Science Mill Awards First Scholarships to Local Graduates

 (L to R) Science Mill Co-founder Robert Elde, Alexis McDougal, Hailey Bickley, Science Mill Co-founder Bonnie Baskin

(L to R) Science Mill Co-founder Robert Elde, Alexis McDougal, Hailey Bickley, Science Mill Co-founder Bonnie Baskin

Johnson City seniors Hailey Bickley and Alexis McDougal are the first recipients of the Science Mill’s new student employee scholarship program. They were each awarded a $500 scholarship to be used towards their post-secondary education as a reward for their outstanding work at the museum.

Science Mill Co-founder Bonnie Baskin said the Science Mill not only inspires students who visit the museum to pursue a future in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), it also influences the high school students who work at the museum.

“One of the first students we hired decided to study forensics because of his experience at the Science Mill,” she said.  “To encourage more of our student employees to pursue careers in STEM, we launched a scholarship program for them this spring.”  

Scholarship recipient Hailey Bickley, who started at the Science Museum last June, said her work experience in the BioLab has her thinking about a possible future in marine biology. “It’s my favorite place to be at the Science Mill,” she said. “I was so excited to see Xotica, one of our axolotls, lay eggs on Mother’s Day. It was a first, as the axolotls have been laying eggs when no one’s around.”

The Science Mill has also expanded Hailey’s geographic horizons. “People from all over the world visit the Science Mill,” she said. “That’s been a big cultural splash for me, having grown up in Johnson City.”  She added that it’s fascinating to hear her explanations translated into different languages by members within a group or family.

Alexis McDougal, who also received a scholarship, said that she applied for a job last fall at the Science Mill because she likes working with children. As one of the museum “Explainers,” her role has been to answer questions about the more than 50 plus exhibits and sometimes give museum tours.

She said her favorite thing about working at the museum has been learning lots of new things and teaching them to other people.  “I would encourage other students to work at the Science Mill.  Not only have I learned a lot of information, I’ve learned good customer service skills.”

Alexis said she’ll miss the friendly staff and the museum environment when she leaves for college soon.  “Working at the Science Mill has been a great experience for me and I’m sad that my time there will be coming to an end shortly,” she said.

To learn more about Science Mill student employee or scholarship opportunities, please contact Holly Barton, Director of Operations at the Science Mill by calling 844-263-6405, extension 1002 or at holly.barton@sciencemill.org. The Science Mill is located at 101 S Ladybird Lane in Johnson City, Texas.