Meet the Team
Brad Herring – Director of National STEM Networks
I’m originally from Chattanooga, TN but have lived in North Carolina for the past 16 years. I graduated from the University of Tennessee with a Bachelor of Science in Wildlife and Fisheries and a minor in Forestry. After completing my bachelor’s degree, I served in the United States Peace Corps in Panama as an Environmental Education Volunteer. While in Panama I developed and administered teacher workshops on participatory education, taught sustainable agriculture techniques in organic farming, and managed the construction of a steel suspension footbridge in my community. Upon completion of my service in 2002, I hiked the entire length of the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine.
I came to the Museum as the Director of Youth Programs in 2005 where I managed several grant-funded projects and over 90 youth volunteers. In 2007 I transitioned to my current role as the Director of National STEM Networks working on the National Informal STEM Education (NISE) Network project. I currently lead the Network’s professional learning team creating and delivering national professional learning workshops and training materials for museum professionals all across the US. My other duties include serving on the NISE Net’s leadership team, developing program and multimedia content around Diversity, Equity, Access and Inclusion (DEAI), and managing the Southeast Hub for the Network.
Carly Apple – Director of STEM Learning
When I was in graduate school for Ecology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, I started teaching informal science education at the Morehead Planetarium and Science Center. I fell in love with science education while teaching kids how to dance through the Moon phases and launch Alka-Seltzer rockets. I have worked in the informal science education field ever since, serving students and families through a variety of diverse STEM programs. I am proud to be able to serve the people in my home state, using informal education to improve scientific literacy and critical thinking skills. I believe that a strong science background helps people become better citizens and better consumers of knowledge. Kids (and adults!) are wired to learn – all we need is some inspiration!
Darcy Lewandowski – Director of Family & Childhood Experiences
My early years working at the Museum were spent making slime at birthday parties, creating laser mazes with summer campers, and introducing opossums (and chinchillas, and owls, and all kinds of other animals!) to classes of students. I didn’t know it at the time, but those experiences were forming the foundation of a long career in informal science education. I’ve now been working at the Museum for nearly 20 years and have loved watching the way the physical space and our educational offerings have changed and grown over the years. I have always been drawn to experiential learning – and project-based learning in particular – which is central to what we do here at the Museum. I love the way this type of learning carries over into life at home; it is personal and joyful, and it develops skills and competencies in subject matter, social-emotional learning, and scientific thinking. These days most of my work is focused on summer camps (ok, and budgets), and I am particularly interested in early childhood education and nature play.
David Knudsen – Associate Program Manager: TinkerLab
Here at the Museum of Life and Science, I specialize in developing tinkering and technology-based programs and curriculum. The topic of tinkering lets you imagine, create, and learn through project-based experiences where you get to decide what you want to create! For me, tinkering is a creative experience because you can use diverse materials and create a brand-new invention! Before developing our tinkering and technology programs, I was a part of the Museum’s Summer Camp Program and Fellowship Program. I earned my bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Journalism from North Carolina State University. While my degree is not in STEM fields, working at the Museum has provided me numerous opportunities for learning through STEM activities and programs.
Davis Tate – Program Manager for Camp Experiences
In my career, I’ve sought to provide opportunities for students who, like me, have a lot of energy and learn with their whole body. Before joining the Museum in 2019, I spent 10 years with Science Fun for Everyone developing and facilitating awesome hands-on, science activities for elementary students. I’m thrilled now to work at the Museum where we create a community that strives to experience science through all of our senses, with our whole body, and with lots of energy!
Jennifer Wiggen- Associate Program Manager: Studio Earth
I have always loved the outdoors and was fortunate enough to be surrounded by the ocean, marshes, and mangroves growing up. I moved to Durham ten years ago and now you can find me exploring all the wonderful outdoor spaces this area has to offer, especially the Ellerbe Creek Watershed. What truly set me on my course for pursuing a career working in the geosciences was participating in the Duke TIP program. I spent a summer with a geoscientist, studying marsh ecosystems on the North Carolina Coast, and before I knew it, I found myself at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington studying marine chemistry and working at the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Center and Hospital. From there I went to NC State where I earned my Ph.D. in Marine Biogeochemistry studying the Neuse River Estuary. Upon completion of my doctorate, I stayed at NC State and completed a postdoctoral research and teaching position in Geoscience Education. I developed short video-based resources for introductory geosciences classes. At the Museum of Life and Science, I specialize in nature and geoscience programming and curriculum development. This is an amazing role that allows me to continue teaching while also incorporating my love for nature (you can almost always find my classes or programs in Ellerbe Creek or some other nature space!).
Max Cawley – Program Manager for Public Engagement with Science
I am an educator, researcher, evaluator, and science communicator with the Museum of Life & Science in Durham, NC. I’m also a Community Science Fellow in AGU’s Thriving Earth Exchange, and an MsC student in NCSU’s School for Marine, Earth, and Atmospheric Sciences. I’m a firm believer in participatory, democratic, and responsible science and dissemination, and I believe that anyone and everyone can, and should, contribute to our growing understanding of the world and the body of knowledge we call Science.
I’d like to help build better public understanding, public engagement, and public empowerment to take on pressing socioscientific issues that demand our attention and intervention, such as Artificial Intelligence, Anthropocene Extinction Crisis, Synthetic Biology, and Climate Change. I believe that more robust, accessible, equitable, and Just engagement with science is a matter of democratic right, and that building a more science-literate public is key to maintaining a healthy democracy into the future.
Mitch Sava – VP of Innovation, Learning, and Engagement
Mitch Sava is the Vice President of Innovation, Learning, and Engagement at the North Carolina Museum of Life and Science, where he has been since 2016. In this role, he helps drive the development of new educational programs, services, and partnerships – on and offline – for the museum to reach new audiences, create new revenue streams, and help the Museum achieve its mission of nurturing critical thinkers of all ages. Mitch is also the current President of the Board for the Museum Computer Network (MCN), a non-profit trade organization representing, developing, and supporting digital professionals across the Galleries, Libraries, Archives, and Museums (GLAM) sector. MCN’s mission is to grow the digital capacity of museum professionals by connecting them to ideas, information, opportunities, proven practices, and each other.
He has over two decades of experience across sectors, working with executives, social entrepreneurs, and policy-makers on how to unleash our innovative potential, and apply scientific and design thinking to impact the way we live, work, and create value for others and ourselves. Previously in senior innovation roles for organizations including Fjord, Accenture Strategy, Creative England, and NESTA, Mitch has helped establish innovation and venture labs for government agencies, consultancies, and companies tried to reimagine the future of industries from insurance to beer and worked with firms from pharmaceuticals to phones to help them avoid becoming the next “Blockbuster Video” of their industry. He has created and run initiatives to help start-ups, launched start-ups of his own, and generally nudged various giant companies to act a bit more like start-ups themselves. Mitch has pushed policy with think-tanks, drafted resolutions for the UN, helped social innovators stay innovative, and designed new services with some of the most creative minds in business and the social sector. Most recently, he co-founded Audacity Labs – a start-up accelerator for teens – for which he now serves as Board Chair.
Mitch holds an MPA in innovation and entrepreneurship policy from the Harvard Kennedy School, an MSc in Technology and Human Affairs from Washington University in St. Louis, and a BS in Computer Science from the College of William & Mary. He is a founding member of the Innovation Work Group, Co-Chair of the Triangle Learning Network, an appointee to the Durham Cultural Advisory Board, and a Fellow of the Royal Society for the Advancement of Arts, Manufactures, and Commerce (RSA), where he led their project on “The Glory of Failure”. Mitch is also an amateur winemaker, a lover of things cooked slowly, and a father often in quest of sleep.
Peregrine Bratschi – Associate Program Manager: The Lab
My experience as a science educator has included handling animals, exploring waterways, building a historically accurate bark house and palisade, checking hives (pictured), and most recently, managing in-person and online facilitated experiences for The Lab! I earned my degree in Anthropology from UNC Charlotte and have since found joy as an informal educator in the museum world, where I can teach authentically, inclusively, and experientially. I am an educational generalist, though I am especially interested in evolutionary biology and human origins. In my spare time, I like to be outdoors and do experimental archaeology with lithics and other early human technologies. My teaching philosophy is centered on cultivating skepticism and wonder as tools for seeking understanding and making the world safe for human differences.
Steve Scholle – Program Manager for Member Experiences
I’m originally from the Rocky Mountains region. As far back as I can remember, I have had a deep love for nature and learning. This has driven me to a wandering path of wonder and exploration. Along the way, I studied biology and environmental science at the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology followed by a Master of Science in Biology degree from the University of New Mexico, where I fell in love with teaching. When I moved to Durham, I found work with the Town of Chapel Hill and the City of Durham and enjoyed many wonderful days of outdoor recreation programs. I also continued to work in research with the Environmental Protection Agency in Research Triangle Park. I eventually found a home at the Museum where I have worn many hats over the years. I am currently a Program Manager with our Innovation and Learning team and I work primarily with our facilitated spaces like TinkerLab, Studio Earth, The Lab, and our nature spaces. Recently, I have enjoyed the opportunity to develop digital content including virtual camps and classes, and, in partnership with Durham Public Schools, Real Science: Field Trip Fridays.
Tomara Gee – Program Manager: Group Experiences
My love for curiosity and discovery led me to work at the Museum of Life and Science, and I have been here for 10 years now. Over that time I have worked as a birthday party educator, a camp educator, a manager of a hands-on exhibit, and now a manager of group programs. While I have learned about so many parts of how the Museum runs, my favorite part is still connecting with the community and helping them find what sparks their curiosity.