Jayme Cellitioci, an OSU educator, delivers a TED talk on an open stage.

What attracted you to this program? 

When I heard that Dr. John Falk and Dr. Lynn Dierking were leading this program, I couldn’t register fast enough.  While it made complete (and incredible) sense, I was pleasantly surprised to learn of their transition into the academic arena.  I had the privilege of experiencing Lynn and John’s museum learning and evaluation consulting services during a strategic planning process at the Buffalo Museum of Science (BMS).  David Chesebrough, now President of COSI, introduced the BMS staff to many great thought leaders in the field at that time.  The concept of satellite science studios, as inspired by John Falk, emerged from the planning process and I had the opportunity to design and test the first one: The Elmwood Science Spot.

What is your educational background? / Work experience?

While pursuing my B.S. is psychology/biology from Long Island University at Southampton, I engaged in several international learning coops and internships.  I worked with seal rehabilitation organizations in the Netherlands and Greece and looked at environmental awareness and attitudes in people who engaged in whale watching and aquarium going in Australia and New Zealand. 

After graduating, I moved to Maui, Hawai’i and worked with Pacific Whale Foundation as a research interpreter.  It was during this experience that I fell in love with the public programs side of informal learning.  When the Maui Ocean Center was built, I moved into serving as their first education manager.  After feeling the academic education pull to pursue a Masters, I returned home to figure out next steps.  I started working at the Buffalo Museum of Science and a co-worker turned me on to the International Center for Studies in Creativity (ICSC) at SUNY Buffalo State.  It was there that I fell in love with the rich academic discipline of creativity and received my M.S. in Creativity and Change Leadership.  After graduating, I established a facilitation practice ULU Consulting (ulu is a Hawaiian word that means to flourish, or to grow). 

I now work with Invent Now, Inc. as a Senior Creative Content Specialist.  I am able to combine my knowledge and passion around science and creativity in the programs I design for Camp Invention, as well as supporting the Collegiate Inventors Competition and National Inventors Hall of Fame aspects of the organization.  Invention has been an incredible lens to explore the relationship between science and creativity. 

How did you get interested in this field of study?

I had always loved nature and science and had a passion for education, but never saw myself teaching in a traditional classroom setting.  In the beginning of my career, I felt like an “uncertified teacher/educator,” but then I started to understand that there was an actual and legitimate field (rich with expertise, professional development, research, etc.) for individuals like myself.  

What do you enjoy or find most beneficial/helpful about/in this program? 

I have taken two courses toward my certificate in Free-Choice Learning.  I tell people that even if there was no course work, the affordable tuition rate is worth the price of the meaningful networking the program affords.  I have enjoyed the intellectual exchanges with others around the country that wake up and think about many of the same things I do each morning.  Couple that with informed and experienced instructors, rich and inspirational resources lined up for the courses, and the opportunity to validate your notions / build your skills / ground your experiences in research around free-choice learning, and you have a winning recipe for a unique and rewarding professional enrichment experience.

Tell us a little about yourself

I have a three-year-old son who has my heart completely captured and is my science muse.  The other morning, following a Mini Maker Faire, he and I were lighting up LEDs using batteries, alligator clips, and play dough at 7:30am.  He said, “Mom.  I love you.  But why are we doing this?”  I also have a wonderful husband who allowed me to make our wedding into a public program 10 years ago (complete with drummers, telescopes, a cabin sleepover, storytelling, and glowsticks).

Jayme Cellitioci blogs in the Huffington Post and at, has a TEDx talk at, or you can follow her on Twitter at @freechoicelearn.