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March 19, 2007

Japanese educators host CILS Science Fellows Program director at international symposium on science communication

Candice Brown, director of the Center for Informal Learning and Schools (CILS), was an invited keynote speaker at a recent international meeting in Japan.

CILS is an NSF-funded collaborative between UCSC, King's College London, and the Exploratorium in San Francisco to strengthen K-12 science education by broadening our understanding of how students learn science in both formal and informal environments.

The program has attracted great interest in Japan, Australia, and Korea, and Brown's Japanese hosts were eager to sponsor her visit. Her keynote was entitled "Preparing Future Scientist Educators: The Center for Informal Learning and Schools Science Fellows Program."

The two-day International Symposium on Science Communication: Museums in Cooperation and Collaboration with Education Institutions was held at the National Science Museum in Tokyo, which is interested in developing a program similar to CILS, said Brown. The symposium showcased museums and universities as places where knowledge is integrated through interactions with science and technology. More than 100 representatives of universities, museums, and government were present, and participants expressed strong interest in future collaborations, said Brown.

The UCSC-based Science Fellows Program prepares Ph.D. students in the physical and biological sciences to teach science. As fellows, participants spend spring quarter each year for three years engaged with CILS projects, which include courses, seminars, and hands-on experiences in informal science education. The commitment is similar to being a teaching assistant or graduate student researcher; four to six students per year have been accepted into the fellows program, and each has received a total of $13,500 and fee support for the three quarters.

Fellows have designed and taught innovative science projects for undergraduates, as well as for UC's CalTeach, COSMOS, and teacher education programs. Although the fellows program ends this year, CILS is partnering with the Center for Adaptive Optics to establish the Institute for Scientist and Engineer Educators.

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