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Two Da Vinci Science Center leaders were honored recently for their work to bring science to life and lives to science and their service to the greater Lehigh Valley community.
Lehigh Valley Business honored Lin Erickson, the Center’s Executive Director and CEO, in May as one of its 2016 Women of Influence Award winners. The media company also honored Karen Knecht, the Center’s Director of Education, as one of its Forty Under 40 Award winners in June.
The Women of Influence Award recognizes female business leaders for their contributions to their companies, industries and communities. The Forty Under 40 Award honors 40 of the area’s most accomplished young businessmen and women who have been making headlines in their field and who share a commitment to business growth, professional excellence, and to the community.
Erickson was honored for nearly 25 years of dedication to supporting education in the Lehigh Valley area, most notably her two tenures as the Center’s CEO. Her first tenure from 1997-2005 included the Center’s emergence as an independent nonprofit organization after being incubated at Lehigh University and creation of its current visitor facility in Allentown, Pa.
Erickson’s second tenure as the Da Vinci Science Center’s CEO began in March 2013 and has included years of record-breaking visitation and program and event participation; an expansion of its educational and community partnerships; a formalization of its efforts to support current and future female professionals in the STEM fields – science, technology, engineering, and mathematics; and an increased emphasis on mentoring for underserved students. Erickson also had led the Center’s creation and adoption of its 2016-2019 Strategic Plan, titled Greater Possibilities, and the Center’s subsequent exploration of physical and programmatic expansion.
Knecht has been the Da Vinci Science Center’s Director of Education since Aug. 2010 and is the organization’s longest consecutively tenured professional. Her responsibilities include leading the development and delivery of the Center’s educational programs and shows for school field trip groups, outreach consumers, Scout groups, and visitors. Knecht is the founder and director of Lehigh Valley FAST – or Festival of Art, Science, and Technology. Knecht served previously as the Center’s Education Manager from 2000-2010 and as an educator from 1998-2000. Knecht also is a graduate of the Leadership Lehigh Valley program, a member of the Board of Directors of the Mayfair Festival of the Arts, and an instructor at Cedar Crest College and DeSales University.
“The core of every business success story – whether that story is from a Fortune 500 company or a smaller nonprofit organization – is a group of talented, dedicated, and passionate people. The Da Vinci Science Center is fortunate to have dozens of exceptional professionals who are bringing science to life for thousands in our region,” said Vincent Sorgi, Chairman of the Center’s Board of Trustees and Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer from PPL Corporation. “These well-deserved honors for Lin and Karen reflect the outstanding, creative, and tireless efforts of the entire Da Vinci Science Center team.”