Brian Bothner is an associate professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Montana State University, and director of MSU’s Proteomics, Metabolomics and Mass Spectrometry Facility. He leads an NIH-funded research group that includes two post-doctoral researchers, seven doctoral students and eight undergraduate students.
In addition to his teaching and research he is active in engagement. In the past four years, Bothner has participated in over 50 outreach events aimed at 5-50 year olds. Events range from formal visits to high school science classes and the Montana Summer Science Education program to Saturdays at the public library. As part of their outreach efforts, the National Science Foundation highlighted the outreach program he created on viruses. Visiting local elementary, junior and senior high schools is a major part of Bothner’s efforts to interest kids in science. Just as in the MSU classroom, his goal is to create an interactive environment where discussion and hands-on learning generate enthusiasm.
He has worked as a volunteer with younger (preschool) and older (masters and post-baccalaureate) learners, and participated in group outreach efforts such as the International Lego League (a robotic competition), Nanodays, MSU Science Saturdays and Expanding Your Horizons. More recently, he initiated a program that brings groups of advanced high school students into the lab for hands-on experience and has coordinated visits to laboratories all across campus. This program is specifically aimed at attracting bright students from Belgrade and Bozeman to MSU.
Bothner encourages undergraduate and graduate members of his research group to participate in outreach efforts, providing them with training in how to present and interact across a range of scientific levels. MSU students also play a valuable role in helping younger students see that they could become a scientist too.