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Evangel grad shows the wonders of science at summer job

Published on Jul 13, 2015 by Kameron Nettleton

Gabrielle Hartmann found a summer job that lets her blow stuff up, feed mice to a live snapping turtle and teach hundreds of kids about science.

For her, it’s the perfect fit.

Hartmann, who graduated from Evangel University in May with a B.S. in Biology Education, is working as an outreach presenter for the Science Center of Iowa in Des Moines. She travels the state of Iowa putting on science presentations for students of all ages.

Most of the time, Hartmann doesn’t have much information about where she’s going or who she will be presenting to. She just packs the van, which she affectionately calls the “Wonder Van,” and drives to the destination that is given to her. She’s the only presenter at the shows, and she enjoys the challenge of crafting her presentation for each audience.

“I never know how many people or what ages will be in the audience,” Hartmann said. “It’s a lot of thinking on my feet. I do a lot of modification of the shows as I go, depending on the crowd.”

Some days she travels up to eight hours, and the shows typically last about an hour. Hartmann likes to stick around after the shows so the kids can get a closer look at the scientific equipment she uses. The size of the crowds range from 30 to 350 kids, and Hartmann said the average is 150.

2015-07 13 Gabrielle hearing
Gabrielle Hartmann teaches a group of children about hearing and the inner ear.

“Making the kids smile and seeing them get excited about science is awesome,” Hartmann said. “I’m very passionate about teaching, and it’s neat to watch the faces of people when they learn something new.”

Hartmann’s time at Evangel helped prepare her for jobs like this. She said her professors really guided her with their support and encouragement as she pursued a dream to become a teacher.

“My classes helped to prepare with different teaching methods, and I learned how to adapt to different types of students,” she said.

Hartmann will be back in Springfield this fall as she finishes up her student teaching at Willard High School.

Unfortunately, she probably won’t get to bring Snippy, the snapping turtle, with her.


Check out the broad range of programs offered in the Evangel University Department of Natural and Applied Sciences.