BIPOC Voices: Interview with Diane Miller


August 27th, 2020

In July 2020, Ms. Diane Miller, Chief Program Officer at the Detroit Zoological Society spoke with CAISE about her career and the ways in which authentic community engagement has been central to her work. Throughout the conversation, Ms. Miller provides rich examples of her approach to co-creating programs with youth participants that enable them to successfully engage with informal STEM learning. She emphasizes the importance of honoring the lived experiences of youth and providing time for individuals to build familiarity with the embedded culture of informal learning contexts.

Informed by youth voices, program evaluation, and learning science research, Ms. Miller reflects on the uniquely powerful role that cultural institutions can play in the potential futures of youth when they design programs that allow participants to “try-on” different identities with minimal risk. In the Making Science Matter report that Ms. Miller and colleagues co-authored in 2008, there are case studies of the complementary learning affordances of informal and formal learning contexts. Consistent with that work, Ms. Miller recognizes the educational challenges that have emerged due to COVID-19. However, she asserts that this health crisis also provides the opportunity to create learning programs that are more authentically responsive to the needs of students.

We encourage you to read the full transcript of this conversation here to engage with Ms. Miller’s story in her own words.