published March 13, 2014

What's Happening in SENCER-ISE: Cornell Undergraduate Mariel Schneider Reflects on Work with SENCER-ISE Project

Hailey Chenevert, NCSCE

The SENCER-ISE partnerships are now deep into their projects using compelling civic issues to forge lasting and valuable connections between formal and informal science educators. To share the great work they are doing with our community, we have started a new feature for the eNews on partnership activities. To learn more about the initiative and the partnerships, visit the SENCER-ISE website, found here .

The SENCER-ISE partnerships are providing programs and courses for students young and old, but some are going further to include undergraduate and graduate students in implementing the projects. One such partnership is Cornell University and the Sciencenter's Science from the Start: Engaging Researchers, Undergraduates and a Science Museum to Reach Early Learners and Set the Stage for STEM Learning, a project focused on researching the way children learn while providing parents and caregivers the tools needed to optimize their child's engagement in STEM learning.

The overall goal of the project and the partnership is to develop and refine tools for parents, caregivers, and educators to engage their children in STEM learning, and to motivate young Sciencenter visitors to search, question, and explore the museum.

Tamar Kushnir of Cornell University and Michelle Kortenaar of the Sciencenter, Co-PIs on their SENCER-ISE project, are being assisted on the project by Mariel Schneider, a senior at Cornell University working towards her Bachelor of Science degree in Human Development. Mariel has been a research assistant at Cornell University's Early Childhood Cognition Lab (ECCL), which "studies the process by which children learn about cause and effect through [their] everyday experiences," since her freshman year, and has been involved in the SENCER-ISE project for the past six months.

Mariel is involved in studying how signage at the Sciencenter affects the way children and adults interact with exhibits, and is designing new signs to improve visitors' understanding of related concepts and exhibits in the museum.

Recently, Mariel reflected on her involvement in the SENCER-ISE project. She has been able to apply the research she does at the ECCL to the work she is doing at the Sciencenter, and the partnership has influenced the direction in which she would like to take her career in the future. Mariel notes, "I have learned that I enjoy designing projects, after coming up with a vision that benefits the health and education of people –both children and adults." After graduating, Mariel will be working in healthcare to help hospitals become more efficient in providing better care to patients.

To read Mariel's full reflection, visit Cornell University and the Sciencenter's partnership page of the SENCER-ISE website, found here.