If you’ve ever visited Morehead, you’ve learned something new about science and the world in which we live.
What may be less obvious is that Morehead is a rich learning ground for UNC students, too. There have always been student employees at Morehead. However, in 2001, the organization made a bold and purposeful decision to strengthen the experience for student employees by aligning its staffing strategy to the academic mission of the University. Now, over sixty UNC students work at Morehead, and they take center stage in our organization. It is the job of our full-time staff to mentor, nurture and support them as they learn skills related to teaching, nonprofit management and communications.
Students can be found in every aspect of our operations. In addition to serving as the “public face” of the organization – giving shows, teaching in our programs and selling tickets and merchandise in our gift shop – students work behind the scenes designing curriculum, writing for our publications and planning events. They learn to communicate complex ideas, manage projects and reflect on their successes (and occasional failures).
In addition, many of our more experienced student employees train and support their newer colleagues. For example, Mallory and Eryn held a training session over the weekend for our exhibit facilitators. They planned the agenda, prepared the materials and presented the information to our staff. They will then follow up with their colleagues, answering their questions and providing additional support. This is just one example of a leadership role available to student employees through our organization.
For sixty years, Morehead has provided high quality science education to more than seven million people – schoolchildren, teachers, families and others. Now we’re also preparing the next generation of science educators, communicators and business people, too. We are a learning organization through and through.
Denise Young is Morehead’s director of education and planning.