Dahlia Newman

This summer I interned for the Museum of Science and it was truly one of the most valuable experiences I have ever had. From the second I stepped into the Museum, I felt welcome.  Throughout the summer, all of the staff and interns have been incredibly kind and supportive. Their encouragement and appreciation for my ideas and contributions has increase my confidence and my passion for science while navigating the professional world.

Seeing the impact of the work I have been doing has been so fulfilling and allowed me to grow through being a part of something bigger than myself. I was involved with the Museum of Science’s Youth Voice’s Event for the White House Conference on Health, Hunger, and Nutrition. For this event, the Museum of Science reached out to 25 organizations that work with youth and communities that struggle with food insecurity. My department, Current Science and Communications, was given questions to answer from the White House and created a forum to evoke discussion and solve different health and hunger-related issues. Using different scenarios and creating partnerships on the federal, state, local, and individual level, participants determined the roles of different organizations in solving a specific issue by using their personal experiences or information they learned and shared. To compensate participants for their time and contributions, everyone was provided with dinner and a $50 gift card, which showed that the Museum cared about children’s voices, but also took action to make sure no one was left hungry and everyone was rewarded.

While the forum was still being workshopped, I was able to go through the program with another intern while other members of the team observed our process and discussion. Instead of feeling overwhelmed and intimidated, I was excited to explore my creativity and problem-solving skills when faced with real life challenges and appreciated the opportunity to provide feedback. When we finished the forum, I was blown away by the team’s ability to take the broad questions posed by the White House and receive clear, concise solutions through the program’s more targeted approach.

On the day of the event, I was put in charge of registering people as they came into the Museum and giving out exhibit hall passes for early guests. As people began to trickle in, it became clear that there were more people than anticipated and not enough places for people to sit. Normally, the prospect of something not going as planned would cause me to panic, but with the reassurance of my colleagues, we were able to improvise and rearrange the room so that everyone had a group and a seat at the table. However, there was not an extra seat available for me at any of the tables, which I realized was not a limitation, but an opportunity. Because there were facilitators at each table, I was instructed to wander around, posing questions to groups about their prompts and ideas. At first, I was nervous about approaching strangers and asking them difficult questions about how to solve such relevant issues, but everyone I interacted with was so eager to share that I became comfortable jumping into conversations and pushing participants to work around potential challenges. Listening to the kids working with one another to create change, I was reminded of how powerful perspective is and the importance of diversity when considering how different groups of people are affected by varying circumstances.

Throughout my experience at the Museum of Science and with Teen JUST-US, I have learned so much about myself and my community. I am eternally grateful for the support I have received and for the growth I have seen in myself and everyone around me.

Dahlia Newman
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