Meet Our Volunteers

Linda

Space Visualization Lab Assistant 2 Years

What made you want to become an Adler volunteer?
I began as a Guest Host. Working at the Adler reminded me of how much fun it is to work with scientists. (I used to work for physicists as a secretary/social director) You can always count on a good conversation (preferably over cocktails) when you’re with a scientist.

What is your favorite Adler memory?
I saw a sky show on a school trip when I was 17 (back in the 14th century). It was a revelation.

What do you do outside of the Adler?
Writing, hedonism, vodka martinis, and Einstein. Not necessarily in that order.

What is your favorite current exhibition or sky show?
Welcome to the Universe is my hands-down favorite. I would also like to obtain permission to live in the Doane and/or SVL. It could work.

In your mind, what makes the Adler freaking awesome?!
The people. The science. What else is there?

Bill

Space Visualization Lab Assistant 6 Years

What made you want to become an Adler volunteer?
While I was a banker for about 35 years, I was always very interested in science, especially space, so the Adler was a natural option to look into.

What is your favorite Adler memory?
With great regularity people seek me out afterwards with glowing faces thanking me for pulling them in, saying their experiences were wonderful. In addition, the faces of children and teens as they watch, listen, and absorb is really gratifying.

What do you do outside of the Adler?
My wife is also retired. We are certainly doing the travel and grandparent thing with great gusto. We are great fans of National Parks and continue to visit them.

What is your favorite current exhibition or sky show?
The story of the Moon saga in Mission Moon remains fresh and interesting, and there has never been a better show than Planet Nine. But the experiences of live learning and interaction in the SVL remains my favorite.

In your mind, what makes the Adler freaking awesome?!
There are so many opportunities for everyone these days in an online world to see all kinds of real and imagined scenes of science and space. The Adler gives the additional unique ability to actually meet and talk to real experts. As one guest told me, they are not all old white-haired men, as they imagined. They are old, young, men, women, and all races. If they can be an astronomer, so can the guests listening to them.

Rey

Space Visualization Lab Developer 1 Year

What made you want to become an Adler volunteer?
I’ve loved space and astronomy since I was in high school. Last year I had the opportunity to start an internship for a graduate student engagement opportunity, and I was like, “I can intern at the planetarium?!”

What is your favorite Adler memory?
When I saw my first astrolabe horse! The curator of the Adler’s Webster Institute, Pedro, showed us the pin that holds the astrolabe together. Apparently, many of the wedges on top of the pin are shaped liked a horse head.

What do you do outside of the Adler?
I’m a PhD student in Media, Technology, and Society at Northwestern University. I also enjoy doodling, practicing tai chi, pretending I know martial arts, and occasionally playing my ukulele while scaring birds away when I sing.

What is your favorite current exhibition or sky show?
Definitely Planet Nine. For two reasons. I think the process of scientific discoveries are as fun, interesting, and exciting as the discoveries themselves. The other reason is the emotional part of it! You fall for Planet Nine, the music, the narrative—it’s all so beautiful and you can feel planet nine’s longing to be found.

In your mind, what makes the Adler freaking awesome?!
I think it’s the Adler family and their passion to share the awesomeness of space with others. I spend a lot of time at the SVL and I get to see how the scientists, engineers, volunteers, and visitors passionately live their inner scientist, ask questions, share their favorite science facts, and get together to explore the beauty of space.

Torrence

Teen Special Event Facilitator 2 Years

What is your favorite Adler memory?
My favorite Adler memory as a volunteer has to be the Egg Drop Challenge during Astro-Overnights. I have seen some crazy contraptions from spike-filled egg cartons to three canopy parachutes made by young kids. The best part of the challenge as a volunteer is seeing children’s faces after their craft takes the 30 foot plunge.

What do you do outside of the Adler?
I am a true scientist at heart, but I also am a musician. I play two types of saxophones and I’m teaching myself clarinet right now. Outside of school, I participate in a group called Samul Nori, a Korean drum dancing group.

What is your favorite current exhibition or sky show?
My favorite sky show is Welcome to the Universe. It was the first show that I saw at the Adler, and it really served as an introduction to astronomy for me.

In your mind, what makes the Adler freaking awesome?!
I can make a parachute, launch stomp rockets, watch a sky show, view the Sun through the Doane Observatory, and learn about the Apollo Moon landing.

Thaddeus

Teen Special Event Facilitator 2 Years

What is your favorite Adler memory?
Using the vacuum cart for the first time has been my favorite memory. At first, I was scared of performing a cart by myself. Usually, volunteers work in partners so if one person messes up, the other volunteer has your back. Sure, I messed up along the way, but seeing the children’s faces glow up with excitement as the marshmallow expanded in the air vacuum made my day.

What do you do outside of the Adler?
Outside of the Adler, I attend school and participate in a few school related clubs: Ohana (Hawaiian Dance Club), and TedX (a newly formed club that seeks to link the school to inspirational speakers), and an acapella group called Sons of AnarKey.

What is your favorite current exhibition or sky show?
Planet Nine

In your mind, what makes the Adler freaking awesome?!
I just love that an organization is offering opportunities to learn about outer space and the scientific method to the local community without an outrageous price tag.

Linda

Floor Programs Facilitator 3 Years

What made you want to become an Adler volunteer?
I have been fascinated by astronomy and space since I was a child. As a teacher, I had the opportunity to participate at the Adler in a variety of “teacher programs” and bring it back for my students—I was “hooked” on volunteering here.

What is your favorite Adler memory?
Setting up a cart, say vacuums, and watching as people discover the science behind it and have a “ah-ha” moment. It never gets old and it keeps me coming back.

What do you do outside of the Adler?
I have a variety of interests: gardening, especially on a small scale with terrariums; architecture—Chicago architecture; travel; music; cooking; and most recently learning to sew.

What is your favorite current exhibition or sky show?
I could watch Planet Nine over and over. I have always enjoyed the Telescopes: Through the Looking Glass exhibition; it’s so cool to think that most of these tools (whether simple or intricate) were invented hundreds of years ago.

In your mind, what makes the Adler freaking awesome?!
The fantastic people working at the Adler make it a fun place to volunteer at. They are upbeat, zany, and very knowledgeable.

Mac

Floor Programs Facilitator 1 Year

What made you want to become an Adler volunteer?
I wanted to help people discover light and how it factors into astronomy—the colors of the aurora, the spectra of stars, and the discovery of galaxies beyond our own.

What is your favorite Adler memory?
Helping my grandson create and test several different devices in Community Design Lab, and then creating a pouch for him to carry them home.

What do you do outside of the Adler?
Retired; playing bridge, 3D printer, and cooking.

What is your favorite current exhibition or sky show?
Telescopes: Through the Looking Glass—the evolution from refracting to reflecting and then to different parts of the spectrum like radio, IR, and UV. Plus the amazing advances in astronomy in the recent decades.

In your mind, what makes the Adler freaking awesome?!
Tremendous variety of all things astronomical, and the great people to showcase them!

Max

Far Horizons Lab Assistant 1 Year

What made you want to become an Adler volunteer?
I have been interested in space and all things related since I was four years old. I’ve visited the Adler regularly since I was in preschool! I jumped at the chance to shadow a team on a high-altitude balloon flight and then I was hooked.

What is your favorite Adler memory?
My favorite memory is my first high-altitude balloon flight. I enjoyed accompanying the enthusiastic and knowledgeable team. It solidified my interest in engineering. The volunteers at the Adler work on amazing experiments.

What do you do outside of the Adler?
My activities and interests include FIRST FTC robotics, Worldwide Youth in Science and Engineering (WYSE), chemistry and computer science, math team, track, camping, and hiking. I am interested in pursuing a career in a STEM field.

What is your favorite current exhibition or sky show?
My favorite exhibit is Mission Moon because it follows the footsteps of the early space and technology pioneers.

In your mind, what makes the Adler freaking awesome?!
The opportunity to discover something new every time you are here and to work with an outstanding team! The learning never stops and that is freaking awesome!

Andy

Telescope Facilitator 3 Years

What made you want to become an Adler volunteer?
My wife encouraged me. I selected telescope facilitator because I thought it would be a great way to learn more about using telescopes to help me with my hobby.

What is your favorite Adler memory?
We had our solar scopes in front of the Adler and a young boy ran up to us and started talking about the science shows he watches. He was in 2nd grade and started talking about exoplanets and hot Jupiters. He was just so excited and his excitement increased as he looked through our telescopes at the sun.

What do you do outside of the Adler?
My day job is public relations for the Social Security Administration. So, my profession is to give speeches and inform individuals about Social Security’s programs. My hobby is astronomy, and I enjoy just looking at the night sky.

What is your favorite current exhibition or sky show?
I would have to say Mission Moon is my favorite. I remember getting a set of NASA pictures from my 3rd grade teacher and it featured some of the pictures from the moon missions. From that time on, I just always had an interest in our journeys to the Moon.

In your mind, what makes the Adler freaking awesome?!
I think of the Adler as a science fair. At school science fairs you got to be a part of the project with demonstrations and explanations. With astronomy, we think of it as far away planets, stars, and galaxies that we usually only see in photographs. But the Adler lets us see and touch astronomy with the exhibits—making the far away closer. It’s the interaction with Adler staff and volunteers that makes the experience awesome.

Kim

After Hours Education Host 2 Years

What made you want to become an Adler volunteer?
I decided one day to investigate what it takes to be a volunteer and what positions were available at Adler. I was looking for fun ways to put my background in physics and astronomy to use since I do not currently work in those fields.

What is your favorite Adler memory?
The first time I popped a shaving-cream-filled balloon in the vacuum. INSTANT SNOW GLOBE!

What do you do outside of the Adler?
I currently work for Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana as the program and grant evaluation manager. I assess our grant-funded programming, which brings Girl Scout programming to under-served areas. I also work with our strategic leadership team to identify and measure key metrics to ensure that we effectively continue our mission of building girls of courage, confidence, and character.

What is your favorite current exhibition or sky show?
In all honesty, it’s the permanent one the Adler has right outside: the best view of the city.

In your mind, what makes the Adler freaking awesome?!
How the staff embraces and embodies Ms. Frizzle’s motto: take chances, make mistakes, and get messy!