Where are they now? Victoria “Vikki” Crystal
Where is Victoria “Vikki” Crystal now? Vikki was KSS Summer Staff from 2010-2012 and a camper/CAP from 2006-2009. She recently started the Ask a Scientist Podcast where she "sits down with a different scientist each episode and asks them all of your questions and questions written by students at elementary and middle schools throughout the country!"
We caught up with Vikki and asked her a few questions below.
What is your goal with the podcast?
The goal of the podcast is to make scientists more accessible to kids (and to the general public) and inspire kids to pursue their own interests and studies. I think it is really important for people (but especially kids) to 'get to know scientists' and to see that scientists are people just like them (and to see that being a scientist is a realistic and attainable career path).
What lifelong skills did you learn while working at KSS?
So many. The one that stands out the most is the ability to believe in myself. I used to struggle on Challenge Hikes at KSS. During my first few Challenge Hikes as a camper/CAP, I wanted to give up. I didn't think I could make it. But my fellow campers/CAPs and the counselors encouraged me to keep going and I did! I finished the Challenge hikes! And I also realized that I was capable of finishing the Challenge Hikes, even when I thought I wasn't. And that experience taught me to believe in myself. That even when it seems like I can't do something, I have the ability somewhere inside me to do it! And that is something I think about almost every day. Whenever I'm faced with a challenge that seems insurmountable, I remember that first Challenge Hike that seemed impossible but I did it and I remember to believe in myself.
Can you share a memory from your time working at KSS?
During summer 2011, I was a crossover counselor working both Discovery Camp and Day Camp. One morning the week I was working Day Camp, I didn't sleep very well and I woke up really tired (and just a bit grumpy). There was a long line for the staff bathroom nearest to my cabin, and I needed to brush my teeth, so I went to Rives. I didn't realize that some of the Discovery Campers would be there early as hoppers.
So when I walked into Rives, I was still grumpy and tired and wasn't having a good morning so far. One of the campers in Rives had been my camper the previous week. He ran up to me and gave me a really big hug.
That hug was exactly what I needed to feel better in that moment and it meant the world to me that the camper still felt that bond we had formed the week before during the Challenge Hike when I helped him put a bandaid on a blister on his foot. And that morning, without knowing it, he was the one helping me by greeting me with a hug. It is the people that you meet and connections like this that make KSS such a special place.