Welcoming Lauren Shalek

Moonshot Museum is pleased to announce the appointment of Lauren Shalek as Manager of Operations & Visitor Services! In this new role, Lauren will oversee day-to-day operations of the museum, retail store, and behind-the-scenes logistics. Shalek has worked in nonprofit operations for over ten years and previously held leadership roles at Animal Friends overseeing educational and community-outreach programming. As Lauren gets settled, we asked her a few questions to get to know more about her and her exciting new role.

Why Moonshot, Lauren?

I have always had a great interest in science, Astronomy in particular. From joining my middle school Rocket Club, to attending Star Parties with the Amateur Astronomy Association of Pittsburgh in recent years I enjoy finding ways to explore the universe. I have often wished I had pursued a career in science so not only is working at Moonshot Museum the next best thing, but it’s also very fulfilling to know I’ll be part of an organization that inspires others to consider potential roles in the space industry. Encouraging visitors of all ages to embrace their curiosity and think critically about the future of human space exploration is a journey I cannot wait to begin!

What’s happening in space right now that you’re most excited about?

The recently released images from the James Webb Space Telescope were absolutely incredible. I am enjoying following along as NASA shares additional images and hope that soon we’ll get to see Webb’s view of Saturn and the Orion Nebula. And of course, I’m looking forward to Pittsburgh’s own Astrobotic guiding the Peregrine Lander to the Moon’s surface from right here in the Steel City! It’s an exciting time to see the United States return to the surface of the moon and even more thrilling to know Pittsburgh is playing such a critical role in making that happen.

Star Trek or Star Wars?

May the Force be with you!

If you could have one job in the space industry other than Manager of Operations & Visitor Services with Moonshot Museum, what would it be?

An intriguing aspect of space exploration for me has always been space biology, I’m fascinated by the plants growing aboard the ISS. I am very excited that the upcoming Artemis Missions will have some focus on studying how life responds to the space environment. If I could do any other job in the space industry I’d love to be involved with that research.

What are you most excited to launch into with Moonshot Museum?

Moonshot Museum will provide a truly one-of-a-kind experience for visitors and I’m looking forward to all the little things that will make it a fun place for guests to visit over and over. Even in its current state of construction I can already tell the museum is going to be an extremely special space so it’s a thrilling time to come on board and help with the final push towards our grand opening this Fall. Currently, I’m most excited to build a strong team of volunteers who, alongside staff, will provide a welcoming environment of learning for everyone who walks through our doors, and, to create an engaging membership program for folks who want to support the museum and stay connected with us. I can’t wait to show Pittsburgh how the space industry is thriving in our community and guide visitors towards finding out how they can be involved!

Stay tuned for more from Lauren and Team Moonshot in the weeks ahead! Want to get in touch? Send us an email any time at hello@moonshotmuseum.org.