Teacher Feature

Meet Cory Bernat

It’s amazing how fast March flew by! However, we still have one more intersession class up our sleeves. We are very excited to introduce and get to know Food and Culture at the Museum’s teacher - Cory Bernat! 

photo of Cory

How did you find out about Knowledge Commons DC?

Somebody tweeted about a free class they took in DC and I looked into it.

What class(es) have you taught?

So far, just the Food in the Museum course where I give a tour of the new food-themed exhibition at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. As a co-curator who worked on the show for two years, I provide a bit of insider info on the topic and the development of the exhibition.

What inspired you to teach/had you ever taught before?

I find inspiration in my ability to find most things interesting and my inability to focus on just one topic. To name a few, I have taught travel photography, “food & culture” classes, large history classes as a grad student, and I was a volunteer docent for the National Park Service on Alcatraz Island for a few years. I teach currently at the Corcoran College of Art + Design.

What is your favorite part about teaching?

When students give you positive feedback without realizing it. The give & take between teacher and student feels very natural and very human to me. I love being a student, too. 

What advice would you give to people thinking about teaching?

Don’t try to compete with loud noises or major distractions. Let the seagulls/helicopter/motorcade pass or move away from the rushing waterfall, then face your audience, smile, and continue.

Have you attended any Knowledge Commons DC classes, if so what was your
favorite/what did you learn?

The all day J-School course had an amazing line-up of instructors full of tips about writing, interviewing and reporting. In the Perceptions of Taste course, the teacher was learning and tasting foods along with us—it was a joy. 

If you could take a free class in anything taught by anyone what would
it be?

I would love to take a series of “tasting tours” of all the international food markets in the DC Metro area (Latin, Asian, Ethiopian, etc…).

Lastly, what is your day job?

I teach in the Exhibit Design Master’s Program at the Corcoran while also writing and working as a food historian and graphic designer. I also know how to cut hair and have been known to barter for haircuts. 


We are excited to see those of you who have registred for the class on Sunday, March 31st! Remember, If you are interested in teaching a class and being featured like Cory, submit your class proposal here. Happy learning! 


Sami Simon is an educational media producer at PBS Kids Interactive. She has a masters in educational technology from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and has worked for “Sesame Street,” CloudKid, and WGBH.