Who We Are

Dan Rockmore is the William H. Neukom 1964 Professor of Computational Science at Dartmouth College, where he directs the Neukom Institute for Computational Science and is a professor of mathematics and computer science, and Associate Dean for the Sciences. Dan’s research is at the interface of pure and applied mathematics. He has a long history of science outreach, and is the Principal Investigator for Rural Gateways as he was for the original Pushing the Limits. Both programs were funded by the National Science Foundation, with the goal of enabling public libraries in small and rural communities to realize their potential as providers of informal science learning. See more about Dan’s works at the Neukom Institute website.

Scott G. Allen is the Program Manager for the Public Library Association (PLA). He is responsible for DigitalLearn.org, the Legacy grant, Family Engagement, the PLA Partners program, health-related activity and other programs. Past posts include PLA Education Director, Executive Director of the Illinois Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics (ICAAP) for 15 years. Scott held a variety of positions in educational program development, policy development, and fundraising with the national office of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Scott attended Northwestern University and Spertus College for his BA and MS in Nonprofit Management respectively. Scott is a Rural Gateways project advisor.

Mark Axton has spent more than 25 years working in the film and video industry. From industrial videos to feature film visual effects, and from LA to Portland, Mark has produced or managed live-action and animation projects. Mark has produced through Amblin Entertainment, Universal Cartoon Studios, Buena Vista Pictures, Pixar, and Will Vinton Studios. His feature film credits include The Mask, The Crow, Turbulence, Multiplicity, Starship Troopers, Air Force One, Shrek and Toy Story 2. He was the Production Manager for Pushing the Limits, and Examining the Evidence: The Science of Forensic Science. Mark is the Head of Production for Rural Gateways.

Karen Brown is a Professor of Library and Information Science at Dominican University. She is the recipient of the University’s 2002 Follett Excellence in Teaching Award and the 2005 Library Administration and Management Association’s Outstanding Researchers Award. As an advisor to NSF’s first Pushing the Limits project (2010-2013), she was lead author of the professional development content. Karen holds a doctorate in media ecology from New York University and master’s degrees in library science and adult education from the University of Wisconsin. She teaches online and face-to-face courses and has led numerous library staff development workshops on program planning, organizational change, and assessment. Karen is the Co-Principal Investigator for the Rural Gateways project.

Harry Dawson is the Director of Photography for Dawson Media Group. Harry is a 30-year veteran DP/cinematographer for primetime broadcast programs including NOVA, FRONTLINE, NATURE, and numerous Discovery Channel documentaries. His work has been showcased at the Guggenheim Museum, MOMA, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, and the National Portrait Gallery in London, England, and his cinematography has been favorably reviewed in the LA Times, American Cinematographer, The New Yorker and the London Times. Harry’s work includes COLLAPSE for the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, and permanent installations in the Getty Center, the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame, and other cultural museums across the US. Harry’s recent cinematography can be seen in CORSO: The Last Beat, a documentary hosted by Ethan Hawke. Harry is the Director and Cinematographer for the Rural Gateways videos.

Paul B. Dusenbery is the Director of Education & Outreach at the National Center for Interactive Learning. Paul has also served as the Executive Director of the Space Science Institute (SSI). He was the project director and led the development of major national traveling exhibitions. Currently, he directs the national library education program called the STAR Library Education Network (STAR_Net), in partnership with the American Library Association and many library and STEM education organizations. The STAR_Net program includes traveling STEM exhibitions, activities and training for librarians, an outreach program in partnership with the Afterschool Alliance, a community of practice for librarians and STEM professionals, and evaluation and research. Paul is a Rural Gateways project advisor.

John H. Falk is the Executive Director of the Institute for Learning Innovation, a Sea Grant Professor of Free-Choice Learning at Oregon State University; and Director of the Oregon State University Center for Research on Lifelong STEM Learning. As an internationally acknowledged leading expert on free-choice learning, Dr. Falk has authored over one hundred fifty scholarly articles and chapters in the areas of learning, biology and education, more than a dozen books, and helped to create several nationally important out-of-school educational curricula. He serves on numerous national and international boards and commissions and has been Associate Editor of several internationally prominent journals. John is a Co-Principal Investigator for the Rural Gateways project.

Karen Gareis is a Senior Research Associate and Director of Professional Development at Goodman Research Group, Inc., in Cambridge, MA. Karen leads evaluations of a wide range of formal and informal educational programs for adults, teens, and children in areas including STEM, the arts, and health. In her role as Director of PD, she leads GRG’s continuing education and training program to ensure that staff stay abreast of emerging theory, research, and methods in evaluation. Areas of interest include informal science and arts education, research methodology, statistical analysis, data visualization, and gender. Karen is the evaluator for the Rural Gateways project.

Patty Hector is a library consultant who began her career in corporate libraries in Dallas, Texas, but soon after took a surprising turn and spent most of her career working in public libraries in Arkansas and California. As director of the Del Norte County Library District she got her first taste of rural librarianship and later went on to work with a variety of rural libraries as the assistant system director in a cooperative library system in Northern California called NorthNet. It was during this time that she served as president of the Association for Rural and Small Libraries (ARSL). Patty resides in Hot Springs, AR and consults on library projects. Patty is a project consultant for the Rural Gateways project.

Susan Hughes is the retired Treasurer of the Executive Board for Association for Rural and Small Libraries (ARSL). Susan has developed a broad perspective of the workings of small town and rural libraries, and has expertise in meeting the needs of the rural libraries’ communities. She managed the library of a small town of 2500 in upstate New York, worked as Director in the library for a town of 7000, and in a medical library at a teaching hospital. She did library work for the Florida Department of Corrections, training and supervising in prison libraries in the Florida Panhandle, and administered a 4 county public library cooperative – with a total of 13 library branches in 4 counties. Susan is a Rural Gateways project advisor.

Kathleen Jamison is Professor Emerita and a 4-H Youth Development Specialist at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia. Kathleen works primarily in the areas of Maker Education, invention, STEM and curriculum development. She has shared her expertise in STEM education development as the national 4-H Curriculum Director in STEM-related areas, and while working with the European Children’s Universities Network. Kathleen currently serves as a 4-H representative to the White House Maker sessions, Senate caucus events and as a 4-H training developer under a Feed the Future, USAID, Grant, in Senegal Africa. Her current project is Growing 4-H Science, which focuses on integrating formal and non-formal educators through urban agriculture with an emphasis on STEM. Kathleen is a Rural Gateways project advisor.

Paula MacKinnon is the Interim Director of Califa Group. Paula is an information professional with 20 years’ experience developing, managing and writing about usable, content‐rich web services for public and special libraries. Her recent projects include award‐winning library services Discover & Go, a downloadable museum pass platform for California libraries; LiveChat, an eGovernment Customer Relationship Management service provided by the Library; enki Library, a California ebook platform that makes ebook ownership a reality for libraries; and Snap & Go, a smart phone application that uses QR codes to put library service literally, into the hands of commuters. Paula holds a master’s degree in library science from Dalhousie University, Canada. Paula is the Rural Gateways Project Manager for Library Engagement

Meighan Maloney is the Executive Producer for Dawson Media Group, where the mission is “Doing Good Work for Good People.” Beginning with her work as Series Manager for the Emmy award-winning PBS series Newton’s Apple and continuing through her current role as Co-PI on the NOAA- funded Public Libraries Advancing Community Engagement: Environmental Literacy Through Climate Change Discussions (PLACE), Meighan has focused on the creation of formal and informal science projects and professional development media for teachers, nurses, lawyers, corrections professionals, psychologists, and others. Before co-founding DMG, Meighan worked for 20 years creating national programs and materials for PBS. Meighan is the Rural Gateways project Director

Dwight McInvaill is the Georgetown County Library Director. Dwight has provided innovative public library service in South Carolina. His approaches have included interactive gaming to encourage teen literacy, oral-history video production to share stories, digital-arts instruction to stimulate creativity, and digital dissemination of images and documents to preserve history. He knows public libraries are vital. In a 2008 White House ceremony, he accepted his state’s first “National Medal for Library Service.” In 2009, the Carnegie Foundation and New York Times honored him with an “I Love My Librarian Award.” In 2013, his library embraced Pushing the Limits, the precursor to Rural Gateways. Dwight is a Rural Gateways project advisor.

Cynthia Randall is the Executive Director of Cornerstones of Science, Brunswick, ME. Cynthia has twenty years of professional experience across the fields of science, informal science education, and nonprofit management, with clients such as MIT, the KACARE (sponsored King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia), FIRST, the Department of Homeland Security, and others. As an archaeologist, her research focused around paleo-environments as a tipping point for influencing changes in technology, activity and culture. Cynthia is committed to working with libraries to create science experiences that spark curiosity and foster a deeper understanding of the world around us. Cynthia is a Rural Gateways project advisor.

Dennis Schatz is the Senior Advisor at Pacific Science Center in Seattle, Washington. Dennis has co-directed the Washington State Leadership and Assistance for Science Education Reform program, and served as Principal Investigator for Portal to the Public, an initiative that enhances the public’s understanding of current science research and its application. He also served as a Program Director in the Advancing Informal STEM Learning (AISL) program at the National Science Foundation. He is the Field Editor of Connected Science Learning (http://csl.nsta.org/), a new journal that highlights STEM programs that connect in-school and out-of-school STEM experiences. He is the author of 23 science books for children that have sold almost 2 million copies worldwide. Dennnis is a Rural Gateways project advisor.

Monae Verbeke is a Senior Research Associate at the Institute for Learning Innovation. Monae has worked in the field of informal science education for nearly a decade, evaluating a wide-range of arts and science programs using multi-method approaches to gauge their impacts on emotion, interest and understanding. Monae loves to use her interdisciplinary background, as both a biologist and environmental sociologist, to think innovatively about the issues facing STEAM engagement. She is passionate about improving informal learning programs use of research and innovative technology to create meaningful engagement with the public. Monae is committed to improving STEAM engagement through the sharing of ‘best practices’, including innovative evaluation tools.

Partners and Affiliates

The Association for Rural & Small Libraries, Inc. is a network of persons throughout the country dedicated to the positive growth and development of libraries. ARSL believes in the value of rural and small libraries and strives to create resources and services that address national, state, and local priorities for libraries situated in rural communities. As the premier organization representing rural and small libraries, ARSL recognizes the uniqueness of small and rural libraries and is committed to providing an environment that encourages excellence within this community of practice, supporting their goals of service and speaking on behalf of this important constituency. The Association for Rural & Small Libraries provides resources and support that empower those in small and rural libraries to deliver excellent service for their communities.

Califa Group is a nonprofit library membership consortium of more than 220 libraries and is the largest library network in California. Founded in 2004, Califa brokers and facilitates the procurement of library products; works closely with the California State Library in administering a number of statewide projects supported by federal Library Services and Technology Act funds, such as the enki Library ebook platform; offers Continuing Education training through the Infopeople project; and manages master contracts and pricing agreements with publishers and vendors. With years of experience and a network of professional contacts, Califa has demonstrated capacity and experience in grant program design, delivery, and management.

Cornerstones of Science works with public libraries providing programs and resources that help people understand how science and technology affects their daily lives and the world around them. Cornerstones was founded in 1999 at Curtis Memorial Library in Brunswick, Maine, and soon began providing staff-led science programs throughout midcoast Maine. In 2006, Cornerstones was nationally recognized with The Highsmith Library Innovation Award, presented by The Public Library Association (a division of the American Library Association). By 2009, Cornerstones had built a 22-library partner network and it became an independent 501(c) 3 non-profit organization, providing librarians with resources and programs to stimulate public interest in science. Cornerstones currently supports a network of 31 library partners in five states.

Dawson Media Group (DMG) is a socially responsible media production company that develops, creates and delivers multi-platform learning experiences in engaging and provocative styles. DMG focuses on creating media with a message, working with educational institutions, government agencies and other non-profits to create content driven works. Founded by two veterans of PBS primetime production, DMG projects include award-winning documentaries, messaging videos for nonprofits, and educational materials for classrooms, professional development, and informal settings.

Goodman Research Group, Inc. (GRG) is an educational research firm in Cambridge, MA, with additional sites in Detroit and Los Angeles. GRG specializes in all aspects of program evaluation, including feasibility studies and needs assessments, formative research, process evaluation, outcome evaluation, and summative evaluation, as well as related services such as consultation and workshops. Since 1989, GRG has formulated and carried out well over 400 evaluation studies for a prestigious group of clients around the U.S., including cultural institutions, broadcast media, formal education institutions, community-based organizations, foundations, medical institutions, and government agencies. GRG is a certified woman-owned business enterprise.

The Institute for Learning Innovation (ILI) is an independent not-for-profit organization working at the intersection of research, practice, and policy. We believe that a broader definition of learning, one that is lifelong and free-choice, can offer solutions to many of the critical cultural, environmental, economic and social problems facing today’s rapidly changing world. We have conducted research, evaluation and strategic planning efforts in virtually every type of cultural institution. We collaborate with organizations, cities, countries, and regions in a variety of ways, including: facilitating institutional and organizational strategic planning, providing professional development, conducting multi-institutional or country-wide research studies and organizing symposia and convenings.

The Public Library Association (PLA) is the largest association dedicated to supporting the
unique and evolving needs of public library professionals. Founded in 1944, PLA serves nearly
9,000 members in public libraries large and small, in communities across the United States and
Canada, with a growing presence around the world. PLA strives to help its members shape the
essential institution of public libraries by serving as an indispensable ally for public library leaders.

Science‐Technology Activities and Resources Library Education Network (STAR_Net) provides interactive STEM exhibits, programming, and training to public libraries nationwide. Core partners include the American Library Association (ALA), Lunar and Planetary Institute, and the Afterschool Alliance. Other partners include Engineers Without Borders-USA, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc.-USA, the National Renewable Energy Lab, American Geophysical Union, Geological Society of America, Association of Rural and Small Libraries, and many more.

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