Interns complete 6 Degrees of Connection internship at Nurture Nature Center and Lehigh University

Interns in front of the Science on a Sphere – from left to right: Brianna Gipson, Lauren Fosbenner, Rachael Kraft, and Will Pfadenhauer.

For 8 weeks this summer, Nurture Nature Center had the pleasure to work with four terrific undergraduate interns as part of the “6 Degrees of Connection” project funded by a grant from NASA’s Competitive Program for Science Museums and Planetariums (CP4SMP). The interns – Will Pfadenhauer from Lafayette College, Rachael Kraft from Vassar College, Brianna Gipson and Lauren Fosbenner from Lehigh University – worked on developing an education program for middle school students about the interconnectedness of earth systems. The program utilizes the Science on a Sphere to teach earth science concepts and how global systems can impact us on a local level and vice versa. Additionally, the program highlights several STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) professionals to capture students’ interest and motivate them to further pursue STEM experiences and careers.

The internship was co-led by Dr. Kathryn Semmens, Science Director at Nurture Nature Center, and Dr. Joan Ramage, Associate Professor at Lehigh University. The interns had the opportunity to work on research, script writing, networking with STEM professionals, dataset development, and presentation skills. They also had several professional development opportunities, including instruction on new software, and participation in an international academic conference, the Eastern Snow Conference held at NOAA in College Park, MD. The interns worked with all partners on the NASA project partner team and got to tour the Maryland Science Center in Baltimore, MD and NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD.

Lauren Fosbenner, intern, presents to a group of middle school students.

Interviewing NASA scientists and other STEM professionals was a highlight of the experience as was working collaboratively together to create the program and present to middle school students. The interns provided a significant, valuable contribution to the project and their smiling faces will be sorely missed here at NNC. We wish them all the best of luck ahead with their bright futures!

Serving as a summer intern at the Nurture Nature Center for the Six Degrees of Connection Project has been enjoyable, educational, rewarding and gratifying. – feedback from intern