Joyce B. Harris can be found lending a hand at a variety of MiSci events and is our January 2018 volunteer of the month. Learn why she loves the Michigan Science Center:
I like to volunteer because it is a give and get relationship for me. I get so much, such as free admission to the galleries and theater shows on the day of my shift, the chance to earn free passes, invites to volunteer recognition and other special events, the opportunity to gain new skills and experiences, meeting interesting people, and so much more. I love to see others get excited and inspired by science. I love to see the look on their faces when they learn something new and I hope it will inspire them to pursue a career in science.
The Michigan Science Center offers numerous positions in a creative and fun environment. My curiosity and love for learning has made me want to volunteer at an amazing place. I know that every volunteer position helps ensure that all the guests’ experiences are meaningful, memorable, educational and fun. I love the fact that there are so many tools we can use as volunteers to demonstrate science – I love the toys. Tools such as the Chinese resonance bowl show sound and wave vibrations (nodes and antinodes) and attract the attention of children and adults. It is fun to see water movement and it generates questions such as why this is happening and what makes this happen? This is the moment of opportunity to teach and explain. This is why it is important to have volunteers do demonstrations throughout the center on any given day to enhance the science experience.
When I volunteer, I always start my shift with the thought that the children I engage with could be the next to discover the cure for cancer, discover galaxy space travel, create jet suits, etc. The comic books that I read as a child imagined the technology we use now. Dick Tracy was a comic strip that was first published in the Detroit Mirror and told the story of a police detective that used forensic science, advanced gadgetry and wit. Everyone loved reading what he would do next and pretended to be him with gadgets they ordered from the back of the magazine. Today, those gadgets are real and I look back to see how much has happened in STEM in my lifetime. My first college computer program 1978 was done with key punch cards and it’s amazing how far technology has advanced since then. My generation is retiring or have retired now and comic books are a thing of the past. So if the new comic book is the Science Center, I can help them stay open and intrigue the next generation to see what they discover. There is so much more that can be discovered, we just never know who will be the discoverer. As a Woman of Color STEM award recipient I believe in our motto “STEM It’s a Girl Thing.” This is why I volunteer!