Alumna’s work in community education wins global video award


Erik Ketcherside

Sierra Ochoa (MA '21) talks about how she uses her Master of Arts degree in Learning Sciences at the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, Arizona.

Learn more about MLFTC’s MA in Learning Sciences

Sierra Ochoa (MA ’21) says she chose the Learning Sciences master’s degree program at Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State University because, “... it was the perfect educational research program for my interests, personal and professional.” Now she’s putting her degree to work as public programs manager at the world-renowned Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, where she started as an education intern in 2017.

“Informal education is a tough field,” Ochoa says, “especially in museums, because a lot of people want to just go straight into museum studies programs or arts education. But the Learning Sciences program has already been so helpful in the work I do at MIM with developing and implementing content and training in general.”

Ochoa’s work isn’t only behind the scenes. She was part of the team that created a video series for children ages 5–14 that offers a virtual tour of the MIM focused on STEM education, “... drawing connections between music and science as we explore how musical instruments are made and how they work.” Ochoa was also the host for some segments of the tour. The series was a Silver winner in the 2021 Telly Awards, a global competition recognizing “excellence in video and television across all screens.” It’s now available to educators on the MIM website.

“We have a lot of music content experts at the museum,” Ochoa says, “but we don’t have a lot of education content experts. My master’s degree in education research informs everything I do. It’s really easy to engage with the public, knowing the best way that they will learn from the programs we offer.”

Sierra Ochoa hosts “Chordophones — How instruments that produce sound through a vibrating string work”