Academic Spotlight: Aurora teen earns Naper Settlement scholarship
By Jane Donahue For The Beacon-News January 24, 2013 6:44PM
Brooke Kottkamp, 18, is the recipient of the Naper Settlement Copenhagen Schoolhouse Scholarship, a $500 award for graduating high school seniors who have volunteered at the Naperville museum for a minimum of two years. | Submitted
Did you know?
What is Brooke Kottkamp’s favorite part of Naper Settlement?
“I love the log house, which is the building I work in. The best times are on lazy summer afternoons when a breeze shakes up the full trees and the sun hits this little bench outside the house. I like to sit there and spin wool or read and enjoy the calm of a slower lifestyle.”
On the web
Volunteer applications are being accepted at Naper Settlement, with summer training classes beginning in February. Visit www.napersettlement.com
Updated: February 28, 2013 6:24AM
Brooke Kottkamp, 18, is the recipient of the Naper Settlement Copenhagen Schoolhouse Scholarship, a $500 award for graduating high school seniors who have volunteered at the Naperville museum for a minimum of two years.
“I am incredibly honored to receive the Copenhagen Schoolhouse Scholarship,” the 18-year-old said. “When I learned that I was the recipient of the award, I thought of all the staff at the settlement who gave me the opportunity. I learned so much while volunteering, and they were my teachers. They were all excellent role models for me, and I hope to be an educator like them one day.”
Kottkamp, a senior at Illinois Math and Science Academy in Aurora, made her first trip to Naper Settlement while on a school field trip.
“In the third grade, my class visited Naper Settlement, and I was amazed; I did not know such a wonderful place even existed,” she said. “It was like walking into one of my favorite books. I remember dragging my family back a few weeks later to teach them all the things I learned.”
She began volunteering there as a fifth-grader in 2006, and has been at it ever since.
“There are so many wonderful things about volunteering (at Naper Settlement),” said the Aurora resident. “For one, the staff is so intelligent; I learn a new fact or skill every time I volunteer. The guests are also quite knowledgeable. I have had guests who work for other live history museums and they share information about the ‘trades’ they practice at their museum.”
The scholarship was established by Naperville residents Eve and Tom Hushek, and is specifically created for a volunteer who acted as a costumed building interpreter.
“I know that the scholarship winners will continue to excel long after their departure from Naper Settlement,” said Eve, a Naper Settlement museum educator for 11 years. “To have their experience at Naper Settlement be even a small part of their success is reward enough for us.”
In her scholarship essay, Kottkamp wrote that being a volunteer at Naper Settlement, “has given me the confidence to speak in front of the public, the ability to alter my interpretation and select information based on the guests I am conversing with, and the know-how to turn interpretation into conversation by listening.”
She has not decided yet where she plans to attend college, but plans to study ecology and education with hopes of being an environmental educator working at a nature center, museum or zoo.