Skip to main content

The Q? Blog

Q?Crew Teen Volunteers: Helping Visitors Explore Q?rius

by Christina Westpheling -- Aug 7, 2014
Christina Westpheling, Q?Crew Teen Volunteer Coordinator

Christina Westpheling is the Q?Crew Teen Volunteer Coordinator, working with the Q?Crew to inspire...

A Q?Crew teen volunteer, right, helps visitors learn what’s inside some of the rocks in Q?rius. Photo by Smithsonian Institution.
A Q?Crew teen volunteer, right, helps visitors learn what’s inside some of the rocks in Q?rius. Photo by Smithsonian Institution.

We spend a lot of time talking about how Q?rius is so awesome because of all of the amazing technology in the space, the incredible opportunities to chat with real, live Smithsonian experts, and the chance to explore objects from the collection up close and personal. And all of those things are pretty spectacular.

But the heart of Q?rius is the Q?Crew, a group of dynamic teen volunteers who have dedicated their summer vacations to helping visitors become just as excited about science as they are. Q?Crew volunteers are the friendly folks in the gray vests who do everything in Q?rius from greeting visitors when they walk in the door, to teaching visitors how to do Passenger Pigeon origami, and helping them discover the difference between rocks and minerals.

After a competitive application process, Q?Crew members receive intensive training, where they learn everything from informal education techniques to how best to handle a polar bear skull. They also get to form close bonds with other teens who share a passion for science. And this is where the magic happens. The Q?Crew and Q?rius are about having teens inspire one another to explore science. As one Q?Crew member wrote:

Science, to me, isn’t just about learning formulas and conducting experiments. Science is so much larger. It spans the entire universe and everything in it. I… share my enthusiasm for scientific discovery with others so that they can also become excited and begin to form their own questions about the universe. Science is about development and innovation, and I… enjoy inspiring people…to pursue their own interests in science.

Check back about once a week as Q?Crew members share their Q?rius stories!