Meet an EMP: Kenny Wittwer

Years in Museum Field: 3

Degrees/Certificates: BA Candidate in Sociology – Temple University (expected 2015)

Current Occupation: Museum Educator at The Franklin Institute

Previous Museum Experience: Curriculum Assistant at The Franklin Institute (2013 – present)
Discovery Camp Counselor 2 at The Franklin Institute (2012)
Birthday Party Host at The Franklin Institute (2011 – present)
Camp-In Staff Member at The Franklin Institute (2011 – present)
Discovery Camp Junior Counselor at The Franklin Institute (2011 – 2012)
Volunteer at the Elfreth’s Alley Museum (2011 – 2012)
Discovery Camp CIT (2010 – 2011)

Did a mentor play a significant role in your career development? I originally attended Drexel University for a BS in Psychology to become an industrial psychologist or HR manager. After seeing my teaching style and performance at The Franklin Institute, my manager Adrienne Kimball praised my work and recommended that I stay within the field of museum education.

How does your current position fit into your career plan? I currently hold several part-time positions at The Franklin Institute, and I hope to build more experience in these part-time positions as I continue my undergraduate education. It is my hope that with five years of museum education experience upon graduation, I will be able to transition to a full-time position at The Franklin Institute or another educational institution.

What museum organizations do you belong to? Philly EMP, Youth Advisory Committee member at the Envision Peace Museum

What do you know now that you wish you knew when you began in this profession? I wish I had known how difficult mobility can be within museums, with very few positions open relative to the number of qualified and overqualified applicants.

What do you enjoy most about your position? I like how every single day is almost completely different. While there are a few structural and organizational constants, each day brings something completely fresh. This keeps my science interpretation raw, rather than becoming formulaic.

What is it that keeps you engaged at work? My favorite feeling in the world is the satisfaction of seeing a person finally understand the concept you are teaching, being able to visibly notice their internal light-bulb glow as a sign that you’ve done your job.

Kenny Wittwer’s brother worked at The Franklin Institute for over a decade in various positions, one of them being a camp counselor for Discovery Camp. On the last week of August in 2010, most of the counselors and CITs had gone back to school; this left the camp severely understaffed for the amount of campers that were registered. Kenny’s brother asked Kenny to come into work with him as a high school volunteer to help normalize the camper-to-counselor ratio. Kenny had an amazing time working with the remarkably smart kids and talented staff members, and after seeing his performance the manager offered him a position for once he graduated from high school. Kenny has stayed at The Franklin Institute since that summer, taking on many different positions at once and developing his teaching skills.

Fun Fact: While at Drexel University, Kenny worked on a special performance with West Wing cast member Melissa Fitzgerald.


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