Staff


US Leadership Team

Dr. Erika Ebbel Angle

Now: Founder & Executive Director
Then: PhD in Biochemistry, Boston University School of Medicine studying small molecule biomarkers in Huntington Disease
Way Back When: To read Erika’s full biography, click here.

Amanda Schutt

Now: Chief Operations Officer; Instructor
Then: MS Environmental Studies, Virginia Commonwealth University studying aquatic ecology and stream health
Way Back When: Winner of the 5th grade science fair for a project on cough syrup viscosity.

Cortney Wieber

Now: Director of Education; Instructor
Then: MS Tropical Ecology and Conservation Biology, James Cook University (Australia) studying flying foxes and their role as a vector species
Way Back When: Became interested in working with bats on a research trip to Indonesia, capturing, identifying, tagging and releasing insectivorous bats in the jungle.

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Beth Zylinski

Now: Director of Human Resources & Corporate Communications; Instructor
Then: M.S Engineering Management, National Technological University. BS Electrical Engineering,University of Massschusetts Amherst studying photoluminescence of III-IV nitrides
Way Back When: Inspired to become an engineer by my Physics teacher who made science fun by letting us throw things off the roof of the school to learn more about gravity.

California Team

Dr. Patrice Geraghty

Now: Director of California Operations
Then: PhD Chemistry, University of Michigan studying properties of organic molecules on metal surfaces using spectroscopic techniques
Way Back When: In elementary school, built a simple computer with my Dad who inspired me to pursue a career in science.

Dr. Karen Allendoerfer

Now: Instructor
Then: PhD Neuroscience, Stanford University studying the role of growth factors in the development of the mammalian brain
Way Back When: Won a magnifying glass in 6th grade science for explaining why “Chance favors the prepared mind.”

Lauren Amundson

Now: Instructor
Then: MS Evolutionary Biology, San Francisco State University studying Coleopteran phylogenetics and biogeography
Way Back When: As a five year old, unintentionally built my first arthropod collection by catching all the spiders in the raspberry patch so my older sister wouldn’t be afraid to pick raspberries.

Michelle Hill

Now: Instructor; Honours student University of Southern Queensland (Australia)
Then: Commercial Pilot Licence. BS Physics, University of New England (Australia) studying the detection of Exoplanets – finding planets around distant stars
Way Back When: Dreamed of becoming a car mechanic when I was in middle school upon seeing my brother come home every day covered in dirt and grease after fixing and building engines. I couldn’t think of anything more fun!

Dr. Marketa Melicharova

Now: Module Officer I; Instructor
Then: PhD Analytical Chemistry, University of Basel (Switzerland) working on miniaturization of electrophoresis on a chip
Way Back When: Decided to become a chemist because it is cool to wear a lab coat and protective glasses!

Dr. Esther Niemasik

Now:  Kit Officer I; Instructor
Then: PhD Neurobiology and Behavior, Cornell University studying the cooperative breeding behavior of Brown-headed nuthatches
Way Back When: Grew up catching fish by hand in the creek behind our house and learning the names of all the birds; I’ve been a biologist ever since! 

Bec Obsborne

Now: Assistant Instructor; Biotechnology company consultant
Then:  BS Biology, First Class Honours, Australian National University (Australia) studying zoology and physiology
Way Back When:  I was inspired to study science by my Dad, who was a Doctor. I have been able to work in many areas of medical research where amazing people work to discover new treatments for diseases.

Abbey Thompson

Now: Instructor; Genetics PhD Candidate, Stanford University studying the molecular basis of vertebrate evolution
Then: BA Molecular Biology, Northwestern University studying the genome organization in yeast. Post-baccalaureate fellow, National Cancer Institute studying risk variants associated with pancreatic cancer
Way Back When: Inspired by my high school biology teacher, who made genetics interesting and sent all of us home with vials of fruit flies to study over Christmas break.

Kristen Wells

Now: Instructor
Then: BA Biology, Colorado College studying the genetics of neuron development in worms (C. elegans)
Way Back When: Trips to my grandpa’s garage, which was filled with models of atoms and molecules, as a small child taught me to love science from a young age.

Florida Team

Shelby Friedman

Now: SpectacuLAB Scientist
Then: BA Radio/Television Production, University of Central Florida studying light sensors and live production technology
Way Back When: Took photos for the field trip to the Museum of Discovery and Science, volunteered every summer after that!

Najja Gay

Now: SpectacuLAB Scientist
Then: BA Biology, Lawrence University studying marine and aquatic organisms
Way Back When: Swam with manatees in 7th grade for a class trip.

Mohamed Mohamed

Now: SpectacuLAB Scientist
Then: BS Biomedical Sciences, University of Central Florida studying how our bodies work
Way Back When: Read an encyclopedia on space for fun instead of Harry Potter in elementary school.

Yoselynn Rivera

Now: SpectacuLAB Scientist
Then: BS Medical Biology, Salem State University studying microorganisms and antimicrobial properties
Way Back When: Won best 3D cell model in 6th grade.

Kira Silverman

Now: SpectacuLAB Scientist
Then: BS Psychology and Zoology, University of Florida studying animal behavior, human dimensions of natural resources, and environmental education
Way Back When: Favorite middle school class was computer science, where I learned typing, powerpoint, photoshop, and how to use the internet.

Montana Steell

Now: SpectacuLAB Scientist
Then:  MS Interdisciplinary Science, Florida Institute of Technology studying fisheries science and market-driven approaches to catalyzing sustainable seafood consumption
Way Back When: Inspired to study marine science by a childhood spent free-diving, spearfishing, surfing, and sailing.

Massachusetts Team

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Dr. Alicia Bielik

Now: Director of Massachusetts Operations
Then: PhD Chemistry, Boston University studying glycosaminoglycans using the technique of mass spectrometry
Way Back When: Winner of “Write it Do it” in 7th grade Science Olympiad.

Miranda Bethune

Now: Development Officer
Then: BA Sociology and Communications & Culture, Clark University
Way Back When: Designed, built, and programmed giant robots in high school for competitions across the U.S.

Dr. Nazan Y. Artun

Now: Instructor
Then: PhD Biotechnology, Ankara University Biotechnology Institute studying Personalized Medicine and Pharmacogenetics
Way Back When: Dreamed of being an artist and scientist at the same time and I have eventually achieved my dream.

Dr. Elizabeth Bless

Now: Instructor
Then: PhD Neuroscience, Boston College studying the effects of hormones on the reward system in female rats
Way Back When: I knew I wanted to be a scientist after we dissected a rat in eighth grade. The anatomy was beautiful and amazing!

Sarah Conlin

Now: Instructor
Then: MS Environmental Biology, Antioch New England Graduate School studying forest ecology looking at tree growth and how it relates to disturbance history of the forest
Way Back When: I was inspired to become a scientist as a child after spending many hours in the woods. I wanted to know everything I could about the plants and animals that live there.

Jenna Conversano

Now: Module Team Program Manager; Instructor
Then: MA Museum Education, Tufts University. AB Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Princeton University studying nestmate recognition in Australian meat ants
Way Back When: Would watch hours of Kratts’ Creatures (the same brothers from today’s Wild Kratts) and make lists of all the animals referenced.

Jessica Costa

Now: Module Officer I, Instructor
Then: CAGS Curriculum and Instruction in Mathematics, Lesley University; BA Biology, Hartwick College, studying microbial ecology
Way Back When: Inspired by a teacher who recognized my passion for dissection and provided me with endless organisms to study.

Phillip_Dugger

Phillip Dugger

Now: Instructor; PhD Candidate, Environmental Studies, Antioch University New England
Then: MS Biology, Western Washington University. BS Biology, Western Washington University
Way Back When:  Inspired by nature TV shows, zoos, and hiking in the woods as a kid to become a biologist.

Susan Glueck

Now: Assistant Instructor; “Flight Director,” Christa McAuliffe Challenger Learning Center, Framingham State University
Then: Ph.D., Entomology, Cornell University studying molecular evolution of a pesticide resistance gene in insects
Way Back When: Learned to identify exploding Jewelweed seed pods on hikes.

Dr. Maureen Griffin

Now: Module Officer II; Instructor
Then: PhD Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, University of Pennsylvania studying skeletal muscle cell adhesion
Way Back When: Fell in love with the periodic table in high school chemistry class and carried a wallet-sized copy all through college. Favorite movie: Apollo 13 because engineers are the heroes.

Liz Gustafson

Now: Assistant Instructor
Then: MS Education, Worcester State University studying science education. BS Natural Science, Worcester State University
Way Back When: Fell in love with science thanks to my physics teacher in eighth grade who let me sit on a rolling chair and propel myself down the hall with a fire extinguisher!

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Benjamin Hart

Now: Mentor Coach Manager; Instructor
Then: BS in Biochemistry, University of Massachusetts Boston studying Alzheimer’s disease and its pathogenesis
Way Back When: Went to science camp where I launched rockets and made spaghetti bridges. It was during that week, I knew, science was for me.

Laurie Iria

Now: Executive Assistant
Then: Marine Safety and Environmental Protection Studies, Massachusetts Maritime Academy
Way Back When: Attended the Thompson Island Education Center in 8th grade and was inspired to help Marine life. Aqua fact: the oceans contain 99% of the living space on the planet.

Lauren Koppel

Now: Outreach Officer; Instructor
Then: EdM Harvard Graduate School of Education. BA Biology & Psychology, Clark University studying neurodevelopment in aquatic worms
Way Back When: I took the long, scenic route towards science – in college I was first an art major, then a psychology major, and finally a biology major! My life-long curiosity and love of learning always drew me to the sciences, but it took me a while to decide they were my favorite topic of all.

Linda Lambrecht

Now: Instructor
Then: MS Pathology, University of Wisconsin studying the toxic effects of Polybrominated Biphenyls on reproduction
Way Back When: Became interested in science watching “Mr. Wizard” show on television,and was a member of the Mr. Wizard Science club.

Edmarie Martinez

Now: Office Supervisor, Instructor
Then: MPH Environmental Health, Boston University studying the risk of contaminants on human health
Way Back When: I watched Bill Nye the Science Guy as a kid and loved it. I was always curious and broke things to figure out how they worked.

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Jayne Mirabassi

Now: Instructor
Then: MEd Middle School Math/Science Fitchburg University, BS Physics Dickinson College
Way Back When: Loved writing my own programs for my first Physics lab to get really exact time and calculated measurements.

Anthony O’Brien

Now: Instructor
Then: BS Biology, Le Moyne College mapping the phylogeny of freshwater snails using mitochondrial DNA
Way Back When: Built a functional seismograph (using a felt pen suspended in a box by a string and a rotating spool of paper) in 4th grade to demonstrate seismic waves and serve as a model for measuring the magnitude of earthquakes.

Dr. Payal Patel

Now: Lead Worcester Instructor
Then: PhD Biomedical Science, University of Toledo College of Medicine studying regulation of metabolic rate and insulin sensitivity
Way Back When: Performed a chlorophyll chromatography lab in 2nd grade. I was blown away by the discovery that green stuff in leaves gives them their color. I wondered what other secrets nature hid, and so pursued science.

Dr. Sandra Pearl

Now: Instructor
Then: PhD Pharmacology & Neuroscience, Albany Medical College studying novel medications to treat drug addiction
Way Back When: Remembers going outside to the playground with her schoolmates to watch the 1979 solar eclipse!

Christine San Antonio

Now: Assistant Instructor
Then: BS Biological Sciences, University of Vermont studying nutrient enhancement on plant defense
Way Back When: Built a life-sized Stegosaurus out of snow in the 2nd grade when our school lost power.

Bethany Slack

Now: Instructor; Public Health and Wellness Research Associate
Then: MPH Community Health Education, Concordia University. BA Biology, Eastern Mennonite University working in hospitals and doctors’ offices as a medical laboratory scientist
Way Back When: I’ll never forget my first grade teacher orbiting the classroom to explain why summer isn’t when the earth is closest to the sun. She showed me the power of an illustration!

Jeffrey Stanmyer

Now: Kit Officer I; Instructor
Then: MS in Biology from Clark University studying proteins involved in DNA repair when cells are exposed to UV radiation
Way Back When: Developed a love for science by observing the rings of Saturn, moons of Jupiter, meteor showers, and all of the constellations from the back yard.

Dr. Catherine Sukow

Now: Module Officer II; Instructor
Then: PhD Biophysics, Brandeis University studying the structure of actin bundles by cryo-EM and image reconstruction. MS Physics, North Carolina State University doing high-resolution TEM of metal silicides on silicon
Way Back When: Visited San Francisco’s Exploratorium as a kid and was enthralled — color-mixing shadows! half-silvered mirrors! holograms! touch-sensitive trees!

Dr. Leighann Sullivan

Now: Instructor
Then: PhD Biochemistry and Cell Biology, Rice University studying molecular and genomic analyses in Clostridium acetobutylicum. BS Biology with a concentration in Genetics, Cornell University
Way Back When: Spent the summer between 10th and 11th grade at a college doing research on fruit fly genes.

Elizabeth Tracy

Now: Assistant Instructor
Then: MS Industrial Engineering, Purdue University, with a focus on quality, favorite class subject Math
Way Back When: Was born in England and traveled on the Queen Elizabeth 2 ship when my family moved to America.

Dr. Mai Tran

Now: Assistant Instructor
Then: PhD Molecular Biology, University of Rhode Island studying cellulose synthases in the moss Physcomitrella patens
Way Back When: Learned that science can be fun from my dad by building paper airplanes and ball roller coaster from wire hangers.

Minnesota Team

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Karlene French

Now: Director of Minnesota Development
Then: MS Geology/Paleontology, University of Muenster (Germany), studying formation and age of breccia pipes near Trendelburg, Hessen, Germany. MA Counseling Psychology, University of St. Thomas
Way Back When: Touched 3.8-billion-year-old ocean floor in northern Minnesota and wondered how it got there!

Renee Piersa

Now: Director of Minnesota Operations
Then: Data Analytics Consultant. BBA Management & Human Resources, University of Wisconsin-Madison. TEFL (Teach English as a Foreign Language) Certified in Thailand
Way Back When: Always into social data analytics, I still have the amateur FBI profiles I created on each of my childhood neighbors.

Deborah Brophy

Now: Instructor; Certified Veterinary Technician
Then: AAS in Veterinary Technology
Way Back When: Loved biology, especially when we dissected frogs and sheep eyes. Animal science has inspired me ever since!

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Alexander Gilman

Now: Instructor; Physics PhD Candidate, University of Minnesota
Then: BS Mathematics and Physics, Loyola University Chicago
Way Back When: Got interested in ideas about the complexities space and time from Madeleine L’engle’s A Wrinkle in Time.

Malia Haida

Now: Assistant Instructor; Certified Veterinary Technician
Then: BS Animal Science with an emphasis on Production and Poultry Science, University of Minnesota – Twin Cities
Way Back When: Won the Kindergarten science fair with a project on heat transfer.

Susanna Huggenberger

Now: Module Officer I, Instructor; PhD candidate in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Minnesota Twin-Cities studying DNA repair and telomere biology in humans
Then: BS Biochemistry, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Way Back When: Inspired to become a scientist after making glow in the dark slime in elementary school! Definitely a mad scientist!

Peter Hungiapuko

Now: Assistant Instructor; Engineering Profectional
Then: Dual BS Applied Physics, Interdisciplinary Engineering (Emphasis in Biomedical Design), Morehouse College and Missouri University of Science and Technology researching Distance Education and Project Collaboration
Way Back When: Figuring car aerodynamics, while building Pinewood Derby cars in the fourth grade.

Nabil Khan

Now: Assistant Instructor; Computer Science MS Candidate, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities studying artificial intelligence
Then:  BS Computer Science, University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh
Way Back When: Inspired upon learning about the moon landing which progressed into a fascination about space and a passion for science.

Erin Richards

Now: Assistant Instructor
Then: BA Chemistry and Secondary Education, Concordia University St. Paul studying how students learn science
Way Back When: My dad taught me how to make slime at home when I was in Kindergarten, and let me help him in his lab.

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Daniel Stroik

Now: Instructor, PhD Candidate, University of Minnesota
Then: BA Biochemistry, University of San Diego studying metalloprotein chemistry
Way Back When: Inspired by great mentors (Dr. Fitzgerald and Dr. DeHaan) who always challenged me to think scientifically and gave me lots of hands on experience.

Instructional Advisors

Caren Bobroff

Now: Instructional Advisor
Then: MBA Finance/Marketing, Northeastern University. MAT Literacy and Learning Disabilities, Harvard Graduate School of Education, studying disability assessment and intervention with a focus on mainstreaming and inclusion
Way Back When: I was always interested in applied science and if I hadn’t had Mr. Most Awful Chemistry Teacher in high school I would like to think I would be a doctor now.

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Mary Hatton

Now: Instructional Advisor
Then: EdD Science Education, Boston University working as a Research Associate with a high school program that supported teachers to use physics research in their teaching
Way Back When: Coming Soon!

Norma Sullivan

Now: Instructional Advisor
Then: MEd Curriculum and Instructional Technology, Framingham State University
Way Back When: Loved dissecting frogs and fetal pigs so biology it was!

Volunteers and Interns

We would like to thank the following people for volunteering or interning for Science from Scientists:

Katica Boric

Isabelle Guélin

Olivia Kane

June Klemer

Jay Leichtman

Jake Nonweiler

Dr. Bob Reynolds

Julia Sayre

Nicole Withman

Leslie Yan

Acknowledgements

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.