The Science Museum of Western Virginia

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Monday-Saturday, 10 am-5 pm
Sunday, 1-5 pm

About / Our Staff

Our Staff

 Executive Director: Jim Rollings

Jim Rollings was born in Roanoke, but grew up in Newport News, Virginia. He was appointed executive director in October 2011, having worked for more than 30 years in museums (20 as director): Yorktown Victory Center, NASA’s Langley visitors center in Hampton, the Virginia Living Museum in Newport News, and Gulfcoast Wonder & Imagination Zone, a science museum in Sarasota, Fla.

“Technology fascinated me very early on. I built a crude –- but working! –- oscilloscope out of surplus parts when I was 14.  It’s the excitement of sharing learning with others that keeps me psyched about science.”


Lead Animal Care Specialist: Derek Kellogg

Derek Kellogg is from Lawrence, Kansas, and received a Master of Science degree in entomology from the University of Kansas.

Derek joined the Science Museum in November 2012 after four years as chief entomologist at the National Museum of Play in Rochester, New York, where he oversaw the Dancing Wings Butterfly Garden and three aquaria. As the Science Museum’s “butterfly guy,” Derek oversees the Butterfly Garden.

“Science is all around us. It is in the water we drink, the ground we walk on, the structure and function of our body’s organs, even the keyboard I am typing on was put together with materials created through scientific knowledge of the chemical properties of their constituent parts. I am psyched about science because I am psyched about the world that surrounds us and I have the desire to always learn more.”


Educator: Franklin Stinson

A native of Roanoke, Franklin Stinson graduated from Penn State with a degree in Environmental Education and Outdoor Recreation.

Franklin has worked as a naturalist at Shafer’s Creek Environmental Center at Penn State and the Piedmont Environmental Center in Greensboro, N.C., an outdoor recreation specialist (aka “Ambassador of Fun”) at Wilderness Adventure at Eagle Landing in Craig County, a middle school classroom teacher in Roanoke City Schools, and for the last three years an Educator for the Science Museum.

“My classroom has been the middle of a river, the top of the mountain, in caves, on a rock wall … anywhere outside! I’m psyched by science because it can explain so many things that are mysteries; but even with knowing these explanations, they can still be amazing and awe inspiring!”

Educator/Weekend Manager: Sarah McDonald

Sarah McDonald is from Lynchburg, and received her Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts and Sciences from The University of Virginia’s College at Wise.

Sarah has her Virginia Collegiate Professional Teaching License for Elementary Education Prek-6.

“I’m psyched by science because science is fun!”


Business Manager: Erma Williams

Originally from the Washington, D.C., area, Erma Williams has been with the Science Museum for two years. Erma has many years of experience in office administration with think tanks on “The Hill” and various trade associations. She is a wedding and meeting planner by trade, and once coordinated a penguin-themed wedding.

She moved to the Roanoke Valley after marrying a long time family friend in the early 1990’s, and has a high school-aged son who desires to work in the science field.

“I’m psyched by science because I get to face my fear (dislike, maybe?) of animal critters with my office next door to Animal Care Central. And where else can you not only feel like you’re in a storm, but have a tornado beside you?”


Director of Development & Marketing: Michael Hemphill

A native of Birmingham, Ala., Michael Hemphill worked as a reporter for The Roanoke Times from 1997-2000. From 2005-2012 he served as executive director of Mountain Valley Charitable Foundation in Montgomery County where he coordinated the fundraising and renovations of The Meadowbrook Center in Shawsville and old Elliston Fire Station.

He joined the Science Museum in December 2012 and supervises fundraising, marketing, promotions and special events.

“I don’t have a science background, and bailed (failed?) out of college physics and biology classes. I regret that now, because I’m increasingly intrigued — even psyched — by the mysteries that science hasn’t yet explained.”


Exhibit Technician: Mark Hodges

Born and raised in Roanoke, Mark Hodges started with the Science Museum in the late 1980s as a part time employee at the front desk, then in the planetarium and as the exhibits technician.

Mark’s training and education is in auto service, electronics and medical equipment service technician.

“I’m psyched by science because I’ve always been curious and I like science.”


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