Leadership Staff


Dr. Erika Ebbel Angle — Founder & Executive Director

Erika Ebbel Angle received her Ph.D. in Biochemistry in 2012 from Boston University School of Medicine. She holds a B.S. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Erika is the CEO and co-founder of Ixcela: The Internal Fitness Company, a Biotechnology start-up company aimed at developing diagnostic tests and natural interventions to improve gut microbiome efficacy and health.

In 2002 Erika founded Science from Scientists. Erika currently serves on the Massachusetts STEM Council Legislator Education Work Group and the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education STEM Advisory Council. She is also a member of the Board of Trustees and Executive Committee at Endicott College in Beverly, Massachusetts. In 2014 the Boston Business Journal selected her as one of the “40 Under 40″ business and civic leaders who are making a major impact in their respective fields in the Boston area. Her accomplishments have also been recognized by the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce’s Pinnacle Awards for Emerging Executive.  In 2013 the Boston Chamber of Commerce selected her as one of the “Ten Outstanding Young Leaders” in Boston. Selected by L’Oreal Paris as a 2007 Woman of Worth for her work with Science from Scientists, Erika has been featured on Lifetime TV and Nova Science Now on “The Secret Lives of Scientists and Engineers.” She is the host of “The Dr. Erika Show,” an educational science TV show for children.

Erika served as a Commissioner for the MA Commission on the Status of Women. Erika was Miss Massachusetts 2004 in the Miss America Scholarship program. At age 11, she became interested in isolating natural antiviral products from an herb. She continued to pursue this interest for the next 7 years, winning multiple state, national, and international science fair competitions.

Outside of work, Erika enjoys SCUBA diving, skiing and, a graduate of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, continues her lifelong passion for classical piano. She is married to Colin Angle, CEO of iRobot.


Amanda Schutt — Chief Operations Officer, Instructor

Amanda earned her M.S. in Environmental Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University in 2012. Her research focused on benthic aquatic insect taxonomy, stream health bioassessments, and sedimentation issues in aquatic ecosystems. Amanda works as both an Instructor for Science from Scientists and as their Chief Operations Officer. In her spare time, Amanda enjoys gardening, baking, crafting, and camping with her Daisy/Brownie Girl Scout Troop.


Dr. Alicia Bielik — Director of Boston Operations

Alicia earned her Ph.D. in Chemistry at Boston University in 2007. While at BU, her research focused on the quantification of sulfated carbohydrates in healthy and osteoarthritic cartilage using the technique of mass spectrometry. Alicia currently works for New England Biolabs, Inc. as the Glycobiology Product Manager. She focuses her efforts on the creation, purification and characterization of carbohydrate modifying enzymes. In her spare time Alicia enjoys traveling, running, and spending time with family and friends.


Dr. Erika Montague — Director of California Operations

Dr. Erika Montague is an oceanographer, explorer, submersible pilot and evangelist of technology for a healthier ocean. She holds a Ph.D. in Oceanography from Johns Hopkins University, as well as MS and BS in Biology from California Polytechnic State University – San Luis Obispo. Dr. Montague’s research interests involved the development of novel non-destructive methods for the sampling and observation of sensitive species in extreme and remote marine environments. As Director of Science and Technology, Dr. Montague brought over 15 years of experience to OceanGate Inc., conducting research utilizing submersibles, ROVs and deep-sea landers for numerous oceanographic expeditions around the globe. She worked as a fellow in the Engineering Division at Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI), where she managed the development of numerous custom monitoring systems. Prior to MBARI, Dr. Montague was a researcher at Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution (HBOI) in Dr. Edie Widder’s laboratory where she supervised the design and maintenance of an autonomous deep-sea observatory Eye-in-the-Sea (EITS) that later led to the first images of the giant squid. During James Cameron’s DEEPSEA CHALLENGE expedition, Dr. Montague worked with the lander and submersible teams, helping to maintain and deploy scientific instruments and sampling devices. She currently works as a consultant on the development and communication of device technology to meet the needs of science, government and industry. Dr. Montague has led cruises to study bioluminescent life forms, marine debris, and test underwater technologies from the surface to the deepest parts of the ocean.

Dr Patel

Dr. Payal Patel— Director of Worcester Operations, Instructor

Payal earned her B.S. in Biology at the Ohio State University in 2004. Wanting an active role in the scientific process as an undergraduate, she assisted in a Molecular Genetics research lab and in the Proteomics core facility. Her graduate studies on liver-mediated insulin regulation culminated in a doctoral degree in Biomedical Science from the University of Toledo College of Medicine 2010. Payal continued conducting metabolism research at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, where she completed her postdoctoral training in 2014. Payal has sought out opportunities to learn and grow while living in the Commonwealth. She has volunteered for the EcoTarium, UMass Center for Mindfulness, Science Cafe Woo, and the Cambridge Science Festival. When taking a break from science, her hobbies include playing ultimate frisbee, watching college football (Go Buckeyes!), hosting game nights, and seeking out new experiences.


Cortney Wieber — Director of Education, Program Manager Curriculum and Vacation Programs, Instructor

Cortney loves science, traveling and animals, especially bats! She returned to the Salem, MA area after spending a few months in India and completing her M.S. in Australia at James Cook University, researching the role of flying foxes as host reservoirs for zoonotic viruses. Before that, she spent many summers abroad gaining hands-on experience in wildlife rehabilitation in various countries around the world while getting her B.S. in Environmental Biology at Salem State University. Cortney’s newest ventures include an emphasis on traveling within the country (instead of everywhere outside of it), running and training for her next Spartan race!


Beth Zylinski — Director of HR & Corporate Communications, Instructor

Beth has always been interested in math and science and was inspired to pursue an engineering degree by her high school physics teacher. She earned a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Massachusetts and also a M.S. in Engineering Management. While working in the engineering field, she was a quality and reliability engineer focused on testing integrated circuits and electronic chips. Beth enjoys spending time with her husband and two sons, traveling and reading.


Yasmin Kroll — Development Manageer

Yasmin fell in love with Science in high school when she received the opportunity to conduct cancer research at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. She studied Microbiology at the Ohio State University, and earned her B.S. in 2012. Her first job was conducting cancer research at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, where she studied how various proteins in a cell interact with each other, and how this is modified in various cancers. Yasmin started working at Science from Scientists in March 2015, and is very excited to be working at an organization where her true passion of bringing STEM education to younger students can shine through. In her spare time, Yasmin loves to do Israeli Folk Dancing, travel and hunt for awesome local restaurants.


Michael Farrell, CPA – Controller

Mike and his wife Marnie, run their own bookkeeping and accounting firm called FAABS. Mike is responsible for the accounting functions at Science from Scientists. Since 2001, Mike has served as a Controller for various companies including The Roseview Group, Thorbahn and Associates and The Bostonian Group. Prior to becoming a Controller, Mike spent over 10 years as an accounting supervisor, public accountant and internal auditor. Mike is a CPA with an MBA from Suffolk University and a BBA in accounting from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

For SfS - Caren in Jerusalem

Caren Bobroff — Teacher Liaison

Although recently “retired,” Caren has been an educator for over 20 years, working as a special education teacher and administrator across grades pre-K to middle school in a variety of settings and with diverse student populations. She has also had a career in the high tech industry as a product and marketing program manager for over 15 years. Instructional collaboration, mentoring and coaching have been core roles for Caren in both her careers, and she look forward to supporting instructors at Science from Scientists. For Caren, STEM education is important for all students, but especially for students with more diverse learning needs. These students really benefit from authentic and hands-on instruction and SfS is an opportunity to foster this. In her spare time, Caren loves going to theater and ballet/modern dance concerts, spinning, walking on Truro beaches, traveling near and far, including to visit her son in Seattle and her daughter in Ann Arbor.


Norma Sullivan — Teacher Liaison

Norma is a recently retired teacher. She has taught grades 4-8 in Massachusetts, North Carolina, and Georgia. However the last seventeen years, she has been a middle school math and science teacher in Newton, MA. She has participated in the Science from Scientists program for the last five years as a classroom teacher and currently working as a program manager for professional development for the Science from Scientists program.

California Instructors


Dr. Karen Allendoerfer

Dr. Karen Allendoerfer earned her AB in Biology from Princeton University and her PhD in Neuroscience from Stanford University. She has a long-standing interest in brain development, and wrote her thesis on the role of growth factors in the developing visual system.  She worked in the biotech industry and academia on models of brain diseases and potential new therapeutic strategies. Karen is also an avid amateur violinist and blogger. Her passion for teaching grows out of her interest in how different people’s brains learn and her desire to share the excitement of scientific discovery with her students. She has taught in the UMass Boston Urban Scholars program, the Innovation Institute in Newton MA, the Girl Scouts, and Unitarian-Universalist Religious Education. She spends her spare time with her German husband and 2 teenage children traveling, geocaching, and reading and writing science fiction.


Lauren Amundson

Lauren was born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska where she grew up loving the outdoors and all things associated with nature. She received her Bachelors Degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Colorado, Boulder with emphasis in Entomology and museum collections. She is currently working to complete her Master’s Degree from San Francisco State University where she is using DNA and molecular data to infer the evolutionary relationships of ground beetles in the Pseudomorpha genus. In her free time she loves to travel, one of her goals is to travel to all seven continents before she turns 30; Africa and Antarctica are still on the list. Lauren also enjoys outdoor activities such as hiking, gardening, fishing and scuba diving. She also loves cooking, crafting and getting lost in a good book.


Dr. Liu Qi Chen

Liu Qi earned her Bachelor in Applied Chemistry from the National University of Singapore in 2004. Eager for adventure, she came to United States to pursue graduate studies. Liu Qi obtained her Ph.D. in Chemistry and Biochemistry from the University of Arizona in 2014. She developed a novel imaging technique, termed acidoCEST MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) to measure pH in the tumor. Currently, Liu Qi is working in an environmental testing lab to test for harmful VOC (volatile organic compound). In her free time, Liu Qi enjoys the company of her husband and 2 young kids, who were born during her PhD.

Gary J. Ciambrone Photo

Dr. Gary Ciambrone

Dr. Gary Ciambrone earned his B.A. in Biology from New York University. He then took a position as a laboratory technician in a cardiovascular physiology lab at Montefiore Medical Center, Bronx, NY, and made significant contributions to studies concerning the effects of exercise on the cardiac myopathy of hypertension, using the isolated, perfused, rat heart technique. He then went on to earn a Ph.D. in Physiology & Cell Biology from Albany Medical College of Union University, Albany, NY. During his postdoctoral fellowships at the Scripps Research Institute and the Burnham Institute in La Jolla, CA, his knowledge of biochemistry, enzymology, and protein purification greatly expanded. These areas of expertise allowed him to secure research scientist positions in a number of biotech start-up companies, working on state-of-the-art bioassay development techniques, including Lab-on-a-Chip at ACLARA BioSciences, and Cellular Dielectric Spectroscopy at Signature BioSciences, both in CA. His physiology and assay development expertise finally came together when he secured a job with Johnson & Johnson to develop an intranasal-to-brain in-vivo animal model/drug delivery platform which allowed for delivery of therapeutic proteins directly into the brain, bypassing the blood-brain-barrier. During this same period he began teaching Human Anatomy & Physiology classes to allied health profession students at local community colleges in the San Francisco Bay Area. Gary is an avid skier, weight lifter and also enjoys hiking the great outdoors, especially the amazing US National Parks. He also enjoys traveling and photographing animals in the wild. In his spare time, you will frequently find him engrossed in the New York Times, especially on Tuesdays, when the Science Times awaits him.

michelle Hill

Michelle Hill

Michelle is from sunny Brisbane, Australia, a land well known for it’s beautiful beaches (sharks), majestic flat deserts (snakes) and lush bushland (spiders). After finishing High School Michelle obtained her Commercial Pilots license and worked in various positions for 8 years, including instructing new pilots through their commercial license, flying freight and passengers all over Australia, emergency services flight work including flood evacuation and fire fighting, and charity flights for Beyond Blue. Michelle’s goal is to become an Astronaut so she is now finishing her Bachelors in Applied Physics with a concentration in Astrophysics and will soon begin the process of obtaining her Masters and PhD in Astrophysics. Michelle is currently working on research on Exoplanet detection; finding planets around distant stars to find potentially habitable planets that could one day answer the question, are we alone?

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Steffany Loeb

Steffany graduated from Fresno State University with a bachelor’s degree in Geology, and is a current graduate student at San Jose State University with an emphasis in geomorphology. She has worked for the Forest Service and the California State University system conducting research on California’s geology. Steffany is very excited to be working for Science from Scientists and hopes to inspire young future scientists. In her spare time she enjoys hiking, weight lifting, playing trumpet and bass, as well as collecting rocks for fun!


Dr. Marketa Melicharova

Marketa has a Ph.D. degree in Analytical Chemistry from University of Basel, Switzerland and M.S. in Food Chemistry and Biotechnology from Brno University of Technology, Czech Republic. Her doctoral work was focused at various biochemical applications of electrophoresis on a microchip. She worked several years in academic research and also 2 years in a pharmaceutical industry but realized that she mostly loves explaining complicated matters to the broad audience. She is very excited to become part of Science from Scientists and looking forward to helping children get motivated to learn more about science. Marketa relocated to the USA with her husband 5 years ago and since became a mother of two boys. She enjoys spending her spare time with the family, discovering new places and reading books.


Dr. Rachel Walsh

Rachel earned her B.A. in Biological Sciences from Cornell University and her PhD from UC Berkeley in Integrative Biology. She has been interested in animal behavior and field biology as long as she can remember, and her research experience includes work on spider social interactions, parrot communication, and capuchin monkey behavior. Her dissertation focused on habitat use by chipmunks in Yosemite National Park, in the context of understanding responses to environmental change. In her spare time, Rachel enjoys hiking, reading, and board games. She also works as a recreational gymnastics coach and actively seeks out opportunities to do handstands in amazing places.

Massachusetts Instructors

Nazan Artun SfS

Dr. Nazan Y. Artun

Dr. Nazan Artun earned her Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy, Master of Science in Toxicology and PhD in Biotechnology from Ankara University Pharmacy School and Ankara University Biotechnology Institute. During her masters and doctorate she has mainly focused on Pharmacogenetics and Personalized Medicine. Her main research interest is in cancer & psychiatric pharmacogenetics and biomarkers. In addition to her work in academia she also has experience as an executive pharmacist. She recently moved to Boston and has furthered her education having undertaken the Foreign Pharmacy Graduate Examination 2014 and earning her FPGEC certificate. Also, Nazan is an award-winning singer/songwriter. Currently she is the singer/co-producer of the Boston based Turkish folk/jazz band Neotolia.


Dr. Elizabeth Bless

Liz earned her Ph.D. in neuroscience from Boston College. While she is impassioned by all science, her focus has remained on the interplay between hormones and the brain. In addition to academia, Liz has spent 5 years in biotechnology working toward the development of a treatment for stroke. Most recently Liz has been conducting research at Wellesley College in the role of estrogens in the brain on weight management. When not “working” on science, Liz is playing in science at the beach, traveling with her husband and kids, running and interacting with her many pets. 


Dr. Katica Boric – Module Program Manager II, Instructor

Katica graduated as a Psychologist from Universidad de Valparaíso, Chile in 2003, and then went on to earn her Neuroscience Masters in 2005 followed by a PhD in 2012, both from Universidad de Valparaíso, Chile. During her PhD, she was also the student Director of an outreach program called “Ciencia Altiro” (Science Right now), in which she led the development of the program and participated in the weekly hands-on workshops for eighth grade students at socially vulnerable public schools in the university neighborhood. In 2013, she moved to the great Boston area and worked for MGH. Now she is very excited to join the SfS team.

Jenna SfS photo

Jenna Conversano – Line Editor, Instructor

Jenna received her A.B. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Princeton University in 2011. For her senior thesis, she studied nest mate recognition in Australian meat ants while studying abroad in Melbourne. She completed her M.A. in Museum Education at Tufts University. She recently interned at the Harvard Museum of Natural History, and previously worked at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Jenna is a Brooklyn-born New Yorker at heart, but has fallen for Medford-Somerbridge, although she will never root for the Red Sox. When not busy, she enjoys working through her Goodreads reading list, watching streaming TV, biking the Minuteman, and playing lots of kickball. 


Kim Curtis

Kim earned her B.S. in Biology at the University of Pittsburgh, and her M.S. in Ecology at Kent State University. Her research focused on the changes in fish species over time in the tributaries of the Cuyahoga River, in Ohio. Kim has worked as an Ichthyologist sampling ponds, lakes, streams and rivers for fish species as indicators of water quality. She has also worked performing bioassays and as a wetland biologist, delineating wetland areas. More recently Kim has directed summer nature camps, sharing her love of nature and science with young campers and taught high school Biology, Earth Science, Anatomy and Physiology. Kim spends her free time enjoying the outdoors with her husband and daughter, traveling, and practicing yoga.


Justin Dowd

Justin earned his B.S. in Physics at Northeastern University in 2014. In 2012 he won an international competition to fly into space aboard an experimental spacecraft called the Lynx, built by private company XCOR Space Expeditions. For the competition, Justin made an animated video with chalk murals to illustrate special and general relativity thought experiments without math. In 2013 he wrote a science column and created animated videos for Metro News; published in New York City, Boston and Philadelphia. Justin lectured to all ages on science topics including a TEDx talk. His most recent video on amino acid formation in comets was featured on the TED-Ed homepage. Justin continues to make videos on a wide range of topics. He enjoys fishing way too much but also enjoys skiing, piano, museums and learning about recent scientific discoveries.


Phillip Dugger

Phillip has a B.S. and M.S. in Biology from Western Washington University, and is currently earning a Ph.D. in Environmental Studies at Antioch University New England. His research interests are in tropical rainforest ecology and animal-plant interactions. He will be doing his doctoral dissertation research on tropical seed dispersal ecology in the montane rainforests of Rwanda. Phillip currently teaches environmental technology as an adjunct professor at Babson College, and has previously taught ecology, earth science, and scientific inquiry at Merrimack College and Wheelock College.


Dr. Bruce Elder

Bruce has over 25 years of academic and industry experience working with rodents used in biomedical research. His focus has been on the genetic analysis and management of transgenic animal colonies. He received a BS degree in Zoology from the University of Iowa and his PhD in Quantitative Genetics from Wesleyan University. For his doctorate, he studied the evolution of thermoregulatory traits in wild populations of house mice along a thermal cline on the East Coast of the United States. He carried out postdoctoral work at the University of California, San Francisco in the Department of Medicine creating transgenic and knockout mice while studying X-linked genes and their associated diseases. Bruce lives in North Andover and enjoys exploring the outdoor world with his wife and two young daughters, visits from his oldest daughter, cooking and cycling.


Kelly Gannon

Kelly earned her Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Biochemistry at Lafayette College, where she was very active in student research within the chemistry department. After returning to her native Massachusetts and while working full time in the biotechnology industry, Kelly went back to school and earned a Master’s Degree in Secondary Education. Kelly is currently balancing working and being a mom to two young kids, but in her spare time enjoys family adventures, reading and knitting.


Dr. Maureen Griffin — Module Program Manager II, Instructor

Maureen earned a Ph.D. in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania in 2003. While at Penn, she developed a novel micro-mechanical technique called micropipette peeling to investigate the role of muscle cell adhesion in normal and diseased skeletal muscle cells. After graduating, Maureen worked full time as a post-doctoral researcher and then a staff scientist a SelectX Pharmaceuticals. She joined the teaching staff in 2008 and joined the executive staff as CFO in 2009. In 2014, Maureen stepped down as CFO in order to focus on the science programming of Science from Scientists. Maureen uses her spare time to read, blog, cook, and renovate her house.


Dr. Danielle Gutelius

Dr. Gutelius received her B.S. in Biology from Bucknell University in 2005. Following graduation she worked as a research assistant where she used a histology-based screen to identify embryonic lethal cell differentiation mutations in zebrafish. Dr. Gutelius went on to complete her Ph.D. in Biomedical Science at Brown University in 2012, where her thesis work focused on understanding the role of a large, unique insertion in the rare hepatitis B virus genotype G. During her post-doc at Bryant University, her research focused on the characterization of SleC, a protein involved in spore germination of the Gram-positive bacterium Clostridium difficile. As an extension of this work she was also involved in developing assays to screen novel anti-microbial compounds. While training undergraduate and high school students in the lab, Dr. Gutelius realized that if the work of research scientists is going to make an impact on the world, the general public needs to be able to access and understand it! This revelation led her to switch her focus to science education. Since then she has taught introductory life science and microbiology courses as an adjunct professor at Bryant University and Johnson & Wales University. Currently, Dr. Gutelius brings fun science activities to children in grades K-5 as a science instructor at LINX, an after-school enrichment club in Wellesley. She is excited to be working with SfS where she can combine her research background, teaching experience, and love of making science fun and accessible to children. Originally from central PA, she has become a permanent New Englander and recently moved to Waltham, where she and her husband serve as dorm parents at a boarding school along with their large dog, Brodie. In her spare time she enjoys crafting, refinishing old furniture, and going to New England Revolution games (GoREVS!).


Benjamin Hart – Senior Instructor

Ben received his B.S. in Biochemistry from the University of Massachusetts Boston in 2013. Although he has an interest in multiple neurodegenerative diseases, much of his research has dealt specifically with Alzheimer’s disease and its pathogenesis. Ben has volunteered at Perkins School for the Blind and Boston Children’s Hospital where he helped in physical therapy and patient entertainment. In his spare time, Ben likes to cook, attend comedy functions, and host game nights with his friends.


Dr. Audra Kennedy — Module Program Manager II, Instructor

Audra graduated from Boston College in 1994 with a B.S. in Biology and went on to earn her Ph.D. in Anatomy and Neurobiology from the University of Vermont College of Medicine. Her graduate research focused on the enteric nervous system and the neurons that control bile flow into the small intestine. Her favorite graduate school courses were Human Anatomy and Histology. In addition to teaching science and volunteering in her children’s school, Audra is the vice-president of a local educational foundation that provides grant money to teachers for enriching educational programs. In her spare time, she can be found watching soccer and baseball games, training for an upcoming half marathon, and crafting with her children.


Lauren Koppel – Outreach Officer, Instructor

Lauren earned a Bachelor’s degree with a double major of Biology and Psychology from Clark University, and a Master of Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. During her undergraduate years, she worked in a evolutionary neurobiology lab that studied the neural development of annelids (marine worms), with a focus on the sox family of genes. She has studied the biology of cancer, genetics and mutations, ecology, and evolution as well as behaviorism, motivational psychology, and educational psychology. She believes that biology and psychology are deeply connected, and that studying both allows for a richer understanding of how we work, inside and out!
Lauren loves learning about how the world works (including everything from biology to chemistry to engineering), and is passionate about sharing that knowledge and enthusiasm with others. For the past year, she has been interning at the Museum of Science, where she has educated learners of all ages through hands-on activities, games, and experiments. Other science education organizations with which Lauren has worked include The People’s Science, EurekaFest, and Eureka! of Girls Inc. of Worcester. Currently she lives in Boston, where devotes her free time to playing Quidditch, reading sci-fi novels, playing her ukulele, and enjoying all the culinary delights the city has to offer.


Siana LaForest

Ms. LaForest received her Ph.D. in Evolutionary Biology from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, where she studied the evolutionary genetics of moth sex pheromones and taught undergraduate biology. She was a postdoctoral research associate at M.I.T., where she switched gears entirely and worked on the biochemistry of viral coat protein/RNA interactions. She now writes middle-grade science fiction, volunteers in local schools, and is a mom to two budding scientists. She loves hiking, cooking, walking her dog Gimli, and reading science fiction and fantasy. She’s excited to join the SfS team and share her geeky enthusiasm for science with as many kids as possible.


Linda Lambrecht

Linda was born in Saginaw, Michigan and received a Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Technology from Michigan State University, with a focus on microbiology. She received her Master’s Degree from the U. of Wisconsin in Pathology, and did research on the effects of PBB’s on reproduction. She has worked as a research tech and lab manager in biomaterials, oncology, and most recently HIV and EBV research. She loves to fish, garden, camp and travel and sings in two choral groups. She and her husband have 3 children, 3 dogs and a cat. They spent two weeks this summer on a wilderness canoe trip on the Yukon river, and last year hiking in Iceland.


Edmarie Martinez – Kit Manager, Instructor

Edmarie obtained her B.S. in Biology at the University of Puerto Rico at Cayey. During her degree she participated in two summer research programs and a in two year research program. Her first summer internship experience was in 2008 when she participated in the Global Ecology Program part of the University of Minnesota Undergraduate Research Program. As part of her project she had to catch frogs and perform numerous dissections in order to collect tissue samples. In 2009, Edmarie’s second research experience was at Tufts Medical School. She learned about the immune system and the autoimmune disease known as LUPUS. For the next two years, back in Cayey, she worked on various research projects associated with bacterial sources of plasminogen activators for the broader purpose of using them for cardiovascular disease treatments to lyse blood clots. Then, in 2012 she pursued a Master of Public Health with a concentration on Environmental Health. Noting the importance of explaining science concepts to a lay audience, Edmarie decided to join SfS. This is going to be a great learning experience because she can dig in basic science concepts and teach them to kids in a way they will understand and have fun at the same time. She is super excited to be a part of this team!


Michael Mavros

Mike received his B.S. in Chemistry and Physics from the University of Florida in 2011, and is currently earning a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry at MIT. His research interests include fundamental studies of chemical dynamics for reactions in solution in order to study how molecules relax energetically after they are excited by light. The study of these short-time dynamics will help us understand more how solar cells and light-emitting diodes work, in order to improve their efficiencies. In the past, Mike has taught undergraduate thermodynamics and graduate quantum mechanics. He loves talking about science to anyone and everyone who will listen, so he volunteers part-time at the Boston Museum of Science in TechStudio to force people to listen to him talk about computer science. During football season and basketball season, you’ll find Mike in the natural habitat of any native Floridian: Rooting for the Florida Gators! During other times of the year, Mike loves cooking, reading everything he can about Star Wars and Marvel, and playing every Nintendo game and board game he can get his hands on!


Dr. Y Nhu Nguyen

Y received her B.S. in Biology at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor in 2007. After completing her degree, she was a lab technician in a virology lab at U of M for two years. During this time she fell in love with research and decided to pursue a PhD in Molecular Microbiology with emphasis in mechanism of diseases at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. Her thesis research focused on understanding the role of small molecules in regulation of the transcriptional regulator SdiA in enterohemorrhagic E. coli. Currently her postdoctoral research focuses on identifying and characterizing factors that aids V. cholera in dissemination and survival in both the aquatic environment and mammalian host. When Y is out of the lab, she loves cooking and eating. In addition to science, food is another passion of hers. She loves trying, learning to cook, and inventing new dishes. In addition, Y enjoys traveling. Her goal is to travel outside the US once a year.


Dr. Sandra Pearl

Dr. Pearl received her undergraduate degree in Chemistry from Siena College before completing neuroscience doctoral work at Albany Medical College studying new medications to treat drug addiction. Her postdoctoral work at the University of Pittsburgh involved examining the role of neurotransmitters in pathways of the brain associated with Parkinson’s disease. Dr. Pearl has taught college level science courses for over 15 years and enjoys engaging her five children in simple science experiments around the house each week. In her spare time, Dr. Pearl enjoys biking, golf, kayaking, hiking, traveling, and reading. She is active in writing grants for her local schools and plays an active role in her town library and sports leagues.


Dr. Erik Peden

Erik earned his B.S. in Biochemistry from University of Dayton (Ohio) and his Ph.D. in Pharmacology from University of Wisconsin-Madison. His thesis research in the laboratory of Dr. Maureen Barr used male mating behavior in worms (model organism C. elegans) as a genetic model for polycystic kidney disease, a commonly inherited human genetic disorder. Yes, evolution links worm sex to human kidneys, and Erik cloned a kinesin motor protein that is part of the equation. Continuing his fascination with genetic models, Erik moved to University of Utah for postdoctoral training in mammalian genetic engineering with Nobel Laureate Dr. Mario Capecchi, the leader in mouse gene knockout technology. Erik created 11 unique genetically engineered mouse lines from stem cells, and advanced our knowledge of microglia, the brain’s immune macrophages. Erik is excited about the future of medicine through genetic engineering and cell therapies. Outside the lab, he studies ethnopharmacology as a hobby, and investigated plant medicines in Gabon (Central Africa), Brazil, and Peru. Erik enjoys nature, music and time with his wife and their green cheek conure.


Margaret Ptak

Margaret graduated from Stony Brook University with a B.S. in Honors Psychology and a B.A. in Biology. She is currently completing a dual Master degree at Boston University in Medical Science and Public Health. Before graduate school, Margaret combined her medical interest in holistic and global health and traveled through China to study the health system there. During her graduate studies, her research interests in neurodevelopment, nutrition, psychology, functional and environmental medicine, and integrative approach to health have led her to focus on biomarkers in pregnancy and early development as indicators for autism at TRANSCEND lab in MGH. Alongside her research, she’s collaborated with Open Medicine Institute in the Bay Area, CA to create an EHR with a holistic approach to documenting patient information. She combined her global interest with her medical interest once again and worked at an autism clinic in Kalisz, Poland, through the non-profit, Nowa Nadzieja, which works to provide needed medical care to children with autism. She’s now working with Nowa Nadzieja to advocate for support from the government, as well as the medical and public community for children with autism. When she’s not busy doing science and fighting for equal medical access, she enjoys her time doing three things: dancing, travelling, and cooking. She finds herself constantly moving, especially when she hears blues or swing music!


Dr. Rachel Quesenberry

As a scientist with fifteen years of academic and industrial experience, Rachel’s research has mostly focused on protein biochemistry and the molecular mechanisms of infectious diseases. After earning her B.S. at the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), Rachel began her career as a research assistant at the University of Maryland Baltimore Institute. She was involved in the investigation of cell-cell communication of microbial pathogens. Following this formative experience, Rachel earned her Ph.D. at University of California Los Angeles (UCLA). Her thesis research aimed to advance our understanding of a mitochondrial like organelle, the hydrogenosome, through bioinformatics and biochemical analyses. Following her doctoral training, Rachel had the opportunity to continue the pursuit of protein purification, characterization, and analysis at a couple small biotechnology companies. Because of her passion for education, Rachel looks forward to working with the Science from Scientists organization.

Jefferson Roy -

Dr. Jefferson Roy

Jefferson received his undergraduate degree in Physiology from University of Western Ontario in London, Canada. He completed his doctorate in neuroscience at McGill University in Montreal, Canada studying eye movements and vestibular (balance) reflexes. He then moved to the Boston area for his postdoctoral work at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in a lab interested in goal-directed behavior, learning, and memory. Currently he is a research scientist at MIT. In his spare time, he enjoys playing and exploring the world with his kids, reading, cooking, and listening to music on home built audio equipment.


Dr. Allison Sahr

Allison graduated from Washington State University in 1994 with a B.S. in Biochemistry and went on to earn her Ph.D. in Medical Neurobiology from Indiana University School of Medicine. After graduate school Allison worked for Eli Lilly and Company in Indianapolis. There she investigated new potential drug compounds to treat CNS mechanisms of obesity and binge eating disorder. She developed a novel, animal model of binge eating for testing new drug therapies and utilized the technique of in vivo microdialysis to study changes in neurotransmitters in the brain during binge eating and how this was modulated following drug treatment. Currently, Allison lives in Medfield with her husband and three children. When she’s not teaching science Allison spends time volunteering at her children’s schools, leading her youngest daughter’s Girl Scout troop and chauffeuring her kids to swim, piano and dance. In her spare time she loves to read, knit and go to the beach.


Dr. Phuong (Thi) Sarkis

Thi grew up in Oklahoma but planted roots in Massachusetts after going to Brandeis University (Waltham, MA) for her undergraduate degree in Neuroscience. After receiving her PhD in Molecular Microbiology and Immunology at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health (Baltimore, MD), she returned to Massachusetts to finish her post-doctoral training at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute (Boston, MA). Much of her research work was related to vaccines against infectious diseases. Currently, she is a karate mom and chauffeur to an active son in elementary school. When her son and husband have been tucked in bed, she starts her worknight as a freelance scientific editor armed with a strong cup of joe. She also organizes and runs coding workshops for kids at libraries. In her free time in the 25th hour of the day, she endulges in old Star Trek shows on Netflix and dreams of a real-life food replicator in the kitchen as part of a future world made better by technology.


Jeffrey Stanmyer

Jeff received his B.A. in Biology from Clark University in Worcester, MA and is currently finishing up his M.S. in Biology at Clark. His Master’s work focuses on the interaction of two DNA repair proteins in single-celled eukaryotes. Outside of work and research, Jeff enjoys spending time outdoors, hiking, and snowboarding. Jeff is also an avid rock climber and lover of science. He is excited to be promoting the STEM fields by teaching young students.


Dr. Catherine Sukow — Module Program Manager II, Instructor

Dr. Sukow’s interest in science education began when she was a teenager, with an extended visit to San Francisco’s Exploratorium. In college, she had summer jobs in a similar, smaller, museum. She focused her Master’s research at NCSU on the structure of metal silicides on silicon, and her Ph.D. work at Brandeis on the structure of crossbridged actin bundles. While volunteering in her childrens’ schools, she was reminded how much fun it is to teach science, and is happy to be teaching now with Science from Scientists. In her spare time, she also enjoys yoga, choral and solo singing, and attempting a variety of international cuisines.


Dr. Leighann Sullivan

Leighann  earned her B.S. in Biology from Cornell University. For a number of years she taught math, science, and language skills at a secondary school for learning disabled students. She subsequently earned her Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Cell Biology from Rice University. Her dissertation was entitled, “Molecular and Genomic Analyses in Clostridium acetobutylicum.” When not pursuing academic interests she enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, reading, and experimenting in the culinary arts.

sarah titus

Sarah Titus

Sarah was born and raised in Westminster, MA where she spent many hours exploring the forests in her neighborhood. She received her Bachelors Degree in Environmental Science from UMASS Amherst and her Master of Science in Environmental Biology from Antioch University. Sarah is an an avid botanist and likes spending time foraging and collecting plant samples. She also serves on the board of directors for a non profit animal rescue and runs a foster home for abandoned domestic rabbits. In her free time she enjoys reading, scrap booking, horseback riding, hiking, gardening, kayaking and exploring nature with her two children. She also has a menagerie of rescue pets including chickens, rabbits, cats, Guinea pigs and finches.


Tiffany Travis

Tiffany was born in Maine and raised in Connecticut before venturing her way to Boston for college where she fell in love with the city. Thanks to her dedicated science teachers over the years, she found herself passionate about the wonders of science. She earned a B.S. in Biochemistry in 2010 and her MAT in Secondary Education in 2014, both at Northeastern University. Tiffany has experience in both the research and education fields. She completed a unique trip with SEA Semester during which she sailed aboard a tall ship where she learned sail handling and researched the effect of ocean acidification on pteropods. Tiffany has also worked at two pharmaceutical companies as a co-op during undergrad and then worked her initial few years out of college at Joule Unlimited Technologies where she helped run small-scale bioreactors and cultured various strains of cyanobacteria used in production runs to synthesis non-biomass based ethanol as a byproduct of photosynthesis. After quickly realizing she loved helping others and seeing them learn, she moved on to teach high school chemistry and biology. She’s looking forward to sharing her passion for science and drive for learning with other students through Science from Scientists! In Tiffany’s spare time, she loves to bake, read, and travel. She’s also an avid runner and hopes to run the Boston Marathon in the near future.


Dr. Norah Warchola

Dr. Warchola earned her Ph.D. from Stony Brook University where she studied butterflies and how they move through fragmented landscapes. While at Stony Brook she taught a variety of classes including behavioral ecology and field ecology. Her current research at Tufts University focuses on endangered butterflies and how habitat management affects their behavior and reproduction. When she’s not chasing butterflies, Norah loves doing outreach and telling the public some of the reasons butterflies are so neat. In her spare time she enjoys walking in the woods, arts and crafts, pickling any vegetable that comes her way and baking wedding cakes.


Dr. Cricket Corwin Wilbur

Dr. Wilbur has a doctorate in Environmental Studies from Antioch University New England, a MS in Geology from North Carolina State University, and a BS in Geology from St. Lawrence University. In her doctoral research Cricket investigated factors governing climate change by reconstructing a 10,000-year record of vegetation on an island in southwest Alaska to assess regional environmental changes and global connections. Cricket is an AmeriCorps alumni having served with Essex County Greenbelt Association through the Massachusetts Land Initiative for Tomorrow-AmeriCorps program. She has extensive experience teaching science in diverse environments from inside classrooms and laboratories to outside in the field. Cricket spends her free time enjoying the outdoors with her family, and volunteering with conservation organizations including serving on the board of directors of her neighborhood homeowner’s association.




Dr. Don Gammon

Don earned his B.Sc. at the University of Windsor where he studied pheromonal communication in an invasive fish species in the Great Lakes. Don later completed a PhD in virology at the University of Alberta. Don’s PhD research explored how nucleotide analog drugs inhibit poxvirus replication and how poxviruses develop resistant to such drugs. He also investigated how poxviruses both replicate and recombine their DNA using both virus- and host-encoded factors. These studies stimulated Don’s interest in virus-host interactions and led him to pursue his current post-doctoral research at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Don’s current project has combined his interest in curbing the spread of invasive species in North American ecosystems with his passion for virology. Don is developing novel virus-invertebrate host systems to yield new insights into the mechanisms by which Lepidopterans (moths and butterflies) combat virus infection with the hope of developing more effective, virus-based strategies to eliminate Lepidopteran pest species in North American hardwood forests. In his spare time, Don enjoys watching movies, going to comedy clubs with friends, walking his dog, and driving his antique roadster.


June Klemer

June Klemmer is a Junior at East Longmeadow High School, and plans on enrolling at Western New England University to double major in Biology and Education. She currently holds the title of Miss Greater Holyoke’s Outstanding Teen 2014, with a platform of “Educate Today! Helping One Student at a Time!” which aims to provide a better and stronger education for all students in Western Massachusetts through peer mentoring and volunteering within the school systems. In her spare time, June enjoys traveling and spending time with her friends.


Jay Leichtman

Jay Leichtman is a sophomore at Vassar College in New York, majoring in Biology with a correlate in Creative Writing. Hailing from Lexington, they have a strong interest in nurturing enthusiasm for STEM subjects in youth across the state, especially among school-aged girls. At college, they are engaged in several political action groups targeting racial, gender, and LGBT+ inequalities, sing in Vassar’s Concert Choir, and both model and write for a yearly student-published photography magazine. They spend their spare time immersed in books and video games.


Jake Nonweiler

Though he grew up in Oklahoma, Jake relocated to New England to attend Middlebury College, where he graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in biology and environmental studies. Jake is the current Program Director at the Hannah Grimes Center, a nonprofit in Keene, New Hampshire that educates, supports, and assists small businesses and entrepreneurs in the Monadnock Region. In his spare time, Jake volunteers his time and skills to nonprofits and small businesses. He also bikes and travels to streams in New England to fly fish.


Nicole Withman – Assistant Office Manager

Nicole grew up in New Hampshire and graduated from Northeastern University in 2012 with a B.S. in Biology. Since graduation, Nicole has worked full-time at Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute on Project Viva, a longitudinal research study of mothers and their children. Project Viva’s goal is to understand how pre- and postnatal exposures affect children’s health as they grow and develop. Nicole loves meeting and working with study participants all around Massachusetts. In her spare time, Nicole enjoys reading, biking, baking, and adoring her one-year old nephew.


We would like to thank the following experts for reviewing lesson content to make our modules even better:

David Birsa, Ph.D.
Robert F. Butler, Ph.D., Professor of Geophysics, University of Portland
Rebecca Paulsen Edwards, Ph.D.,  Department of Physics, Southwestern University, Georgetown, TX
Thank you to meteorologist Mike Wankum for consulting with us on ES17 Meteorology and Weather Mapping.
Dr Kennedy with meteorologist Mike Wankum getting some help with the weather mapping lesson.