Meet our Educators! 

Miss Octavia; Vice President of Education | 563-336-7307


Miss Octavia has found herself back in the area that she grew up and is elated to be part of the Putnam team! Her family moved to the QC in August 2015 to be closer to extended family and friends. A proud Alleman High School graduate, she pursued a degree in Elementary Education, first attending Black Hawk College, then Loyola University Chicago and received her Bachelors Degree from Augustana College. After teaching in the QCA she completed a Masters program at Iowa State University in Curriculum & Instruction. She has taught pre-school to middle school in a variety of settings including; Montessori, parochial, public, Head Start and afterschool programs. Octavia was an assistant principal for the Grand Rapids Diocese for five years and after receiving her Masters Degree in Educational Leadership from the University of Notre Dame she taught fifth grade in the Diocese of Las Vegas. She was then selected as the founding principal of Saint Gabriel Catholic School in Las Vegas, NV.
Miss Octavia has been enjoying the shift in her career to informal education and finds great reward in working with local school district teachers and administrators to align our work at the Putnam to provide resources for their students. As the Vice President of Education she strives to offer the best of the Putnam to schools, families and the community overall.
The theater is Miss Octavia’s favorite place to take a break at work, but in the museum she enjoys watching the fish in the aquariums. If she could take any item home to keep it would be the walnut secretary desk made by Israel Hall before the Civil War. She admires the workmanship and quality of the piece.  Her husband and daughter believe that she works in the coolest place ever! They can be found volunteering with exhibits, participating in programs or in their favorite place…the gift shop!

"​Listen to the mustn'ts, child, Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts. The impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves. Then listen close to me— Anything can happen, child, Anything can be."
– Shel Silverstein Where the Sidewalk Ends


Miss Lakin; Education Specialist | 563-336-7298

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 Patty; Education Specialist | 563-336-7285

Ms. Patty has been at the Putnam since August of 2016. She presents Putnam for Preschool as well as In-museum programs and school/community outreaches.

Ms. Patty earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education at St. Ambrose University and is in the process of completing an “Informal Learning Museums Professional Certificate,” which focuses on STEM education in the museum setting.
Ms. Patty remembers visiting the Putnam Museum when she was younger. It became a place of adventure, escape and wonderment! The exhibits were so breath taking for a curious young girl, that it kept her coming back regularly!
She would stand in the Hall of Mammals and stare at the majestic animals in front of her, waiting for one to blink or move.
She also was very fond of the cement alligators that were guarding the front stairs of the Putnam. On a hot day of swimming at Fejuvary, they became a glorious oasis of cool comfort!

Ms. Patty enjoys sharing her love of the Putnam with the community as she presents her programming. She feels that the Putnam Museum and Science Center is a diamond in the rough, which most Quad Citizens have not yet discovered. She is ready to share the place that held such a special place in her heart as a child with others!

If Ms. Patty could have one exhibit for her own it would be the Hall of Mammals. She stills stands there at times and stares in awe and waits for them to blink or move!

"If ever there is tomorrow when we're not together... there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we're apart... I'll always be with you."

The House at Pooh Corner by A.A. Milne


Miss Erica; Education Specialist | 563-324-1933, ext. 235


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
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 | 563-336-7308

Miss Bridget is the latest addition to the Education team at The Putnam Museum and Science Center. She joined us 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
Copyright © 2019, The Putnam Museum & Science Center, All Rights Reserved