Asee peer logo

Internships In Public Science Education Program: A Model For Informal Science Education.

Download Paper |


2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Emerging Trends in Engineering Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.801.1 - 9.801.9



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Greta Zenner

author page

Amy Payne

author page

Aura Gimm

author page

Wendy Crone

Download Paper |

NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 1793

Internships in Public Science Education: A model for informal science education

J. Aura Gimm, Amy C. Payne, Greta M. Zenner, and Wendy C. Crone

Materials Research Science and Engineering Center/Department of Engineering Physics, University of Wisconsin-Madison, WI 53706


The NSF-funded Internships in Public Science Education (IPSE) program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW) provides a unique opportunity for undergraduate and graduate students with diverse academic backgrounds to experience learning and teaching science - specifically in the field of nanotechnology - to the general public and middle-school students. The program is a collaboration with Discovery World Museum of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, which provides expertise in public science education, access to local science teachers, and opportunities to test materials with a live audience. Since the program began nearly three years ago, UW IPSE interns have created a number of classroom activities ranging from understanding the scale of a nanometer, to experimenting with liquid crystal sensors, to critically examining the societal implications of nanotechnology. The program focuses on both the development of activity modules and the professional development of the interns. During activity development, intern teams learn about nanotechnology, gather background information, brainstorm ideas, present and receive feedback on their ideas, conduct experiments, build hands-on models, and create instructional materials to explain nanotechnology and related science concepts. During professional development, interns learn about creating classroom activities, techniques for presenting to non-technical audiences, and strategies for assessing their materials; and work on their skills in teamwork, project design, leadership, and science communication. In addition to visiting middle-school classrooms, interns participate in on- and off-campus informal science education events where they present to wider audiences ranging from science teachers, to members of the adult lay public, to groups of middle-school-age children. In this paper, we discuss the development, implementation, and assessment of the UW-Madison IPSE program.


In the fall of 2001, the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW) Internships in Public Science Education (IPSE) program began as a way to connect audiences of all ages to world-class science expertise and cutting-edge research. Graduate and undergraduate interns design hands-

Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright  2004, American Society for Engineering Education

Zenner, G., & Payne, A., & Gimm, A., & Crone, W. (2004, June), Internships In Public Science Education Program: A Model For Informal Science Education. Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--12723

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2004 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015