Michelle Race


ScienceCounts Civic Science Fellow



Project focus: Michelle will help design, implement, and evaluate a novel engagement program involving an underrepresented or marginalized community.

About Michelle
Michelle Race is the Civic Science Fellow for Advancing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Public Engagement at ScienceCounts. Michelle is a science communicator with over five years of experience creating and facilitating educational programs for K-12 and adult audiences. She is passionate about working with her community and is the co-founder of the outdoor recreation group Black Girls Trekkin’. Michelle received a B.S. in Marine Biology from San Diego State University and also holds an M.A. in Biology from Miami University, OH with a focus on connecting underrepresented communities to environmental science and the outdoors. Outside of work, Michelle enjoys listening to podcasts, reading, and learning to sew her own clothes.

1. What was the focus of your work as a Civic Science Fellow? What did you do?
The focus of my work has been to gain a better understanding of how underrepresented communities, specifically Black and Latino communities, want to participate in science. The two most notable aspects of my work have been my contribution to the analysis of a national survey about motivations and barriers to science engagement, as well as the launch of my own project Science Engaged LA. The goal of this project, and my work overall, is to make science more welcoming and accessible for historically marginalized communities.

2. How do you hope your work as a Fellow will influence the future—for yourself, an organization, a community, or a field?
I hope that practitioners are able to use the results of my work in actionable ways to improve their science engagement strategies. As a field, I hope that the work I have contributed to can be used as a foundation to keep learning about how to create better experiences for communities that have historically been excluded from science.

3. What’s one insight you’d share from your work as a Civic Science Fellow?
One major takeaway from my work that continues to resonate with me is what we learned about the barriers to science engagement that impact Black and Latino communities. In addition to clear statements of barriers that relate to feelings of belonging and identity, we found that major barriers still exist for people who choose to participate. It is a reminder to me that success in dismantling barriers can’t just be measured by who is participating, but that success requires deep listening to ensure that barriers to engagement are truly being addressed.