ASHLAND Plans to grow the Discovery Center portion of the Highlands Museum are moving ahead with the hiring of Julie Maynard.

Maynard, who serves as director of the center and will be STEM/STEAM education coordinator, started the job at the end of July. Her background in education makes her a great choice for the position, Carol Rice Allen, executive director of the museum, said.

“(Julie) brings a new perspective to current exhibits,” Allen said. “We’re blessed to have her.”

A native of Leipsic, Ohio, Maynard has a Ph.D. in STEM education from The Ohio State University’s Department of Teaching and Learning. She has a wide range of experience in education, including having taught fourth through 12th grades for 22 years.

Her job duties include writing grants to help with current and future projects, designing and leading Discovery Center projects and workshops, designing professional development opportunities for teachers and digitizing the museum so visitors will be able to scan posted QR codes to learn more about the exhibits.

In the coming months, Allen said the discovery center will move to the second floor; the basement will contain the current space science exhibit and an expanded science and industry exhibit.

Programs on the fifth floor will include a workshop for woodworking, a sewing center, energy and environment studies, coding and graphic design, robotics and wearable technology.

“We want to involve senior citizens in the area as mentors,” Maynard said. “So we would have a woodworker and a seamstress come in and teach students about sewing and carving.”

Many programs will target underrepresented students and will be designed to complement programs in their schools, Maynard said. “Every opportunity we provide will be aligned with current curriculum,” she said, noting there will be something for every age, from preschool through high school.

Allen said Maynard’s contributions will be a “tremendous asset to education in this area.

“She’s just a real find,” she said.

It’s not only about teaching students how to do things, but also instilling confidence.

“We’re helping provide the skill set they need and the belief that they can do this,” Maynard said.

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