Twin Cities Public Television
STEM Education Expert Rita Karl Joins Twin Cities Public Television
For Immediate Release
Elle Krause-Lyons, (651) 229-1491
MPLS/ST. PAUL, MINNESOTA; May 31, 2013—Twin Cities Public Television (tpt) announces the hire of Rita Karl to the station’s National Productions division. Ms. Karl, who will serve as tpt National Productions’ Director of STEM Outreach and Education, brings over 25 years of globe-spanning experience in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education leadership.
Prior to her role at tpt, Ms. Karl served as the Director of Education at the Challenger Center for Space Science Education in Washington, D.C., managing the design, implementation and assessment of formal and informal STEM education and outreach programs. Her work at the Challenger Center informed an international network of 48 science learning centers located in schools, universities and museums reaching over 400,000 students.
Prior to her position at the Challenger Center, Ms. Karl served with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in Egypt as Director of Educational Technology in Schools, a USAID project that trained over 2,500 educators and school administrators in technology-enhanced inquiry-based teaching and learning. This project impacted over 25,000 students across Egypt, and was awarded the “Best Project in USAID” in 2004.
At the NASA Johnson Space Center, Ms. Karl designed and led the NASA award-winning Aerospace Scholars program. This engineering mentorship initiative, now in its fourteenth year, encourages gifted students, young women and minority students to pursue STEM careers. Her previous positions include Education Manager at Universities Space Research Association; Project Manager for Education at the Lunar and Planetary Institute; and Director of the NASA Discovery Museum at Moody Gardens in Texas. A former K-12 educator, Ms. Karl holds a Master’s of Science Degree in Instructional Technology and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Directing.
Ms. Karl’s initial focus within tpt will be on enriching and expanding SciGirls (http://pbskids.org/scigirls/), a robust multi-platform program that draws on cutting-edge research on what engages girls in STEM learning and careers. Its PBS television show, currently in its second season, and its destination website, outreach initiatives and professional development have proven successful: SciGirls has reached over 14 million girls, educators, and families, making it the most widely accessed girls’ STEM program available nationally.
“After a very thorough search we are delighted to have Rita join tpt, especially at this critical time” said Richard Hudson, Executive Producer and tpt’s Director of Science. “Even though women currently make up close to half of the U.S. workforce, they hold less than 25% of STEM jobs. Projects like SciGirls are working to address this issue, and we think Rita is the perfect leader to expand our STEM workforce efforts.”
Ms. Karl, who is relocating to the Twin Cities from New York City, joined the tpt staff in early May.
About TPT National Productions
TPT National Productions has a 25-year track record of developing national STEM productions and associated education guides, outreach campaigns, websites, local and national partnerships and professional development resources to extend the impact of broadcast programming. Notable projects include the long-running family science series Newton’s Apple, the children’s series DragonflyTV and SciGirls, all national Daytime Emmy Award winners. Prime-time documentaries have included Exploring Time for Discovery and the PBS NOVA specials Absolute Zero and the Conquest of Cold and Hunting the Edge of Space. TPT National Productions is also a recognized innovator in multimedia and transmedia, beginning with a series of interactive learning products based on Newton’s Apple, early adoption of digital distribution on DragonflyTV and the transmedia initiatives within SciGirls.
In addition to its Science Productions Unit, TPT National Productions is one of the major producers for the national PBS schedule in the areas of History, Arts, and Health. Notable productions include the recent four-part series Constitution USA with Peter Sagal; the Sundance Film Festival-nominated Slavery by Another Name, the Emmy Award-winning The Forgetting: A Portrait of Alzheimer’s; and the Peabody Award-winning Liberty! The American Revolution. TPT National Productions has won over 300 awards, including 25 national and regional Emmys, the duPont-Columbia Commendation, three George Foster Peabody Awards, and an Academy Award nomination for Hoop Dreams, voted “Best Documentary of the 1990s” by film critic Roger Ebert.
The mission of tpt is to “enrich lives and strengthen our community through the power of media.”
As one of the nation’s leading public media organizations, tpt uses television, interactive media, and community engagement to advance education, culture and citizenship. Over its 50 plus year history, tpt has been recognized for its innovation and creativity with numerous awards, including Peabody awards and national and regional Emmys.
Based in St. Paul, MN, tpt is one of the highest rated PBS affiliates in the nation, reaching over 1.3 million people each month through multiple broadcast and online channels. The organization's particular areas of focus include: the educational readiness of children; serving the needs and unleashing the potential of America's aging population; engaging a new generation in the power of public media; and being the preferred media partner for organizations that align with our mission to enrich lives and strengthen community.
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