I am passionate about improving science education experiences for students.
Within science education, most science learning occurs within the classroom. Despite teachers’ best efforts to incorporate laboratory activities and inquiry-based activities, there are few ways better than teaching students how to be scientists than by actually doing the work of scientists. Student-scientist partnerships (SSPs) involve students working in science laboratories or the field as apprentices to a scientist. Working with scientists often increases or affirms a student’s interest in a science career. Through this method, students learn and engage in authentic scientific practices, using authentic equipment in an authentic research laboratory. When students partner with research scientists, they are able to break through the limitations of a traditional science classroom, including structured learning activities that are carefully orchestrated and pre- determined by the teacher. While I currently interact most often with undergraduate students, the establishment of SSPs within undergraduate learning will provide a model for developing such partnerships at the secondary school level as well.