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New Appointment for Executive Director Sarah B. George

Elected to serve on prestigious international board

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

The Natural History Museum of Utah at the University of Utah is pleased to announce the election of Executive Director, Dr. Sarah B. George to the Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC) Board of Directors. Dr. George brings more than 30 years of science and museum experience to ASTC and is one of three newly-elected Board members named during the 2016 ASTC Annual Conference in Tampa, Florida.   

“The Museum has been a member of ASTC for almost 25 years, said George, “and a governing member for about seven. With so many changes taking place in science education today, it’s an exciting time to collaborate with such a diverse and innovative group of science educators and professionals.”

As a new director, Dr. George will work with ASTC to create and manage global partnerships, promote informal STEM education and program support for member institutions, work with government agencies in support of science interests and more. Since its beginning in 1973, ASTC has grown from its original 20 founding members to more than 650 museum and science center members located in every U.S. state and across 50 countries. 

Since her arrival at the Museum in 1992, Dr. George’s influence has helped define the Museum’s mission to make science accessible to diverse groups throughout the state. She has helped transform exhibits from the traditional “look but don’t touch” design to a more contemporary, interactive approach designed to use collections to engage visitor senses. Through effective leadership, she directed the opening of the Museum’s stunning new 163,000-square-foot building in 2011. Dr. George is also a distinguished recipient of the 2015 Governor’s Medal for Excellence in Science and Technology awarded by Utah Governor Gary Herbert and the Utah Science and Technology Research (USTAR) Agency.

Under her direction, STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) education programs at the Museum continue to expand, including the recently launched Advancing Critical Thinking program combining 3D technology, computer gaming and the study of Museum specimens to help middle school students develop important critical thinking skills.

Clearly, Dr. George’s work echoes ASTC’s mission to create, support and improve informal science education and engagement around the globe. Joining Dr. George as newly elected ASTC Board members are Joel Brennan, president and CEO of Discovery World, Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Dr. Maurice Bitran, CEO and CSO of the Ontario Science Center, Toronto, Canada. Retiring this year is Member-at-Large Ronen Mir, Director of Science Learning Centers, Weizmann Institute of Science-Levinson Visitors Center, Rehovot, Israel.  

Dr. George, an evolutionary biologist, spent eight years at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles as curator of mammals before coming to the Natural History Museum of Utah. She serves as an Adjunct Professor of Biology at the University of Utah, and co-edited Visions of the Grand Staircase-Escalante: Examining Utah’s Newest National Monument and published several scientific works about small mammal evolution. Dr. George received a B.S. in Biology, graduating with honors, from the University of Puget Sound, an M.S. in Biology from Fort Hays State University, and a Ph.D. in Biology from the University of New Mexico.


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About the Natural History Museum of Utah

The Natural History Museum of Utah is one of the leading scientific research and cultural institutions in the country. Established in 1963, the Museum’s collections contain over 1.5 million objects and offer innovative exhibitions and educational programs to thousands of residents and visitors each year, including traveling and permanent exhibits, special events and other programs. With more than 250,000 visitors a year, the Museum also offers a variety of outreach programs to communities and schools throughout Utah, reaching every school district in the state annually. The Museum has an active scientific research program with more than 30 scientists and 10 field expeditions each year.