Meet the Team
Carly Apple – Vice President for Education and Engagement
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!
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.
Max Cawley – Director: Climate Research and Engagement
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.
Cole Finney – Associate Program Manager of Children’s Programming
I have always loved asking questions. Big questions, small questions, serious or silly – I’ve always wanted to ask. When I discovered that science is essentially formalized questioning, I knew it was the field for me! By way of the Perot Museum in Dallas and Science Central in Fort Wayne, Indiana, the Museum of Life and Science is the third science museum I have been a part of. Across these institutions, I have experienced camps to classrooms, public programming to animal care – and loved every minute of it. And while I love posing questions (and hearing answers), my day is truly made when curiosity strikes and a great question is asked of me!
Tomara Gee – Director of STEM Learning
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.
Stepheny Hine – Associate Program Manager: Community and School Engagement
From a young age, I loved the outdoors and had such curiosity. As I grew up curiosity led to asking questions that often weren’t answered which forced me to continue to search. This passion for answers propelled me into a career with Teach For America and to serve the community of Eastern North Carolina which served me so well as I was growing up. As a teacher in rural communities, I was confronted again with the vast inequities that students across NC face. I believe deeply in the power kids have to create real systemic change in North Carolina and beyond. It is with this passion for equity and kids, that I choose to show up and lead every day. I have loved every minute of my time in the classroom and I am very excited to serve the community in a different role and work with a larger team of like-minded individuals in order to create an impact for more students, guests, and community members across our state. My love for the outdoors and state of constant questioning has never left me and only grown with time and age. At the Museum, I hope to rely on and inspire with those passions as we get up to some pretty cool work together!
Madeline James – Associate Program Manager: Nature and Sustainability
After working in childcare for many years and earning my degree in Elementary Education. I decided to do what I always encourage students to try: something completely different. That exploration took me on a series of adventures including working on farms – first in Latin America and then in Northern Durham County. Durham was meant to be a short-term adventure with intentions to return to New England to teach, but the community that I found here made it clear that this is home. Even before obtaining formal pedagogical training in the public-school classroom, informal experiential learning has long been my intellectual and spiritual home. My philosophy of education centers around the learner’s intrinsic curiosity with the educator serving as a facilitator rather than instructor. In my former job as Deputy Director of The Scrap Exchange, I held a growing conviction that learning about Nature and our part in it can and should unfold in community and in connection with the pressing problems of our time. Because I believe so strongly in its mission and educational philosophy, the Museum of Life and Science has been a rewarding place to connect, learn together, and work towards a more sustainable future.
David Knudsen – Associate Program Manager: Tinkering and Technology
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 with numerous opportunities for learning through STEM activities and programs.
Shannon Moore – Associate Programs Manager: Program Assets and Volunteers
I’ve had a passion for nature and science for as long as I can remember. I received my bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation from the University of Florida. Working in several labs, I have studied a range of topics including entomology, population genetics, and disease ecology. While working as a researcher, I found joy in informal education while teaching local communities about our research. As a fellow with the I&L team, I aim to incorporate my love for nature and science as I work with Schoolhouse, curriculum writing, and other museum education aspects.
Andria Schmitz – Program Manager for Camp Experiences
I’ve always had a fascination with our natural world. As a child, I fondly remember many museums, zoos, and parks where I freely explored my “I wonder…” questions and became completely immersed in the learning environment. Through those questions, the diversity and complexities of life were always on full display, and I loved how nature mirrored our own lives! My appreciation for these intentional spaces continued to grow as I’ve had the opportunity to work in the nonprofit sphere. At the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo in Indiana, I’ve served as an outreach program educator, exhibit interpreter, teen volunteer program lead, and a manager for Camps. I’ve seen first-hand how these community engagement programs foster similar core memories for this next generation. At the Museum of Life and Science, I can’t wait to welcome hundreds of children to our Camps and encourage their own discoveries through inquiry and hands-on experiences. My hope is that each camper leaves with a sense of awe toward nature, a connection to the community, a personal relation to science and of course, some amazing camp stories to share!
Steve Scholle – Director of STEM Engagement and Outcomes
I am currently a Director with our Education and Engagement team, and I work primarily with our grant-funded projects and the Museum’s facilitated spaces like TinkerLab, Play to Learn, The Lab, and our natural spaces. Recently, I have enjoyed the opportunity to develop and evaluate content and experiences at national, regional, and local scales through projects with NASA, the NISE Network, and our many academic and community partners.
Davis Tate – Director of Camp and Corporate 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 ten 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!
Hello, my name is Amaya! I am from Durham, NC and am a recent graduate of North Carolina State University. I received my bachelors in Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management with a minor in Environmental Science. I have also received certification as an Interpretive Guide by the National Association of Interpretation. I plan to use the skills I have gained to increase accessibility of STEM education and help people become more comfortable with outdoor learning. As a Fellow, I am very excited to be able to facilitate meaningful and exciting experiences.
As an undergraduate student at NC State University studying Zoology, I love my position as a Fellow because it allows me to expand my knowledge and learn all sorts of things about all kinds of topics. I grew up going to museums and science centers which spurred my love for animals, but it also gave me an appreciation for all forms of STEM that I love sharing with others!
Originally from Kentucky, I moved to North Carolina in 2019 to complete my M.S. in Organic Chemistry. Throughout my studies in chemistry, I have developed a passion for informal science education and community outreach—whether that means making elephant toothpaste, chatting about kitchen chemistry, or mixing up some slime to talk about polymers! While I am still new to Durham, I have quickly fallen in love with the community, and I am excited to exercise my skills in science communication, as an Education and Engagement Fellow, at the Museum of Life and Science!
After graduating Elon University with the Class of 2020 and a degree in Public Health, I had no idea what the world had in store for me. I enjoyed learning science when I was younger but when I entered college as a first-year that passion drifted away. After much reflection, I learned my love for science as a child/teen never left. I just needed a new view of it. Not only am I excited to join the Education and Engagement Fellowship team but I can’t wait to meet the kids who will help me while I help them grow their love of science. Ohh.. fun fact, I enjoy yoga and mindfulness meditation.
I still remember when I built a baking soda volcano with my mom and how excited I was when I took it to school and it worked. It was so cool that simple ingredients like baking soda and vinegar could do cool science experiments. I am still in love with learning and making education fun and accessible to all. I received my bachelor’s from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in Sociology with minors in Education and Social and Economic Justice. My passion lies in making education just and accessible to all, especially ESL and immigrant students. Being an immigrant myself I want to be able to help other students succeed both inside and outside of the classroom. I am very excited to be part of the Education and Engagement Fellowship team and exploring more parts of informal education and giving back to my Durham community.
Hola!! I am from the island of Puerto Rico where I was born and raised before coming to Durham in 2019. I am bilingual, Spanish being my native and main language. I have an undergraduate degree in Human Biology and a PhD in Pharmacology. While working as a researcher in my graduate studies, I began giving formal and informal science presentations. When I moved to NC, I began using informal education to improve scientific literacy and critical thinking skills among a group of kids in my community and facilitated hands-on human body activities for a Durham public school science week. I considered myself a scientist by degree but an educator in my heart. My love for science education and exploration led me to start working at the Museum of Life and Science as an Education and Engagement Fellow. I am excited to be here, to contribute ideas, to spark children’s imagination and creativity, and of course, learn a lot together at the Museum of Life and Science.
Hello! I’m Julia, an I&L Fellow on the Museum’s Education team. I love the outdoors and have a passion for working with kids. In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my cat, crafting, sewing, drawing, and observing nature from my porch, where I grow a container garden. Growing up, I attended programs at the Piedmont Environmental Center where I became comfortable engaging with insects, reptiles, and amphibians. I was also the captain of my High School’s FTC robotics team. I loved my time in the Appalachian Mountains while I earned a B.A. in Spanish from UNC Asheville, with minors in Environmental Studies, Latin American & Transatlantic Studies, and Management.