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Science Alliance Live
Mission Statement

Science Alliance Live strives to connect scientific research to local communities through the arts. Scientists, artists, and educators collaborate to create events that inspire kids, families, and communities to engage in science and scientific research. Science Alliance Live events combine innovative interactive theatre, hands-on science activities, and online games and simulations to promote scientific literacy in an inclusive family-friendly environment.

Project Staff and Colleagues

Artistic Director

Jenifer Alonzo

A Word from JeniferMy work as an artist is focused on how theatre can help scientists tell the story of their research. I help scientists connect to the community through the interactive events and family-friendly theatre.

Bio: Jenifer Alonzo is a theatre artist who works at disciplinary intersections. She develops workshops that use applied theatre techniques to help scientists better collaborate across disciplines and she works with researchers to use theatre to communicate their research to public audiences.

As a writer and director, Ms. Alonzo specializes in the creation of new work for the stage. Her most recent piece, Mary Anning: Girl Fossil Hunter, is a play about how a young girl made one of the most important scientific discoveries of the 19th century. In 2010, Ms. Alonzo created Fragments, a play that connected Hampton Roads military community to the university. Other pieces include Desire/Regret and The Wrath of God Revealed and Deserved, both of which were presented as part of the Capital Fringe Festival in Washington DC. Ms. Alonzo also directed Polaroid Stories and Aristophanes’ Birds for ODU. Ms. Alonzo’s designs have appeared on the Towson University and ODU Stages, at the Baltimore Theatre Project, at Everyman Theatre in Baltimore, and on The Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage. Ms. Alonzo has performed in more than 30 productions in cities from Denver to Baltimore. Ms. Alonzo has developed theatre workshops for professionals who wish to employ the tools of the actor to strengthen their work in health care, teaching, and law.

Ms. Alonzo holds an MFA in Theatre from Towson University. Her thesis focused on undergraduate training in the collaborative creation of site-specific and image-based work. Ms. Alonzo’s BA (University of Colorado at Denver) is in Theatre Acting and Directing.

Research Scientists

Victoria Hill, Assistant Professor of Oceanography

A Word from Victoria: My research is focused on bio-optical oceanography, including in water optics as well as passive ocean color and active laser based remote sensing of the oceans. I am currently working on several diverse projects including high latitude optics and shallow water benthic remote sensing, funded by a combination of NSF and NASA support. Recent research trips have included quantifying the impact of absorption of solar radiation on warming of Arctic surface waters, and identification and quantification of seagrass meadows through passive ocean color.

Bio: Dr. Hill received a B.Sc in Marine biology and Oceanography from the University of Wales, Bangor in 1998 and continued on to a Ph.D in Ocean Optics from Southampton Institute in 2002. Dr. Hill’s thesis focused on characterizing the absorption spectra of phytoplankton, to enable identification in mixed populations. This work included laboratory grown cultures and natural samples collected from the West coast of Ireland and on the Atlantic Meridional Transect in May2000.

Currently Dr. Hill is working on the Western Arctic Shelf-Basin Interactions project, in the Chukchi Sea. Work includes phytoplankton succession based on chemotaxomonic pigments, optical characterization of the Arctic Ocean, investigation into the impact of dissolved organic material on heating budgets and regional tuning of remotely sensed ocean color and productivity algorithms. Dr. Hill is a research Assistant Professor in Oceanography at Old Dominion University.

Fred Dobbs

A Word from Fred: My research career has focused on a variety of oceanographic topics, from intertidal sand worms to deep-sea bacterial processes. I nowadays describe myself as a marine microbial ecologist with interests in aquatic invasive species, especially those in ships’ ballast tanks, and in the communities of viruses, bacteria, and protozoans that inhabit the abundant specks of organic matter in the ocean.

Bio: A marine microbial ecologist, Dr. Dobbs is a Professor in the Department of Ocean, Earth & Atmospheric Sciences, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia. He received his A.B. (Biology, Honors) from Franklin and Marshall College, his M.S. (Zoology) from University of Connecticut, and his Ph.D. (Oceanography) from Florida State University. Subsequently, he held institutional post-doctoral positions at State University of New York at Stony Brook and University of Hawaii. In 1993, Dobbs joined the faculty at Old Dominion University, where his recent and ongoing research addresses several areas in aquatic microbial ecology, with particular focus on 1) a community-level approach to studies of infectious diseases; 2) the microbial ecology of ships’ ballast tanks; 3) the interface of invasion biology and microbiology.

He sits on state, national, and international advisory panels and boards, and in 2010-2011, served on a National Academy of Sciences/National Research Council committee and an EPA Science Advisory Board. In the past decade, he has secured more than $3M in funding from the National Science Foundation, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Sea Grant College Program, the Environmental Protection Agency, the US Coast Guard, and the Great Lakes Protection Fund. He is the author of more than 50 peer-reviewed scientific publications.

Educational Researchers

Amy Adcock

A Word from Amy: My research interests are focused on the development and implementation of learning technologies. More specifically, I’ve been working on systems for students at a distance along with gaming and simulation environments. I’ve also maintained an interest in cognitive processing and how that impacts the design of learning environments.

Bio: Dr. Adcock obtained her Doctor of Education degree in August, 2004 from the University of Memphis in Instructional Design & Technology. While working on her doctorate, she served as adjunct faculty in the College of Education and worked for three years as a research assistant in the Institute for Intelligent Systems. She is now Associate Professor of Instructional Design & Technology in the Darden College of Education at Old Dominion University.

Ginger Watson

Bio: Dr. Ginger S. Watson obtained her PhD. in Instructional Design & Technology from the University of Iowa where she was recognized as a Link Foundation Fellow in Simulation and Training. She currently holds the title of Associate Professor at Old Dominion University where she is also appointed as research faculty to the Virginia Modeling, Analysis and Simulation Center. As part of her duties as Associate Professor, Dr. Watson, teaches several courses in statistics, research-methods, instructional modeling & simulation and special technology-based training, assessment and research design.

In addition, as part of her Research Faculty appointment with the Virginia Modeling, Analysis, and Simulation Center Dr. Watson conducts research focusing on simulation and gaming environments, specifically investigating how context fidelity affects learning and skill acquisition for learners with differing experience using physiological measures such as electroencephalogram (EEG) and eye tracking to objectively and continuously assess attention, immersion, and cognitive processing.

Dr. Watson’s previous research work experiences includes that of Chief Scientist for Evaluation, Assessment & Research for Raydon Corporation where she led scientific efforts to evaluate new and existing training technologies, advised in the design, development and evaluation of instructional systems, and conducted research on the transfer-of-training effectiveness of training technologies. Previous to her appointment at Raydon Corporation Dr. Watson served for 8 years as Chief Application Scientist for the National Advanced Driving Simulation (NADS) at The University of Iowa. There, she was appointed Director of Human Factors and Experimental Support. During her time at NADS, Dr. Watson, consulted and advised on issues of simulator-based training, validation, simulator training sickness and assessment. She presented and published research findings as well as secured funding for further research.

Overall, Dr. Watson has over 21 years of active research on simulation. Other areas in which Dr. Watson possesses proficient knowledge include: human performance measurements, transportation human factors, instructional design, evaluation and research. Her research efforts have led to over 40 publications and over 30 grants and contracts totaling approximately $15,000,0000.