Science Center VP to Join U.S. Dept. of Education

Contact: Katelyn Del Buco
Pacific Science Center, Seattle
(206) 269-5728;



Seattle (February 27, 2014) – Dr. Ellen Lettvin, Vice President of Science and Education for Pacific Science Center, has been selected from a field of more than 60 nominees to be the inaugural Robert Noyce Fellow in Informal Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Learning. Dr. Lettvin will leave Pacific Science Center in March to begin the Fellowship in the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Innovation and Improvement in Washington, D.C.

As the Robert Noyce Fellow, Dr. Lettvin will coordinate closely with several groups across Department of Education and with the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. She will work with the National Science Foundation, Smithsonian Institution and other leading research groups to identify tools, strategies and programs that have potential for significant impact on student STEM motivation and learning.

In her role, Dr. Lettvin will collaborate with corporate, non-profit and philanthropic communities, and with a variety of informal education organizations. Her work will focus on identifying ways that informal STEM learning can improve existing and proposed Department of Education programs, both those that focus on out-of-school time and those aimed at supporting STEM teaching and learning. As she works with colleagues across the Administration, she will cultivate and strengthen collaboration across federal agencies in this realm. The Fellowship will be funded jointly by the Noyce Foundation and the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation.

“This is a very exciting time for the field, as informal approaches to learning about science, technology, engineering and math are being integrated more deliberately into education programs. I am honored to have the opportunity to engage more broadly with the educational community on a national scale and look forward to helping make a difference as we engage and inspire youth about the STEM fields,” said Dr. Lettvin.

“While I hate losing Ellen from Pacific Science Center, she is an outstanding choice to help the Department of Education better understand, appreciate and utilize the power of informal science education organizations that operate in the important out-of-school settings where so much education happens,” said Bryce Seidl, President and CEO for Pacific Science Center.

During Dr. Lettvin’s five years at Pacific Science Center, she has been responsible for several key achievements, including: the expansion of the Camps for Curious Minds program to six locations across the Puget Sound; the development of The Environmental Science and Technology Practicum and Polliwog Preschool at Mercer Slough Environmental Education Center; the coordination and deployment of the CO2 monitor in collaboration with NOAA to provide one of the few empirical tools for assessing new carbon-reduction policies, and the launch of the 2012 and 2013 Seattle Science Festivals, which shared authentic STEM experiences with more than 45,000 people each year and brought luminaries such as Stephen Hawking and Brian Greene to Seattle.

Pacific Science Center began as the United States Science Pavilion during the 1962 Seattle World's Fair. Millions came to explore the wonders of science during the World's Fair, and upon closing ceremonies, the Science Pavilion was given new life as the private, not-for-profit Pacific Science Center, becoming the first U.S. museum founded as a science and technology center. On July 22, 2010, Pacific Science Center was declared a City of Seattle Landmark. On October 22, 2012, Pacific Science Center celebrated 50 years of inspiring curiosity, creativity and critical thinking for people of all ages throughout Washington and guests from around the world.

The Noyce Foundation aims to help young people become curious, thoughtful, and engaged learners. The Foundation focuses on a few key areas: expanding opportunities for students to experience hands-on science in out-of-school settings; supporting human capital efforts to develop effective teachers and principal leaders; and investing in models and policy for improving the teaching of math and science. The Noyce Foundation was created by the Noyce family in 1990 to honor the memory and legacy of Dr. Robert N. Noyce, co-founder of Intel and inventor of the integrated circuit that fueled the personal computer revolution and gave Silicon Valley its name.

For nearly eight decades, the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation has supported education as a pathway out of poverty for individuals and communities. Today, that support includes funding to strengthen and grow the field of afterschool, including STEM-related education that builds on classroom learning. The Foundation, which was established in 1926 by an automotive pioneer, is a private philanthropy committed to supporting projects that promote a just, equitable and sustainable society. It supports nonprofit programs throughout the United States and, on a limited geographic basis, internationally. Grantmaking is focused in four programs: Civil Society, Environment, Flint Area and Pathways Out of Poverty. For more information, visit