Passion starts with a frog and a firecracker

When science teacher Maureen McDonaugh recalls how her passion for science began, she thinks about frogs and firecrackers.

“I have always loved poking and prodding, and to be honest with you, I used to blow up frogs with my brothers,” McDonaugh said. 

During the experiment, McDonaugh and her brothers placed a firecracker in a frog’s mouth and ran away. When they heard the firecracker go off, they went back to find the frog, but did not find anything. They did not know whether the frog spit out the firecracker or actually blew up, so they never found out what was in the frog’s stomach. 

McDonaugh became passionate about science by experimenting and exploring through hands-on work. 

She also remembers when she was in college and went on a weekend trip for her earth science class.

“We were doing this weekend trip, and we were chipping rocks out of the Earth,” said McDonaugh. “And I was like, ‘This is fun.’” 

During that same trip, McDonaugh and her classmates went out to call for barn owls. McDonaugh thought the screeching sounds the hundreds of barn owls made were cool. 

She continued to take more classes on how to teach earth science and biology. She learned to pursue her own interests through her experimentation and exploration, so McDonaugh encourages her students to do the same.

“I encourage people to find what interests them [and] find what they’re in love with,” McDonaugh said.