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TAKE 5 with Dr. Kirsten Ellenbogen - President & CEO, Great Lakes Science Center

Dr. Kirsten Ellebogen - Great Lakes Science Center

Q: What makes Great Lakes Science Center (GLSC) special?
A: From holiday-themed programming to our newest exhibit All Aboard! The Science of Trains (open through February 19, 2018), there’s always something new. You will see things you won’t see anywhere else. Our Dome Theater is the world’s first giant dome cinema laser system. Our NASA Glenn Visitor Center is a congressionally designated NASA center, and the only one that tells Cleveland’s 75-year history of designing and testing technology for spaceflight and aeronautics. And for our youngest scientists, there’s the Polymer Funhouse, where they can climb, slide, build and play.

Q: How has GLSC impacted the Cleveland community?
A: Our collaborations with local schools tell a great story. These programs have enabled middle-schoolers to engineer a pile of wires, batteries, and LEDs into working flashlights and to design and print with 3D printers. We’ve teamed with Head Start centers to provide preschoolers with formative hands-on experiences. And GLSC convenes organizations to discuss and improve our activities, such as water-related education, the STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math) education ecosystem, and the Maker Movement (tech-influenced DIY community).

Q: When did science become your passion?
A: From grade school through high school, I loved science fairs. My defining moment came when one of the science fair judges offered me a job as a demonstrator at the Detroit Science Center when I was 16. Until then, I hadn’t thought about the people who work behind the scenes to research and develop learning experiences in museums.

Q: What are your favorite Northeast Ohio attractions and restaurants?
A: Of course, my family comes to the Science Center a lot. We love making a day of it, with a movie in the Cleveland Clinic DOME Theater and lunch in the Science Center’s Café. My son really loves the new Galaxy Burger! Our other favorite family outing is Tabletop Café in Ohio City with its shelves of games to try over a meal or snacks. When my husband and I are out, we enjoy live theatre at venues such as Cleveland Public Theatre, Cleveland Playhouse, Dobama, Karamu, and we’ll follow Playwrights Local to wherever they’re doing a production. For lunch breaks it is always a treat to get to a lunch and lecture at The City Club of Cleveland, or I head to Map of Thailand or Superior Pho in Asiatown.

Q: Having grown up in Detroit, when it comes to sports, whom do you root for?
A: I went to high school near the old Tiger Stadium, home of some extraordinary championship seasons in the 1980s and my love for the Tigers was strong. But Cleveland changed that. We love this city and it loves us right back. So when it comes to local sports, I’m all in for the Cavs, the Browns, and the Indians. How can you not admire (Tribe manager) Terry Francona and the skill, perseverance, and attitude of the team? I’m looking forward to more World Series games this year!

For information about GLSC, visit

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