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Blog Education

Innovation and Learning Fellows

We’d like to introduce this year’s Innovation and Learning Fellows cohort!

Innovation and Learning Fellows are hired to support informal education experiences at the museum. They are passionate about STEM education and creating rich, inquiry-based experiences for children, families, and adults. You may see them here on campus handling our animals during programs, leading field trip classes through hands-on projects, managing camp and Schoolhouse administration, or off-campus working at our many community events!

After fellows have been with us for a year, we help them create and carry out a special project that supports both the museum’s mission and their individual passions. Fellows in years past have created activities for The Lab, created field trip guides for teachers, and worked with exhibits to put together a wonderful photo exhibit of our wolves. Each of them left the program with valuable experience and more understanding of where they wanted to go next. Fellows have become education managers in other institutions, school teachers, or even transitioned into research. We have even had some move into full-time positions here at the Museum: David Knudsen, Peregrine Bratschi, Ian McAreavy, and Madeline James are four former Fellows, so please ask them about their experience!

Here’s a little bit about each current Fellow:

• Imani Vincent will be returning to us for another year with a focus on food injustice. You may remember her from her role as our offsite camp director as well as in many of our programs last year. This year you can see her facilitating in our Outdoor Artist class, at the Farmer’s Market on Wednesdays and Saturdays, and in school programs.
• Heather Fisher has officially transitioned into a fellow role this year. She has a background in Geology and Earth Sciences and started working with us before the pandemic supporting programming in Earth Moves. Since then, she has been helping in many important ways, including in many of our nature programming and summer camps. This year she will be leading our Nature Kids classes, the Nature Explorers class, and some of our school programs.
• Joan Ballista joined us over the summer and will be continuing the rest of this year in many of our programs. She is bringing a wealth of knowledge from her background in informal education and will be a key part of our Sparks Afterschool program.
• Andrea Tejada also joined over the summer and has already brought her excitement for education to our Science Night program, the Farmer’s Market afternoons, and our new Kids’ Night Out program. She will also be facilitating activities in Tinker Lab and Studio Earth on the weekends.
• Alex Zimmerman started as an Innovation and Learning Fellow after completing his summer as one of our fantastic summer camp educators. He will be co-leading our Schoolhouse Ellerbe Expedition class and many of our school programs.
• Isabella Lima is coming to us from UNC with a background in tutoring, social and economic justice, and education. You will see her in our Ellerbe Expedition class and many of our school programs.
• Hannah Rohr is also coming to us from UNC with a masters in organic chemistry and experience with adult informal education. She will be the lead for our new DPS 5th-grade partnership program. This program supports six DPS 5th-grade classrooms that have expressed a high level of need for STEM support. She will travel to each classroom once a week to facilitate hands-on, standards-aligned STEM activities with local students!

If you see them around, please say hello. We are thrilled to see what this year’s cohort of fellows will imagine and create!