Did you know that when Discovery World moved into its current location on the lakefront it was originally designed to house a charter high school? Ultimately this never came to fruition. However, the initial plans resulted in our Science & Technology Center having more academic space than many of the most notable science museums in the world.
From field trips to Summer Camp, Discovery World’s Education Team plays a vital role in separating us from the competition. So we wanted to give you a proper introduction to the team that is interacting with your students and helping our organization remain a valuable asset to our community.
Larissa Yankovich joined the team as the Manager of Education Programs after working for three years as a middle and high school teacher, first in France and then in the Milwaukee area. She is an advocate for hands-on learning and fostering multiple intelligences in young minds. Larissa works with educators and community partners to make unique educational programming come alive at Discovery World.
Exploring New Worlds: Larissa loves trying new things and has a continuously growing list of interests. She loves to run, box, crossword, indulge her sweet tooth, teach and travel! Her favorite place she’s been to is Amalfi, Italy. She loves working in a learning institution where she can learn and keep growing her list of interests!
Paul Mech, Manager of Curriculum & Program Development, has been with Discovery World since October of 2006 when he was hired as a part-time weekend educator. Paul’s obsession with learning and his varied educational background help him as he works with the Education Team to develop programs and experiences. If he doesn’t know the answer, he’ll find it.
Why He Works at Discovery World: Paul’s favorite part of Discovery World is that even though there are many science centers around the country, few offer their education teams the opportunity and freedom to develop the types of programs Discovery World can offer. Where else as an educator could you be dissecting a heart at 10:00, make an electromagnet at 11:00, and get some time in on a 3D printer after lunch?
Brittany Bruening studied Visual Arts at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and brought her love of printmaking and design to the Scouting program at Discovery World where she originally worked as a part-time educator. She translated her expertise of creative problem solving from the art world to the education field in her new role of Education Coordinator.
Time for a Cat: Brittany loves sloths, gardening, and Summer Camp. She is hoping to adopt a cat in the near future.
Julie Schneider is excited to work with the youth of Milwaukee, to provide intentional, and meaningful educational experiences, through the Teacher Representative role. Julie coordinates field trips, and works with educational grants. Prior to coming to Discovery World, Julie served two years as an AmeriCorps Member with City Year Milwaukee, and worked most recently with the United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha County. Julie is appreciative for the opportunity to continue to learn and be surrounded with curiosity.
Community Ties: Her favorite part of Discovery World is the connection it has built within the community. The museum has strong connections with businesses, events, and people that are important to Milwaukee. The fact that the museum has ties to Rockwell Automation, Johnson Controls, Kohl’s, and Les Paul, is amazing and inspiring to anyone who visits Discovery World!
Julie Barnett graduated from Eastern Michigan University with a degree in Elementary Education. She is a lifetime member of Girl Scouts, having been involved since 1990 and earning her Gold Award in 2002. She is excited for the chance to bring Girl Scout and Boy Scout experiences to the Milwaukee area. She started at Discovery World in 2010 and currently teaches school labs, with a focus on chemistry, food science, technology, and general science classes.
Pushing Buttons: Julie’s favorite part of Discovery World is all the buttons to push! She loves how interactive the museum is and how an adult can have just as much fun as a kid. Working here has taught her that she will never stop learning: one day it’s how our sense of smell works and the next it’s all about DNA. Creativity and inspiration happen all the time at Discovery World.
Kevin Kolodziej has a Bachelor’s Degree in Architectural Engineering and a Master’s Degree in Structural Engineering from the Milwaukee School of Engineering. He has been involved with the design of many glass structures around the country, including the John Hancock Center Tower Tilt. In addition to his engineering experience, he has been involved with FIRST Robotics as a participant and mentor since 1999, has a passion for roller coasters and music, and even taught middle school robotics for a year. Kevin is excited to bring his vast experiences and share them with Milwaukee’s youth at Discovery World.
Never Stop Learning: “I love the diverse backgrounds of the people I get to work with on a daily basis. I am surrounded by people that can code, print, make, film, build, write, and create; and everyone is always willing to share their knowledge. I am in a very creative environment and I learn something new nearly every day.”
Andrew Wallus is a UW-Madison graduate in the field of Elementary Education with a varied background in Life Sciences, Graphic Arts and Language Arts. Prior to his arrival at Discovery World seven years ago, Andy worked for over a decade within the public school sector. Andy coordinates the Brady Intelligent Products Lab as an Educator and Curriculum Developer. Outside of the classroom, Andy works as a professional DJ, enjoys fly fishing, and freshwater surfs.
Surfs Up: Being part fish himself, Andrew’s fins-down favorite part of Discovery World is the aquarium exhibit. Since he’s lived near most of the ecosystems represented in the tanks, he enjoys walking through this space to revisit many of his favorite places.
Jon Wolent is a Marine Biologist that has a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science. Previously he worked at Cabrillo Marine Aquarium in Los Angeles, as an educator and aquarist. He was part of a team that raised larval marine animals such as Garibaldi, Two-Spot Octopi, and sea jellies, as well as endangered animals like White Abalones, Pacific Sea Horses, and Giant Black Sea Bass. Jon is excited to share his passion for the environment with the youth of Milwaukee.
Switch It Up: Jon was left handed for the first 6 years of his life, until he broke his arm. Afterwards, he relearned how to write and cut with his right hand.