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

Wisconsin Idea STEM Fellows

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Overview      STEM Fellow Expectations    Portal to the Public    STEM Fellow Biographies


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 exploration project 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.

Upcoming Dec/Jan 2022-23 Workshop series

The workshop is split into two unique sessions on Tuesdays from 4pm – 8pm.  At the end of these collaborative sessions a Minimal Viable Prototype (MVP) will be produced based on best practice models for online/in-person engagement with science.  Individual researchers or lab teams are welcome.  Projects can be at any stage, even re-envisioning existing projects or creating projects from scratch as part of a grant project.

Registration for workshop sessions will be available in early Fall 2022.


Existing WI Idea STEM Fellows participants and WI Science Festival prep – WI Idea STEM Fellows – Continuing the Spark Sessions

Registration page

drop-in for 20 minutes to three hours! – Tuesday,  Aug 16th, 2022 –  4pm-7pm, (@Discovery Building)

drop-in for 20 minutes to three hours! – Tuesday,  Aug 30th, 2022 –  4pm-7pm, (@Discovery Building)


  1. To ensure you get the most benefit from this program please review all commitments to verify that you are available for all program requirements:
  2. Attend two workshop sessions (session 1 and session 2)
  3. Fully participate and complete components between workshop sessions
  4. Prepare your Exploration Project for inclusion in the UW Science Expeditions, WI Science Festival, Summer Science Camp, or Saturday Science events.
  5. Participate in at least one support session for your individual/team projects
  6. Fully participate in three public/online events in the upcoming 12 months using your exploration project.

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, Online field trips, 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.