Diplomacy in Education and Public Outreach: Empathy as a Path to Success

Saturday, 15 February 2014
Columbus KL (Hyatt Regency Chicago)
Stephanie J. Slater , University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY
This paper discusses emergent findings from a six-year ethnographic study, describing the current intersection of Western Science Astronomy and Hawaiian Culture on the Island of Hawai`i. While international demand to place observatories on Hawaiian land remains high, and Western agencies continue to fund outreach efforts on Hawai`i, conflict between local groups and the Western astronomy remains. Initial findings indicate that 1) conflict stems from broad failures to empathize, resulting in deliberate avoidance of astronomy careers by students forced to choose between culture, community, and Western Science, and 2) this conflict, and the resulting avoidance of STEM, is largely avoidable.