Made @ The Tech

Spring 2015

Member spotlight
Glenn Brassington

Parents who have helped their children dress for career day know there’s no shortage of inspiring figures to choose from, as astronauts, doctors, firefighters, and teachers regularly crowd school hallways.

Staff members at The Tech are particularly proud of the profession chosen by one of the museum’s youngest members. Kindergartener Glenn Brassington — now 7 years old — dressed up as a Tech employee, complete with his own black polo shirt, handmade nametag, and business cards.

"Glenn told his class he wanted to work at The Tech because he likes it here so much," said Scott Hamman, program coordinator for The Tech Challenge. "His energy, curiosity, and enthusiasm for what we do are amazing."

The staff was so touched by this tribute that they arranged for Glenn to have a real Tech polo and official name badge, which his parents say he treasures and always wears on museum visits.

Glenn, who lives in Sunnyvale, may be familiar to visitors: He spends as many as four days a week exploring exhibits and even giving tours. He is also bilingual, often testing staff members on their Spanish-speaking skills and participating in The Tech's bilingual family math classes.

"I tell my friends it’s an innovation museum, and it’s really good, and you should come down and learn," Glenn said. "There’s just so much to do! Let's say you want to be an astronaut. You can ride the jet pack chair. If you want to be an engineer, you can build a building. If you want to be a lab scientist, you can put jellyfish genes into bacteria and make it glow. There’s even a cool exhibit for musicians. It’s great!"

And nothing new gets past Glenn, whose eyes lit up when he saw an update to his beloved jet pack chair in the Exploration Gallery.

"Mom, look!" he exclaimed. "They put a cushion here — just like we suggested!"
It’s a welcome addition for a kid who spent more than a year sitting in his dad's lap in order to be tall enough to maneuver the jet pack.

Glenn's mom, Paulina Brassington, says it's that kind of excitement that keeps her family coming back to The Tech.

"My son loves it here," said Paulina, an engineer from Mexico. "We spend quality time together as a family while he learns about genetics, math, design, physics, robotics, and electronics."

Glenn's dad, a university professor who is also named Glenn, said that when his son wants to know how something works, Tech staff members encourage him to play with exhibits and learn for himself. One extra-special staff member Glenn talks very fondly about is Peter Keenan, a retired physicist who maintains the robots exhibits and is an inspirational teacher and mentor for Glenn. This experiential learning has affected how he learns in other areas; his piano teacher said Glenn asks questions other kids don't, such as why patterns of notes look different from one page to the next but are played the same.

"The Tech Museum has really improved Glenn's thinking, questioning, and love of all things tech," his dad said. "His mother and I can’t wait to see what he will create when he is older that will improve the quality of life of people from all over our planet."