The National Center for Science and Civic Engagement is pleased to welcome two experts in the informal science education (ISE) field, Ms. Marsha Semmel and Dr. David Ucko, as senior advisors to the SENCER-ISE initiative. Like the late Alan Friedman who opened the doors for the SENCER community to engage with the ISE community, David (who prefers to be called “Dave”) and Marsha are nationally respected for their contributions to, and leadership in, the ISE community. Both are accomplished practitioners and strategic thinkers whose expertise will benefit a progressive, cutting edge project like SENCER-ISE.
Marsha Semmel served for ten years at the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) as its first director of strategic partnerships and then as deputy director for the Office of Museum Services, followed by eleven months as acting director. Prior to her time at IMLS, Marsha worked at several museums and cultural organizations, serving as an associate program coordinator at the Smithsonian Institution, assistant director at the B’nai B’rith Klutznick National Jewish Museum, director of the Division of Public Programs at the National Endowment for the Humanities, and president and CEO of the Women of the West Museum. Currently, Marsha serves as senior advisor to the Noyce Leadership Institute and is an independent consultant on leadership, partnerships, and policy for cultural institutions. Marsha holds a B.A. in history of art and English from the University of Michigan and an M.A. in art history from the University of Cincinnati.
About joining the SENCER-ISE team, Marsha said, “I am most interested in the SENCER-ISE project, especially with my experience with partnerships and belief that effective partnerships are essential to broader public impact in any number of spheres, including public science.”
Dave Ucko has served as deputy director of the Division of Research on Learning in Formal and Informal Settings at the National Science Foundation (NSF), president of the Kansas City Museum, chief deputy director of the California Museum of Science and Industry, and vice president of programs and director of science at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. Dave is currently vice president for organizational development of the Visitors Studies Association Visitors Studies Association, co-chair for the National Research Council Committee on Communicating Chemistry in Informal Settings, and president of Museums+more, LLC, where he works on developing innovative approaches to informal learning. Dave holds a B.A. in chemistry from Columbia College of Columbia University and a Ph.D. in inorganic chemistry from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Dave reports being “excited” about joining the SENCER-ISE team. He hopes that his “experience as science museum president, NSF official, and college professor will bring a perspective helpful to the partners and the project.”
“We have no doubt that both Dave and Marsha’s experience and backgrounds will be very helpful to the SENCER-ISE project and its partners. As senior advisors, Dave and Marsha will provide guidance on project sustainability and dissemination of results, as well as lend their expertise to the partnerships,” according to Ellen Mappen, SENCER-ISE project director. “Marsha and Dave have only just joined us, but they have already generated some great ideas for the project moving forward.”