When Manna Chowdhury first became aware of the Detroit Science Gallery mediator position for the HUSTLE exhibit, it was because of a class she was enrolled in, while still in high school. After reading the mission statement and realizing that the mission of Science Gallery’s dedication to public engagement with science and art, by igniting creativity and discovery where science and art collide, aligned closely with who she is as a person, Manna decided to apply.
HUSTLE, an exhibit created to capture the spirit of resilience among Detroit and its inhabitants during the summer of 2018, allowed Manna to to get acquainted with individuals from various backgrounds and walks of life. “We had people from all over the world come into the Science Gallery,” said Chowdhury, a high school student transitioning into her first year of college. “There were very different perspectives that I didn’t expect and I learned something new every day from these individuals.” Some of Manna’s duties included facilitating discussions between visiting patrons, giving tours and providing an overall unique and fun experience for all who visited.
Growing up, Manna had heard a number of disparaging things about Detroit and her experience working at the Science Gallery not only allowed her to gain more knowledge about the featured art pieces, but Detroit as a whole. “It was nothing like I’d heard and it helped me see Detroit in a different light,” Chowdhury said. “Detroit is honestly one of the most diverse places that I’ve ever seen.” Before her experience with Science Gallery, Manna never really saw herself as a creative but she soon came to realize that art is in her own perspective.
Not only did Science Gallery have an impact on Manna personally, it also had a profound impact on her professionally. Before working at Science Gallery, Manna knew that she wanted to be a doctor, but now she wants to pursue a career in the medical field in addition to assisting third world countries in a broader sense. Currently a freshman at Wayne State University, Manna is majoring in biology and art, courtesy of her positive experience with Science Gallery. Gearing up to spend spring break in Guatemala this upcoming March as part of an alternative spring break program to assist physicians with taking local citizens’ blood pressure, Manna offered some sound advice for students who are interested in becoming mediators:“I think you should go for it! It’ll change you in ways that you wouldn’t even imagine,” and “It can benefit you in so many ways and have a personal impact on you.”
Science Gallery – Detroit’s next exhibit, DEPTH, will examine the power and complexities of water and its many roles in the physical and social world. The exhibit will take place from June 2019 until August 2019.