Since 2002, the Women’s Board has been the Adler’s lead partner in supporting science education programs, research, and community outreach. The Board is vital to the museum’s efforts to reach underserved youth—with a special focus on young women—in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).
The Board consists of philanthropic and professional women, with significant experience in corporate or public service, representing a diverse range of industries including financial services, law, education, consulting, travel, and the arts.
Each member of the Board is passionate about fulfilling the Adler’s mission of inspiring the next generation of explorers, extending the Adler’s presence into more Chicagoland communities, and creating a model for STEM engagement with youth.
Each year, the Board hosts two main fundraising initiatives: the Women in Space Science Award Celebration (WISS) and the Celestial Ball. In 2016, these events raised more than $1.9 million combined. Funds raised by the Women’s Board support the museum in its commitment to reach underserved public school students. Currently, the Adler serves students from 57 area schools, and anticipates serving upwards of 2,000 youth annually by 2019.
Women in Space Science Award Celebration (WISS)
A cornerstone event for the Adler Women’s Board, WISS supports the Adler’s STEM education programs. At this annual event, the Board recognizes a woman who has made significant contributions to the field of space science by honoring her with the distinguished Women in Space Science Award. Since its inception in 2003, WISS has raised more than $1 million dollars.
Following a luncheon and keynote presentation by the honoree, the highlight of WISS is an afternoon program, held at the museum, for more than 200 young women from Chicago-area middle schools. Students have the unique opportunity to hear the honoree speak, participate in a Q&A session with her, and challenge themselves in hands-on STEM workshops facilitated by Adler educators.
The Celestial Ball, the Adler’s annual black-tie gala hosted by the Women’s Board in partnership with the Board of Trustees, is attended by more than 650 guests—including influential business, civic, and philanthropic leaders. At this year’s event, Across the Universe, the museum recognized S&C Electric Company, represented by Kyle Seymour and John Estey, with the 2016 Corporate Partner Award for its ongoing partnership and support of the museum. Through the generous contributions of sponsors and guests, the event this year raised more than $1.7 million for exhibitions, shows, and programs that inspire young people to pursue careers in STEM.
Current Women's Board Members
Linda I. Celesia
Dr. Carlissa Hughes
Cynthia L. Ballew
Caroline Becker Joss
Lisa H. Bertagna
Sherry Schmitter Block
Rebecca Childers Caleel
Mel Cooney Higgins
Susan V. Downing
Linda Ieleja Gerstman
Jacqueline G. Hawwa
Mary Ann Karris
Susan K. Lovell
Orli D. Staley
Nancy A. Temple