Bob Chen ~ Urban Oceanographer

WISP classroom

Improving Skills, Enriching STEM Content

NSF Graduate STEM Fellows
The NSF Graduate STEM Fellows in K-12 Education (GK-12) Program supports fellowships and training for graduate students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Through interactions with teachers and students in K-12 schools, graduate fellows can improve communication and teaching skills while enriching STEM content and instruction for their K-12 partners.
The National Science Foundation promotes the involvement of graduate students in education and outreach through their Graduate STEM Fellows in K-12 Education (GK-12) Program. The GK-12 program also addresses what some see as a disconnect between the two separate worlds of science and education, and by creating lines of communication between these two fields within an academic institution, perhaps some of these disconnects can be repaired, even overcoming a lack of respect or of willingness.

Engaging graduate students in education and outreach affects them, of course, but what about those around them - do they get affected too?
  • Robyn Hannigan, Chair of the UMass EEOS Department, says that since getting involved with GK-12, her graduate students have matured in how they do their science, which in turn has informed the way she approaches her own research.
  • Having graduate students attend a teacher professional development workshop has produces changes in how those workshops are designed because the graduate students question the content, the process, the curriculum, how people learn.
  • The presence of a graduate student in a classroom can bring a new level of scientific inquiry to the teacher, helping them to ask their students the right questions.
Keith Cialino
Keith Cialino, Ph.D. Student, GK-12 WISP and Knauss Fellow
Working with a classroom teacher has been a very positive experience