My name is Heather Hill, and I am the new Outreach Educator that you have previously read about. Let me tell you a little bit more about myself. I was born and raised in Seymour, Indiana, an hour north of Louisville on I65.
I attended Indiana University to pursue my B.S. in Art Education. During my junior year, I was introduced to the American Indian Reservation Project. I have been interested in Native American culture and history for as long as I can remember, so I immediately knew that this program was for me. I quickly learned that it was much more involved than a normal student teaching assignment. It required a year of graduate level coursework and researching Navajo culture and ended with an additional semester on the Navajo Reservation. I was up for the challenge. After a year of hard work, I received my placement. That August, I packed my bags, drove to northern Indiana to pick up my placement partner, Samantha, and we made the 4 day drive to Kayenta, Arizona- The Gateway to Monument Valley.
Once we arrived, we immediately started working. Sam and I lived in the dorms with the students and assumed extra roles to help wherever we could. We became after school tutors, dorm aides and cafeteria workers, serving breakfast and dinner every day, on top of a full day of teaching. We also had service projects on the weekend that allowed us to get out and really experience the community. I can now say that I have sheared an entire sheep by hand, a daylong task when there is no electricity or running water, and was fortunate enough to spend an evening with a Medicine Man, a conversation that changed my life forever.
I returned to Indiana for graduation in December 2010 and went to work at Southern Indiana Center for the Arts in my hometown. I taught art workshops, private lessons and summer camp for two years before I came to the Derby Museum. I taught a little bit of everything but my main focus, and passion, was ceramics. I loved the broad range of students at SICA, and I was able to work with students from toddlers to the elderly.
Then, I found the Outreach Educator position posted on Louisvilleworks.com this past November. I was so excited that I had written my cover letter within an hour. I had always dreamed of working in a museum. Someone asked me, “Why do you want to work for the Derby Museum?” “WHY NOT?? It’s the greatest two minute in sports!”
During my training, Ronnie started explaining the job in more detail. Teaching + Traveling + Food + Blog? This position is perfect! I love meeting new people and exploring new towns and schools. On average, I’m on the road 4 days a week and teach anywhere from 100-700 students a day. I constantly look back to what I learned in the reservation project. So I make it a point to take in as much of the community as I can to really see where these students come from, even if it is just eating at the local diner. My goal with this blog is to share with you some of the interesting things I experience while on the road and in the schools. Kentucky is such a diverse state filled with so many amazing places and people. Maybe you’ll want to explore some of these areas too! Enjoy!