Citizens' Engagement Program with High School Students
- Mahmud Farooque, Associate Director, CSPO, DC Office
- Ira Bennett, Assistant Research Professor, CNS-ASU and CSPO
- Travis Doom, Program Specialist, CSPO
This project provides an important opportunity for high school students to learn and engage in emerging science and engineering issues from the citizen’s perspective – to consider the social and ethical issues that may accompany transformative technologies like climate geoengineering and synthetic biology. It has three primary goals:
- Educational: Teach students about the transformative impact of science and engineering at a grand scale and the role experts, citizens and lawmakers play in resolving them.
- Research: Test the efficacy of methods, technology and processes of using participatory technology assessment as a decision-making tool in science and technology policy.
- Outreach: Demonstrate that the public can be effectively engaged – even at a young age – to formulate and express informed ideas that contribute to democratic approaches in dealing with technology and society.
Building on its efforts to develop techniques for ensuring that public values play a meaningful role in deliberations and decisions about science and technology, CSPO has organized Citizen's Technology Forums designed to engage the public around choices particular to specific technologies, such as:
In April of 2010, CSPO joined the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Boston Museum of Science, Loka Institute and Science Cheerleader to form a network, Expert and Citizen Assessment of Science and Technology (ECAST), as included in the report Reinventing Technology Assessment for the 21st Century.
As a follow-up to the effort, CSPO developed this project that brings together Washington, DC, area high school students to deliberate on policies related to transformative technologies, in face-to-face discussions and online forums with experts in the field, and culminating in a mock hearing where the students present their prepared testimony.