The DNALC's multi-disciplinary staff has experience in elementary, secondary, and collegiate instruction; biochemistry and molecular biological research; computer programming; design, photography, fine arts, and interior design; science journalism; public relations and development; and opinion research.

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Elna Carrasco-Gottlieb

Middle School Educator

My first visit to the American Museum of Natural History in New York was when I was five years old.  As I walked through the halls of dinosaurs on the fourth floor, I felt as though I was meeting old friends.  Most little girls might run from the 15 ft tall skeleton of T-Rex, but I thought he was beautiful.  That was the beginning of my love affair with science.  I became fascinated with the world, the universe, and the evolution of all living things.

I received a Bachelor's degree in Earth & Space science with a Biology Concentration and my NYS Secondary Science Teaching Certification.  In my graduate studies, in the department of Ecology and Evolution at Stony brook University; I worked with my mentor, Dr. Catherine Forster, who is an expert in dinosauria. We related environment to predator-prey ratios on fossils from the Judith River Formation in Montana.  This is how I became pretty good at identifying dinosaurian teeth (my favorite tooth was from a fetal stegosaurus – it was smaller than a caraway seed and looked like a flower under the stereoscope). 

In 2000, my search for adventure led me to Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory's DNA Learning Center, where I began as a Middle School Educator. What an adventure it has been!  I traveled to Singapore to train teachers, and I was also able to conduct research in Belgium and Italy for our new exhibit featuring a 3D printed replica of Ötzi the Iceman.  I have created new lab experiences and week-long workshops, ranging from genetic engineering to forensic science, for local and international students. 

Ever since I entered the front entrance of the little “school house” on 334 Main Street, Cold Spring Harbor, I have been exploring the question "How did we get here" through the doorway of evolution. The key to this doorway is in our own DNA. What a wonderful place to learn the secrets of life while sharing our knowledge with the future of our world, our children!

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