Our July Volunteer of the Month started volunteering early in 2017 and can now frequently be found creating great chemistry experiences in our BASF Kids Lab located in Centennial Lab at 2 p.m. on weekends!
OK, I admit it. I started volunteering at the Michigan Science Center for entirely selfish reasons: I wanted to have fun with science on the weekends.
I have a deep love of chemistry, but as a journalist, I don’t often get to get up close and personal with science. I figured that by volunteering, I would get to spend time doing chemistry and meet other people who shared my curiosity and enthusiasm for the wonders around us.
That’s exactly what happened!
When I found out the science center had a miniature laboratory where kids could experience hands-on experiments, I knew that’s where I wanted to be. So, on weekend afternoons, I head over to the Centennial Lab for BASF Kids’ Lab, where we extract strawberry DNA and analyze pen inks with chromatography and other exciting things.
I like to say science is a hidden superpower. Everyone has the power to seek facts and find answers; sometimes it just takes a little practice. In Kids’ Lab, we practice scientific thinking… and have some fun, too!
I love seeing the focus on a child’s face as they’re trying to work out a solution, their joy when the experiment works, and the parents asking afterwards how they can repeat the experiment at home.
I’ve even been able to take the lead on an experiment a couple times. I like that MiSci encourages volunteers to try new experiences; it’s not just visitors who get to learn things.
I’ve truly had a blast getting my hands dirty with chemistry… figuratively speaking. (We wear gloves in Kids’ Lab — safety first!)