Michelle Hall receives ASTC award

Michelle Hall — surprised by the ASTC Leading Edge Award announcement.

I’m sure that the membership of the Teen Science Café Network will be pleased to learn that Michelle Hall, its co-director, received a very prestigious award from the Association of Science and Technology Centers, which was presented at its recent annual meeting in Hartford, Connecticut.


The Roy L. Shafer Leading Edge Awards are presented annually to ASTC members and/or their employees in recognition of extraordinary accomplishments in Visitor Experience, Business Practice, and Leadership in the Field that not only enhance the performance of their own institutions but also significantly advance the mission of science centers and museums.


The citation reads as follows:


“Michelle Hall, CEO of the Institute for Science Education New Mexico in Los Alamos, received the Leading Edge Award for Leadership in the Field (CEO). Taking inspiration from England’s “Science Cafés” for adults that were popular in the 1990s, Hall founded a Teen Science Café Network. The network is a series of free, fun, out-of-school events that enable teenagers to socialize over food while talking with local scientists and engineers about STEM topics (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). Hall’s creative and visionary leadership of the Teen Science Café Network has inspired informal science educators across the country to join in a vibrant community of practice. Since its formation in 2012, the network has established 108 local teen science café programs in 45 states, engaging tens of thousands of high school teenagers. The program has also expanded internationally, with sites in Canada, England, Singapore, and Jamaica.”


A video was shown at the ASTC meeting in honor of Michelle’s award. You can view the video here.


Michelle Hall’s Response on receiving the ASTC Leading Edge Award for CEO.

I have been blessed to work with some very extraordinary people over my career. So many people have inspired me, given a hand up when needed, and challenged me to do my best.  I am thankful to all of them. But, most of all, I am thankful to my dear friend and colleague who has had a hand in most every endeavor at Science Education Solutions and the Institute for Science Education New Mexico. Without Michael Mayhew, my friend, conspirator, mentor, and part time curmudgeon, the Teen Science Cafe Network would not be what it is today.


I am also thankful to every one of our member organizations and the tremendous adult leaders who are leading teens across the country to explore the world science, technology, engineering, and mathematics through the teen cafes.  It takes a village to guide our youth to success and each and every one of the scientists, adult leaders and even teen leaders are making a difference in the lives of teens in these programs.