Park Profiles: Meet Julia Falkowski!

Kristen Mihalko Balboa Park Cultural Partnership, One Park - One Team, Park Profiles

Julia is the Project & Production Specialist with  Balboa Park Online Collaborative. Since starting with BPOC, Julia’s adaptability and  positive perspective have been a lending hand to the various projects she has worked on. From the Balboa Park Centennial website to the telepresence robot, Julia continues to provide her production expertise to the Park.

  1. How did you start working with Balboa Park Online Collaborative (BPOC)?

I was working towards a Master’s Degree in Museum Studies at The George Washington University, and joined the Museum Computer Club on campus. The club grew my interest in museum technology, and my friends and colleagues mentioned the technology-based work BPOC does here in Balboa Park. I was looking to move to San Diego and BPOC happened to have a position open, so I applied and here I am now!

  1. What do you like most about working with BPOC?

The variety in types of projects and content is definitely my favorite aspect. When I first started here, one of the first projects I worked on was creating the content for the Balboa Park Centennial website page, which gave me the opportunity to learn a lot about the Park. I have also helped with content loading for the San Diego Natural History Museum’s Coast to Cactus exhibit mircosite, worked on the Park organizations’ digital badging project, and have been working with a telepresence robot to allow broader audiences access to the Park.

  1. What is the most interesting part about working in production?

The opportunity to work with people who are total experts in their craft – whether it’s design, coding, subject matter, etc.- is one of the most interesting parts of my job. I get to work collaboratively with experts on great projects and learn from their approaches to projects and problem-solving.

  1. Any advice in encountering a new situation at work?

When facing a new situation or challenge, it’s important to take it in stride and have perspective on what you are doing. I think finding the humor in things is also important!

  1. What has been one of your favorite projects you have been a part of with BPOC?

BPOC has had the opportunity to work on a project called Museum at Your Fingertips, which uses a telepresence robot to video in someone from a different location. At a basic level, it is Skype on wheels! The robot is controlled through an app and is directed using the keyboard arrows. We were testing to see if it can provide school tours to classes who could not afford to rent a bus to get to the Park or to take a field trip to a museum. We first tested it at the San Diego Air and Space Museum with 5 different schools and classes between 4th-7th, and had a tour guide at the museum talking to the students while the teacher controlled the robot to follow the guide. It was very successful and we’re hoping to expand this project in the Park.

  1. What do you like to do outside of working here in the Park?

I am on the Emerging Museum Professionals (EMP) board, as the Marketing and Communications Chair, and I help to organize the group’s monthly events. I am also a part of the San Diego Master Chorale, and perform with them in their concerts.

  1. Favorite song, TV show, movie?

My favorite TV show is Parks and Rec, I am a big fan of workplace comedies. I would probably say my favorite movie is Fantastic Mr. Fox because I love how whimsical it is, and as for song, it’s too hard to pick just one!

  1. If you could be any animal, what would you be and why?

I think I would like to be a bird, because I love to travel but could do without the stress of highways and airports. It would be great to be able to fly places on my own!

  1.   What is your favorite spot in Balboa Park?

The Spanish Village Art Center! The colors and the music in Spanish Village are so calming, and I often like to go on walks at lunch there just to be in that atmosphere. My close second favorite is the Committee of 100 Sculpture Garden in the Casa de Balboa. I think it is equally as peaceful, but is more hidden and a lot of people don’t know about it.