Submitted by MilliporeSigma
MilliporeSigma Employee Spotlight: Kaely Zeiser
As part of our employee spotlight series, we’re sitting down with Kaely Zeiser, business partner, Corporate Responsibility at MilliporeSigma, to learn more about the work she’s doing to ignite curiosity in the next generation of scientists.
1. Tell us about your background (where you grew up, went to school, your family, etc.).
I grew up in St. Louis, Missouri and have two older brothers. I attended the University of Missouri-Columbia where I studied business management. After graduation, I worked in marketing and management for four years, then decided to move to Spain to teach English. I taught English in Barcelona, solo traveled throughout Europe, and then sought out a new adventure and moved to a rural village in Northeast Thailand to teach high-school English.
I love to read, ride horses, play sports and, most importantly, babysit my 8-month-old niece.
2. How did you get your start with MilliporeSigma? Explain your role at MilliporeSigma.
After returning from abroad, I was looking for a position where I could utilize my business experience as well as my teaching experience. I almost accepted a position in Mexico, but then I stumbled upon the Curiosity Cube® mobile science lab. Being on a project from the ground floor and with a mission I believed in was something I couldn’t pass up. I began as a coordinator, then took on additional Corporate Responsibility projects. Currently, I oversee all of the education outreach programs, including the Curiosity Cube® mobile science lab and Curiosity Labs™. My role is to provide engaging and hands-on science education programs to students around the world.
3. What sparked your interest in education?
Whether you’re in Asia, Europe or a city in America, children love to learn. It doesn’t matter what country you’re in or what language you speak, there is always a smile when a student learns something new. I’ve been in education for five years and love being able to provide an opportunity that makes students proud of themselves.
4. How did you develop the experiences inside the Curiosity Cube® mobile science lab?
After each visit to the Curiosity Cube® mobile science lab, students and teachers provide feedback on the overall experience and future experiments. Our team reviews the feedback and brainstorms different themes for the next year. MilliporeSigma scientists and employee volunteers also provide expertise on the science content and experiment details. We also partner with Washington University in St. Louis to ensure that we are providing quality science education. The most important part of development is listening to the students. We want to provide relatable, engaging and fun science that ignites curiosity.
5. What is it like to work with SPARK™ program employee volunteers?
I have a rare opportunity to work with thousands of employee volunteers from all different divisions of the company. Every day is completely different. The best part is being able to connect people and provide a space that brings them together. A lot of times, the employees are nervous because they are out of their element. My job is to make sure they are trained and feel comfortable. By the end of the day, everyone is laughing and having fun teaching the students. The volunteers are always so thankful to be in the community and learn from the students and their coworkers. There’s a sense of teamwork by the end of the day. Most of the volunteers don’t know each other when the day starts, but by the end, they come together to help students who need learning opportunities.
6. Out of all the communities you’ve visited with the Curiosity Cube® mobile science lab, what has been your favorite?
My favorite communities are the small towns. In these areas, you can really see how employees make an impact through education in their own community. The students usually come back to the Curiosity Cube® mobile science lab a second time to show their families and make sure their younger siblings have a chance to visit, too. These are some of the best days, seeing one of the students become a teacher to their friends and family.
7. What is one thing that few people know about you?
I’ve been playing chess since the third grade. My brother taught me to play during summer vacation, and I fell in love with it. I taught chess to students in under-served areas and always have a travel board in my car if someone wants to learn how to play.
8. What is most rewarding about your job; what makes it all worthwhile?
What makes it all worthwhile are the days I know I truly made an impact in a child’s life. Sometimes it may not be because of the actual science lesson they learned, but because someone took the time to help them — whether it be me or a volunteer. Everyone has those memorable school days where they loved learning. I hope the students look back on their day at the Curiosity Cube® mobile science lab and have fond memories.
9. If you could learn any new skill or hobby, what would it be and why?
I’d learn to play the violin. It is my favorite instrument, and I love classical and jazz music. I have a violin and tried teaching myself. (I don’t know why my neighbors don’t like me J.
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