> Meet the Creators

> Meet the Sponsors


Meet the Creators:

Paul Busse is enjoying "retirement" from the Center as Science Teacher at the Steward School in Richmond, Virginia. Formerly the Program Coordinator for Biological, Earth & Environmental Sciences, he provided leadership for the formation of the Spider Team and for the overall management of the project. His interests in education include computer-based education, digital technology, mapping, and photography.

Julia H. Cothron, Ed. D., the Executive Director of the MathScience Innovation Center, provides the vision and impetus for the many diverse and effective educational programs and services offered by the Center, such as the Spider Room. Dr. Cothron has taught numerous courses and workshops to K-12 teachers to develop effective strategies for developing student research skills. She is an advocate for teachers' professional development and for fostering students' positive attitudes toward science and mathematics.

Norbert Hamm is the Specialist at the Center for Graphics, Facilities, and Web Design. As the creative designer and construction supervisor of the Spider Room, he is responsible for the translating of the Spider Room from scientific idea to artistic and educational reality. His aesthetic sense and eye for detail have produced several "student-friendly" learning environments over the years, including the Dominion Virginia Power Weather Center and the First Union Challenger Center. His wide-range of interests extends to photography, aviation, and sailing.

Rhonda Hawley is Educator for K-5 Science and Living Organisms at the Center. She is the current "room mother" for the Spider Room and she was instrumental in researching and distilling the voluminous amount of information available about spiders into appropriate and meaningful lesson activities for young learners. When not out collecting spider webs or other interesting specimens of arachnids, she can be found teaching one of the follow-up spider lessons she created for students who visit the Spider Room.

Chris Lundberg is Coordinator of Biological, Earth & Environmental Sciences & Science Fair, following a varied career in education as a teacher of high school biology, educator of gifted learners, development director, and school administrator. He is the current leader for the Spider Room project team, and his scientific interests include intelligence research, interdisciplinary studies, and bioethics.

Martha Rogers is the Center's Coordinator of Weekday Services as well as one of the original educators overseeing the Spider Room. She worked with Mrs. Ann Moreton as the first Spider Room and initial lessons were developed at the Center. Mrs. Rogers is the Lead Flight Director for the First Union Challenger Center, which enables students to "fly" sophisticated missions to a comet, Mars, or the Moon. Her interests as a science educator range from aerospace education to the biological sciences.

Martha Vogel is Associate Educator for Weekday Lessons at the Center. She is also the Coordinator for the annual Metro Richmond Science Fair. After many years caring, feeding, and collecting spiders as caretaker of the Spider Room, she contributed a wealth of information concerning spider morphological and behavioral traits. Her special interests include botany, zoology, environmental studies, student research, and unique living creatures.

Mark Webster is the Center's Specialist for Instructional Technology. He is the appropriately named individual who is responsible for much of the conception and design of the SpiderRoom.info website. These include elements such as production of streaming video, programming of dynamic and interactive elements including JAVA script behaviors. Mr. Webster's instructional interests include specialized Internet applications and student produced hypermedia/multimedia projects.

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Meet the Sponsors:

MathScience Innovation Center
Since 1966, the Center has provided leadership for mathematics and science education in the Metro Richmond area. The Center is an educational consortium of K-12 school divisions that includes the cities of Colonial Heights and Richmond and the counties of Chesterfield, Hanover, Henrico, King William, and Powhatan. In addition, other schools participate through special arrangements; these include the cities of Hopewell and Petersburg, the counties of Charles City and Prince George, and the Steward School. Annually, the Center serves approximately 175,000 students, educators, and parents through “face-to-face” lessons at the Center and in area classrooms, professional development courses for educators, and special courses for students and their parents on Saturday and during the summer. Beginning in 202-03, the Center also introduced Web-based programs. In 2003-04, the Center’s Website, http://msinnovation.info had 223,080 visitors engage in sessions and http://spiderroom.info had 209,952 visitor sessions. Visitor sessions are reported because the person must go beyond the first page and utilize multiple pages of the site. In 2004, the Center introduced two additional web sites: MysteryCargo.info and a general educational web site, MathInScience.info.

The Center is governed by a fifteen-member Board that consists of superintendents and Board members from the consortium divisions and several at-large community representatives. The Center is located in the former Central Gardens Elementary School in Henrico County. The Richmond Public Schools serves as the Center’s fiscal agent. Consortium school divisions provide the Center’s operating budget. The Center provided funding for development ad writing of SpiderRoom.info.

MathScience Innovation Center Foundation
The MathScience Innovation Center Foundation was established in 1989 by concerned citizens as a 501 (c) (3) not-for-profit organization to increase awareness of the Center and to generate private funds to establish state-of-the-art facilities and innovative programs for area students and teachers. The Foundation has funded the development of many designed classrooms at the Center, supported numerous institutes and courses for teachers, and provided seed-money for the development of special lessons taught in area schools. The Foundation funded development of the Spider Room and the Spiderology Kit.

Virginia General Assembly
As part of its 2000-02 Budget, the Assembly provided funding to establish web-based programs at the MathScience Innovation Center. These funds were used to program the web site, SpiderRoom.info.

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