Science in Practice

Tiny Earth 

Tiny Earth is a global program headquartered at WID that engages college students in discovering antibiotic-producing bacteria. Tiny Earth staff and faculty train instructors to teach the course in an intensive one-week program in which they learn both the laboratory elements and principles and practices of inclusive pedagogy. 

Tiny Earth is currently taught to ~14,000 students each year in 30 countries. The team in WID’s Tiny Earth Chemistry Hub is identifying novel molecules produced by the bacteria discovered by Tiny Earthlings. Research shows that courses like Tiny Earth that engage students in original research increase student performance, retention in STEM majors, and college completion, particularly for students from groups that have been histor cally underrepresented in science. 


Entrepreneurship Science Lab (ESL) 

Almost one-third of UW-Madison students are interested in starting a company, but only a small number do so. The ESLab is a WID-based effort designed to teach students the steps of entrepreneurship. As the first effort of its kind in the nation, the ESLab had to invent the curriculum and develop research tools to study the prototype program. They created a patentable method that uses secondary data to identify students who are most likely to become entrepreneurs. The ESLab studies the gender gap in entrepreneurship and seeks ways to reduce barriers for women interested in starting companies.


Catalysts for Science Policy (CaSP) 

The CaSP group is comprised of graduate students and postdocs who work on science policy. Their passion is directed toward increasing participation of scientists in making and changing policy, both nationally and locally. Their members have written prominent editorials, held symposia at the annual AAAS meeting, and hosted the national meeting of the National Science Policy Network. Several CaSP members have pursued careers in policy at the State Department and other federal agencies. CaSP held a local symposium on forensic science that spawned a course that has been taught several times by a scientist and a law professor.