Meet Discovery Circle Member Karen Shaw

by | Jul 3, 2015

“The Truth is, if you want something, you do what it takes,” says Karen Shaw, a Seattle psychologist and longtime Pacific Science Center Member who recently joined our Discovery Circle. Shaw knows.

Years ago, while living in Atlanta and other cities, she and her husband had four children in five years, and she raised them while attending night school to earn a graduate psychology degree. When the children were fairly young, she and their father went their separate ways. When the children were older, Shaw moved to Seattle as a single woman, not knowing a soul, because she craved hiking, mountains, water, ethnic diversity, theater and a city with a strong soul. Within a year, she was working as a therapist, immersed herself in folk dancing, met the man who would become her husband – Larry Hohm, a philosophy professor turned software engineer and developer – and visited the Science Center to see an IMAX movie.

“Wow, this is a very cool place,” she said, enchanted by the IMAX experience, the arches, the sparkling pools, the science exhibits. Immediately, she decided to become a Member. And she still supports the Science Center annually – 23 years later. “If you live in a city and you want your city to be vibrant, you have to support it,” Shaw says. “You have to support the things that make it different. Pacific Science Center is unique and pretty phenomenal. I have enjoyed many exhibits and really learned things I thought were pretty cool. The exhibit on race was incredible. I quote that exhibit to friends: Did you know there’s no such thing as race? That it’s a social construct?”

When Shaw’s out-of-town children call to say they’re bringing grandchildren to visit, Shaw jumps online: “What’s going on at the Science Center?”

Family favorites: IMAX movies, laser shows, Live Science Stage Shows, the dinosaurs, the Tropical Butterfly House, the Saltwater Tide pool, puzzles and games. “What I like is that the Science Center appeals to adults and to children of many ages. It offers things for everyone. You can take your kids and grandkids and let them go.”

So when we called Shaw to ask if she’d like to join Discovery Circle, our leading group of individual contributors, and take her family on a behind-the-scenes tour of the Tropical Butterfly House, she decided, “You know? I need to put my money where my mouth is. I do take everyone who comes to town to the Science Center. I guess I just have this love affair with the Science Center!”

Discovery Circle provides essential operating support to our award-winning programs, allowing our mission to reach over one million individuals annually. Become a part of this group of leaders for just $100 a month. For more information, please contact Discovery Circle Manager, Briana Commins at (206) 269-5717 or