Molly Cleveland | S.T.E.M. Intern, Summer 2016
My first experience with the Seacoast Science Center (SSC) was visiting for a job shadow during my freshmen year of high school. Now, more than six years later, I’m a college intern working on SSC’s S.T.E.M. curriculum. S.T.E.M. stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math—all subjects incorporated into the exhibits and programs at the Center.
For the summers of 2014 and 2015, I worked as a camp counselor for the Center’s Seaside Safari Camp program. It was a fun and educational experience for both me and my campers, with a new adventure every day. I loved working with camp and teaching our campers all about the Rocky Shore and our local species, but this summer I was looking for something a little different. I wanted to still be involved with the visitors and campers who visit the Center during the summer, but I wanted more of an inside look at how we design our programs.
When my college announced that the NASA program “Maine Space Grant Consortium” would be offering S.T.E.M. subject internship grants for the summer of 2016, I knew this was my chance! I applied for the grant, knowing exactly where I wanted to intern. When I was awarded with the grant I connected once again with the Seacoast Science Center. With the help of Perrin Chick, former Education Director, and Kate Leavitt, now Director of Mission Initiatives, we designed an internship that would give me a hands-on approach to learning the ins and outs of curriculum design at the Center.
I began my 3-month internship at the Center on May 16th, and I couldn’t be happier to be spending another summer on the Seacoast. My role this summer is to help the Center incorporate their own S.T.E.M. grant into the exhibits and programs we offer. Right now we are developing a fun ecosystems game for the touch tank that will help families understand the interconnectedness in our rocky shore system.
I’m excited to be working with Kate and other SSC staff as we infuse more S.T.E.M. into our wonderful facility. By offering more hands-on activities during our programs and at our exhibits we hope to evoke scientific curiosity in our visitors and school groups. I want visitors to walk away from an experience at SSC knowing that they are scientists! Most people are not aware that they engage in investigations in their daily lives. We never think of ourselves as scientists, but we are, and that is my job this summer: to come up with fun ways to get our visitors observing, creating questions and experiments, and building a scientific confidence in themselves. With my NASA S.T.E.M. grant I’ve been given an amazing opportunity to get some real hands-on experience into the world of science education and to make a difference!