Aliens among us
Been helping process data at SETI Live lately... No, I haven't found any aliens yet, but lots of random Earth-based radio signals! The idea of the project is to recruit a bunch of random joes to look at the signals and teach the computer how to recognize Earth-based signals, eventually narrowing things down to get just signals from space, which can then be analyzed more closely. It's pretty cool, actually.
But if you're going to look for aliens and be sure of finding them, I'd suggest dolphins, apes, elephants... heck, even dogs and cats.
What? I didn't say extraterrestrials. Just aliens. People of another species. People who don't think like us. Okay, so they don't use symbolic language and they're not as good at using tools, but they ARE alien minds to explore. Getting to know an animal will fulfill a lot of the longing to connect with people who are not like ourselves, but which are non-threatening (either because they're light-years away, or because they have fuzzy ears and a floppy tongue).
Animal psychology FTW! :)
And if we ever do talk to a sentient extraterrestrial, it would be the mathematicians and astronomers who determine that they're there to begin with, but I would not be surprised if the first real communication is accomplished by someone who is used to understanding alien minds... the minds of cats, or ants, or whales. Someone who doesn't make assumptions about aliens having to be exactly like us. Someone who knows that you can't think of a cat as a human in a fur coat, any more than you can pretend an autistic person is "really NT, deep down".