Board of Advisors

Our staff powers our mission and vision in some pretty amazing ways. We couldn’t accomplish much without their energy, dedication and talent.

Learn more about the people behind our organization.

Alex Hastings, Ph.D.

Fitzpatrick Chair of Paleontology at the Science Museum of Minnesotaahastings@smm.org(612) 440-1722

Alex’s professional career is focused on two goals: 1) to better understand the relationships between evolution and climate through time, 2) to make the science of paleontology accessible to as many people as possible.  Toward this mission, Alex has incorporated outreach into his daily workstyle, speaking at schools, tabling at events, and regularly participating in Skype A Scientist. Ancient life can be a phenomenal way to engage students in STEAM lessons. Using that enthusiasm, he has worked alongside educators to create lessons based on Titanoboa, the largest snake of all time (which he helped discover), dinosaur footprints, and ancient shark ecology. He also launched a program called “Comic Books and Dinosaurs”, which began as an after school program for middle school students to learn about the scientific process through comic books, as well as the intersection between art and science.

Alex has a Ph.D. from the University of Florida and a B.S. from Penn State University. He also worked as the Asst. Curator of Paleontology at the Virginia Museum of Natural History (2015–2018), was an International Museum Fellow at Martin Luther University in Halle, Germany (2013–2015), and a Temporary Instructor at Georgia Southern University (2012–2013).

Becca Mussetter, M.S. Ed.

Elementary Curriculum Advisor

Becca has been an elementary school teacher in Washington and California for the past 22 years. Driven by a commitment to making learning fun and bringing educational experiences to life, Becca has always had the ability to take higher-level curricula and break it down into cognitive chunks that elementary students can understand. She did this most notably during her participation in the National Science Foundation-funded Great American Biotic Interchange Research Experience for Teachers (GABI-RET), a program in which she collaborated with scientists to bring cutting-edge paleontology into her 3rd grade classroom. In an additional opportunity, through an IDIG Fossils 3D printing grant, Becca’s 3rd and 4th grade students were able to print replicas of fossils and engage in research of their own, while at the same time conversing with scientists. 

Becca has an undergraduate degree in Sociology, a Multiple-Subject Credential in Elementary Education with CLAD Authorization, a Single-Subject Credential in Mathematics, a Single-Subject Credential in Science, and an MS in Foundational Reading and Literacy. She is currently teaching in Watsonville, California. 

Katie Hastings

SeaQuest Husbandry Manager & STEAM Education Coordinatorkhende11@gmail.com

Currently the husbandry manager for SeaQuest in Roseville Minnesota, Katie helps connect the public with a large variety of animals they wouldn’t get to interact with anywhere else. Sloths, otters, capybara, even wallabies!

Beginning with wildlife husbandry and education starting in 2006 at a raptor and wildlife center in Georgia, she’s spent the past 14 years meeting new animals and getting to know their quirks.

A large portion of Katie’s working life has been dedicated to creating STEAM programs and presenting them to a large variety of groups from homeschoolers, preschool, college, and even underserved communities.