Zooniverse: Citizen Science Projects for Everyone

I have always loved science, but I chose not to go into a scientific field for reasons I cannot explain. I considered going back to school, but I found a way to get involved in scientific research without taking out tens of thousands of dollars in student loans or being a middle-aged postdoc. 

Zooniverse calls itself a place for people-powered research. It turns out computers aren't the best at everything, and sometimes a bunch of human volunteers are needed.  No specialized knowledge is required, and each project has a guide to teach you what you need to know for your task. There are forums to chat with other citizen scientists and researchers if you need help or just want to learn more.

One of the projects I have worked on is Manatee Chat, which unfortunately does not actually involve chatting with manatees. The task is to identify manatee sounds. I spent a lot of time listening to manatees chewing, which is more soothing than you would think. 

If eavesdropping on marine mammals isn't your cup of tea, there are projects on a wide variety of topics. You can work on identifying elephants by their ears, classifying Antarctic sensor data to help spot neutrinos, or categorizing World War II separation notices