Let's get to know our Educational Director and artful creator, Anna!
Hailing from Duluth, MN, Anna always had a passion for working with children and teaching/learning. At parent teacher conferences in elementary school, her parents frequently heard comments such as, "Anna sure has a lot to say...." and "She is quite helpful but sometimes needs to remember who the teacher is." Even at a young age, Anna knew she wanted to help others and share her passion for learning with the world.
Anna did well in school and loved language arts, Spanish, and social sciences. Math and Science, however, were more difficult. These subjects felt out of reach at times and seemed more difficult than other subjects. Social messaging seemed to imply that math and science were for boys and girls just weren't good at those things. It wasn't until college that Anna found her passion for STEM topics. "I was taking a human biology class with Professor Jurney. His personality was unlike any other- dry, sarcastic, unintentionally entertaining, and always forgiving. He taught Biology in a completely new way and gave second chances- encouraging mistakes and learning. I looked forward to that class every week and it is still the one I remember most fondly after all these years."
While volunteering in college for a program with adults with physical and cognitive disabilities, Anna met Stacy, owner of Science Explorers. The two instantly connected and Stacy offered Anna a teaching position that day. While teaching for Science Explorers, Anna learned just how amazing and accessible STEM topics can be to all students. She learned how to make science fun, engaging, and non-intimidating for students of all ability levels. The class that really piqued her interest was "Extreme Bubbles". The number of things that can be done with bubbles is just astonishing!! (Stay tuned for some bubble science fun coming later this this year!)
In 2012, Anna graduated with her Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education K-8 with a middle school specialty in communication and language arts and began teaching full-time while also continuing to teach summer science camps with Science Explorers. Throughout her teaching career, Anna has taught babies, toddlers, and preschoolers in a Montessori setting; second grade and kindergarten in a public school setting; and community education science classes in a variety of areas. Her passion for STEM continued to grow and in 2019, she obtained her Master's of Education in Curriculum and Instruction with a focus on STEM.
Now, with two young children of her own, Anna continues to explore ways to make STEM accessible to all families and children of all ages. She joined Discovery Explorers in April 2021 and helped to launch the company's first sensory bins. She uses her expertise to ensure that materials are developmentally appropriate, connect to national science standards, and provide quality educational experiences for kids and parents alike. "Our goal at Discovery Explorers is to make parents feel empowered. We want to bring families together by providing the materials, educational background, and hands-on family fun that makes STEM simple and accessible for everyone."
We LOVE messy play at our house. Egg splatter painting is one of our FAVORITES!
Let's meet Stacy, owner of Discovery Explorers and masterful creator.
Growing up on a farm in southern Minnesota, Stacy learned all about hard work and the great outdoors at a young age. Exploring the farm, camping, and participating in dinosaur digs are just the beginning of this scientist's adventures. Combining her background in business, love for science, and passion for sharing knowledge, Discovery Explorers launched in 2020. This is how it happened.
Stacy's interest in science began in 6th grade. "I remember Mr. Anderson, my 6th grade teacher, had us working in groups of two and we were given a large clear plastic container that had an 'island' in the middle. We added dirt to the island and planted grass seeds. Then we added water to the container to surround the island and added daphnia to the water. We took care of and observed any changes in our little environment as we introduced other animals and plants." In high school, she recalls taking a chemistry class and acciently burning a hole in her jeans with HCL! Then there was the anatomy class where she learned about the human body and became fascinated with how the body works.
Stacy isn't the only one with an excitement for learning. "Both my husband and I have always loved rocks/minerals, animals, science and history. We would plan our family camping trips and vacations around rock hounding areas, zoos, natural wonders and museums. We’ve been to Arkansas to dig for diamonds and crystals, Thunder Bay for amethysts, North Carolina for Emeralds and other gems, plus Montana for garnets and gold. We’ve worked alongside paleontologists and geologists on dinosaur digs in Colorado, Wyoming and Montana. Even though our children do not vacation with us anymore, we still plan many of our adventures around museums, zoos and of course...rock hounding."
In 1995, Stacy had an opportunity to share her knowledge and excitement with others. A newer company, Science Explorers, was looking for teachers to go out into the community and teach their curriculum to children ages 3-12. Stacy eagerly joined. She fell so in love with teaching and working on curriculum that she purchased the company in 2007. Combining her background in business with her passion for teaching, Stacy says "I've surrounded myself with instructors and staff who have inspired and taught me about science, education, curriculum, how students learn and so much more."
In March 2020, Covid-19 hit and in-person Science Explorers classes, like most everything, were cancelled. Students were suddenly distance learning, many parents were working from home, and things were changing quickly. Stacy knew she had to find a way to get easy to follow science lessons into the hands of our students in a different way. She had been tossing around the idea of at-home science kits for awhile and decided this was the time to launch them! Discovery Explorers became a reality in April of 2020 and Stacy couldn't be more excited. Over the past 2 years, Discovery Explorers continues to grow by providing quality, tested, all-inclusive STEM kits and sensory bins for students around the ages of 4-12. When brainstorming an idea for a new class or kit or looking at how to update a current lesson, Stacy says she "love(s) learning the history of the topic, new advancements (available) and trying out new experiments".
We are so grateful to have Stacy's enthusiasm, knowledge, and experiences to make Discovery Explorers something that is out-of-this-world!