​Our Mission

Our mission is simple: to make science, technology, engineering and math come alive.


Our Vision

A community where all people value science, technology, engineering and math to inform decision-making and enrich lives.


Guiding Principles

  • We help people learn STEM by doing STEM and believe that it is best learned through real scientific challenges.
  • We cultivate creative, innovative, critical thinkers for the 21st century.
  • We support a learning culture that encourages curiosity and experimentation.
  • We bring people together by creating welcoming, fun and high-quality guest experiences.
  • We strengthen our community impact by collaborating with other organizations and connecting to STEM resources in our region.
  • We ensure our future by maintaining our long-term fiscal and staff sustainability.

2017-2021 Strategic Business Plan

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Leadership

Kirsten M. Ellenbogen, Ph.D.
President & CEO, Great Lakes Science Center

For thirty years, Dr. Ellenbogen has been in the business of researching and developing learning experiences that make science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) come alive. She began her tenure as third President and CEO of Great Lakes Science Center with a strategic initiative developed in collaboration with corporate leaders to change the community’s narrative around advanced manufacturing for diverse middle-school youth and families. Most recently she is launching Cleveland Connections: a new initiative integrating emerging technologies such as blockchain and industrial internet of things to education and empower youth in developing personal and community solutions. Her energetic leadership on national initiatives includes serving as co-principal investigator of the Center for Advancement of Informal Science Education, in collaboration with the National Science Foundation.

Dr. Ellenbogen's research focuses on measuring the community impact of science centers, designing learning experiences to facilitate science talk for families, and using scientific visualization technologies to engage the public in exploring complex phenomena. She was appointed to Section X of the British Association for the Advancement of Science and to the National Academy of Sciences' committee that produced the volume, Learning Science in Informal Environments. In 2007, she was elected President of the Visitor Studies Association. In 2010, she was awarded a Noyce Fellowship focused on using museum resources to help policy makers use scientific evidence to inform decision-making. She has been awarded the Community Inspiration Award at STEMCON in 2015 and the Crain’s Women of Note Award in 2017. Most recently she was appointed to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine Standing Committee on Advancing Science Communication Research and Practice.

Dr. Ellenbogen is chair of the Downtown Cleveland Alliance Visioning Committee and has been appointed to the Cleveland Mayor’s Sustainable City Committee and the Planning and Urban Design Committee of the Group Plan Commission. She serves on the boards of the Cleveland Water Alliance, the Association of Science-Technology Centers, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, and Cleveland’s MC2STEM High School. She received her Ph.D. in Science Education from Vanderbilt University and her B.A. from the University of Chicago. She lives in Shaker Heights with her husband, a Cleveland Metro School District teacher, and their two children.

 

Kenneth J. Sinchak, CPA, CGMA
Chief Financial Officer, Great Lakes Science Center

Ken Sinchak joined the senior management team at Great Lakes Science Center in January, 2016 after serving as the interim chief financial officer for several months. He is no stranger to the world of non-profit institutions in Northeast Ohio, having served as vice president of finance and chief financial officer at the Cleveland Botanical Garden for nine years before coming to the Science Center.

Within the Science Center’s Finance Department, Sinchak oversees three full-time staff members and all facets of the institution’s financial operations including budgeting, long-term forecasting, payment obligations, payroll, parking garage and harbor leases, financial reporting, and cash flow.

Before joining the non-profit sector Sinchak had a long financial leadership career in the corporate world including serving as CFO at S.S. Kemp & Co. and tax and accounting software publisher CPAid, Inc. He also taught accounting as an adjunct professor at Lake Erie College in Painesville and Lorain County Community College in Elyria.

Sinchak earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in accounting at Cleveland State University. He is a certified public accountant, a Charter Global Management Accountant and a member of the American Institute of CPAs, the Ohio Society of CPAs and the Institute of Management Accountants. He also serves on the finance committee of the board of directors at Magnificat High School.

Sinchak resides in Independence with his family.

 

 

Valence E. Davillier III 
Vice President of Exhibits, Great Lakes Science Center

Val Davillier brings 27 years of experience in informal museum exhibit development, design, and fabrication to his role as vice president of exhibits at Great Lakes Science Center.

Davillier currently manages the development and creation of new exhibits, the traveling exhibition program, and the maintenance of more than 400 hands-on exhibits and numerous artifacts. He manages a staff of highly motivated technicians and a fabricator. He also serves as Co-Principal Investigator of the NIH Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA), in conjunction with the Clinical and Translational Science Collaborative at Case Western Reserve University.

He began his career creating and managing the development of informal learning experiences and environments as the Science Center’s Production Manager in 1994. He earned degrees in painting from the University of New Orleans and the University of Cincinnati. He is a member of the American Alliance of Museums and a member of the National Association of Museum Exhibitors.

Davillier values the unique capacity of hands-on, playful informal environments that not only educate us, but also remind us that science and technology environments can become valuable aesthetic experiences that nurture the spirit and inspire the mind.

In addition to the work of the Science Center, Davillier continues to paint and photograph the American landscape. His photographs have been selected for shows at the 1650 Gallery in Los Angeles and the online gallery “Is That Your Best Shot.”

 

Scott Vollmer
Vice President of STEM Learning, Great Lakes Science Center 

​Scott Vollmer joined the senior management team at Great Lakes Science Center in November 2017, after 10 years at the National Inventors Hall of Fame in North Canton. Vollmer worked in a variety of roles at the NIHF, most recently serving as the institution’s vice president of creative and program development. During his time there, he led a diverse team of designers, scientists, educators and engineers to create products and experiences that advanced the pioneering spirit of America.

In his new role as vice president of STEM Learning at the Science Center, Vollmer directs all of the museum’s STEM learning initiatives including programs for school groups, the general public, early childhood, home school, Great Science Academy, day camps and the volunteer staff.

Vollmer is a passionate leader whose career is firmly rooted at the intersection of creativity and innovation. He believes the Science Center is an institution for change and can be an essential catalyst within the community for nurturing the next generation of STEM leaders. Vollmer is excited to work with Science Center President & CEO Kirsten Ellenbogen in articulating the museum’s mission to current and future community partners.

Vollmer is a lifelong resident of Northeast Ohio. In addition to his extensive work at NIHF, he served as executive director of After-School All-Stars Cleveland. He received a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Akron. He also holds several utility and design patents and received three Addy Awards for excellence in advertising.

He lives with his wife, Celeste, and son, Isaac, in Akron.

 

Amy M. Pausche
Vice President of Development, Great Lakes Science Center

The newest member of the senior management team at Great Lakes Science Center is Amy Pausche. She joined the Science Center in April, 2018 after serving as development director at the Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland for the last three years.

As vice president of development, Pausche is responsible for all aspects of revenue generated by the Science Center outside of the box office, including grant applications, individual and corporate giving, planned giving, sponsorships and fundraising. The Development Department also coordinates the Science Center’s annual report to the community and the activities of the Garrett Morgan Professionals Group.

Pausche has a true passion for helping non-profit organizations achieve their goals. Before joining the Ronald McDonald House, she led the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Cleveland as executive director from 2009 to 2014, and prior to that, helped the same organization as campaign manager for the successful Light the Night Walk and Man & Woman of the Year campaigns. “I love seeing the magic that happens in the collaboration between the folks that fund these amazing organizations and the wonderful individuals who receive their services. It’s an incredible feeling to help transform dollars into experiences,” Pausche said.

As a native of Northeastern Ohio, Pausche is a big Cleveland Indians fan. She also coaches baseball for kids and enjoys spending time with her family exploring the Cleveland area and the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. She currently sits on the board of The Union Club in Downtown Cleveland, and co-chairs an alumni committee for her alma mater, Roanoke College in Salem, Virginia, where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in economics.