ASTC Announces 2013 Diversity and Leadership Development Fellows

July 11th, 2013 - Posted in ASTC News, Professional Development by Mary Mathias

ASTC is pleased to announce the 2013 ASTC Diversity and Leadership Development Fellows. The Fellows are museum professionals from underrepresented groups, and will attend the 2013 ASTC Annual Conference to gain professional development experiences, a broader peer network, and the opportunity to acquire and hone their leadership skills. Thirteen new and five alumni fellows were chosen, representing one of the largest classes the program has seen since its 2001 launch.

This year’s class includes new Fellows:

  • Marcia Bueno- New York Hall of Science, Corona, NY
  • Michael Charles- Miami Science Museum, FL
  • Kris Kelly- TELUS Spark, the New Science Centre, Calgary, AB, Canada
  • L. Autumn King- Chabot Space & Science Center, Oakland, CA
  • Brittani Lane- EdVenture Children’s Museum, Columbia, SC
  • Jeffrey Mehigan- Museum of Science, Boston, MA
  • Amanda Paige- University of Michigan Museum of Natural History, Ann Arbor, MI
  • Tamara Poles- North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, Raleigh, NC
  • Kyle Pong- Terry Lee Wells Nevada Discovery Museum, Reno, NV
  • Chelsea Rodriguez- Pacific Science Center, Seattle, WA
  • Scott Shoemaker- Science Museum of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN
  • Daniela Siqueiros- Children’s Museum of Tucson, AZ
  • Dale Wilson- Marbles Kids Museum, Raleigh, NC

Alumni Fellows include:

  • Adrienne Barnett- Exploratorium, San Francisco, CA
  • Tracey Cones-Renshaw- National Museum of Natural History, Washington, DC
  • Jennifer Jenkins- WonderLab Museum of Science, Health and Technology, Bloomington, IN
  • Josh Kemper- Pacific Science Center, Seattle, WA
  • Mark Thorne- National Children’s Museum, National Harbor, MD
  • Merisa Camacho- California Science Center, Los Angeles, CA

For more information, visit

Upcoming Webinar from Dr. Jeffrey Ford – “The Four Conversations: Daily Communications that Gets Results”

June 10th, 2013 - Posted in Professional Development, Resources by Mary Mathias

Dr. Jeffrey Ford

ASTC is pleased to announce a new professional development opportunity for the ASTC community. Please join us on June 25th at 3pm EDT for a FREE webinar with Dr. Jeffrey Ford, author of The Four Conversations: Daily Communications that Gets Results.

This webinar, building from a wildly popular pre-conference workshop at last year’s ASTC Annual Conference, will introduce participants to Dr. Ford’s online course, The Four Conversations Online Effectiveness Training, and how using the skills gained from the course can help you better communicate with colleagues, visitors, and community leaders. Register now for the online webinar here! Space is limited.

ASTC and Dr. Ford have partnered to offer this online training at a discounted rate of $99 US to ASTC members. Webinars with Dr. Ford are included in this course and exclusive for ASTC members. During these FREE exclusive webinars, Dr. Ford will be answering participants’ questions about successful communication and how you can use the training in your work.

About this professional development
Success in work and life requires the ability to get results through others. Whether it is your boss, a colleague, your spouse, your children, or a neighbor, your ability to produce results with others impacts the quality of your life. The primary tool you have for accomplishing these results is conversation. Yet, as you have no doubt noticed, our conversations don’t always get us the results we want, expect, or hope for. This online course can change that.

In this course, you will learn such things as:

  • Your personal communication practices and how to improve the ones you want to improve
  • Which types of conversations actually slow things down and undermine effective working relations
  • How the four productive conversations work and when to use them to get the results you want and need from others
  • How to overcome barriers to your personal success and accomplishment such as others submitting things late, giving you poor quality work, or being uncooperative
  • That how you talk matters and that you can be more successful and effective by making a few changes in your current pattern of communication
  • ASTC is pleased to offer the online course at discounted rate to ASTC members. The June 25th webinar is free for all ASTC members.

    About Dr. Ford
    Dr. Jeffrey Ford is a professor of management in the Max M. Fisher College of Business at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. He holds a B.S. in marketing from the University of Maryland, and an MBA, and a Ph.D. in organizational behavior from The Ohio State University. Prior to joining Fisher, Dr. Ford served on the faculties of the Institute of Management and Labor Research at Rutgers—The State University of New Jersey, and the Kelly School of Business at Indiana University.

    Order the Four Conversations online from the ASTC Bookstore

    The Four Conversations: Daily Communication that Gets Results
    Jeffrey Ford and Laurie Ford
    Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2009
    This book is an important tool for employees and managers who want to communicate more effectively. The Four Conversations: Daily Communication that Gets Results shows some of the mistakes that are made in everyday conversation and provides the reader with the tools how to minimize those mistakes and to communicate in a way that is productive both for themselves and their colleagues. 240 pp.

    The next webinar with Dr. Ford will take place on Monday, August 19 and will be exclusively for those registered for the Four Conversations Online Effectiveness Training course. Sign up for the course at the discounted rate for ASTC members here!

    Watch the July 25th introductory webinar below:

    Four Conversations Informational Webinar with Dr. Jeffrey Ford from ASTC Professional Development on Vimeo.

    Upcoming PES Community of Practice Webinars

    April 30th, 2013 - Posted in Professional Development by Christine Ruffo

    The ASTC public engagement with science community of practice will be hosting regular webinars this summer. Please email with any questions.

    Local Public Engagement with Science
    May 7, 2PM EDT, 1PM CDT, 11AM PDT

    This webinar focused on using PES strategies to engage communities on issues of local importance. It featured presentations from Kate Brandes, Science Program Director, The Nurture Nature Center; Jen Kretser, Director of Programs, The Wild Center; and David Sittenfeld, Program Manager (Forum), Museum of Science, Boston, followed by an audience Q&A.

    PES CoP Webinar: Local Public Engagement with Science Programs from ASTC Professional Development on Vimeo.

    Dan Kahan, Cultural Cognition Project, Yale University
    June 4, 3 PM EDT, 2 CDT, 12 PDT

    Research on cultural cognition suggests that members of the public process science-related information by assessing its coherence with values and commitments that connect them to important affinity groups. This suggests a two-channel science communication strategy that combines information content with cultural meanings selected to promote open-minded assessment of information across diverse groups. This webinar focused on this research and explored public engagement strategies for improving science communication followed by Q & A.

    Dan Kahan is a leading scholar in the fields of criminal law and evidence at Yale Law School and is known for his theory of cultural cognition. Members of the Cultural Cognition Project use the methods of various disciplines—including social psychology, anthropology, communications and political science—to measure the mechanisms of cultural cognition and to identify processes of democratic decision-making by which society can resolve culturally grounded differences in belief in a manner that is both congenial to persons of diverse cultural outlooks and consistent with sound public policymaking.

    PES CoP Webinar: Cultural Cognition and Democratic Decision Making from ASTC Professional Development on Vimeo.

    Dietram Scheufele, University of Wisconsin—Madison
    July 9, 3 PM EDT, 2 CDT, 12 PDT

    A number of past studies in the US and the UK have found that most scientists blame public ignorance of science for flawed policy preferences and political choices. They believe the public is inadequately informed about science topics and that, except for a small minority, the public is uninterested in becoming more knowledgeable. They favor one-way communication with the public, viewing engagement as chiefly about dissemination rather than two-way dialogue and active public participation in decisions. In UK data, only 12% indicated engagement meant listening to or attempting to understand the views of the public. But more recent studies involving both online and face-to-face environments have shown the emergence of new cohorts of young scientists who find value in both talking and listening to the public. Dietram Scheufele, Professor of Science Communication at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and Co-Chair of the National Academies’ Roundtable on Public Interfaces of the Life Sciences, shared recent research findings.

    How can those of us in the informal science education community, which has been driven by “public understanding of science” and the deficit model, take advantage of this new receptivity to engagement? If we can understand the benefits of engagement to the experts, we can design our activities to meet the needs of both the public and the scientific community, and make engagement programs a multi-directional win-win proposition for all.

    PES CoP Webinar: A Shift in Scientists’ Perception of Public Engagement with Dietram Scheufele, University of Wisconsin-Madison from ASTC Professional Development on Vimeo.

    ASTC Update: Three ASTC members receive IMLS/MacArthur Learning Labs grant, four more to partner with awarded libraries

    November 13th, 2012 - Posted in ASTC News, Featured, Member News, Professional Development by Larry Hoffer

    The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation announced November 8 that three ASTC-member institutions—the Lawrence Hall of Science, Berkeley, California; Madison Children’s Museum, Wisconsin; and the Science Museum of Virginia Foundation, Richmond—were among the second round of winners of a U.S.-wide competition to design 21st Century learning labs in museums and libraries around the country.

    The winners—five museums and seven libraries—will receive a total of $1.2 million in grants to plan and design the labs. Inspired by YOUMedia, a teen space at the Chicago Public Library, and innovations in science and technology centers, these labs will help young people move beyond consuming content to making and creating it.

    In addition to the three ASTC members that received Learning Labs grants, four additional ASTC members—Carnegie Science Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Las Vegas Natural History Museum, Nevada; Lied Discovery Children’s Museum, Las Vegas, Nevada; and Perot Museum of Nature and Science, Dallas, Texas—will partner with awarded libraries in their communities.

    Each Learning Lab will be designed to facilitate a research-based education model known as connected learning–one that promotes discovery, creativity, critical thinking and real-world learning through activities and experiences that bring together academics and young people’s interests, often facilitated by digital and traditional media. The labs will connect teens to mentors and peers, as well as anytime, anywhere access to information through online social networks, so they can pursue their interests more deeply and connect these new skills to academics, career, and civic engagement.

    ASTC CEO Anthony (Bud) Rock remarked, “We are very excited about the continued success of the Learning Labs program. Science centers and museums nurture the innovative spirit so crucially needed for success in today’s world, and using digital media to further ignite the excitement of our nation’s youth about lifelong STEM learning will ensure that future generations cultivate the skills they need, such as problem solving, creativity, critical thinking, and collaboration. The fact that three of the five museums named as grant recipients are science centers is an exciting testament to the strength of our field as an incubator of innovation in our communities.”

    The 12 recipients of this round of grants were selected out of a pool of 105 applicants from 33 states. Applications were evaluated by professionals with relevant expertise in digital media and learning. Winners will participate—in-person and online—in a community of practice that will provide technical assistance, networking, and cross-project learning. In addition to the Lawrence Hall of Science, Madison Children’s Museum, and the Science Museum of Virginia Foundation, those institutions selected as grant recipients include: University of Alabama/Alabama Museum of Natural History, Tuscaloosa; Rochester Public Library, New York; City of Lynn, Massachusetts (Lynn Public Library); Las Vegas-Clark County Library District, Nevada; Parmly Billings Library Foundation, Inc., Billings, Montana; Pima County Public Library, Tucson, Arizona; and Poughkeepsie Public Library District, New York.

    These grantees join 12 other communities also planning new learning centers in libraries and museums as a part of the Learning Labs in Libraries and Museums project. The initiative was first announced in September 2010 in response to President Obama’s “Educate to Innovate” campaign, an effort to foster cross-sector collaboration to improve America’s students’ participation and performance in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Since then, MacArthur and IMLS have committed to invest $4 million to support knowledge-sharing activities for museums and libraries nationwide, and work together to create new Learning Labs across the nation.

    For more information about the Learning Labs project, visit or

    NWP and ASTC Receive NSF Grant to Develop Integrated Science and Literacy Program

    October 9th, 2012 - Posted in ASTC News, Featured, Member News, Partners, Professional Development by Larry Hoffer

    The National Writing Project (NWP) and the Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC) have received a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to design a program that will integrate science and literacy. As part of this program, Building Informal Science Education and Literacy Partnerships (NSF Grant No. 122461),NWP sites and ASTC-member science centers and museums will forge partnerships to develop innovative programs for educators and youth.

    This grant was created to address the critical need for more programming that integrates two very important areas of curriculum – science and literacy,with a strong commitment to expanding access to high quality science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and literacy education. The NWP/ASTC partnership will foster the creation of new program models able to reach a more diverse range of youth and educators, resulting in an infusion of literacy practices in informal settings as well as increased exposure of formal educators to STEM-rich learning experiences.The program will build on recommendations in the Common Core State Standards and the National Research Council’s publication, “A Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts and Core Ideas.”

    Ten partnerships from across the country will be selected in the coming months with the goal of creating new programs that merge science and writing, as well as building on promising practices and innovations. Partnerships will design projects which may include citizen science projects like The Great Sunflower Project or FoldIt, or science journalism projects such as scijourner, an NSF-funded project based at the University of Missouri-St. Louis College of Education, in collaboration with the Saint Louis Science Center and the Normandy School District.

    “Both NWP and ASTC share a long history of working with educators and youth,” said Dr. Sharon J. Washington, NWP Executive Director. “The collaboration of these organizations will generate a multitude of professional development programs for hundreds of informal and formal educators, as well as create rich opportunities for hundreds of young people across the country.”

    “We are tremendously energized by the opportunities for collaboration that this project presents,” remarked ASTC Chief Executive Officer Anthony (Bud) Rock. “ASTC-member science centers have a long history of developing programs to target underserved youth, and partnering with NWP sites will foster a greater ability to reach those youth who might develop an interest in STEM through participation in literacy activities. The science center community will truly benefit from the results of this project.”

    About NWP:The National Writing Project (NWP) is a nationwide network of educators working together to improve the teaching of writing in the nation’s schools and in other settings. NWP provides high-quality professional development programs to teachers in a variety of disciplines and at all levels, from early childhood through university. Through its nearly 200 university-based sites located in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, the National Writing Project develops the leadership, programs, and research needed for teachers to help students become successful writers and learners. For more information, visit

    About ASTC: The Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC) is a global organization providing collective voice and professional support for science centers, museums, and related institutions, whose innovative approaches to science learning inspire people of all ages about the wonders and the meaning of science in their lives.Through strategic alliances and global partnerships, ASTC strives to increase awareness of the valuable contributions its members make to their communities and the field of informal STEM learning.Founded in 1973, ASTC now represents over 600 members in nearly 50 countries, including not only science centers and museums,but also nature centers, aquariums, planetariums,zoos, botanical gardens, and natural history and children’s museums, as well as companies, consultants, and other organizations that share an interest in informal science education. For more information about ASTC, or to find a science center near you, visit

    © Association of Science - Technology Centers Incorporated