01 May 2019 // News

ACM Scholarship Recipients Lead Small Museums Fearlessly

On May 8-11, hundreds of children’s museum professionals will gather in Denver for the 2019 ACM Interactivity Conference. The theme of this year’s conference is FearLESS, using Colorado’s spirit of adventure as a catalyst for discussion. During the conference’s two days, educational sessions and an expansive vendor marketplace will inspire attendees to think boldly and take strategic risks. As ACM explains, it will challenge the children’s museums industry ” to go from a field…to a force.”

For the 11th year in a row, the ACM Small Museums Financial Aid Program, founded and sponsored by JRA, is offering complimentary Interactivity registrations to six fearless leaders, each of them shaping museums that earn less than $500,000 annually.

“Since our inception of the scholarship, which was actually at Interactivity 2008 in Denver, JRA has enjoyed supporting professionals of small museums that enrich minds and enhance communities,” said Shawn McCoy, JRA Vice President and ACM Education Committee Member. “We can’t wait to meet this year’s group of recipients and to see how the conference inspires them to dream even bigger.”

Let’s meet this year’s ACM Small Museums Financial Aid Program recipients:

JRA Childrens Museum Scholarship

Nikki Dijkshoorn, Marketing & Events Manager
Children’s Museum Curaçao (Willemstad, Curaçao)

Nikki Dijkshoorn was born and raised in Holland and studied Archeology and Museum Studies. Previously she worked in the marketing department of Tropenmuseum Junior, a children’s museum connected to Tropenmuseum in Amsterdam. In 2016, she moved to Curaçao, and then contacted the founders of the first children’s museum in the country. She volunteered to help develop the museum, and after the museum opened in December 2017, she became the first paid employee.

Nikki leads the museum’s marketing & communications efforts. She developed the museum’s logo, website, as well as wrote grant applications. She helps program the museum’s commercial events, including establishing the structure for birthday parties at the museum.

What does this scholarship mean to you?
This will be the first time I attend InterActivity and I’m really excited! It wouldn’t have been possible for as small museum as ours to join the conference, so I’m honored to have been awarded the grant. Since there is no other type of organization or museum in the region to share knowledge with, I am eager to learn and get in contact with other museums.


JRA Childrens Museum Scholarship

Karla Garcia, Guest Services Lead
KidZone Museum (Truckee, CA)

Karla Garcia is Guest Services Lead at KidZone Museum. In her role, she serves as front desk supervisor as well as volunteer coordinator, retail manager, and facilities and maintenance supervisor, to name of few of her job titles. Karla has worked at KidZone for three years, but has been a part of the museum long before working here. She loves to visit the museum with her son.

As a first time InterActivity attendee, Karla hopes to gain new ideas about retail management, social media marketing, customer service approaches, and programming ideas to share with the museum’s education team.

What does this scholarship mean to you?
I am so grateful for the scholarship I was given because I will be able to attend the InterActivity conference. There are many sessions that I want to attend at InterActivity, and I will bring as much knowledge as possible back to our museum. Thank you for giving me this opportunity.


JRA Childrens Museum Scholarship

Hatilie Lemke, Education Director
Jackson Hole Children’s Museum (Jackson, WY)

Hatilie Lemke has her dream job managing the education programming and exhibit curation at Jackson Hole Children’s Museum, a cozy and quaint children’s museum nestled in the Tetons. The museum’s exhibits provide children with the opportunity to create, explore, and discover through imaginative, artistic, and scientific play. Hatilie expanded the museum’s education programming to the local school district to provide engaging, project-based, and standards-based STEAM lessons to every K-5 classroom in Teton County. She is proud of the museum’s relationships with the schools, preschools, and nonprofits that make play accessible for all children in the community.

What does this scholarship mean to you?
I taught elementary school for several years, but I longed to teach project-based science full-time. I look forward to discovering more STEAMy ideas for our small-town children’s museum at InterActivity 2019!


JRA Childrens Museum Scholarship

Elise Probasco, Outreach and Programming Director
AHA! A Hands-On Adventure, A Children’s Museum (Lancaster, OH)

Elise Probasco has been a part of the AHA! team since 2014. Her love of working with young children led her to obtain a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Ohio University in 2016. Working at AHA! has allowed Elise to share her love of art, nature, and community outreach with young children and their families. She plans, implements, and oversees programming activities and outreach events offered through the museum, including four weekly programming events centered on science, art, nature, and literature that align with Ohio’s standards for Early Learning.

Having lived in Lancaster her whole life, Elise feels passionately about being able to give back to her community through her work at AHA!. Outside of work, Elise enjoys cooking, spending time with her dogs, and expressing her creativity through vibrant hair colors.

What does the scholarship mean to you?
This scholarship means that I have the opportunity to grow my skills as a young professional and use those skills to better reach and serve my community.


JRA Childrens Museum Scholarship

Kali Rose, Assistant Director of Daily Operations
The Children’s Museum of Greater Fall River (Fall River, MA)

Kali Rose has worked at The Children’s Museum of Greater Fall River in Massachusetts for six years. Previously she was a preschool teacher, and has her Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education. Because the museum has a staff of three employees, Kali multitasks and takes on many roles in the museum.
She enjoys spending time with family and friends.

What does the scholarship mean to you?
This scholarship means so much to me because I am able to attend the conference. The Children’s Museum of Greater Fall River is only six years old, and we are still growing and raising funds for the exhibits and building. Without this scholarship, I would not be able to attend the conference.


JRA Childrens Museum Scholarship

Abby Turner, Executive Director
Montana Science Center (Bozeman, MT)

Abby Turner joined the Montana Science Center (formerly the Children’s Museum of Bozeman) as Executive Director in October 2017. Located in Bozeman, Montana, the Montana Science Center has taken an increasingly prevalent focus on science and technology with Abby at the helm. A Montana State University graduate, her background is in marketing, event management, public relations, and entrepreneurship.

In the eleven years prior to joining the museum, Abby owned three businesses, where she honed the skills necessary to operate a business. During that time, she devoted many hours and resources to help several nonprofits pro bono. Abby decided that she was not merely interested in helping nonprofits, but wanted her career to focus on making a difference in the Bozeman community. She joined the museum to create a space where children can play, create, and think critically about the world around them.

What does the scholarship mean to you?
I am grateful for the opportunity to attend InterActivity 2019 through this scholarship in order to collaborate with colleagues to make a difference in our common goal—creative, life-changing spaces for families.


Images Courtesy ACM.