September 16th marked the kickoff of the 2017 Youth Council. Ready to explore and create teen museum programs, fourteen teenagers made their way up to the Digital Media Studio, a space designed by teens for our teens at the Field Museum. Youth Council members, diverse in their backgrounds from across Chicagoland and beyond, are working to host two curioCITY career events designed to get teens excited about science (as we clearly are!) and non-science careers to connect the museum’s work with the teen experience. This is done by inviting scientists and other professionals in different careers to the Field Museum, to have a conversation moderated by Youth Council members on their respective fields in front of a teen audience. The outcomes are fascinating and in the past we’ve inspired teens career pathways by bringing together scientists in geology with a visual arts professional, a computer science engineer with a DNA geneticist, and a conservation biologist with fire forensics investigator!
At Youth Council meetings we have the opportunity to learn team building skills and brainstorm for the upcoming curioCITY events events. Brainstorming on new curioCITY events, especially, has become critical to the purpose of curioCITY. By sharing ideas together on teen interests in career exploration we are able to work together better host teen-led events at The Field Museum. Youth Council Members Uma and Molly echoed this sentiment stating,
“I enjoy Youth Council because it’s a place where discussion is valued, I have an opportunity to collaborate with people who are creative and have different perspectives.” – Uma
“I get to meet so many interesting people who are open and curious. Everyone brings something different, and that’s what makes it great!” – Molly
In January, we are excited to host our first curioCITY event of the year inviting a Field Museum scientists that specializes in shark biology with that of an FBI investigator! Youth Council members will prepare all marketing materials and plan out related activities for teen guests at the event. This requires a lot of coordination and project management. Helen of Youth Council adds;
“The Youth Council experience gives me the opportunity to lead and to practice my public speaking, which are things that I struggle to do at school. I can also make valuable friendships with other Youth Council members!” – Helen
With each curioCITY being uniquely different, such as those listed above, we are able to achieve the Youth Council’s core value of diversity and bring new opportunities for the teen engagement at the museum! We understand that great things are created by diverse groups of people – after all, any self-respecting organism survives using varied sets of specialized cells. It’s why paleontologists, geologists, geneticists, and anthropologists, remarkably distinct in their fields of study, are all proud to call the museum home. Natural history isn’t a singular science, but the culmination of myriad disciplines in which diverse skillsets are a necessity yet can be inter-disciplinary. Thus, our curioCITY are inter-disciplinary career events that help find commonalities between what some might think are distantly related careers.
Each and every YC member shares a unique curiosity that contributes to the making of Youth Council. In fact, that’s why members find their experience on Youth Council so rewarding. Like the group of specialized cells that generate saliva in the back of one’s mouth (acini), each member plays a unique role within the Youth Council. This type of diversity is not only found within the Field Museum, but in healthy ecosystems and society itself – when groups of different skillsets work towards a common goal, the outcome is wonderful. Isabelle shares;
“It’s really nice to practice the communication skills that we learn at every meeting. I have also really enjoyed getting to know all of the other member of Youth Council, who are all so unique and interesting in their own right. Everyone brings forth their own value and insight, and because of that the council wouldn’t be the same without each and every person.”
We understand that today’s youth can make significant contributions to the realm of scientific study, and, as such, the Youth Council exists as a catalyst of their scientific enthusiasm.
If we’ve piqued your interest, lookout for blog updates, follow Teens Take The Field on social media, and register you and your friends to join us for curioCITY on Jan 27, 2018!
Andrei and Casandra , Youth Council members.