Lab Coat Confidential: New Semester, New Teacher!

Welcome back to Lab Coat Confidential! October marks the first full month of the new school year here at the FirstHand lab. For this month’s post we sat down with Adam, the Program Facilitator and newest member of the FirstHand team!

Adam comes to the Science Center after six years teaching secondary science in the Philadelphia School District. Even though we are only a few weeks in to the semester, Adam has already contributed to all areas of programming! He helped teach the summer Taste Test classes, facilitated our FirstHand Teachers Institute, and is now leading school tours and teaching three Polymer Play classes.

Read on to learn more about Adam’s job and passion for STEAM, as well as his favorite musicians!

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Right: Working with a student during a Polymer Play design challenge. Left: Coaching a team through final project brainstorming for Taste Test.

What is your role with FirstHand, and why did you decide to work here?
As Program Facilitator, my job consists of planning partnerships with schools, running programs, coordinating visits from other schools who aren’t partners with us yet, and working on the FirstHand Teachers Institute. I came here for a lot of reasons! I felt this would be perfect for me in my next step: trying to veer from traditional teaching and figure out a space for my passion, which is science education. Besides that, it’s a great organization and great location. It’s expanding so it has a lot of potential.

What has been your favorite part so far?
It’s still just the first semester, but Taste Test was awesome. It was kind of my peak in to seeing how engaging the position and the job would be.

What do you think is cool about STEAM?
If you have a basic understanding of STEAM subjects you can really apply them to anything you want to. They also encourage outside-of-the-box thinking. No one wants to read a textbook and do questions, and STEAM – and FirstHand – are on the forefront of breaking that mold and letting kids discover what works and what doesn’t. That’s the best thing about STEAM, getting to experiment, tinker, change, bend and break the rules.

Do you remember a moment from middle school that really sparked your interest in STEAM?
My middle school science and social studies teacher was my favorite teacher ever. He told us cool stuff that was not necessarily being taught in other classes, and he had an interesting way to present topics and information that was eye-opening to me. I liked science in middle school, but Mr. Serouli was the one who really sparked my interest.

Thinking about other people who have influenced you, do you have a role model in life or did you have one as a kid?
Yeah, my parents. Just seeing them work as hard as they did to provide for us was a model. I would look at a lot of members of my family as role models.

Fill in the blank. As a curious kid…
… I used to break apart electronics and look inside.

If you could go on a field trip to anywhere in time or space, what would you choose?
I would probably go see Bob Marley’s concert in Jamaica – the One Love Peace Concert. They basically brought him back to Jamaica to stop a political war. I watched a documentary about him recently, and he’s one of my favorite musicians, so to be at that concert would be pretty cool.