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Lakesider News

Lakeside Welcomes Karyn Torigoe as New V.P. of Programming

By Kevin Greer
Lakeside Communications Manager

Things have come full circle for Karyn Torigoe.

As Senior Manager of STEM Programs & Evaluation at the Great Lakes Science Center in Cleveland, Torigoe played an integral role in bringing the museum’s Eclipse Ambassador Program to Lakeside. She was assisting and answering questions at different locations around Lakeside during the eclipse weekend, not for the Science Center, but as Lakeside’s new Vice President of Programming.

“It was such a wonderful way to end my journey with the Science Center,” Torigoe said. “To be able to start at Lakeside with the eclipse program that I worked on with both organizations, it was full circle.”

Born and raised in Berea, Ohio, Torigoe holds a bachelor’s degree from Fordham University in theater. Prior to her time at the Science Center, she worked in K-12 schools for over 10 years as a secretary, program coordinator and administrative assistant. She also worked in New York City, Los Angeles, Westerville and Farmville, Virginia.

During her 10 years at the Science Center, Torigoe managed the educational programs including budgets, recruitment and evaluation, school and community partnerships and new program models. She also led both revenue-based and grant-funded programs.

For the past eight summers, Torigoe has been spending a week with her daughters (ages 11 and 14) and parents in Lakeside, which has turned into their favorite vacation place. They often made the hour drive from Lakewood more than once during the summer for day or weekend trips. When she saw the V.P. of Programming job opening, it didn’t take her long to submit her resume.

“I barely hesitated to apply,” Torigoe said. “I thought, ‘How cool would it be to work in my happy place?”

During her vacation last July, Torigoe set up a meeting with Director of Education John Mann because she thought Lakeside was a great location to be one of 30 partners in the Science Center’s Eclipse Ambassador Program. Mann and Education Assistant Candace Vincent participated in a three-hour training course and Lakeside received a $1,000 stipend, a telescope, 1,000 eclipse viewing glasses and other materials through a grant awarded to the Science Center.

“As I was looking at the geographical area that we wanted to serve, I immediately recognized Lakeside as a prime candidate,” Torigoe said. “It was great working with John and Candace through training with my team at the Science Center.”

Torigoe said she found Lakeside when she was looking for a vacation spot on the Marblehead Peninsula. She saw all the activities each pillar had to offer and thought it would be a perfect fit for her family, and they have been frequent guests for nearly a decade.

“As I did more research, I realized Lakeside was a very safe and accommodating place that had programs for all of us, but I still felt like everybody could have a little bit of independence,” Torigoe said. “The Chautauqua pillar programs offered was the icing the cake. It’s been such a joy for us.”

Torigoe likes to do a little bit of everything while vacationing in Lakeside. She has spent a lot of time with her kids at the Rhein Center, pool, mini golf and the waterfront. Like many Lakesiders, they enjoy playing shuffleboard. The Torigoe family can also be seen riding bikes or taking their dog for a walk in the parks.

“I think what makes Lakeside so special is you have four pillars, and all of them are strong,” Torigoe said. “I don’t think that one outshines the other, and that’s what makes it work.”

What has made Torigoe’s transition go smoothly is the experience of the Programming Team. She is well aware of the work they do since she has attended many of the activities over the years.

“I told the staff that I have full faith in what they do because I’ve been here and experienced it,” Torigoe said. “I just want to offer my support in helping them continue to do great things. I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t recognize it already.”

Torigoe is excited to take over her new role, especially after all the eclipse weekend activities. She wants to further engage with the community by continuing programming outside the season and expanding camp programming. However, making drastic changes isn’t on her radar.

“Lakeside is so unique,” Torigoe said. “My goal is to support the team and to look at ways we can grow without sacrificing the beauty that Lakeside already is. That’s key to me. It’s not just looking at growth. It’s looking at how can we grow without giving up all the great things that make it special as it is now. It’s important to be able to balance what’s already loved, and not lose the main reasons why people are coming.”


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