Catherine McCarthy

Catherine McCarthy
Contact Information
Organization:Arizona State University
Tempe, AZ
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Catherine McCarthy works for Arizona State University as the Project Manager Senior for the National Informal STEM Education Network (NISE Network) in the Center for Innovation in Informal STEM Learning in the School for the Future of Innovation in Society.

McCarthy has more than twenty years of experience developing, implementing, and studying STEM learning and public engagement on a variety of science and technology topics. 

McCarthy plays a leadership role in National Informal STEM Education Network (NISE Network) a community of informal educators and scientists dedicated to supporting learning about science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) across the United States. 

Project topics include: Earth and space science (NASA, $14.5 million, 2016-2020, co-I), build a Mars habitat exhibit (NASA, $1 million, 2020-22, PI), Moon adventure game (NASA, $.8 million, 2019-21), chemistry (NSF, $2.9 million, 2016-21), nanoscale science (NSF, $40 million, 2006-16), synthetic biology (NSF, $2.1 million, 2014-17), and sustainability (Rob and Melani Walton Foundation).

While serving as Project Leader at the Science Museum of Minnesota, McCarthy provided oversight and leadership for several aspects of NISE Network projects including: Sun, Earth Universe exhibition (52 copies installed nationwide), 400-square-foot Nano exhibition (93 copies installed nationwide), and hands-on activity kits distributed to up to 350 partners nationwide: Explore Science: Earth & Space (2018-2020), Explore Science: Let’s Do Chemistry (2018), Frankenstein200 (2018), Building with Biology (2016), SustainABLE (2016), Museum & Community Partnership Explore Science (2016), NanoDays (2008-2015). She has also provided content and technical oversight of the website for informal science education professionals and oversaw the application and award processes for mini-grants, kits, and exhibitions.

In her prior role as Grant Projects Director at the Sciencenter in Ithaca, NY she managed a variety of exhibition and educational projects as well as overseeing the traveling exhibitions program. Projects included It's a Nano World: Smaller than a Spot on a Ladybug traveling exhibition, Too Small to See: Zoom into Nanotechnology traveling exhibition, Mars and Stars astronomy exhibition, Sagan Planet Walkasteroid station, Chemistry Challenge activities, creative re-use Reinvention Station, health exhibits, and integrated pest management exhibits. 

Prior to joining the museum field, she worked for local government agencies and nonprofits in environmental management, solid waste, hazardous waste, and pollution prevention. She served on the board of directors of several non-profit organizations including formerly serving as President of Board of the Cayuga Nature Center.

She holds a BS from Cornell University in natural resources and environmental engineering technology and an MS and PhD from UC Davis in ecology, focusing on environmental policy analysis and planning. 


Ph.D., 1999, University of California Davis, CA
    Graduate Group in Ecology, Emphasis: Environmental Policy Analysis and Planning 
Master of Science Degree, 1990, University of California Davis, CA
    Graduate Group in Ecology, Emphasis: Environmental Policy Analysis and Planning

Bachelor of Science Degree, 1988, Cornell University, New York
    Dual Major: Environmental Engineering Technology and Natural Resources

Professional Information
My SMD Projects:

Space and Earth Informal STEM Education (SEISE) project

Education Meetings and Conferences I Usually Attend Annually: