Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion

Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion at the Sciencenter

The Sciencenter’s vision is a world where ALL people can explore, connect, and create through science. Yet, we acknowledge that systemic injustices means that hands-on STEM learning isn’t accessible to all members of our community. We are committed to creating an equitable and inclusive environment where people of all races, genders, religious backgrounds, abilities, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and ethnicities feel safe and welcome.

You can read our full Equity and Inclusion Statement below.

The Sciencenter strives to be a trusted community resource where all people can explore, connect, and create through science. This means that people of all races, genders, religious backgrounds, abilities, sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions, incomes, geographies, and ethnicities need to feel safe and valued when it comes to our work. We denounce all forms of racism and bigotry, and such things will not be tolerated at the museum or any of our programs.

Bias, privilege, and systemic injustice have led to differences in access to hands-on STEM education. We continue to have a vision for a world where all people can explore, connect, and create through science. And we are committed to cultivating an environment for our staff, volunteers, guests, and community where people with diverse identities and experiences feel welcomed, respected, and valued.

We recognize that our actions speak louder than words. Below are some of the steps we are taking to be a more equitable and inclusive organization. This work will be ongoing and this list will change and grow as we change and grow. We hope that you will hold us accountable through the “Provide Feedback” link below.

To provide feedback email mkortenaar@sciencenter.org

Below are some of the steps we are taking to be a more equitable and inclusive organization:

  • Established a collective bargaining agreement with the Sciencenter workers Union to protect the rights of our workers
  • Revamped our hiring process.
    1. Included requirements for implicit bias training for everyone on the hiring committee.
    2. Rewrote position descriptions to more clearly value lived experiences.
  • Recognize and value the expertise of our community partners by developing programs jointly.
    1. Thank you to our partners, including but not limited to: “Tompkins Community Action”:“https://tcaction.org/ and Head Start;” Greater Ithaca Activities Center”:https://www.cityofithaca.org/327/Greater-Ithaca-Activities-Center; Urban 4-H, Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Rural Youth Education Services, Newfield Public Library, Ithaca Youth Bureau.
    2. 4H program to connect early childhood intervention with agricultural identity and expertise of rural communities.
    3. Co-generating a partnership with GIAC to develop cohort-based programming specifically for members of the GIAC community to support black youth in STEM.
  • Recruit, retain, and cultivate relationships with volunteers from the Ithaca community as a reflection of our commitment to being a community-based organization.
  • Partner with YES and other youth workforce development agencies to provide youth employment opportunities in the science field.
  • Partner with Finger Lakes Independence Center to make changes to our exhibit and museum graphics and layout to be more accessible to visitors of diverse abilities and learning styles.
  • Continue to shift our fundraising practices to be more community-centric (instead of donor-centric).
    1. Learn about Community Centric Fundraising HERE.
  • Bring our exhibits and hands-on activities into the community to provide easier access to hands-on science through community events and special outreach programming.
  • Hired a local DEI expert to work with our board and staff on this ongoing process of becoming a more equitable and inclusive organization.
  • Departments participate in ongoing DEI discussions and personal and professional development.
    1. Development and Communications meets biweekly to discuss DEI topics within the fundraising and communications fields.
    2. All staff participate in a monthly DEI discussion led by their fellow colleagues.
    3. Education weekly meetings include a land acknowledgment honoring the Cayuga Nation. They spend time sharing stories or content connected to indigenous knowledge, current land disputes, and history.
  • Revamped commonly used communications and fundraising content to be more accessible.
    1. Edited our MAP membership and general membership brochures to have more inclusive language.
    2. Removed potential barriers to applying for MAP memberships.
  • Valuing and compensating expertise of partnerships in grant budgets.
  • Bringing exhibits offsite to prototype with people other than just those who visit the museum in order to garner more perspectives.

The Sciencenter is located on the traditional homelands of the Gayogo̱hó:nǫɁ (the Cayuga Nation). The Gayogo̱hó:nǫɁ are members of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, an alliance of six sovereign Nations with a historic and contemporary presence on this land. The Confederacy precedes the establishment of the Sciencenter, New York state, and the United States of America. We acknowledge the painful history of Gayogo̱hó:nǫɁ dispossession, and honor the ongoing connection of Gayogo̱hó:nǫɁ people, past and present, to these lands and waters.

Credit: https://cals.cornell.edu/american-indian-indigenous-studies/about/land-acknowledgment


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Sciencenter 601 1st Street Ithaca, NY 14850
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Museum & Store Hours

  • Tuesday, 10 am - 5 pm
  • Wednesday, 10 am - 5 pm
  • Thursday, 10 am - 5 pm
  • Friday, 10 am - 5 pm
  • Saturday, 10 am - 5 pm
  • Sunday, 10 am - 5 pm

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