A Project of the Denver Museum of Nature & Science
Boettcher Foundation & Gates Family Foundation
in honor of
Pam & George Beardsley


The Institute provides tools, data, processes, and a safe environment for deliberative, productive dialogue on policy issues involving science.


We are a catalyzing force for better policy making by encouraging Americans to talk to each other again, and to solve problems through civil dialogue and scientific thinking.


A future in which all people honor our common humanity, understand the reality of science, and agree that science must be considered in creating public policy.

The Team

George Sparks

George Sparks has been the President/CEO of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science since November 2004.  He spent 24 years in the electronics measurement business at Hewlett-Packard and Agilent Technologies.  His career included marketing, sales, and general management of global businesses in software, systems, and services. 

Prior to joining Hewlett-Packard, George spent 9 years in the Air Force as a pilot and as an Assistant Professor of Aeronautics at the USAF Academy (1976-1978). He is a Distinguished Graduate of the USAF Academy with a BS in Aeronautical Engineering, and holds an MS in Aeronautics and Astronautics from MIT.

George's passion is public policy, particularly around science and education. He is a member of the Colorado Forum, and is on the Boards of Aspen Academy (an independent school), Colorado Education Initiative, Colorado Music Hall of Fame, Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, Denver School of Science & Technology and National Western Stock Show Association.

Kristan Uhlenbrock

Kristan Uhlenbrock is a communicator, scientist, and policy expert. As the Senior Policy Advisor for the Institute for Science & Policy, a project of the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, her objective is to ensure science has a respected role in public discourse and policymaking.

Before joining the Institute, Kristan worked for the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research on external engagement to strengthen the visibility of the research, capabilities, and opportunities for partnership with the organization. She spent almost a decade in Washington, DC, in the nonprofit, think tank, and government sectors engaging in a range of Earth science and policy challenges. She has worked for the US Climate Variability and Predictability Program, the Center for American Progress, the American Geophysical Union, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the White House Council on Environmental Quality.

She has served on various boards and committees, including the American Meteorological Society, United Nations Environment Program, and Women’s Aquatic Network, among other leadership positions. She received an MS in marine science, an MA in science writing, and a BS in chemistry. In her free time, Kristan enjoys escaping to the outdoors, writing, and good food and drink with friends.

Trent Knoss

Trent Knoss is the managing editor for the Institute for Science & Policy. Prior to joining DMNS, he was the science editor at the University of Colorado Boulder, creating print and multimedia content to promote the campus’ earth, energy, and climate science research for a wide variety of audiences. He has also previously served as the digital editor for Backpacker Magazine, overseeing the brand’s online and social media channels. A Minnesota native, he holds an MS degree in science writing from M.I.T. and takes any opportunity to travel, run, or rock climb.

Upcoming Events

Currently there are no upcoming events, but please checkout our previous events



Chartering Partners

Joan Burleson and James M. Mulligan

Catalyst Foundation

Monty Cleworth

Colorado State University

Michael Dowling

Mark Eddy and Diane Carman

Jerrold Glick and Shannon Gifford

Steve Halstedt

Mike and Lou Ann Liebman

Anne McCarthy

Harriet Rosen

George Sparks and Dr. Shandra Wilson

Rick Zelenka


Get in touch with founder George Sparks

EMAIL US [email protected] CALL US 303.370.6357
© 2019 The Institute of Science and Policy