Sara Feilzer is an MTCC VISTA Alum currently working for Exploration Works in Helena, MT. Her passion for teaching science to young Montanans has been an inspiration to everyone she works with. We would like to highlight her past and current accomplishments and thank her for her service to Montana communities.
When and where did you serve your term as a Compact AmeriCorps VISTA?
I served from July 2015 to July 2016 in Missoula with spectrUM Discovery Area, a hands-on science center focused on encouraging the next generation of Montanans to pursue higher education and hopefully a career in STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math).
What are some highlights from your year of service?
One of the highlights of my year of service was helping to plan a massive gala fundraiser for my organization which brought in over $50,000. It was incredible to see all of the people in the community that came together to support spectrUM and allow us to continue to serve Montana and its families. I also helped build infrastructure for a summer camp program and was able to see firsthand the impact that my service had on students of all social and economic backgrounds.
How did your service impact your life?
My year of service was an eye-opening experience for me personally and professionally. I had a great deal of hardship during my time with spectrUM and MTCC, but because of those experiences, I was able to learn so much more about myself and how I handle successes, setbacks and failures. It also was such an incredible experience to be serving with other service-minded individuals and watching their passions for civic engagement grow and change throughout our term of service. I met some amazing people doing incredible work through MTCC, and I am extremely proud to call them friends. I was lucky enough to serve in the community that I grew up in, with the organization that I fell in love with in high school. Through my term of service though, I was exposed to so much more, and the opportunity to do so much more to engage and give back to my community.
Where are you now and in what way are you still involved with civic engagement?
Currently I am the Community Education and Outreach Director for ExplorationWorks, a hands-on science center in Helena, Montana. My focus is on engaging the public in informal STEM education and hopefully sparking a lifelong passion for science. I lead programming geared for kids as young as 2, all the way to adults, hopefully encouraging them to look at their world a little differently. I am also going to start volunteering with the wildlife education center at Montana WILD in January, which I am super excited about, and I also serve on the Board of Directors for Animal Wonders, an organization that takes in displaced exotic animals, gives them a forever home, and turns them into ambassadors for their species.
Any additional thoughts on your current passions for community service?
I think that civic engagement is one of the most important things we can do for our community. When we serve our neighbors, friends, family, we create a safer and more welcoming place for all. I would love to see every person engaged in their community and helping to pass on their passion and knowledge to the next generation.