Meet our Educators! 

Kara Fedje; Vice President of Learning Experiences
kfedje@putnam.org | 563-336-7296

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Kara Fedje, Vice President of Learning Experiences, is committed to providing the community and all visitors of the Putnam Museum, inclusive, relevant, and impacting educational experiences. She has been a Museum Educator for the past ten years, working with children, families, schools, teachers, volunteers, & the general public.

Her experience began at the Putnam Museum as Education Specialist where she taught science for Putnam for Preschool, Putnam Explorers, afterschool enrichment, and summer camp. She was the Mary Ann MacLean Educator at the Illinois State Museum where she brought in over 7,000 visitors to play with science and art during Saturplay at the Play Museum. While with the Des Moines Art Center, Fedje implemented school programs and created Entirely Kids Day, free family days for thousands of children. She holds a MA in Museum Studies from Western Illinois University and BA in Fine Art from Augustana College. She has provided educational presentations for the Association of Midwest Museums, Figge Art Museum, University of Illinois Springfield, and is currently writing a publication for AAM's Museum magazine.

Fedje is a native of the Quad Cities, loves the Mississippi River, walking through the woods, spending time with friends and family, listening to music, riding her bike, making art, and relaxing with her kitty. 

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” 
― Margaret Mead
 

Miss Lakin; Education Specialist
lsheeder@putnam.org | 563-336-7298

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Miss Lakin is an Education Specialist at the Putnam. She provides programming through learning experiences for a variety of audiences at the Museum and in the community, and provides enrichment for after-school programs in the Quad City area.  Lakin started working at the Putnam in 2015. She enjoys connecting with and serving visitors in multiple ways, and engaging audiences in a variety of different settings.
 
Lakin received her bachelor’s degree in Book Arts and Graphic Design, with a minor in Business Management from St. Ambrose University. At Ambrose, she enjoyed working at the Catich Gallery and in the St. Ambrose Archives and Special Collections department.  Her passion for community and education grew during her internship experience as an education assistant at the Figge Art Museum.  At the Putnam, she enjoys teaching science and history in interactive ways through hands-on activity and experimentation. She finds encouraging curiosity and creative thinking while making connections to everyday life with the diverse exhibits featured at the Putnam rewarding.   
 
Currently, her favorite area in the museum features the Putnam’s 150th anniversary community photos. The display spans across the walls of the upper and lower levels of the Putnam’s grand lobby. The black and white photos, taken by Tom Styrkowicz, make an impact in the large space and celebrate the diverse community members of the Quad City area. She loves that community members came together at the Putnam to celebrate their history, experiences, family, and personalities in and through each photograph. 
 
If Lakin could have one item from the Putnam’s collection to call her own she would love to have an item from the Beautiful Bugs display cases. She would love to have the beetle and butterfly specimens that are arranged in a circular burst pattern to have for her self. She loves that the bugs are displayed in a way that is elegant and focuses on their beauty. The display highlights how scientists and artist find inspiration from iridescence found in nature.

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.”
— Dr. SeussOh, The Places You Will Go!

 

Miss Erica; Education Specialist
ekoppenhoefer@putnam.org | 563-324-1933, ext. 235

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Miss Erica is an Education Specialist at the Putnam. She splits her time between providing programming to the public, both in-house and afterschool outreach, and assisting with the IMMERSE program.
 
Miss Erica has a Bachelor’s in Classical Archaeology and Ancient History with a minor in Religious Studies specializing in Islamic Studies from Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, PA. She interned at the Putnam in the collections, exhibits and education departments before leaving to get her Master’s. She received her Master’s in Library and Information Science with a minor in Museum Studies from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, IL. While obtaining her Master’s, she completed her capstone working at the Krannert Art Museum on campus, developing an outreach program to older adult care facilities called Art Reflections. In her free time she volunteered at the Spurlock Museum on campus and the Museum of the Grand Prairie in Mahomet, IL. All of her projects are available to view on her website www.ericakoppenhoefer.com.
 
Miss Erica’s favorite items in the collection are not on display, but she loves the Grecian amphorai kept in storage. If she could, Miss Erica would take one from the collection vaults home, however, they are behind several locked doors and she doesn’t know how to pick locks.
 
"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world."
— Nelson Mandela

 

Miss Bridget; Education Services Coordinator
bboyd-carlson@putnam.org | 563-336-7308

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Miss Bridget joined Putnam Museum and Science Center as the Education Services Coordinator in August of 2018. Bridget has a Bachelor’s in Sociology from Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa. She has a strong connection to The Quad Cities and remembers visiting the Putnam on field trips as a child and more recently with her daughter’s school groups. After spending many years in a Sales and Merchandising Career, Bridget decided to make a change to a position with a purpose, and she looks forward to assisting school and youth groups to create their own memories of the Putnam.
 
“Yes, the mummies are still here” is the answer to the question she was most frequently asked upon telling friends and family she was accepting a position at the Putnam. Her favorite part of the museum is not an exhibit at all but all of the historic clothes in the archives. She would love to borrow some for her own closet to dress as F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Daisy or Jane Austen’s Elizabeth Bennet. 
 
“Knowledge speaks, but wisdom listens” 
― Jimi Hendrix


Ms. Reba; Education Specialist
rpierson@putnam.org | 563-336-7297

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Ms. Reba is an Education Specialist focusing on school and community outreaches. She re-joined the Putnam education team in the summer of 2019 having worked in a grant funded position the year before. Reba has a bachelor’s degree in Child Development from the University of Iowa. Whilst at the U of I, Reba had the chance to explore many science disciplines including Astronomy, Anthropology, Geology, Meteorology, Chemistry, Biology and Botany. Her favorite part of being an Education Specialist is being able to share her love of the sciences with the youth of the community. With fond memories of her elementary and middle school science teachers, she hopes to inspire students to develop their own inquisitive love of which ever science discipline sparks their interest. “There is a type of science for everyone! But before one can learn to love it, they have to be exposed to it,” Ms. Reba said. 
 
One of Reba’s favorite things at the Putnam Museum is the Discovery Dome. She enjoys taking the Portable Planetarium to schools and community events where people get to enjoy an immersive experience that they might not otherwise get to have. Since childhood, Reba has loved all things space. From watching rocket launches and splash downs on television as a child, to teaching about life as an astronaut and the moons of Saturn for the Putnam, Astronomy has always been a favorite. She still is in awe every time she sees pictures from the Hubble Space Telescope and is excited to have her name going up on the next rover to Mars. 
 
Ms. Reba grew up spending a lot of time at the Putnam with her grandmother, who lived right across the street. She loves looking out of her office window and seeing her grandmother’s house still standing there. It brings back memories of walking over to the Putnam to spend the day. It really makes the Putnam feel like home to her. If she could take home one item from the Putnam, it would be a hard choice. “The collection of artifacts we have here is so amazing,” she said. “From the gem samples to the Asian sculptures, the china dishes to the Magic Planet, it would be easier for me to pack up move in here than to choose one item to take home.”  
 
“I believe that education is all about being excite about something. Seeing passion and enthusiasm helps push the educational message.” 
― Steve Irwin


Miss Emma; Education Specialist 
eboesch@putnam.org | 563-336-7285
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Miss Emma is an Education Specialist at the Putnam. She spends her time working with preschools in the outreach program Putnam for Preschool. In May of 2019, she received her Bachelors Degree in History with Secondary Education Licensure from Trinity International University in Deerfield, Ill. She grew up north of the Quad Cities and is excited to be back and working at a place she always had fun visiting as a child or chaperoning field trips. While she does miss working with high school students, Miss Emma has always loved preschoolers and has many years experience working with preschool friends from working at a daycare center. Her favorite thing about preschoolers is their excitement and curiosity about the world around them! 

Her favorite past exhibit was the Princess Diana Celebration. She went with her mother twice and cried both times! Her favorite current items on display are all the children’s toys in the River, Prairie and People exhibit. She loves seeing how play has changed through time and how childhood as we know it has developed.
 
“You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” 
— Christopher Robin

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