Julie Moskalyk

Aug 6, 2013, 17:16 PM

Julie Moskalyk was a sophomore in high school when she accepted a position as a science demonstrator at Science North, an interactive museum with exhibits that range from the natural world and space exploration to genetics. The Sudbury, Ontario, Canada, native had no idea that her part-time position would be a stepping stone toward a career in science.

“I figured out that communicating science and making science fun and educational for people of all ages really got me excited and I got huge energy from it,” she recalls. 

A passion for science led Moskalyk to earn a degree in biology from Carleton University. During the summers, she continued working for Science North. Since joining the team in 1985, she’s held positions ranging from staff scientist to project manager overseeing the $4.2 million addition of the F. Jean MacLeod Butterfly Gallery, which she counts as one of her most memorable projects.

“Remember, there are four to five months of hardcore winter [in Northern Ontario]. It’s hard to keep a glass house full of tropical insects and plants alive,” she says. “As an entomologist, it was fabulous to be able to implement a living ecosystem celebrating all things scientifically related to butterflies and moths.” 

In her current role as senior manager of international sales, Moskalyk travels around the world to secure traveling exhibits, Imax film licensing, and multimedia productions. She spends about 40 percent of her time on the road. Traveling through the U.S. and Asia is much different than her earlier role as an onsite docent for various exhibits, but she still retains her passion for science.

“Even though I studied formal sciences, I knew that I'd likely end in an informal, science learning environment where I could talk to people as opposed to work in a lab,” she says. “[Travel] is where I get some of my best ideas and inspirations; travel and exploration are the keys to innovation and driving creativity.” 

During one international trip, Moskalyk woke up in the middle of the night with an idea for approaching the team at Ripley Entertainment to create a new traveling exhibit. Her pitch was a success and it was the first time Science North partnered with an external team on that type of project.

“It’s hugely successful already,” she exclaims. “Fifteen of the 18 tour slots are already booked and the exhibit isn't even built yet!” 

Although she has a full travel schedule, Moskalyk makes time to take an active role in IAAPA. She served as the chair of the museum committee from 2008 to 2012 and has spoken at many IAAPA events around the world, and is a member of the association’s board of directors.

Moskalyk got involved with the committee “as a way to further deepen my relationships with museums and science centers that are ahead of the game simply because they come to IAAPA,” she says. 

“IAAPA is a hotbed of new ideas and new strategies for our attractions to become high-performance facilities,” she says. “I also wanted to play a role in driving attendance and membership by museums and science centers who have not previously engaged with IAAPA.”

Working at Science North and volunteering with IAAPA have also allowed Moskalyk to be part of a supportive team environment and create lifelong friendships.

“Our successes can be traced directly to the creativity, passion, and commitment that every person puts into their work,” she says. “It’s a great group to work with. Everyone works their [hearts] out and is there to support each other at all times.”