Center for Science Learning

CSL Staff - Betty DunckelBetty A. Dunckel, Ph.D.

Program Director/Associate Scientist

Phone: 352-273-2088



Education: Betty received her bachelor's from Cornell University and master's degree in teaching from the University of New Hampshire. Her doctorate is from the University of Florida in science education, with a specialization in informal education.

Experience: Betty has formed innovative partnerships and developed numerous programs that promote science interest, understanding and engagement for diverse audiences. She also works with exhibit development, visitor research and program evaluation. Betty has received federal, state and foundation grants for her projects. She provides administrative oversight for all CSL programs and special projects. 


Volunteer Program

Adult volunteers; junior volunteers; recruitment, orientation, reporting and recognition

CSL Staff - Amy HesterAmy D. Hester

Volunteer Coordinator

Phone: 352-273-2055



Education: Amy received her bachelor's degree from the University of Florida in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, with a minor in Zoology. She continued her education at UF, obtaining a master’s of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences.

Experience: Amy began her career in science conducting fish surveys for the U.S. Geological Survey. She quickly learned that while she loves science, her real passion is imparting her enthusiasm for science and nature to others and fulfilled this passion as an environmental educator both domestically and internationally. Amy returned to her hometown in 2011 to work as the Florida Museum’s Volunteer Coordinator.

Florida Museum Projects: Volunteer orientations, volunteer newsletter, volunteer winter potluck, annual recognition reception, junior volunteer program, assist with ButterflyFest, Earth Day and Collectors Day


Katherine Edison-Volunteer AssistantKatherine Edison

Volunteer Program Assistant

Phone: 352-273-2056



Education: Katherine received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in English, with an emphasis on Language and Linguistics.

Experience: Katherine began volunteering at the Florida Museum in 2002 as a docent with School and Outreach Programs. In 2004, she joined the Museum staff as a MESS Coordinator (Marvelous Exploration through Science and Stories) in the Center for Science Learning. She later worked as a Nature and Cultural History Educator for the City of Gainesville at Morningside Nature Center. Katherine currently volunteers at Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park as a Trail Interpreter and presents Alligator Outreach Programs. Additionally, she leads nature walks for the City of Gainesville Nature Parks and is a nature photographer who frequently contributes her photos to local and state organizations for their environmental education programs.

Florida Museum Projects: Support staff for Volunteer Program projects, Marvelous Explorations through Science and Stories (Early Childhood Science Curriculum), Contributor to Nature Viewing along the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail (phone app)


School Programs

School tours, school outreach, teacher programs, curriculum resources, homeschool programs, docent program, adult tours, discovery carts

CSL Staff - Dianne BehringerDianne Behringer

School Programs Coordinator

Phone: 352-273-2036



Education: Dianne has a bachelor's in Science Education from Virginia Tech and a master's degree in Marine Ecology from Old Dominion University.

Experience: Dianne has worked in education at the Florida Museum since 2007. Previous positions include Marine Extension Agent with UF IFAS/Florida Sea Grant, Natural Resource Specialist in Broward County and high school science teacher.

Florida Museum Projects: All School Programs offerings


CSL Staff - Diane MilnerDiane Milner


Phone: 352-273-2030



Education: Diane received her bachelor's degree in Elementary Education from the Johannesburg College of Education in South Africa.

Experience: Diane taught fourth grade for 10 years in South Africa, prior to relocating to the United States with her family in 2001. She volunteered at the Museum as a School Program Docent and has worked in education at the Florida Museum since 2004.

Florida Museum Projects: All School Programs offerings


Public Programs

Annual events, exhibit openings, community outreach, summer and holiday camps, Scout programs, birthday parties

CSL Staff - Catherine Ward CareyCatherine Ward Carey

Public Programs Coordinator

Phone: 352-273-2064



Education: Catherine has an associate of science in Zookeeping from Santa Fe College and bachelor’s from UF’s Liberal Arts and Science Interdisciplinary Degree program.

Experience: Catherine previously worked in the Florida Museum’s Interpretation Department at Dickinson Hall. She returns to her museum roots after 25 years with the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens Education Department.

Florida Museum Projects: ButterflyFest coordination, Earth Day Celebration coordination, public program development, assist with exhibit development


Amber Hodges CSL staff photoAmber Hodges


Phone: 352-273-2062



Education: Amber received her bachelor's from the University of Florida in anthropology.

Experience: Amber began working with the Florida Museum in the summer of 2011 as an intern with the Junior Volunteer Program. She has since served the Florida Museum as a Florida Archaeology collections management intern, gift shop employee and Group Sales Coordinator/Assistant of Administrative Services.

Florida Museum Projects: All public program offerings


CSL Staff - Tiffany IrelandTiffany Ireland


Phone: 352-273-2061



Education: Tiffany earned her bachelor's from the University of Florida in family, youth and community sciences with a specialization in Animal Sciences. 

Experience: Tiffany first volunteered at the Florida Museum as a docent and became an employee in 2004.  She previously volunteered with the University of Florida’s Veterinary Hospital’s Wildlife Center and the Treasure Coast Wildlife Rehabilitation Center. 

Florida Museum Projects: Temporary exhibit openings and programming, Trashformations, Collectors Day, ButterflyFest, University of Florida’s Creative B program, camps, birthday parties, junior volunteers


Special Projects

CSL Staff - Shari EllisShari Ellis, Ph.D.

Project Director

Phone: 352-273-2066



Education: Shari received her bachelor's in psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and master’s and doctorate in developmental psychology from the University of Utah.

Experience: Shari has worked at the Museum since 2004. Her time is distributed among program evaluation, curriculum and resource development, grant writing and project management. She has held faculty appointments at a number of institutions where she taught courses in developmental, cognitive and experimental psychology. She is an adjunct affiliate faculty member in the UF department of psychology.

Florida Museum Projects: PCP PIRE, iDigBio, AVATol, Marvelous Explorations through Science and Stories (early childhood science curriculum), Nature Viewing along the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail (phone app), Discovery Room


Jason Mathis CSL staff photoJason Mathis

Videographer & Science Communicator

Phone: 352-273-2070



Education: Jason graduated from UF with a bachelor's degree in agriculture education & communication with a focus on digital media and a minor in leadership.

Experience: Jason produces promotional and educational videos for the Florida Museum of Natural History.

Florida Museum Projects: Explore Research