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.

Leadership

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

A widely published science center veteran, Dr. Kirsten Ellenbogen brings more than 25 years of experience to her new role as the third president of Great Lakes Science Center. Dr. Ellenbogen’s energetic leadership during the last two decades has advanced informal STEM education through four grant-funded, national centers. Currently, she is co-principal investigator of the Center for Advancement of Informal Science Education that works in collaboration with the National Science Foundation to strengthen and advance the field of informal STEM education and its infrastructure by providing resources and building community. Her leadership activities at Great Lakes Science Center include the launch of Cleveland Creates, a strategic initiative developed with industry to change the community’s manufacturing narrative through STEM education for diverse middle-school youth and families.

Dr. Ellenbogen has worked at five museums during the past two decades and consulted for more than 30. She began her work in museums at the Detroit Science Center in 1987 and has worked as a demonstrator, hall interpreter, exhibit developer, evaluator, and researcher. Her leadership activities for the field include serving as a founding officer of the Informal Learning Environments Research SIG-American Education Research Association, senior chair of the Informal Science Education Strand-National Association for Research in Science Teaching, and training coordinator of the Visitor Studies Group (UK). She has been 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, a national association dedicated to understanding and enhancing learning experiences in informal settings through research, evaluation and dialogue. She was also selected to be a Noyce Leadership Fellow and led a strategic initiative focused on using the museum’s resources to help policy makers use scientific evidence to inform their decisions.

Dr. Ellenbogen's learning research has focused on measuring the community impact of science centers, documenting the role of museums in family life, designing informal learning experiences to encourage science conversations, and the identifying of how scientific visualization technologies can be used to engage the public in exploring scientific data and understanding complex phenomena. Publications include articles in Curator, Science Education, and Environmental Education Research as well as chapters in “Handbook for Small Science Centers,” “In Principle, In Practice: Museums as Learning Institutions,” and, “Museum Informatics.”
Dr. Ellenbogen has been appointed to the Cleveland Mayor’s Lakefront Advisory Committee, the Planning and Urban Design Committee of the Group Plan Commission, and the Downtown Cleveland Alliance Visioning Committee. She serves on the board of the Cleveland Water Alliance, the Association of Science-Technology Centers, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. Her doctorate in science education is from Vanderbilt University and her bachelor’s degree is from the University of Chicago. She lives in Shaker Heights with her husband, a Cleveland Metropolitan 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.”

Susan Allen
Vice President of Marketing, Communication and Sales, Great Lakes Science Center

Sue Allen is responsible for the overall leadership of strategic marketing, communication, special events and sales to strengthen the Science Center's role in the community, increase attendance and improve sales volume. 

Allen was most recently with Cleveland Metroparks as Director of Communications from April 2013 to April 2015 where she was responsible for internal and external communication strategies, media and public relations and social media. Prior to that, she spent 23 years as Manager of Marketing and Public Relations for Cleveland Metroparks Zoo where she led marketing and communication initiatives that increased Zoo attendance and reinforced the organization’s mission. Before moving to Cleveland in 1990, Allen was Marketing and Promotion Director at Kravis Broadcasting in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Allen also serves on the boards of Shoes and Clothes for Kids and the Old Brooklyn Development Corporation.

Allen graduated from Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa with a bachelor of arts degree in sociology and has been honored as a recipient of the Distinguished Marketing and Sales Executive award from the Sales and Marketing Executives of Cleveland.

Originally from Chicago, Allen resides in Cleveland.

 

 

Patrick J. Ertle, Esq.
Vice President of Development, Great Lakes Science Center

Patrick J. Ertle, Esq. joined the senior management team at Great Lakes Science Center in February 2016. He brings more than 20 years of nonprofit development/advancement experience at the executive level to his new role as vice president of development at the Science Center.

Ertle taught theology at St. Ignatius High School while pursuing his law degree and went on to serve as general legal counsel for 21 corporations of the Cleveland Catholic Diocese before entering the nonprofit development field. For the past 15 years he directed numerous development teams and programs at several Cleveland nonprofits including the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, University Hospitals Health System and John Carroll University. He was responsible for creating the Diamond Advisory Group at UHHS and the Magis Advisory Group at JCU.

Ertle has been a licensed attorney in the State of Ohio since 1990, earning his juris doctor degree from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, and a bachelor’s degree in classical languages and English literature from Borromeo College of Ohio. He has served on the board of directors for 21 corporations of the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland, St. Ignatius High School, St. Augustine Academy, and L’Arche Cleveland as well as the BNY-Mellon National Charitable Advisory Council and St. Edward High School Development Advisory Committee. 

He and his wife reside in Lakewood and enjoy spending time with their four children and four grandchildren.