Posted by: COSI | April 20, 2010

Iceland Impacts COSI & Our International Alliances

Iceland Volcano

Photo Credit: AFP

There are often so many world events which seem distant and disconnected to us in Central Ohio.  The volcanic eruptions in Iceland disrupting air travel is NOT one of those.

Our work with teens through our Career Ladder is a top program for assuring ongoing opportunities, starting with age 12 to give interested youth a continual path of opportunities.  We have many stories from COSI’s rich past of youth who volunteered at COSI who went on to notable science, medicine, and technology careers.  (Even our second president Roy Shafer started as a 12 year old COSI volunteer!)  When I have a chance to talk with them they often note their experiences at COSI within a rich environment of passion for science as a key contributing factor.  We’ve wanted to continue and build on that historic COSI strength.

So when the New York Hall of Science was assembling a network of science centers engaged with youth to share best practice, COSI was one of them.  NY Hall created a staff exchange program that would provide participants a chance to develop professionally and an opportunity for each institution involved to share best practices and learn from each other.

So it’s been our pleasure to host three staff from Thinktank, the science center in Birmingham England (you can probably already see where this story is going).  While with us Zoe, Matt, and Shan (the Thintank Team Members) have had an opportunity to meet with members of our Career Ladder program, shadowed members of our Floor Faculty, little kidspace, Programs, and Guest and Safety Services Team, and participated in trainings and workshops, including our Camp-In program.  They were excited to learn about all that we do and have many ideas to take back and share with their Team.

That is when they get back to their team.  When I left town they were still looking at when they would be able to get back and taking side trips from Columbus to make the best of being unable to fly home—bringing the daily anxiety over travel to and from Europe into our consciousness in a more real and personal way.

And here at the board retreat for the Association of Science & Technology Centers, the international science center association for which I’m a board member, we are absent a number of my colleagues and fellow board members who have not been able to get from places like Finland and Belgium to join us.

So all of a sudden a fascinating but distant geological occurrence has become much more personal.  The global continues to be linked with the local—an event like this reminds me.

So what do you think COSI should be doing, if anything, to connect our public and members with the news and understanding of the volcanic action in Iceland?

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