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News & Events at the Bradbury Science Museum

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The lead article for this month's issue of @the Bradbury.

 

At some point in their lives, each of the Lab’s scientists made a decision to pursue science. Some knew as small children that they wanted to be biologists or engineers or loved math. Others felt the pull of physics in high school or discovered a passion for technology in college. For each of these scientists, an adult in their lives helped open the door to doing science and made it attainable.  Someone made that all-important connection and gave them the confidence to pursue their curiosity. At the Bradbury, our mission to encourage Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) learning in Northern New Mexico places our Community Educators in the essential position of being that connection, the voice that tells a child, “You got this.”

This spring we proudly announced the addition of Pamela Dresher and Mel Strong to the Bradbury Science Museum staff as our new Community Educators. Pamela has over 15 years’ experience teaching science in a formal classroom setting from her time with the Santa Monica Unified School District. She also spent 10 years with the Santa Fe Science Initiative, working to provide professional development curricula for teachers. Pam has a bachelor of arts in Health Science from the University of California, Santa Barbara and went on to complete her masters in science education at Montana State University.  Her enthusiasm for sharing science, “to understand how things work,” began when she was a young child with a deep curiosity about the seemingly endless connections within our physical world. 

Mel Strong’s background and experience are a perfect complement to Pam’s.  Mel Strong holds a masters in geology from Washington State University and a PhD in earth and planetary sciences from the University of New Mexico. Before joining the Bradbury, Mel spent over a decade developing science content and curriculum for K–12 education majors with the goal of equipping all science teachers in New Mexico with the skills to present the world of science to students. A tinkerer at heart, Mel maintains a robust portfolio of interactive, hands-on science activities demonstrating engineering principles, weather phenomena, volcanic activity, and sound waves to encourage the “scientist in all kids.” Fortunately for us, these demos were ready to roll for the 2018 field trip season! 

Our new educators hit the ground running in March, with the Bradbury’s field trip season already well under way and hundreds of excited students arriving each week. Over the next few months, Pam and Mel thoughtfully assessed and redesigned our programs to better align with Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and provide an even more engaging experience for students. The result is a new, thematic, field trip format that combines informal science education with museum exhibit exploration, scaffolding layers of learning for each of the scientific themes available. 

In addition to re-vamping our on-site educational programs, Pam and Mel presented at numerous summer events including Los Alamos ScienceFest, The Interplanetary Festival in Santa Fe, Expanding Your Horizons, the Girls Scouts G.I.R.L. Extravaganza, and the New Mexico State Fair. In addition to facilitating the Bradbury’s Scientist Ambassador Academy and working each week with regional schools that are looking to become Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math (STEAM) schools. In short, our new educators have wasted no time getting on board and up to speed. 

Pam and Mel look forward to collaborating with Lab scientists and New Mexico educators as they provide fresh, innovative educational resources for students in the region.  They believe the Bradbury Science Museum’s public platform, combined with our inclusive philosophy that science is a human right, offers a unique opportunity for them to promote a passion for science within students and teachers in New Mexico. 

For more about educational programs offered by the Bradbury Science Museum, please check out our website at https://www.lanl.gov/museum/teachers/index.php or contact our Education Team at bsm-edu@lanl.gov.

You can read the entire issue of the November publication here.