What are the things you do in the background to help the Network run smoothly?
I began working with the Teen Science Café Network in 2013. I helped arrange the logistics for the first face-to-face large annual workshop. At that time, the TSCN was brand new, and the workshop to be held in St. Louis where I live. The Network leadership reached out to me for logistical help in finding a hotel and meeting space, as well as catering. Two years later Michelle and Mike asked me to help them again with another workshop. I attended the workshops and got to know the members, and soon began doing other more regular work with recruiting new members to help grow the network. Not long after, I began writing the newsletters, creating flyers and posters, editing and posting Cool Cafés and other blog posts for the website.
What is the biggest challenge for you when putting on a workshop? Most fun?
As would be expected, coordinating 50+ peoples’ schedules and accommodating flight times and rooms can be a task. Trying to make everyone’s flight times reasonable so they weren’t leaving too early or coming in too late was a challenge. The most fun was meeting people from all over the U.S. who have a common goal of bringing STEM to teens. While putting on the workshops took months of preparation and it could be draining, for the most part I always left the workshop energized and inspired to see so many people excited about the program.
What is the neatest thing that has happened within the network?
One of the things I am most excited about is that my son is now coming of age to participate in Teen Science Cafés. This year I plan to start bringing to my son to Teen Science Cafés at the St. Louis Science Center and the Academy of Science-St. Louis.