Dr. Joy Kubarek

Vice President, Learning

Dr. Joy Kubarek oversees Shedd’s Learning Group, a team providing a range of learning experiences onsite, offsite and online with the goal of enhancing learner’s scientific literacy, environmental literacy, and 21st-century learning skills. 

Kubarek has worked in the field of education since 2003, teaching and managing environmental and science education programs both in the formal classroom and in informal settings. Originally hired at Shedd as coordinator of teacher programs in 2006, Kubarek was quickly promoted to manager of student and teacher programs, managing all learning experiences for the K-12 audience, including learning labs, outreach, and professional development. In 2012, she established a new department as director of Learning Planning & Evaluation. In this position, Kubarek led a team responsible for the synthesis of research and trends in best practices for science teaching and learning to assist the Learning Group in planning dynamic learning experiences, as well as conducting the evaluation of these experiences to demonstrate impact on Shedd learners.

Kubarek previously worked at the Great Lakes Aquarium of Duluth, Minnesota, Minnesota Sea Grant and the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board. She has served as adjunct faculty with National Louis University and Northeastern Illinois University. In addition to her local experience, Kubarek has spent extensive periods of time teaching abroad, including teaching high school students in Poland problem-based math and science through a grant from the European Union. 

Beyond her professional experiences in education, Kubarek also actively engages in research through the Illinois Institute of Technology. Her research studies have included assessing student conversations around problem-solving in math and science, teachers’ perceptions of informal science education, understanding the impacts of a teacher mentoring program, and analyzing the impact of zoo and aquarium provided teacher professional development on teacher science content knowledge and pedagogy. 

Kubarek is active in the professional community and serves on the Museum Education Roundtable board of directors. She received a bachelor's degree in zoology from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. She holds a master's degree in education with a focus on environmental education from the University of Minnesota Duluth and a Ph.D. in science education from the Illinois Institute of Technology.


Joy Kubarek-Sandor

The best part of my job is seeing people get excited about nature and the world around them. I love seeing people have those "aha" moments with animals and science.

Email Joy

Download CV