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Mike Gent is a valuable member of The Discovery family. Since he became a volunteer in December 2012, Mike has dedicated nearly 600 hours of his time to furthering The Discovery’s mission while engaging visitors of all ages in hands-on, informal learning. Prior to being a volunteer, Mike was a member of The Discovery who brought his grandson to the museum nearly every week.
Born and raised in the Reno-Sparks area, Mike graduated from Sparks High School in 1966 and later attended the University of Nevada, Reno. Mike served in the Navy for three years before becoming a police officer with the Reno Police Department, where he worked for 25 years. Now retired, Mike spends his time serving the community through his local church and pursuing several hobbies, including bike riding and fly fishing.
Mike loves spending time at The Discovery and insists that his favorite areas to volunteer are wherever he is needed most, whether in our largest gallery, Nevada Stories, or The Discovery’s first traveling exhibition, Monster Fish: In Search of the Last River Giants. His favorite thing about volunteering at The Discovery is inspiring visitors of all ages discover something new. Those “ah-ha” moments, he says, keep him coming back. Earlier this year, Mike was recognized as The Discovery’s “Volunteer of the Year” for his outstanding service over the past three years. We at The Discovery are so grateful to have volunteers like him who dedicate themselves to our mission in the Northern Nevada community.
The Discovery’s Volunteer Program recognizes the value of service and encourages community participation in activities that engage and inspire. Over the last three years, The Discovery’s volunteers have contributed over $1,000,000 in service value to support the organization, including curriculum development, special event support, and visitor engagement. In 2015 alone, 268 volunteers dedicated over 9,800 hours of their time in support of The Discovery’s mission to bring hands-on, informal science education to visitors of all ages.
The Discovery’s Volunteer Program is also the first organization in the state of Nevada to be a certified Service Enterprise. This certification is granted through Points of Light, the largest volunteer service organization in the world, who’s Service Enterprise Initiative inspires nonprofit organizations in the United States to leverage volunteer talent, knowledge, and skills to address community needs. This national certification demonstrates The Discovery’s commitment to utilizing the specialized skills of its volunteers to bring informal learning opportunities in science, technology, engineering, art and match (STEAM) concepts to our region.
For more information on how you can get involved at The Discovery, please visit the volunteer page of our website.