2012 Leading Edge Award Recipients

Three ASTC member organizations and two science center professionals received Roy L. Shafer Leading Edge Awards on October 13 at the 2012 ASTC Annual Conference in Columbus, Ohio.

Leading Edge Award for Business Practice

Awarded to the Carnegie Science Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Chevron Center for STEM Education and Career Development at Carnegie Science Center is a “community connector,” bringing together a coalition of corporations, K-12 formal education, higher education, and foundations with the common goal to address challenges in STEM education and workforce development in the western Pennsylvania region. The Chevron STEM Center, launched in 2011 with $1.9 million in unrestricted funds, encompasses the Science Center’s existing informal science education programs for students and has embarked on new initiatives, including partnerships with area school districts to develop and strengthen STEM curriculum, a database of regional STEM programs, and a public awareness campaign aimed at parents.

Leading Edge Award for Visitor Experience (small institution)

Awarded to The National Ag Science Center, Modesto, California, for Ag In Motion, an innovative, one-of-a-kind agricultural science field trip on wheels. This 53-foot (16-meter) mobile science lab is designed to be a memorable experience for every youth who steps through its doors. From the exterior graphics and trailer design to the laboratory lessons and on-board videos, the student experience is designed to excite, engage, and entice further science study.

Leading Edge Award for Visitor Experience (large institution)

Scitech, Perth, Australia, accepted its “Edgie” for the centre’s Aboriginal Education Program. While providing science outreach in many of the regional areas of the vast state of Western Australia, it became apparent that Scitech’s capacity to serve the specific needs of the remote Indigenous Aboriginal communities was diminished through lack of resources and the need for more culturally relevant programs. Scitech’s Aboriginal Education Program has addressed the challenges of access and equity by shipping trucks with interactive exhibits out, and flying educators and explainers in. At the same time, the centre developed a comprehensive suite of engaging science activities for children, parents, and teachers that recognize the communities’ unique Aboriginal culture and language.

Leading Edge Award for New Leadership in the Field

Awarded to Denise Amyot, president and CEO, Canada Science and Technology Museums Corporation. Amyot was honored for developing an innovative and expansive pan-Canadian energy literacy initiative.

Leading Edge Award for Experienced Leadership in the Field

Awarded to Joanna E. Haas, executive director, Kentucky Science Center. Haas was honored for leading her institution to fulfill its role as the state science center of Kentucky.