Humans of SparkLab – Jodie

SparkLab Learning Officer
Queensland Museum

Jodie is an early childhood teacher and a keen maker, with a Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood), a Graduate Diploma of Museum Studies and a background in community engagement.  

Learning Officer Jodie in SparkLab

What first sparked your interest in science?

I have always been a curious person.  As a child I was always asking questions, wondering and exploring.  I would explore around me to see what I could find that was new or intriguing.  I was pretty content with just seeing where my wondering would take me.  As I’ve gotten older, not much has changed, I’m still a very curious creature – the world I get to explore just gets bigger and bigger. I love that in my role as a Learning Officer in SparkLab, I get to explore, play and wonder with visitors of all ages every single day!

What’s the most interesting educational program that you’ve been involved in?

While teaching at an early childhood centre, I collaborated with an Art Museum on a project that celebrated the value of young children’s engagement with the arts and cultural sector. The project supported young children (6 months to 5 years), to explore different artworks and make their own creative works in response.  It was an absolute delight to see children actively making and creating surrounded by beautiful works of art.  The children came to view the museum as ‘their space’ and themselves as artists. Working with the curator to find ways young children could engage with complex concepts inspired me to explore the ways in which visitors of all ages can experience and engage with the spaces and collections of museums and galleries.

Community Arts Project

What’s your favourite space/exhibit in SparkLab and why?

My favourite place in SparkLab is the Maker Space because I really enjoy making and the creative design process.

I love that in the Maker Space I get to play with different materials; thinking and talking about their possible uses while supporting visitors to make their awesome ideas happen.

I love how STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) captures the connected nature of our lives – that what we experience and understand about the world influences the way we act in it. Being curious about the world led to a passion for looking after our precious natural environment. This passion, combined with my love of being creative, led me to find different ways to repurpose objects that would be wasted into something new, like jewellery.   

Jewellery made out of recycled materials by Learning Officer Jodie

As you develop new programs and experiences in SparkLab, what is one of the most interesting concepts you have come across?

While developing the Take a seat Maker Space program, I got to delve deep into the world of chairs, these ubiquitous pieces of furniture that we can often take for granted.  It is amazing how many different variations of designing a chair that humans have found! I began paying more attention to the chairs I see each day and checked out a few in the Queensland Museum collection. A chair is just something to sit on, but it can take so many different forms, depending on where it is and who is using it.   It is so intriguing that design thinking can find so many different solutions by considering situations from the different perspectives of a variety of users. 

Learning Officer Jodie at the Maker Space in SparkLab. Image courtesy of @outlife_incolour

Which scientist/engineer/ designer (living or deceased) would you most like to have dinner with and why?

I would love to have dinner with Professor Veena Sahajwalla, from the UNSW School of Materials Science and Engineering.

Professor Sahajwalla is an internationally renowned materials scientist, engineer and inventor who is revolutionising recycling science.  She has pioneered the high temperature transformation of waste in the production of a new generation of ‘green materials’, most notably the ‘green’ steelmaking process. 

I am enormously inspired and energised by Professor Sahajwalla’s enthusiasm and passion for finding positive solutions through science and innovation. I believe her work in recognising ‘waste’ as a resource is essential for the future of our Earth.  We need to recognise the impact of our collective actions and find better solutions that ensure our beautiful natural environment is around for future generations.   

Do you have a curious question about the world around you or want to explore different materials and the design process?

Find out more about SparkLab here.

SparkLab is proudly supported by Academic Partner The University of Queensland.