MaryAm Ghadiri Khanaposhtani

, Purdue University

MaryAm Ghadiri is a 4th year PhD students at the Center for Global Soundscapes at Purdue University. While her background is on ecology and wildlife conservation, the focus of her current research is on informal learning and environmental education. Her experience as a freelance environmental journalist made her interested to connect environmental science to public especially, youth. She has actively engaged in communicating my research to the community through numerous talks for different societies and especially to children.

MaryAm led the design of a unique youth STEM curricular materials about the soundscape ecology called YELLs (Your Ecosystem Listening Labs). Soundscape ecology is an ecological topic that its main focus is on sounds as indicators of environmental health. She works with diverse group of people, scientists, ecologists, graphic designer, and camp educators to design and implement YELLs. The soundscape curricula is accessible to visually impaired students as well, as their hearing sense is their main sense facilitating their abilities to become accomplished soundscape ecologists.

The material is designed to get youth (grades 5-7) out in nature and encourage them to listen to the soundscapes around them and make sense of the environment through the lens of soundscapes. MaryAm's goal is to encourage participants, in particular visually impaired students not only gain better understanding of environment around them through different observation techniques but also pursue their further education in the area of science, mainly ecology.

As an international student from Iran, MaryAm also worked with a group of environmental journalists from Iran to present their photos in a photo exhibition called “Iran beyond Politics” to educate students and scholars at Purdue University about the natural and cultural aspect of my country, Iran. She was the curator of this photo exhibition and the main coordinator working internationally and nationally with different people to make the exhibition happen. The result of the photo exhibition led to a TEDx Purdue invitation for a talk which took place on April 2016.

Currently, she serves as an AAAS Emerging Leader in Science and Society Fellow. Parts of the fellowship duties entail working with local people and stakeholders on the topic of drinking water. The fellows set out to investigate the role of contaminants and their impact on the resilience of drinking water system in the Greater Lafayette regional area. The outcome of the session will be reported to stakeholders on a state and federal level and will assist future policies.