Two if by Sea
ArticlesProfileTreasure ChestArchivesHome

Archives: Fall 1999 Table of Contents
Michael DiSpezio

Photo of Michael DiSpezioDescribing 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. "It’s like, hold onto your seats, here we go!"

A self-proclaimed "renaissance educator," DiSpezio has been involved in all aspects of science education. He has taught, written and developed curriculum, conducted workshops, and produced videos.

And that’s just the beginning. It takes only a brief introduction to DiSpezio to realize that his energy and enthusiasm are contagious. Perhaps it’s the rapid-fire manner in which he speaks, or his animated descriptions. Or maybe it’s 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 master’s 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.

After leaving 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, Children’s 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."

DiSpezio is 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 the country.

Assignments 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.

- Tracey Crago, WHOI Sea Grant

Return to Top