Frederic Bertley, the Franklin Institute's highly regarded senior vice president of science and education, has been named the new president and CEO of the Center of Science and Industry (COSI) in Columbus, Ohio. He starts Jan. 1, 2017.
"It really is the sweetest, most strychnine-laced elixir that I've made for myself to drink - it's bittersweet," Bertley said. "First and foremost, I love the Franklin Institute; there is no institution like it. It's a first-rate, and not just incredible, science center, but cultural institution. I love Philadelphia. However, I love what I do in terms of being a scientist and educator. I love thinking innovatively and creatively about how we can have a greater footprint in science, education, and outreach. I've learned a ton here at the Franklin Institute, but I have an incredible opportunity to try something at a different level here at COSI."
Born in Montreal and educated at McGill University, Bertley, 45, completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard Medical School and spent the early part of his career as an immunologist working on health care and vaccine access in Haiti and Sudan. He came to the Franklin Institute in 2008, overseeing the science-related aspects of the institute's permanent and traveling shows, and he cofounded and developed the annual Philadelphia Science Festival.
He was responsible for a partnership with several other organizations in opening science high schools in Egypt, and started the Color of Science program, designed to diversify the ranks of science, engineering, technology, and math by showing young aspirants contributions to those fields made by those beyond the stereotypical white-male mold.
Bertley says he aims to develop projects that might involve both the Franklin and COSI -- projects that might not be the traditional traveling shows on which science centers often collaborate.
"Everyone is talking about outreach and education and getting beyond the walls," he said. "What can we do beyond the walls of COSI and the Franklin Institute for the entire country in the digital space or community space that would have a positive impact?"