Consultation and support resource for engaged planning, designing, and implementation of Broader Impacts programs.

Wisconsin Idea STEM Fellows


The Wisconsin Idea STEM Fellows is a program that supports researchers in developing interactive stations as part of their broader impact activities.

Becoming a STEM Fellow is a matter of having the desire to learn and work with others to develop an interactive station, participate in two 4-hour workshops, and engage with the community after the workshops. You can participate as an individual, a lab group, a department, or even as a research center.

Registration will soon open for our upcoming 2 session workshop series from 4-8pm with dates to be determined!

Registration page


  • Training Session One – 4 hours
  • Training Session Two – 4 hours
  • Build your station (free to collaborate broadly to develop your station)
    • Participate in one of the consulting/build sessions at the Discovery Building
    • Schedule a one-on-one meeting in your lab with a mentor
    • Build on your own or with your partners anytime that you can
    • Test/prototype at a future Science Alliance meeting (Genetics/Biotech 1360)
  • 3 public programming events to be completed after training

To fulfill the last requirement, fellows will engage the public through Exploration Stations or public presentations at events such as UW Science Expeditions, Wisconsin Science Festival, Engineering Expo, Science Cafe, Nerd Nite, family science nights and more. Through their training, fellows will develop their stations and presentations with the help of the training team.

Portal to the Public

“Portal to the Public” is a program that was created with support from NSF and IMLS to help researchers and STEM professionals engage with science in the public to promote appreciation and understanding of current science research. Portal to the Public focuses on enhancing face-to-face interactions between you and a few people rather than emphasizing mass communications.

The Portal approach has been designed and refined through NSF and IMLS funding at the Pacific Science Center (PSC) and now in the home of the Institute for Learning Innovation. Portal to the Public at UW-Madison is being implemented through Science Alliance and is now called the Wisconsin Idea STEM Fellows Program. Researchers and STEM professionals of any age and at any career stage will be encouraged to participate.

Community of Portal to the Public

Early in September 2014 UW-Madison became a member of the Portal to the Public network. The co-founders of the team includes Tom Zinnen, Biotech Center; Megan Madsen, WIPAC; Sara Kobilka, Institute for Chemical Education; and Travis Tangen, WARF.

We are delighted to note that UW-Madison is a pioneer in Portal to the Public: the other 50 institutions have all been science museums, science centers, zoos, arboretums, and nature centers, some within universities. We look forward to the opportunity to find ways to adapt the Portal approach of connecting researchers to public audiences to the particular environment of public land-grant research universities. Portal can enhance the already remarkable resources that strengthen the commitment to the Wisconsin Idea and to work in the public service mission of UW-Madison.

Fellows training will build on their prior experience and extend their talents. By providing structured, short-term training and long-term connections, the Wisconsin Idea STEM fellows program uniquely expands the array of training already available on campus, such as the CIRTL course for graduate students and post-docs, the WISCIENCE course for undergraduates, and volunteer training sessions provided, for example, by the Arboretum and Town Center.