Fall 1999 Table
Michael DiSpezio as a science educator is like describing a tornado
as "windy." Actually, describing DiSpezio as a tornado
would be more accurate. "Working with Michael is refreshing,"
says one collaborator. "Its like, hold onto your seats,
here we go!"
"renaissance educator," DiSpezio has been involved in
all aspects of science education. He has taught, written and developed
curriculum, conducted workshops, and produced videos.
just the beginning. It takes only a brief introduction to DiSpezio
to realize that his energy and enthusiasm are contagious. Perhaps
its the rapid-fire manner in which he speaks, or his animated
descriptions. Or maybe its his appearance: part Einstein (the
hair), part New Yorker (the black clothes), and part Bohemian (the
convertible, the suntan, the Birkenstocks year-round).
Before he entered
the enterprenuerial world, DiSpezio paid his dues in the scientific
community. After earning his masters in biology from Boston
University, he spent six summers as research assistant to Nobel
laureate Albert Szent-Gyorgyi at the Marine Biological Laboratory
(MBL) in Woods Hole.
the science laboratory, DiSpezio taught science at the middle, high
school, and university level. Following his classroom jobs, DiSpezio
became an independent science educator. His clients include The
Weather Channel, Childrens Television Workshop, DuPont, and
the U.S. Department of Energy. A long-standing affiliation with
the National Science Teachers Assocation (NSTA) involving workshop
and curriculum development resulted in the 1997 curriculum "The
Science of HIV," which earned international acclaim, including
an Emmy Award nomination for the accompanying video. DiSpezio also
writes curriculum supplements for Discover magazine and the PBS
television series "Scientific American Frontiers."
the author of over two dozen elementary, middle and high school
science textbooks and has written numerous trade books on topics
ranging from optical illusions to critical thinking puzzles. He
often incorporates critical thinking activities into his presentations
at NSTA conventions and other organizational meetings throughout
in the science education field have taken him to the Middle East,
Europe and, most recently, the Bahamas, where he helped create curriculum
for the Discovery Channel Camp at the Atlantis resort.
Closer to home-DiSpezio
resides in North Falmouth with his wife, a nurse, and son, aged
11-he is finishing up a WHOI Sea Grant-supported project to
develop educational flash cards featuring local marine species.
The 100-card series is beautifully illustrated with original watercolors
by Woods Hole artist Tessa Morgan. In addition to printed flash
cards, an interactive web site based on the cards is under consideration.
Crago, WHOI Sea Grant