Why Students Love the Daugherty Science Internship at Sierra Nevada Journeys

I think every intern should have an internship like this.
— George Kerr, University of Nevada Intern Supervisor

"The Daugherty Science Internship program is an outstanding program and an excellent way to improve your teaching skills in a variety of settings," said Sean Hill, the director of education at Sierra Nevada Journeys. "It increases your familiarity and comfort teaching and planning with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), is a great way to network within the informal education community, as well as with teachers and principals in Washoe County School District (among other local districts), and is an overall fun experience."

The Daugherty Science Internship (DSI) program is supported by a partnership between Sierra Nevada Journeys, University of Nevada, Reno Colleges of Education and Science, and the Sandra A. Daugherty Foundation. The goal of this program is to increase science teaching experience in Elementary Education.

Here are some of the main features of the DSI program:

  • Stipend interns will participate in a blended student teaching experience which includes seven weeks at a traditional school placement and seven weeks teaching science with Sierra Nevada Journeys, all to take place during students' teaching semester.

  • Interns observe and teach 20+ NGSS-based Elementary science lessons and outdoor field science programs to a wide range of students across 1st-6th grades under the direct supervision of Sierra Nevada Journeys director of education and College of Education mentors.

  • The DSI includes two weeks of training on science instruction with Sierra Nevada Journeys, including working with and observing University of Nevada, Reno College of Science researchers to experience cutting-edge, hands-on STEM research.

Rachel Jo, one of our outstanding interns from Spring 2016, spoke with us about how she heard about this experience and what it taught her.

"I first learned about the SNJ internship when Sean came to speak to my science methods course at the University of Nevada, Reno," said Jo. "I loved his presentation and the lesson he gave on watersheds. It was great to see the learning cycle in action and I was excited to see an organization with a mission that was near and dear to my own passions, educating students about science and protecting the environment."

With plans to go into Secondary Education, Jo hesitated about applying for the internship. "I initially did not jump at the opportunity to apply because I was worried it was more geared toward students preparing to teach Elementary Education, and I plan to go into Secondary. I was lucky enough though to talk to a fellow student at the university who had completed the internship the year before. He himself was Secondary and had nothing but great things to say about his experience. He encouraged me to apply and I did."

Jo started her internship this past Spring and one of her tasks was to shadow a few of the the Sierra Nevada Journeys instructors as they taught in a classroom setting. "I was given focused observation sheets to complete that allowed me to really reflect on important skills any teacher at any level should have," said Jo. "I was able to learn a lot about teaching science, the learning cycle, questioning strategies, and different behavior management techniques. Watching different instructors teach a specific lesson was very helpful in seeing how these instructors made the lesson their own. This allowed me to try out new techniques when I started teaching the lessons and learned about what worked for me as a teacher, something that is more limited in a traditional student teaching placement."

Overall, Jo was able to gain valuable experience in science education, behavior management, working with diverse students and families, and was able to grow as a teacher. She is excited to take her learnings into her very own classroom someday.

If interested in applying for this internship for Fall 2016 or Spring 2017, please email Sean Hill at sean@sierranevadajourneys.org.