PacSci Perspectives


Volunteer Spotlight: Qianqian Chen

by | Jan 29, 2018

Qianqian Chen

Volunteering at Pacific Science center is both a unique opportunity and an integral part to our operations. We had a chat with Qianqian Chen, a college student working to become a nuclear physicist, to learn what makes volunteering at Pacific Science Center so rewarding.

1. How long have you been working at Pacific Science Center?

I started from the beginning of September as a Science Interpretation Volunteer.

2. Why did you decided to volunteer?

For me it’s kind of a responsibility to give back something for the community no matter where you are. My first language is not English, but it is not about nationality, location or language, no matter where you are, for me it’s a life achievement to help others.

3. What do you do at Pacific Science? What is a regular day here for you?

I do the expert interpretations to the visitors. They come from different areas or countries. I introduce the exhibits to them, initiate conversations and answer questions.

I finished my graduate school in China. Actually my background is in economy and accounting, not related with science, but I thought it would be really fun to be a volunteer here.

4. What is your favorite thing or place at Pacific Science Center?

I love to talk with the visitors, and once they learn something new I love the smile on their faces and the satisfaction they show. Sometimes they tell me “this is an amazing place” and I love it. It makes me feel that I helped others to understand this place well. And it’s the same reason I volunteer, because I want to give something back to the community.

5. Is there something that has truly inspired, impressed or made you see things differently?

It is really important that this kind of organizations have an interpreter on the ground that communicates or interacts with the visitors. Sometimes guests may just come in and may not learn enough things, so this kind of interaction, especially for the kids, makes them more interested in science. The interpreter can provide extra bonus on the customer service.

6. Have you met someone that has truly inspired you here?

Yeah, I think people here are amazing. The staff and the other volunteers are so helpful and knowledgeable. They provide me the insights of the exhibits here and I learn a lot from them.

7. Is there a favorite moment or memory you have as a volunteer?

Yes. There was once when I was in the tide pool. I was shift in there for the last half an hour and when I arrived there I saw a little girl come and looked at the hermit crab so I told her she could touch it, and I showed her how to touch it using one finger nice and gentle. At first she did not want to, so I do it myself and then she began to do it. Then I told her she could pick it up and put it in her hand, and if she kept her hand still, the hermit crab may even come up. So I showed her and she really liked it, but when she pick it up the hermit crab did not want to come up, so she’s a little bit sad. Then we put the hermit crab back in the water and I told her that if she keeps her hand still inside the water, and we don’t move, the hermit crab may feel more safe and comfortable and might come up, so the little girl follows my instructions and finally the hermit crab came up, and she’s so happy! And she played with the hermit crab until I leave! So this process made me feel that this is a good way to let visitors learn animal behavior and how they feel more comfortable and about respect. If we respect the animals, the animals will respect us. I think it’s an unforgettable experience for me.

8. Would you recommend for others to volunteer at Pacific Science Center?

Yes! Of course! I’ve told a lot of my friends that I volunteer here, it is super fun!


Looking for a rewarding and fulfilling volunteer opportunity in Seattle? Look no further than Pacific Science Center. We rely on volunteers and interns to help fulfill our mission to ignite curiosity in every child and fuel a passion for discovery, critical thinking, and experimentation in all of us. Learn More