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Two ASTC members honored at White House as "Champions of Change"

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.