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GSC Educator connecting disability and innovation with Legos

For the past 5 years, Jessica Linkletter has been the Robotics Coordinator at the Greensboro Science Center.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Legos-- just hearing the name may bring back one or two childhood memories! Or maybe it simply just reminds you of work like in the case of Jessica Linkletter. This phenomenal educator's job is centered around those plastic construction toys! They've built Jessica's career and are building the future. 

Jessica Linkletter is building blocks of learning, innovation, and creativity with Legos at the Greensboro Science Center.

"I've seen kids go from never touching a robot to programming it in the next hour"

Whether you're five or fourteen, Linkletter can teach you the ins and outs of robotics.

"Lessons you learn from building a robot are much more applicable than the actual Legos connecting to themselves," Linkletter said. "My students learn perseverance and trying and failing over and over and over again."

Robot failure can happen from time to time, but Linkletter says failures produce the best scientists and, as long as science is part of the job, she says she's all in.

"I was going to go into middle school science," Linkletter said. "I went all the way through the program and really loved it."

For Linkletter, she says teaching in the traditional classroom was hard at times because sometimes she couldn't hear. Linkletter is deaf in her right ear.

"When I lost my hearing was when I was 18, I was at the beginning of my college career trying to figure out what I was going to [pursue]," Linkletter said.

She wanted to teach science but struggled to find the right place until she landed here at the Greensboro Science Center. It's even given her the opportunity to not only teach but to help young minds overcome challenges.

"I had a student recently who got overwhelmed by everything," Linkletter said. "The class was really loud and the Legos were really loud. So we took a minute and did a quiet lego challenge so we had to be as quiet as possible so everyone stepped up and helped the student to decompress."

And also help young scholars grow in science!

"I have a student who started with me when he was 10," Linkletter said. "He is now a volunteer with us on the Robotics team. He was on my team for 3 years and now he's a volunteer underneath me."

She's constructed robots and simple machines for five years while inspiring the next generation of scientists.

"It’s really exciting to see them make connections to a STEM field they may not get a lot of experience with."

    

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