Do What you Love. Love What You Do.

ARE YOU SERIOUS? THAT’S A REAL FOSSIL?!?! WHAT?….I…..WE FOUND A REAL FOSSIL?!?! Dorian had his hands on the sides of his head and a look of utter shock and amazement on his face. He was a high school student whose ultimate dream in life was to be a scientist. All he wanted in the world was to learn and share the things he learned every day with everyone. What an inspiration!
Someone asked me the other day why I chose to be an educator in a museum. Dorian’s reaction to the find on our youth expedition (a sauropod vertebra) is the quintessential reason. I could have gone off into the realm of academia myself, discovering wonderful things and publishing important papers…but that’s not me. I want to give meaningful experiences to kids like Dorian. I want to inspire them, see them succeed, and that is more fulfilling to me than any discovery I could possibly make.

I am the kind of person who gets joy out of helping people, making people feel good about themselves and assisting them in reaching their full potential. My favorite people are kids. I honestly don’t think we give kids enough credit. Through each stage of their development they are capable of greatness. We just have to let them show us what they can do. I am sure most of us have heard stories about kids doing amazing things, but in case you have not, here are some examples:

Ellie Farmer, 8 month old rock climber

Louis Braille, the 16 year old who invented Braille

Preya Shah, a high school senior who discovered a new chemotherapy drug to fight tumors with fewer side effects.

and who could forget…Ahmed Mohamed, 14 year old aspiring engineer.

(see original post for links to their stories)

All these kids have done and continue to do amazing things because that is the nature of being a kid. Often as adults, the pressures and stress of every day life can dull our sense of curiosity and wonder. I did not want that to happen to me, so I chose a profession where I could keep that alive in myself and inspire it in others. I think inspiration and encouragement is the key. I have seen kids who are weighed down be the pressure of life way to early. Great experiences in science and exploration can help turn that around. It provides kids with a broader world view and gives their life some context. Experiences can make a difference. I can make a difference and that is what I try to do every day. It also helps that I get to experience amazing new things all the time and contribute to science in a meaningful way. I guess I have the best of both worlds in that respect.

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