Senior Leadership Team
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.
Karlene French — Director of Minnesota Operations
Karlene was born and raised in Minnesota, and, being a true scientist from the start, her first word was “why?” She received her Bachelor’s degree in German and Geology at St. Thomas College in St. Paul, Minnesota, her Master’s degree in Geology from the University of Muenster in Germany, and her Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology from the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis. Her friends affectionately call her a “psychogeologist.” Before coming to Science from Scientists, she worked as an environmental consultant, a state environmental regulator, and an industrial environmental compliance manager. She is an avid equestrian and enjoys other outdoor activities, such as mountain biking and dirt bike riding with her adorable husband, Peter.
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. 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.
Jenna Conversano – Module Team Program Manager, Instructor Liaison Manager, 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.
Benjamin Hart – Mentor Coach Manager, 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.
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. 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. In the past, she has interned at the Museum of Science, where she 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.
Yasmin Kroll — Development Manager
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.
Edmarie Martinez – Kit Team 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!
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.
Mary Hatton is a science educator who enjoys working with scientists and teaching others about science. She has been teaching K-college for the past 21 years. She earned her Ed.D. in Science Education from Boston University where she worked as a Research Associate with a high school program that supported teachers to use physics research in their teaching. The program was co-developed by teachers and physicists looking at fractals in nature and their relationship to random microscopic events. She has also spent time doing science research. She earned an MS in neuroscience from Tufts University Sackler School of Biomedicine where her research focused on studying how olfactory neurons grow and develop into cells that detect odors. She completed a dual major from Boston University – BA in Biology and BS in Science Education. Mary loves teaching and continuing to stay connected in science. If she is not engaging communities in family science nights then she is off doing citizen science projects to help deepen her own understanding of climate change and its effects on living organisms. She is most interested in supporting students and teachers in understanding STEM, while engaging everyone in the excitement of being a scientist. In her spare time she enjoys family hikes, beach walks, gardening and running.
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.
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 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.
Dr. Gary Ciambrone – Kit Officer I , Instructor
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 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?
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.
Abbey was born in Cocoa Beach, Florida where she grew up watching space shuttle launches from her backyard, going bird watching, and spotting alligators in the local lakes and rivers. She received a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois with an emphasis in Genetics and Molecular Biology. She then worked for a year at the National Cancer Institute in Gaithersburg, Maryland studying the effect of genomic variants on pancreatic cancer risk. Currently, she is working on her Ph.D. in Genetics at Stanford University, where she is studying the molecular basis of vertebrate evolution using the three-spined stickleback fish as a model system. In her free time, Abbey spends time reading, going to SF Symphony concerts, watching bad Sci-Fi movies, and volunteering at a local animal shelter.
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.
Jessica was born and raised in Up-State New York where she grew up loving year-round sports and exploring the outdoors. She received her Bachelors Degree in Biology from Hartwick College in Oneonta, NY. Since that time, Jessica has enjoyed working in several research labs and has spent much of the last 15 years teaching Biology and Physics in an urban community north of Boston. Jessica enjoys participating in outdoor activities such as hiking, swimming, and snowshoeing with her husband and two young sons. In her free time, she likes to read, cook, and explore beaches close to her home.
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. Maureen Griffin — Module Officer 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!).
Dr. Audra Kennedy — Module Officer 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.
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 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.
Jayne got her Bachelor of Science degree at Dickinson College. She received a double major in physics and spanish while spending a semester in Barcelona, Spain. After graduation, Jayne worked in Cambridge, MA and Windsor, England for computer software companies writing code and training customers. Once she had three young children, Jayne traded in her laptop for a teaching license and has taught 6-8th grade math in Weymouth, MA for 11 years. Outside of math and technology, Jayne enjoys reading, spending time with all of her Italian relatives, and extending the list of 17 countries that she has already visited.
Tony is Boston bred, through and through. Growing up in the suburbs, he was surrounded by the rich STEM culture of Boston, which inspired him to pursue research and science education as a career. He received his BS in Biology at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, NY. In his time there, Tony worked on mapping the phylogeny of freshwater snails using mitochondrial DNA. Tony currently works in a Cambridge-based laboratory that focuses on next-generation sequencing for advanced cancer diagnostics and personalized therapies. His hobbies include camping and hiking, as well as running and finding great places to eat. When he isn’t catching snails or sequencing cancer DNA, Tony can be found playing drums for his jazz quartet or making music with friends.
Dr. Sandra Pearl – Module Officer I, Instructor
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. 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 – Kit Officer I, Instructor
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 Officer 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 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 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.
Kwabena was born in Accra, Ghana but his school days took him to other places in the country. Growing up he felt in love with protecting the environment and improving health hence that became his focus in later years in school. Kwabena loves traveling and meeting new people as well as experiencing new cultures.
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.
Cindee was born and raised on a farm in North Dakota and has retained her love and interest in science and environmental issues since then. She has over 25 years experience in environmental management, specializing in training, program development and environmental health and safety issues.
Debbie is a native of Minnesota and grew up surrounded by animals of all kinds. Wanting to make caring for animals her full time job, she went back to school and received an associates in applied science degree in veterinary technology. Now she gets to care for all aspects of animal health including; lab work, radiology, and anesthesia to name a few. In her free time she rides and competes her horse in eventing. She lives with her husband, two sons, and two dogs.
Alex grew up in Irvine, California but spent most of his adult life in Chicago, Illinois. Alex studied Mathematics and Physics at Loyola University Chicago and is currently pursuing a doctorate in Physics at the University of Minnesota. Alex’s current studies are focused in particle physics. In his spare time, Alex likes to bike around Minneapolis and explore the local theater scene.
Sue was born and raised in Wisconsin. She grew up camping, hiking, gardening and loving running, tennis and sports. Sue received a BA degree in chemistry & biology from Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin and an MS from the Institute of Paper Chemistry. She worked in the paper industry in Australia and the US and also was a professional distance runner, competing internationally for New Balance shoe company. Currently Sue is the head coach of the Mound Westonka high school nordic ski team. She still loves camping, hiking, gardening and being outside!
Susanna grew up loving nature and all things related to the world around us in eastern Nebraska. She received her Bachelors Degree in Biochemistry from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a minor in chemistry. She is currently working on her PhD in the Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Biophysics Department at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities. Her research focuses on genetic modification of human cells to study DNA repair and replication, as well as telomere maintenance. In her free time, Susanna enjoys traveling and being outdoors with her puppy! She loves exploring some of the 10,000 lakes Minnesota has to offer as well as traveling to see new bodies of water.
Dan grew up in sunny San Diego, California where he spent his time swimming at the beach and doing science experiments. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Biochemistry from the University of San Diego with an emphasis on enzymology and metal-binding proteins. Afterwards, he performed research at Vertex Pharmaceuticals in Torrey Pines, California developing therapies for a rare genetic disease called cystic fibrosis. He is currently working to complete his doctorate degree at the University of Minnesota where he is using pulsed lasers and spectroscopy to study the molecular dynamics of the muscle proteins responsible for contraction and relaxation. In his free time he loves going for walks with his golden retriever Bella and being outdoors as much as possible. He also enjoys music and playing guitar in an improvisation rhythm-and-blues band. Dan volunteers for the Muscular Dystrophy Associate and the Association of Multicultural Students.
Rosa was born in North Dakota and grew up in Indiana. Rosa got a B.S. in Computer Engineering from Kettering University and worked for Delphi Corporation before moving to Minnesota to earn her J.D. She has spent the last 9 years practicing law and supporting the “science” departments of publicly held companies.
Olivia is a junior at Centre College in Danville, KY, where she studies Chemistry and Spanish. She spent more than half of her sophomore year studying politics and religion in Uganda and Rwanda, and history and anthropology in Mexico and Cuba and is passionate about making travel a part of her life. On campus, Olivia works as a teaching assistant in general chemistry labs, leads campus tours for prospective students, is an active member in her sorority, and is working on a chemical education research project with her professor. Upon graduating, Olivia hopes to pursue a career that can fuse her three greatest academic interests: science, education, and Spanish.
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 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.
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: