On a similar note of exploration, I was unsure about my major going into UW and well into my first year, fearing that I would specialize too soon and prevent myself from assessing all the possible routes in my studies and career options. However, one in-class experience, in particular, dissolved my worries and allowed me to discover a field that would change my life.
I took a course about natural history museums with Dr. Melissa Frey at the Burke Museum and fell in love with natural history. During class, I explored the collections, learned about current research, unpacked the logistics that make museums valuable for educating the public and supporting scientists, and even designed a mock-up exhibit for a class assignment.
A year later, I’m working on hummingbird research at the Museum in one of the labs I visited in that class. Learning from Melissa relit a fire of child-like curiosity in me, and I’m elated with my change in academic focus because of this experience. Falling in love with the community engagement aspect of the Burke is something I hope to expand upon in my professional career, looking to unite my design and education skills into science communication and public-facing outreach programming between marine science and collection spaces like the Burke.