This summer, Jessica Almanza is working at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago for the third summer in a row. For the past two years, she has gone from community to community in and around Chicago teaching young children and their parents various science experiments to combat brain drain.
“This summer we are putting on two performances a day,” Jessica says. “I try to get the audience to participate to make learning as fun as possible.”
Her group performs a Mythbusters-themed show called “Sink or Float” twice a day. As a part of the Community Initiatives Summer Internship at the museum, they teach lessons on forces and other facets of science. The goal is to reteach lessons learned in high school to the audience. The intern coordinator, Bryan Wunar, says Jessica incorporated her interest in early childhood education into her performances.
“She has been one of the strong points pulling together experiences for audiences here at the museum,” Wunar says. “She has helped us figure out how to connect younger people to science in a whole different way.”
All Jessica wants is to inspire children to learn more at an earlier age. She has been doing this successfully for the past three years. And her hard work has paid off; now she is a full-time employee at the museum.
Name: Jessica Almanza
School: Harold Washington College
Hometown: Chicago, IL
Favorite activities: I like singing, dancing and reading. I am into artsy and expressive kinds of things. I love performing in front of crowds. I have participated in a talent show seven years straight, which introduced me to the internship. I wasn’t so sure if I wanted to go along with it; my mom pressured me and gave me the extra push. For the first couple years, I was shy, but as I started to intern, I realized that everyone was so open and I shouldn’t be nervous making friends.
I’m passionate about… Performing in front of an audience, being well known in a positive way, and getting my name out. I just like performing and singing in front of a crowd. I want to be well-known because I want people to know my accomplishments. I just want a lot of positive feedback that motivates me to make myself a better person.
What my summer has in store: Well, it’s a lot because we are always very busy. We do a bunch of different things. This is my third year at the museum. I did early childhood the first two years and taught kids science like motion, gravity, life and recycling. I really liked it. This made me decide that my major will be early childhood education. This year, I was put in the play “Sink or Float.” We have two shows, one in the morning and a second shortly after. People and camps come for field trips. I don’t want to bore them. I want them to scream and yell and have a good time.
My inspiration: Demi Lovato. I’ve seen her videos and interviews, and the things she has been through help me see reality in a new way. Some people don’t have food or shelter. It makes me appreciate everything. She does what she does for her fans. I like to perform for people for the same reasons. She shows me you do what you gotta do and get the job done well.
Short-term plan: Well, first I am going to go to college and get my basic classes done. Then I would like to transfer to the University of Illinois in Chicago, or Columbia. I would like to major in early childhood elementary education and minor in vocal performance.
In 10 years, I see myself… as a very well educated and positive person teaching preschool students. I see myself making their class fun. I would love to make a little song or a little rhyme instead of make them repeat things over and over again. I remember learning and memorizing things and it wasn’t interesting at all. I want to make learning how to count exciting.