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This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Gall, AJ, Vollbrecht, PJ, Tobias, T. Developing outreach events that impact underrepresented students: Are we doing it right?. Eur J Neurosci. 2020; 00: 1– 8., which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions.


Many outreach programs share the common goals of serving underrepresented groups in STEM and improving public attitudes toward science. To meet these goals, scientists must find ways to both reach the appropriate audience and communicate the importance of science in meaningful and accessible ways. This requires careful consideration of the outreach method being used. Two common outreach methods include in‐school visits (scientist in the classroom) and science fairs or open houses. Here, we compare the effectiveness of these two outreach methods in meeting the goals of reaching underrepresented students and/or students with less initial interest in science. We have found that in‐school visits reached more underrepresented students and that initial attitudes toward science scores were lower for in‐school visit participants than for open house event participants. Importantly, positive attitudes toward science increased significantly after in‐school outreach events. Taken together, these data suggest that outreach events that are taken out into the community will reach a less enthusiastic but more diverse audience and can have a positive impact on attitudes toward science within these populations. These studies highlight the importance of knowing the goals of your outreach program and choosing the method that is best suited to meeting those goals.

Available for download on Thursday, March 25, 2021