SCHENECTADY — A "card-carrying" evolutionary biologist and paleontologist will be leading miSci in February as the city-based museum embarks on an outdoor expansion into Vale Park.
Gina C. Gould, Ph.D., 56, this month was appointed president of miSci — the Museum of Innovation and Science — museum officials announced Thursday.
Gould said she and her husband, and their dogs, split time between Troy and the Catskills, where she served as executive director of the Ashokan Center, the state's oldest outdoor environmental education center. She teaches an environmental course at Bard College and has worked in science museums and nonprofits for 30 years.
"Science is in every aspect of our lives: It's in our watches, it's in our phones, eyeglasses, what we eat, you can go on and on," she said in an interview Thursday night. "I think miSci has an opportunity to really demonstrate to people that science is not just an endeavor, it's a concrete process of how society evolves.”
Gould is slated to start on Feb. 1, when current president William Sudduth returns to retirement after five years at miSci. The appointment comes as miSci undertakes a $400,000 project to build a trail connecting the museum property to adjacent Vale Park, aimed at new environmental, biological and conservation programs. Gould’s appointment was confirmed in a unanimous vote at a meeting this month of the miSci Board of Trustees, according to a release by the museum.
"Dr. Gould brings to miSci a love of science, a lifelong commitment to building community around informal science education and an enthusiasm to realize the museum’s vision within Tech Valley and beyond,” trustee Board Chairman Tony Farah said in a prepared statement.
Gould, who has worked in natural history museums from New York to Paraguay, said miSci has a special opportunity to connect people to the sciences. She discussed trying to engage the region's young professional scientists and college students and building programs that educate future generations.
While she doesn't plan to move to Schenectady, Gould said she plans to build relationships across the city and region.
"The most important thing that I can do for miSci and its community, which is Schenectady and the Capital District and beyond, is to go out and meet as many people as possible," she said.
Visiting miSci for the first time as a candidate for the position, Gould said she was awed by the "profound possibilities of the space and the collections."
Gould is an associate research professor in the Center for Environmental Sciences and Engineering at the University of Connecticut and a Bard College faculty member in the Department of Citizen Science.