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Real Science Opportunities for Students: Career Awareness and Internships

Principal Investigators

Wolff-Michael Roth, Asit Mazumder, Anne Marshall, University of Victoria

Research Fellow

Michiel van Eijck, University of Victoria

Research Assistants

Pei-Ling Hsu, Francis Guenette, University of Victoria



The National Science Education Standards (National Research Council, 1996) emphasizes that all students should experience the quality of science instruction rooted in authentic experience. Packard and Nguyen (2003) also state that career-related internships and intensive academic programs, especially those that yielded important mentoring relationships, were contexts in which adolescent girls negotiated career-related possible selves and subsequent plans. Unfortunately, in many schools, teachers have such heavy curricular demands that it is almost impossible for them to provide an opportunity for students to experience authentic science, let alone to have an internship within a science related activity. Authentic science can be generally defined as science practiced through scientific methods by scientists while school science as science taught to students in regular science classrooms (Uyeda et al., 2002). This study has been designed to provide authentic science experience to high school students in a university lab, participating in science activities with scientists.


In the research, we will carry out ethnographic observation in a university lab and high school science classes in order to deepen our understanding of the ways of doing science and background and establish a research partnership with scientists, students and their teacher. High school students who have an interest in participating in the university lab will be invited to do so. Meanwhile, scientists would arrange lab work, fieldtrip and reference for students to participate. During the research, we will take field notes, videotape the process and interview students, scientists and the teacher. To interpret and analyze the data, we draw on discourse analysis (Bavelas et al., 2002 ) as methodology and cultural historical activity theory (Engeström, 1999) as a theoretical framework to investigate the study. We also use possible selves mapping activity (Shepard & Marshall, 1999) as a interview way to explore science related career aspiration of high school students.



NODE 1 Authentic Science Opportunities for Youth


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