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three people holding sign
(left to right) Jenny King, Director of Public Affairs, Corey Tovian, Manager of Public Affairs, Dr. Stuart Ravnik, Assoc Dean, UT Southwestern Graduate School
UF Health

Science Saturday - UT Southwestern Medical Center
University of Texas Southwestern Medical School

Recognizing the value in utilizing our 75th anniversary to connect with the public in a new way, we designed UT Southwestern’s Science Saturday to engage guests with the biomedical research and education at UT Southwestern Medical Center. This inaugural event served as a science outreach opportunity for North Texas. The program was added midyear to our anniversary calendar for a Nov. 3, 2018, event. Eight weeks before the event, with planning initiated but incomplete, the development department passed this project to the public affairs team to finish planning and execution.

We sought to welcome the general public to our main campus to learn about our work through interactive science stations and, in the process, increase their knowledge of the health, education, and research initiatives at UT Southwestern. Specifically, we set a goal to welcome 1,800 or more guests to campus. It would be the first time we invited the general public to campus, and we leveraged this special event to showcase institutional clinical priorities, including brain and heart health and cancer.

What was the most impactful part of your award-winning entry?

Science Saturday established a new science festival concept by cultivating new community ambassadors and welcoming 1,711 guests of all ages to campus. As a result, Science Saturday, renamed medIDEAS, has become a blueprint for future UT Southwestern community events.

What is one thing you learned from this experience?

While this event concept differed from UT Southwestern’s traditional community engagement, we were confident in a bold approach. By reviewing peer organizations’ outreach strategies, we recognized the effectiveness of science festivals featuring fun and interactive learning.

Marc Nivet,

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