We had the good fortune of connecting with Sophie Wasserman and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sophie, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
Focusing on the fun! Each of our programs is designed with the idea that education, especially STEM education, should be engaging and enjoyable. It’s truly magical when you walk into a classroom that’s just buzzing with creativity and energy, where both students and teachers are excited about what’s happening. Especially this past year, when all of our learning spaces have gone virtual, and the Zoom fatigue is real, our goal is always to carve out a safe space for curiosity and joy.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
The mission of the San Diego Air & Space Museum is to preserve, inspire, educate, and celebrate. As the Education Director, I lead a team of dedicated, hard-working, creative people who have come together to embody that mission statement. I am tremendously proud of our work to make aerospace accessible and captivating for our community. Was it easy? Absolutely not. Has it been challenging, exhausting, enriching, rewarding, and ultimately so worthwhile? Without a doubt, yes. It may sound trite, but the best thing I’ve learned along the way is to be a “problem solver.” More than just responding well in a crisis or throwing out an idea in a meeting, I mean someone who enacts solutions, who steps up and makes answers happen. That’s what we encourage our students to focus on in each one of our programs: how to think critically and be their own problem solver. More than a knowledge base of STEM facts, we help children build skill toolboxes for their future.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
San Diego has so much to offer, it’s hard to choose! I’m a big fan of being outdoors, so we would probably explore the La Jolla tidepools and ever popular Torrey Pines State Reserve, plus throw in some hikes around Hollenbeck Canyon, Cedar Creek Falls, Palomar Mountain State Park, or the Santa Ysabel preserve (with a stop for Julian pie on the way home). I always take visitors on an extended taco crawl through North Park, and we usually end up at Belching Beaver when all is said and done. I have a major sweet tooth, so Babycakes would for sure make the list, as well as Stella Jeans, An’s Dry Cleaning, and Mutual Friend. The Big Kitchen Cafe is my favorite breakfast spot: good food, great people, and tons of character. Even though I work there, I never get tired of exploring Balboa Park, both for its beauty and the incredible museums. The Explorer Pass is a great deal for visitors AND residents! For families with young children, the New Children’s Museum downtown and the San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum in Escondido are fantastic too.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Shoutout to the San Diego STEM Ecosystem! They work tirelessly to support and promote accessible education in our community, and have connected me with incredible mentors, collaborators, and friends.
Reuben Goulart, Kelly Johnston, Patty Bowman,