Service

An Unforgettable Experience: Reflecting on Two Years as a Fellow at Audubon Mid-Atlantic

In the past two years, I have established a deep connection between Audubon Mid-Atlantic at the Discovery Center and four schools in Philadelphia, three of which are in Strawberry Mansion, the neighborhood where the Discovery Center lies. When I started as a fellow, we had established connections with two schools, one of those being in Strawberry Mansion. In this role, I have created the opportunity for Audubon to increase their engagement in their target neighborhood threefold. 

I have just completed my last week of lessons for this school year. This marks the second full year of lessons for the Community Partnership School, John B. Kelly School, and Dr. Ethel Allen School. This also marks the first full year of lessons at Edward Gideon School, a connection I made with alumni fellow Gregory Wright ‘13. 

These past two years have seen me grow into a more confident educator and birder, as well as a leader.

I created four lesson plans per school year, for a total of 8 lesson plans. However, in teaching five to six grades at each school, I tailored each of these lessons to each grade level based on their curriculum and learning levels. These lesson plans can now be used by Audubon Mid-Atlantic for any future lessons, whether I or another educator is teaching them. 

I have taught every class of every grade, kindergarten through fifth grade at two schools, and every class of every grade, pre-K through fifth grade at the other two schools. Each class received four lessons in a row from me, allowing us to create a lesson arc that I believe achieved my goal in my last update of “fostering a love of nature as well as a care for the environment while getting students excited about science.” I have had conversations with many administrators and educators about the transition from myself into the next fellow, and while many were disappointed that ‘Ms. Sophie’ would not be returning in the same capacity, they were excited that the program would go on. 

This summer, I will be taking on the role of Senior Coordinator for Conservation Education at Audubon Mid-Atlantic and I look forward to growing within the organization. One of the most exciting aspects of staying on at Audubon is the chance to see the program I piloted grow and change as the next FAO Schwarz Fellow steps into the role. It was a joy for me to be part of the hiring process for the next fellow and I look forward to mentoring officially through the Foundation as well as through my new role at Audubon. 

As we move into the summer months and the last month of my fellowship shifts away from school programs and into field trips and summer programs, I look both back on my experience as a fellow and forward to my upcoming experience as an alumni mentor and my role at Audubon. 

These past two years have seen me grow into a more confident educator and birder, as well as a leader. I look forward to continuing to grow as I move beyond the FAO Schwarz Fellowship, but I will take with me the wonderful connections that I have made and the support I have received from the fellowship community.

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Sophie Becker-Klein

Sophie Becker-Klein (she/her) is an FAO Schwarz Fellow at Audubon Mid-Atlantic's Discovery Center in Philadelphia.

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Reflecting on Hidden Voices of New York City: AAPI Month 

During the second semester of each school year, my fellow educators at MCNY and I host an online student webinar series titled Hidden Voices of New York City. The series consists of monthly free virtual workshops designed for students in grades 3-5 that highlight and honor the individual and collective experiences of a diverse swath of New Yorkers. Each month has a different theme and features three different New York City-based activists. As May is Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, a time to celebrate and reflect on the contributions, achievements, and struggles of the AAPI community, the Hidden Voices series for the month not only celebrated the rich diversity of AAPI cultures but also highlighted the inspiring work of AAPI activists who have made significant strides in advocating for social justice and equity.

Researching the figures was particularly rewarding because I spent time looking at many primary and secondary sources from MCNY’s collection and several digital archives.

Our May program highlighted three individuals – Wong Chin Foo, Yuri Kochiyama, and Vishavjit Singh. Students gained insights into the experiences, challenges, and triumphs of these remarkable individuals. For example, with Wong Chin Foo (1847-1898), students learned about the Chinese American community during the period of Chinese exclusion and how Wong used writing to combat stereotypes. Yuri Kochiyama (1921-2014) was a Japanese American civil rights activist, internment survivor, and friend of Malcolm X whose story introduced students to the idea of solidarity through her participation in multiple social justice and human rights movements. Lastly, with Vishvajit Singh (1972 – ), students learned about a contemporary activist, Sikh American cartoonist and author who created the persona “Sikh Captain America” to fight against stereotypes and promote better representation for his community. 

It was a privilege to both write the script for and facilitate the May programs. Researching the figures was particularly rewarding because I spent time looking at many primary and secondary sources from MCNY’s collection and several digital archives. It was also fun to create the narrative for our program with my colleagues that would be accessible to 3-5th graders but also address the struggles and gravity of their stories. Throughout each program, students engaged thoughtfully and enthusiastically with our questions and prompts for reflection. I was inspired by how much these 3-5th graders already knew about our Hidden Voices, and grateful that I shared new information with them as well. While I am sad that this was the last time I will facilitate the Hidden Voices series, I am honored to have been part of a program that uplifts individuals whose stories have too often been “hidden” from the traditional historical record, but whose lives and legacies continue to shape our collective history and identity in the city.

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Natalia Wang

Natalia (she/they) is the FAO Schwarz Fellow at the Museum of the City of New York.

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Feature image by Filip Wolak for the Museum of the City of New York.

Nothing Short of Life-Changing: A Reflection on Two Years as a Fellow at NYC Audubon

When I began my fellowship on July 12, 2022, I knew I was interested in the world of urban wildlife, but lacked direction and a point of view. Not to mention, I knew nothing about birds. Throughout my time with NYC Audubon, I have been given opportunities to learn about urban wild bird conservation, develop my own perspective and questions, and practice my developing expertise as a social scientist of urban wildlife conservation.

My position at NYC Audubon has been split into two distinct but related halves: Advocacy and Engagement. These halves have also served as a distinction between my Special Project and Direct Service work. My Special Project has been developing NYC Audubon’s advocacy initiatives for city- and state-level bird-friendly legislation. My Direct Service work has involved engaging directly with the public at NYC Audubon’s seasonal environmental center on Governors Island. 

My experience as an FAO Schwarz Fellow and a member of the team at NYC Audubon has been nothing short of life-changing.

Over the past two years, I have built out advocacy campaigns, organized rallies, testified at New York City Council, worked with elected officials, and engaged thousands of New Yorkers in taking action for wild birds. I am most proud of my work with Dustin Partridge, PhD—NYC Audubon’s Director of Conservation and Science—to research and write a guidance memo on drone light shows for the Mayor’s Office, which will soon be drafted into city-wide legislation to protect birds and people from the harmful effects of artificial light at night. I have also developed, coordinated, and conducted nature—and conservation—related programming for children and families on Governors Island and developed the analytical groundwork with which to measure progress as NYC Audubon continues developing bird outings and programming that engage the whole city and reflect the organization’s commitment to Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Accessibility. 

With the development of experience and knowledge from the Fellowship, I acquired research assistantships with faculty from Rutgers University and Colorado State University to better understand the formation of hemispheric approaches to shorebird conservation, which will result in at least one published academic paper, a conference presentation in Canada, and a research trip to observe shorebird migration—and the people who study it—at the Delaware Bay this May. And, after a long and tasking application process, I am thrilled and honored to begin my PhD in Environmental Psychology at The Graduate Center at CUNY this fall. I plan to study the political ecology of queer cruising geographies in New York City as habitat for wild birds and sites of contestation between people and institutions/agencies. I will also continue to work at NYC Audubon part-time in a new role mainly devoted to advocacy.

My experience as an FAO Schwarz Fellow and a member of the team at NYC Audubon has been nothing short of life-changing. I’m looking forward to seeing the ways in which this experience continues to guide me in my career.

 

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Jesse McLaughlin

Jesse (he/him) is the Advocacy & Engagement FAO Schwarz Fellow at NYC Bird Alliance (formerly NYC Audubon).

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The Power of Field Trips

Most of my direct service consists of teaching interactive, fun and meaningful field trips for K-12 students in the Museum of the City of New York’s special and ongoing exhibitions. Through teaching, I have come to understand the impact that museum field trips and museum education at large provide for students. 

I have seen students really respond to seeing themselves or their stories represented in the Museum’s objects because many view museums as the representation of a community and its values.

Seeing real objects from the past, close-up and in person, is a powerful way for students to understand that the past was as real and material as their lives now. During the field trips, students see some of the objects that are part of the Museum’s collection, some of which are quite old. A question I always get from students while looking at these older objects in galleries is: “Are these things real?” When I respond that they are, the students’ reactions range from awe, to disbelief, and to curiosity, to name a few. There is something special about looking at an artifact up close and in person, especially when so much learning and life takes place on digital platforms. 

Field trips are impactful because students are prompted for personal reflection. I have seen students really respond to seeing themselves or their stories represented in the Museum’s objects because many view museums as the representation of a community and its values. In one of our galleries that speaks to the diversity of New York City, we have a guira, a percussion instrument from the Dominican Republic. I have had many students on field trips get so excited when they see the instrument because they recognize what it is and want to share their knowledge with me and the class.  Students also see other stories or experiences that may differ from their own lives during field trips, helping them become more self-aware and understanding of others. 

Finally, field trips are impactful because they provide students with a one-of-a-kind experience. I did not go on many field trips growing up but for the ones I went on, I still remember where I went, what I did, and what I learned, all while having fun. During field trips at the Museum, students participate in hands-on learning that is inquiry-based and driven by the objects they see in the space which can be different from how they learn in the classroom. They also serve as a supplement to the material they are learning in class, reinforcing what they’ve already learned or will learn within a different context. 

These are just some of the ways that field trips are impactful for students of all ages – I could go on for a while! I love teaching field trips and can’t wait for the many more I will do this school year as my direct service work. 

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Natalia Wang

Natalia (she/they) is the FAO Schwarz Fellow at the Museum of the City of New York.

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Why I Chose Breakthrough as My Host Organization

When I was admitted into college, I could not express how unpredictable my journey up to that point was. Little did I know that, at a point when I thought I had a general idea of what my life would look like during and after my time in higher education, I would encounter the same unpredictability.

I was raised in an area where schools didn’t always have the most resources to cater to their students. During my time in elementary school, in parent-teacher conferences, my teachers would consistently express to my parents how they should pull me out of my current school and get me to apply to magnet schools, if not move to another district area. Initially, my family was able to get me to another school district for my fourth-grade year. The difference was immediately noticeable in the sheer amount of resources that the school and teachers had at their disposal. The school I attended had an ‘Exemplary Campus Distinction’ that followed them for years, indicating that the students performed highly academically. Unfortunately, it wasn’t sustainable for me to continue my education at that school, so I returned to my designated elementary school to finish my time there, all while looking into and applying to magnet schools to continue my middle school education. 

[Breakthrough's] devotion to long-term support for students, focusing on low-income students of color in sixth grade through college, is something that I wish I had growing up.

I completed the remainder of my middle and high school years in magnet schools. While my time in these schools proved to be very stress-inducing, challenging, and overwhelming, it overall prepared me for the standardized tests that would prove useful when applying to college. They also exposed us to many opportunities to grow professionally, from partnerships they had with outside organizations/institutions to providing us with courses diving into specialized topics of our choosing that we wouldn’t otherwise find in other schools. They taught us to write resumes, cover letters, answer college admissions questions, how to conduct ourselves in interviews, etc. As a first-generation student, these schools became a learning ground for both my family and me. 

All of that being said, it also was a very toxic space to be in. These schools train students to excel academically and do everything possible to present an impressive profile for recruiters, whether for college or their careers. However, they failed to create an environment where students were seen beyond their grades and achievements, they failed to create a space that allows for a student to view themselves holistically. I remember the competitiveness of students with one another reaching boiling points, with rankings hinging on minute differences in overall GPA between students. Some students who transferred out of these schools even managed to rank #1 in their designated public schools, a stark contrast to their standing within the competitive environment.

After being admitted into college, some of my colleagues and I, as first-gen students of color, imagined ourselves pursuing medical or law school, aspiring to become successful professionals in our respective fields. After having a long conversation with myself, and really questioning the reasoning behind my actions, I realized my passions didn’t align with medicine or law. So, I began to explore other areas of interest and found myself studying Anthropology and Race and Ethnicity Studies for the remainder of my time in college. In my final year, I focused my capstone project on the reproduction of whiteness in higher education institutions, with a specific focus on the Hispanic and Latinx communities. Through the project, I was able to reflect on my own experience, as well as interview others to gather narratives of everyone’s journey through the education system. 

My path post-graduation didn’t become clear until less than a month before attending my commencement ceremony. I remember the anxiety when thinking about my next steps and whether I would even find something that would fulfill me and allow me to continue to grow. I knew that I would be interested in joining a non-profit organization, but then found myself debating what cause I would search for. In my search, I came across the FAO Schwarz Fellowship and found myself intrigued by Breakthrough Greater Boston. Their devotion to long-term support for students, focusing on low-income students of color in sixth grade through college, is something that I wish I had growing up. The organization takes the valuable resources of magnet schools while eliminating the toxic competitiveness and individualistic mindset, and emphasizing key values like spirit and student-centeredness. I chose Breakthrough, as it was a natural transition toward my interests and future aspirations. 

Since being at Breakthrough, I have learned a lot of things that I did not even throughout my time in college. As my time in the fellowship is coming to a close, I find myself in a similar position as I have in the past, uncertain of what’s to come. What’s different now is that I’ve learned to live with uncertainty, embracing what’s to come in this next chapter of my life and carrying with me all the lessons I’ve learned along the way. Breakthrough has let me have a hand in college success work, engage in programming throughout the school year and summer, delve into development and operations, and foster alumni relations. Although my future remains uncertain, I feel better equipped to tackle what comes next as I continue pursuing my interest in the social impact sector.

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Juan Mojica

Juan Mojica (he/him) is the College Success & Alumni Coordinator FAO Schwarz Fellow at Breakthrough Greater Boston.

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Jocelyn gives a talk on stage at a Museum of Science event.

Steps to Belonging: From Visitor to Educator

Just 10 minutes away from the Museum of Science in Boston is one of my most memorable places growing up, the city of Chelsea. Although a small city, it is packed with an abundance of people and places to experience. From a great view of the Boston skyline to the amazing food found on every corner, it has its perks. However, one of the best advantages of growing up in Chelsea was being just a short ride away from Boston, and specifically the Museum of Science. I can clearly recall the field trips that I had to the Museum. I got to experience “Night at the Museum” twice with their overnight program, and I would spend hours at Science in the Park with my family whenever we visited. One of my favorite parts of the Museum was getting to visit the chicks that were already, or soon to be, hatched. Having visited numerous times, I did not think it could get better.

Something important that I have learned throughout the past couple of months is how to make the Museum a place where everyone feels like they belong, no matter their background.

Fast forward some years later, with experience working in Education and having graduated with a degree in Anthropology and Biology, when looking for a job post-grad, I was primarily interested in finding a job in informal education, preferably in the STEM field. And, loving where I grew up and the experiences that I had, I immediately went to see if the Museum of Science in Boston was hiring. You can imagine my excitement when I found out about the FAO Schwarz Fellowship role at the Museum. The excitement did not just come from the fact of where I would be working, but also because of the mission behind both the Fellowship organization and the host organization. The Museum of Science’s mission “to inspire a lifelong love of science in everyone”, in unison with what the FAO Schwarz Fellowship and foundation stand for: social impact, leadership, and education. Both reinforced one of my values: education and science should be accessible to anyone and everyone. 

Taking on the role of the new FAO Schwarz Fellow at the Museum of Science caused that excitement to turn into joy. Since starting in June of 2023, I have been able to do what it is that I am passionate about, every day. I have collaborated with different departments throughout the Museum to better support our Summer Youth Interns. I got to plan and lead my first High School Science Series focused on Artificial Intelligence. I even got to work with ferrets to promote my first live animal presentation about “Why Do Animals Make Us Happy?” Being able to experience what it takes to put all these events and shows together is an inspiring opportunity. 

One of my favorite events that I found truly inspiring, from both a visitor and educator standpoint, was our Hispanic and Latinx Heritage weekend celebration in October, an event I heavily and proudly supported. From securing guest speakers to performance groups to creating a bilingual activity for the weekend, the hard work that was put into this event was noteworthy. To me, the most important part of this weekend was being able to see myself, my small city of Chelsea, and other people of Hispanic and Latinx heritage, belong at the Museum of Science through the celebration of our cultures. This has not always been the case, but I am glad it is now. This is only one of the various heritage weekend celebrations that the Museum has committed to furthering.

Something important that I have learned throughout the past couple of months is how to make the Museum a place where everyone feels like they belong, no matter their background. Thinking back to my time as a visitor, experiencing the joy of learning and seeing the live shows, there are some aspects that I would have appreciated having at the Museum, such as heritage weekend celebrations or bilingual exhibits. But now, as an educator at the Museum of Science, being able to contribute to that change, and to create a more inclusive and accessible Museum means a lot to me, and to all our visitors. I know that eight-year-old Jocelyn, eating her rock candy from the Museum gift shop, would be ecstatic to learn that life as a visitor at the Museum of Science can get better. Just ask those who work there.

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Jocelyn Poste

Jocelyn (she/her) is the Youth Programs, Community Engagement Department FAO Schwarz Fellow at the Museum of Science in Boston.

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Classroom Inequality: Bridging the Gap at Breakthrough

​​Pursuing a Fellowship at Breakthrough Greater Boston was a natural next step after college, given my passion for alleviating classroom inequality. Majoring in sociology ignited my passion and revealed a sense of connection to the field as I pursued an undergraduate degree. My studies uncovered many social patterns that contributed to personal challenges I originally thought affected me by chance. As a Black, second-generation immigrant from a working-class, single-parent household, I recognized my own experiences with sociological concepts. The connection between child-rearing styles, socio-economic status, and classroom inequality was a particularly interesting topic that provided an explanation for the challenges I faced as an underrepresented minority attending a predominantly white institution. 

As I assist in middle school programming, interacting with students who attend the same middle and high school I graduated from... it often feels surreal to contribute to the outcomes of students that I see myself within.

Literature on classroom inequality suggests there is a causal link between a family’s socioeconomic status, their understanding of classroom expectations, and the way they teach their children to navigate their academics. This can critically affect the course of a student’s education journey, especially when compared to their wealthier peers. To counteract these roots of classroom inequality, programming at Breakthrough involves an intensive academic curriculum from middle to high school, tiered social-emotional development, and exposure to college—with hopes of assisting students in building a college-going identity and skills for college success. Students experience these layers to Breakthrough via afterschool programming in the fall and spring, all before our rigorous summer program. The full day of classes and research-based programs that Breakthrough students complete throughout the six weeks directly combats the achievement gaps that widen during summer vacation. 

Breakthrough’s early academic intervention works to dismantle and replace harmful academic messaging that students may have received, all while celebrating student identities in a close-knit community that values academic and social-emotional health. Breakthrough cultivates a setting in which students foster a personal love of learning and hone their sights on getting to college, where they can feel confident to succeed. Breakthrough’s college success focus encourages academic skills and social behaviors that promote persistence and college graduation. From entering the program in seventh grade to their transition to college, Breakthrough students demonstrate executive functioning, critical thinking, and self-advocacy: skills that working-class students must exhibit to level the unequal grounds of the college classroom. 

With an in-depth understanding of the perpetuation of classroom inequality, Breakthrough’s mission of inspiring enthusiasm for learning as well as creating paths to and through college stood out to me when I was selecting which Fellowship host to apply to. It was important to me that my future host organization was committed to intervening in the academic trajectories of working-class students, allowing them the privileges of their middle-class counterparts through their long-term, life-changing programming. As I assist in middle school programming, interacting with students who attend the same middle and high school I graduated from in my own small community within Boston, it often feels surreal to contribute to the outcomes of students that I see myself within. When I reflect on the role of Breakthrough in my community, I am certain that if I had participated in the program I would have been more prepared to face the stratified challenges of my predominantly white institution. 

Witnessing Breakthrough’s impact firsthand fuels my dedication to shaping positive student outcomes and addressing classroom inequality for future generations. My journey with Breakthrough Greater Boston is not just a Fellowship; it is a commitment to making a lasting impact on the lives of students and fostering a more equitable educational landscape.

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Jahmali Matthews

Jahmali (she/her) is the Marketing & Communications FAO Schwarz Fellow Breakthrough Greater Boston.

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Leading as a Young Person

The training rooms are packed. These young people, after weeks upon weeks of applications, interviews, and deliberation, have entered the Wall Street office space of the New York | New Jersey market for the first time. Like their peers across the country, they have placed their trust in one permutation of a national workforce development organization, hoping to empower themselves as they journey further through their young adulthood. These young people are at Year Up.

Could I, a mere 22 year-old that scrambled out of college three months before, serve these fellow young people with any degree of competence? Was my age going to be a burden in my work?

No, it was an asset.

There’s a certain tension in the air. They have come in the most professional outfits they could have mustered for the moment, even as your own shirt collar has begun to chafe your neck. These young people are wracked with nervousness, one you are fighting with every passing second. They are looking at you, and the PowerPoint behind you, for answers. How do you manage the expectations of several dozen twenty-somethings, each eager to progress forward in their lives and succeed?

Answer: Charisma, a thoroughly organized schedule, and pizza lunches. Lots and lots of pizza. What else can you expect from Lower Manhattan?

But the first ninety days of my time at Year Up’s New York | New Jersey market have not only been marked by shuffling pizza boxes around the office, but something infinitely less greasy– a harmony between data and direct service, and the hard work of putting largescale ambitions into incremental action. Year Up prides itself on its “feedback culture,” a system in which staff, students, and the organization at large are able to engage in conversation addressing both strengths and growth areas. For the FAO Schwarz Fellow in New York, this means tackling data at the macro level: organizing surveys for literal hundreds of people. And as with any FAO Schwarz Fellow, this means engaging directly with the population you serve.

When I came to Year Up in July 2023, I had been managing my own expectations as a fellow. I knew I liked working with data, and I knew I was good with working with people. I knew, based on the experience of the previous fellow Nia Atkins, that I could expect a lot of both. I knew that LC Lookback, an event wherein staff use the outcomes of the previous cycle to plan towards the next, was something she worked with often. When I was then asked to conduct research for the August 2023 LC Lookback, only a week into my tenure, I accepted it as part and parcel of my role. Sure, it was a daunting project that required precision and close collaboration over a mere month– which for non-social scientists, feels a little like cramming for a test the night before– but I earned my BA in Sociology from research I eked out in rural New England. This was something I knew I could do. This was a chance to begin doing data analysis with tangible, immediate impact.

August rolled around. LC Lookback came and went, and I presented, showing off my comically long slide deck to fellow staff members. This I had received academic training for. You acknowledge your biases, limitations, and blind spots. You work towards substantive conclusions given the human-centric data you gather. I felt a little proud of the instances where I worked in more qualitative data, sprinkling open-ended answers from participants in-between colorful graphs and numbers. Here was a strength (They really like in-person programming!) and there was a growth area (They really don’t like not getting in-person programming!). Data was data, and to a reasonable degree, I felt confident in handling it.

One LC Lookback down, something like 3 to 4 to go, right?

What I wasn’t so sure of was how direct service would turn out. Unlike some of the other fellows, I wasn’t working with children: on that first day of Orientation, in came participants as young as 17 and as old as 28. Some of them were parents. Others had just finished their Associates’ Degree. The average age was 23. I knew that because I had looked at the demographic data beforehand, trying to see where and how that data would inform my job.

Could I, a mere 22 year-old that scrambled out of college three months before, serve these fellow young people with any degree of competence? Was my age going to be a burden in my work?

Answer: No. It was an asset.

When I got up before those dozens of participants– in-between the program managers and instructors admittedly much more relevant to their day-to-day– I cracked a joke. Then another. And with an awkward flourish of my hand, I had the room smiling, chuckling, and engaged. That’s important when there’s a long road between the start of the morning and the afternoon pizza party. “I’m Avery Trinidad, and I’m gonna be the one to flood your inbox with surveys in a few months.”

Hey, I guess I still knew how to work a crowd. Kinda.

On the way to a break, a participant brought up his hand for a fist bump. Then another, and then another. It turned into a (short) line. I obliged. Trust is important in direct service. It takes a while to build it. It comes in many forms, after all.

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Avery Trinidad

Avery Trinidad (he/him) is the FAO Schwarz Fellow at Year Up in New York City.

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Natalia works with children and their families at an event at the Museum of the City of New York

A Day in the Life of a Fellow at MCNY

9:00-9:15 – Grounding 

  • I start my mornings by checking my email, responding to any messages, and planning my schedule for the day. I find this routine really grounding because I know exactly what I need to do and when to do it throughout the day.

 

9:15-9:45 – Field Trip Prep Time 

  • Most, if not every morning, I will be leading field trips for K-12 audiences as part of my direct service work. After I’ve grounded myself in my goals for the day, I will take time to prepare materials that students will engage with throughout the experience. Our field trip materials include a wide range of historical objects, iPads with videos, and arts and crafts materials. 
  • I will also review the information about the group to best tailor the experience to their needs. Sometimes the teacher let us know ahead of time that the students are studying a specific topic related to the gallery, so I will make sure to include that topic as a discussion point in the tour. 
  • I will often teach more than one field trip in a day during the academic year, so I will prep materials for my second field trip at this time if needed so that I am not rushing later on.

 

10:00 – 1:00 – Field Trips 

  • Depending on the time of year, I will teach one or two field trips a day. Each trip is an entirely different experience. Some of the variables that make each field trip unique include the student’s prior knowledge and interests, their grade level and previous museum experience, the gallery we are visiting, the time of day they visit, or even the weather. Developing my arsenal of teaching strategies has taken lots of practice, experimentation, and collaboration with other facilitators on the Education team. 

 

12:45 – 1:00 – Clean Up! 

  • Once all of my field trips for the day are done, I will put away materials that I took out for the day. I will also make note if we are running low on supplies and replenish them so that they’re prepared for the other museum educators who may need them.

 

1:00 – 2:00 – Lunch

  • When the weather is nice, I will eat lunch in Central Park! The Museum is across the street from the Conservatory Gardens, so I will often sit on a bench in that area. Now, having worked at the Museum for a year, it’s been really fascinating to see and learn how the gardeners change the landscape over the seasons. 

 

2:00 – 5:00 PM – Special Project Work Time 

  • In the afternoons I have dedicated time to work on my special projects. These projects change throughout the year depending on the upcoming programs and gallery rotations. Much of the special project work I do is collaborative, and I really appreciate the opportunities to work and learn from my colleagues!  
  • Field Trip co-development – One of the special projects I have been working on is co-developing a field trip for our upcoming exhibit People, Place and Influence: The Collection at 100. Part of this work includes selecting objects that students will interact with, identifying the types of engagements we will have students participate in, and selecting the main concepts we want students to take away from the field trip. 
  • FAO Foundation work – I will also work on projects for the FAO Foundation. The projects I have worked on this year include creating a graduation book to celebrate the second-year fellows upon the completion of their fellowship, preparing to present for prospective students, planning for the upcoming New York City retreat, and more.

 

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Natalia Wang

Natalia (she/they) is the FAO Schwarz Fellow at the Museum of the City of New York.

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