While Jenn Schmidt’s career has taken some interesting twists and turns over the last 26 years, what has been the underlying theme is a passion for learning, teaching, and science. And she’s just hitting her stride.
Schmidt started her career as a teacher in Indianapolis, Indiana after graduating from Indiana University with an education degree. Her first school was an aerospace magnet school, where she was excited to make aerospace come alive for students. Her curriculum included space flight history, the physics of flight, simulating mission control, performing labs in space, and even attending NASA’s Space Camp in Huntsville, AL.
The next four years she taught in the same district at an Integrated Thematic Instruction (ITI) school focused on brain research. She was exposed to Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences and the various ways that people learn – some learn linguistically, some learn through bodily kinesthetics, and others learn through musical exposure. “Overall, there are eight different intelligences in which we all have different strengths and weaknesses. I learned to assess and teach to those various intelligences in order to increase the success of all types of learners.” Schmidt has relied on this knowledge repeatedly when teaching both children and adults.
After a brief hiatus to start a family, she taught physical and earth sciences for five years at a school in Delaware, Ohio. During this time, she earned a master’s degree in geosciences so she could become more of an expert in the scientific content she was teaching. A couple years later, an opportunity came up for her to interview for a spectral analyst position at Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corp.