Elizabeth Babcock

Summer 2013 Mentor

As Chief Public Engagement Officer and Roberts Dean of Education, Elizabeth C. Babcock, Ph.D.  is responsible for creating and implementing engaging exhibits, public engagement and education programs for the California Academy of Sciences. She seeks to ignite a lifelong curiosity about—and love for—the natural world among all of the visitors, students and educators who come in contact with the institution.
The first person to fill the Academy’s newly-endowed Dean of Education role, Babcock is responsible for ensuring that the Academy’s current and future exhibits remain fresh and engaging for approximately 1.5 million visitors of all ages each year from the Bay Area and around the world. The Academy is home to an aquarium with 38,000 live animals, a planetarium featuring award-winning shows produced by an in-house science visualization team, and compelling natural history exhibits on the evolution and sustainability of life on Earth.
In addition, Babcock’s team of educators develop and deliver a variety of innovative programs within and beyond the museum’s walls. Key education programs include the Teacher Institute on Science and Sustainability, the Careers in Science intern program, and the Enhanced Museum Visits for Students Program for 4th and 5th graders in San Francisco. Dozens of daily and monthly programs for museum visitors, and public lectures offer people opportunities to dive deeper into critical issues such as sustainability, conservation and human health on a person-to-person level. Babcock also guides the development of new digital learning initiatives which allow the Academy to reach audiences beyond the Bay Area, and to engage youth in creating their own science stories.
Babcock was recognized in 2011 as one of the Most Influential Women in Business by the San Franisco Business Times.  Before joining the Academy in 2010, she was the Vice President of Education and Library Collections for the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago.   
Babcock has taught K-12, undergraduate, graduate, and adult students in a range of content areas, including music for special needs students, environmental anthropology, sustainable development, introductory anthropology, and adult literacy. She holds a Ph.D. and M.A. in Cultural Anthropology from Indiana University, where she studied international migration and Belizean voluntary associations. She also holds a B.A. in Psychology and a B.M. in Music Education from Northwestern University.