By: Stephanie Mach ’18
An Experience at the New York Hall of Science
Ever since 1986, The New York Hall of Science has been facilitating its own signature educational program open to both high school and college students. Once admitted to the program through a process of applications and interviews, these students are able to work as Explainers at NYSCI while also getting the chance to participate in mentorship, professional development, and STEM career preparation activities.
More than 3,000 students have participated in the Science Career Ladder since it has begun. The program has the mission of encouraging and inspiring young women and men all over NYC to pursue careers in the STEM field. Not only will they be able to gain work experience, but also benefit from career workshops, networking, introduction to a range of professions, field trips to infamous STEM companies, and participating in research.
Explainers are consistently on the exhibit floors of NYSCI and have become the very face of the museum. They are responsible of explaining the exhibits to visitors, performing demonstrations, facilitating workshops, and most importantly act as role models to the thousands of kids that visit the museum on a daily basis. They make it possible for NYSCI to be one of the only truly interactive and hands-on science museums in the world.
Since the start, visitors have given nothing but positive feedback on the presence of Explainers during their visit at NYSCI. The active engagement with visitors at science and technology exhibits has proved to have largely improve their experience at the museum. Ki Hyo Lee, a father who bring his son to NYSCI almost every Saturday, appreciated the extra staff always at the floors of the exhibits, saying, “Every time I bring my 8-year old son here, I’m never afraid he will be lost and not get something out of his visit. The students in red aprons are always there to help him understand a certain concept of an exhibit and he always gets so excited and interested.” Many parents also compliment the periodic science demonstrations when explainers perform on the floor. Margaret Irwin, the grandma of two grandchildren she often takes to NYSCI, loves the excitement it infuses in the kids during and after a demo, expressing, “ I love the little demonstrations they do here at the museum. The Explainers always know how to capture the audience with the experiment. After two of my grandchildren saw the Cow’s eye dissection demonstration, they kept on begging me to get them something they can dissect too.” Explainers are making a difference in the type of experience visitors get out of NYSCI and bring a whole new enhanced atmosphere, especially for the young kids.
The Science Career Ladder generally hires three times a year and is highly competitive. If you are interested in applying for this program, visit nysci.org for more information. Next time you visit The New York Hall of Science, spot a student sporting their trademark red apron and spark a conversation!