Volunteer of the Month: January 2016

Congrats to our January Volunteer of the Month, Rick Montgomery! Read our interview with Rick:

What first brought you to Big Class? 
I had just moved back to Louisiana after graduate school and I wanted to get involved with the book scene here in New Orleans. I popped into Maple Street Bookshop where the proprietor kindly guided me to the coolest classroom I've ever stepped foot in.
What keeps you coming back?
Well, the kids of course! And that means all of the staff and volunteers too. Inspiration and creativity are contagious. The Big Class community thrives on spreading a childlike approach to telling stories. You've got a story and you should tell it.
What are some skills you have that help you out at Big Class?
Science! Being a scientist has so many perks. I get to answer questions about space and time and rocket ships and aliens and sea creatures and DNA and teleportation and computers of the future and artificial intelligence and what it means to be human! Because science touches every aspect of the world, I have an ocean of ideas to help spark the creative flint of youngins. And I can help them with their math homework.
What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced at Big Class?
When J.M. Barrie said that because fairies are so small, they have room for only one feeling at a time, I'm pretty sure he was also talking about kids! Creative work can be frustrating. Frustration can be all consuming. Finding the best way to guide a child through their frustration is very challenging and can require a lot of patience.
What are some great projects  you’ve helped with? Tell us the story behind them if you can.
I led the the kids through the dark alleys of their minds while we cataloged and sketched the things that go bump in New Orleans! Monster Lab is a space for us to preempt Halloween with stories of encountering the monsters that haunt our streets and our dreams. I had nightmares for weeks!
What are you up to when you’re not volunteering with us?
I split my time between reading Latin American literature, learning to play the Cajun accordion, and working as a real life scientist at a startup business from Tulane called Advanced Polymer Monitoring Technologies.