January 1 will mark the end of my 9th year at the Ruth Patrick Science Education Center and the beginning of my 10th year. Although I am not one to look back on what we have accomplished, it's difficult not to reflect on how far we have come. In one respect, it seems like just yesterday that I had moved here from Florida - bright eyed, skinny, a head full of black hair, and ready to change the world. Now I look in the mirror and see an overweight, balding, gray haired person staring back at me. However, one thing hasn't changed, I still want to change the world.
The reason that I still feel this way is the people that I work with: my staff, my colleagues at the USCA and around the state, the teachers and administrators of the CSRA, and my colleagues in business and industry. The staff at the RPSEC and CSRA Hub is the best assembled anywhere in the country. They are the most knowledgeable, dedicated group of professionals I have ever had the privilege of working with. Interacting with them keeps me interested in what I am doing. It is because of them that we have gone from interacting with a little over 1,000 people in 1988 to over 42,000 people in 1996.
As for my colleagues at USCA, I am proud to be associated with this group
of professionals. When I first came here in 1988, there was no such thing as
communication among the departments. Now there is constant communication between
the college of sciences (including mathematics) and the school of education.
The reason for this is the willingness of my colleagues to break down the territorial
boundaries that existed and the willingness to stretch their comfort levels
and try new things. Not that everything is peaches and cream, but at least all
the players can sit around the same table and agree to disagree in a professional
manner. One of the things that distinguishes the Center from other entities
is our partnerships with business and industry. This is witnessed each year
during our annual Science Education Enrichment
Day. This year we again had over 20 businesses and industries develop exhibits
and share science and mathematics activities with the general public. In addition
to SEED, our traveling demonstrations program has grown to over 120 "kits" and
over 150 scientist volunteers have been trained to visit classrooms throughout
the CSRA. Without the support of these volunteers, we would not be able to run
this program. Finally, what I am most proud of is our partnerships with schools
and teachers of this region. Of all the things that keep me going and keep me
"wide-eyed" and idealistic, it is the teachers of the CSRA. It is your enthusiasm,
thirst for knowledge and dedication to doing better that makes it easy for me
to do what I do. It is because of you that we exist and without your support
we could not have accomplished what we have these past nine years.
Since this is the time of year we give thanks, let me thank all those who have supported me and the Center over the past nine years. I promise to keep working at helping you do a better job in the classroom. It is because of you that I look forward to my 10th, and hopefully most productive year, at the Center. Have a happy and safe holiday season. See you next year!