Inspired by experiencing hurricanes as a kid in Louisiana, Joe Comeaux decided to embark on a career in earth science and meteorology. But after working for the National Center for Atmospheric Science, he decided to switch things up. He and his wife Robin shifted gears and created Exploration Universe, an Adams County-based science education business. The couple now work full-time to share the wonder of science and technology with students through interactive programs, parties, workshops, camps and more. We caught up with Comeaux to learn more about what makes the wow factor in science experiments.
Q: What did you do for a living prior to Exploration Universe?
Joe Comeaux: I worked as a meteorologist and computer programmer at the National Center for Atmospheric Science for 24 years. My wife Robin worked in billing, reservations, marketing and customer service before joining me in helping with our science and technology endeavors.
Q: What was the inspiration for starting Exploration Universe?
JC: We had been volunteering at our daughter’s school, Tarver Elementary [in Thornton, Colo.], to help with science activities in and out of classrooms. We loved working with the kids and seeing the excitement on their faces when they were introduced to new and exciting concepts in science. This quickly became our passion, and we decided to expand our endeavors outside of just Tarver.
Q: Why science and technology?
JC: Science and technology have been my passion since high school. I remember learning to program on a TRS-80 computer and having to use cassette tapes to store programs. Physics and earth science were my favorite subjects in high school. Growing up on the coast in Louisiana, I was exposed to a lot of hurricanes and thunderstorms, and my interest in weather grew. Meteorology combines a lot of different sciences, so I decided that would be a great career path. After working with kids at Tarver, I realized that either science or technology would be awesome career paths for kids.
Q: What type of experiences do you create to engage students in science?
JC: We always strive to create experiences that are both fun and educational. During our classes, we try to provide the kids with as many hands-on opportunities as possible. The kids get to participate in activities that demonstrate different scientific ideas in fun ways.
Q: What type of reactions do you see in students?
JC: We see the wow factor with the eyes and mouth wide open when students experience a great experiment or demonstration. Nothing beats seeing that reaction! It really comes together for us when we are being bombarded with questions about what happened and when each kid gives their own answer to what they have seen. ■
Learn more at explorationuniverse.org.
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