Though no longer with us, our founder Dan's legacy and vision for the workshop remains at the core of our values.
1944 - 2022
Dan's life and legacy
After a long background in community organizing and social justice work with United Farm Workers, Dan found himself joining the staff at city college as an electrical technician. Fascinated with tinkering and fixing machinery, Dan would bring home radios, speakers, electromagnets, and oscilloscopes to tinker with in his garage. His garage was already filled with many other features of his curious collections, including bones, rocks, and fossils -- as he also had a deep fascination with the natural world.
Soon, neighborhood kids started to visit Dan's garage in the Mission District, and Dan would teach them how to tinker with machinery, take things apart, identify animal bones and fossils, and build simple projects. It didn't take long for kids to start to line up everyday outside the garage, ready to learn something new. Through this simple community work, Dan learned an important lesson: that every kid deserves access to meaningful, hands-on inspiring science education; and that small community science centers make the world a more fruitful and inclusive place.
Thus, in 1991, began the Mission Science Workshop. Dan filled the workshop with his collections and tinkering projects, hired staff that were curious about science and eager to teach what they knew, and invited local classrooms to visit for field trips, after-school programs, and his particular favorite program: community drop-in days on the weekends. Among our community, Dan was always known for his infectious child-like excitement about learning, exploring, and tinkering -- always working on a project, reading several books at once, and spending time with students and families.
Most importantly, Dan valued social justice at the core of his community science workshop project. Understanding that Title-1 schools often lacked the resources for students to engage in hands-on science programs and educational programs outside of the classroom, Dan ensured that MSW focused on forming partnerships particularly with those schools. To this day, we honor Dan's vision by teaching bilingual (English and Spanish) hands-on science programs to students from Title-1 public schools, and their families.
Dan's vision drives us everyday to create a more inclusive, engaged, and curious world through sharing our love of science exploration.
“If I had influence with the good fairy ... I should ask that her gift to each child in the world would be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life as an unfailing antidote against the boredom and disenchantments of later years, the sterile preoccupation with things that are artificial, the alienation from the sources of our strength.”-- Rachel Carson