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Meet SEE’s new Executive Director

SEE Science Center is pleased to announce Susan Howland as its new executive director.  Howland brings more than two decades on nonprofit experience to this new position, most recently serving as the City of Manchester and Granite United Way’s director of homeless services. In this role, Howland led community efforts to more than double federal funding for homeless services in Manchester, built solid collaborative planning teams and assisted the City in administering federal contracts.

Craig Ahlquist, board chair states, “The SEE Science Center Board of Directors is excited to have Susan join our team. Everyone agrees that getting children interested in science, technology, engineering and math is critical to building our next generation workforce. Susan has built strong relationships with key people throughout New Hampshire.  She is well positioned to make SEE a valuable resource for area educators while building upon SEE’s success in providing hands-on STEM learning for children.”

Susan Howland headshot
As executive director of SEE, Howland will oversee an organization that engages over 50,000 visitors annually at this hands-on learning center that promotes the understanding, enjoyment and achievements of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
I look forward to taking on this new challenge and working with a very dedicated team of staff, board members, donors and other important partners,” says Howland.  “I began the nonprofit portion of my career at FIRST and have always enjoyed inspiring our youth to the wonders of science and technology.  This is a perfect next step for me.”  Howland continues to serve on the City of Manchester’s Office of Youth Services Advisory Committee and on the Executive Committee of the Greater Manchester Association of Service Agencies.

SEE Science Center Announces Retirement of Executive Director

 

After more than 30 years, Douglas Heuser, Co-Founder and Executive Director of SEE Science Center, Inc. has announced he will be stepping down mid-February, 2016. “It will be very difficult in some ways,” said Heuser, “This has been a large part of my life.”

In April, 1984 Heuser wrote and received a NH Department of Health and Human Services starter grant for $40,000. With 4,500 square feet of space in an old mill building donated from noted inventor and entrepreneur Dean Kamen, Heuser and Kamen co-founded Science Enrichment Encounters and Heuser became the first Executive Director.

Since then the hands-on science discovery center they founded has changed its name (to SEE Science Center), and its location (to 200 Bedford Street) but not its Director. Heuser has overseen the Center’s growth from one employee (himself) to 7 full time, 16 part-time, and 4 part-time temporary workers for special projects/exhibitions. Its square footage has grown from 4,500 to 45,000 square feet including special exhibition space.

Heuser said he did not plan to retire: he plans to repurpose. He will spend time with his new-born grandson, and looks forward to being a “grampa-nanny” to his soon-to-be-born identical twin granddaughters.  He also plans to volunteer, write, and travel with his wife, Martha Small.

 

Transformations

By Peter Gustafson, Resource Development Specialist

I signed in at 1:07 pm and checking my keys, mobile phone and wallet at the security desk, followed my guide through a metal detector and a series of electronically locked doors.

It was in a gymnasium. The boys and girls, age 14 to 17, entered in small groups of 5 to 10 each. They all had color coded shirts and the same grey elastic waist-band pants with no pockets. White socks and plain white sneakers. Guards in street clothes directed each group to sit in a specific area on the floor. Voices echoed in barks and shouts as more groups entered the high ceilinged room, the energy mounting as additional guards arrived, speaking into hand-held radios, “make sure the blues don’t sit near the greens…”

This was the setting for my team building/engineering/problem solving challenge for about 35 boys and girls who are current residents at the John H. Sununu Youth Services Center here in Manchester, NH. My main focus here at the SEE Science Center is development, but when our educational staff is busy, I’m happy to get out of the office and run a program or two.

Yes, these kids are locked up and probably made some bad decisions recently, and they initially hemmed and hawed when they found that they would be working in teams and building vehicles with LEGO® bricks, but once they got down to business and started to build and test and observe and re-engineer and re-test, things got the best kind of quiet: Quiet interrupted by “oh, let’s try it this way!” and “we need more weight in the back” and “what if we use a longer axle?”.  The mood of correctional facility drifted away and these difficult, tough kids quickly transformed into inquiring, inspired young people, working together to solve a problem and reach a goal. And they didn’t want to stop. They wanted to make their vehicles better, faster, run further, run straighter.

And just as quickly as that transformation occurred, it was over. It was back to reality. Shoes off. Hands against the wall. Feet spread apart. Pat-down. “Gotta check for LEGOs in their socks, could be used as a weapon”, the guard told me. They found none.

In August I am scheduled run the classic “egg drop” challenge with this same group of kids. Can’t wait.

LEGO race YDC

SEE Undertakes Exhibit Evaluation

By SEE Staff

As you probably realize, SEE is a small museum, especially when compared to the big science centers in Boston, New York and Chicago for example.  (BTW you can use a SEE membership at science centers large and small all over the country for reciprocal benefits).  And because we are smaller we don’t have any evaluators on staff.  What do museum evaluators do?  Well, they make sure all the exhibits, programs and endeavors of the organization are in line with its mission and goals.  That is very important!  SEE is very grateful to have recently had two volunteers, Jake and Jo, undertake the evaluation of SEE’s exhibits.  Their report and continued efforts will help SEE make plans for how to better serve our community with our exhibits in the future.

As a member of SEE’s community your input is important as well.  We listen to customers comments when they visit or write to us.  We read what people say about SEE on sites like Trip Advisor and Yelp.  And we try to incorporate the comments in what we do.   A great example is the return of the train engineering exhibit for early explorers last summer after Charles successfully advocated for the return of his favorite exhibit.  Read our blog post: Inspiring and Enthusiastic SEE fans to learn more about his efforts.

So as we take a fresh look at our exhibits, leave us a comment, let us know which exhibits are your favorite and which ones really helped you or your family learn something new about science!

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T-Rex Road Trip!

By Douglas Heuser Executive Director

This past weekend we took the inflatable T-Rex out for his first public appearance at the Stonyfield 5K Earth Day Race and Fair to promote the coming robotic Dinosaurs exhibition.

On Saturday three of our staff members and 3 family members headed out with a van filled with our dino gear.  We all spent the better part of the day at the Fair promoting SEE and the coming dino exhibit. I am so grateful that we have such dedicated staff that they are willing to give up weekends to help promote SEE and convince their family members to come along too!

Sometimes it is easy to lose touch with those we actually serve. It was rejuvenating to me and eye-opening for my wife to hear so many comments like: “Oh, the SEE Science Center? We love that place!”  “We take our grandkids there all the time – it’s wonderful!”  Said to Glenna: “We were just there last week on a field trip. You did the tour, and you were awesome!”  Of course there were those who were not aware of us, but they were mainly from Massachusetts so we were able to educate them as to how close SEE is to them.

Look for us the next time our T-Rex hits the road and if you are interested in joining our dino brigade give us a call at 669-0400.  Spread the word: DINOSAURS will be in the same building as SEE from Oct. 10th 2015 to Jan. 17, 2016.  Don’t miss it!

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Help & Preserve the Earth you live on!

You may think that it takes a lot of effort to have a more eco-friendly lifestyle, but it’s actually pretty easy to be green! Here at the SEE Science Center we are very conscious of how we can be more eco-friendly and wanted to share some tips on how to be more green. The smallest changes can make an immense impact!

1. Save Water, Turn Off The Faucet!

Instead of leaving the water running while brushing your teeth or washing dishes, you can turn off the faucet in between rinses or washes. In the long run this will save a lot of water.

2. Turn The Lights Off & Unplug!

Walking out of a room and leaving the lights on can be a bad habit. Just by turning off the light switch you will not only save energy, but your electricity bill will be lower too! Sensor lights are also an eco-friendly alternative. Speaking of electricity, make sure to unplug those cellphone or laptop chargers when they are not in use. They consume energy too!

3. Recycle, Recycle, Recycle!

This may be easy to forget and it may be tedious but recycling is very important to preserve the Earth’s resources. Check your communities recycling plan, there may be more things accepted or it may be easier to recycle than just a few years ago.  It can be as simple as having two separate bins, one for regular trash and the other for recyclable materials such as plastic or aluminum. It will make the Earth smile!

4. Buy Organic or Local Produce!

Not only will this support your local farm stands, but it will help the Earth as well! Organic food is a smart alternative because not only is good for your health but also for livestock. A lot of the produce that is at the large supermarket chains contain synthetics and Genetically Modified Organisms, thus proving that buying fresh produce is a healthier and more green option.

Love the Earth we live on!

The SEE Science Center will be at the Stonyfield Organic Earth Day 5K Race!

Click here for more details! http://bit.ly/1e3r1Or

eco-friendly-dry-cleaning-Akron

People often ask us: How do you clean the LEGO Millyard Project? The answer is: very carefully!
Seriously though, we thought we’d share some of what we do and use to keep SEE looking great 7 days a week.

We always want to be clean and welcoming for our guests – even during those snowy winter months when the sand and salt that we need outside gets tracked in every day. So what do we do? We roll up our sleeves and clean every morning before we open. Just like at your home that means vacuuming, sweeping, washing and disinfecting. Also, Capitol Hill Cleaners help us keep the restrooms clean at SEE 3 nights a week.
According to the Center for Disease Control, cleaning works by physically removing germs and dirt from surfaces or objects. This process does not necessarily kill germs, but by removing them, it lowers their numbers and the risk of spreading infection.

SEE uses these products for cleaning daily.
cleaning supplies

Table surfaces, plexiglass exhibit coverings and mirrored surfaces are cleaned every day and more often if needed.

According to the CDC disinfecting works by using chemicals to kills germs on surfaces or objects. This process does not necessarily clean dirty surfaces or remove germs, but by killing germs on a surface after cleaning, it can further lower the risk of spreading infection.

SEE uses these products to disinfect surfaces regularly:
Lysol, Clorox cleaner with bleach , Lysol Foam cleaner,  Ultra-violet wand
We use these for surfaces most prone to sneezes and lots of small hands and when “accidents” happen.

Because chemical cleaners and disinfectants can cause allergies to act up –our staff tries to use them before SEE is open to the public.

The big projects, like painting the walls and floors, shampooing the carpets or thoroughly cleaning the LEGO Millyard happen at the beginning of September. We close for one to two weeks to get everything in tip-top shape.

Oh, by the way, our best friend when cleaning the LEGO Millyard Project: Swiffer dusters –and lots of them!

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