Between Rainbow Bakery and the B-line trail sits a local Bloomington treasure, the award-winning WonderLab Museum of Science, Health, and Technology. Since opening its doors in 1998, WonderLab has welcomed more than one million visitors of all ages. The museum aims to spark a love for scientific learning in guests of all ages through an array of hands-on exhibits and events.
Fall 2019 marks the start of IU junior Elizabeth Ketzner’s third year working with WonderLab as a Cox ScholarAdvocate for Community Engagement. This competitive scholarship awards Elizabeth the cost of attendance at IU, with a requirement that she work 10 hours with a community nonprofit organization. Typically, ACE scholars are in charge of coordinating service-learning programs for their non-profits. IU’s Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning defines service learning as providing a service in the community that is related to what students are learning in their classrooms.
Elizabeth, who is studying finance and marketing at the Kelley School of Business, was assigned to WonderLab at the beginning of her freshman year. “Working at WonderLab has been one of my favorite parts of being an IU student,” she said. “Whether it’s sharing recipes or asking about each other’s days, the WonderLab staff has been so supportive.”
WonderLab’s volunteer director, Jeanne Gunning, said, “The ACE program has been amazing. Because of the ACE program, nonprofits can manage service-learning.”
In addition to coordinating WonderLab volunteer schedules for IU service-learning students, Elizabeth also spends time working at the museum and helping with educational classes.
“I just want to change the world, and I can do that one person at a time,” Elizabeth said. Since working with WonderLab, Elizabeth has found a love for teaching and explaining science through hands-on activities and lessons. After completing her undergraduate degree, she plans to continue as a master’s student in the School of Education studying education policy.
“The biggest lessons I’ve learned at WonderLab are that little things matter. Even if you don’t think you’re making a difference, you are. Stay on top of your work, and take care of yourself and your mental health,” Elizabeth said.
Elizabeth found her community along with her passion through WonderLab. She hopes that all IU students get to experience Bloomington through the lens of working with one of the nonprofits in town.
WonderLab Science Museum is an example of an IU Corps experience. IU Corps is IU Bloomington’s umbrella connecting students with meaningful service experiences locally, nationally, and globally. Find more opportunities for volunteering via Volunteer Central.