Lynn D. Dierking is a Sea Grant Professor in Free-Choice STEM Learning, College of Science, and Interim Associate Dean for Research, College of Education, Oregon State University. Her research focuses on lifelong learning, particularly free-choice, out-of-school time learning (in after-school, home-, and community-based contexts), with an emphasis on youth, families and community, particularly those under-represented in STEM. She just completed an NSF-funded retrospective study of the long-term impacts of gender-focused free-choice learning programs on 175 young women’s lives 5-25+ years after the experience, in particular probing their interest, engagement, and continued involvement in science, both careers and leisure pursuits. Study findings will be published this spring by The Franklin Institute in a book, Cascading influences: Women’s perceptions of the long-term impacts of informal STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) experiences.
Lynn is also a co-PI on a four-year Noyce Foundation-funded longitudinal study, SYNERGIES: Understanding and Connecting STEM Learning in the Community, tracking the STEM learning of 10-year-olds, in school and outside school, in Parkrose, a northeastern neighborhood of Portland. Her most recent research project, Advancing SCILS (STEM, Creativity & Innovation Learning through SYNERGIES), is newly funded by the Lemelson Foundation through the Center, and will leverage that work. She also is co-PI on two additional NSF-funded projects: an Efficacy Study of the Metropolitan Denver Urban Advantage Program: A Project to Improve Scientific Literacy among Urban Middle School Students at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science and Hispanic Pathways to Family Science Literacy and Green Jobs (Hispanic Pathways) with the Hispanic Communications Network, Washington, DC. Lynn has published extensively and serves on the Editorial Boards of the Journal of Research in Science Teaching, the Journal of Museum Management and Curatorship and Afterschool Matters.
Lynn was named to the Centennial Honor Roll of the American Association of Museums in 2006 as one of 100 leaders who had provided leadership and service to the field throughout their careers. She also received a 2010 John Cotton Dana Award for Leadership from the American Association of Museums, the highest honor bestowed on a person outside the museum field who exhibits outstanding leadership and promotes the educational responsibility and capacity of museums. She (along with John Falk), delivered an Education & Human Resources Distinguished Lecture at the U.S. National Science Foundation in April, 2013, in recognition of her leadership within the STEM education field.