PacSci Perspectives


Volunteer Spotlight: James Lin

by | Jan 9, 2018

James Lin, Pacific Science Center Volunteer

Volunteers are an essential part of wonderful guest experiences at Pacific Science Center. Meet James Lin, an electrical engineer on the Surface team at Microsoft who applies his talents in our Tinker Tank.

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

I started in middle of October 2017.

2. Why did you decide to volunteer?

I’ve always been into science museums. I grew up in the California Bay Area and I went to the Exploratorium when I was a kid and I just really liked it. For me, this is giving back to the community and inspiring kids, like I was inspired, to get into engineering and science. It also makes me feel like a kid again.

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

You’ll find me mostly working in Tinker Tank. My job consists of me being available for kids and their parents if they have questions to ask. I also facilitate any Tinker Tank activities, for example, this week was folding paper frogs. My hope is that I teach them something that they can take home with them and providing them as much fun as possible during their visit.

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

The Tropical Butterfly House. It’s just so cool going in there, especially when the weather is cold and rainy; and being able to see all of the butterflies. They all have all sorts of colors and it’s really neat.

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

I love when I see the magic of science click in place for a kids. Some of the kids who visit come in kind of confused by something and then when you walk them through it or they get to play around on their own, they start to realize how it works. What I like the most is when the kids light up with the excitement of figuring something out. It makes me realize how important it is to have an early science education or have science museums available to learn things you may not learn everyday while watching TV. Being in an environment where it’s fun to learn and getting to see these smiles on these kids’ faces is also very rewarding.

6. Is there a favorite moment or memory you remember as a volunteer?

On my first day volunteering, there was a family – a girl, a boy and their two parents – and they were building obstacles and creating paper planes and cranes to fly through them. Right before they left and before we closed, the little girl had come up to us and gave us, the three volunteers that were there, a paper crane she folded when she was at the origami table and told us “thank you!” That was so nice of her that it was the highlight of my week.

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

Yeah! Actually I’ve been trying to get one of my friends from work to volunteer. I keep telling him that it’s super rewarding and something fun to do to break up the routine of life. It’s so easy to get home from work and spend all your time just watching Netflix and Hulu or playing video games but when you’re here, it’s fun because it makes you, at least, think enough to teach somebody else something new.

To learn more about volunteer positions with us, visit