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6 Contestants Competing To Spend Month At MSI

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The glass "cube" on the Museum of Science and Industry's Main Floor where "Month at the Museum" winner Kate McGroarty will reside.  (Credit: J.B. Spector, Museum of Science and Industry)

The glass “cube” on the Museum of Science and Industry’s Main Floor where “Month at the Museum” winner Kate McGroarty will reside. (Credit: J.B. Spector, Museum of Science and Industry)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — The field has been narrowed down six contestants vying for a chance to live inside the Museum of Science and Industry.

The winner will of the ‘Month at the Museum 2’ contest will call the museum home from Oct. 19 until Nov. 17, and will participate in learning labs, teacher workshops and live demonstrations, get access to a vast assortment of behind-the-scenes areas of the museum, and keep a blog and video journal.

The candidates for this year are:

• Kevin Byrne, 33, of Roanoke, Va., who works as an analyst for a digital marketing agency, but has also biked across the country by himself and spent two months in the Virginia mountains studying red-backed salamanders. He says spending a month at the MSI would remind him to live his life “hands-on and wide-eyed.”

• Katie Duff, 29, of south suburban Frankfort, who works as an eight-grade science teacher and has also created her own banking blog. She says she thinks “it’s important that learning doesn’t stop after a visit to the museum,” and hopes to give visitors resources to learn more when they are engaged by an exhibit.

• Dale Fiste, 70, a retired farmer from the Central Illinois town of Malden. Fiste says he gained a lifelong appreciation for science by exploring the museum as a boy, and would love to help teach a new generation who will “wonder at the ‘how’ and ‘why,’ and come to some understanding: ‘Mommy, come see the baby chicks!’ ‘Dad, look at what this does!’”

• Motoka Maegawa, 37, of the Detroit suburb of Grosse Pointe Park, Mich., who is currently on sabbatical from her job as a teacher and school administrator, and spends her free time helping her 13-year-old son make stop-motion animation Lego movies. She says living in the museum will be “the ultimate illustration of being a lifelong learner.”

• Dave Mosher, 27, of New York City, a freelance science journalist who covered space shuttle launches for Space.com and interned at a particle accelerator lab. He says, “Ask any kid about their favorite field trip ever. For me and millions of others, it was a trip to a science museum.”

• Mike Wilson, 26, a native of Oxfordshire, England, now living of Chicago, who works as a broadcast production assistant. Wilson is a Fulbright scholar and former philosophy teacher, and can count driving from London to Mongolia on an eight-week trip for charity among his adventures. He says he is “still as fascinated by science now as I was watching my mum (who also happened to be his science teacher) launch a Coke bottle filled with water into the sky only using a bike pump, or setting a bin on fire entirely by accident in the middle of a lesson.”

Last year, Kate McGroarty, teacher and Northwestern University theatre program alum from Andersonville, became the first person to win a “Month at the Museum.”

She did everything from dissecting the eyeball of a cow to attending a fancy fundraising ball in the same day. And she even got to bring in a batch of fertilized eggs that later hatched in the Baby Chick Hatchery.

“There is not a SINGLE day that goes by here for me that feels ‘normal’ or ‘routine,'” she wrote in the blog last fall. “Every single day I get to go to new workshops, meet new people, learn new things, see new parts of the building, laugh at hilarious things people say, observe visitors, try new things… I could go on and on, but you get the idea.”

You can vote for your favorite contestant for this year’s “Month at the Museum” by clicking here.

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