WonderLab is excited to welcome the newest members of the WonderLab Board of Directors, Caitlin Keller and Philemon Yebei. Caitlin is a Supervisor in Manufacturing Sciences and Technology at Catalent Pharma Solutions. Philemon is Assistant Vice President for Administration in the Office of the Vice President for Regional Campuses and Online Education, at Indiana University.
Caitlin Keller – Product Manager, Product Management Operations, Cook Medical, WonderLab Board Member
Caitlin has been a part of the WonderLab community for years. “We joined the Bloomington community 14 years ago, prior to having children,” Caitlin said. “When our daughter was born, 8 years ago we knew we wanted to expose her to science from an early age. We were also looking for an environment to enjoy as a family. WonderLab offered us that space and opportunity.”
WonderLab is the place where Caitlin’s family, now including two children, goes to learn together. “Given my background in chemistry and long love for science, it’s important to me that my kids have a love for science too. The hands-on science and fun offered at WonderLab are great. My kids love learning through play,” Caitlin said.
Caitlin’s favorite exhibit at WonderLab is WaterWorks. Caitlin said, “Watching kids smile and the wonder behind their eyes as they see the water move and flow ….I’ve never seen a kid who wasn’t smiling at that table. If they’re upset, it’s because they’re getting pulled away from it.”
Caitlin also enjoys the various opportunities that WonderLab provides for multiple people to experience. “I love the education programs that allow families and groups to have intimate hands-on experiences. It is a fantastic way to explore and learn about science.”
When asked about Caitlin, WonderLab’s Executive Director, Karen Jepson-Innes, said: “She’s one of those people who not only has great ideas, but digs in and gets things done!”
According to Karen, Caitlin has been a part of WonderLab behind the scenes though the pandemic.
“Caitlin helped plan WonderLab’s record-breaking Science Night In and Science Night Out galas for the past two years, amid all of the challenges of those events due to COVID.” Karen said, “She knows the museum as a visitor with her family, and is passionate about science, providing STEM activities at a young age and making sure the community is a great place for everyone to enjoy.”
Philemon Yebei – Assistant Vice President for Administration in the Office of the Vice President for Regional Campuses and Online Education, Indiana University, WonderLab Board Member
Philemon loves that WonderLab showcases science through fun activities. “WonderLab simplifies complex concepts for growing minds and the young at heart ,” Philemon said. “Even for adults who are seeking to continue learning!”
“Anything that makes science accessible is great,” Philemon continued. “Science gives us answers to things that may otherwise seem mythical or mysterious. It explains unknown phenomena. Even basic things, like fixing a squeaky toy car for my son using WD-40, then seeing him understand why it worked is wonderful.”
After receiving his undergraduate degree in Education while in Kenya, Philemon moved to the U.S. for a master’s degree in applied health science and a PhD in Higher Education Administration.
Philemon loves using science concepts at work to uncover underlying problems. “I use Excel to perform trend analysis regularly, and for me, using mathematical concepts to understand and solve problems brings science to life and that is one of the reasons I love science.”
The larger community around WonderLab is important to Philemon. “Bloomington is a home away from home,” Philemon said, “I have many memorable experiences from my time as a grad student at IU, including participating in two Habitat for Humanity builds, volunteering at the food pantry; that’s when Bloomington became home.”
According to Karen Jepson-Innes, Executive Director of WonderLab: “Philemon admits to having a very curious mind and is open to stretching outside his comfort zone! That’s WonderLab!”
“Philemon is already connected to the museum through visits with his family, so he knows first-hand WonderLab’s value to children, as well as to grown-ups,” Karen continued. “He has an amazing background and experience in financial management, with an enthusiastic, curious approach to understanding the financial underpinnings of our operations.”
Philemon has several favorite WonderLab exhibits including WaterWorks, the Viscosity Tubes, and the Climber. “I am also intrigued by the aquarium,” Philemon said. “….and the pop-up exhibit about the life-cycle of the cicadas (in 2021) was great.”
Philemon is excited to be joining the Board of Directors. “This is an organization that is in the business of educating and improving lives through science, making a life-long impact.”
Caitlin Keller and Philemon Yebei joined the WonderLab Board of Directors in early 2022. Both will be serving for 3 year terms.
Note: This article was edited on 06/16/2022 to reflect more accurate information.