Meet our Educators! 

Miss Octavia; Vice President of Education | 563-336-7307


Miss Octavia has found herself back in the area that she grew up and is elated to be part of the Putnam team! Her family moved to the QC in August 2015 to be closer to extended family and friends. A proud Alleman High School graduate, she pursued a degree in Elementary Education, first attending Black Hawk College, then Loyola University Chicago and received her Bachelors Degree from Augustana College. After teaching in the QCA she completed a Masters program at Iowa State University in Curriculum & Instruction. She has taught pre-school to middle school in a variety of settings including; Montessori, parochial, public, Head Start and afterschool programs. Octavia was an assistant principal for the Grand Rapids Diocese for five years and after receiving her Masters Degree in Educational Leadership from the University of Notre Dame she taught fifth grade in the Diocese of Las Vegas. She was then selected as the founding principal of Saint Gabriel Catholic School in Las Vegas, NV.
Miss Octavia has been enjoying the shift in her career to informal education and finds great reward in working with local school district teachers and administrators to align our work at the Putnam to provide resources for their students. As the Vice President of Education she strives to offer the best of the Putnam to schools, families and the community overall.
The theater is Miss Octavia’s favorite place to take a break at work, but in the museum she enjoys watching the fish in the aquariums. If she could take any item home to keep it would be the walnut secretary desk made by Israel Hall before the Civil War. She admires the workmanship and quality of the piece.  Her husband and daughter believe that she works in the coolest place ever! They can be found volunteering with exhibits, participating in programs or in their favorite place…the gift shop!

"​Listen to the mustn'ts, child, Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts. The impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves. Then listen close to me— Anything can happen, child, Anything can be."
– Shel Silverstein Where the Sidewalk Ends


Miss Lakin; Education Specialist | 563-336-7298

Miss Lakin is an Education Specialist at the Putnam. She provides programming through learning experiences for a variety of audiences at the Museum and in the community, and provides enrichment for after-school programs in the Quad City area.  Lakin started working at the Putnam in 2015. She enjoys connecting with and serving visitors in multiple ways, and engaging audiences in a variety of different settings.
Lakin received her bachelor’s degree in Book Arts and Graphic Design, with a minor in Business Management from St. Ambrose University. At Ambrose, she enjoyed working at the Catich Gallery and in the St. Ambrose Archives and Special Collections department.  Her passion for community and education grew during her internship experience as an education assistant at the Figge Art Museum.  At the Putnam, she enjoys teaching science and history in interactive ways through hands-on activity and experimentation. She finds encouraging curiosity and creative thinking while making connections to everyday life with the diverse exhibits featured at the Putnam rewarding.   
Currently, her favorite area in the museum features the Putnam’s 150th anniversary community photos. The display spans across the walls of the upper and lower levels of the Putnam’s grand lobby. The black and white photos, taken by Tom Styrkowicz, make an impact in the large space and celebrate the diverse community members of the Quad City area. She loves that community members came together at the Putnam to celebrate their history, experiences, family, and personalities in and through each photograph. 
If Lakin could have one item from the Putnam’s collection to call her own she would love to have an item from the Beautiful Bugs display cases. She would love to have the beetle and butterfly specimens that are arranged in a circular burst pattern to have for her self. She loves that the bugs are displayed in a way that is elegant and focuses on their beauty. The display highlights how scientists and artist find inspiration from iridescence found in nature.

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.”
Dr. SeussOh, The Places You Will Go!


Miss Patty; Education Specialist | 563-336-7285

Ms. Patty has been at the Putnam since August of 2016. She presents Putnam for Preschool as well as In-museum programs and school/community outreaches.

Ms. Patty earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education at St. Ambrose University and is in the process of completing an “Informal Learning Museums Professional Certificate,” which focuses on STEM education in the museum setting.
Ms. Patty remembers visiting the Putnam Museum when she was younger. It became a place of adventure, escape and wonderment! The exhibits were so breath taking for a curious young girl, that it kept her coming back regularly!
She would stand in the Hall of Mammals and stare at the majestic animals in front of her, waiting for one to blink or move.
She also was very fond of the cement alligators that were guarding the front stairs of the Putnam. On a hot day of swimming at Fejuvary, they became a glorious oasis of cool comfort!

Ms. Patty enjoys sharing her love of the Putnam with the community as she presents her programming. She feels that the Putnam Museum and Science Center is a diamond in the rough, which most Quad Citizens have not yet discovered. She is ready to share the place that held such a special place in her heart as a child with others!

If Ms. Patty could have one exhibit for her own it would be the Hall of Mammals. She stills stands there at times and stares in awe and waits for them to blink or move!

"If ever there is tomorrow when we're not together... there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we're apart... I'll always be with you."

The House at Pooh Corner by A.A. Milne

Miss Celeste; Education Specialist | 563-324-1933 ext: 282

Celeste Broder is our most recent addition to the Putnam’s Education Department. While working towards her Associates of Fine Arts at Blackhawk College, she completed an internship at the Figge Art Museum. That training and experience opened the door for Celeste to spend the next several years employed as a museum technician in their curatorial department. Along with her long history as a teacher’s aid at Augustana College’s Red Schools Preschool and her passion for early education, art, and science, Celeste is a perfect fit at the Putnam. Her favorite area in the museum is the Science Center. Even on her days off, she and her sons can be found making songs on the Laser Harp, charging up the Marx Generator for a big zap, and making short stop animation movies at the Animation Station. If Celeste could keep one item from the Putnam’s collection, it would be the Magnetoscope. She just can’t get enough of that Ferrofluid!

“Without change something sleeps inside us, and seldom awakens. The sleeper must awaken.”
-Duke Leto Atreides
Miss Reba; Education Specialist | 563-324-1933

Ms. Reba is a Davenport native. She has fond memories of her grandmother bringing her to the Putnam as a child, and is very excited to now to be an employee. After graduating from Davenport Central, Ms. Reba attended the University of Iowa where she majored in Family Studies/ Child Development. She also has an inherent love of science and explored many different types with classes such as Astronomy, Geology, Meteorology, Anthropology and Botany. 

Ms. Reba started in the education field when she took a job teaching pre-school in Rock Island. After the birth of her daughter, she opened a home daycare so she could continue to teach while getting to stay home with her child. Once her daughter started formal education, Ms. Reba took a job as a pre-school teacher in Coal Valley where she taught for 10 years.  Switching gears and working as a substitute teacher left her available to try new things this summer. That’s when Ms. Reba found herself back at the Putnam.

The Putnam was looking for an Education Assistant to help with their summer camps, and Ms. Reba was excited to come on board. Having worked with girl scouts and enjoyed family camping her whole life, she couldn’t wait to share the joy of day camps with a new group of Quad City Kids.   When summer camps ended, she accepted a position as an Education Specialist working to provide after school enrichment for students in both the Iowa and Illinois Quad Cities.

Ms. Reba likes to sit outside the Putnam in the Dino Dig area to enjoy some fresh air and reminisce about her childhood dreams of being an Archeologist.  She also enjoys the soothing frog sounds emanating from the Black Earth, Big River exhibit, and the fossils found in the mezzanine.  Ms. Reba’s favorite place in the Putnam is the Gem Hallway. She would love to take home many of the specimens found there, especially the nephrite bracelet and moonstone ring. Wondering about the person who originally owned the pieces is intriguing to Ms. Reba, and what girl doesn’t love a beautiful piece of jewelry? Her friends and family thinks it’s awesome that she gets to work in such an amazing place, and Ms. Reba agrees!  

“So many things are possible just as long as you don't know they're impossible.” 
― Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth

Miss Brittany; Educational Services Coordinator | 563-336-7290

Miss Brittany is originally from Indiana and has a bachelor’s of Science degree from Purdue University in Agriculture Communications. Her career experiences involve marketing, graphic design, events and client relations. She is looking forward to using her education and background to help enhance your experience here at the Putnam. Please contact her if you would like information regarding; Field Trips, Explorers & Junior Explorers programs, In – Museum programs for Prek through 12th grade, and Summer Camps. 

Her favorite area in the museum is the augmented reality experience. This exhibit allows people of all ages to “touch the untouchable.” It works by using the existing environment and overlays new information on top of it to create a photo-real 3D experience. Miss Brittany’s favorite item in the Putnam is the narwhal tusk in the hall of mammals. One of the fascinating things about narwhals is that the tusk is actually an enlarged tooth. She would love to see a narwhal in her lifetime as they are the “Unicorns of the Sea.”  If Brittany could have one item from the Putnam’s collection it would be the Douglas fir cutting. It came to the Putnam in 1915 from Oregon by Mr. Ficke. Despite how large it looks it is actually of average size for this type of tree.

 “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” 
-Dr. Seuss; The Lorax

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