Hi! I am Tiffany Kapler, a STEM and environmental education specialist, consultant and blogger. While my greatest strengths and interests are in informal education (think museums, zoos, nature centers, etc.) and biology, I am a learner at heart and love to stretch myself and grow. One of my favorite projects to work on was a mystery game about the history of New York Harbor. One of my biggest projects was a food literacy curriculum for upper elementary school classrooms. I’m flexible like that.
I am also passionate about helping the public to understand the nature of science as a way exploring and learning about the world. I believe that there is a little bit of scientist in all of us, and I thrill in guiding others through their own “why’s” and “ah-ha” moments. I suppose that is really why I became a science educator in the first place.
A little history: From Would-be Primatologist to Accidental Educator
As a would-be primatologist, I once spent four months in Costa Rica discovering that I really didn’t want to follow monkeys around the jungle for the rest of my life. Oh, sure, it seemed like a romantic notion until waking up at 4:00 in the morning and cutting through the forest with a machete sort of dulled the luster of paradise. To this day I remain an avid zoo-going, National Geographic-reading, PBS-watching primate fanatic. None the less, upon returning for my final year of college, I realized that I was going to have to plan on a different career for when I grew up.
After graduation I became a paraprofessional in the Biology Department at Colorado College and stalled for time to figure out a plan. I never could decide what part of biology to focus on. It wasn’t that nothing interested me. My problem was that everything interested me. How to decide?
So I didn’t. I joined the Peace Corps and became an environmental education volunteer in Bolivia instead! Somehow, instead of research, I kept turning myself towards education.
Upon returning from Bolivia, nearly two and a half years later, I struggled in my job search until I wondered out loud, “Where would it be fun to work?” I quickly looked up the Denver Zoo job page, but they weren’t hiring. Lucky for me, the case was different at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Their job page boasted a Bilingual Outreach Educator position. The job fit me like a glove! Fortunately, the outreach team agreed with me. I was fortunate to spend eight full-time years and two part time years working in various positions, with a diverse group of science professionals, and supporting different projects in this amazing institution.
Throughout my journey I discovered that I loved cultivating curiosity and authentic learning in others as much as I loved learning about science, myself. Truly and accidentally, I had become a science educator.
Throughout my professional growth and development as an educator, I have strived to learn more and improve my own skills and techniques. Since February of 2015 I have begun my own business as a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) and environmental education consultant. In this role, I have had the opportunity work on a wide variety of informal and formal curricula/programs. I also currently serve as an online instructor for the Junior Academy and as a bilingual master mentor for the 1000 Girls, 1000 Futures program, both projects of the Global Stem Alliance of the New York Academy of Sciences.
As part of expanding my reach and my skills as an education specialist, I have also started the Curiosity Field Notebook Blog on this website. I invite you to visit the page often for updates on current science topics, engaging educational activities, the best practices in science education and much, much more. Like the Facebook page or subscribe to the e-mail list for updates when new blog posts are published.
In each of the projects that I take on, I thrive on the problem solving that goes into gathering ideas, exploring concepts, and filling in frameworks to achieve learning goals. I work to meet students and audiences where they are and then to guide and challenge them to exceed even their own learning expectations.
For more details on the services that I offer as a consultant, I invite you to visit the Services page of this website.
A Little Peek into My Soul
Want to know more? A few years ago a supervisor of mine at the Museum asked all of her team to take the StrengthFinder 2.0 test to determine our strengths. I have been a StrengthFinder groupie ever since! Maybe it’s my “glass half-full” outlook on life, or maybe it’s because I’m a Maximizer (see below). Either way, I absolutely love the idea of focusing on and developing our strengths. I can completely appreciate that others have strengths that can complement my own and that together we can do amazing things.
If you are interested in working with me, or if you are a StrengthFinder fanatic like me, I encourage you to check out my top Strengths:
LEARNER ⇨ I thrive in dynamic environments where I can take on projects that allow me to learn a lot about a new subject in a short period of time.
RESPONSIBILITY ⇨ Utterly dependable – I can be trusted to get the job done.
RELATOR ⇨ I seek out opportunities to cultivate strong, long-lasting connections.
INPUT ⇨ Like a sponge, I enjoy absorbing new information. My passion lies in taking the knowledge that I have collected to construct new ideas, understanding, and solutions.
MAXIMIZER ⇨ I thrill in transforming something strong into something superb.