Queens, N.Y.–The New York Hall of Science hosted professionals from cultural institutions across the country and abroad as part of its Science Career Ladder Immersion Institute in an effort to increase access to science and science education careers for underrepresented youth.

The Institute, which took place January 14–17, is the first of two workshops that will provide 16 museums and science centers with the knowledge and skills to develop a Science Career Ladder program (SCL) in their own communities. Each institution will work closely with the Hall over the next two years to adapt and implement the best practices of the Science Career Ladder, thanks to funding from the Noyce Foundation and the Institute of Museum and Library Services, a federal agency.

With more than 20 years of experience, the SCL has proven itself successful in involving minority high school and college youths as Explainers who provide exhibition interpretation, conduct demonstrations, and lead workshops for visitors. Over 60 percent of these students have continued to pursue science, education, or technology-related careers. The SCL has also served to significantly increase the number of ethnically and economically diverse visitors to the Hall.

Science Career Ladder Immersion Institute participant goals included:

Ascertain the fundamental skills that youth programs should foster

Identify the "rungs," from junior high school through college, that compose the SCL

Learn how to create and develop a skilled youth staff

Create a basic outline that articulates roles, responsibilities and long-term goals for sister programs

Begin planning implementation logistics

Meet with Hall staff and board to discuss the next phase

Over 20 participants took part in the Institute from 10 select institutions including London Science Museum, South African Agency for Science & Technology Advancement, Fort Worth Museum of Science & History, Pacific Science Museum (Seattle, Wash.), Edventure Children´s Museum (Columbia, S.C.), Journey Museum (Rapid City, S.D.), Queens Botanical Garden, Sciencenter (Ithaca, N.Y.), Smithsonian Air and Space Museum (Chantilly, Va.) and Weeksville Heritage Center (Brooklyn, N.Y.).

If you are a member of the media and would like more information about the Institute of the SCL, please contact the Hall´s public relations office at 718.699.0005 ext. 342.

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