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A Navy brat, Joellen Drag Oslund lived all over the world growing up. A few years here and there – Illinois, Maryland, Puerto Rico and the Philippines – was an accepted way of life as a kid. Finally, after settling down in California’s Castro Valley as a teenager, she decided to attend college close to home at Cal State Hayward graduating in 1972 with a degree in political science. 

In addition to reputations for aircraft performance, aviation design firms had penchants for either innovation or adhering to convention.

Grumman Aircraft was known for its workman-like designs which grew more sophisticated, but at a conservative pace. There was an undeniable steppingstone progression in their fighter designs from the biplane FF-1 of 1931 up to their last piston fighter, the F8F Bearcat of 1943. Among their jets, this conservatism is reflected in the F9F Panther, it’s first jet fighter, up to the F11F Tiger.

For sailors who have never served on an aircraft carrier or a large-deck amphibious ship, they might be surprised to learn that these Navy flattops have Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) agents on board.

NCIS is the Navy’s civilian law enforcement agency responsible for investigating crime, preventing terrorism and protecting sensitive Navy and Marine Corps information. Their agents deploy with carrier and amphibious strike groups when they head overseas.
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Reporting aboard as the USS Midway Museum’s new education director, Tina brings 30 years of experience in a variety of educational disciplines that make her exceptionally qualified to take the reins of the museum’s education department.

“I didn’t really think there was a job that matched my eclectic skill set, so when I saw the position at Midway, I knew that my guardian angel had sent it my way,” said Tina, a New York City native. “Midway is the perfect marriage for my formal background in education with my love of museums and non-profits.”

Tina’s experience is as diverse as it is extensive. Graduating from University of California at San Diego (UCSD) in 1990, she has been an English teacher, dean of students, assistant principal, community college trainer and facilitator, program administrator and senior director.

“The competition for her position was exceptional and Tina emerged as the most qualified person to lead our programs moving forward,” said Mac McLaughlin, Midway’s president and CEO. “She brings a wealth of background in education at all levels, and I am sure the success of our education programs will continue under her leadership.”

A key experience during Tina’s career that significantly helped prepare her for her new role on Midway was her position as a program administrator and principal of the Balboa Park Program for the San Diego Unified School District. A public school program, she partnered with nearly 30 of the museums and institutions in the park, including the Natural History Museum, Fleet Science Center, Old Globe Theater and the San Diego Zoo.

“I worked with them all for many years and was always very impressed with the programming and passion provided to the school children I brought through their doors,” said Tina, who is credentialed in English and math. “I learned their day-to-day operations, budgets, programs, staffing, visitor experience. I got a mini crash course without actually being a museum employee.”

Through this experience, Tina came to appreciate how important museums are in educating the public, and she sees Midway is a great connector of the present to the past, people to academics, ideas, and each other.

“Midway is both macro and micro,” said Tina, whose most recent leadership position was with the San Diego Community College District. “It focuses on big, global movements as well as individual stories. Real life learning, history, math, science, communication, political science, all live and breathe here at Midway, and I get to be part of the team that promotes all of it.”

Settling into her new position and the Midway family, Tina’s early concentration is on keeping the museum’s nationally-acclaimed education programs running smoothly.

“My initial focus is to provide my education team the level of support they need to do the amazing work that they already do,” said Tina, who earned her master’s degree in educational leadership from San Diego State University (SDSU). “I’ve learned very quickly that everybody on Midway serves the one big purpose which is to honor those who’ve served and educate future generations. And my goal is to do exactly that.”

“I couldn’t be more excited to have Tina join our phenomenal education team,” said Maddy Kilkenny, a member of Midway’s board of directors and the chair of the museum’s education committee. “Midway educates thousands of children every year on board and online, and Tina’s experience both in museums and in the classroom will bring valuable leadership and new ideas to our world-class team of teachers and staff.”

As Tina gets her “sea legs” on Midway, she’s not only looking forward to carrying on the legacy of the museum’s outstanding education program, but is excited about the possibilities for the future.

“The sky is the limit,” said Tina, who has served on several boards and committees for education and the arts in San Diego. “Midway is such an amazing place and an incredible organization. The culture here is what so many other places aspire to. There is nothing this group can’t do. I’d like to explore how to continue to reach more people, provide more engagement opportunities, in person or remotely, and maybe see how augmented reality could expand the Midway experience.”