Demonstrating a commitment to lifelong learning and leadership within the profession:
Over the years I’ve had the privilege of working closely with students from diverse backgrounds. I have gained experience in pedagogy and teaching students of all ages, abilities, and socioeconomic status. I believe that access to education has become essential to an individual’s wellbeing, and technology like the Internet has made education accessible to more people than ever. I am happy to have moved into a remote teacher position for young students in China, and I'm grateful for the opportunity to teach in a foreign country and experience a different culture.
All the ways in which information is communicated to the public at educational sites such as museums, planetariums, science centers, or national parks is called interpretation. I hope that I've helped to encourage curiosity in science topics through becoming a skilled interpreter at a museums and science centers. I aim to enhance informal education by incorporating hands-on and online learning technologies. I have gained this experience at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science (DMNS), Fiske Planetarium, and Butterfly Pavilion.
I have always been interested in interpretation and the tools interpreters use. I integrate as much technology as possible when communicating to the public or designing exhibits. DMNS allowed me to volunteer in the Galactic Odyssey wing as an interpreter. My time at At Fiske I had the privilege of teaching using the planetarium dome, science on a sphere, and I helped build lobby exhibits. At Butterfly Pavilion they have an amazing interpretation team, and they lead the country in the establishment of an Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) accredited invertebrate museum.
NAI is a non-profit organization dedicated to inspiring leadership and excellence in advancing the field of interpretation. For me, earning a NAI certification is a good goal to work towards.
At CU South Denver I had the privilege of participating in Family Fun Day events.
Our team from Fiske Planetarium set up a booth with a science experiments and an inflatable planetarium dome in which students of all ages could explore the universe. With "Star Lab" I was able to teach with live-rendering planetarium technologies, and bring programs to schools all over Colorado.
A large aspect of making science more accessible for people of all socioeconomic statuses is lowering the cost of science education. With Star Lab, I was able to bring our classes to students of Title 1 low-income school status so they didn't have to pay for the costly bus rental fees.
The technology inside the dome is Digital Sky 2, and we used an Alienware laptop and a Panasonic projector with a fisheye lens to create the experience. The dome itself is held up by a constant stream of air provided by a large fan. Students are able to crawl through the tunnel and find themselves transported to another galaxy!
During a quick lesson, students aged 3-10 years old were able to easily comprehend tough physics concepts. Public K-12 communication can be tricky for hard scientists but it doesn't have to be. Take a concept like heat and extrapolate that out to wavelengths by taking pictures of our hands and feet, the walls and lights. We discussed how humans can only see certain colors of light. Infrared light which means farther than red basically, is something our eyes can't see without tools. It's fun to connect the basics to big picture astronomy, and how we can figure out a star's temperature just by looking at its color!