EEB graduate student Jeff Shi works closely with 826michigan as a volunteer and workshop leader. 826michigan is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping students, ages 6 - 18, with expository and creative writing at eight U.S. locations, including one in Ann Arbor, Mich.

Shi facilitates Ann Arbor’s creative writing programs and serves as an ambassador for new volunteers and the community. “I've started creating STEM-themed workshops to bring writing and the sciences together for young writers and students in the area,” he said. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and math.

The Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum is sponsoring the Great Lakes Bat Festival Sept. 27 at Washtenaw Community College. Shi is leading "Busting Bat Myths: A Night in the Life of a Bat!," a drop-in writing workshop for 826 from 1:30 – 4 p.m. to help dispel long-held common biases and superstitions about bats. He’s presenting "From Dracula to Batman: Bat Myths Through the Ages," a community conservation seminar at noon on cultural and media representations of bats and how they've changed over the course of human history. He’ll reprise the writing workshop with a Halloween theme (batty and other costumes encouraged) at 826 on Friday, October 24.

“I first got involved at 826michigan because I wanted to interact broadly with young students in the community,” said Shi. “I've always been very interested in writing education, especially in public schools, and I found it a great opportunity to show people that STEM fields can be creative and artistic as well. I also really enjoy being able to interact with all the other great volunteers, interns, and staff members, who come from widely different backgrounds and disciplines and are passionate about the students in our area.”

Shi leads workshops a couple times a month or so during the school year and sporadically helps with other outreach, advertising, and events as needed. “Some months a lot more than others!”

Shi is a doctoral student working with Professors Catherine Badgley and Daniel Rabosky on patterns of diversification, the evolution of shape and form in bats, and functional ecology.

See more in EEB events on Sept. 27 and Oct. 24.