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Testing the Waters: Locally, Regionally, Globally

How citizen science is transforming scientific discovery, including the Citizen Science Campus program, Crowd the Tap (a NC State project about safe drinking water), and three other ways students can make a difference.

Published onJan 15, 2022
Testing the Waters: Locally, Regionally, Globally


Caren Cooper, Ph.D. spent the early part of her career studying birds across the country without ever leaving her desk. She analyzed bird and nest records shared by the public that fueled research on the distribution of birds, their nesting patterns, migration routes, and response to climate change. Researchers and the public also collaborate to study flowers, weather, planets, pollution, and more — a collective power called citizen science. In this video, Cooper (1) reviews how citizen science is transforming scientific discovery, (2) introduces students to NC State’s Citizen Science Campus program, (3) gives a demo of Crowd the Tap, an NC State citizen science project about safe drinking water, and (4) shows students three other ways they can, as citizen scientists, make a difference.

Caren Cooper is a member of the Leadership in Public Science cluster and an associate professor in the Department of Forestry & Environmental Resources at NC State. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Zoology from NC State and a master’s degree with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Cooperative Research Unit at the University of Wyoming. Cooper earned her Ph.D. in biology at Virginia Tech while doing fieldwork in Australia. After 14 years as a scientist at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Cooper returned to NC State. Cooper’s research group adheres to the values of feminism, anti-racism, and decolonization of science. 

Brian Malow has produced science videos for Time Magazine and audio essays for Neil deGrasse Tyson’s StarTalk, in addition to performing and giving scicomm talks for NSF, AAAS, NASA, Johns Hopkins, Los Alamos National Labs and others. Malow blogged for Scientific American and worked in science communications at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences.

Testing the Waters: Locally, Regionally, Globally (Caren Cooper, moderator Brian Malow)

This video was originally produced for an audience of entering first-year and transfer students at NC State University as a part of an interdisciplinary experience. It is available for noncommercial reuse under a Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial 4.0 License,


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