recent report by WalletHub shows Boston ranked second in the U.S. for STEM jobs. The report also found that Boston, Cambridge and Newton have the fourth-highest percentage of their workforce in STEM.

The race not only raised funds to support the museum’s initiatives, but it also raised awareness about the role science plays in the city of Boston and its surrounding cities. 

“You’re creating an opportunity for people from different backgrounds to come together and get to know each other,” said Kelsey Pramik, director of programs and outreach at Esplanade Association. “Hopefully people are gaining an appreciation for the role science plays in Cambridge.”

Other attendees included museum sponsors, sci-fi fans and 5K enthusiasts like 31-year-old Rilrdan of Somerville, who wore a shirt about the environment and said he enjoyed the family-friendly atmosphere.

“I love running 5Ks and supporting the Museum of Science and science in general,” he said. “I really like everyone’s costumes. It’s a very fun, family-oriented event that’s low-key and it’s really great for community health and fitness.”

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