Dr. Eric J. Jolly

Saint Paul, Minnesota
United States

Focus Areas

Community & Civic Engagement
Community & Civic Engagement
Economic Security
Community Development
K-12 Education
Finance / Fundraising / Administration
Organizational Development / Management
Racial Equity & Healing
Indigenous Communities
Environment & Sustainable Development
Youth Development
Youth Development


Dr. Eric Jolly, who became the Science Museum of Minnesota's president in 2004, is passionate about science literacy for all people. He has published numerous articles, books, and curricula, and lectured around the world on the importance of science learning in contemporary societies and the importance of participation in STEM (Science-Technology-Engineering-and Math) education. In October 2012, Jolly was appointed by President Barack Obama to the National Museum and Library Services Board. Informed by its collectively vast experience and knowledge in museums or libraries, the NMLSB advises the director of the Institute for Museum and Library Services on general policy and practices, and on selections for the National Medals for Museum and Library Service. Also in 2012, Jolly was appointed to the Distinguished Lectureship program of Sigma Xi, the international honor society for research scientists and engineers. As part of the Distinguished Lectureship program, Jolly will be available to speak to Sigma Xi local chapters around the world. Dr. Jolly works with a number of groups promoting STEM education, including the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering, the National Council for Teachers of Mathematics, and the National Science Teachers Association. He is also active in many youth, family, and community organizations, including Youth Alive!, The Innovation Center, American Youth Policy Forum, the American Museum of Natural History, the Open Society Institutes' Youth Media Programs, and the AAAS Healthy Families 2010 project. Before coming to the Science Museum, he served as Senior Scientist and vice president at the Education Development Center in Newton, Massachusetts. Dr. Jolly also serves on numerous national advisory boards, including the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, Committee on Opportunities in Science for the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology. He is a member of numerous honor societies, including Sigma Xi, Phi Eta Sigma, Mortarboard, and Golden Key, and is also a life member of the Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science. Dr. Jolly has a PhD in psychology from the University of Oklahoma, and studied physics and psychology as an undergraduate. He enjoys weaving baskets in the Cherokee tradition.