The Roy L. Shafer Leading Edge Awards are presented annually to ASTC members and/or their employees in recognition of extraordinary accomplishments in Visitor Experience, Business Practice, and Leadership in the Field that not only enhance the performance of their own institutions but also significantly advance the mission of science centers and museums.

About Roy L. Shafer

Roy Shafer’s science center career began in the 1960s, when he first volunteered at the Center of Science and Industry (COSI) in Columbus, Ohio. He soon became an important figure at the museum, founding its camp-in program and eventually serving for 13 years as COSI’s president and CEO. Shafer was a member of the ASTC Board of Directors for 11 years, including two years as president. After he started his own consulting firm, the Roy L. Shafer Company, he became ASTC’s organizational coach, helping the association to develop its mission, strategic plan, and core values and objectives. ASTC honored him in 1999 with the ASTC Fellow Award for Outstanding Contribution. After his death, the ASTC Board of Directors named the Leading Edge Awards for Shafer in tribute to his progressive thinking, dynamic leadership, and devotion to our profession.


Nominated extraordinary accomplishments in Visitor Experience, Business Practice, and Leadership in the Field must have occurred in the past three years (since January 2016). ASTC members in good standing may submit a nomination for themselves, their employees, or other ASTC-member institutions or employees. Collaborations between ASTC-member institutions are also eligible. Each nominating institution is limited to one application per category per year. Nomination forms must be signed by the institution’s chief executive, board chairperson, or equivalent. Nominations from the home institution of a Leading Edge Awards jury member will not be considered.


A jury of professionals knowledgeable about the science center field, representing a broad spectrum of ASTC’s worldwide membership, will review entries and select finalists. Once detailed nomination information is submitted, the jury will review all finalists and select awardees. All decisions of the jury are final, including the decision not to choose an award recipient in a given category.

Awards Ceremony and Recognition

The 2019 Leading Edge Awards will be presented during the ASTC Annual Conference in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Each award will include an etched glass “Edgie” and a complimentary full conference registration to the 2019 ASTC Annual Conference (fees for special events, tours, and workshops are not included). Awardees will receive recognition in Dimensions magazine, on the ASTC website, and in other ASTC media. Awardees will also receive a special award-winner logo to display on their website or other promotional material, and a press release to assist them in publicizing their recognition.

Past Leading Edge Award Recipients

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2019 Roy L. Shafer Leading Edge Awards Jury

Chair: Jonah Cohen, Manager of Science Education, McWane Science Center, Birmingham, Alabama, United States

  • Adrienne Barnett, Associate Director of Programs, Thinkery, Austin, Texas, United States
  • Daniel Bateman, Exploration Place, Wichita, Kansas, United States
  • Toph Bryant, Visitor Services Senior Manager, Kentucky Science Center, Louisville, Kentucky, United States
  • Irena Cieślińska, Deputy Director, Copernicus Science Centre, Warsaw, Poland
  • Andrea Durham, Vice President, Exhibits, Facilities, and Digital Initiatives, Science World British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
  • Pody Gay, Director, Discovery Network, Museum of Discovery, Little Rock, Arkansas, United States
  • Christian Greer, Saint Louis Science Center, Saint Louis, Missouri, United States
  • Eric Godoy, Partnership Programs Coordinator, Denver Museum of Nature & Science, Denver, Colorado, United States
  • Ali Jackson, Director of National Collaborations, Sciencenter, Ithaca, New York, United States
  • Clara Chien Hui Lim, Head of Interpretation, Qatar Children’s Museum, Science Centre Singapore, Singapore
  • Megan Ramer, Public Programs Manager, Connecticut Science Center, Hartford, Connecticut, United States
  • Jeff Rosenblatt, Director, Science City, Kansas City’s Science Center, Kansas City, Missouri, United States
  • Meghan Schiedel, Curriculum Developer, Terry Lee Wells Nevada Discovery Museum, Reno, Nevada, United States
  • Janella Watson, Associate Director, Providence Children’s Museum, Providence, Rhode Island, United States
  • Tifferney White, Chief Learning Officer, Discovery Place, Charlotte, North Carolina, United States

ASTC Staff Liaison: Todd Happer

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