Friday, July 3, 2009


For next month’s Toy Building Workshop at the Spark!Lab, Steve and I had a long discussion about the kinds of toys we use to play with when we were kids. But aside from the regular off the shelf toys like Barbie dolls, robots, GI Joes, trucks, cooking se, legos and etc., I recall that I also had some toys that we just made from found objects. This had me thinking that back then kids had to be more creative and imaginative when they were playing. A chair is no longer just a piece of furniture you sit on but it can also be a race car, a bus, a sari-sari store or even a control chamber of a gigantic robot!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Carbon Dioxide Experiment

Day four of internship: Thursday, June 25
Steve asked me if I wanted to do the Carbon Dioxide experiment and I excitedly said YES! After three days of reading the manuals, observing the experiments and shadowing the facilitators, I finally felt I was ready to lead one of the experiments on my own.
"Playing" with the kids before the experiment

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

One billion and five hundred forty million

Today I learned my height in nanomillimeters: 1,540,000,000. Wow, that's a lot of zeroes, I feel taller! I should remember this and start writing it down when forms asks for my height :)

Monday, June 22, 2009

First day as an Intern

We were asked to show up at the employee entrance of the National Museum of American History (NMAH) at 10 am today. Although I live about four miles and 3 Metro stops from the NMAH, I decided to leave the apartment at 9am. Thanks to the Metro, it only takes about 30 minutes for me to travel from door to door, oh how I've missed living in the big city!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Sneak peak at the Lemelson Center

I arrived in Washington, DC on the afternoon of Wednesday, June 17. Since my internship does not start until June 22 and I have some time on my hands, I decided to re-visit the National Mall the following day. It has been almost seven years since my last visit and I have forgotten how many people come to see its museums! If only visiting museums could be as popular in the Philippines...

Saturday, May 23, 2009

What I took Home from the AAM Conference

I was among the 21 AAM members who were fortunate enough to be able to attend this year’s conference through the Diversity Fellowship program. As a student, and an international one from a third world country at that, it is almost impossible for me to attend a national conference of this magnitude because it is just beyond my financial capacity. This is why I am tremendously grateful for the fellowship.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Summer Internship at the Smithsonian

Excerpt from the e-mail I received this afternoon...


Dear Ethel,

We would be delighted for you to join us 
this summer as an intern! After talking with you and reviewing your 
resume, **** and I both feel that your breadth of experience in 
developing programs and activities both for in-museum and online 
audiences will be of great value to us as we continue to improve and 
refine Spark!Lab. In turn, I think it will provide you with good 
experience in working with a large volume of visitors from very diverse 


I still cannot believe it... two months at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History in Washington DC!!! I am sooooo excited!!!

Talk about a dream come true!

It might be time to update this picture taken over 7 years ago :)

Postcard collection...

I have been collecting postcards since 2001. I normally buy a postcard of a place/city I visit and then mail them home to my parents. I also buy art works postcards from museums I visit, simply because I cannot afford to buy reproductions of all the works that I like.

Today, I found a new reason to collect postcards of artworks. I was at a meeting with the Education Director at the Harn Museum - a seasoned art educator. At some point during our animated conversation, she showed me a stack of postcards that she collected and use for teaching art.

What a great idea!!!

So now, I have a better reason for collecting postcards, and YOU can help enrich my collection by sending me a postcard, or two or three :) from a museum that you visit. Let me know if you want my mailing address. 

I would love to receive postcards from all over the world!!!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Spring break

I recently discovered some unexpected challenges in my graduate school funding. It turns out that I have a whole summer (2010) without any funds -none from Fulbright and none from the university. My Fulbright grant terminates in Spring 2010, which leaves me with a whole summer and a semester without their support. I am still negotiating with Fulbright to extend some funds for me until summer 2010 even if I am not enrolled in courses, especially since the grant supposedly covers two academic years. Although Fall 2010 will require a lot of belt tightening, it will be a bit easier since I still have a graduate assistantship that will cover my tuition fee and half of my regular stipend.

For a couple of days, I have been waking up with a killer headache from spending restless sleep during which I am still constantly thinking of a solution.The practical part of me tells me to cancel all of my planned travels and activities and just save as much as I could in preparation for next year. However,I know that these travels also enrich me personally, academically and even professionally, and have been sources of inspiration for some of my projects.

And so, I finally purchased my tickets to New York City today. I will still exercise smart spending (as I always do) but will not let this impede learning opportunities. I am exploring other possible sources of funding for 2010 and looking at possibilities of engaging in a paid internship at a museum (which still requires approval from Fulbright). If worse comes to worst, I will give up my apartment in Florida and ask a friend to adopt me for the whole summer in exchange for a baby sitter, cook, arts and crafts teacher, researcher, graphic designer, photographer etc. for three months!

I recently told a friend, "Don't stress too much, it will all work out in the end, sometimes even better than you hoped or ever imagined." It's time I heed my own advice! I will consider this trip to New York as my reward for an excellent first semester! :)