Liz Baird: Introduction
My name is Liz Baird and I’m Director of Education at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences which is in Raleigh, North Carolina.
About Liz’s Job
The work that I do is quite diverse. And my work at sea is only a small portion of my job. When I’m out here, I feel as if I’m a translator for the scientists. I’m trying to take their passion and excitement for the ocean and the work they’re doing and help the general public understand it. Sometimes scientists fall into a habit of using acronyms and scientific names and maybe explaining things in such a way that it’s confusing. And what I want to do is share the discovery, share the explorations, share the enthusiasm that is almost childlike wonder at times when you see something come up for the first time or you get to spot it on the ROV.
As Director of Education, I think that you need a variety of skills in order to be successful. I have a master’s degree in science education, so that really helps, but I think it’s really important to have experience. This job requires you to reach a lot of different audiences and so in addition to having the degree, it’s important to have had experience teaching in a traditional setting like a school as well as a non-traditional setting like a museum. And that way, you can reach anybody who walks in the door.
A Not-so-typical Week
In a typical work week, I’m at the museum from about 8:30 to 5:30 every day, about 40 hours a week. But my job is rarely typical. When I’m in the field leading teachers on a teacher trek or students on an overnight canoe camping trip, it’s a really long day. Probably 16 hours easy. And out here at sea, it’s another 16-hour day. I want to maximize my time. I feel like I can sleep when I get home. So, after breakfast you start working and you don’t quit until the last sample is processed, which can be well into the wee hours of the next day.