About Us

The Smithsonian Science Education Center is transforming K-12 Education Through Science™ in collaboration with communities across the globe. Download the video transcript.

Visit our Director's Corner to learn how we are achieving our mission! 

Message From Our Director 

Welcome to the website of the Smithsonian Science Education Center (SSEC), the only organization at the Smithsonian Institution that is solely dedicated to formal K-12 Education. The SSEC was established in 1985 as the National Science Resources Center (NSRC) under the sponsorship of two prestigious institutions: the Smithsonian Institution and the National Academy of Sciences. In 2012, our name changed to the Smithsonian Science Education Center to reflect our mission: transforming K-12 Education Through Science™ in collaboration with communities across the globe.

To achieve our mission, we have three Programmatic Goals:

  • promote authentic, inquiry-based K-12 science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) teaching and learning
  • ensure diversity, equity, accessibility and inclusion (DEAI) in K-12 STEM education
  • advance STEM education for sustainable development (STEM4SD)

We also have Operational Goals through our clearly defined functions that ensure SSEC can achieve its mission. Our Pan-institutional Goals help us translate the research and collections of the Smithsonian into meaningful tools and convenings for K-12 teachers and students. 

We achieve our goals through our core programs:

  • building awareness for STEM education among school leaders
  • supporting the professional growth of K-12 STEM teachers and school leaders
  • developing exemplary standards-aligned curriculum materials for K-12 classrooms, including our comprehensive K-8, research-based science curriculum program: Smithsonian Science for the Classroom and Smithsonian Science and Technology Concepts for Middle School (STCMS)
  • developing free digital resources for youth
  • conducting STEM Education for Sustainable Development (STEM4SD) outreach programs throughout the world through our Smithsonian Science for Global Goals project
  • engaging in research

By bringing Smithsonian Science into the K-12 classroom, we can help students and teachers unlock the mysteries of the world through science. The Smithsonian Science Education Center connects students in urban, rural, and suburban areas to their communities and to a world of discovery around them to work on solving real-world problems that ensure a sustainable planet.

Our educational approach is straightforward, revolutionary, and results-oriented. The SSEC’s portfolio of training and leadership programs, curricula, digital assets, and resources have captured the attention of national and international experts. As a leader in science education reform for over 35 years, the SSEC has a long-standing history of serving schools, districts, states, and ministries of education throughout the world.

At the heart of our work is the idea that all youth—regardless of gender, sexual orientation, geography, race, native language, ability, or socio-economic status—should be given the opportunities to learn about the socio-scientific issues that challenge us. The Smithsonian, through the Smithsonian Science Education Center, plays an active role in sparking students' and teachers' interest in STEM to ensure a scientifically literate and sustainable planet.

This is why our mission at the Smithsonian Science Education Center is so important.

So, I invite you get to know the Smithsonian Science Education Center better. Peruse our website. Contact us directly. We draw inspiration and knowledge from you, from our dedicated Advisory Board, from our generous donors, and from our partners at the Smithsonian Institution more broadly so we can directly incorporate what we learn into your science classroom. Come. Join us.

Dr. Carol O’Donnell

Director, Smithsonian Science Education Center

The Smithsonian Science Education Center works to empower the next generation of decision makers, capable of making the right choices for the future of humanity. Download the video transcript.