Youth Members involved in Best Practice research

Since 2016, Centre of the Cell has been a part of the ground-breaking STEM Teens study into the use of adolescent Explainers and Docents at informal science learning centres in the UK and USA.

The study is being conducted by the University of Exeter on the UK side, and we are one of six centres, alongside Florence Nightingale Museum and Think Tank in the UK, and an aquarium, a zoo and a children’s museum in the USA.

The Study

A huge part of the project is longitudinal study of young people who have volunteered or worked at a science centre, looking at the impact this has on their long-term choices. So far there have been three cohorts of young people on the study, of which 111 are from Centre of the Cell’s Youth Membership Scheme.

The study has already published results, finding that young visitors to the sites , and that girls report more math interest when they interact with a same gender educator.

As well as this, the researchers have been gathering video content and considering the impact on visitors to science centres of having a younger Explainer, as well as gathering data on the impact of whether the visitor comes with a male or female adult.

Best practice

One of the goals of the study is to gather ‘best practice’ and share this with other learning centres. We are extremely proud of our Youth Membership Scheme and the opportunities that volunteering at Centre of the Cell offers to young people, so are excited to be able to share this with other science centres across the globe.