Plenary Sessions



Saturday, September 29

Opening Plenary Session and
Keynote Presentation with Ed Yong

8:00–10:00 a.m.
Connecticut Convention Center, Ballrooms A-C

Kick off your 2018 ASTC Annual Conference experience with an inspiring look at the transformational impact that science centers and communities have, especially when serving diverse populations who most need opportunities to participate in science.

The morning starts with the rousing sounds of the Restless Mountain Bluegrass Band, featuring Connecticut Science Center President and CEO Matt Fleury, and a welcome from ASTC and Connecticut Science Center leadership.

Keynote Speaker Ed Yong, Science Writer at The Atlantic magazine, humorously and sensitively launches discussion about the ways that individuals and institutions can engage with audiences around science and technology while also taking action to help solve challenges in society.

Dominique Browning, a sophomore at Arizona State University, shares her work with the Chief Science Officer program, which elevates the voices of students in STEM, and the opening session also features the presentation of 2018 Roy L. Shafer Leading Edge Awards to the winners in the Visitor Experience category: Philippine Science Centrum and Ontario Science Centre.

Now in their 14th year, the “Edgie” awards commemorate the late Roy L. Shafer, a former science center director, ASTC president, organizational coach, and mentor to many in the science center field. This year they are presented at both the Opening Plenary Session on Saturday and the General Plenary Session on Monday.

Roy L. Shafer Leading Edge Awards sponsored by





Monday, October 1

General Plenary Session and
Keynote Presentation with Kumar Garg

10:45 a.m.–12:00 p.m.
Connecticut Convention Center, Ballrooms A-C

ASTC President and CEO Cristin Dorgelo shares some emerging themes from ASTC’s ongoing listening process, and ASTC-member organizations lead related lightning talks focusing on the impact of, and case for, our organizations.

Meet the 2018 Roy L. Shafer Leading Edge Award recipients for Business Practice—Cincinnati Museum Center—and Leadership in the Field, Michelle Hall of the Institute for Science Education New Mexico and Cynthia Sharpe of Thinkwell. Preview the 2019 conference with the Ontario Science Centre team, and get inspired with Keynote Speaker Kumar Garg, Senior Director for Technology and Society at Schmidt Futures.

What happens at the intersection of education, technology, and equity? How are current efforts across the policy, philanthropic, nonprofit, and industry sectors moving the needle? Where is there opportunity for innovation and collaboration across sectors? See what the future holds and discover what people outside our field are saying about critical ways that science centers and museums can have a meaningful impact in their communities. Chart your path forward and be inspired about your part in changing educational ecosystems, fueling regional innovation, and leading economic growth and collaborative efforts to solve societal challenges!