Expert Profile

Joel Bonasera

Pronouns:

He/Him

Availability:

Available

Full or Part-time

Position Type:

CHARLOTTE

North Carolina

United States of America

Years in the field:

11 – 15 Years

Areas of Expertise

Education, Exhibits development, Information/Technology/Digital, Professional Development

By the time I graduated with a degree in Physics from University of Illinois, I knew that science education was more important to me than research and academia. Within a few months, I had moved to Charlotte, NC with my now wife Katharine and started working as a public programs educator at Discovery Place. My timing proved fortuitous as I was quickly identified to manage development of a physics exhbit as part of a major rennovation and overhaul of the facility. I was also part of the development team of a proto-makerspace exhibit focused on tinkering and the more artistic nature of innovation.

Following the completion of the rennovation project I managed floor operations for about a year before I chose to leave the museum and teach middle school math and science. Over the course of two years, I learned a lot about education and the public school system. Perhaps most important - that my heart is in informal education and teacher support. I was invited to return to Discovery Place as a public programs coordinator. In another instance of incredible timing, the Museum's education leadership soon announced a new arm of the organization focused on providing STEM Professional Development to educators across the region. I'm proud to say I was hired as one of the orginal three Program Managers of Professional Development at the Discovery Place Education Studio. Over the next 5 years the Education Studio team would serve between 10,000 and 15,000 educators on a wide array of topics. I personally managed the development and facilitation of a multi-year grant from the Duke Energy Foundation and spent a significant amount of time working with K-12 teachers on Makerspace technologies with highly engaging, hands on, and practical courses.

The COVID-19 pandemic made it virtually impossible to engage with school districs and teachers at the rate required to sustain that program. As such, my position was terminated. In the time since, I have pursued my passion of making unique and custom products via 3D printing and digital fabrication. I also continue to facilitate professional development sessions virutally on topics of 3D modeling and Design Thinking.

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