Erika Eng joined the Discovery Team in 2016, and since then has worn many hats within the organization, from Business Operations Director, to COO, to her most recent role as Executive Director. After graduating from SUNY New Paltz in 2004, she pursued a career in the Aerospace industry as a sales executive until the birth of her son in 2012. Now a mother of 2, her passions lie in community, inclusivity, and education. As a child, she attended a museum magnet school in Yonkers, NY, and notes that experience as something she draws on, giving a unique perspective to her current role. She is honored to work in that space now, and to be able to offer those same opportunities to students in the Bridgeport region.
Director of Education and Strategy
Sarah Tropp-Pacelli joined the Discovery team in 2015 after graduating from Brown University. She began as a science educator and now serves as Director of Education and Strategy. She holds a master's degree in education from Fairfield University. Sarah is thrilled to be a part of Discovery’s mission to inspire wonder in all visitors and create a community that is passionate about and literate in STEM.
Planetarium and Center Technology Director
Elliot Severn joined Discovery as a science educator in 2016 and now serves as the Planetarium and Center Technology Director. He attended the Trumbull High School Agriscience program and Alfred University, earning a Bachelor's degree in Environmental Science in 2013. Since the end of the Space Shuttle program, he has worked as a freelance photojournalist documenting NASA, military, and commercial space missions. He also has a passion for amateur astronomy and is an active member of the Boothe Memorial Astronomical Society in Stratford.
Project Manager for Informal STEM Education
David Mestre is a native of Bridgeport, joining the staff of the Discovery Museum and Planetarium in 2003, and is now dual rolled as the Project Manager for Informal STEM Education at Discovery Science Center and the Discover Science Center at SHU Project Coordinator at Sacred Heart University. David holds a B.A. in Astronomy and Astrophysics from Harvard University and an M.S. degree in Physics from University of Pennsylvania. He has collaborated with a local university on a NASA High Altitude Student Payload Project (HASP), a NASA Undergraduate Student Instrument Project (USIP), Rock-On (a NASA sponsored weeklong workshop launching a rocket into space) under Connecticut Space Grant, and was a member of the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse Ballooning Project. David has mentored university and high school students on astronomy, high altitude ballooning, and high powered rocketry projects and holds a Level 1 High Powered Rocketry Certification from the National Association of Rocketry. David is an Eagle Scout and a Member National of the Explorers Club.
Director of Development
Eileen joined Discovery in February, 2020, as Director of Development. Previously, she spent 13 years working with Habitat for Humanity of Coastal Fairfield County. Eileen is excited about the opportunity to bring new educational experiences to children from the Bridgeport neighborhoods where she has built affordable homes. “I consider the families I’ve partnered with at Habitat as part of my own family and being able to expose them to quality STEM programs at a young age is the next step on the road to a stable and secure future.”
Helga Bowen is the Finance Manager for Discovery and joined in 2015. Helga attended Boston University where she earned her business degree, majoring in Accounting and Finance. Her first work experience after college was with one of the Big 8 (now Big 4) world-wide accounting firms, in Washington DC. She passed her CPA exam soon after her move to DC. Helga worked as an accounting professional in various private industries including manufacturing, distribution, publishing, and retail. For the last 7 years, Helga has worked in the nonprofit world and says “there is no going back!”
Director of Guest Services and Administration
Tana joined the Discovery in April 2018, after a long tenure as an office manager at a local veterinary hospital. She is excited to be part of the Business Operations team and to help create many magical and educational events for patrons of all ages! She also oversees the coordination of volunteers who help out in every aspect of the science center. Tana has lived in CT for 20 years after moving from New York to attend college in Hartford.
Robert A. Panza - Chairman
Mary Servino - Vice Chair
David M. Zieff - Treasurer
Antonietta Cotton - Secretary
Camelia A. Lawrence
Angelo M. Iasiello
Michael P. Alfano, Ph.D.
Michael J. Kinney
Daniel D. Thomas