Who We Are
I’m the resident physical scientist at Prove Your World. It’s my job (with help from additional content area experts along the way) to make sure the science is right. I’m also a physics professor at Rochester Institute of Technology. What draws me to the project is an interest in communicating science to the general public, particularly to children. One of the strengths of Prove Your World is that it presents science as a process of asking questions and gaining understanding rather than a collection of facts. It is a way of approaching knowledge that anyone can use. I can also be found at One Universe At A Time writing about physical science for general audiences. The character I play on Prove Your World shares my name, and we have many of the same interests, but he’s much cooler and better looking.
I’m one of two education experts here at Prove Your World. I focus on science pedagogy and curriculum development. Like a lot of education PhD’s my first career was as a classroom teacher. My mother was a great teacher, so from a young age that’s all I wanted to do. I decided after about 15 years to try my hand at doctoral work and focused on science education and assessment to help teachers do science more effectively and enjoyably. Most important to me was my work as Coordinator of Professional Development for the NSF-funded Capital Region Science Education Partnership through the University at Albany. We provided professional development for K-8 teachers in several local districts; our goal was increasing student test scores on the NYS Elementary and Intermediate Science Tests. Since then, I’ve been working as both a science education researcher and a freelance writer. I’m also the voice and hands for Emmy. She’s the best-looking and most adult individual in the Prove Your World shop.
My two roles here at Prove Your World are being creative director and playing Hopper. I remind all the science and education types that even if the experiments and inquiry are perfect, nobody’s gonna watch if the final product isn’t entertaining. I’m a graduate of Rochester Institute of Technology’s graphic design program and served as executive director of Wayne County Council for the Arts in Lyons, NY for five years and the Finger Lakes Regional Arts Council/Smith Opera House in Geneva, NY for ten. In 2009, I launched Flying Whale Studios specializing in the creation of fine art photographic images, graphic design, and grant writing and publicity for non-profit organizations. I’m the only one around here without a PhD, but I am an award-winning actor and director, having helmed such stage productions of “A Canticle for Leibowitz,” “Cats,” “Chess – The Musical,” “Flowers for Algernon,” and “Night of the Living Dead.” I also write and perform (for the most discriminating of audiences) an ongoing series of one-man puppet shows under the dubious and highly suspect heading of “Nihilistic Bedtime Stories for Children Too Young to Know Any Better or Too Old to Care.”
I’m one of two education experts at Prove Your World. I make sure we follow the inquiry process in all we do. I spent 34 years in the public school system as a K-12 special education teacher specializing in science. Then I began a second career as a college professor focused on teacher education. I was trained in Inquiry at the Texas Center for Inquiry in Fort Worth and have written and field tested curriculum for the JASON Project, as well as First Hand Learning, Inc. I’ve received training for the GLOBE program at the University of New Hampshire, instructed students using GLOBE, and prepared other K-12 teachers to use of the program. When I’m not working on inquiry and Prove Your World, you can find me on the on the Board of Directors for the Friends of the Iroquois National Wildlife refuge.
As the developmental psychologist at Prove Your World, my job is to help us remember what the kids already know and how they think every day. One thing that really excites me about our approach is that we start with kids’ questions rather than tell them what we think they need to know. I’ve spent my professional life as a college professor and behavioral scientist and have published extensively on a variety of issues in children’s conceptual development. I’ve had teaching and research positions from Genesee Community College to Cornell and Yale. I believe that scientific interest and literacy are crucial to the success of our communities. I’m currently an Associate Professor at Nazareth College in Rochester, NY. As the voice of Popper I’m also secretly thrilled to act like smart-aleck 14-year-old with a penchant for experimentation and the occasional rude noise.