Michelle Slater, the WFC’s new STEAM Coordinator, comes to us from the Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center in Mystic, CT where she worked as an educator and handled myriad creatures from snakes to owls. Her previous employment includes STEM education and program planning at the Connecticut Science Center. In addition, she worked as a National Science Foundation fellow during her master’s work in Marine Science at the University of New England. Her work as a fellow included teaching general science to 6th and 7th graders on a regular basis. Michelle aided in some initial program planning for Mystic Seaport’s re-launching of the Charles W. Morgan, America’s last wooden whaling ship afloat. One of her first jobs was even working as a camp counselor at Project Oceanology’s Ocean Diversity Institute. These experiences taught Michelle how to adapt lessons for a variety of age groups and clarify learning goals while honing skills in communication. Michelle’s undergraduate career at the University of Connecticut (Avery Point) was also filled with research jobs in Marine Sciences that reinforced her love of not only the creatures inhabiting our waters, but also the interactions and physical processes that make the sea such a dynamic environment. Michelle’s background in both education and research gives her the ability to understand complex science processes and translate them into something that can be understood across all disciplines. She is especially looking forward to this new opportunity at the WaterFront Center so that she can share new lesson plan ideas and help make STEAM more accessible for individuals of all ages. Michelle often remarks that “scientists are detectives, investigators, and explorers.” She constantly seeks to imbue these themes into her teaching. In her spare time, Michelle’s favorite activity is dinghy sailing. She put her heart into learning this lifelong sport – rising to her college club’s post as Commodore – and gaining the nickname, “Admiral”. Now moving from the eastern end of the Sound to the western, she hopes to help the WFC continue to grow and bring innovative ideas to our program offerings – a new adventure she is quite excited about!