Kristin Lawrence

Co-Founder & Executive Director

“I want to build a place where people can play, explore, and connect. I want people to see that being innovative is at the heart of everything, it’s what makes us all tick. I want a space that encourages investigation, trial and error, and failure in a very open and accepting way for not just kids, but everyone.”

Kristin taught Planetary Geophysics at Stanford University before moving to Boulder to found Science Galaxy. Kristin is uber-passionate about science education, community, and philanthropy for the sciences. She discovered her passion for community building while restructuring the Carleton College’s Physics Department as an undergraduate student. Her mission is to focus existing community support into beneficial actions for Boulder and the surrounding areas. On her day off, Kristin enjoys building as well as rebuilding things including the treehouse her two children play in. Kristin’s favorite scientific discovery is the relationship between electricity and magnetism. The magic of electric currents has inspired the name of her family dog: “Tesla.”


Leslie Newman

Co-Founder & Board Chair

“I want to create a community resource that brings everyone together and enhances our lives through fun, interactive learning.”

Leslie is passionate about education, science and creating positive learning experience for families. She received her Communications BA from UC Berkeley. Leslie has worked in broadcast media, technology, and human resources as well as the non-profit sector. She thoroughly enjoys the collaborative process and making shared visions a reality. Leslie is a longterm Boulder Resident and lives in town with her husband and two science-hungry children. On her day off, she enjoys hiking with her family and indulging in good wine. Leslie’s favorite discovery is the successful mapping of the genome of the Bowhead Whale (the longest-living mammal) which has helped identify a number of genes that are linked to cancer resistance, DNA damage repair, and increased longevity.


Vanessa Schatz

Chief Operations Officer

“Just like storytelling, science is a process of creative imagination and raising new possibilities. I’m excited to tell Science Galaxy’s story to inspire curiosity to explore the world we live in and to offer new perspectives in community resources.”

Vanessa is an award-winning Communications Specialist with 10+ years of international experience in private and public sector including Fortune 500 companies, government, higher education, and non-profit organizations. She grew up in Munich, Germany, and discovered her passion for implementing positive change while taking down the Berlin Wall with a sledge hammer as a young child. After many years of traveling and working in different nations around the globe, Boulder became her home base where she earned her BA and MA in Communications. When not busy climbing mountains with her Alaskan Malamute, Scone, Vanessa enjoys exploring Boulder with her family, long walks with friends, and teaching at CU Boulder’s College of Media, Communication and Information. Her favorite scientific discovery is meteorite research that is revealing unsolved mysteries about our solar system and the origins of molecules necessary for life.


Jill Katzenberger

Director of Engagement

“I’m passionate about teaching kids how to think through hands-on experiences, rather than focusing on teaching content.  As a parent in Boulder County, I love the idea of creating a community space where my kids can one day play, create, follow their curiosity, and discover something new with each visit.”

Jill spent the last 15 years in science education, teaching 8th grade science in the Denver Public School District and developing informal science programs at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science (DMNS). With a keen eye for blending education experiences with interactive learning environments, Jill played an instrumental role in conceptualizing, designing, and implementing new innovative program models in DMNS’s education wing. She earned her BS degree in Environmental Science from UC Santa Barbara and her Teaching Certification from CU Denver. When Jill is not discovering with her own tiny scientists, her toddler son and infant daughter, she is teaching aerial acrobatics for Aircat Aerial Arts and performing with the local circus collective, Fractal Tribe. Her favorite science discovery is the Colorado’s Snowmass Ice Age fossil excavation that allowed Jill to bring a wide range of Ice Age critters to Denver for educational programming purposes.


Ryan Madson

Director of Production

“For me, this idea represents an exciting opportunity to design and develop a space where people can come together in new ways, where we can explore and encourage thoughtful innovation, inquiry, and creativity, and provide a place for families to play and belong.”

Ryan grew up in Boulder Colorado and earned his Bachelor’s degree in Music Business and Technology from CU Denver. He has worked for a community run record label and booking agency, a by-kids-for-kids media company, and a software company for the Internet of Things. As an artist he wrote and directed an award-winning and internationally traveling circus show and produced a music album for the band, CASSANDRA, that the HuffPost called, “the power-ballad soundtrack for the resistance.” As a co-founder of the community and circus group, Fractal Tribe, He has learned quite a few things about wrangling and nurturing a passionate community of artists and engineers. On a day off Ryan likes to stroll down to the farmer’s market, pick up some local fruit, veggies, and meat and play with his fellow acrobats in the grass. A cold plunge into the creek and an indulgent dinner with fellow creative minds discussing new intellectual, social and artistic ventures would cap off the ideal day. Ryan’s favorite scientific talking point is the Apatosaurus’s long tail that was designed like a bull whip. He loves how researchers are approaching the path of inquiry and prototyping with playful curiosity.


Leo Borasio

Web Manager & Comm. Assistant

“I want to help explorers of all ages realize that science is fun and hands-on, and not just numbers and formulas.”

Leo is a current student at CU Boulder, majoring in Advertising and Anthropology. His interest in science budded from an Archeology field school expedition where he researched the ancient Puebloans at Cowboy Wash on the Ute Mountain Ute reservation, and Cuyumungue on the Pojoaque Pueblo. Leo also loves music. As an Alto Saxophone in the Golden Buffalo Marching Band, Leo plays at Stampedes on Pearl Street before Buffs football games. You’ll find him with the band at all the Buffs games cheering on the teams. On a day off, Leo likes to explore the mountains, whether hiking, biking, or off-roading, and going to the movies to escape reality. Leo’s favorite scientific discovery is water on Mars, harboring valuable secrets about the planet’s past and future potential for accommodating human life.


Kristen Bigland

Lead Volunteer & Blog Writer

“Science is phenomenal! It is dynamic and exciting! Science gives you the tools to explore the world around you and harness your natural curiosity. It is relevant to every person at every age.”

Kristen comes from a family of scientists and creatives in Sydney, Australia. She studied Applied Sciences, Ecosystems, Ecology & Chemistry, at Charles Darwin University and is currently completing her postgraduate degree in Groundwater Hydrology. Prior to coming to Boulder in 2016, Kristen explored Canada and the United States, living in beautiful Whitefish, Montana, where she was involved in biotech startups, and dipped her toes in Venture Capital projects. When not busy geeking out on science communication, Kristen is busy empowering local youth through STEAM experiences at Science Galaxy events, re-shaping the way how future generations engage with the process of science. On her day off, Kristen enjoys spending time with her husband, who is a chef at Frasca, and dog Tucker, hiking or running the days away. Her favorite scientific discovery is epigenetics and the fact that no two organisms will express genes the same way, reminding us of the potential for change in everything.

Ashley Stoddard

Creative Team Member

Ashley spent her childhood dreaming of alternative realities, so it made sense that she’d spent her adult life creating them. After spending too many years in Los Angeles working in TV animation, she gratefully moved to Boulder to work on the popular mobile game DragonVale. Ashley brings to the team her experience in TV animation, mobile games, and theme park design along with a keen sense of storytelling and user experience.

Ian Bates

Creative Team Member

Ian is driven by a passion for creating transformational experiences for and with people of all ages. This includes building large scale climbable art in the Burning Man world, and working with a variety of groups internationally to change their communities and the broader world. Ian is a Colorado native, and as such finds both solace and excitement in natural settings and outdoor sports of many types.

Team pictures by Philipp Yates: