Brian Kirchner is our December 2019 Volunteer of the Month. Continue reading to learn why he continues to volunteer at MiSci.
As a kid growing up in Rochester, Michigan in the 1970s and 80s, some of my best memories are of my parents taking my brother and I to what was then called the Detroit Science Center. Seeing the interactive displays and learning about the inner workings of science was one of the major factors that led me to eventually pursue undergraduate and graduate work in the earth sciences. I received an M.S. in Geology from the University of Pittsburgh in 1999, and a Ph.D. in Geology from the University of Cincinnati in 2005. During both programs, I discovered that, while the research was fun, what I truly found fulfilling was being a teacher. In August 2005 I began a career in teaching at Henry Ford College in Dearborn, Michigan, where I had the opportunity to introduce earth science to thousands of people, both young and older, over the last fourteen years. When the opportunity arose to bring a sampling of that teaching back to the same science museum where my interest in science had been fueled, I jumped at the chance. I love my volunteer work – explaining rocks and fossils to kids and adults and hopefully communicating my passion for the subject of earth history, and the stories earth materials tell us, to anyone who wants to listen.
On the personal side, I’ve been married to a wonderful person for 25 years who is my rock and my guardrail and my inspiration, and I have three kids that renew my awe and wonder about the natural world on a daily basis as they discover it for themselves. Now, I have one daughter who is in New Hampshire doing a year of volunteer work as a tutor and mentor in elementary schools, and she seems to have caught the education bug. My other two, both boys, have strong artistic sides as well as being very interested in the exploration and rationality of science.
My hobbies are reading (Stephen King, Ken Follett, political science, Civil War history, many others), writing creative fiction (I won the Grand Prize in a national story competition in 2016), and playing bass guitar in a local band. I also play six-string guitar and banjo.