Nominees needed for annual SPARK Award


The Oxford English Dictionary defines inspiration as “the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.”

That sounds a bit like the museum, right? Mentally stimulating others to do something creative is what we are all about here at SPARK Museum of Electrical Invention.

And right now, we’re looking for one special person who embodies that idea.

Do you know someone who lives to inspire — to ignite — those around them?

The third annual SPARK Award

Our goal at SPARK Museum in Bellingham is to provide exciting and educational experiences through innovative programs and a world-class collection of artifacts that represent the historic development of electricity, radio and early technology.

For the 2020 SPARK Award, the museum is looking for a person who captures that inspiring spirit by igniting the spark of curiosity about science in people of all ages and backgrounds.

The SPARK Award is given once each year to just such a person. It recognizes distinguished contributions to science education through diverse activities, including (but not limited to) teaching, outreach, advocacy and public engagement.

In other words, we’re looking for people like Christopher Lowell and Dr. Melissa Rice.

The SPARK Award: past winners

Lowell, the 2019 winner of the SPARK Award, has stepped into the character of Benjamin Franklin to engage nearly 25,000 school kids and such diverse audiences as corporate executives and the French government (to which, mind you, he gave his entire presentation in fluent French). True to the historical figure he portrays, Lowell has sparked interest in science and invention all around the globe.

Dr. Rice was the SPARK Award’s 2018 winner. She has gained distinction as a science advocate through engagement with the public as well as with her students at Western Washington University, where she is a professor in both geology and physics and astronomy. In addition to collaborating with scientists at NASA laboratories, Rice actively involves WWU students in her research at the frontiers of planetary science.

How to nominate someone for the award

Do you know someone who has ignited the spark of passion and interest in science — here in Whatcom County or around the world — who should be recognized with the 2020 SPARK Award?

By Nov. 30, please submit your full name and contact info, the full name and contact info of the nominee, and 500 words or fewer about how the nominee has ignited in others the spark of curiosity in science. A form has been created online for this purpose, or you may also bring your nomination to SPARK Museum.

The awards committee will meet in December to review nominations and select a recipient. The winner will be chosen based not only on that person’s achievements, but also on the individual’s capacity to generate passion and interest in science among others. The SPARK Award winner will be honored with a plaque and have their work highlighted at the annual SPARK Museum fundraising event in spring, typically held in February or March.