Sarah Kirn

Program Manager, Public Participation in Science Initiative

Sarah Kirn is the Program Manager of the Public Participation in Science Initiative at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute. Sarah believes that every student deserves exciting experiences with authentic scientific investigations that let him or her develop rather than lose their natural curiosity.

From 2002-2010 she oversaw the development of Vital Signs from its start as a Palm-based pilot in six Maine schools, to its implementation as a cross-border education program in Ireland and Northern Ireland, to the web-based platform that now serves thousands of students, hundreds of educators, and dozens of scientists. In her current role, Sarah works to connect GMRI’s education programs to national policy, innovative models, and leading researchers and thinkers, to keep our programs current and support continual improvement in how we serve Maine educators and learners.

She builds collaborations with like-minded organizations, individuals, learning researchers, and education professionals in state and nationally to strengthen our programs and increase their reach and impact. She is an integral part of the Education and Development team, working to secure funding in support of GMRI’s education programs.

Sarah holds a B.Sc. in geology-biology from Brown University. In 1996 she earned her USCG 100 Inland Master of Auxiliary Sail Vessels license and began leading 5- to 26-day sailing courses for the Hurricane Island Outward Bound School. After five years on the water with students aged 15 to 75, her curiosity about what was going on in the Gulf of Maine beneath her pulling boat lead her inland to graduate school at the University of Maine. While immersed in scientific research, Sarah kept a hand in education.

She worked as a teaching assistant and served as a National Science Foundation Grades K-12 Teaching Fellow providing science instruction in area middle schools. Sarah came straight to GMRI after completing her M.Sc. degree in biological oceanography at the University of Maine.