Teresa Elise MacDonald

KU Natural History Museum,1345 Jayhawk Blvd, Dyche Hall, Lawrence, KS 66045-7593

Tel: (785) 864-2371 | Fax: (785)864-5335

Email: tmacd(at)ku(dot)edu | LinkedIn

Professional Preparation

  • PhD (science education), University of Kansas, School of Education, Department of Curriculum & Teaching (2014)
  • Master of Science (vertebrate paleontology), University of Alberta, Canada (1996)
  • Bachelor of Arts with Honours (anthropology and biology), University of Winnipeg, Canada (1993)

Professional Experience

Associate Director of Public Programs,

University of Kansas Natural History Museum, Lawrence, KS

July 2013 - Present

Director of Education

University of Kansas Natural History Museum, Lawrence, KS

November 2003 – July 2013

  • Direction and oversight of the planning, development and delivery of science programs and other resources for several thousand visitors each year including schools, teachers and the general public
  • Departmental administration
  • Supervision and mentoring of professional and student staff and interns (e.g. Museum Studies graduate students)
  • Support for colleagues in public programs and academic departments relating to public understanding of science
  • Review science education manuscripts for several journals, and served on NSF grant review panel
  • Development, delivery and administration of informal science education and outreach grants outlined below
  • Instructor for Museum Studies program in 2006 & 2007 (Public Education and Science Communication)

Grant Projects

Current & Ongoing

  • Co-PI on outreach for the NSF-funded Euteleost Tree of Life research project ($448k) to oversee and coordinate the development and evaluation of an online content module and curriculum activity related to the project research for dissemination on the Understanding Evolution website (2007-2012).
  • Co-PI on Adventures at Nanoscale: Superconductivity ($150k). An NSF Informal Science Education proposal to communicate current research in nanoscience and superconductivity to public audiences through the production of a short animated video, which will follow the adventures of characters and their subatomic alter-egos as they explore how electrical conductors and high temperature superconductors work.
  • Education/Outreach Director on the Nanotechnology for Renewable Energy project, part of the NSF EPSCoR Phase VI: Climate Change and Energy grant ($4M). This includes the development and evaluation of science education programs for schools, and supporting online resources such as games and lesson plans (2009-2014).
  • Outreach Director of Quarked!Adventures in the Subatomic Universe, an NSF EPSCoR ($200k) and Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation ($75k) funded collaborative particle physics education project. This included the development of two science education programs schools, a website with interactive games, lesson plans and other educational resources (2006-2007). Continued development and collaboration includes Google AdWords grant.


  • Principal Investigator (PI) Understanding the Tree of Life project, funded by NSF’s Informal Science Education program ($250k). This was a collaboration of learning researchers, educators and informal education partner institutions (natural history museums, science centers, zoos, aquaria) to explore how museum visitors understand and interpret phylogenies and the tree of life (2007-2010).
  • Collaborator on Explore Evolution, an NSF ISE funded $2.8M grant that created permanent exhibit galleries at six museums, a book published by the NSTA Press of inquiry-based activities for middle-school children, and youth and teacher professional development workshops (2003-2006).

Previous Experience

Scientific Officer

Life Science Centre, International Centre for Life, Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK

May 2002 – October 2003

  • Developed science shows and hands-on programs for visitors, trained informal educators
  • Researched and co-wrote successful £1.2M ReDiscover grant for new exhibits and science theatre
  • Newcastle Science Festival Steering Committee member

Laboratory Technician/Lecturer (part-time)

Archaeology Department, University of Edinburgh, UK

February 2000 – March 2002

  • Supervised geoarchaeology laboratory and trained undergraduate and graduate students
  • Guest lectured for Quaternary Palaeoecology honours course on mammal Evolution and extinction
  • Prepared instructional material for online distance learning program

Science Presenter/Exhibit Developer (part-time)

SCI-FUN, Faculty of Science and Engineering, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK

September 2000 – December 2001

  • Developed and presented science shows to youth, schools, and community groups in Scotland and NE England
  • Designed and fabricated hands-on travelling science exhibits, facilitated teacher training workshops
  • Presented science shows at Edinburgh, Moray and Orkney Science Festivals

Curator of Fossil Mammals (part-time voluntary)

National Museums of Scotland, Edinburgh, UK

October 1999 – March 2000

Science Teacher/Head of Science

AWE Secondary Technical School, Ghana, West Africa

August 1997 - December 1998

  • VSO (Voluntary Services Overseas) program
  • Sole science teacher at a rural secondary school in northern Ghana
  • Prepared a science resource cabinet, developed science games
  • Participated in 1998 Girl-Child Initiative to develop science experiments/exhibits with female students

Youth Conference Organiser

University of Alberta, WISEST (Women in Scholarship, Engineering, Science and Technology), Edmonton, Canada

January 1997 – March 1997

  • Developed education programs in biology, physics, ecology, medicine, environmental science, materials science
  • Recruited and trained volunteer lab instructors and role models for youth science conference
  • Served as a role model for symposium session with high school students


University of Alberta, Faculty of Extension, Edmonton, Canada

July 1995 – August 1995, August 1996

  • Designed and instructed biology course and laboratories for the Summer Youth University program

Graduate Teaching Assistant

University of Alberta, Department of Biological Sciences, Edmonton, Canada

September 1993 – May 1996

  • Taught labs for: Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy, Comparative Vertebrate Biology & Vertebrate Paleontology


University of Winnipeg, Department of Anthropology, Winnipeg, Canada

September 1989 – April 1993

  • Taught Introductory Anthropology and Human Evolution labs, and instructor for Mini-University Programme

Professional Development for Educators and Youth Workshops

  • MacDonald, T., and Kirchner, D. (2007/2006). Exploring Evolution. Teacher professional development workshops, KATS (Kansas Association of Teachers of Science) conference, April; KU Natural History Museum, December.
  • MacDonald, T., and Kirchner, D. (2007/2006). Quarked! particle physics education programs. Teacher professional development workshop for QuarkNet program, University of Kansas, February & June.
  • MacDonald, T., and Kirchner, D. (2006). Exploring Evolution. Youth workshop, KU Natural History Museum, June.