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Open Access Publications from the University of California

This is a section of Leaders in Effective and Inclusive STEM: Twenty Years of the Institute for Scientist & Engineer Educators, edited by Scott Seagroves, Austin Barnes, Anne J. Metevier, Jason Porter, & Lisa Hunter. See the introduction for a more complete discussion and outline.

Articles on internships:

One of ISEE’s other major programs is the Akamai Internship, which helps build Hawai‘i’s scientific and technical workforce. Because of the close interplay between the PDP and Akamai, ISEE and its participants have worked a great deal on the design of internship programs and internship projects. This section features three articles relating to internships.

  • Flowing from the previous section on issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion, the first article led by Jerome Shaw discusses intentional strategies in the Akamai Internship for building a sense of inclusion and community among the interns and program staff.
  • The entry led by Alexandra Holloway describes the design of internships at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory as analogous to the design of “PDP-style” active learning experiences.
  • The second article led by Jerome Shaw presents frameworks that support interns’ deeper understandings of their own projects, and how these frameworks interact with PDP activities the interns experience.
Cover page of Strategies for Building an Inclusive Community within a STEM Internship Program

Strategies for Building an Inclusive Community within a STEM Internship Program


ISEE Professional Development Program Teaching Teams, Akamai interns, and Akamai staff all participate in a multi-day Preparation for Research Experiences and Projects (PREP) course at the start of the annual Akamai Internship Program. One of the goals for the PREP course is to establish an inclusive, collaborative community amongst the varied participants. Integrated with the inquiry activities taught by Teaching Teams are several Akamai-designed and facilitated activities whose purpose is to build community as well as an understanding of and sensitivity towards an inclusive work environment. These activities include an opening icebreaker, a career pathways discussion, workplace integration role-plays, a workplace inclusion discussion, and a closing celebration dinner. This paper highlights specific connections between the Institute for Scientist and Engineer Educators’ Equity & Inclusion strand and the collaborative activities that engage Teaching Teams, interns, and staff during the Akamai PREP course.

Cover page of Backward-Designing the Perfect User Experience Internships for Deep Space Network Operations

Backward-Designing the Perfect User Experience Internships for Deep Space Network Operations


“How do you imagine people will operate the Deep Space Network in ten years?” After introducing some problems of operating the global collection of space-leaning telecommunications equipment, this prompt was one of the first questions we asked students to set the stage of their 8- or 10-week internships. While inquiry methods are typically applied to classroom learning, we applied similar strategies to designing custom internships that would be meaningful to the student and beneficial to the project, drawing on students’ unique background and experiences. Inquiry methods have the benefits to the student of giving them a scaffolded space to choose an investigation and deliverable which complements their strengths, or one that stretches them to learn new skills. Working backwards from initial project goals, we scoped the initial question-forming phase of inquiry design to those open issues the project needed addressing. The Deep Space Network was undergoing a major transformation in Follow-the-Sun, transitioning to daylight-only operation from 24/7 work. This resulted in many open questions requiring contributions in the fields of user research, design, and software development. We identified other objectives in the areas of leadership; teamwork; disability, equity, inclusion; and validation and iteration. This chapter describes the methods we used to design the internship project, how we facilitated it, prepared for each intern’s arrival, and measured progress in the students’ 8- to 10-week internships. This method has been used for all 18 interns over seven years to positive outcomes, resulting in four internal hires.

Cover page of Inquiries and Frameworks: Synergistic Support for STEM Student Interns

Inquiries and Frameworks: Synergistic Support for STEM Student Interns


Participants of the Institute for Scientist and Engineer Educators’ (ISEE) Professional Development Program (PDP) work in Design Teams to create inquiry activities that foster student learning of relevant STEM content and practices. These teams implement the inquiry activities in one or more teaching venues (i.e., a context in which Design Team members act as instructors or facilitators with actual learners or students). One such venue is the Akamai Internship Program’s PREP Course. Concurrent with running the PDP, ISEE supported the development of frameworks to help Akamai interns understand the projects they undertake during their internship. Two frameworks were developed: one focused on scientific explanations and the other on engineering solutions. This paper describes how PDP inquiry activities and the ISEE Frameworks come together in a mutually supportive manner during the Akamai PREP Course. This synergy becomes apparent as we examine the sequential placement of PREP sessions whereby the frameworks both push interns to make sense of their experiences with such activities (e.g., revisiting the explanation framework after a science-oriented inquiry) and prepare interns for effective engagement in upcoming inquiry activities (e.g., using the solution framework before an engineering-oriented inquiry). Recommendations include using a similar pairing of inquiry activities and frameworks in other teaching venues.