Who We Are

Peggy Barber, now retired from her firm, Library Communication Strategies Inc. – worked in 31 states and 5 countries beyond the U.S. – on projects including Pushing the Limits. She previously was Associate Executive Director for Communication for the American Library Association (ALA). Her work included establishing the ALA Public Information Office, Public Programs Office and ALA Graphics program, including the celebrity READ poster series. A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of California, Riverside, she went on to earn an MLS at Rutgers University, served as coordinator for the Orange County (CA) Cooperative Library System and as a reference librarian for the Bay Area Reference Center, San Francisco Public Library, before moving to ALA. Peggy authored the professional development materials used in the Pushing the Limits series.

Karen Brown, Professor of Library and Information Science at Dominican University, teaches online and face-to-face courses and has led numerous library staff development workshops on program planning, organizational change, and assessment. 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. Karen was the PLACE project’s Professional Learning Manager.

Harry Dawson, Director of Creative Services and Cinematographer, Dawson Media Group, provides DMG’s visionary leadership. His past work ranges from FRONTLINE and NOVA, to multiple documentaries for TNT and The Discovery Channel. His work has been favorably reviewed in the London Times, Cinematographer magazine, and others. He has created documentaries and educational media for festival release as well as the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame, the LA County Museum of Art (LACMA), and Pushing the Limits. Harry was the PLACE project’s Cinematographer and Creative Director.

Edward Gardiner has a Ph.D. in ecology from the University of Georgia. He is the Engagement Manager for the U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit, a project that spans all federal agencies that contribute to building resilience to climate hazards around the nation. Through the American Museum of Natural History’s Science Bulletins video channel, Edward has taught audiences around the world about biodiversity and Earth sciences. In 2008, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Program Office hired him to bring data visualization to the Climate.gov team. Today, he applies data visualization and cognitive sciences to help decision makers around the country make better decisions using climate information. Edward was the presenter in the NOAA Toolkit videos for PLACE.

Karen Gareis, Ph.D., is a Senior Research Associate and Director of Professional Development at Goodman Research Group, Inc., in Cambridge, MA. She directs 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 provided external evaluation for the PLACE project.

Ronald S. Gird is Outreach Program Manager with NOAA’s National Weather Service. He is a meteorologist and is responsible for the NWS Customer Outreach and Education Programs. Ron is responsible for all aspects of the nation-wide NWS Outreach Programs for the 122 NWS forecast Offices. He determines annual outreach budgets and resources to ensure satisfied customers. Ron works on a daily basis with NWS partners such as the American Red Cross, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the National Weather Association, PLAN!T NOW, and the American Meteorological Society. Ron develops NWS Outreach performance measures to assess the effectiveness of NWS outreach and education goals. Ronald acted as a PLACE project advisor.

Chris Hagar is an Assistant Professor at the School of Information, San Jose State University, CA. She holds a Ph.D. in Library and Information Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana‐Champaign. Chris’ primary teaching and research interests are in the area of crisis informatics (she coined the term “crisis informatics” in 2006). Her research focuses on information needs and information seeking in crises; disaster health information, and roles for information professionals in crisis preparedness and response. She edited Crisis Information Management: Communication and Technologies published by Chandos, published in 2012. She has delivered workshops and webinars on roles for public libraries in crisis preparedness and response. Chris was an advisor for the PLACE project and created the content for the the Unit 2 Crisis Informatics videos.

Douglas Hilderbrand is a meteorologist in the Office of Communications within National Weather Service Headquarters.  He is the Weather-Ready Nation Ambassador initiative lead, a NOAA-wide effort to recognize and strengthen NOAA partnerships to improve the nation’s readiness, responsiveness, and resilience to extreme weather, water, and climate events. Prior to joining the WRN Team, he served on detail to the NOAA Policy Office as policy adviser on weather and satellites from 2011-2013. In that role, he partnered with other federal agencies, non-profits, and businesses to work together to better serve stakeholders before, during, and after extreme events. Douglas served as a PLACE project advisor.

Susan Hildreth, Professor of Practice at the University of Washington Information School and previous Executive Director of the Califa Group, is a fellow at the Aspen Institute. She served as the director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services appointed by President Obama from January 2011 through January 2015. Susan served as Seattle Public Library city librarian and state librarian of California, appointed by California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. She also served as the city librarian of the San Francisco Public Library and in other leadership positions in California public libraries. Susan was a PLACE project advisor.

Paula McKinnon, Interim Director, Califa Group, 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 directed Califa’s involvement in the PLACE project.

Meighan Maloney is the Executive Producer for Dawson Media Group. Beginning with her work as Series Manager for the PBS series Newton’s Apple and continuing through her role as EP/co-PI for Pushing the Limits, Meighan has decades of experience creating and leading media projects for ISL and cross-platform professional development, funded by NSF, NIH, DOJ, DOE, and private foundations. As a PLACE co-PI, she oversaw the creation of all media materials.

Frank Niepold is the Climate Education Coordinator at NOAA’s Climate Program Office in Silver Spring Maryland, Climate.gov education section lead, a co-chair of the U.S. Global Change Research Program’s  Education Interagency Working Group, and the U.S. Climate Action Report Education, Training, and Outreach chapter lead. At NOAA, he develops and implements NOAA’s Climate goal education and outreach efforts. Additionally, he is a founding member of the CLEAN Network, a professionally diverse community committed to improving climate and energy literacy locally, regionally, nationally, and globally, to enable responsible decisions and actions though all forms of education. Frank was a PLACE project advisor.

Sarah Schoedinger is Senior Program Manager for NOAA’s Office of Education where she co-manages the agency’s Environmental Literacy Program and serves as a liaison to organizations whose educational missions and programs complement those of NOAA. Since 2004, Sarah has been one of the leaders of a campaign to increase ocean literacy through both formal K-12 and informal education at national and international levels. She is a past president of the National Marine Educators Association (NMEA) and she holds a Master’s degree in marine studies from the University of Delaware and a Bachelor’s degree from St. John’s College. Sarah was a PLACE project advisor.

Fred Stein, Ed.D., is a Senior Science Educator at the Exploration Institute for Inquiry, where he designs and implements professional development experiences for science education professionals. He and his staff received a United States Department of Education i3 (Investing in Innovation) grant (2010 – 2015) for their work on integrating inquiry science and English Language Development, and currently provide professional development for professional development providers supporting the California Next Generation Science Standards. As an advisor on NSF’s first Pushing the Limits project (2010-2013), Fred collaborated on the design and implementation of the professional development experiences for the project’s first cohort, and authored PD materials that are used in the PTL series.

Blaze Travis, B.A., is on the external evaluation team for PLACE. He is a Research Assistant at Goodman Research Group, Inc., with day-to-day responsibility for various aspects of evaluation studies. These include data collection, management, cleaning, coding, and analysis. Blaze is also responsible for liaising with our online survey software developers. Additionally, he is working on report style guides, company branding, and improving data visualization. Blaze works with Project Managers to conduct literature reviews, instrument development and create reports and presentations. His areas of interest include education, sociology, public service, statistical analysis, data visualization, and advocacy. Blaze assisted Karen Gareis in her project evaluation for PLACE.

Partners and Affiliates

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.

Dawson Media Group (DMG) produces high-quality “mission based” materials including documentaries, films for museums, classroom materials and professional learning series. It was founded by two veterans of PBS primetime programs, who bring those high production values and credible content treatments to all which they produce. DMG has produced a number of projects focused on science literacy and education. DMG has produced a number of projects focused on science literacy and education, including Examining the Evidence (an on-demand professional learning project explaining the science of forensics to lawyers and judges, funded by the National Institute of Justice), ALLERGIC! (a set of classroom materials on food allergies funded by the National Institutes of Health) and Pushing the Limits (targeting librarians and rural communities, funded by the National Science Foundation).

Goodman Research Group, Inc. (www.grginc.com) 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.

NOAA is an agency that enriches life through science. Its education programs foster the use of science toward improving ocean and coastal stewardship, increasing safety and resilience to environmental hazards, and preparing a future workforce to support NOAA’s mission. NOAA’s reach goes from the surface of the sun to the depths of the ocean floor as we work to keep citizens informed of the changing environment around them. From daily weather forecasts, severe storm warnings, and climate monitoring to fisheries management, coastal restoration and supporting marine commerce, NOAA’s products and services support economic vitality and affect more than one-third of America’s gross domestic product. NOAA’s dedicated scientists use cutting-edge research and high-tech instrumentation to provide citizens, planners, emergency managers and other decision makers with reliable information they need when they need it.

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