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Ron Sparkman

Ron Sparkman

Ron Sparkman

Fun Fact about Ron: he reached the milestone of joining the Moon Club at the quickest pace of any volunteer we have had since opening the Discovery Center and starting our milestone recognition program.

We are excited and proud that volunteers such as Ron, and all of our volunteers, are excited to donate their time to our mission and do so enthusiastically and with heart. Ron was thrilled to reach the milestone of Moon Club so quickly.

Getting to know Ron: Ron was born and raised in Charleston, West Virginia, where his love of the mountains first developed.

What brought Ron to Colorado was an unfortunate close personal loss last year and a trip to see a good friend here in Colorado Springs. With his love for the outdoors and adventure, Ron was training for the Everest Base Camp Trek at the time, and Colorado Springs seemed like a perfect training spot.

Once in town, Ron passed by the Space Foundation, then visited the Discovery Center, researched about it for a couple of hours, and decided he had found his new hometown. Ron officially moved to Colorado Springs in June, 2015.

Ron’s career background is interesting in that he started out assisting, and teaching, martial arts under his instructor, as a teenager. This instruction and skill led Ron to working security at nightclubs, which then opened a door for his interest in performing as a Disc Jockey.

Ron became a career DJ for the next 15 years, exploring just about every area of this entertainment industry.

Ron was then “bitten” by the space and science “bug” a few years ago, while watching “Cosmos” on television.

Ron’s focus is now solely on studying for college entrance exams, traveling the world, and his own space and science website, Ron will begin his official studies of the universe this summer at Pike’s Peak Community College, with a long term goal of a PhD in Astrophysics.

Ron’s volunteering efforts started with the Space Foundation Discovery Center on an exciting evening. It was the grand opening of MathAlive! in January, 2016. Ron describes his volunteering time with us by saying he “jumped into the deep end of the pool and has never looked back.”

When asked why Ron chose to volunteer with us, he sites Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s television series “Cosmos” as the inspiration for him to get “off his couch” and tap into the real world through his wonder of space and science.

Ron states that since then, he has been learning more and more, driven to do whatever he can to spread the knowledge of space and science… a passion which he feels has really changed his life.

When Ron learned that Science On a Sphere® (SOS) is used by the Discovery Center as an educational tool, instead of being simply displayed and underutilized as he had seen in other museums, Ron knew that the Space Foundation Discovery Center was where he wanted to be. It was one of the ultimate deciding factors in Ron making his move to Colorado Springs.

When asked about his favorite exhibit or display at the Discovery Center, it is no surprise that it is Science On a Sphere®. Ron really enjoys the astronomy aspect and loves that it provides us with opportunities to present educational and entertaining science lectures to the masses. Ron states there is nothing better than hearing the “oooo’s” and “ahhhh’s” of the visitors when they learn something spectacular about our solar system or the universe.

When asked if Ron has had a special moment while volunteering with us, he has a hard time choosing among the interactions that happen every time he volunteers, but he enjoys seeing kids putting down their iPods or digital toys… just being kids and asking questions… in a learning environment entirely different from their average classroom.

Ron comments that there is something truly remarkable about seeing a child’s face light up when they are immersed in a space/science exhibit like MathAlive! or SOS. When you get to hear them, telling a teacher or parent on the way out, that they “want to be a scientist”… There is nothing better.

We asked Ron what he would tell someone who was thinking about volunteering with us. Ron’s answer: I’d say, “do it!” “Immediately!”

As a first-time-ever volunteer, Ron says he quickly got over his initial terror, learning so much from the team, other volunteers, and the children here in the Discovery Center, and now wishes he had done it sooner. “The commitment is as much or as little as you want it to be. It doesn’t matter what walk of life you come from…” Ron jokes that he is usually the least “educated person” in the Discovery Center, but he knows there is still a place for him to share his excitement for the natural world. Ron says that deciding to volunteer with us has been one of the best decisions he has made.

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