Mr. Rikk Villa
As a youngster, I lived in Toronto during the school year and on a crystal-clear lake in Northern Ontario in summertime. My love of nature and all its creatures was solidified in this remote setting, and it prepared me well for my contribution to the ever-evolving experiment of the Tschira-Jugendakademie.
As a teenager, I was part of a dedicated group of students, parents and teachers that established an alternative high-school within the Toronto School Board that placed emphasis on self-directed learning and first-hand experience through close interaction with university professors and specialists from many disciplines. This educational approach taught me the value of "learning-by-doing" and, upon graduation, I had learned HOW to learn. I emerged from my school experience highly motivated to pursue my interests, knowing that focussing on my goals would lead to success. These core principles - generating curiosity, developing confidence, striving for clarity - are reflected in all facets of the TJA philosophy and program.
My professional career began in my early 20's when I started a boutique recording studio where I composed, performed and recorded film soundtracks, commercial jingles and show openings for a wide range of corporate and creative clients including MuchMusic, the Canadian version of MTV. In my mid-30's, I co-founded a second company that designed and manufactured scrolling advertising technology for many large corporate clients, including Toys "R" Us headquarters in Times Square NYC, professional sports franchises, airport advertising companies, museums and science centers. We even delivered our system for an appearance on-stage for the annual broadcast of the Academy Awards Oscars ceremony. Although my official title was "President", I kept my hands busy with various technical roles including mechanical design, production of CAD fabrication drawings and oversight of product assembly, testing and installation.
Since moving to Germany in 2011, (it's very nice here!) I have been very happily engaged with the Tschira-Jugendakademie, helping to shape an ideal learning environment for budding young scientists. My responsibilities include program & activity development, course assistance, module leadership, production management of the annual TJA Explore Science exhibit and various infrastructural and technical services (like the website you are visiting). From time-to-time, I provide English translation and consultation services to scientific institutions and museums...and then I have another opportunity to learn something new!
I look forward to many more years of working with interested kids who are eager to learn more about our planet and the wonderful gift of life that surrounds us. The door to discovery is always open...