Keep On Questioning

Our Mission

Do you remember all those questions you had as a child? Here at Keep on Questioning we believe curiosity can lead to a better world. Our mission is to inspire, engage and educate the public by connecting them with professionals and experts who can provide answers and take part in conversations. We believe greater understanding can be achieved through the freedom to ask questions, consider informed answers and express viewpoints.

Keep on Questioning aims to provide everyone the opportunity to ask questions and discuss issues of public interest through innovative online and public events. The contribution and participation of informed citizens is essential to an effective democratic society that works towards improving the lives of its people. To achieve this Keep on Questioning will provide opportunities to young people and groups who are disadvantaged from engaging with professionals or public affairs by barriers such as geography, economics, age, gender, language or social group. Through interactions with professionals, Keep on Questioning aims to address stereotypes and raise awareness of diversity and career opportunities for young people.

I’m a Scientist, USA

Our flagship program is I’m a Scientist USA; an online event where school students meet and interact with scientists. It’s an American Idol-style competition between scientists, where the students are the judges. Students engage with scientists over fast-paced online text-based live chats where they choose the questions and direct the conversations. They can submit questions to the scientists on any topic that interests them and then vote for their favorite scientist to win. Scientists from around the world can engage directly with students across North America, answering questions about science, their research, the universe and beyond. Participation improves scientists’ communications skills, increases their awareness of the interests of young people and enables them to share information about their work. Keep on Questioning also organizes I’m a Scientist live events, trains scientists in effective communication skills and produces educational materials, such as classroom debate kits, to support STEM education.

We aim to expand the number of programs we provide to include other live and online events such as I’m an Engineer.

Teachers and scientists can sign up for our events on the I’m a Scientist USA website – 

Our Values

Curiosity - We will explore a wide range of issues and be willing to go wherever the questions lead.

Expertise - We will provide access to expert opinion and knowledge to enrich the understanding of everyone. We will seek the advice of experts in formulating our strategies and delivering our programs.

Equality - We believe in the fundamental principle of equality and will strive to reduce inequality and contribute to equality through our work.

Diversity - Our modern society is diverse and we believe richer because of that. We will aim to ensure that our work and activities represent this diversity and prevent discrimination.

Innovation - We are constantly seeking ways to improve and provide more effective means of communication, dialogue and discussion.

Safety - Creating a safe environment where people feel free to expresses themselves without the fear of intrusion or abuse is paramount. We will ensure that our staff and members of the public involved in our programs are provided safe environments to work and converse.

Freedom of speech - We believe that everyone has the right to free speech, within the confines of the law, and this encompasses the right to ask questions and receive answers as well as express opinions. We will continually strive to ensure this right is not infringed by censorship in any of our programs.

Openness - We are committed to transparency and openness in our work and promote these values to everyone participating in the programs we deliver.

Our Program Director

Dr Tristan MacLean is a former neuropathologist, lecturer and science teacher who has been developing innovative science communication and public engagement projects for the past six years. Tristan has brought the highly successful I’m a Scientist program to the USA after seeing how effective it was in the UK, where he coordinated national education and public engagement programs for the BBSRC, the primary funder of biological research in Great Britain. Contact Tristan by email – and follow him on twitter @DrTristanMcLean.

Advisory Board

  • Shane McCracken established I’m a Scientist, Get Me Out of Here! in the UK and Ireland and has helped foster the program in Kenya, Australia, Malaysia and the USA. He has a background in business and media and runs Gallomanor Communications.
  • Kitty Gifford is the curator of Ithaca’s Science Cabaret and Director of Communications at the Boyce Thompson Institute. Kitty has a background in communication and design, combined with extensive experience on boards, fiscal sponsorship and working with small and large non-profit organizations.
  • Andrew Maynard is an experienced and respected science communicator who is based at Arizona State University as Director of the Risk Innovation Lab in the School for the Future of Innovation in Society. Andrew writes the popular bog 2020science.  Andrew is also a previous winner of I’m a Scientist.
  • Amit Indap is a bioinformatician who works at the cutting edge of science and technological development, previously at Cornell University and now at Human Longevity Inc in California.
  • Jaime Hurlbut is a science teacher at Vestal Middle School.