Twenty-year career leading high-performing teams to design world-class visitor experiences which evoke wonder, inspire creativity, and bring people together in memorable settings.
Directing Creative Teams, Exhibit Planning/Design, Technology/Interaction Design, Collections/Conservation, Project Management, Design Reviews, Bids/Contracts, Budgets/Schedules, CAD Software, Exhibit Production, Grant Writing, Donor Relations, Permanent Exhibits, Temporary Exhibits, Exhibit Evaluation, Inclusive Desig
ELECTRIC MOSAIC – Elmhurst, IL – January 2017 to present
Developed and patented a system of flexible circuit boards and LEDs which snap under LEGO bricks. Conducted product design, curriculum development, beta-testing, prototype manufacturing, sales, and licensing. Integrated patented components into curriculum for after school programs and summer camps.
HELLENGA PROJECTS – Elmhurst, IL – January 2012 to December 2016
Led teams of client staff and external vendors to produce exhibitions; wrote grants to support exhibit initiatives; summarized best practices in exhibition design for museum publications. Selected projects:
Led design reviews, production, and evaluation of Mission to STEM, a tablet-based app which used augmented and virtual reality to deepen visitor engagement with artifacts in the exhibition. Wrote experience description for successful $1 million NASA grant which served as the blueprint for the project.
Supervised client’s staff in producing Sensor Zone, with an Arduino-controlled maze, interactive smart home, and other exhibit experiences. Contributed to museum’s strategic plan by researching key trends in STEM, museum visitor demographics, diversity, and inclusion.
Wrote four successful IMLS grants totaling $500K to support exhibition projects. Developed comprehensive summary of inclusive design strategies to guide design of new facility and exhibits.
Served as writer, editor, and producer for The Principal Investigator's Guide: Managing Evaluation in Informal STEM Education. Gathered and presented best practices in the form of an interactive online guide.
ILLINOIS HOLOCAUST MUSEUM & EDUCATION CENTER – Skokie, IL, June 2010 to December 2011
Director of Program Services
Reported to the President and CEO. Oversaw Exhibition/Collections, Education, and Marketing departments. Produced the Harvey L. Miller Family Make a Difference! anti-bullying exhibition and companion outreach programs with a team of in-house staff and external design and fabrication vendors. Implemented the museum’s first branding campaign using billboards, bus placards, and print and online media. Supervised 15 full-time and part-time staff. Served as liaison to Exhibit and Programs Committee of the Board.
MUSEUM OF SCIENCE AND INDUSTRY – Chicago, IL – August 2006 to June 2010
Project Director (2007 to 2010)
Reported to VP, Collections & Exhibitions. Directed creative efforts of 7 staff and 25+ vendors to renovate the west wing and introduce Science Storms, a 26,000 sq. ft. permanent exhibition on physics and chemistry featuring a three-story tornado, live fire, 30-foot rainbow, 200 artifacts, and 50 interactive stations. Delivered a world-class visitor experience which received the industry’s top design awards: AAM award for Overall Excellence in Exhibitions (2011); ASTC Roy Shafer Leading Edge Award for Visitor Experience (2011); and Themed Entertainment Association’s Thea Award for Outstanding Achievement (2010). It was named one of the 20 Most Influential Exhibitions This Century by the Society for Experiential and Graphic Design (2018).
Senior Project Manager (2006 to 2007)
Performed project management through completion of the Science Storms schematic design phase. Established the $30 million projected budget and four-year schedule; produced RFPs and contracts; and secured landmark approval for building modifications. Initiated museum’s first podcast series and exhibit blog.
CHICAGO CHILDREN'S MUSEUM – Chicago, IL – August 2003 to July 2006
Associate Vice President, Partnership of Playful Learners – (2004 to 2006)
Led the Partnership of Playful Learners featuring Skyline, an exhibition about skyscraper engineering which was recognized by the AAM award for Special Achievement in Cooperative Learning (2010). Applied Reggio teaching principles to exhibition design to prompt collaboration, conversation, and reflection in the exhibition. Developed multimedia stations which captured visitors’ building activity, prompted dialogue and reflection, and produced a digital book with audio narration. Designed building materials which doubled the duration of girls’ participation to match the boys. Experimented with graphic design approaches which increased family collaboration and conversation. Secured funding for the project with a successful $1.7 million NSF proposal.
Associate Vice President, Production & New Ventures – (2003 to 2004)
Supervised firms providing architectural services, exhibit planning, and construction management. Established budget and schedule for the planned $30 million renovation. Secured landmark approvals from zoning board.
THE TECH MUSEUM OF INNOVATION – San Jose, CA – June 1999 to June 2003
Senior Director of Exhibits and Programs (2002-2003) Director of Exhibits – (1999-2002)
Reported to VP of Exhibitions. Supervised a team of 13 staff and dozens of vendors in production of exhibitions and public programs. Managed $2.3 million annual capital and operating budget. Closed out contracts totaling several million dollars after the new facility opened and established standards to streamline future design, fabrication, and installation. Developed a five-year strategic plan leading to over $4 million in new project funding within three years. Served as liaison to Exhibits and Programs Committee of the Board and as principle investigator for NSF-funded Exploration gallery (Earth, Ocean, and Space); NSF-funded NetPl@net; and NIH-funded Genetics: Technology with a Twist. Introduced falling sand interactive replicated by more than 50 venues.
Exhibit Developer and Project Manager (1995-1999)
Led the development of $3.5 million Communications: Global Connections gallery for The Tech’s new facility opening October 1998. Made successful fundraising presentations to individual and corporate donors.
HARVARD UNIVERSITY – Cambridge, MA 1989
Bachelor of Arts in Psychology (John Harvard Scholarship for high academic distinction)
REGGIO CHILDREN – Reggio, Italy 2005
Attended study tour of education methods pioneered by pre-school educators in Reggio, Italy
NAPERLAUNCH ACADEMY – Naperville, IL 2018
Completed small business incubator program for entrepreneurs