I am currently a Graduate Research Assistant in the Department of STEM Education in the College of Education at North Carolina State University. My area of interest is informal science education with a focus on professional pathways, and self-efficacy related to teaching in informal science settings. Under my advisor’s guidance, I conducted an independent research project to explore this interest in my first year. The study examined informal science educators’ self-efficacy related to teaching in informal science centers. These survey data were used to develop a proposal to examine the professional tracks of informal science educators for the National Science Foundation’s Graduate Research Fellowship Program. My proposal was highly rated and I was the first person in my department to be awarded the fellowship.
In addition to conducting my own research, I am also exploring the influence of informal science experiences on student interest in science and STEM careers. My dissertation is focused on a museum-based, family STEM program seeking to increase youth science interest and career aspirations. It is part of an NSF grant Promoting STEM Interests and Careers Through FAME: Families and Museums Exploring with my advisor, Dr. M. Gail Jones. Learn more about our researchhere.