"The experiences that I had [at Talcott] were invaluable to me as a fledgling scientist and as a person. The Science Center is a true jewel among educational institutions for the many unique opportunities its provides for students everywhere." -- Dr. Linda Ivany
From Student to Teacher: Lessons for Life
When she first began studying at the Talcott Mountain Science Center (TMSC) as a fifth grade student, Dr. Linda Ivany knew that she was at the beginning of something special. She had no idea, however, that the lessons that she would learn at TMSC would guide her decades later in her professional journey.
“Since I first heard about TMSC in fourth grade, I knew it was the right place for me,” says Dr. Ivany. Knowing that her elementary school would award a scholarship for TMSC’s Saturday program to the top student in her class, Linda was determined to be selected for the opportunity.
“When I found out that one of my fourth grade classmates had been selected for the scholarship that year instead of me, I was frustrated and even more determined than ever to get to Talcott!”
It was just one year later when Linda made her dream come true and attended her first class at TMSC.
Now a Professor of Earth Sciences and Director of Undergraduate Studies for the Department of Earth Sciences at Syracuse University, it’s easy to see the connection between Dr. Ivany’s professional interests and her experiences at TMSC.
“One of the most influential moments of my life was my first day on the TMSC campus. My teacher, Mr. (Rob) Amrein, led me outside and sat me down on a huge lump of rock. He handed me a hammer and chisel and said, ‘There’s dinosaur footprints in there. See what you can do.’ Then he walked away.”
About ten years old at the time, Linda was surprised by the sense of trust and responsibility that had suddenly been given her; and she was honored to have such an important task.
“It took me a lot of Saturdays,” says Dr. Ivany, “but I found those prints, and as far as I know, they are still there for kids to sit on, look at and learn from.” [Editor’s Note: They still are!]
“The experiences that I had [at Talcott] were invaluable to me as a fledgling scientist and as a person,” Dr. Ivany recalls. While in high school, Dr. Ivany worked as a teaching assistant for the summer programs. “Learning to teach science by watching and helping people who really knew what they were doing was instrumental for me.”