Meet Emily Maddox

Education Specialist II

Interview by Emilio Orozco, high school student and former Aquarium Student Oceanography Club (SOC) member


Describe your job here at the Aquarium.

I work in the Education Department on three different things. During the school year I work with the school programs where I teach programs in the Discovery Lab and in the auditorium to a wide variety of students. I also work with the Student Oceanography Club, where we provide experiences for middle school students to meet with local scientists, learn about local research and learn about the Monterey Bay ecosystem. And I work with the Teen Conservation Leaders, where high school students can volunteer here at the Aquarium. We train the students to be volunteer guides on the floor, teaching them about the Aquarium, the animals, the history, climate change—all kinds of things.

What experience or skills do you need to work in this field?

A lot of different skills! I don't think you necessarily need a science background, but I think you need the excitement and the passion to learn about it because when you come here you need to learn so many new things. You need some teaching background to work with the different age groups, and you also need development skills to work with people of all different ages.

"Keep your eyes open for opportunities that will lead you in the right direction...if you get turned down for something, try again!"

What did you study?

I went to UC Berkeley and I studied Earth and planetary science with an emphasis in marine science. Then I stayed there for my master's in science education. I also got my single subject teaching credential in Earth sciences.

What do you like most about your job?

I think what I love most about my job is how many amazing opportunities we're able to provide for students. It's kind of mind boggling that we're able to provide free programs for 80,000 students every year—some students who would never have the opportunity to come here otherwise. Also, connecting young students with scientists to inspire them to become the future leaders, whether it's in science or education or whatever field they desire.

What's your advice for students interested in your career?

Be really excited to learn and try new things. Keep your eyes open for opportunities that will lead you in the right direction. Also, don't be shy to volunteer places or try for internships or meet new people—if you get turned down for something, try again!

What's your favorite Aquarium experience?

One of the most amazing experiences ever was kayaking with the Student Oceanography Club. Despite getting a little seasick, we were whale watching from kayaks!


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