• Sarah Allen-Sutter

A Warm Welcome to Explorit’s New Board President

Man petting his dog who is on his lap
Board President Ken Kaplan with his dog

By Sarah Allen-Sutter

Special to the Enterprise

Explorit is thrilled to officially welcome to the team our new board president, Dr. Ken Kaplan! Ken joined the Explorit Board of Directors in 2021 and has already enthusiastically jumped in, working with the board and staff to plan projects, events, and fundraising.

Ken has a strong background in science. He received his PhD from UCSF and completed post-doctoral training at M.I.T. before starting his position as a Professor of Cell and Molecular Biology at UC Davis, where he has been teaching and carrying out research for over 20 years. Ken’s current research focuses on how normal cells transition to disease states that contribute to poor health outcomes. As vice-chair of teaching for the Molecular and Cellular Biology department, at UC Davis Ken is a long-standing advocate for science education, and his drive to improve science communication more broadly in our shared communities was a key motivator for him to get involved with Explorit’s mission. “Joining the board of Explorit is a natural extension of this work, and I hope to contribute to empowering young minds to ask questions and to find hope that their actions can support the future sustainability of our planet.”



I sat down with Board President Dr. Ken Kaplan, to get his perspective on the science center and how we can inspire future scientists.

In what ways do you envision Explorit growing over the next few years?

“As we adapt to a post-pandemic education landscape, I see Explorit returning to its roots in the community schools, but also expanding its programming. The importance of hands-on science education programming for students of all ages is now clearer than ever after our experiences teaching remotely. I see Explorit growing its ability to meet this need in more schools and to do so more frequently than we did in the past. Though tragic on so many levels, the pandemic is also an opportunity to demonstrate to young scientists the power of inquiry and science in addressing the most challenging problems of our world.”

Why is Explorit important to the community?

“One of the more remarkable aspects of Explorit is its legacy in Davis and the surrounding communities. My children attended Explorit programs, and now they are young adults who understand all too well the critical mission of science education. For 40 years, Exploit has been serving as a common meeting place where families have introduced their children to the excitement of inquiry and discovery. When we all engage in this process in our own backyards, we develop a powerful sense of community. In a world that feels chaotic at times, communities need constants that bring us together, and Explorit is one of those constants that we must continue to support.”

What message do you hope to pass on to future scientists?

“Inquiry—asking why something is the way it is—remains one of our collective strengths and the foundation of all our hopes for the future. These hopes, however, cannot be passive thoughts but instead are part of our collective engagement and a call to action. My message to young scientists is that the wonder they feel in asking how nature works is the first giant step to a better world, and that they must stubbornly follow that desire to understand more. It will serve us all well.”


Exploit's coming events:

• Explorit is open to the public on Fridays from 1-4pm, Saturdays and Sundays from 10am-2pm. Admission is $5 per person. Explorit Members, ASTC, and those age 2 and under free.

• Last month to vote for us through the Target Circle program to help determine how Target’s donation will be divided up. Find out more about Target Circle here: www.target.com/circle

• An Explorit Membership grants the recipient free visits to Explorit’s regular public hours, discounts, and gives you ASTC benefits. To purchase or for more information visit https://www.explorit.org/membership or call Explorit at 530-756-0191.