Toronto - Lesley Lewis, CEO of the Ontario Science Centre (OSC) in Toronto, Canada, was elected president of the Association of Science-Technology Centers’ Board of Directors at the 2007 ASTC Annual Conference in Los Angeles, California. The first Canadian to serve in this role, Ms. Lewis succeeds Wit Ostrenko, president of the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) in Tampa, Florida, as ASTC’s president.

“Lesley's election as ASTC's president clearly illustrates the high regard her peers have for her and her work—not only at the Ontario Science Centre, but on behalf of science centers across the world,” said Bonnie VanDorn, ASTC's executive director. “Lesley has a remarkable ability to lead and to think strategically, and her eagerness to take on huge responsibilities like hosting the upcoming Science Centre World Congress reflects her commitment to our field. In addition, her sincere belief in the importance of increasing equity and diversity is needed now more than ever. It would be difficult to find a better spokesperson and advocate for ASTC members.”

Ms. Lewis has been an ASTC Board member since 2000, serving most recently as its Secretary-Treasurer. She was named CEO of the Ontario Science Centre in 1998, and spearheaded the Centre’s $47.5-million Agents of Change transformation. Under Ms. Lewis’ leadership, the Science Centre has begun to extend its audience reach and relevance beyond its traditional demographic of families and children to include teens, youth and adults.

“I am honoured to be elected to serve this important global organization,” said Lesley Lewis. “The Ontario Science Centre was a founding member of ASTC in 1973 and has been an active participant ever since. ASTC is a vibrant association whose members from around the world offer rich resources for lifelong learning. Science centres provide meeting places for citizens and the research community, support schools, inspire youth and contribute to the cultural and economic vitality of their communities. I look forward to working with, and learning from, ASTC member science centres and museums during my term as President.”

In addition to her role with ASTC, Ms. Lewis chairs the International Planning Committee for the 5th Science Centre World Congress, which will be hosted by the Ontario Science Centre June 15 to 19, 2008 in Toronto. She was recently elected to the Board of Tourism Toronto.

Over the past five years, Ms. Lewis has participated in numerous international forums to speak about the changes underway at the Ontario Science Centre and the evolution of a new model for public engagement with science. At the invitation of the China Association for Science and Technology, she serves as a member of the International Advisory Committee for a new science and technology museum in Beijing.

The Association of Science-Technology Centers is an organization of 440 science centers and museums in 44 countries dedicated to furthering the public understanding of science among increasingly diverse audiences. ASTC encourages excellence and innovation in informal science learning by serving and linking its members worldwide and advancing their common goals. ASTC provides professional development for the science center field, promotes best practices, supports effective communication, strengthens the position of science centers within the community at large, and fosters the creation of successful partnerships and collaborations. Visit http://www.astc.org/ to learn more about ASTC and to find a science center near you.