Loretta Ferguson has been an active participant in PISEC programs for over ten years. She spends many hours at St. Thomas Church working on youth programs and has helped with PISEC as well. She attends events with her grown children, her grandchildren, and even her great grandchildren. Her son George became an ambassador in CASE.
Takeaway Message from Loretta Ferguson:
When we first got started with PISEC, we were able to invite our congregation and our neighbors, and it went off really, really well. Everyone enjoyed it, and many of the people are continuing to be part of the program. I think many people have also gotten memberships to the various institutions that we are working with. I enjoy it because it gives young people a reason to come and get involved with science rather than other things. They enjoy it when they get here, although when you say to them, "We're going to a museum," they go, "What about a museum, why?" But, then when they get here, they really have a good time; they enjoy it. So, I really like working with the organization and the people.
The Ferguson Family became involved with PISEC through their church. Loretta Ferguson believes that the lack of cost to the programs provides an initial reason to come. Once families arrive, they discover a world of opportunities available to people who wouldn't otherwise consider science to be interesting, or a museum to be a worthwhile destination.
I've been working in my church over 40 years, and I've been working with young people in the youth groups. So when this opportunity arose, I think I was just glad to have something to offer the young people in our church and community, so I just sort of evolved into it.
The Fergusons had no science background before getting involved with PISEC programs. Now, three generations of family members have discovered science as an area of real interest. Loretta's son is even considering a degree in science.
My daughter, she's a travel agent. My son, he's working with many things. But, in the last five years, PISEC gave him the opportunity to become a [CASE] ambassador, and he really enjoys doing that. So although he doesn't have a career-oriented job, he is really interested in this, and hopefully he might decide to go back to school and really get involved and get his degree...I think that if he went back to school, then he would take the science courses. I believe that if he gets the opportunity to go back to school, this would be something that he would like to pursue.
Loretta's enthusiasm for science spreads outside of the immediate family to extended family, friends, and neighbors. Because of PISEC, Loretta and her friends now think in terms of hands-on family science learning.
With my great-grandchildren and some of my neighbors' children, we do talk about science, and they get excited when we start talking about it. I have to sort of lead them into it, but then it encourages them to remember what they're learning in school. So, it does help. But, the parents I know have to sort of lead them into it to get them excited about what they've seen. They love the Heart! [The giant walkthrough exhibit at The Franklin Institute].
The Fergusons continue to spread the word about community-based science programs. Perhaps more importantly, they also continue to think about and explore science as a family outside the context of PISEC programs and events. The experiences that PISEC offers are a catalyst for visits to other museums, for improved school performance, and for a new perspective on science as a possible career direction.
Usually we do try to come out with our neighbors and our friends and their children. My cousins who went [to PISEC events], they do ask me about it, you know they say "When is the next one; when's the next one?" Because I work with the group, we try to follow up with people in the group to find out what's going on, or to find out how they like things. That's part of our program as far as our church is concerned. As far as the people who come, I don't make it an effort to follow up on it, but when I see them or I talk to them, they always say how much they've enjoyed it. They really do enjoy it.
Loretta and her husband, both seniors, have discovered a new interest in science for themselves. They have found that science-focused television programs are now intriguing to them, and they work hard to share their interest with younger family members. She feels that teens, in particular, can gain a great deal through exposure to PISEC and other science-related activities.
Oh yes, my husband and I watch Channel 12 and 23 [the local PBS stations]; we watch all of those programs. When my grandchildren are there, we try and encourage them to watch it, too. They like things like maybe about the fish, or the insects, or something like that; they don't like the other things. Some of the other things are too boring. But we try and encourage them when they're here, to watch Channel 12 or 23, rather than watching all that other stuff. It's terrible. We try and encourage them, but it's hard today, we have too many distractions.