This superhero is not faster than a speeding bullet.
Nor is he stronger than a locomotive.
He’s not able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. Not even close.
When visiting classrooms full of school kids pre-pandemic, The Antidote quizzed students about what superpower they thought he possessed.
Flight and super-fast speed were among the guesses.
“I tell them I have a lot of knowledge,” said Tim Evans, The Antidote’s alter ego. “I’ve been to school many years and I have a lot of degrees.”
Education is his superpower and it’s a superpower they can have, too, if they go to school and study hard, Evans said.
“I think education is the antidote to a lot of things,” Evans said.
Evans, an associate professor in the University of Missouri Department of Veterinary Pathology, was recently named among six in the university’s first group of Engagement Scholars, tasked with taking research to the public.
“I’ve talked about a lot of things,” with groups, he said. “I’m trying to talk about science and basically STEM education.”
A veterinary toxicologist, Evans was instrumental earlier this year in getting contaminated pet food recalled.
He also uses his professional experience in classroom talks, telling kids what plants can be harmful to pets.
He doesn’t speak only to schoolchildren and not always as The Antidote. His audiences have included a science museum, the state fair, a speedway and a TEDx talk at Furman University in South Carolina in 2017.
University students in his classroom are another audience.
Demonstrating to his students how they will undertake things they’ve never done before, he instructs them in the art of making balloon animals.
He has other uses for his balloon animals. He also has a taxidermy penguin he uses to discuss animal diversity.
Being named an engagement scholar provides him with some credentials for things he has been doing for several years, Evans said.
“It’s quite an honor trying to learn more of the nuts and bolts of engagement and communication,” Evans said. “Engagement is supposed to be interactive and a mutually-beneficial interaction.”
Measuring the success of his engagements may require waiting to determine how many of his audience members become veterinarians or scientists, he said.