Jessica Hallgath, a bioengineering student at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, is our January 2017 Volunteer of the Month. Jessica can be found walking our exhibit floor, explaining scientific concepts to children, and visiting classrooms to encourage kids to explore careers in science. Not only does she enjoy showing children how our plasma globes cause lightbulbs to illuminate, she loves seeing “lightbulbs” go off when children understand scientific concepts. Hear why volunteering at MiSci is important to her.
My name is Jessica, and I have recently started volunteering at the science center. For as long as I can remember, I have loved science. When I was young, my parents bought me these books that had tons of science experiments for kids (you know, like making goo out of glue, and volcanoes and stuff) that easily made me the coolest kid on the block. I loved getting my hands dirty and learning new things – although, at the time, I didn’t view it as learning. I was just having fun, right?
That’s one of the things that I love about volunteering at the science center. Each time I volunteer, I’m transported back to a place of wonder and excitement. I firmly believe the science center is one of the greatest assets to Detroit. It allows people (young and old!) a space to simply explore; to experience new things and learn without even know it! In school, it can be easy to get lost in hundreds of equations, theories, lab sessions and due dates. But the most important thing I’ve learned in college isn’t how to solve for the diffusion rate in a chemostat – it’s that life is one big laboratory. By volunteering at the science center, I hope to help even one child see the potential in this laboratory they’ve been given. Whether it’s through watching chocolate syrup mix with milk after school, or planting a garden in the backyard with mom – these kids are scientists, and they don’t even know it yet!
While volunteering at MiSci, I’m able to see the scientific process every day from the youngest scientists around us. From watching a guest create something new in Spark!Lab or find the perfect mix of water and air to launch the rocket to the sky, I absolutely love seeing little minds at work. With the huge variety of exhibits, there’s something for everyone to fall in love with. Knowing that I may get to be a small part of an experience that inspires the next architect, biologist, researcher, astronaut, engineer, or educator is such a rewarding experience.
With that, I encourage you to find your niche in this cool laboratory we all share. Encourage the youngest around us to go after their dreams and know that they are capable of STEM, or whatever it is they aspire to do.