All the education and outreach that goes on at the museum would not be possible without talented University of Minnesota students—from the Touch & See Lab and exhibit galleries to the ticketing desk, Curiosity Shop, Whitney and Elizabeth MacMillan Planetarium, scientific collections, and beyond.
As the academic year comes to a close, we want to recognize and thank the graduating students who have given their time, creativity, and passion during their time at the museum. Congratulations to our amazing Bell family on your enormous accomplishment. Please come back to visit us often, and we wish you the best in all your future adventures!
December 2019 Graduates
Major: Fisheries, wildlife, and conservation biology
Future goals: Was scheduled to begin at Lowry Nature Center. My career goals are to continue working in the world of wildlife education, preferably at a nature center or somewhere with a position similar to what I did at the Bell.
Favorite Bell memory: Being able to learn something new every day. I enjoyed being able to work with so many smart and talented people. I always looked forward to coming to work thanks to the people (and animals) I got to work with.
Major: Master’s in GIS (Geographical Information Systems)
Future goals: Getting a job using my GIS knowledge. Currently I am focusing on working for the government such as a city or county. Ideally I may be able to find a way to use my skills working for a nature center or museum.
Favorite Bell memory: It is hard to make one area I liked at the Bell. I really enjoyed working with the staff and teaching guests. However, I think my favorite part was working with the animals. I would get the opportunity to share my knowledge on something I love as well as gain animal care experience.
Brynn was with the Bell long before the grand opening and has been integral to making the museum a place for all by contributing to equity and access efforts over the years. Brynn brought her expertise and passion for the natural world to the floor with our visitors and stayed on after graduation in a temporary position to assist the Public Collections Manager with various projects and updates to our education collection and special projects relating to our live animals in the Touch and See Lab.
Major: Fisheries, wildlife, and conservation biology, wildlife care & handling minor
Future goals: Informal education with a strong interest in exhibit and program design
After graduation, Ally was able to stay on at the Bell in a temporary position supporting gallery and school group programs.
Major: Environmental science and design
Future goals: I’m looking into jobs in environmental education, public lands stewardship or environmental/design consulting.
After graduation, McKenna was able to stay on at the Bell in a temporary position supporting gallery and school group programs.
Putheawin (Win) Samphea
Future goals: After graduation, I hope to explore opportunities in Minnesota that align with my interests. My goal is to combine my degree in physics with my passion for environmental science and sustainability to give back to local communities and our planet.
After graduation, Win stayed on at the museum as a planetarium outreach assistant traveling with the ExploraDome in what was scheduled to be our busiest spring ever.
Favorite Bell memory: My favorite memory of working at the Bell is welcoming visitors as they enter the planetarium and giving them a star map as they leave at the end of a show. I enjoy seeing the excitement from people of different ages and backgrounds as they experience science.
Major: Ancient history
Future goals: I am starting my Master’s in Education program this May to get my license in social studies for grades 5–12.
Favorite Bell memory: The animals in the touch and see lab. I miss them all, especially Milk.
Shelby was a part of the Bell from the time of our grand opening on the St. Paul Campus and was able to stay on following graduation in a temporary position, helping the Bell’s museum and planetarium guide supervisors improve and polish the program structure. From helping to clean-up internal training resources to building new trainings for future guide cohorts, Shelby has left quite a mark on the Bell and future Guides will be better served because of her hard work and creativity.
May 2020 Graduates
Major: Astrophysics major, English and physics minor
Future goals: First going to graduate school then hopefully narrowing down career options in the process.
Major: Environmental education, Spanish minor
Future goals: I want to teach in a forest school and help children establish and grow their connection with the natural world through education.
Major: Physics, minors in history of science, technology and medicine
Future goals: I’m planning to enter graduate school either this or the next upcoming school year at George Washington University in D.C.! No better time to pursue public health, people say, but I’m looking into studying that with an emphasis on nutrition. (Yay, food!)
Favorite Bell memory: Working at the Bell has been one of the most engaging and fun jobs I’ve had! Part of that might be the commitment to creativity and curiosity I’ve seen in the ways information has been shared or exhibited, from dioramas to the interactive crane mating dance to the all-you-can-feel touch and see lab. It has definitely had a positive impact on visitors, as they get inspired or are itching to tell us things that excite them (and us); I often learn more from them than they do from me as an interpretive guide! One of my favorite memories is probably seeing the change from fear or disgust to awe when people try handling a cockroach. I came from that position myself, activated to full fight-or-flight response whenever I see a cockroach but now understanding their importance in nature and grudgingly coming to respect them (well, kind of). To me, an important part of science is exploring, rather than just fearing, the unknown, and I think the Bell does an amazing job of achieving just that!
Future goals: After graduation, Rhylan will be working at the Mississippi National River and Recreation as a park ranger in St. Paul for summer 2020. After this summer season, she hopes to become a permanent park ranger for the National Park Service somewhere with mountains.
Favorite Bell memory: Showing people that animals like snakes or tarantulas aren’t actually so scary and they can be quite cool!
Major: Forestry natural resources management
Career goals: Forester in a remote part of Alaska I have accepted a position as a forester in the Huron Manistee National Forest! I’m super excited to start the next part of my career.
Favorite Bell memory: The thing I will miss most about the Bell Museum is all the amazing people I got to work with! I had so much fun the past year and a half, and I’m going to miss it so much. Thank you all for the good times and great memories.
Majors: Marketing and Spanish
Future goals: After graduation, I’ll be in the Sales Rotational Program at UnitedHealth Group. In the future, I hope to pursue an MBA degree.
Major: Ecology, Evolution & Animal Behavior/ Plant & Microbial Biology
Future goals: Evolutionary ecology research
Major: Environmental science, policy, and management- environmental education and communication track. Fisheries, wildlife, and conservation biology minor
Future goals: Nature preschool teacher and a wilderness guide on the side
Major: ESPM and Spanish degree
Future goals: I plan on working as a naturalist for Lebanon Hills Regional Park! I am very excited about continuing my interpretive experience, and in the long-term would like to consider grad school and work for a state or national park
Favorite Bell memory: By far the Touch & See Lab! I love doing animal demonstrations for visitors, especially with the male bullsnake 🙂
Major: Aerospace engineering
Future goals: Master’s degree, design rocket or jet engines
Scott wrote and produced the planetarium show Flying on Other Worlds in spring 2020. A show based on his senior engineering project to design an airplane wing for flying on Saturn’s moon Titan. After graduation he has accepted a systems engineering job.
Major: Independent studies: psychology, neuroscience, & astrophysics
Futures goals: Continue learning and helping people.
Major: Forestry, minors in environmental science and wildlife biology
Future goals: I am planning to go into research on sustainable forest management, specifically soil biogeochemistry and forest operations. I hope to eventually work in academia or in global forest policy.
Major: Psychology, minors: public health, history of science
Future goals: I want to go into public health! I’m interested in researching environmental factors that exacerbate infectious diseases and studying the interaction between health disparities and public policy. I hope to work at the CDC or WHO one day!
This summer, I will be working on a very cool data project with Broadstreet! It’s a remote internship where we will be collecting covid-19 data by county to create maps and data visualizations on how the country is being affected by the pandemic. In the fall, I hope to expand my interests in public health by joining the National Health Corps AmeriCorps program as a health educator for marginalized communities in inner city neighborhoods of Chicago.
Favorite Bell memory: Oh, too many lovely things come to mind! But I think something that I really enjoyed about my time at the Bell Museum was just getting to hang with kids every day. Whether it was giving them interactive tours or exploring fossils in the Collections Cove, I loved connecting with kids and blowing their minds every chance I got. The other thing would be the camaraderie and community feel that I experienced with the Bell Museum staff/fellow guides. Everyone I met was always so friendly and encouraging! It made the working experience a hundred times more important and the Bell Museum one of my favorite places to work at. I will surely miss all of our friendly animals the most!
Future goals: The future is very uncertain right now, obviously, but I’m going to continue doing science and outreach as much as possible, whether in a medical lab, graduate studies, or environmental interpretation.
Favorite Bell memory: My favorite Bell memory is undoubtedly getting a chance to go absolutely hog-wild with guests who are genuinely interested in natural history. The very best was talking to someone who didn’t know much about biology or animals, but happily listened to me as I explained the invasive hippo populations in Colombia, and asked all the questions they had without fear of seeming stupid. Being able to share my excitement over the natural world and physically see it take hold with guests made the Bell Museum one of my favorite places in the world.
Major: Speech-language-hearing Sciences and psychology
Future goals: I’m not really sure what my next step is, but I know I want to help people. Some of the jobs I’m looking at include helping people with social or cognitive disabilities (a behavior technician is one of the potential titles), or maybe go work for one of the hearing aid companies and get into helping people with hearing loss that way, as an advocate.
Favorite Bell memory: One of my favorite memories was the opening weekend. Everyone who got to go those days definitely experienced the new museum to the fullest, and even though it was crazy as someone working, I miss those kinds of big events now. I really enjoyed my time working at the Bell overall, I hope everyone in your house is staying healthy!