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Weis Museum's Director Receives Prestigious ‘Salotti Award’

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Kluessendorf Presented with National Recognition for Adovocating Earth Science Education

Dr. Joanne Kluessendorf receiving an award Dr. Joanne Kluessendorf, director of the Weis Earth Science Museum (WESM), located on the campus of the University of Wisconsin-Fox Valley, was named recipient of the prestigious 2012 Charles A. Salotti Award for excellence in earth science education. The Award is presented by the A. E. Seaman Mineral Museum Society at Michigan Technological University in Houghton, MI. The Award was established by Dr. Charles A. Salotti, a mining geologist and teacher. Dr. Kluessendorf is the 14th recipient of the Award. She received the Award at the Seaman Mineral Museum Annual Gala held in Houghton on October 20th.

The Award was presented to Dr. Kluessendorf for her involvement with the WESM, which "goes back to its very beginning, and she has played a major role in the museum's planning, development, exhibits, programming, and, ultimately, its successful implementation and growth. She works with children and families who visit the museum and take part in its programs. She also carefully mentors a dedicated staff and works to create collaborative educational programs within the Fox Valley educational community.

Dr. John Jaszczak of the Seaman Museum noted that the number and quality of the recommendations for Kluessendorf exceeded those of all other nominees.

According to one of her references, "Dr. Kluessendorf is an inspiration to all who know her. She has helped cultivate all Weis Museum staff in their chosen fields of study and encourages any and all who come to the Weis Museum seeking knowledge. Beyond her work with the museum, she also shares her passion for the earth sciences through her writing, radio and television interviews, and working with teachers in workshops. In 2008, she coordinated the ‘Wonderful World of Agates,' which drew an international group of exhibitors and guests, and was hosted by the museum."

Kluessendorf received her bachelor's degree, master's degree and Ph.D. from the University of Illinois (Champaign-Urbana). She began her career at UWFox in 2001, and took part in the planning and design of the WESM. Klussendorf has been the WESM's only director since it opened in November 2002.

Since it opened, the WESM has hosted tens of thousands of guests, including numerous school field trips, each year.

The WESM has been designated as "the state's official mineralogical museum." The museum bears the name of Dr. Leonard Weis, former UWFox professor of geology, and his family, who were major donors to the museum. Weis taught at UWFox from 1965 to 1989, and retired as an Emeritus Professor. He passed away in 2011.

The WESM offers fascinating exhibits featuring the geologic history of Wisconsin, its mining history, as well as various dinosaur displays. The WESM is open to the public Mondays through Thursdays, noon to 4:00 p.m.; Fridays, noon to 7:00 p.m.; Saturdays, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; and Sundays, 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. For more information about the WESM, visit www.weismuseum.org, or call 920-832-2925.

Posted 12/3/2012