A Teen Science Café is an out-of-school program in which teens and STEM experts engage in conversation and activities to explore a topic related to the STEM professional’s expertise. Teen Science Cafés are independently run and organized at more than 100 sites nationwide – from museums to libraries to aquariums. Prior evaluation of the Teen Science Café model has demonstrated a range of impacts achieved with youth participants, but relatively little research has focused on the experience of the scientist-presenters.
In the present study, a sequential mixed-methods was conducted to explore the nature of the motivations and impacts experienced by scientist-presenters and to explore the value of preparation activities provided by Café organizers (which vary between sites). Following a Phase 1 qualitative study, using in-depth interviews with past presenters (Sickler & Cherry, 2017), a quantitative online questionnaire was administered to scientists from 14 mature Café sites; 132 responses were obtained (65% response rate). The questionnaire was developed based on the themes that emerged in Phase 1, using scales and items adapted from other relevant studies, as well as developed specifically for this project.