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Writing Sample

Statement of Purpose from application to George Washington University, January 2011

From the day I dropped out of preschool, it seemed I was destined for a non-traditional teaching career. My homeschooling education was curiosity-driven, allowing me to cultivate a great hunger for knowledge. Each phase of my life brought me closer to my goal of teaching interactive natural sciences to people of all ages. Next I envision adding to my understanding of education and practicing my skills while earning my MAT.

After years of working in the environmental field, I am yearning to stretch my brain and exercise my creativity in preparation for my intended career as a museum educator. I want to invite children, families, and adults to explore and better understand the wonders of the natural world. When I was first bitten by the geology bug, what grabbed my attention was how the science was visible all around me. Passing along that wonder and excitement is, for me, what museum education is all about.

I feel most invested in life when I am on my feet doing work I love. My enthusiasm and creativity are my favorite personal qualities, as they have driven nearly everything that I do. I love learning about most anything, from the arts to philosophy, linguistics, and the sciences. I thrive when all sides of my brain are working together, and I enjoy how my creative and scientific tendencies synergize when I am teaching. My life’s work will be designing and delivering educational museum programs that allow patrons to enjoy science and relate it to their own lives.

I have taken every opportunity to gain teaching experience in various informal settings. The most exciting for me has been volunteering as a docent at the Providence Museum of Natural History. During the Mars 3D exhibit in 2007, I walked around engaging people with questions or explanations. Often I provided context for images, such as comparing the size of the Olympus Mons crater to the state of Rhode Island, or showing how the canyons on Mars resembled river valleys on Earth.

The following year, during the Mission Moon exhibit, I ran a family activity table that included two projects of my own design. The first was a bin of sand into which patrons could drop marbles of varying weights; the purpose was to illustrate how craters of different sizes and shapes would form depending on the angle and force of the marble’s impact. The second activity I created involved printed pictures of the full moon, onto which people could trace patterns they saw in the light and dark areas, such as the legendary “man in the moon.” I loved every minute of directing this activity table, getting to interact with visitors and watch how their participation deepened their understanding of what they learned in the exhibit. Sadly, my variable work schedule has made it difficult for me to continue volunteering at the Museum. However, my experience there has been so fulfilling and energizing that I know I will have a satisfying career in museum education.