MSI's 'Month at the Museum' winner talks

October 7, 2010 6:10:32 AM PDT
After more than 1,500 applications received from around the world, hundreds of hours of judging logged, five finalists announced and thousands of online votes tallied, the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago (MSI) revealed the winner of its Month at the Museum contest in true hands-on, MSI science style.Kate McGroarty of Chicago was revealed as the winner live at the Museum the morning of Wednesday, Oct. 6-with the help of a fun chemistry experiment. All five finalists performed a seemingly identical experiment in front of the packed Museum Rotunda-but only McGroarty's experiment, mixing hydrogen peroxide, dish soap and sodium iodide, elicited a giant chemical reaction (and a lot of foam), revealing her as the Month at the Museum winner.

Beginning Oct. 20, 2010, McGroarty, 24, will become the Museum's roommate for 30 days-taking in all the Museum has to offer, getting amazing behind-the-scenes access, sharing it all with the world-and taking home a $10,000 prize at the end of it all. McGroarty-a teacher and theatre artist, Minnesota native and 2008 Northwestern graduate who now lives in the Chicago neighborhood of Ravenswood-wowed the MSI judges with her natural curiosity, creative spirit, wit and writing skills. McGroarty was also the clear favorite with the public, garnering the top position after more than 20,000 online votes were cast in a week.

"It was a very difficult decision," said Rob Gallas, vice president and chief marketing officer at the Museum of Science and Industry. "But we are extremely excited to welcome Kate to the Museum on Oct. 20. She has a true curiosity about science and the world around her, and the talent and personality to share her experiences in a unique way. We know that Kate is ready and excited for this adventure, and we invite everyone to follow along. We hear so often from guests that a single visit here transformed their lives, and now we all get to see what spending an entire month here could do."

The remaining four competition finalists- Alex Dainis of Mansfield, Mass.; Felix Jung of Chicago; Krispijn Larrison of Seattle; and Johnathan Wilson of Lake Charles, La., received consolation gift packages as well as a $100 gift card to CB2, a Month at the Museum sponsor.

About Month at the Museum

The Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago (MSI) launched its Month at the Museum search in July 2010-and the result will be the ultimate, interactive "living exhibit." MSI has picked one curious, adventuresome individual-Kate McGroarty-to live at the largest science center in the Western Hemisphere 24/7 for 30 days this fall-from Oct. 20 through Nov. 18, 2010. She will have total behind-the-scenes access to MSI, share her experiences with the world online, and take home $10,000 and a once-in-a-lifetime experience! For more information, and to follow along in Kate's adventure, visit monthatthemuseum.org.

The Judging Process

After more than 1,500 applications were received in mid-August, countless hours were spent by Museum judges to narrow down the pool to fewer than 20 semi-finalists. Those semi-finalists went through phone interviews and a smaller pool came to Chicago for in-person meetings. An online vote, which helped MSI select the winner, was held from Sept. 27 through Oct. 4, 2010.

The Perks Package

As if getting to live in the Museum for 30 days wasn't cool enough, Kate will be treated to sleek and modern living accommodations, delicious meals and a technology package she gets to keep. Both the winner's office and private sleeping quarters will be designed and furnished by CB2. Sodexo Leisure Services, the Museum's exclusive caterer, will provide the winner with breakfast and lunch daily, while Whole Foods Market will provide dinner and snacks. And the technology package to document the entire experiment is provided by Best Buy and supported by Geek Squad.

The Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago (MSI) offers thousands of fun and interactive exhibits and one-of-a-kind, world-class experiences to inspire the inventive genius in everyone. Through its Center for the Advancement of Science Education, MSI also aspires to a larger vision: to inspire and motivate children to achieve their full potential in science, technology, medicine and engineering. Come visit and find your inspiration! MSI is open every day except December 25, and regular museum hours at 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Museum is supported in part through the generosity of the people of Chicago through the Chicago Park District. For more information, find MSI online at msichicago.org or call (773) 684-1414 or (800) GO-TO-MSI outside of the Chicago area.


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