NASA @ My Library

Connecting Scientific Research with Communities

Sunset Zoo Behind the Science initiative is a growing network of trained researchers, professionals, graduate students and post-graduate students working together to connect the community to science and elevate the understanding of science-related work taking place in the region.  

In an effort to expand the Behind the Science effort, Sunset Zoo received a grant through the Portal to the Public Network as part of a larger project with NASA @ My Library.  This grant opportunity is supporting Sunset Zoo in facilitating connections between libraries associated with the NASA @ My Library network and scientists working on NASA funded research.  These connections will result in multiple public engagement opportunities benefiting both participating scientists and library patrons.

Benefits for Scientists Who Participate

  • Enhance your science communication skills through a dynamic, engaging and participatory workshop series.
  • Receive letters of acknowledgement and certification suitable for sharing with supervisors and for grant reporting.
  • Join a growing network of certified Fellows who participate in public programsthroughout the year facilitated by Sunset Zoo.
  • A personalized webpage to engage multiple audiences with your work on Sunset Zoo's Behind the Science website.
  • Honorarium for participating in training and required public engagement opportunities.
  • Mileage reimbursement to cover potential transportation costs associated with science communication training.


  • Complete and submit an official Behind the Science: Science Communication Workshop application.
  • Full participation in required workshops totaling ten hours, and complete an online training module.
  • Participate in a pilot, public engagement program in August.
  • Participate in a minimum of two virtual programs at a partner library facilitated by Sunset Zoo’s Education Department.

General Timeline for NEW, Fall 2017 Fellows Program

  • JUNE 29, 2018: Application due to Zoo by 5pm (CDT)
  • JULY 3, 2018: Applicants notified by Zoo staff regarding acceptance into the cohort; the cohort is limited to five scientists.
  • JULY 12, 2018: In-person training workshop at Sunset Zoo.  Funding is built in to honorarium to help cover hotel expense if required by participating scientist.  Mileage is also available for those traveling from outside Manhattan, Kansas to the workshop.
  • JULY 19, 2018: Virtual training workshop; Internet connection and web-enabled camera is required for full participation.
  • AUGUST 2018: Pilot program to practice public engagement with the Manhattan Public Library; virtual or in-person participation
  • AUGUST 2018 - OCTOBER 2018: Virtual public programs at participating libraries.

Certification of participation will be achieved after completion of all workshops and participation in two public programs.

Application Process

Interested individuals should complete the NASA @ My Library Scientist Application and return to Zoo staff by Friday, June 29 at 5pm (CDT). Completed applications can be mailed, emailed or faxed to: 

Sunset Zoo
Attn: Behind the Science
2333 Oak Street
Manhattan, KS 66502
email: | fax: 785-587-2730

More About the Portal to the Public

Portal to the Public was launched in 2007 through funding from the National Science Foundation and a collaboration between Seattle’s Pacific Science Center, Albuquerque’s Explora, Lancaster’s North Museum of Natural History, and London’s Institute for Learning Innovation. Their work created an guiding framework that informal education sites - like zoos, aquariums, and science centers - can use to build programs that connect scientists and the public. The Portal has since received two additional grants including one through the Institute of Museum and Library Services, expanding the network to 44 institutions. Sunset Zoo was invited to join the Network in 2015 and completed a year-long mentoring opportunity provided by Portal staff. To learn more, visit the Portal's website