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Centers and Large Facilities - Education and Outreach


Project Name: Southern California Earthquake Center

Location: University of Southern California, 3651 Trousdale Pkwy #169, Los Angeles, CA 90089

Contact information: Mark Benthien, benthien@usc.edu, 213-740-0323

Website:  www.scec.org  (and www.earthquakecountry.info)

Main Project description/purpose

The Southern California Earthquake Center (SCEC), headquartered at the University of Southern California, was founded in 1991 with a mission to gather data on earthquakes, integrate this information into a comprehensive understanding of earthquake phenomena, and communicate this understanding to the world at large as useful knowledge for reducing earthquake risk.  Funding for SCEC activities is provided by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).  An outstanding community of over 600 scientists from over 50 institutions throughout the country and internationally participate.  To support this community, SCEC engages in information technology research that will revolutionize the methods of doing collaborative research and distributing research products on-line.  In addition, the SCEC Communication, Education, and Outreach Program offers student research experiences, web-based education tools, classroom curricula, museum displays, public information brochures, online newsletters, and technical workshops and publications.

Education and Outreach Mission and Goals

The SCEC Communication, Education, and Outreach (CEO) program has four long-term goals:

  • Coordinate productive interactions among a diverse community of SCEC scientists and with partners in science, engineering, risk management, government, business, and education;
  • Increase earthquake knowledge and science literacy at all educational levels, including students and the general public;
  • Improve earthquake hazard and risk assessments; and
  • Promote earthquake preparedness, mitigation, and planning for response and recovery.

CEO is well integrated within the SCEC science planning process.  This includes participation of CEO staff in the development of short-term research objectives and evaluation of proposals received each year in order to develop products and services needed by our various audiences.  SCEC scientists in turn are involved in developing and fulfilling CEO short-term objectives.

Primary Audience(s) served (i.e., high school teachers, college students, etc.)

SCEC CEO activities are organized within six focus areas: research partnerships coordinated within the SCEC Seismic Hazard & Risk Analysis focus group; Knowledge Transfer activities with practicing professionals, government officials, scientists and engineers; Public Outreach activities and products for the general public, civic and preparedness groups, and the news media; K-12 and Informal Education programs and resources for students, educators, and learners of all ages; the Experiential Learning and Career Advancement office which coordinates undergraduate and graduate internships and support for early career scientists; and SCEC Community development activities and resources for SCEC scientists and students.