The Ohio State University at Newark


Ohio State Newark Assistant Professor Named Ohio State Community Engaged Scholar

March 18, 2021

From sharing the grandeur of our universe with the public at the SciDome Planetarium to exploring black holes with middle schoolers and discussing the possibility of extraterrestrial life with adult learners, Michael Stamatikos, PhD, has a passion for sharing his love of science.

That passion was recognized as Stamatikos was named a 2021 Community Engaged Scholar at The Ohio State University. He is one of only six Ohio State faculty members to receive the award this year.

The Community Engaged Scholar Award annually recognizes faculty members who have demonstrated engaged scholarship that has impacted communities and made a significant contribution to Ohio State's culture of engagement, further establishing and strengthening the institution's commitment to supporting communities.

"I congratulate Mike on the tremendous breadth of his work within the greater community and on receiving this award. His impact is immeasurable. He brings science to many who would otherwise not have the opportunity, and his passion and approachability bring science to life in a way that engages every audience," said Ohio State Newark Dean and Director William L. MacDonald, PhD.

In June 2018, Stamatikos spear-headed the opening of the SciDome, a $2.1 million, multi-sensory, immersive 4K digital theater environment affording an interdisciplinary and comprehensive STEM experience at The Works: Ohio Center for History, Art & Technology in downtown Newark. The Newark Advocate ranked the SciDome's opening among the top 10 stories of 2017. Explore Licking County gave the SciDome the Collaboration of the Year IMPACT award in 2017 for the unique public-private partnership between Ohio State Newark and The Works, which services 165 schools in 16 counties and annually accrues ~60,000/~10,000 visitors/students. This long-standing partnership has enabled special events, such as the Solar Eclipse Viewing Party (2017) and the 50th Anniversary of Apollo 11's lunar landing (2019), that expand community engagement in local under-served rural communities and underrepresented Appalachian populations.

As a modern-day Lyceum, the SciDome enables systematic access to informal science education beyond the classroom. Through community partnerships and comprehensive programming, it provides continuing education that fulfills Ohio State's 150-year promise as a land grant university and realizes the university motto: Education for Citizenship. Since June 2018, Stamatikos has served as the Founding Director of the SciDome and The Works' first Chief Science Officer. Ohio State's mantra: "teach on all levels" has resulted in K-Infinity programming:

• Kids' Tech University (primary students, since 2014): All-day workshop where 9- to 12-year-old students explore a single question, e.g., "How Do We Know Black Holes Exist If We Can't See Them?" via interactive lecture demonstrations and hands-on activities.

• SciDome Academy (in-service primary educators, since 2017): A year-long professional development program that helps teachers develop new NASA research results into standards-aligned, inquiry-based projects incorporated into their curricula.

• AstronoME Academy (secondary students, since 2019): An in-depth series of astronomy learning experiences for high school students in east-central Ohio, which help them explore STEM careers and education pathways related to science.

• IceCube Master Class (secondary students and in-service educators, since 2019): A one-day activity where high school teachers and students participate in a guided analysis of real IceCube data and learn about science careers.

• Astronomy 1143 (undergraduate students, since 2016): Introductory cosmology course for undergraduates attending Ohio State Newark taught exclusively in the SciDome (since 2018) that satisfies the College of Arts and Sciences general education requirement for science.

• COTC Lifelong Learning Institute (adult continued learning program, summer 2018): Exploring the Universe: Cosmology, Black Holes and Prospects for Extraterrestrial Life, mini-course comprised of four, two-hour classes.

• Behind The Science (Since 2018): Aimed at adults who enjoy lifelong learning, guests will hear from dynamic speakers about current science topics, from astronomy to zoology, in a way that is both educational and entertaining.

• Blowing Off STEAM (Since 2017): Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math (STEAM) informal, open forum discussions that embed local content experts from academia and industry, which foster an interdisciplinary alliance between local academic institutions (Ohio State Newark, Denison University and Ohio University Zanesville) and businesses (31 West, Coffee Shack, Granville Library) akin to a Science Cafe.

The Ohio State University at Newark offers an academic environment that's inclusive of diversity, challenging but supportive with world-renowned professors and access to Ohio State's more than 200 majors. It's where learning comes to life. Research, study abroad and service-learning opportunities prepare students for their careers in ways they never expected.