I've worked at NCAR since January 2002 and have managed its School and Public Programs with Spark since 2005. Annually,15,000 visit on field trips and guided group tours, and another 65,000 visit independently. I work with a great team, all committed to ensuring an exceptional science experience for visitors of every age. I also am fortunate to contribute to other Spark priorities including teacher professional development, educational technology such as video and curriculum design projects, web resources, and such.
When I decided to pursue a career in education in my undergraduate years at the University of California - Santa Barbara, I can't say I received much support or encouragement in this particular pursuit. After graduating, I had the opportunity to travel for a year to various universities in the US and Canada and I met some remarkable people. Talking to them about my aspirations to teach also led to discouragement. I heard over and over again, "Why not law school, business, additional study in developmental and cognitive psychology ...?" I started to wonder what they knew that I didn't. I took the LSAT and considered law; I worked in public relations for five years with great success; but still, I wanted to teach. I returned to school for my credential and masters and despite the detours, I ended up where I wanted to be - in the world of teaching.
When I moved to Boulder, I was able to work within the Boulder Valley School District for a period until my California Teaching Credential expired. Before setting out to obtain my needed Colorado license, I started my own multimedia firm often serving educational institutions, of course. I'm sure even this detour was merely an opportunity to master html and the digital tools that were just beginning to blossom in the late 1990s, all integral to students' lives today. In 2002, I wasn't looking for a change. Life, family, and work filled my hours. But a few friends independently called to tell me about the education position at UCAR - once again working with students and fellow educators and doing what I love.
"Sounds like you," they each said as they referenced the position.
My husband read the job description. "Sounds like you," he said also.
And I had to agree. Sometimes you just have to listen to that inner voice and do what you must. But it's much easier to trust the voice when others support and encourage it. That's a lesson worth remembering, especially for a teacher.