A North Andover fifth grader is among this year’s UMass Lowell Cool Science winners whose artwork will be displayed on transit authority buses to help educate the public about climate change.
Alice Lobel, a student at Annie L. Sargent Elementary School, took part in the program engaging K-12 students about the effects of the climate crisis. The researchers behind Cool Science are studying how effective the student artwork is in teaching people about science.
“One of the great things about Cool Science is the intergenerational dynamic. Kids learn from adults and then teach other adults what they learned through their art. Their art is engaging, so adults are receptive to looking it, thinking about it, and ultimately learning from it. Putting youth art on buses is a great way to spread informal science education to the general public,” said UMass Lowell Education Associate Professor Jill Lohmeier, chair of curriculum and instruction.
A sophomore from New Bedford was the top winner in the Massachusetts division of this year’s Cool Science contest. Angele Semedo, a sophomore at Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational Technical High School was awarded the UMass Lowell David Lustick Award, presented to the competition’s overall winner in the Bay State. Lobel, Semedo and the contest’s other Massachusetts winners will have their artwork displayed in and on Merrimack Valley and Worcester regional transit authority buses throughout the year.
The program’s top award is named in memory of David Lustick, a former Nashua, N.H., resident, UMass Lowell School of Education professor and nationally recognized champion of environmental education. Lustick and Lohmeier co-founded Cool Science to study ways people learn new information outside of the classroom.
UMass Lowell is ranked No. 24 on the Sierra Club’s 2021 “Cool Schools” list of more than 325 environmentally friendly U.S. colleges and universities.
Earlier this year, the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education’s Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System, known as STARS, renewed UMass Lowell’s status as a “gold” campus. These achievements underscore the work of UMass Lowell’s Rist Institute for Sustainability and Energy, which advances research in the field and promotes community action in solving environmental challenges.
Supported by the National Science Foundation, Cool Science teaches young people in the northeast and midwest about science and art by asking them to illustrate factors driving the climate crisis.