Noyce 2019 Summer Internship at KSC

In summer 2019, funded by the Noyce Capacity Building grant, 10 STEM students took part in the summer camp internship program at the Kentucky Science Center (KSC). There was a total of 30 summer camps in various grade levels ranging from PreK to Grades 7-8.  Each summer camp was a week-long and each intern took part in at least three separate summer camps in order to diversify their internship experience.  The 10 students were selected from a pool of interested applicants for this four-week summer internship in July at the Kentucky Science Center. 6 students (60%) were females and 4 (40%) were males. 5 Biology majors and 2 Biochemistry & Molecular Biology majors (grouped under Biological Sciences), 1 Chemistry major, and 2 Physics majors.  No Math majors applied for this internship.  Each student worked on average about 25 hours per week and received a stipend of $1000 for their internship, $500 as a housing stipend and $368 towards food expenses. Out of the 10 students, 2 were Freshman, 5 Sophomores, 1 Junior, and 2 Graduating Seniors.  Mean GPA of the students was 3.35. These students worked as an intern under the guidance and supervision by a staff assigned by the Kentucky Science Center.  The interns facilitated all the lesson plans provided to them by their supervisor.  They used the engineering design processes, inquiry-based learning, Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) to conduct these summer camps.  Additionally, these interns provided guidance to camp counselors in the summer camp classrooms.  These summer camps were called – Planes, Trains and Automobiles, Cool Chemistry, Scales and Trails, Snowmen in Summer, Waterworks, Lego Design Challenge, Tall Tales, Wild By Design, Journey to Space, Speedometry, Once Upon a Design, Lego Robotics 2.0, Inventor’s Lab, Matter Mysteries, Pokemon Science, Engineer Your World, Uniquely Human, Agents of STEAM, Magical Creatures, Code-Games-Create, Medical Mysteries, Lego NXT, Candy Chemistry, Animation Creation, Chemistry, Destruction Engineering, EV3 Robot Challenge, Virtual Reality, and Space Technologies.

Survey and observational data on each student’s summer camp experience and internship activities were collected by the project Co-Directors. Additionally, the Kentucky Science Center’s Summer Camp supervisors conducted a quantitative and qualitative assessment of each student intern’s performance at the summer camps.  After the completion of their internship, all the students were interviewed by the project’s Research Assistant. Some of the student interviews were  recorded as videos.  We also made a documentary video about the summer internship experience of the interns at the Kentucky Science Center.  We analyzed all the survey, interview and observational data to determine their interest in pursuing a career in STEM teaching.  After the completion of the internship, project team surveyed the students that had 10 questioners. We got varied responses; many were positive. We were particularly happy to get a rather encouraging response from one of the students  who stated - “It went from something I never even considered as a career route to something I’m really looking into.” Student responses from the interviews conducted by the Research Assistant were consistent with their responses in the surveys and corroborated with what they stated in the surveys.

Next, the results from the Kentucky Science Center’s quantitative and qualitative assessment of the student intern’s performance at each summer camp (including their interpersonal and communication/interaction skills with the summer camp participants) were tabulated. We would like to point out that this is the first time any of these students did an internship of this nature. Their performance (Facilitation Skills) based on 12 separate parameters were rated on a scale of 1 - 5 (5-Outstanding, 4-Exeeds Expectations, 3-Meets Expectations, 2-Below Expectations, 1-Unsatisfactory). Facilitation Skills rating for the student interns were used to gauge how well they would do as teachers and interact with the younger students, as well as their personality traits. Based on the ratings/results we conclude that any of these STEM students would do well as a STEM teacher in a high school classroom setting.