Welcome to the return of the Educator Community Blog. Today, we’ll sit down with Julie Barnett, our Discovery World Lab Educator and Lead Scout Educator. Julie has been working for Discovery World longer than any other educator, so let’s pick her brain about teaching, molecular gastronomy, and how girls will take over the science world!
Connor: So, let’s start with a simple question. How did you end up teaching at Discovery World?
Julie: Well, I earned my Elementary Education degree at Eastern Michigan University, over at Ypsilanti. I was there until I happened to meet my now-husband on an online text-based game called Into the Dragon’s Den. Before long, I moved to Wisconsin to be with him, and found myself needing a part-time job, which is when I came upon Discovery World. I started as a part-time scout educator, and eventually moved onto being a full-time educator.
C: Glad you decided to stick around. Can you tell us a little bit about the school labs you tend to teach?
J: Everything! I’ve been around long enough to get a pretty good grasp on most of the topics we offer school groups. From food sciences to robots to freshwater, I can lend a hand in pretty much whatever we need…as long as it’s not a dissection.
C: Agreed on that dissection part. Why do you think it’s important for students to learn a wide variety of science topics?
J: Simply put, science explains “the why”. In cooking, it explains why the water boils and the meat cooks. In freshwater, it explains why some fish thrive while others don’t. It can be sooo much fun to introduce children to the exploration of “the why”. Science can help explain that particular magic that makes kids interested in topics, so exposing kids to a wide variety of topics early on can help them find their magic in “the why” for whatever topic they want. This, in turn, opens possibilities and the future.
C: Well, what are some of the best kinds of opportunities are there around Milwaukee for students to expand their interests?
J: Well, I can’t answer that question without giving a shout out to Discovery World. We have so many labs to offer students and teachers, there’s really something for everyone. That being said, I really believe that the best opportunities for students happen at home. So much of what can be discovered about the world around us can easily be introduced at home. All a child needs is an idea, a parent, and a sense of exploration. To any parents reading this, I would highly recommend introducing your kids to at-home experiments.
C: Alright, one last question. Since we just recently had our GIRLS and STEM event, any advice for our future female leaders in STEM?
A: Embrace science! I know that’s kind of an obvious thing to say, but there’s so much that girls can and will offer the world of STEM. Girls are starting to take over STEM by storm, so be sure to be a part of the change!