Victoria Zakrzewski (front) and Natalie Greenhalgh identify wildlife camera trap images on Michigan ZoomIn. Image credits this page: Dale Austin.

Community + Citizen Science Project Incubator and Fellows Program

Community and citizen science projects can help scientists conduct extensive, quality research while engaging with members of their community. The program will explore questions about project design, ethics, learning goals, and data management, and provide staff to support project creation. Participants will create project prototypes for their own research and community engagement, and develop the skills needed for successful projects. The program is led by Dr. Justin Schell, Director of the Shapiro Design Lab, past Managing Editor of Citizen Science Today, and Co-Chair of the Citizen Science Association’s Data + Metadata Working Group.

The program features three workshops, one public engagement event, and the completion of a project prototype:

Workshop 1: Introduction to the topic and principles of community and citizen science, what types of projects fellows can make, and community and citizen science user design/project management.

Workshop 2: Ethics and legality of community and citizen science projects, data management plans, and assessment methods.

Workshop 3: Present the first prototype of your project to the rest of the program cohort and provide feedback on their projects.

Public Engagement Event: Present your project prototype during a U-M Museum of Natural History event.

After completing the program, participants will become University of Michigan Museum of Natural History Community Science Fellows. Benefits include:

  • Certificate for reference in a C.V., commending commitment to community science and public engagement.
  • Consultation and assistance in writing broader impacts plans to fulfill grant and other outreach requirements.
  • Assistance in the promotion of your project to library and museum audiences.
  • Opportunities to network with other scientists and researchers committed to public engagement as well as with education professionals.
  • Complimentary Museum membership. As a Museum member, you’re entitled to: Free admission to more than 300 museums and science centers around the world. Once the new museum opens, you’ll receive two free planetarium passes, a 20% discount in the Museum Store, invitations to members-only events and exhibition openings, and more!

To Apply:

The Museum of Natural History is not currently accepting applications for the Citizen Science Fellows Program.

Please email Justin Schell at or Kira Berman at with questions.

Monthly Citizen Science Interest Group Meet-ups

People working in this area can learn more about each other’s projects and foster collaborative project development. We have created an MCommunity group to facilitate conversation and announcements about both the Project Incubator program and the Meet-ups. The group includes faculty, staff, and students from multiple U-M campuses as well as community members. Please join the MCommunity group via the link above. If you have any questions, suggestions, or ideas for the group, please share them with the group or to Justin Schell at