December 11, 2012

Imagining a Better Future

Kayla teaches at the Imagination Nation Children's Museum.

Kayla Perkowski, Civil Engineering Technology, 2013

Co-op Employer:  Imagination Nation Children’s Museum in Bristol, CT

Co-op Position:  Science/Engineering Intern

Hometown:  Wallingford, CT

Creating Her Own Co-op

“I wanted to try something completely different than just sitting at a desk every day,” said civil engineering technology senior Kayla Perkowski, who cited her love of children and science as reasons for applying at the museum. Although Perkowski eventually wants to work as a structural engineer, she knew she wanted the opportunity to work with kids before graduation. In her role, she teaches experiments to Imagination Nation’s visitors and creates lesson plans for science classes for the preschool located inside the museum.

Staying Close to Home

A native of Connecticut, Perkowski contacted Imagination Nation because she wanted to stay close to home for her final co-op. The museum hadn’t been built yet when she was growing up, so she asked her six-year-old cousin what she thought about it. “Before applying, I checked it out with her. She raved about it.”

Influencing the Next Generation

Before teaching the children about hydraulics and civil engineering, Perkowski first has to make everything simpler. “You have to really know the basics because otherwise it goes over their heads,” she said.

To do that, Perkowski incorporates what she learned from her engineering classes at Wentworth into subjects the students already understand, like water and airplanes. “Because of my hydraulics classes, I know how the water pumps in the museum’s water display work and I show the kids an example of how they work by creating a dam within the display.”

She says one of the best parts of her job is when the kids get excited about something they’re doing at the experiment table. “That’s when I first knew I liked science too,” she said.

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