Jason Mizerek is Manager of Educator Programs at the Fleet Science Center. In his role Jason oversees and facilitates professional development, resources and workshops for TK-12 teachers, informal educators, after-school providers and the higher education community.
How did you become Manager of Educator Programs at the Fleet Science Center?
I’ve been in informal education for over a decade, mostly on the east coast. I was working with school groups and teachers in my prior role in New York City, and when this position popped up I thought that one, it would be a great opportunity and two, it was in San Diego! So I jumped at the chance and I’ve now been with the Fleet for about three years.
What have you enjoyed most about your work?
There are so many different things. In addition to my primary role of providing teacher professional development, we’re starting to roll out more science communication workshops for STEM professionals. I also oversee SciTech, an after-school program for girls in grades 4-6 with the aim to instill confidence and change attitudes towards STEM through hands-on science, guest speaker visits and engineering challenges. What I enjoy most is that though I don’t have a science background, I have a curiosity and desire to learn that has taken me a long way. I like passing that curiosity along to others and getting them equally as interested in science as I am.
Are there any new programs you’re looking forward to at the Fleet?
The science communication resources are really interesting. We currently offer programs that bring in scientists to provide content and expertise, and we’d like to support our science community and the scientists we work with. In order for scientists to relay their content in the best way possible we have to make the content engaging in different ways that isn’t just a straight lecture. Whether that’s hands-on learning or through a shared experience, we work with scientists to develop best practices for communicating to the public.
With the New Year just around the corner, what is something you’re looking forward to in 2020?
We now have a synthetic ice rink at the Fleet, and it’s the first time we’ve had an experience like that and I’m really excited about it because I play hockey in my spare time. It was really fun to put our skates on and try it out with all of the staff. It’s a really cool marriage of work and a hobby of mine and I’m excited that we’ll have an OPOT Get-Together at the Fleet so other Park staff can enjoy it too.
What do you like to do outside of work on your free time?
I mentioned that I play hockey in my spare time, but I also have two dogs that keep me busy. I recently moved out to the San Carlos area so we’re right by Mission Trails and I enjoy taking advantage of that. I’m more interested in the hiking trails in San Diego than beaches, so I’m always looking for new walking, hiking and mountain biking trails and dog parks to try.
What are you reading, watching, or listening to right now?
I didn’t intend for this to happen but I’m a complete sucker for The Mandalorian. It’s pretty good and it really helps that I work with a bunch of Star Wars fans, so every week we’re excited to watch and talk about the new episode or try not to spoil it for someone else. I’m a Star Wars fan so I’ve been skeptical about new iterations, but this is fresh and new and fun.
What is your favorite spot in Balboa Park?
I don’t think anyone has said this yet, but when I first moved here and lived nearby with my wife and two dogs we went to the Grape Street Dog Park near South Park, which is an off-leash, unfenced park. We don’t go by as often now but there’s something about that spot that reminds us of moving here for the first time.