Hudson nonprofit makes STEAM accessible to all.
Sharing his love for science with others, Hudson resident and librarian Christopher Mick created Space St. Croix to make STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) content more accessible to curious kids. Growing up in northern California, the child of a former pilot, Mick was exposed to local NASA centers, flight and all things science. With a dream of becoming an astronaut one day, his hopes fell short as he grew too tall (6 feet, 5 inches to be exact) to become one.
Upon coming to Hudson, Mick realized not all kids had access to the same museums, resources and camps that he did growing up. So, he decided to bring the excitement of the universe here to Hudson. “He has space and education baked in his DNA,” interim co-director of the Hudson Area Joint Public Library Shelly Tougas says.
Mick reached out to teachers and began to develop lesson plans that addressed basic objectives with a fun twist. He says, “The thing that really excites me is when you look out to the group and you see that lightbulb go off. That they’ve got the concept and they’re excited that they have made a discovery or learned something that they didn’t know before.”
Drawing attention to the fact that STEAM is more than equations and complex concepts, Mick explains that this topic of study is another creative outlet for imaginative individuals. Through demonstrations, elaborate PowerPoints, worksheets, sensory tables, posters, maps and artifacts such as moon rocks and astronaut gear, Mick helps initiate discovery. “When you have experiences that are fun, engaging, interesting, [kids] start to see [science or math] as the cool class that they can master,” Tougas says. “Science is creative too.”
What makes Mick’s lessons so intriguing is his ability to reinvent them in a way that suits the knowledge base of the audience. Providing practical content that is age appropriate, Mick inspires individuals of all ages to make connections and spark interest in the topics. “His enthusiasm and knowledge about all things space entice the students to ask deeper questions, do more research and share their new learning with others,” third grade teacher at River Crest Elementary School Rachel Mueller says.
Mick brings his teachings to classrooms in the Hudson school district for grades K-12 and other surrounding suburbs. He also works with the Boy and Girl Scouts and hosts events and book clubs for all ages at the Hudson Area Library in his role as a librarian. Mick also became a NASA Solar System Ambassador to elevate his expertise through access to additional resources and educational tools from STEAM professionals. “Bringing in an expert of science and technology starts turning the wheels in young people’s brains, allowing them to delve into areas that aren’t always covered in the curriculum.” Mueller says.
Mick hopes to continue to spread the love for STEAM. “Knowing that you lit the fire in someone that self-propelled themselves, that they want to learn more,” he says. “That just really warms my heart, that reminder that you are on the right track or doing the right thing.”