March 9-24, 2018

Citizen Science

2015 Atlanta Science Festival Citizen Science Campaign presented by 

In partnership with Science Cheerleader and, this month-long citizen science campaign will highlight easy ways for anyone to be a scientist by collecting data for real research projects. This year we feature four projects: taking pictures of nighttime skies to inform our understanding of light pollution, observing the timing of seasonal changes in plants to inform our understanding of climate change, measuring backyard precipitation to inform weather reporting and research, and contributing to decisions about the future of space exploration.

Through citizen science projects, anyone can be a scientist for a day. In partnership with Women in Technology and Science Cheerleaders, we celebrate women who have devoted their careers to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). See profiles below.


  1. Project BudBurst.

    Every plant tells a story. Whether you have an afternoon or a whole season, you can make an important contribution to a better understanding of changing climates. Join a national network of people monitoring plants as the seasons change. Project BudBurst data is collected in a consistent manner across the country so that scientists can learn more about the responsiveness of plants to changes in climate locally, regionally, and nationally. Project BudBurst is a NEON Citizen Science program funded by the National Science Foundation.

    Get started at, create an account, select a plant to observe, make a single (one-time) report or decide to make regular observation reports, and record your data online. Or, you can download and print an observation report form and enter your data online later. Choose the right form for your chosen plant: use the Deciduous Trees form for most of the plants listed below; Evergreen form for magnolia; Wildflowers are also good to observe.

    Suggested plants to observe in the Atlanta area:

    - American beautyberry - Sweetgum
    - Crape myrtle - Tulip poplar
    - Eastern redbud - Pawpaw
    - Flowering dogwood - Southern magnolia
    - American elm others

    What am I supposed to observe? You will record the stage (early, middle, late) of your plant's phenophases (budburst, first flower, first ripe fruit, color change). Learn more about phenophases and how to identify the right stage.

    Family Guides: QuickGuide PDF (middle school and older learners) & BudBurst Buddies PDF (for little ones)

  2. Globe at Night

    The Globe at Night program is an international citizen-science campaign to raise public awareness of the impact of light pollution by inviting citizen-scientists to measure their night sky brightness and submit their observations to a website from a computer or smart phone. It's easy to get involved - to participate via computer, just follow these 5 Simple Steps, or use your mobile device with the Loss of the Night app (detailed instructions for Android and iOS devices included). Globe at Night is a program of the National Optical Astronomy Observatory.

  3. Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network (CoCoRaHS)

    CoCoRaHS is looking for backyard weather observers! Each time a rain, hail or snow storm crosses your area, you can take measurements of precipitation and record your data online. The data are then displayed and organized for professional and ameteur researchers to analyze and apply to daily situations ranging from water resource analysis and severe storm warnings to neighbors comparing how much rain fell in their backyards. Find out how to get started here.

  4. NASA Asteroid Initiative

    In its history, the Earth has been repeatedly struck by asteroids, large chunks of rock from space that can cause considerable damage in a collision. Can we—or should we—try to protect Earth from potentially hazardous impacts? You can have a say in decisions about the future of space exploration. Review the background material and speak up here.

  5. Learn more about citizen science and find other projects at



Women in Technology professionals and Science Cheerleaders will be on-site at the following Atlanta Science Festival events to show you how to be a citizen scientist and to share their STEM careers with you:



Dana Winn, The Weather ChannelDana Winn, Senior Software Developer, The Weather Channel. Dana graduated from North Carolina State University with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering.  She started her career working for NAVAIR (Department of the Navy) as an Electronics Engineer.  After 2 years as an engineer, she decided to change course and pursue her true passion, a career in meteorology. Dana went back to school and graduated from the Georgia Institute of Technology with a Master of Science in Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. After graduation, her desire was to find a career where she could combine her interest in computer technology with meteorology. She found that position at The Weather Channel, in The Weather Group, where she currently works as a Senior Software Developer.

Kat McCluskey, Art Director, Emerging Experiences Group at Razorfish. Kat graduated from the Alabama High School of Math and Science and continued to Auburn University to pursue studies in Engineering. Half-way through her time at Auburn, Kat refocused to study graphic design with a focus on digital design and the desire to merge art with technology. After graduating from Auburn, Kat moved to Atlanta and began work in digital advertising. Kat is currently an Art Director with the Emerging Experiences Group at Razorfish Atlanta. This group of about 20 individuals creates digital experiences for a wide variety of projects and clients which utilize the latest technology available. As part of the team, Kat focuses on visual design, user experience design and testing, and ideation facilitation with clients and members of her team.

Jen Martin, Chapter Lead, Girl Develop It. Jen graduated from the University of Dayton with a degree in business marketing and graphic design. She started her career at Reynolds & Reynolds in Dayton, supporting their online product lines. During that time, she was introduced to development and fell in love with it. After 2 years at Reynolds, she moved to Cincinnati, working for digital advertising agencies including Rockfish where she works today. While at Rockfish, she was introduced to Girl Develop It by a developer who was teaching a HTML/CSS class, and began taking classes. Her passion for technology and development grew through those classes, so it was no surprise when she relocated to Atlanta that she went looking for a Girl Develop It class. When she discovered there wasn't one, Jen contacted the national headquarters to open one here. Jen launched the chapter in September of 2014. In the 6 short months it has grown to 400 members, completed 5 sold out classes, 7 networking events, and has partnered with numerous technology groups in Atlanta.

Mary Carol Alexander, General Manager, Greater Southeast District, US Enterprise & Partner Group, Microsoft. Mary Carol is a results-oriented senior sales leader, with a proven track record in delivering revenue and achieving overall business objectives, with extensive experience in sales management in the following markets: SaaS, Cloud Computing, infrastructure and application software, hardware, and network/telecom markets. She is responsible for just under $1 billion in revenue, leads nearly 300 direct and indirect employees and 37 sales territories that spans six states in the Southeast and manages relationships with some the of world’s largest companies, such as Coca-Cola, The Home Depot and Delta Airlines. Prior to Microsoft, Mary Carol has over 25 years of sales and management experience with Qlik,, AT&T, and Sun Microsystems. Mary Carol is also on the TechBridge Board, a non-profit that drives community impact by bringing affordable technology to other non-profits in Atlanta. Mary Carol holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Bradley University. She is an avid fan of Alabama football (Roll Tide!), and the Atlanta Falcons, and her family is very active with the Atlanta Lab Rescue organization, where they fostered six puppies. She enjoys playing tennis, Zumba, and spending time with family and friends.

ZenobiaZenobia, CEO of technology-focused public relations firm,
Women in Technology Mentor, former San Francisco 49ers cheerleader.
Read her interview at

Amessia (Mimi), Epidemiologist.
Atlanta Dream cheerleader.
Read her interview at

Kristin, Chiropractor
Atlanta Hawks cheerleader.
Read her interview at

Memorie, Physician Assistant,
Graduate student, Nutrition and Health Science
Atlanta Dream cheerleader.
Read her interview at



Kristy, Research Chemist at CDC
former Atlanta Falcons cheerleader.
Read her interview at