In ecology, ecotones are margins where two different habitats come together — like a beach, where the ocean meets the land. Ecotones are rich environments where diversity is high and there is a lot of mixing. My name is Nancy Lowe, and I like to work in the ecotones of science — the borderlands where science meets art, where science meets social life, where science meets civic responsibility.
For over two decades I have created and led science engagement activities at colleges & universities, biological field stations, museums, public lands, K-12 schools, and other organizations in the US and Costa Rica.
In the biologically diverse Southern Appalachian region, I founded and directed an art-science residency program called Art + Science In the Field (AS IF Center) and also founded and co-organized a science social group called Asheville Science Tavern. Through DiscoverLife.org at the University of Georgia, I worked as an outreach coordinator for several citizen science projects, or public participation in science research (PPSR). For over two decades, I have taught workshops and given dozens of presentations in PPSR, science communication, scientific illustration, art-science, and other kinds of science engagement.
I worked for ten years as a research technician in several research labs focusing on pollination biology, microbial symbionts of insects, and landscape ecology. In each lab, I focused special attention on creative ways to engage the community with our research.
I have catalyzed and curated several exhibits and performances with science themes at universities, academic society meetings, museums, and other venues. I make art about science and have produced many scientific illustrations. My artwork has been exhibited in galleries, museums, and public spaces in the US, Belgium, and the UK — you can see some of this work on my art website, nancylowe.studio.
For professional development, I have attended many conferences on science engagement including the colloquium on the Science of Science Communication (National Academy of Sciences, Washington, DC), Two Cultures Converging (SciArt Initiative, NY), and Getting Your Eyes On: Art/Biology Connections at Grinnell College (where I was a keynote speaker). I frequently attend professional meetings such as the Ecological Society of America, Organization of Biological Field Stations, Entomological Society of America, and the Association of Environmental Studies and Sciences. I read and collect peer-reviewed literature about science engagement / informal science education (ISE) to keep up with this rapidly changing field.
I believe we must make science a welcoming and inspiring place for everyone, especially people who have traditionally been marginalized. I have leadership experience on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) teams, several years of experience working at an HBCU, and a commitment to keep learning with humility. I frequently participate in opportunities to learn about racism, inequality, and marginalized people, and I encourage my partners to do so as well. DEI is hard work and often uncomfortable — it requires doing things differently than the familiar ways we have done them before. We stumble a lot, and yet it is imperative to keep trying.
I have many years of experience writing successful grants and reports for universities and nonprofits, and have collaborated with several successful NSF grant teams. I am a member of Advancing Research in Society (ARIS, formerly the National Association of Broader Impacts) and the Center for the Advancement of Informal Science (CAISE). I have a BFA in Video and Time Arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
You can learn more about the folks I have worked with by visiting the Partners page. To get in touch, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow me on Twitter @nancyartscience and on Instagram @sciencecandance.
— Nancy Lowe