Meet your instructors

Programs offered through the public education department are developed and taught by museum education professionals with science backgrounds and years of experience teaching in informal learning environments.

Teresa MacDonald

Teresa MacDonald is the Associate Director of Informal Science Education at the museum. She holds a PhD in science education, MSc in vertebrate paleontology, and BA, honors in physical anthropology. She has more than twenty years of science teaching experience in museums, science centers, universities and schools from kindergarten to college level on three continents.

Teresa has been involved with multiple grant-funded projects such as Principal Investigator for Natural History Mystery: Immersing families in a problem-solving game using museum collectionsMicrobes on the Move: Exploring microbiomes through mobile museum experiences, and Understanding the Tree of Life, Co-PI and outreach lead for the Euteleost Tree of Life project, Co-PI for Adventures at Nanoscale: Superconductivity, outreach director for Quarked! Adventures in the Subatomic Universe, and partner on STEM Escape: Immersing urban and rural families in a biomedical mystery, and The Tree Room: Teaching and learning about evolutionary relationships.

Selected Papers & Presentations

Thanukos, A., MacDonald, T., Heiser, D., and Ross, R. (2016). Visualizing Evolution: Reinforcing NGSS’s Unity and Diversity Standards at zoos and aquariums. Presentation at AZA (Association of Zoos and Aquariums) annual conference, San Diego, CA, September.

Novick, L.R., Pickering, J., MacDonald, T., Diamond, J. et al. (2014). Depicting the Tree of Life: Guiding Principles from Psychological ResearchEvolution: Education and Outreach, 7(1):1-13.

MacDonald, T. (2014). Evolutionary Tree Design: An exploratory study of the influence of linear versus branched format on visitors' interpretation and understanding. Poster at NARST (National Association for Research in Science Teaching) conference, Pittsburgh, PA, March. DOI:10.6084/m9.figsare.969649.

MacDonald, T., and Wiley, E.O. (2012). Communicating phylogeny: Evolutionary tree diagrams in museumsEvolution Education and Outreach, 5:14-28. DOI 10.1007/s12052-012-0387-0.

MacDonald, T., and Bean, A. (2011). Adventures in the Subatomic Universe: An exploratory study of a scientist-museum physics education projectPublic Understanding of Science, 20(6):846-862.

Carolyn Kocken

Carolyn Kocken is the Education Coordinator at the museum.  She holds a M.S. in paleontology and a B.S. in Earth Science – paleontology.  She has experience in teaching science at museums, summer camps, and National Parks for all ages.

Selected Papers & Presentations

Kocken, C., Howard, M. (2020) Badlands National Park Visitor Site Report Program: A Unique Learning and Resource Management Opportunity Between Visitors and Park Paleontologists. Poster at National GSA (Geological Society of America) conference, Virtual, October. DOI 10.1130/abs/2020AM-359736