Our Mission

We strive to facilitate learning through time spent in awe and wonder, and to inspire people to investigate the many facets of the world around them.

Memberships

From a quick visit to enjoy the cafe area and free wifi, to meandering through the gift shop, to a full day of interacting with the exhibits, there are many options available to satisfy different commitments and budgets.

Find Out More

Volunteering

Can you start a conversation with anyone? Do you like to take little ideas and guide ways to make them come true? Do you like to create and build? We would love it if you would help us aim high for our community!

Get plugged in today!

What we’re about

COGnition is museum style center, full of interactive exhibits that offer hands-on learning opportunities, while being fun and interesting for kids of all ages. This is a place where families can come make memories, generations can connect over shared discoveries and experience, and our youth can see horizons of interest and possibility open before them. May the community be empowered, guests be enlightened, and minds of all ages be challenged and inspired! It may be a small start, but this is just the beginning!

Each person is valuable and has unique perspective. Staff, volunteers and customers will all be treated with respect, honesty and appreciation.
Learning should be fun and breathe new life.
COGnition’s exhibits, atmosphere, and play will encourage creativity.
COGnition desires opportunities for growth and positive change.

Discovery, exploration, and finding knowledge will drive us.
Families of all shapes and sizes are life companions to explore, learn, and play with.
COGnition was founded on the perception of God’s hand all around us, and the center will strive to highlight the awe and majesty of how intricate the workings of creation are, no matter where people are coming from or what they believe.

Bringing Interactive Discovery and Innovative Inspiration to Northern Michigan

COGNiTiON Founders and Board

Kimmee Wenkel

Executive Director and Co-founder


Kimberlee has a BA in Family Life Education, college and post graduate experience in fine art, over five years working for a Nonprofit, five years of experience managing volunteers, and the life experience of being the mother of four elementary school age children living in Beulah. Her career includes eight years of child education experience through helping with junior and senior high youth groups and teaching elementary grades at Bay Point Community Church. Through this volunteer involvement and Children’s Ministry position and she has gleaned from the experiences of speaking and organizing for large groups, programing small group activities, leading a team of volunteers, retreat and day camp involvement, and being an integral part of hands-on learning. Kimberlee has also gained invaluable experience and perspective from multiple human service missions within the states as well as two international projects. She is currently involved in the community as a coach for 4-H youth soccer (4 yrs.) and has coached Odyssey of the Mind for the past two years and maintains a level of adventure as she and her husband have a small backyard farm and love to camp, hike, and spend long days roaming the local beaches.

Laura Stanwick

Assistant Excutive Director and Co-Founder


Laura’s career, through her BS in Occupational Therapy (using hands-on activities to facilitate and enhance function) brings multiple job experiences; from working in a private psychiatric facility and school-based POHI program, to multiple years working with Developmentally Disabled school-age and adult populations. She served on the Michigan Occupational Therapy Board of Management for many years and Chaired District OT organizations in the North Metro Detroit area and then in Northwestern Lower Michigan. Later, her career took a dramatic shift to hospital-based outpatient Hand Therapy, and then expanded during her last 10 years of practice at Paul Oliver Memorial Hospital to include general outpatient rehab and treatment of long term care residents. Post graduate work also includes courses in graphic art and design at Northwestern Michigan College, and marketing duties for a small company in Traverse City for several years. Laura is a mother of 2, grandmother of 6, and lives with her husband Roger, in Frankfort.

Kimberlee Wenkel

President and Co-founder


Kimberlee has a BA in Family Life Education, college and post graduate experience in fine art, over five years working for a Nonprofit, five years of experience managing volunteers, and the life experience of being the mother of four elementary school age children living in Beulah. Her career includes eight years of child education experience through helping with junior and senior high youth groups and teaching elementary grades at Bay Point Community Church. Through this volunteer involvement and Children’s Ministry position and she has gleaned from the experiences of speaking and organizing for large groups, programing small group activities, leading a team of volunteers, retreat and day camp involvement, and being an integral part of hands-on learning. Kimberlee has also gained invaluable experience and perspective from multiple human service missions within the states as well as two international projects. She is currently involved in the community as a coach for 4-H youth soccer (4 yrs.) and has coached Odyssey of the Mind for the past two years and maintains a level of adventure as she and her husband have a small backyard farm and love to camp, hike, and spend long days roaming the local beaches.

Laura Stanwick

Vice President, Sectary, and Co-founder

Laura’s career, through her BS in Occupational Therapy (using hands-on activities to facilitate and enhance function) brings multiple job experiences; from working in a private psychiatric facility and school-based POHI program, to multiple years working with Developmentally Disabled school-age and adult populations. She served on the Michigan Occupational Therapy Board of Management for many years and Chaired District OT organizations in the North Metro Detroit area and then in Northwestern Lower Michigan. Later, her career took a dramatic shift to hospital-based outpatient Hand Therapy, and then expanded during her last 10 years of practice at Paul Oliver Memorial Hospital to include general outpatient rehab and treatment of long term care residents. Post graduate work also includes courses in graphic art and design at Northwestern Michigan College, and marketing duties for a small company in Traverse City for several years. Laura is a mother of 2, grandmother of 6, and lives with her husband Roger, in Frankfort.

Board of COGNiTiON

Rosemary Naulty

Board President

Rosemary earned her Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of Dayton and has since blessed multiple institutions with her knowledge and talent, including United Way of the Greater Dayton Area. Among other valuable contributions and achievements, Rosemary was responsible for creating the Revitalize Consulting Network, a firm dedicated to business development, management, product delivery and customer service. She served as the Development Director at the Springfield Museum of Art and is now the Manager of Institutional Advancement for Antioch University. She has extensive experience in the nonprofit sector both professionally and through the years of dedicated volunteer services in multiple counties in Ohio, where she raised her four children. Rosemary and her husband Jeff are in the process of settling into their new home in Beulah.

Jason Pine

Board Member

Jeanna Michalek

Board Member

Jeanna earned her Bachelor of Arts in education focusing in secondary education with a focus in English and Communications/Theater. Following her time at Saginaw Valley State University, she spent time working for the Girl Scouts, Sylvan Learning Center, the Boy Scouts of America, Newton’s Road, and is currently working for Michigan Great Lakes Virtual Academy. Her past board involvement includes the Thumb Area Center for the Arts, Caro, MI. Her depth of nonprofit knowledge has come from the professional and volunteer experience and she is still heavily involved with 4-H, the Old Town Playhouse, Michigan Interscholastic Horsemans Association, and the 4 Season Equine Association. Jeanna and Nick reside in Interlochen at Circle M Acres with their horses, chickens, dog, and other animals.

Casey Mckenzie

Board Volunteer Coordinator

Casey Mckenzie graduated from Western Michigan University with her Bachelors in Family and Consumer Sciences. Casey currently works at Storm Cloud Brewery and is the Volunteer Coordinator for Cognition. She’s been on the board since January 2018 and lives in Beulah with her partner Tim Nolan; their two rad, weird, kind kids, Seamus and Ursula; one dog; 7 hens; and 20,000 bees. Chocolate is her favorite food group.

Carrie Wilhelm

Board Member

Carrie Wilhelm, her husband Jack, and her three amazing kids(da ughter age 10 and two sons ages 7 and 5) have called Beulah home for the past two years. Huge supporters and members of COGNiTiON since the very beginning, it only seemed natural for Carrie to take a position on the board! In addition to serving on the board at COGNiTiON, Carrie is also the current Vice President of the Crystal Lake Elementary PTC, and has a Bachelors in psychology with a minor in child development from ASU.

Aaron Harris

Board VR Coordinator

 
 

Julie Bretzke

Board Member

Julie is a native of Benzie County and a third generation retail hardware owner in Benzonia for 17 years. She and her husband Jeff live in Beulah with their four children, ages 9-17. She’s been an officer and member of the Benzie Area Zonta Club service organization since 2005. She has also served on the Crystal Lake Coop Preschool Board, the Crystal Lake PTC and as a member of the Crystal Lake Community / Business Association. Julie holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Lake Superior State University.

Do you like to go above and beyond?