The Noyce Foundation Announces Bright Lights Community Engagement Award Winners

June 17th, 2014 - Posted in Member News by Mary Mathias

The Noyce Foundation has announced the winners of its Bright Lights Community Engagement Awards competition, which recognizes U.S. science centers, children’s museums, and natural history museums that have excelled in engaging their local communities, with a particular interest in science, technology, engineering, or math outreach. 94 applications were received from institutions across the country and, after three rounds of judging by an expert panel, seven winners were selected. All winners demonstrated their ability to reach sections of their communities that have needs not generally addressed by science centers, and to engage their communities in new and innovative ways. The winners are:

  • Explora in Albuquerque, NM
  • Hands On Children’s Museum in Olympia, WA
  • Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey, CA
  • Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) in Tampa, FL
  • Science Museum of Minnesota in St. Paul
  • The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, PA
  • The Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose, CA

Honorable mentions were given to the Great Lakes Science Center in Cleveland, OH and the University of Montana SpectrUM Discovery Center in Missoula for new and very promising programs.

All award recipients are committed to sharing their insights and experiences with other interested organizations. Videos of each will be available in a few months, and their work will be highlighted at professional meetings and other venues.

Congratulations to all award recipients!

Humphrey becomes ASTC Board Chair

October 22nd, 2013 - Posted in ASTC News, Annual Conference, Member News by Larry Hoffer

During ASTC’s Annual Business Meeting on October 21, 2013, in Albuquerque, New Mexico, ASTC President R. Bryce Seidl, president and CEO, Pacific Science Center, Seattle, WA, passed the gavel to a new Board Chair—Chevy Humphrey, president and CEO, Arizona Science Center, Phoenix. Humphrey, who most recently served as ASTC’s secretary/treasurer, joined ASTC’s Board of Directors in 2005, and also served as vice-president from 2009-2011. (Officer titles changed from president to chair, vice-president to chair-elect, and immediate past president to immediate past chair this year as the result of bylaws changes approved by the Association’s Board of Directors in August.)

Joining Humphrey on ASTC’s Executive Committee are Chair-Elect: Linda Conlon, chief executive, International Centre for Life, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom; Secretary: Joanna Haas, executive director, Kentucky Science Center, Louisville; Treasurer: David Chesebrough, CEO, COSI, Columbus, Ohio; and Members-at-Large: Guy Labine, CEO, Science North, Sudbury, Ontario, Canada; and Alexander Zwissler, executive director and CEO, Chabot Space & Science Center, Oakland, CA. (Seidl will serve as immediate past chair.)

As a result of the bylaws revisions, the maximum size of the Board of Directors was increased from 18 to 24 members. This year, seven new Board members were elected by the Association’s governing members, and one member was re-elected. The new Board members are: Kate Bennett, president, Rochester Museum & Science Center, NY; Blair Collis, president and CEO, Bishop Museum, Honolulu, HI; Kirsten Ellenbogen, president and CEO, Great Lakes Science Center, Cleveland, OH; Matt Fleury, president and CEO, Connecticut Science Center, Hartford; Asger Høeg, executive director, Experimentarium, Hellerup, Denmark; Tim Ritchie, president, The Tech Museum of Innovation, San Jose, CA; and Silvia Singer, general director and CEO, MIDE, Mexico, D.F., Mexico. Ronen Mir, director of science learning centers, Levinson Visitors Center, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel, was re-elected to a second three-year term.

Those directors continuing their Board terms are: Dennis Bartels, executive director, Exploratorium, San Francisco, CA; Ann Fumarolo, president and CEO, Sci-Port: Louisiana’s Science Center, Shreveport; Nohora Elizabeth Hoyos, director, Maloka, Bogota, Colombia; Tit Meng Lim, chief executive, Singapore Science Centre, Singapore; David Mosena, president and CEO, Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago, IL; Neville Petrie, CEO, Science Alive! The New Zealand Science Centre, Christchurch; Stephanie Ratcliffe, executive director, The Wild Center, Tupper Lake, NY; and Barry Van Deman, president and CEO, Museum of Life and Science, Durham, NC.

During the Business Meeting, Seidl recognized two outgoing Board members for their service—Carol Valenta, formerly of the Saint Louis Science Center, and Nancy Stueber, president and CEO, Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, Portland, who has served as immediate past president for the last two years. “The Association and our field owe a great deal of gratitude to Nancy Stueber for her service and leadership,” Seidl remarked.

For further information about Humphrey, read her interview in the September/October issue of Dimensions magazine, at www.astc.org/blog/2013/08/25/qa-with-chevy-humphrey/.

ASTC recognizes award winners

October 20th, 2013 - Posted in ASTC News, Annual Conference, Featured, Member News by Larry Hoffer

 During the first annual Leadership and Awards Luncheon (sponsored by Blackbaud) on October 19, ASTC presented its Fellow Award, the Roy L. Shafer Leading Edge Awards, and a special resolution from the Association’s Board of Directors, recognizing an individual for lifetime achievement and significant contributions to the public understanding of science.

The annual Roy L. Shafer Leading Edge Awards (sponsored by Hands On! Inc.) were presented to two institutions and one individual. Sciencenter, Ithaca, New York, was honored in the Business Practice Category; Science Alive! The New Zealand Science Centre, Christchurch, was recognized in the Visitor Experience Category; and Asger Høeg, executive director of Experimentarium in Hellerup, Denmark, received the award for Experienced Leadership in the Field. Read more about this year’s recipients at www.astc.org/blog/2013/07/15/astc-announces-2013-roy-l-shafer-leading-edge-award-recipients/.

ASTC’s Board of Directors voted earlier this year to recognize Dr. Gunther von Hagens for lifetime achievement and significant contributions to the public understanding of science. Through the technique of Plastination, and the BODY WORLDS exhibitions, von Hagens has revealed the intricate architecture and systems of the human body and allowed us to see that our bodies are at least as beautiful under the surface as they are from outside. In the tradition of the great anatomists, he made the study of the human body accessible to the public audience, without requiring medical training. Throughout the world, millions of science center visitors have viewed these exhibitions and been inspired, curious, touched, and forever changed.

The ASTC Fellow Award, the Association’s highest honor, was presented to Jeffrey N. Rudolph, president and CEO of the California Science Center. The text of Rudolph’s Fellow Award read:

For not only transforming the California Science Center into a premier institution, but for providing exemplary leadership to ASTC as President, developing a strategic planning process to help guide the Association’s future. During his years of service, Jeff has exemplified collaboration and displayed a good-natured collegiality and willingness to serve not just his science center, but the entire field. His impact on ASTC and STEM education has been profound.

An interview with Rudolph appears in the November/December issue of ASTC’s Dimensions magazine. Visit www.astc.org/blog/2013/10/19/qa-with-jeffrey-rudolph/ for more information.

ASTC congratulates all of these worthy award winners, and acknowledges the work of the Roy L. Shafer Leading Edge Award Jury, as well as ASTC’s Nominating Committee, for identifying these honorees.

Two ASTC members honored at White House as “Champions of Change”

June 14th, 2013 - Posted in Member News by Mary Mathias

On Tuesday, June 11, the White House honored 12 people as museum and library “Champions of Change.” The museum honorees are providing powerful learning experiences, reaching young children and their families with early learning opportunities and offering exciting experiences for teens to develop skills in science, technology, engineering, and math. Two ASTC members were among those honored.

Elizabeth Babcock is Chief Public Engagement Officer and Roberts Dean of Education at the California Academy of Sciences. She oversees the creation and implementation of the museum’s exhibits and education programs, including developmental resources and engagement opportunities for teachers, youth, families, and adults. She leads a team of dedicated educators, designers, and biologists who deliver a variety of programs aimed at increasing scientific literacy, developing digital skills, communicating critical science topics, and inspiring public engagement both at the museum and in the Bay Area. The California Academy of Sciences is a partner in the emerging network of sites that offers digital learning experiences for youth in the program Learning Labs in Libraries and Museums, funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

Cheryl McCallum, Director of Education, Children’s Museum of Houston, is dedicated to bringing innovative high quality museum programs to all children, with a special emphasis on reaching children from low income neighborhoods. Her team of staff and volunteers engage children and their families in a “Playground for Your Mind,” which reaches 800,000 visitors annually who design rockets and cars, test their fitness, and conduct experiments. She also leads a team of educators that serves another 250,000 people through outreach programs with libraries, schools, and community centers. McCallum helps parents to engage in fun, high-quality museum learning activities that support their role as a child’s first teacher. As part of a decade-long collaboration with Houston Public Library, McCallum recently directed the development of Family Literacy Involvement Program (FLIPkits.org), which made 2,280 activity kits available for loan to families through 34 Library branches in Houston. The program has been replicated in many other cities around the U.S.

The Champions of Change program was created as an opportunity for the White House to feature groups of Americans – individuals, businesses and organizations – who are doing extraordinary things to empower and inspire members of their communities.

To learn more about the White House Champions of Change program and nominate a Champion, visit whitehouse.gov/champions.

Learning Labs team members attend White House Champions of Change award. Pictured from left to right are Jon Worona, Catherine Cormier, and Jennifer Collins, from the San Francisco Public Library, Carol Varney, Bay Area Video Coalition, and Elizabeth Babcock, California Academy of Sciences.

Space Science Institute Launches STAR_Net to Join Libraries with STEM Professionals

May 14th, 2013 - Posted in Member News, Resources by Mary Mathias


The National Center for Interactive Learning at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colorado has launched a website to bring science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) programming to public libraries. STAR_Net, funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation, aims to connect professionals in the STEM fields with library staff members in order to share resources, create partnerships, and develop programs for local communities.

The project also has two traveling exhibits called Discover Earth: A Century of Change and Discover Tech: Engineers Make a World of Difference, each with accompanying educational programs and activities, plus training programs from librarians.

Interested museums, libraries, and individual professionals can add their information to STAR_Net’s directory, participate in forum discussions, and browse activities, resources, and webinars. Visit www.community.starnetlibraries.org/ for more information.

© Association of Science - Technology Centers Incorporated