Twelve months ago, I started working at the world's only "natural history museum, planetarium and aquarium — all under one living room," the California Academy of Sciences.
It's been an incredible first year, literally a dream come true. Some highlights from my work so far as the Programs Manager in the Digital Learning Department:
- Worked with a team of high schoolers to design and program an iPad game on earthquake safety that is featured in one of our major exhibits at the Academy
- Led a science documentary program resulting in three youth-produced videos that were broadcast on the Academy's website, YouTube channel and podcasts.
- Facilitating a group of teens who are creating their own digital dome astronomy shows
- Led dozen middle schoolers to design their own mobile scavenger hunts at Mt. Tamalpais in Marin County
Of course, the biggest perk is the kids I get to work with. (That's a sentence I wouldn't have been able to write five years ago.)
Our teens bring a raw enthusiasm for science, a curiousity about the world, and a williness to try new things that makes them a pleasure to work with. Our challenge is often keeping up with them as they investigate, question, debate, and create in our programs. It's a great problem to have.
Beyond the specific projects I get to be involved in, the Cal Academy is a stimulating and fun place to work. I get to collaborate with professional science educators, exhibit designers, video producers, and scientists of every stripe each day. My digital learning team — Elizabeth, Puja, Christine, and Matt — are fantastic partners and teammates and just generally awesome people.
And I get the satisfaction of knowing that I work for a major science institution that is trying to make a difference in the world by "exploring, explaining and protecting" the earth.
In short, I feel very blessed and excited about year two at the Cal Academy!