G.E.M. Environmental is excited to share another new addition to our monthly blog series - Science Stories. Each month, we interview a STEM scholar, student, or community member and ask them things like why they believe the STEM fields are important, how they got started in their field, to what they would do if they hit the jackpot. We hope that our new blog series will inspire, introduce a variety of fields, and create new conversations.
Our guest this month is Amy Finson, Youth Services Librarian at the Prescott Public Library in Prescott, Arizona. Before moving to Prescott and pursuing her master’s degree in Library Science, she was a middle school teacher in Houston, Texas. Amy is passionate about providing young people with authentic learning experiences and opportunities to explore their interests and develop skills for lifelong success!
Why do you believe that the STEM fields are important?
I believe that the STEM fields are vital because they provide answers and opportunities as well as generate ever more questions to help us live our best lives and ensure that future generations can do the same.
How and why did you get involved in the STEM fields?
My father is an aerospace engineer and my brother was the kid who took things apart to see how they worked, so STEM was always part of my life but more tangentially than not. When I began teaching middle schoolers, my involvement with STEM became more intentional; I often implemented STEM “challenges” to support a growth mindset in my classroom. Now, in my role as a children’s librarian, I facilitate the library’s Outdoors Explorer Club which uses STEM to provide hands-on nature learning activities for school age children.
What inspires you in your current position/role?
Not only do I work with some truly progressive and creative individuals at the Prescott Public Library, the young people who come to the library are just so wonderfully imaginative! Whether they are building with LEGOs or experimenting with new tech, I feel inspired by their eagerness to tinker and explore new ideas and new ways of doing things.
What project(s) are you currently working on?
I am currently working on developing the library’s teaching garden with the Outdoors Explorer Club (comprised of children, ages 8-12), which incorporates a rainwater harvesting system. Prescott has received some good rain over the past week, so conditions are favorable!
What is something that people might be surprised to learn about you?
I think a lot of people who know me might be surprised to learn that I recently joined Toastmasters. I am a big talker and I enjoy interacting with people, but there is just something about speaking in front of an audience of adults that makes me quake in my shoes.
What is the funniest thing that has happened to you recently?
The funniest thing that happened to me recently was at a meeting of the Outdoors Explorer Club. The kids were digging in the garden and came upon a giant beetle. It was so still, we thought it was dead. As one of the kids held it up for me to see, the beetle stirred. I screamed. The kids screamed. The beetle went flying. It was hilarious!
Thanks for sharing, Amy. It's great to hear about the educational STEM opportunities you help provide in the community!
If you'd like to learn more about Amy and the Prescott Library, please visit:
G.E.M. Environmental is happy to announce our three new field Interns, who will begin work next week. These Interns will serve as field cartographers on a team, prepare and submit detailed reports of data collected, assist in the collection, storage, and maintenance of field data, perform GIS manipulation and analysis, and much more. Please welcome our Interns:
G.E.M. Environmental has been awarded a grant by the Environmental and Sustainability fund, a component of the Arizona Community Foundation.
“In the short time that we’ve launched the Field Experience Program, we’ve already received tremendous support by the community,” Eric M. Welsh, GEM’s Executive Director said. “The grant from the Arizona Community Foundation will give us additional resources to offer hands-on science education for underserved college students in Yavapai County. The program will continue to expand its engaging activities, including field trips where students apply their knowledge, broaden perspectives on conservation, and gain insight into managing public lands.”
G.E.M. Environmental was founded in 2017 and offers STEM scholarships to undergraduate and graduate students, paid internships, community volunteer days, educational programs, regular blog series, and more. They have a partnership with Yavapai College and Drake Cement Mine, among other institutions in Arizona and New Mexico. GEM has successfully raised over $5K in conjunction with Arizona Gives Day, won an Arizona Gives Day incentive prize for the most dollars raised within 24 hours for a micro non-profit, and raised over $2K for Giving Tuesday to support the Field Experience Program.
Established in 1978, the Arizona Community Foundation is a statewide family of charitable funds supported by thousands of Arizonans. More information is available at www.azfoundation.org.