Natalie Jo Bachmann, a May 2016 Master of Arts in Museum Studies graduate, recently celebrated one year as STEM outreach programs associate with the Academy of Science-St. Louis, a nonprofit organization dedicated to science literacy and education.
As the STEM outreach programs associate, Bachmann assists with the development, coordination and implementation of STEM outreach programs, including science seminars for the public and student STEM career explorations. She also serves as the Academy's Teen Leader, managing and developing programming for the Academy's Teen Leadership Council and Teen Science Cafes.
Bachmann became connected with the Academy while taking the Museum Project course as part of her Museum Studies program. The course was supposed to be a one-semester internship, but Bachmann stayed for a year creating an online exhibit detailing the Academy’s history. She also curated a physical exhibit that remains on permanent display outside of the Academy offices. It was her exceptional work during her internship that earned her the permanent position.
“No matter what we learn, we take it everywhere we go. It’s our knowledge that allows us to grow in whatever we do. I don’t see finishing my graduate degree to get the job I want, but to be a better person in whatever I do.”
“I was their archive intern, which allowed me to organize their collection, input it into an online database and create a free, easily accessible online exhibit about the history of the Academy of Science-St. Louis,” she said. “At the Academy of Science-St. Louis, I not only have learned archival and museum studies skills, but leadership skills, lessons on teamwork and so many others.”
Bachmann said that in addition to providing her with an internship that led to a fulltime job, the museum studies program, with the help of instructor Beth Hansen, allowed her to complete projects that made an impact on her own hometown.
“It was in professor Hansen’s class that I was able to actually create a project that I not only enjoyed doing, but it also was very personal to my hometown and its historical relevance,” she said. “For this class, our jobs were to pick a historic place that was not on the National Register for Historic Places yet and make a case as to why it should be. I chose a place in my hometown, which allowed me to go out in my community and make real-world connections that related to my field of study.”
Bachmann said she’s a first-generation student in her immediate family, so earning her master’s degree was an incredible achievement.
“I am so very grateful to have had the opportunity to learn and grow. This program has allowed me to create hands-on projects that I was able to finish,” she said. “No matter what we learn, we take it everywhere we go. It’s our knowledge that allows us to grow in whatever we do. I don’t see finishing my graduate degree to get the job I want, but to be a better person in whatever I do.”