The Fairbanks Museum education team welcomes two AmeriCorps Members, who will be leading classes and delivering after school programming for K – 8 students. Both educators add to the Museum’s science skills and bring fresh energy to the team.
“We’re happy to welcome Mariama Jones and Molly Hanover to our teaching team,” says Adam Kane, executive director. “Science education is at the core of the Museum’s mission and it’s one of the fundamental services that we deliver to thousands of students every year.” Generations of students have come to the Fairbanks Museum for inquiry-driven science classes that cover natural history, astronomy, weather and climate, and biodiversity. Because of health and safety concerns, schools across the state have adapted to new learning formats, and the Museum has stretched to meet new needs. Kane comments, “This year, we’re reinventing our education programs to meet students and teachers where they are.”
Education services at the Fairbanks Museum are designed to inspire, engage and encourage students to become curious about the natural world. Karina Weiss, director of education relates, “Our education programs are developed to meet Next Generation Science Standards and keep students engaged by encouraging them to follow their curiosity.” While these programs have traditionally taken place in the Museum’s gallery, classrooms, and planetarium, this year education is happening in a new outdoor classroom, online, and with off-site visits to schools. Weiss continues, “We’re delivering the same level of excellence in more flexible formats, so teachers and school leaders get the support they need.”
This fall, the Museum introduced Science Kits that include materials to supplement specific science topics, one-on-one teacher consultations, Naturalist in Residence school visits, and live or recorded online options. In addition to curriculum-based programming, Museum educators offer an array of engaging after school activities that highlight STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) to help us understand the world around us.
Mariama Jones was born and raised in Brooklyn NY. She says, “I’m the oldest of 4, and I really enjoy reading, music and gardening. I went to college at New College of Florida where I double majored in environmental policy and anthropology. I had the opportunity to do a lot of international travel; I participated in a semester on Semester at Sea program, and I traveled to Central America for my senior year thesis research trip. After college I took a year off before going back to school at Vermont law school. I have finished my JD and am in the process of completing a Masters in Environmental Law and Policy. I am specifically interested in Environmental justice and international environmental law. I have previous museum experience from my work at the American Museum of Natural History and the Children’s Museum of Manhattan. I also spent several years interning and working at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens where I learned about horticulture, environmental conservation, and teaching outdoors. I am excited to be a part of the Fairbanks Museum team!”
Molly Hanover is from Barnet, VT. In her words: “I will be serving in the Education Department focusing on science outreach in the local community. I am very excited to be taking this new step in my career. I am a local girl, homeschooled in Barnet, and I went to UVM for a Bachelor’s degree in Secondary Science Education. A couple of years after college, I moved to Southern California to work in a middle school for 4 years. I wanted to move back to be closer to my family during these crazy times, and was very lucky to get this position here at Fairbanks Museum. It causes an interesting sense of deja vu to be on this side of the museum. Field trips to the museum were a frequent event growing up, so to now be on the teaching side, seeing the behind the scene work that is done has completed the circle of appreciation. I look forward to meeting and working with the amazing team that keeps this local fount of knowledge operation.”
Both AmeriCorps members will be with the Museum’s education team for a full year.