Igniting Curiosity: My Favorite Internship Moment at Waco Mammoth

Igniting Curiosity: My Favorite Internship Moment at Waco Mammoth

The Mayborn Museum, a hub of scientific curiosity in Waco, invited the entire community to explore the marvels of science at the STEM Fest. As a paleontology assistant, I saw this as a chance to ignite the passion for fossils and our site in the hearts of the public. The Mayborn Museum STEM Fest was an electric event, buzzing with excitement. Families, students, and science enthusiasts of all ages congregated under one roof to celebrate the beauty of discovery. At our booth, surrounded by lifelike fossil replicas and captivating exhibits, we embarked on a mission to share the rich history of the Waco Mammoth National Monument with every visitor.

As a paleontology assistant, I had grown accustomed to the world of fossils and excavation techniques. However, the Mayborn Museum STEM Fest challenged me to wear a different hat – that of an educator. It was my responsibility to break down complex concepts and make paleontology accessible to everyone. With enthusiasm in my voice and a glimmer in my eyes, I shared stories of mammoth fossils and the dedication of our excavation team. Young children, wide-eyed and eager, hung on to every word, while curious adults engaged in thought-provoking conversations about the mysteries of the past.

As the day unfolded, I realized the immense impact that outreach opportunities like the STEM Fest can have on shaping the future of science. The genuine interest and curiosity shown by the visitors were testament to the power of public engagement. For some, it was the spark that ignited a lifelong passion for paleontology, while for others, it deepened their appreciation for the importance of preserving our planet’s history.

NPS interns at STEM Fest 2023

The realization that we, as scientists and educators, can play a pivotal role in inspiring the next generation of paleontologists filled me with a sense of purpose. The Mayborn Museum STEM Fest was not just a one-day event; it was a catalyst for curiosity, learning, and discovery that would continue to ripple through time.

As the STEM Fest came to a close, I couldn’t help but feel immense gratitude for the experience. The opportunity to engage with the public, to communicate the wonders of paleontology, and to inspire a love for science was a gift beyond measure.

Looking back, the Mayborn Museum STEM Fest marked a turning point in my internship. It made me realize that being a paleontology assistant wasn’t just about the excavation work; it was about being an advocate for the past and a guide to the future.

The Mayborn Museum STEM Fest remains an unforgettable chapter in my internship journey. Connecting with over a thousand people and sharing the wonders of our excavation site’s fossils was an experience that enriched not only their lives but mine as well. As I continue my journey as a paleontology assistant, I carry with me the memories of that transformative day, forever committed to kindling the flames of curiosity and fostering a love for science in all who cross my path.

To the visitors who joined us at the Mayborn Museum STEM Fest, thank you for your enthusiasm and eagerness!


Paleontologist Lindsey Yann (left) Mosaics intern Briana Salcido (middle) PhD student Dava Butler (right)
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