MAPS 2018 Board of Directors Elections

As a member of the Middle Atlantic Planetarium Society, you have the privilege to vote for colleagues who will serve as your representatives on the MAPS Board. This year we have many wonderful candidates to choose from that will take three seats that are available.

MAPS members – check your inbox for your online voting invitation. All votes must be submitted by January 31, 2018. We thank you for your participation in this election and in MAPS overall.

Review the candidates’ bios in the table below.


Candidate Bio

Tim Collins

Dear Friends and Fellow MAPS Members,

I believe we must remain focused on delivering the awe of the stars and surroundings of our cosmic neighborhood and beyond that we can provide in our special theaters, both to the developing minds in the schools, and also the general public who still find wonder in space. In any casual conversation with any individual at any time or place, the subject of astronomy may present itself, and it is a great feeling knowing that in an instant, you can change a person’s outlook (young or old) on how they perceive the universe. In my early days as a MAPS member in the 90’s and even in my return in 2010, I have never stopped learning how to improve my delivery methods from lessons shared by my friends, mentors, and colleagues of the MAPS. I am now serving my seventh year on the MAPS Web Committee, and sixth year as Chair, where I have strived to ensure that information is current and relevant to our organization, its members, and vendors. I am indebted to the quality and quantity of experiences and lessons, and always wish to do my best to repay each and every one of you.

I have been so inspired by this field, that I am extremely fortunate to be able to present astronomy not just for one institution, but two. If elected as a MAPS Director, I will work to ensure that we remain a viable resource to others in our field, keep our mission in focus, and assist in reaching out to other institutions to expand our membership base. MAPS has been an invaluable resource not just for me, but all of us.

Thank you for your time.

Best Regards,
Tim Collins
Whitworth Ferguson Planetarium
Williamsville Space Lab Planetarium

Stephen Dubois

Greetings, esteemed colleages and MAPS Members. As most of you know I had served as your Secretary on the Executive Board for three terms and hope to earn your vote to return with the organization in the capacity of Board Member for the upcoming term. I bring with me more than 30 years of experience as a planetarian both at the Whitworth Ferguson Planetarium in Buffalo, NY as well as (more recently) the Williamsville Space Lab Planetarium in Williamsville, NY. Throughout my years I have used both opto-mechanical and digital equipment as well as many outreach opportunities teaching under the authentic sky at local summer camps for Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. An advocate of both new technology and traditional educational values, I believe that, first and foremost, a planetarium should replicate the experience of viewing the night sky under perfect conditions. In other words, the stars should always be central focus of any planetarium and that enriching the lives of the visitors, through deepened understanding of the skies above, is of key importance.

My background is somewhat unique. I have been around my hometown Planetarium for my entire life. When the Buffalo State College Planetarium opened in 1964, my father Robert, a physics professor, was asked to be co-administrator of the new facility. Two years later, the late Dr. James Orgren replaced my father and accepted the newly created position of full-time Director. During the many times when I would travel with my father to campus, a visit under the dome with "Dr. O". was always a highlight. As a young teenager, I began to learn the night sky and, after the summer of 1983, I set my goals on seriously studying astronomy. It was inevitable that I would again cross paths with the rebuilt and renamed Whitworth Ferguson Planetarium when I began my first semester of college at Buffalo State in 1986. I joined the Astronomy Club and held many key positions throughout my college years including Vice President and President. In 1987, I was formally trained as an operator/educator and I have been working at the planetarium ever since. Being in a small university dome, I've had to wear many hats over the years. I have created curriculum, authored and directed several multi-media presentations while also working as production designer and illustrator. My greatest passion associated with this field, though, is music/soundtrack scoring and I have served as music director on most every show with which I have been involved. I have also composed original music for 8 planetarium and/or fulldome productions (both locally and abroad,) two independent films and always welcome the challenges associated with bringing diverse space science topics to life sonically. In the mid 1990's, Paul Krupinksi created a planetarium show production company called Ancient Eyes Productions and I worked with Paul on a major release that was distributed all over North America which I co-wrote, co-illustrated and scored called Mister Frost and the Skies of Winter. Paul and I continued working with creating and introducing a line of educational items for gift shops (such as astronomer pencils & erasers and our best-selling "Moonphaser" pencils.) All of these diverse experiences have made me an extremely well-rounded candidate because I have worked within many facets of this field.

For the last five years, I have co-chaired the MAPS subcommittee for our grant program with Kristen Chon and Sue Button. We evaluate the grant submissions and decide upon the level of funding to offer.

To me being on the Executive Board is an opportunity to be a part of something where I can make a difference. Believe me, if any of you have ever spoken to me during the conferences and voiced praise, concerns, constructive criticism or provided ideas to improve the organization, that I have always communicated such feedback to the Board. Most importantly, is that I see MAPS as a community. I have enjoyed learning from you in your talks and presentations, conversing with you at banquets, meeting with our ever-supportive vendors and also sharing with all of you over these past years (while both on and off the Executive board) my presentations such as "Are We Obsolete?", "Props in the Dark", "How Correct are You?" and "Scoring for Science." I hope that you will elect me so that I may resume my inolvement with MAPS: an organization which I care about so deeply. I, as well as all of the Board, believe in working as a team to make MAPS the very best it can be. I feel that I have a lot more to give to this team and hope you will feel the same way. I will represent well the mission statement of the Middle Atlantic Planetarium Society and you, the membership. Thank you in advance for your continued support!

Lee Ann A. Hennig

I have had the honor of being a MAPS member for many years. My service includes holding several offices: Secretary, President Elect, President, and Board Member, as well as serving on various committees. I have attended, presented, and participated in many of the MAPS conferences. I believe our organization can benefit from long term planning and goal setting specifically for improving services to the membership.

Through my work on the Board, I have attempted to improve the stature of MAPS as an organization and to extend and expand its benefits to the membership. My past experiences have underscored the importance of a Board that can work as a group, cooperatively, for the good of the organization and for the growth and in the best interests of its members and their concerns.

The opportunities and experiences I have gained from my past position as Secretary of the International Planetarium Society, experience in national associations for the advancement of astronomy education, and from serving in other organizations have provided critical skills and tools which also reinforce my service as a Board member in MAPS.

Although the technology of our field is evolving we still need to be inclusive and supportive of our entire planetarium community. My facility is now undergoing renovation from a Spits A3P to a SkySkan Definiti Digital System. I am learning along the way how to deal with all the growing issues that come with that transition as well as the exciting possibilities. It is critical for MAPS to support strong leadership to face the challenges of our profession at all levels.

I have confirmed my impression of how crucial it is to have dedicated and motivated committees as a good base for our Society. As Education Chair it has been an honor to work with the other productive members of our committee in their quest for providing a service for our community.

The strength and soul of our organization is its membership and I will do my best to promote the goals and objectives of MAPS toward that philosophy. Thank you for the privilege of allowing me to be a candidate for office.

1. Director of Astronomy and Astrophysics Research at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (Fairfax County Virginia)
2. Director of the TJHSST Planetarium (SkySkan Definiti -30 ft Dome)
3. Coordinator of Research and Technology Labs at TJHSST

Brian Koehler

Greetings, fellow MAPS Members!

My name is Brian Koehler, and I have been working at the Mystic Seaport Museum (in Mystic, CT) since October of 2010. My background is actually in History Education (I am a New York state certified Social Studies Teacher for grades 7-12), but I have always enjoyed Astronomy since my childhood. Originally hired to be the Seaport’s Manager of Overnight Programs, I migrated to the Planetarium in the summer of 2013, joining “Team Treworgy” as a lecturer/presenter. Later that year, I was given the chance to lead the team with a promotion to Planetarium Supervisor.

My initial goals for the Planetarium were: (1) To develop new programs to increase the diversity of our offerings; (2) To implement a vigorous marketing effort to introduce the Planetarium to general visitors and special interest groups; and (3) To increase our attendance [and in direct correlation, increase our revenue!]. In recent years, the achievement of these goals has caused the Treworgy Planetarium to rise to previously unattained visibility and attendance numbers. Most importantly, my team and I continue to work every day towards fulfilling the planetarium’s mission of Science Education, and inspiring visitors to draw connections between our maritime history and the world around us.

An active member of both the Middle Atlantic Planetarium Society (MAPS) and the Live Interactive Planetarium Symposium (LIPS), I credit so much of my early success in Mystic to the networking opportunities that these prestigious organizations have provided. Being able to meet experienced colleagues in the field and share ideas, success stories, and hurdles is invaluable to the professional development of someone who is still relatively new in the field. And with the early years now under my belt, I am eager to contribute more to the organization that has given me so much.

In August of 2014, the Treworgy Planetarium hosted the 2014 LIPS gathering. More recently, in May of 2017, I was given the honor of hosting a Regional Meeting for MAPS. Building on the successes of these events, I am now pursuing my largest hosting endeavor to-date – the 2018 MAPS Conference, which will convene in Mystic from May 30-June 2, 2018.

I feel that the time is right for me to pursue a leadership role in this prestigious organization. It would be an honor to serve as a MAPS Executive Board Member, to give back to the colleagues who have guided me, and to foster the development of a new wave of MAPS members. Thank you for your consideration!

--- Brian

Paul Krupinski

Greetings fellow friends and colleagues of the Middle Atlantic Planetarium Society! Thank you for the opportunity to run for the position Director of the MAPS Executive Committee. As an incumbent, I’ve had the opportunity to work with the MAPS Board since 2010 and I’m really excited and proud the direction MAPS is headed. Yet, there’s much more to accomplish for YOU, our membership, as well as for the good of the society as a whole.

I’m Paul J. Krupinski from Cheektowaga, a large suburb 10 miles east of Buffalo, New York. I’ve been a member of MAPS since 1990. I’ve been so fortunate to meet new people, spend precious time with life-long friends, share some terrific ideas, as well as collaborate with the finest Planetarians this business has to offer.

Currently, I’m Director/Owner of Mr. K.’s Mobile Dome Planetarium, Show Presenter/Technician of the world renowned Strasenburgh Planetarium of the Rochester Museum & Science Center, Educator as a sub-contractor at the Maryvale Union Free School District Planetarium, as well as presenter at the Challenger Learning Center of Lockport’s digital dome (yes, I work under 4 domes!) I am so very fortunate to have the best of all planetarium worlds…the large, the small, the portable and now the digital dome experience!

I served the membership of MAPS as President Elect, President, and Past President from 2000-2006, which was truly an outstanding and rewarding experience. I’ve worked with the ad hoc MAPS Strategic Planning Committee, where a few Board members sequester themselves in the beautiful historic region of Gettysburg, PA and after countless hours of brainstorming, the result was our MAPS Executive Committee Calendar and Procedures, many improvements to our Conference Guidelines and Vendor Policy, as well as our Executive Handbook.

As you know, however, time doesn’t always allow one to complete all the tasks needed to make a vibrant, strong, and contemporary planetarium society. Many ideas brainstormed, are work-in-progress and need additional time to be brought to fruition --- all for the benefit of membership! I’d like the opportunity, once again, to continue working with the Executive Committee to re-visit and complete unfinished business, while cultivating new innovative ideas, which will ultimately serve you better and allow the Middle Atlantic Planetarium Society to grow into a better organization, resulting in an even brighter future going forward.


Paul J. Krupinski

Kathy Michaels

I first joined MAPS in 1986 when I took over as planetarium director at Maryvale Schools. I have been a member of the education committee on and off for most of that time since then. I'd like to serve on the Board because I think my experience as an educator and planetarian and have ability to travel to Board meetings throughout the MAPS region. After a successful 37 year teaching career, 20 spent working in the classroom and under the dome, I retired to take on a new project, to bring a Challenger Learning Center to Lockport in Western New York. This project allowed me to continue to bring STEM education to the local youth while I wrote grants to get a portable dome and digital projector for our CLC. My love of astronomy, space science and the night sky has kept me going during this decade long project. Currently, we offer a full day Challenger missions that includes the planetarium and classroom activities in conjunction with the missions. It has been a labor of love to bring another dome to WNY. As other domes in this area get refurbished, updated or rebuilt, this is an excellent time to work with others in the field. My next goal is to bring our planetarium to the general public and off site to local school districts. Currently, my favorite time of the week is after school “Science Club” where the kids come in, and even though we usually have a specific topic, we go where the kid’s questions take us. The focus on live and interactive is a wonderful way to enjoy the night sky and the universe.

Megan Norris

Planetarium Director, Suits-Bueche Planetarium
at miSci, museum of innovation & science

I am pleased to run for a seat on the board of the Middle Atlantic Planetarium Society for another term. I have really enjoyed working with the other board members as we strive to improve the organization for the members.

I have been working in science education at miSci, museum of innovation and science, since 2000. In my 17 years, I have had the opportunity to be a part of many aspects of the Education Department.

Our planetarium consists of a Goto Chronos star machine, for more realistic live sky presentations, as well as a Discovery Dome system for up-to-date digital programs. We still have our slide projectors, which are run by East Coast Control Systems for more flexibility with various presentations.

My experience in the planetarium field includes co-hosting the MAPS conference in 2008, and PIPS meetings in 2005 and 2007. I have hosted Space Days and Engineering Days with Knowles Atomic Power Labs, developed lessons for on-site and outreach programs in astronomy and other sciences, produced new planetarium shows, designed classes, workshops, and hands-on activities about astronomy and space science, and developed programs for schools, general public, scout groups, and civic organizations at the museum. I have done joint programming with other planetaria and Astronomy organizations, including the Albany Area Amateur Astronomers and the Dudley Observatory, the oldest private organization in the United States dedicated to the support of astronomical research. I became a Starlab educator for Dudley in 2013. In addition, miSci is a designated NASA Space Place, and we now have a Challenger Learning Center on site.

I have been a MAPS member since 2005 and an IPS member since 2008, and have received the MAPS Exceptional Service Award and MAPS Fellows Award.

I am currently a member of the Constitution Review Committee and the Education Committee and I am part of the MAPS Educator Mentor Network.

If I am re-elected to the Board of the Middle Atlantic Planetarium Society, I will continue working with the Board and the membership to help further the goals of astronomy education in our field.

Patty Seaton

Hello, fellow MAPSers! Greetings from the Howard B. Owens Science Center for PG County Public Schools, where I have worked full time for almost 18 years, and part-time for an additional ten years. I design and implement primarily Pre-K through 8th grade interactive educational programs, with some special college lectures as well. I design innovative public programs once a month, including Fancy Nancy, Harry Potter and Percy Jackson themes (with proper permissions). I’ve hosted two MAPS conferences (2003 and 2009) and two Armand Spitz Regional Conferences (the latest being this past May).

I’ve had an almost two-year hiatus from the Board after serving for twelve consecutive years as President-Elect, President, and Past President, I found I really miss being involved in the business aspect of the organization, and would like to serve again! We accomplished so much, taking on Strategic Planning for our organization long before IPS did the same! It was fun being part of the IPS planning as the MAPS Representative. I believe in truly collaborating with other planetarium organizations, which is why I have attended several WAC conferences and LIPS. And of course, I participated in the Pleiades National Conference as a presenter as well as regular delegate.

I'd like to continue to actively work on this collaboration as well as make sure we are supporting all types of planetariums in our region, from traditional (which my theater is), to digital, to hybrid (which is the dream system I've proposed to my superiors). Provide support for those running films or doing education or both. Technology is providing amazing possibilities in our field. I want to be part of making sure we can support each other fully. The planetarium community is family, and I'm stubbornly loyal to my family. Even if not elected, I'll proudly still serve on committees (currently I'm Elections Chair and serve on the Education Committee). Thanks for considering giving me another chance to "mind your business!"

Gloria Villalobos

Hello People of MAPS! I am excited and honored to be able to run for a position on the MAPS Board of Directors. I have been a member of the Middle Atlantic Planetarium Society for many years. The first conference I attended was in 1996 at the Charles Hayden Planetarium in Boston. Since then, I have hosted two conferences, served as your president-elect, president and past-president, served on the MAPS Strategic Planning Committee, Education Committee and was your IPS representative for several years. I’m a MAPS Fellow, have been a long-standing IPS member, served on the IPS Education Committee and am a past member of two of our fellow organizations, the Great Lakes Planetarium Association, and Southeastern Planetarium Association.
Professionally, I have been the Planetarium Educator at the Vanderbilt Planetarium. I was the last member of the staff there to learn to operate a completely manual theater. A year or so later, I was involved in our renovation to an automated theater. I moved on to the American Museum of Natural History, where I trained and supervised the Earth and Space Explainer Program, a corps of volunteers who’s domain grew to cover all of the astronomy exhibit areas for the Rose Center for Earth and Space, the Hall of Planet Earth, Hall of Meteorites and the Hall of Minerals and Gems. I left AMNH for smaller pastures, serving as Director of the Novins Planetarium for 12 years. During my time there, we hosted 2 MAPS conferences, and were faced with a permanent closure which, to make a long story very short, resulted in a 3 ½ million dollar renovation project and creating a brand new theater with both an opto-mechanical projector, laser and digital capabilities. Currently, I’m working as a roving astronomer. I teach astronomy at a community college, and run Wild Cosmos, a portable planetarium operation with both traditional starlab and digital capabilities. This has all proved me with the opportunity to see many sides of the planetarium universe, and I’ve certainly experienced and survived many of the real world challenges that so many of us face in our careers.

During my years with MAPS, I have not only seen, but experienced the strength of this organization. I remain grateful to MAPS and its membership for mentoring me as a new planetarian, challenging and enhancing my skills as a presenter, for the advice, guidance and so much more. It would be an honor to again serve this organization, to give back and to help guide it into the future.