In the Weeds with Megan Glenn
UNH Extension staff are in the field every day, working with Granite State residents to make life better in New Hampshire. Because they’re so often on the go, getting to know our specialists and educators can be challenging. That’s why we’ve created In the Weeds, an ongoing series of interviews with Extension staff. Get to know the people behind our programs, discover new opportunities and pick up a few music recommendations along the way.
Name: Megan Glenn
Title: STEM Docent Program Manager
Start Date at Extension: April 2016
Why did you choose your field of work?
When I was in college, I worked as a research assistant for a PhD student. My first job with him was digging holes in the dirt... I mean, soil. The description of his work (carbon and nitrogen accumulation in post-agricultural forest soils of western New England) sounded academic-y, and reflected how I felt about science: it’s lofty, unavailable to the casual passerby and sits in the ivory towers of academia. But when I started doing science, it was the complete opposite. Digging soil pits was hard work, but it was tangible, dirty and fun. The more time I spent actually doing science, the easier it was to understand. The lofty concepts that felt out of my grasp became easy to picture as I began to understand the tangible work behind those concepts. It was a shame to me that I was half-way through my college career when I had this experience. I felt that if I had experienced the “doing” of science earlier and understood at an earlier age what science was, I may have taken a different path. I may have better been able to envision myself as having a place in the science world. As a working adult, I hope to give that opportunity to other youth.
Describe a memorable experience you have had in your career as an educator.
One aspect of my work is to build a community of people who like to geek out on science. We recently had a get-together with some staff and volunteers. One of the volunteers pulled out a mousetrap-powered car he built with his son about 30 years ago. Listening to everyone ooh and aah, laugh together and snap photos as we watched the car trundle down the driveway gave me a lightness of heart and feeling of joy that I always envisioned this community would create.
If you had to make a playlist to accompany your program, what five songs would you add first?
“Get Data” (a “Get Lucky” science parody), because it’s funny and gets you dancing.
“This Too Shall Pass” by OK Go, because simple machines are awesome and OK Go is totally kick-ass at using their music for education.
“Appalachian Spring” by Aaron Copeland because it truly does transport me outside to rolling hills and reminds me of how beautiful the world is. Sometimes it’s good to remember that no matter how much we think we understand about the natural world, nature has the power to move our hearts.
“Mon Esprit” by Sweet Crude. It has nothing to do with anything, but it’s my favorite song at the moment.
“Rumpus” from the “Where the Wild Things Are” soundtrack. Just because it’s awesome.
Do you have any events coming up that you are excited about?
We just had an educator training in our Stream Safari program in September. I was excited about it because it’s one of the workshops where we really dive deeper into the content (stream ecology). All of our workshops involve getting your hands dirty (literally) with the lessons, but in Stream Safari, we get to be outside and (literally) mucking about in the mud. I also always learn something new myself. Interested in hearing about upcoming workshops like it? You can sign up for information on our website. I am also working with other Extension staff to produce the 4-H Science Bonanza in December. It is an all day, fun and interactive event for families to explore science in action. It's free and open to the public for youth ages 5-13, so save the date and tell your friends.
What Extension program, outside of your program area, would we most likely find you at in your free time?
How can people get in touch with you or learn more about your programming?