Tuesday, June 1, 2010


We (Merissa and Sarah) both completed our 8-week internships at Science North. Now that we are finished our internships, we decided to interview each other about the experiences we had!

What did you do during your internship?

Merissa: I worked on the new travelling exhibit, Wildlife Rescue. I was assigned the area of "Emergency Response," where I had to research the way wild animals are treated in emergencies. I interpreted research about wild animal rescue and I wrote content documents for the exhibit. The content documents will be used to write the content on the graphic panels in the exhibit. I also contributed ideas for interactive exhibits in the area.

Sarah: During my internship, I helped re-vamp teacher workshops, which are books of activities that are presented to teachers across Ontario to help them with interactive activities in the classroom. I also developed pre- and post- activities for school programs, developed new content for camp-ins, and even got to deliver a few overnight camp-ins.

What was one of your most positive experiences?

Merissa: My most positive experience was during the second design team meeting. I felt really passionate about one of the interactive exhibits, so I fought to keep the exhibit. I thought it was really important to have something for younger kids.

Sarah: I really enjoyed doing the overnight camp-ins. I got to observe one and deliver two of them. I thought it would be hard to stay up from 7 pm to 7 am, but it was lots of fun and you really realize how much kids enjoy Science North.

What did you learn from your internship?

Merissa: I learned essential skills like team work, creative thinking and flexibility. The content was always changing and I had to learn how to cooperate and come to consensus with other people about ideas.

Sarah: I really learned the importance of getting people’s opinions on things; it’s helpful to get other people’s input to make a good idea even better. Doing jobs like this also happen in a fast-paced and changing environment, so you need to learn how to be flexible.

How was your internship related to Science Communication?

Merissa: I was doing work on an exhibit for a science centre. I was learning how to communicate complicated science to a grade 8 audience across North America. I was really living Science Communication.

Sarah: I was able to take science topics that can be difficult to understand and create hands-on activities that can be used in classrooms. Having a science and teaching background was helpful since I would be more likely to know if certain experiments work or not, and I would be able to expand on explanations that would be easier for teachers who are not specialists and children to understand.

During our internship, we were able to share an office space. This made things even more exciting for us. We were able to run ideas past each other and share interesting facts along the way. Here is a list of the top 10 things we learned while we were on our internships:

1. World Turtle Day is May 23rd. Turtles are an important part of our ecosystem and help keep our lakes clean. Did you know that road mortality is a major cause of turtle death in Ontario?
2. Using a Mac computer when you are not used to it is a hard thing.
3. Snack time is at 10:30 a.m., or when we both pull out a banana to eat it at the exact same time.4. If you want to stay awake all night for a camp-in, staying hydrated is the key! Drink lots of water (with your reusable water bottle).5. Meetings can be long, but getting free food is pretty awesome.
6. Magic mud is pretty cool. It can dance on speakers and people can run across pools filled with it. Try it at home (small-scale, of course!) by mixing some corn starch with water!
7. To keep the mood light, having a joke of the day can be helpful. For example, “Why didn’t the brain want to take a bath? Because it didn’t want to get brainwashed!”
8. Oiled birds get their heads cleaned with toothbrushes. And yes, they really use Dawn dish soap (but they have to do other steps before they do this).
9. There are beautiful sunrises over Ramsey Lake at 5 am.
10. Our internships at Science North were awesome!

- Merissa and Sarah

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