January is National Mentoring Month, but throughout the year, the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum strives to provide opportunities for academic growth and career preparedness through education programs that mentor students and emerging professionals. As a major part of the Museum’s mission, to educate the public and inspire our youth, programs such as internships, youth leadership conferences and summer camps foster creativity and encourage critical thinking, which are essential in all career and academic fields.
Throughout the academic year, our Education Department offers internship options for high school, college and graduate level students to inspire the next generation of museum, science and business professionals. Mentored by Museum Educators, high school students develop their public speaking skills by presenting artifacts and archival materials to our general visitors and fine tune their interpersonal skills by serving as teaching assistants during school workshops and tours.
Advanced high school internships require students to choose and develop their own lessons to present to the general public or to specialized weekend and summer programs. Our college and graduate level internships build upon these basic skills by conducting research in program content and audiences, and collaborating with Museum Educators to create age appropriate educational experiences for Museum visitors.
The Museum’s year-long GOALS (Greater Opportunity Advancing Leadership and Science) for Girls program provides high school girls with educational experiences in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) related subjects. An integral part of GOALS for Girls is its six-week long summer camp which covers a different STEAM topic every week and then introduces campers to career professionals in that field at the end of each week.
These Friday Youth Leadership Conferences are an important and impactful mentoring opportunity for campers to speak with and hear from influential women in STEAM fields in small group settings. Between 2009 and 2013, many distinguished women have volunteered to serve as mentors, including professors and graduate students from Mercy College, Columbia University, Brooklyn College, CUNY and St. Francis College.
When asked how the Youth Leadership Conferences helped her, Jordie McFarquar replied, “Over the course of six weeks we were able to meet women who worked in many fields of STEM...these meetings gave each of us a unique opportunity to talk to women who are paving the way for other women and girls who think about having a career in STEM.”
Along with GOALS for Girls, another successful program is our Camp Intrepid, which began in 2004. Among the first campers was Matthew Modzelewski, an 8-year-old boy with a love of learning who fell in love with Intrepid. Matthew attended camp for the next five years, moving on to our Counselor-In-Training program and finally joined our camp staff as an Assistant Counselor last year. He has an abundance of patience and is eager to explain and demonstrate projects with the campers, who love being with him. Over the years we have seen Matthew grow into an inquisitive, intelligent young man. He will be off to college soon and his admissions essay was all about his time with us at the Museum. We wish him all the best in the future and thank him for all he has given to us.
The Museum’s Education Department provides inspiration for youth and emerging professionals to further themselves in their academic studies, career preparedness or professional careers. We hope in some way these experiences will help students gain a greater understanding of the importance and diversity of museums as a clearer view of their next steps in their academic and professional lives.