During her freshman orientation in 1958, general science major Eileen Starr discovered the “Exhibit Museum,” and immediately asked for a job. The only student position that offered enough hours was as a student operator of the soon-to-be installed Spitz A-1 planetarium. She accepted it and became the Museum’s first student planetarium operator.

Eileen credits her tenure as a U-M Museum of Natural History student docent for directing her life course, which included working as either a planetarium director or a teacher of Earth Science classes in cities across the country.

Nearly 60 years later, Eileen recognized her life in science by establishing an endowment fund to support hands-on science learning opportunities at the Museum, in perpetuity.

The Dr. Eileen Starr Hands-On Science Fund will be used to cover expenses specifically related to providing opportunities for U-M undergraduate students to develop and facilitate hands-on science experiences for Museum visitors and program participants.

“I established this fund so that students can better learn how to create successful hands-on science activities for when they are teachers, or when they become parents,” Eileen said. “As a teacher and past science center director, I know hands-on activities are not always easy to create. The more practice, the better.”

If you are interested in adding to this fund, establishing an endowment gift yourself, or learning about other named funding opportunities, please contact Nora Webber, Assistant Director for Development, at norawe@umich.edu.