The official student newspaper of The Hockaday School

The Fourcast

The official student newspaper of The Hockaday School

The Fourcast

The official student newspaper of The Hockaday School

The Fourcast

News
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May 13, 2024

Hockaday Science Department Implements Idea Lab Board

Photos+by+Megan+Philips%2FThe+Fourcast
Photos by Megan Philips/The Fourcast

The Hockaday science department has selected a board of Upper School students to run and best utilize the Idea Lab space in the Lyda Hill ’60 STEAM Institute’s Science Center, science teacher Dr. Katie Croft and Science Department Head Dr. Marshall Bartlett announce to the Upper School in an email on Feb. 25.

The learning and working space, located on the third floor of the building, had not been as well utilized as hoped when designed. After asking Dr. Croft’s advisory for its input on what they would like to see in the Idea Labat the beginning of the year, Dr. Croft found that their ideas were different from those the department proposed.

From this, the department came up with the idea to turn the planning focus towards the student body.

“Out of this conversation, [we] developed the idea of what if we had a leadership team that not only was advising us on what they want to see in the space,” Bartlett said, “but could act as a sort of bridge to the rest of the student body saying ‘here is how you use the space, here are some thoughts on what you can do in the space’ and would be willing to run some events in the space.”

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After proposing the idea of the board to Head of Upper School Terry Murray and Assistant Head of Upper School Elizabeth Jones, Bartlett and Croft announced the opportunity and the written question and answer application process to the Upper School students in January. Of around 25 student applicants, 11 were chosen to serve on the board: senior Nathalie Naor; juniors Annabelle Folsom, Chelsea Watanabe and Sonya Xu, sophomores Lin Lin Lee, Mira Mehta, Elise Nguyen, Elaine Nguyen and Paloma Renteria; freshmen Abby Fleischli and Isabel Peppard.

Along with brainstorming for the space, the board will be in charge of managing the space and its activity.

For Naor, her interest in applying for the board despite it being her last few months on campus came from her own experience with a lack of knowledge about the space.

“I wished that I had had someone to show me what to do in the Idea Lab so I could do my ideas,” Naor said.

Naor realized that the space was not being used to its full potential, often turning into a space to hold events like faculty meetings.

“The thing is that it is just kind of this empty space that no one really uses and knows what to do with so people just have meetings in there and stuff that is not really relevant at all to what is going on in the Idea Lab,” Naor said, “so we are trying to give it more purpose and more direction.”

Although they have only had two meetings so far, board member Isabel Peppard and the rest of the board already have ideas under wraps that they hope and anticipate to implement before the end of the year.

“We just want to make it more accessible and available and more interesting for everyone so that they actually want to come,” Peppard said, “and that they know how to use the tools that it has.”

This board, with the exception of senior Naor, will carry over to the 2016-2017 school year. Members will have the opportunity to continue to serve the following years or give up their position.

“We know that some of those girls may want to be there for a year or two, but they may not want to spend their entire high school career doing it,” Bartlett said. “Every year I anticipate we will have somewhere between three and six openings on the board.”

Bartlett hopes to transform the Idea Lab with the newly formed board.

“Our real hope is that the biggest transformation we will see in the Idea Lab space is the amount of traffic that it gets,” Bartlett said. “And that the space will evolve to be a destination that the students seek out.”

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