Adalene “Nene” Spivy has led the Children’s Science Center and Northern Virginia Science Center Foundation since 2010 and is among its earliest founders. Under Nene’s leadership, annual visitation has grown from 3,500 to 75,000 visitors, serving children, families, and educators through community outreach programs and the Center’s first operating site at Fair Oaks Mall which opened in 2015. Nene oversees all aspects of the Center operations and leads the effort to build Northern Virginia Science Center, a full-scale regional science center on donated land in Dulles, Va. As an engineer, MBA, and non-profit leader, Nene brings a diverse range of experience including systems and process engineering, new product development, and general management for technology businesses; fundraising, advocacy, strategic planning, volunteer management, and board development for non-profits. Nene serves on the Board of Directors of the Association of Science and Technology Centers. She is also aboard member of the Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce, a graduate of Leadership Fairfax, a sustaining member and past President of the Junior League of Northern Virginia, a past Chair of Fairfax County’s Community Action Advisory Board, and served in multiple board leadership roles with Discovery Creek Children’s Museum. Nene holds a BS in Industrial Engineering from Virginia Tech and MBA from the University of Virginia Darden School of Business.
Jenn Brunner serves as the lead professional responsible for raising both vital funds to bring the vision of a world-class children’s science museum to reality by managing a team of staff, volunteers and professionals to deliver outreach, fundraising and stewardship events, secure and maintain grants and sponsorships, and orchestrate annual fund and capital campaigns for each phase of the museum build out. Jenn is a non-profit executive with over two decades of experience raising funds for culture and arts organizations such as the Kennedy Center and National Symphony Orchestra, Long Wharf Theatre and the Washington Performing Arts Society among others. Jenn has worked with hundreds of volunteers, Board members and Development Professionals to raise millions of dollars in individual annual giving, major gifts, corporate sponsorships, government and private foundation grants, and special events fundraisers. Jenn holds a Bachelor of Music degree in arts management from the Hartt School at the University of Hartford and has worked extensively with non-profits in all aspects of fundraising, volunteer management, special events, and marketing.
Laahiri Chalasani is a strong advocate for education and brings many years of experience in informal museum STEM education and operations. As a previous volunteer, STEM Educator and manager with the Science Center, Laahiri influenced many of the programs that are being delivered today. Currently a SciGirls® Trainer and a 2018 Association of Science and Technology Centers Diversity and Leadership Fellow, Laahiri integrates the lens of diversity, accessibility, inclusion, and equity into programs she creates and oversees in her role. Earning a BS from George Mason University in Integrative Studies with a concentration in Elementary Education and a Minor in Social Justice, she understands the barriers different communities face engaging in STEM when pursuing degrees and establishing careers. She is passionate about making STEM accessible to everyone.
Katie Jones is a skilled leader and collaborator with over 20 years experience in all aspects of museum administration including educational program development and implementation, public facility management, exhibit development, special collection management, and fundraising. In her role at the Science Center, Katie supports exhibit, facility, and program design for the future science center. She also creates collaborations with partners and stakeholders by developing, implementing, and promoting community programs. Katie earned a BA in History from the University of Virginia and an MA in Public History and Museum Studies from the University of South Carolina.
Dorothy Ready is a career marketing professional bringing over two decades of marketing and advertising experience to the Center. Prior to the Children’s Science Center, Dorothy was the Unit Marketing Director at Chick-fil-A, Fair Oaks Mall, working directly with the owner to provide marketing plans, social media direction, and develop programs designed to create raving fans and surpass annual sales goals. Before moving to Northern Virginia where she has lived for 21 years, Dorothy worked at Adams Outdoor Advertising located in the Hampton Roads area, where she worked directly with the President & CEO providing marketing support to all nine Adams’ divisions throughout the country by coordinating efforts of six Business Development Managers. Dorothy obtained a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from the Manship School of Mass Communication with a concentration in Advertising from Louisiana State University.
Colleen Smith is a nonprofit professional with more than 20 years of experience working to ensure all people have the opportunity to learn and grow. Following graduate work in molecular biology, Colleen found her passion for creating and implementing informal learning opportunities across museum and afterschool settings. Eventually, her passion guided her from conducting programs to funding them. Colleen’s strengths and success as a fundraiser led to her recognition as a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) in 2021. She is thrilled to be a part of the Northern Virginia Science Center Foundation in a role which marries her love of science, informal learning, and advancement. Colleen holds a BS in Agricultural Sciences from the University of Illinois with advanced studies and research conducted at the University of Minnesota.