Working Group

MA State Dino Bill Working Group

The MA State Dinosaur Initiative has involved many people around the state with a passion for our state’s history and in STEM education. Thanks to all those who have been involved at every stage of this process.

State Representative Jack Lewis, from Framingham, Massachusetts was sworn in as a member of the MA House of Representatives in 2017 (7th Middlesex).The idea of picking a state dinosaur came to Lewis while brainstorming Covid-safe projects for his child’s cub scouts chapter that would engage the scouts in both science and the legislative process. In January 2021, Representative Lewis used Twitter to announce his plan on introducing a bill to declare a state dinosaur. Nearly 35,000 MA residents voted for the Podokesaurus holyokensis

Sarah Doyle Sarah Doyle has studied the 19th-century discovery of dinosaur footprints in the Connecticut River Valley since 1991. As part of this endeavor, from 2008-2018 she coordinated the Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association’s Jurassic Roadshow, which she continues to manage, and was content editor and writer for their “Impressions from a Lost World” website, launched in 2018. Sarah’s websites:

Dr. Noel Heim has been a Lecturer in the Department of & Ocean Sciences at Tufts University since 2019. He came to Tufts from Stanford University where he had been a Research Scientist and Instructor for 7 years. He teaches courses in paleobiology, introductory earth science labs and advises undergraduate student research projects. He is the author of dozens of publications and articles about paleontology.

Dr. Susan Heilman has been the Program Manager of Community Initiatives at Museum of Science since 2019.Susan is a life-long STEM student, STEM lover, and STEM communicator. Her degree along with her years of informal education experience contribute to her success as a team leader in STEM programming and community convening.

Dr. Mark McMenamin, a geologist and paleontologist,has been a Professor of Geology at Mt. Holyoke College since 1984.He is the author of numerous scholarly articles and has received several grants and awards, including a Presidential Young Investigator Award from the National Science Foundation in 1988, and in 1992 and 1993 he was named a Sigma Xi National Lecturer.

Barnas Monteith is a science fair advocate and part-time paleontologist He is the President of Tumblehome Learning Inc. and is the recent former Chair of the Massachusetts Science & Engineering Fair. He currently is involved in various initiatives to develop STEM education collaborations at the national and international levels.  Barnas spent nearly a decade doing paleontology expeditions throughout much of the major vertebrate fossil-bearing beds of North America. He was the youngest researcher to present a Plenary lecture at the Society for Vertebrate Paleontology and his current work uses AI and data science combined with paleontology.

Alfred Venne has been the Planetarium Director and Science Museum Outreach Educator at the Beneski Museum of Natural History at Amherst College since 2011 where he alsosupports interdisciplinary learning efforts of college faculty.  He is a former school administrator at Williamsburg Public Schools and a former science teacher at Northampton Public Schools.


State Representative Dan Carey from the 2nd Hampshire District represents the towns of Easthampton, Hadley, South Hadley and Granby and was elected in 2019. He notes that both dinosaurs in the final balloting were from western Mass, Podokesaurus had his vote from the beginning because of its ties to South Hadley.


State Senator Jo Comerford from the Hampshire, Franklin and Worcester District was elected in 2019 as the first woman to hold the seat. She was one of the first to support the bill to establish an official dinosaur of the commonwealth.


State Representative Mindy Domb was elected in 2019 to represent the 3rd Hampshire District of Amherst, Pelham and Granby. She found it hard to believe that Massachusetts did not yet have a “state dinosaur”


Carrie Nash has been at the Boston Museum of Science for three years, and has been its Director of Public Relations for the past year. She was a content strategist for 8 years before joining the Museum.


Lisa Urovitch has been at the Boston Museum of Science for three years and its Director of Government Relations for the past two. Prior to joining the Museum staff she was a strategic consultant.



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