Dr. Marketa Melicharova

Marketa has a PhD in Analytical Chemistry from the University of Basel in Switzerland, where she worked on miniaturization of electrophoresis on a chip. She decided to become a scientist because she thought it was cool to wear a lab coat and safety glasses!

Q & A with Marketa:

What is it like to work at Science from Scientists?

I have two different roles at Science from Scientists – a Module Officer I and an Instructor. Most days I work on the lesson modules from home – this includes lesson writing, revising and editing of another Module Team member’s work. I really enjoy this role since it is creative and flexible, plus I am broadening my knowledge almost every day. In my Instructor role, I first prep for teaching and then go to a school to teach one of our amazing hands-on lessons to kids who are always so excited to see us coming again. I have been lucky to always have a wonderful teacher who supports us and makes sure that both we and the kids get the best from our visit.

What makes Science from Scientists different from other educational or science groups you’ve worked with?

For two years I also taught with a company that provides science based after school programs and workshops and although I enjoyed my work there, I feel that Science from Scientists focuses more on students’ understanding of the topics as opposed to just have fun with science without necessarily understanding the concepts behind experiments as was happening with the other company. The combination of well-thought fun hands-on experiments and science concepts that are delivered with each experiment is the key that makes Science from Scientists such a great company to work for.

What is the company culture like at Science from Scientists?

People at Science from Scientists are enthusiastic and passionate about science and love sharing their passion with students. They support each other and allow everyone to feel welcome. I also enjoy the fact the company is constantly trying to improve the lessons to make even a greater impact on students.

Why should someone apply to work for Science from Scientists?

As I am a mom of two little boys I think this is a great job to do while being able to take care of my family at the same time – therefore I would definitely recommend the work at Science from Scientists to all busy people who can commit to a part time job only and are at the same time interested in science and teaching. I am sure they will find the work at SfS very rewarding!

What is your favorite classroom memory/experience?
I remember best students’ excitement and pride when they get something right. And there are many such moments in the classroom – it is always great to see students’ curiosity sparked and then satisfied with a new understanding.

Dr. Catherine Sukow

catherine2 Dr. Sukow’s interest in science education began when she was a teenager, with an extended visit to San Francisco’s Exploratorium. In college, she had summer jobs in a similar, smaller, museum. She focused her Master’s research at NCSU on the structure of metal silicides on silicon, and her Ph.D. work at Brandeis on the structure of crossbridged actin bundles. While volunteering in her childrens’ schools, she was reminded how much fun it is to teach science, and is happy to be teaching now with Science from Scientists. In her spare time, she also enjoys yoga, choral and solo singing, and attempting a variety of international cuisines.

Q & A with Catherine:

Q: What is a typical day for you at Science from Scientists?
A: I do three different kinds of work with Science from Scientists, so I have three different kinds of work days. Most days I work from home, writing, editing, and revising lessons for our instructors. It’s creative work, and I have a lot of flexibility on those days – most of the time I work while my kids are in school. I am also an instructor myself, which is fun, and more interactive – and spending time in the classroom keeps the actual students in my mind while I’m writing lessons for them! I’ve been lucky to work with a wide range of ages, in many different communities. As for my third kind of work – occasionally, I get to participate in our Science Theater events, which are a chance to share my enthusiasm for science in a more theatrical way!

Q: What makes Science from Scientists different from other educational or science groups you’ve worked with?
A: Science from Scientists has created its own unique model for delivering science education. It’s a hybrid of specialized outreach programs (but it operates throughout the whole school year, not just for a visit or two), classroom instruction (but it brings expertise over a broader range of science subjects than are available in a typical classroom), and museum-style demonstrations (but the lessons are portable to the classroom and thus available to all students).  It turns out that we complement traditional classroom instruction well, and because of our yearlong involvement, we can be a resource for the classroom teachers as well as for the students.

Q: What is the company culture like at Science from Scientists?
A: We have a fun mix of people at SciSci – grad students who combine teaching with their own studies, “science moms” who have taken time off or switched career tracks when their kids came along, second-career folks who want a change of pace. We all share an enthusiasm for science and a desire to spark that enthusiasm in students. My coworkers are terrific – we have a very collaborative culture, and all enjoy learning from each other – and for science moms like me, the flexibility can’t be beat.

Q: Why should someone apply to work for Science from Scientists?
A: If you are a scientist who cares about getting kids interested in science, and want to do something about it yourself, Science from Scientists is a great place to do that! Your experiences and enthusiasm are valued, and you are supported by a community of scientist-educators who care about science and kids as much as you do.

Q: What is your favorite classroom memory/experience?
A: My favorite classroom moments, not surprisingly, are those when a kid “gets it”, whatever “it” is, in that particular lesson. Once it was a kid understanding why the moon phases look different in the Southern hemisphere; once it was a kid realizing that the blue squiggle on the microscope slide was actually DNA; sometimes it’s the fun of sharing a kid’s success when they finally get the circuit right and the light bulb goes on.