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2012 Election: Joanne Young
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photo of Joanne Young

Candidate Statement:
Joanne Young

My name is Joanne Young, managing director of Audio Visual Imagineering, Inc., a company I founded in 1977. We have been serving the planetarium community since 1979, supplying the industry with planetarium equipment and shows. I’ve been a member of IPS since 1982.

My vision for the society

The reason I accepted the nomination for IPS President Elect is because I have a vision for the Society that I believe will forward the planetarium industry worldwide. My vision comes in two parts:

Considering that planetariums have been adversely affected over the years by a dwindling economy, my vision is to realize an increase in planetarium funding and community support. One way to accomplish this is by supporting continued research in order to gain improved access to the kinds of reform efforts that will improve the planetarium’s role in astronomy, space education and related sciences.

Reestablishing our focus on interactive teaching. After listening to a paper presented by Kim Small at a Middle Atlantic Planetarium Society conference in 2004 regarding research on how children learn, I realized we might be facing a problem with our informal educational approach to teaching in planetariums. The new trend of full dome movies supports passive learning, which is not the most effective approach in teaching astronomy and other related sciences. A number of us have been working to change this trend by returning to and incorporating live, interactive teaching.

Communicating effective results. With continued research in our field we can broadcast the results to supporting foundations, universities, science centers, museums, school boards and communities demonstrating the measureable effects of live interactive teaching practices. In order to support our planetarium directors and educators worldwide, IPS can provide information, research and other marketing materials for relevant news distribution.

After participating in the IPS-authorized Sri Lankan Conference in 2001, Dave Weinrich and I teamed up to work with Jacob Ashong of Ghana to supply equipment and programs at no charge if Jacob would build a planetarium. Jon Elvert at the time was IPS Outreach Committee Chairman and quickly got to work by influencing the City of Baton Rouge to donate a digital planetarium Jon was no longer using. Other equipment, software and show providers began participating freely. Now teachers and children throughout Ghana are learning about their Solar System, constellations and the universe.

We want to build on the success of Ghana and work with others like Jacob who are committed to providing astronomy education for the teachers and children in their countries where funding is not possible. These outreach success stories are heartwarming and newsworthy for those participating planetariums bringing cities and countries together for all children.

IPS has reached its goals of being the stellar professional, international society it set out to be, offering its members a wide variety of invaluable resources. Past presidents have dedicated their presidency to meeting and welcoming new international members, while developing long term friendships and alliances. As President Elect, I will continue the work, supporting the goals of the current and past presidents with an emphasis on 1) promoting research in measurably effective planetarium programs and practices, 2) developing marketing resources to assist planetarians in communicating those results within their communities, and 3) continuing the work initiated by Dave Weinrich in developing nations.

Why I am qualified

Having run my own business serving many industries, including the planetarium world, I’ve developed successful business skills as an overseer of multiple projects occurring simultaneously.

I was one of the founding directors of the International Laser Display Association and past president.

I have spent the last few years actively engaged in promoting research in our industry.

I currently work in Kenya with orphaned children. I also work with Kenyan women in developing their own businesses so they can support their fatherless children.

I will work to forward IPS, supporting planetariums worldwide for the good of IPS and our society at large. I understand that a great deal of time, energy and finances will be devoted to the job of President Elect. I have received a great deal from IPS. It’s time to give back. I am prepared and willing to serve with the IPS officers for the next six years.

Joanne Young


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