In November 2014, I was the only non-museum member selected to participate in the Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network’s “Sharing Science Workshop & Practicum” at the Museum of Science in Boston, MA. In this program, I joined Harvard and MIT graduates students along with five museum educators for a day-long immersion in the “Sharing Science Workshop & Practicum (SSW&P),” the Museum’s one-day professional development program in nanoscale informal science and education for early career researchers. This program is designed to enhance the scientists science communication skills and engage their interest in education and outreach as well as preparing them for providing effective and rewarding educational outreach experiences. After working in small groups with the students, helping them practice effective strategies and approaches to engaging with public audiences, we actually got to spend several hours on the floor of the museum interacting with museum attendees. I never thought I would be doing hands-on interpretation on the exhibit floor of the Museum of Science! The workshop materials, videos, and more resources are available for free online http://www.nisenet.org/catalog/tools_guides/sharing_science_workshop_practicum
In March 2015, I hosted SSW&P at my library for faculty members from my institution, the University of Southern Mississippi, and already have received interest from my participants in participating in science outreach events this summer at the local public library. I plan on offering this professional development program again and am excited about being able to provide support to my students and faculty in disseminating their knowledge to broader audiences.