Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




The following dissertation presents findings from a year-long evaluation of informal scientific education programs at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, Illinois. Science identity, rather than scientific knowledge, was the analytic lens through which the programs' effectiveness was assessed. A goal of the Museum generally, and the programs specifically, is to increase public identification with the field of science. Science identity was assessed using a novel survey instrument and three focus groups. Hierarchical linear models found a positive relationship between time enrolled in the Science Minors program and the development of science identity. These analyses also point to a negative relationship between a student's desire to work and science identity development. Focus group discussions suggest that the Minors and Achievers programs enhance interest in science and teach students how to be better communicators.

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