RSVP volunteer, Doug Petersen, retired after working 25 years as the Museum Education Director for the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History in northern California. Upon relocating to St. Cloud, Doug was seeking a volunteer opportunity which would give him the opportunity to use the skills he learned throughout his career at the museum.
RSVP connected Doug with teachers at Oak Hill Elementary School in St. Cloud to develop a program for 2nd graders which would spark their interest in science. Doug calls this program “Doug, the Science Dude” and he jokes “Bill Nye, the Science Guy was already taken.”
Doug states “It’s my intent to get kids excited about science and show them how it helps us understand the world around us. And, that there is so much neat stuff in our world that there are lots of different branches of science and lots of different scientists, both men and women, trying to figure out how everything works.”
Doug’s weekly fifteen minute program includes him showing students a variety of cool and unique specimens he has collected from different areas of scientific study. Doug has a dozen presentations developed from geology to paleontology to anthropology and more! Doug is even known to “dress the part” for the lesson he is presenting! “I hope to both entertain and amaze them [the second grade students] and perhaps pique their curiosity, inspiring some [students] to look at science as a career choice for themselves” Doug says.
Teachers and the students alike love to have “Doug the Science Dude” visit their classroom! Kristina Tykwinski is a second grade teacher at Oak Hill Elementary. Kristina’s students began regular lessons with Doug and she says “He is AMAZING!” Kristina expresses how much the second graders enjoy hearing all of “Doug the Science Dude’s” lessons stating “the kids were in a trance listening to him share his love of science! I am so excited our students get to learn from his passion and expertise each week!”
Doug is one of many RSVP who serve in the classroom. If you are interested in volunteering in local schools please contact the RSVP office by phone at (320)255-7295 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org!