Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Charitable Superhero of the Week: Patti Ciak of The Einstein Project

This Charitable Superhero is a hands-on advocate for hands-on science. 


When the phone rang six years ago, Patti Ciak wasn't thinking about Alexander Graham Bell, or sound waves, or even electricity. She was finishing a term on the Board of Directors at a local nonprofit, and was wondering what her next adventure would be. The phone call was for Mr. Ciak, asking if he would consider joining the volunteer Board of Directors for The Einstein Project, an organization that provides hands-on science experiences for teachers and students. Mr. Ciak’s schedule didn't allow him to sign on, but he suggested they ask Patti.

Patti was familiar with The Einstein Project and knew that her daughter, a teacher, used their materials in her classroom and was a big advocate for the organization’s work. It was the perfect timing to try something new, so Patti agreed to join The Einstein Project.

That was six years ago. Now Patti is The Einstein Project’s volunteer, volunteer coordinator, among other roles. She says the organization has a small staff, and she doesn't mind helping out in any way possible because "I just think it's vital that hands-on science stay part of the curriculum. I think The Einstein Project’s strong commitment to their mission to hands-on science, and their customer service focus to their end users is unique. They are a constant resource for the teachers and the students. They offer training sessions for teachers who use their kits, to ensure quality of experience and education, and they are always working to incorporate technology resources to support the teachers and students."

Executive Director Kelly Ellis says, “Patti is one of those volunteers that every nonprofit needs. She is on our Board of Directors, four committees and countless ad hoc groups. The Einstein Project is not just a place for Patti to stop in and give her two cents. She gives us her time, talent, and treasure, but more than that, she brings a ray of sunshine when she visits our office or shows up at an event. Patti is a great champion for our cause.”

Patti is currently helping The Einstein Project prepare for one of their largest annual fundraising events, Wild about Science (previously Butterflies on Parade). Learn more about how The Einstein Project is keeping hands-on science in classrooms at www.einsteinproject.org/