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 company aimed at developing diagnostic tests and natural interventions to improve gut microbiome efficacy and health.

In 2002 Erika founded Science from Scientists.  She is 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.

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Karlene French — Director of Minnesota Development

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. Patrice Geraghty — Director of California Operations

Dr. Patrice Geraghty received her Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Michigan and her BA in Chemistry from New York University. She spent her career in the semiconductor and semiconductor equipment industry in California enjoying a variety of roles including research and development, general management and mergers and acquisitions. Her area of focus was chemical vapor deposition of thin metal films for interconnects on a semiconductor device. She was most recently the Senior Director of Strategic Technology at Lam Research Corp., where she was responsible for evaluating the technology and intellectual property of potential target companies for acquisition. In her spare time Patrice enjoys travel, food and wine and hiking. She recently completed a 500-mile trek across Northern Spain, the Camino de Santiago, and is actively searching for her next adventure. Patrice is enthusiastic about spreading her love of science to the younger generation at Science from Scientists.

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.

Renee Piersa — Minnesota Operations Manager

Renee’s background is in analytic consulting from a global information and measurement company where she analyzed big data and studied market trends. She’s the co-founder and website developer of a digital media company focused on making it easier for parents to find new places to go and experience with their children. An avid fan of traveling, she’s visited nearly every one of the United States, and even taught English to high school students in Thailand. Renee earned her degree in Business Administration from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and cried on her last day of math class.


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.

Management Team

Miranda Bethune – Development Officer

Miranda is a storyteller and development professional with a passion for advancing STEM education to empower and inspire students. She grew up in Los Angeles, CA, where she first discovered the joy and creativity in STEM through her high school robotics team. After relocating to New England for college and momentarily regretting that choice after experiencing her first real winter, Miranda earned a Bachelor’s degree in both Sociology and Communications & Culture from Clark University in 2014. She’s thrilled to be connecting with people in support of improving students’ attitudes toward and competency in STEM. Miranda loves languages, music, and rock climbing, and she’s never met a dog that she didn’t want to pet.

Jenna SfS photo

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!

Instructional Staff

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.

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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?


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. Esther Niemasik

Esther grew up in a very small town in Missiouri, received her B.A. from Davidson College in North Carolina (double majoring in English and Biology), worked as a field tech studying scrub jay behavior in central Florida, and followed her interest in bird behavior all the way to Ithaca NY, where she earned a PhD in Neurobiology and Behavior from Cornell University. She studied how living in family groups helps brown-headed nuthatches (a tiny bird) succeed when they compete for nest sites with other species. When not in the field decked out in binoculars and a ridiculous hat, she enjoys reading science fiction and fantasy, gourmet cooking, overly complex origami, and learning to hit a tennis ball.


Abbey Thompson

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.

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. 


Jessica Costa

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 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. 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!).


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.


Jayne Mirabassi

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.


Anthony O’Brien

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 II, 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.

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.

Bethany Slack

Bethany grew up in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley of western Virginia, and pursued her passion for science and health through undergraduate studies in Biology and Medical Laboratory Science. Her most memorable experience as a lab scientist was working on a medical ship in West Africa. She went on to earn a Master of Public Health from Concordia University. Bethany is currently beginning work as a public health research associate for a Boston non-profit, combining her love of learning with a desire to help erase health disparities in Boston and beyond. In her free time she likes to watch sci-fi movies and travel with her husband, and read books and play with her toddler son.


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 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.


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.

Minnesota Instructors


Cynthia Axness

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.


Deborah Brophy

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.


Alexander Gilman

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.


Susan Harrison

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 Huggenberger

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.


Daniel Stroik

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 Summers

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.