Reflections from an Orlando Science Center Volunteer

A graphic that reads: "Volunteering helped me grow as a person. Having Autism didn’t stop me from achieving my goal, and it doesn’t define who I am."


Catalyst Youth Volunteer Nathien looks back on his 200+ hours with OSC 

Orlando Science Center is lucky to work with many amazing volunteers throughout the year, and hopefully our guests have had the chance to meet Nathien. Nathien is a recent graduate from University High School who started volunteering at OSC in 2019. He has since given over 200 community service hours to help us inspire science learning for life as a Catalyst Youth Volunteer! 
Nathien’s tasks as a Catalyst Youth Volunteer included performing science pop-up activities, facilitating learning experiences in the exhibit halls, and helping with supply prep, clean up, and customer service during special events. Nathien also participated in OSC’s virtual volunteering program during the COVID pandemic, where he created content that has been displayed throughout the Science Center!


We reached out to Nathien during Disability Pride Month to ask him about his experience as a volunteer, what memories stand out to him, and what tips he has for others who may want to volunteer!

OSC: Hi Nathien! Tell us a little about yourself. What got you interested in volunteering at Orlando Science Center? 
Hi! My name is Nathien and I’m 20 years old. I graduated this year from University High School, and I love theater, sports, dancing, and being active! I have Autism, as well. 
I wanted to volunteer at Orlando Science Center because I wanted to get service hours, and I was hoping to gain work experience, too. It was the best decision I made joining the Youth Visitor Experience Team!

OSC: Looking back at your time volunteering, what stands out to you? 
Volunteering made me step out of my comfort zone. I got to work on my social skills, and because I was always volunteering with a partner, I got to practice working on a team. Since starting to volunteer, I’ve been more social, made more friends, gained a lot of hours, and boosted my confidence. 
I remember one day I was doing a science pop-up activity and my partner told me they were nervous because they never really talked to or socialized with a lot of people before. We came up with a little skit together and practiced it to help us attract an audience. They had the biggest smile on their face when we got to perform it for people! 
After that, whenever I passed by, I would see them interacting with guests and socializing and having a great time! I remember they told me “Thank you!” and hugged me. I’ll never forget that.

a photo of Nathie and Director of Volunteers

OSC: What tips would you have for someone who wants to volunteer at a place like the Orlando Science Center? 
I learned a lot while volunteering that might be helpful for others. 
Number one: Be yourself! 
Number two: Pay very close attention to the training so you can do the best job possible. 
Number three: Be helpful! There are lots of things you can do as a volunteer, if you follow the rules and try to help, you will be a great teammate.
OSC: Any last things you want to share? 
Volunteering helped me grow as a person. I learned a lot and grew with other people on my team. Looking back, I just really gained a lot from the experience. Having Autism didn’t stop me from achieving my goal, and it doesn’t define who I am. July is Disability Pride Month, so just be yourself and have fun!

The next time you see Nathien, or any of the hundreds of other wonderful, hardworking, and fun volunteers – please say hello!


Are you looking for an opportunity to help your community, work with fascinating people, or earn volunteer hours for school? 

Become a volunteer! We’re looking for eager, passionate team members who want to make a difference in their community! 

Adult volunteer during the Otronicon event interacting with guests.

Adult Volunteers

Donate your time to bring the Science Center to life in a way that complements your expertise and interests.

Youth volunteer helping summer camp students measure ingredients for an experiment.

Catalyst Youth Volunteers

Gain valuable skills and make new friends while giving back to the community. Opportunities are available year-round.