Blending Art and Science in a STEAM career

A Check-In with Girl Scout Alum Allison Jones

If you’ve been to a show at the Kansas City Zoo, odds are you’ve seen Girl Scout Alum and Lifetime member, Allison Jones!  This show stopping Girl Scout has found a way to blend performance art with science. Working both as a professional actress and as an Education Instructor at the Kansas City Zoo, Allison has found a way to incorporate two worlds in her career.

Allison started Girl Scouts as a Girl Scout Daisy in St. Louis, MO and moved to Lee’s Summit, MO in 2nd grade where she joined Troop 1609. “When we moved to Kansas City, my Girl Scout experience shifted to being very service oriented,” Allison said. As part of this focus on service, she earned her Silver Award by leading a Toys for Tots collection drive.

Growing up in Girl Scouts, Allison learned a diverse set of skills, including how to use her voice and the magic of science. It started with a normal Girl Scout activity – being at camp. “I played outside as a kid, but there was something different about Girl Scout camp. Being around the woods and animals and water and mysterious things in the dirt was so inspiring for me,” Allison said. She went on to become a counselor, helping other girls learn about nature and science.

Alison at camp; Allison with former GSUSA CEO, Anna Maria Chavez; Allison with animals at the zoo.

The other Girl Scout activity that inspired a love of science was a program called “INVENTure University” where Girl Scouts were challenged to invent something. “The program lasted a week and we stayed at Rockhurst University in the dorms. We had a week to invent, build and present something. My invention was a peanut butter jar you could open from both ends,” Allison said.

While Girl Scouts helped develop her love of science, it was a family trip to Sea World where Allison saw trainers working with animals and knew that’s what she wanted to do. From there, she went to the Alabama A&M University to study Biology. While there, she got back to her Girl Scout roots by helping lead a local troop during her junior year of college.

Since graduating, Allison has been working at the Kansas City Zoo and proudly representing what it means to be a Girl Scout! In the past few years, she also started her acting career and has been cast in professional shows around KC, including lead roles in Once On This Island with Spinning Tree Theatre and My Fair Lady with Girl Scout Community Partner, Musical Theatre Heritage. She’s currently performing in the Quartet in A Christmas Carol with the Kansas City Reparatory Theatre.

Allison Jones in…A Christmas Carol at the KC Rep; …Sister Act at the Barn Players; …Once On This Island as Ti Moune at Spinning Tree & My Fair Lady as Eliza Doolittle at Musical Theatre Heritage.

When presenting for the Kansas City Zoo, Allison sees the biggest crossover of arts skills in science. “Every animal has a story, so it’s fun when you can make their story animated and fun for kids,” Allison said. On stage, Allison uses her experience training animals to sometimes get co-stars to cooperate “as far as science in the arts goes…positive reinforcement works for people too!” Allison said.

This woman in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts & Math) believes that it’s important to have girls represented in the diverse fields of science. “Girls need to understand that science is more than medical school, labs and engineering. There are so many facets of science and we need diverse thinkers to create science. We wouldn’t have the science we have now without diversity,” Allison said.

One of the things she loves most about presenting for the zoo and doing “talk backs” (after performance Q&A opportunities with actors and the audience) is being able to represent women of color in both arenas. Whether she’s the lead in a musical or presenting an animal, it’s important to her that girls see themselves represented in various careers.

Thank you, Allison for showing what it means to be a versatile and talented G.I.R.L.! Learn more about Girl Scout STEAM opportunities by visiting www.gsksmo.org!