2018 FEEC Presenters
Amanda Allen, Assistant Educational Manager, stemCONNECT: Florida High Tech Corridor
Amanda Allen began her STEM Career in middle school when she joined the Technology Student Association in Osceola County at Horizon Middle School. She eventually became State Secretary, President and then continuing to serve as alumni, chapter advisor, and state officer advisor. Still devoted and understanding the impact STEM, CTE, and CTSO has on students, Amanda started as an intern from the University of Central Florida for stemCONNECT. After graduating with a BA, Amanda taught as a middle school technology teacher in Brevard County, later returning back to stemCONNECT to help as the Assistant Educational Manager.
Thanks to the support of The Florida High Tech Corridor, the stemCONNECT team works to connect classrooms to relevant experts in industry and academia across Florida.
Laura Bamberger, Mathematics Teacher, Volusia County Schools
Laura Bamberger has been teaching in Volusia County, Florida for over thirteen years, primarily in middle school mathematics. She is also an active member of the Volusia County STEM Cadre and has frequently served on the county curriculum mapping and textbook committees. She believes that students learn best when they are actively engaged with rigorous, high-quality, hands-on lessons that incorporates technology, group activities, are differentiated, reach across different subjects, and draws from students’ background and interests when possible.
Honors/Awards: Florida High Impact Teacher (2013-present, all years) 2015 Teacher of the Year; 2014 PRISM Winner, Secondary Mathematics; 2014 Finalist for County Math Teacher of the Year; 2014 School Math Teacher of the Year; 2013 Teacher of the Quarter; 2013 PRISM nominee; 2012 School Math Teacher of the Year; Texas Instrument Pilot Teacher
Jennifer Borges, STEM Program Specialist, Orange County Public Schools
In her career as an educator, Jennifer Borges, has held several educational positions in secondary science in the Orange County Public School System (OCPS). She is currently the only STEM Program Specialist for the school district. Previously, Jennifer was a Secondary Science Instructional Coach in which she served over 50 middle schools and high schools. Jennifer started her career as a Science teacher at Carver Middle School and Oak Ridge High School. She has also been on several Leadership teams for each school, was a model classroom teacher, and mentored numerous Pre-Service and Beginning In-Service teachers. She was considered a leader in her department and would share her knowledge and love of Science education through professional developments she would provide.
Jennifer Borges’ formal education included a Bachelor’s degree in Science Education with a concentration of Earth and Space Sciences from Florida Institute of Technology; a Master’s degree in Science Education in Teacher Leadership from the University of Central Florida; and a Specialist degree in Administration and Supervision/Educational Leadership from National Louis University.
Lauren Bracken, Science/Project Lead the Way Instructor, Orange County Public Schools
Lauren Bracken is a Professional Educator in the state of Florida and has served Ocoee Middle School of Orange County Public Schools for the past five years. Throughout her time as an instructor, she has taught Earth/Space Science, Earth/Space Science Honors and two classes in the Project Lead the Way program, Science of Technology and Medical Detectives.
Miss Bracken earned her Master of Arts in Science Education at the University of Central Florida as a Lockheed Martin Scholar, and graduated Magna Cum Laude from Florida Atlantic University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychobiology with coursework emphasis in behavioral neuroscience.
As a secondary Science teacher, Miss Bracken strives to enrich her teaching methods and bring her experience back to the classroom. In the summer of 2017, Miss Bracken was selected from science and math teachers across three counties to participate in the National Science Foundation’s Research Experience for Teachers (RET) program. In addition, Miss Bracken has been selected by Orange County Public Schools to help implement coding in the middle school science curriculum. She is also currently in discussions with the Boys and Girls Club of America to write after school programs to inspire girls to enter STEM fields and computer science. In lending her talents to these programs, she hopes to inspire all students to find science, technology and computer science not only approachable, but creative, awe inspiring and fulfilling.
Letizia Branz, Secondary Math Program Specialist, Orange County Public Schools
Letizia Branz is a Professional Educator in the state of Florida, who has served the entirety of her educational career in Orange County Public Schools (OCPS). Her academic background consists of a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering and a Master of Arts in Secondary Mathematics Education, both of which were attained at the University of Central Florida, and a . Specialist in Educational Leadership at National Louis University.
As a Secondary Mathematic Program Specialist for OCPS, she focuses on writing curriculum and raising student engagement by helping coaches and teachers implement modeling mathematics problems into their lessons. In supporting this type of instruction, she hopes for students and educators to understand that in today’s world, mathematics and science work in harmony to create globally competitive citizens that can implement their respective concepts into effective engineering design and technology.
Kristina Brink, Education Specialist, NASA Kennedy Space Center
Ms. Kristina Brink is currently a Lead Education Specialist for Center Projects at the NASA John F. Kennedy Space Center (KSC). She is responsible for the leadership of the NASA Robotic Mining Competition (RMC) Project, the NASA Public Engagement Center agreement with the Astronauts’ Memorial Foundation and also serves as a link between the technical directorates and the Education Office. Ms. Brink holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Central Florida and a Master of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Florida. She started her career with NASA in 1998 as an intern in the Space Station Hardware Integration Office and in 2000 became a Co-op in Shuttle Processing’s Mechanical Systems Division. In 2004, Ms. Brink became a System Engineer in the Launch Accessories Systems Branch and played an active role in the ground systems’ Return to Flight efforts. With her knowledge of Shuttle umbilicals, Ms. Brink moved to the Mechanisms Design Branch and became a Lead Design Engineer (LDE) for the Ares I Upper Stage Liquid Hydrogen Umbilical before being selected as a Lead Education Specialist where she works today. Ms. Brink is married with 3 children and lives in Merritt Island, FL.
Kevin Chapman, Senior Engineering Manager, Harris Corporation
Kevin G. Chapman is senior engineering manager for engineering and technology within Harris Corporation’s corporate office reporting to the Chief Technology Officer. Chapman assumed the position in 2017. He is responsible for standardizing and institutionalizing engineering practices across Harris’ three segments.
Previously, Chapman served as the project engineering coordinator for the Space and Intelligence Systems segment. He was responsible for increasing program execution excellence across the segment by standardizing, strengthening and growing the role of the project engineer. He reported to the segment vice president of Engineering.
Chapman also served as senior engineering manager for both systems and software engineering in the Proprietary and Defense business units respectively of Harris Government Communications Systems (GCS). He was responsible for strategic hiring, career development, systems/software engineering process guidance and oversight, and inter-divisional collaboration. His leadership helped drive cross business unit execution excellence through targeted program engagement.
Chapman also served as the coordinator for the Harris K-12 Outreach Program which promotes STEM education in the Brevard County school system. His leadership helped grow student participation by greater than 400 percent across Brevard County. He currently serves as the corporate STEM coordinator for Harris Corporation.
Chapman was a recipient of Harris’ Engineering Manager of the Year award. He also received the Technology Leader Award at the Black Engineer of the Year Awards (BEYA) conference in Washington D.C.
Chapman serves on the Bayside (High School) Engineering and Technology Academy (BETA) advisory board and the Brevard Schools Foundation board. He previously served on the Auburn University Minority Engineering Academic Excellence advisory board. He is a member of Eta Kappa Nu and life member of Kappa Alpha Psi.
Chapman holds a master’s of science degree in computer science from Webster University and a bachelor’s of science degree in electrical engineering from Southern University.
Harris Corporation is a leading technology innovator, solving customers’ toughest mission-critical challenges by providing solutions that connect, inform and protect. Harris supports customers in more than 100 countries.
Kavyn Choe, Quality Manager, Siemens
Kavyn Choe is current advisor of the STEM Steering Committee and develops strategies for the STEM@SIEMENS program for the Siemens US Diversity and Inclusion Council. The focus of the program is to promote interest in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics at a national level while inspiring the next generation of innovators.
Kavyn first went to art school and studied Industrial Design at Rode Island School of Design (RISD) during which time he worked in creative projects for Apple and HBJ. Later, He shifted gear to continue his education at the University of Central Florida (UCF) where he graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in Mechanical Engineering and Material Engineering. While attending UCF, he worked as a Research Engineer for NASA and UCF’s Advanced Aerodynamic Lab and Center for Advancement of Turbomachinery and Energy Research – CATER.
After graduating from UCF, Kavyn joined the Siemens Engineering Leadership Development Program where his rotational assignments included experience in Quality Engineering in Generator Risk Management and Service Engineering, Repair Manufacturing Engineering in Gas Turbine Repair Network and Project Engineering in Wind Power Renewable Sector. At the conclusion of the program, Kavyn joined the Large Gas Turbine Global Product Quality and Risk Management team where he currently holds a position as Product Safety and Quality Manager.
Jim Clamons, Vice President of Engineering (Retired), Harris Corporation
Mr. Clamons is a retired Vice President of Engineering at Harris Government. He was responsible for talent management and professional growth of over 3000 engineers. He joined Harris in 1977 and has held positions of increasing responsibility throughout his career in the areas of planning, organizing, managing, and directing and plays a key role in successfully achieving financial and business objectives. Jim received both bachelor and master of science degrees in mathematics and computer science, respectively, from Purdue University.
Jim is a member of the Board of Directors on the Central Florida STEM Education Council (CFSEC), Board of Directors of Brevard School Foundation, Board of Directors of Space Coast STEM Council, Florida Institute of Technology Engineering Dean’s Advisory Council, Aerospace Industries Association’s Rocket Contest (TARC) Industry Advisory Board and VEX Robotics Industry Advisory board. Mr. Clamons is the past Chair of the Board of Directors of the Space Coast Early Intervention Center.
Pamela Colton, Teacher, Seminole County Public Schools
Pamela Colton is a teacher who works at Stenstrom Elementary School in Oviedo, Florida whose mission is to teach through hands on experiences. Pamela believes that STEAM educational experiences stimulate personal motivation and provide playful and creative learning experiences for children to truly engage in their education. Pamela has experience in public and private school settings, Pre-K through adults. She was appointment by the Governor to serve on the Georgia Child Care Council, and was a training consultant for the Georgia Department of Human Resources. She is a successful grant writer receiving over $100,000 in funding for the numerous agencies and schools she has worked with. Pamela served as the first STEM teacher at Stenstrom, Science Ambassador for Orlando Science Center, afterschool club coordinator for SECME, Mind-storms, Jr. Robotics, and GEMS clubs as well as the Director for Summer Camp Invention. Pamela has degree in Elementary and Early Childhood education from University of Florida and is currently continuing her training and education in the field of energy and water conservation. She has been married to Timothy Colton for 30 years, is the mother of 4 daughters and 3 granddaughters.
Chris DeRosier, Media Specialist, Volusia County Schools
B.S. Elementary Education 2003 (UCF), M.B.A 2010 (UCF) – Chris spent his first seven years as an educator in third, fourth, and fifth grade classrooms. Self-appointed Master of Galaxy Media and Dean of Galaxy STEM Academy. After being hounded by a student to purchase a 3D printer, Chris has led the formation of a school within a school to utilize equipment purchased through various grants and donations. The Galaxy STEM Academy is run by 12 core teachers, a technology teacher, one overly zealous media specialist, and a 300+ student team made up of heterogeneous classes (ESE, Gen. Ed., and Gifted all in the same classroom). Classes are taught in five 75-minute blocks, Core Classes M/T/Th, Lab Classes W/F. Labs change every six weeks so that students get exposure to as many disciplines as possible before deciding which direction they want to focus in high school. Through grant writing and business partnerships, Chris has been able to acquire $50,000+ for the STEM program at the Title I school.
Sharron DeRosier, STEM Teacher, Galaxy Middle School
Sharron DeRosier is currently a STEM Social Studies and STEM Lab teacher. She has been a teacher and media specialist in Volusia County Schools for several years. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from UCF, as well as a Master’s Degree in Educational Technology from UCF. She was the Crystal Apple Winner in 2007, and Teacher of the Year in 2008.
Sharron was an integral part of the founding cadre for the highly successful Galaxy Middle School STEM Program. Along with her team of teachers, she continues to research, develop and write new STEM Labs for middle school students. In addition to leading STEM Labs in grades 6-8, she also teaches 6th grade Social Studies in the STEM program. Sharron also assists teachers at other Volusia County schools with implementing basic STEM labs, so they can work towards building a similar STEM program in their own schools.
Sharron is passionate about creating opportunities for students to encounter learning in a variety of ways, and to allow them to engage in real world problem-solving experiences. Through STEM Labs, she hopes to broaden the spectrum of interests for students who are looking to pursue STEM-related careers in their future. When not teaching, Sharron spends her time with her husband, three sons, and their dog, Toby. She enjoys being an active scout leader for her sons’ troop, crocheting, camping, and traveling to visit her family and friends as much as possible.
Jim Ebbert, Teacher, Volusia County Schools
Jim Ebbert has been teaching AP and IB Mathematics and Computer Science in Volusia County for 28 years and now also teaches AP and IB Physics at all levels. Jim believes that students need to develop a deep understanding of concepts and that we should not overly rely on simply teaching “how to” solve problems. Jim is co-chair of the Math Department at DeLand High School and has written software for Volusia County Schools and created a county-wide SAT prep course. Jim and his wife have presented over 100 workshops in Florida specifically targeting concept development and understanding in mathematics. Jim has been involved with both NSF-REU and NSF-RET programs.
Stephanie Fitzsimmons, K-12 STEM Education Programs Manager, Northrop Grumman Corporation
Alicia Foy, PJ Duncan, and Jen Infinger, Content Specialists, Florida Department of Education
Alicia, PJ, and Jen are all accomplished content specialists with the Florida Department of Education. Alicia specializes in elementary science, PJ in secondary science, and Jen in the Arts K-12. We collaborate to develop and build STEAM lessons that are available on our CPALMS website at www.cpalms.org. Our mission is to share workable, exciting, real-world lessons with educators.
Farrah Gerdvisheh, Senior Engineer, Siemens
Farrah Gerdvisheh is a Senior Controls Engineer at Siemens Energy. She graduated from the State University of New York Maritime College in 2008 with a Bachelor’s in Computer Engineering and a minor in Electrical. She then went on to complete a double Master’s degree in Trans. Eco and Engineering Management from California State University. She has worked in commissioning and testing for 9 years prior to joining Siemens. She has worked as a senior engineer in Germany, Sweden, Australia, Peru and the U.S.
Presently, she works in the Process and Controls Engineering Department for Combined Cycle Power Plants and is responsible for the Balance of Plant Scope for hardware and software controls design. She is currently the Co-Lead for STEM@Siemens where she helps develop innovative mentoring strategies based around renewable energy for K-University Level students.
Katherine Grady, Educator, Orange County Public Schools
Katherine Grady was born in Puerto Rico and raised in Virginia Beach, Va. She received her K-12 education in Virginia and moved to Orlando Florida in 1995. Katherine earned her baccalaureate degree in Organizational Communication, her Master’s degree in Science Education and is currently a graduate student, all from the University of Central Florida. A recent RET scholar and earning her PhD in Science Education under the direction and guidance of Dr. Malcolm Butler. Katherine is a passionate educator working for Orange County Public Schools with a certificate in General Science Grade 5 – 9. Working as a middle school science teacher since 2005 for OCPS, Katherine’s area of focus is to increase interest in STEM careers with the implementation of open faced, single board microprocessors.
Jared Herretes, Teacher, Orange County Public Schools
Jared Herretes graduated from Cornell University with a degree in Industrial Engineering. For the past 6 years he was been working at Oak Ridge High School where he restarted the statistics program and formed the chess club. He is currently teaching AP Statistics and is the assistant AP coordinator.
Mary Lynn Hess, K-5 STEM Resource Teacher, Goldsboro Elementary Magnet School
Mary Lynn Hess is a K-5 STEM Resource Teacher at Goldsboro Elementary Magnet School. She has spearheaded programs that include 750 square foot garden on the school campus and raised over $10,000 in grants to enhance the programs she organizes. Her accomplishments include being a featured speaker at the state and international levels, presenter at EPCOT’s Flower and Garden Festival, a book reviewer for National Science Teachers Association, and being a featured teacher on PBS for “How Kids Learn in the Modern World.”
Chad Hobby, Teacher, Orange County Public Schools
Chad Hobby received a B.S. in Physics and M.A. in Teaching with a specialization in Physics from the University of Central Florida. Before that he spent several years tutoring College Physics at the University of Central Florida. He was a member of the RTP3 Teacher Program at UCF and received a position teaching High School Physics at Timber Creek High School in 2013. He has been there ever since, although he still tutors online. Chad has had the honor of recently being a member of a RET at UCF which has allowed him to design and implement a fantastic lesson plan using cutting edge technology.
He was married in January of 2012 to Juliann Hobby. Together they have three children Mikaela (5), Calvin (3), and Eliza (1).
Alyson Hooker, School-Based Science Coach, Combee Academy of Design and Engineering
Alyson Hooker has been teaching 25 years with Polk County Public Schools. In those 25 years she has taught regular elementary education in 3rd and 5th grades, gifted in grades 3rd-5th, science/gifted in grades 6th and 7th, and has facilitated a K-5 science lab. Alyson joined the Combee Academy of Design and Engineering staff a year ago as a school-based science coach to help build their science program as part of the school’s transition into a new STEM Magnet school. She earned her B.S. in Elementary Education from Florida State University and is certified in K-12 Gifted, ESOL, and 5-9 Science. Building a love for science not only in students but also in teachers is her personal goal as a science coach.
Jennifer Infinger, Fine Arts Education Specialist, Florida Department of Education
Jennifer Infinger is the Fine Arts Education Specialist for the Bureau of Standards and Instructional Support at the Florida Department of Education. Prior to joining the department in November of 2015, Jennifer served as the Education Coordinator at LeMoyne Center for the Visual Arts for over seven years. She is a graduate of Florida State University, where she received a BA in the History and Criticism of Art (minors in both Mathematics and Education), and a masters certificate in Museum Art Education.
Missy Jones, STEAM & Digital Learning Coach, Seminole County Public Schools
My name is Melisa “Missy” Jones and I am a Florida native. I have a love of all things technology and learning. I earned my Bachelors from the University of Central Florida in Elementary Education, a Master’s in Curriculum, Instruction and Technology from Nova Southeastern University, and I am currently working on my Doctorate from Nova in Instructional Leadership. I have received my UF Coaching Certificate and National Board Certification. I have taught in Seminole County for over 20 years at the Elementary School level, in a regular classroom setting and in the lab setting. Currently, I am working at an SCPS elementary school as a STEAM Coach, as well as, curriculum writer for our Computer Science 2020 program. I work with teachers on implementing Science and Technology standards. I have a SMART (Science Media Arts Robotics Technology) lab, which allows me to model 45 minute hands-on lessons which incorporate the Engineering Design Process, Science and Technology, to students and teachers. While my 1st Passion is teaching, but my “grown up” version of that passion, is working with and teaching teachers. I hope to inspire other educators to see to see the power and benefits behind technology in the classroom, as well as, the potential for letting our students “show” what they know.
Gustavo Junco, Instructional Specialist, Broward County Public Schools
Gustavo Junco works for Broward County Public Schools. He has worked for BCPS for 15 years teaching several courses including AP Chemistry, Commercial Drone Operation, and Agriscience. In 2014, he was awarded the Florida Agriculture in the Classroom Teacher of the Year. Senator Bill Nelson and Secretary of Agriculture Adam Putnam honored him for his lessons in biodiesel production with students. He is an FAA certified remote pilot and ground instructor. In 2017, he cofounded the Broward County Drone League in which over 24 schools build and race drones. He now works as a Science Instructional Specialist supporting 19 schools throughout his district.
Rachel Knight, Teacher, Orlando Science Elementary
Rachel Knight teaches 3rd grade accelerated at Orlando Science Elementary School. This is her 18th year teaching, with 16 of them being at a science school. She has taught 2nd, 3rd, 2nd accelerated, 3rd accelerated, 4th grade as well as a year as an Instructional Coach. Ms. Knight graduated from the University of Tennessee with degrees in Human Learning and Public Relations and also has a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership.
Elaine Larsen, Race Car Driver/President, Larsen Motorsports
With over 20 years of drag racing experience, Elaine Larsen has found her home behind the wheel of her jet dragsters.
Elaine is a 2X World Champion with her husband, Chris their son Andrew and dog Nitro, Elaine lives her life at full throttle. Mentoring the next generation of High Performance Vehicles Specialist is what fuels Elaine today. Giving women the chance behind the wheel or hands on opportunities in this male dominated industry is her focus for 2018 and beyond.
“Drag Racing is the equalizer, on any given day, I have the same chance as anyone to win, it just has to be my day!! “, says Elaine. Being a strong positive female role model is a job Elaine takes very seriously, not only for the little girls, but to all ladies out there to never give up and always give 100%.
Jennifer MacDonald, Magnet Coordinator, Hamilton Elementary School of Engineering and Technology
Jennifer MacDonald is currently the Magnet Coordinator at Hamilton Elementary School of Engineering and Technology. She is in her twenty-third year as an educator and recently earned her Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership. Her background is in instructional coaching, curriculum writing, and providing professional development in grades K-12. She was also the former co-director of the National Writing Project at the University of Central Florida, where she empowered teachers to be leaders through developing presentations of their best practices in teaching writing.
Tracy Miller, Magnet Teacher Resource Specialist Trainer, Combee Academy of Design and Engineering
Tracy Miller is the Magnet Teacher Resource Specialist Trainer at Combee Academy of Design and Engineering. During her 15 years with the Polk County School Board she has taught middle grades and high school math, was the Technology Student Association advisor for her school, as well as a facilitator for many elementary after school STEM programs. Her role at Combee is to assist the school and staff as they transition to a STEM school. This includes increasing the purposeful use of technology in the classroom, integrating coding into the curriculum, and providing opportunities for inquiry and learning throughout the school day. Tracy has her Master’s Degree in Teaching and Learning with a focus on STEAM integration, as well as Master’s degree in Educational Leadership. She is certified K-6 Elementary Education and Middle grades math (5-9) teacher.
Amy Monahan, STEM Specialist, Volusia County Schools
Ms. Amy M. Monahan, is the STEM Specialist for K-12 Curriculum at Volusia County School District. As the STEM Coordinator, Ms. Monahan drives STEM curriculum in Volusia County Schools that is modeled in other districts. She is a certified teacher in the state of Florida for Middle School Science and Biology. She is unique in this position because she represents 65% of STEM teachers that have come to teaching through industry. Her understanding in STEM is widespread from being involved in various national STEM Educational entities to improve STEM Education in K-16. These include working with the NGSS national STEM standards along with STEM literacy standards. Volusia County’s STEM program, under Ms. Monahan’s direction, includes a strong cadre of teachers K-12 that help shape what STEM education looks like in Volusia. Amy Monahan has embarked in a district-wide STEM Certification program where schools certify as VolusiaSTEM certified schools which leads to national certification in STEM.
Glenda Montgomery, Teacher, Combee Academy of Design and Engineering
Glenda Montgomery is a teacher and Girls Who Code sponsor at CODE Academy. She began her teaching career as an ESE teacher, and then taught second grade, before moving into her current position as a first grade teacher. Prior to teaching, she worked with multiple non-profits, where she developed youth programs and fundraising campaigns. She earned her B.S. in Education from the University of Memphis, and is certified in Primary Education and Exceptional Student Education. She has a passion for incorporating technology and innovative strategies into her classroom to enhance the students’ learning experience.
Dr. Lester Morales, NASA Education Specialist, NASA Kennedy Space Center
Dr. Lester Morales is the Education Professional Development Specialist at Kennedy Space Center and serves the states of GA and FL and the US territories of Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands.
Previously, Dr. Morales worked with the NASA Aerospace Education Services Project and the INSPIRE project. Dr. Morales taught middle school science, anatomy, physiology, algebra, and geometry for the Miami Dade County Public School System in Miami, FL. He holds a current Florida teaching certificate in mathematics and biology.
Dr. Morales received a Bachelor of Science degree in Biological Sciences from Florida International University and a Medical degree from American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine.
Danae Perry, Education Specialist, Orlando Science Center
Danae Perry obtained a Bachelor of Science in Entomology from the University of Florida. During her time in the Entomology department, she served as an IFAS ambassador at community outreach events and completed an internship with the Florida Division of Recreation and Parks at Paynes Prairie State Park. Danae continued her academic career by earning a M.S. in Biology at the University of Central Florida before joining the Orlando Science Center in 2016. Currently, she is the Education Specialist of Curriculum and Instruction where she provides professional development, develops curriculum, and implements STEM program curricula with youth in preschool-12th grade.
Michelle Roberts, K-5 STEM Science Teacher, Manatee County Schools
Mrs. Michelle Roberts is a K-5 Elementary STEM Science Teacher at Ballard Elementary School in Manatee County School District. She has been an educator for over 20 years with the last 8 years focused on STEM education. She is passionate about technology, science, and the pursuit of lifelong learning. Mrs. Roberts has been instrumental in helping her district establish an elementary engineering curriculum, Inspiring Elementary Engineering (also known as IE2), and is a Technology Student Association (TSA) advisor. In her spare time, Mrs. Roberts likes to tinker on the computer doing digital graphic designs, write in blogs, and share with others what she has learned in her own professional development and experience. She is an avid Mac user with extensive training from Microsoft, Intel Learning, Google Classroom, Discovery Education, NASA Education, and is a certified Adobe Educator Trainer. Recently, she attended a workshop in Boston for Elementary is Engineering (EiE).
Lynda Roche, Teacher, Seminole County Public Schools
Lynda Roche and Pam Colton are Kindergarten teachers at Stenstrom Elementary in Oviedo, FL with over 50 years of combined classroom experience. Lynda and Pam recognize the importance of making students STEM-literate in order to prepare them to be the next generation of technologists, innovators, designers, and engineers who can compete in a global economy.
Lynda has presented at ITEEA, FEEC and FAST. She served on the SCPS Computer Science Task Force and coding writing teams for kindergarten and first grade. Lynda was an SCPS semi-finalist for 2014 Teacher of the Year.
Robert Desi Rotenberg, Instructor, Apopka High School
Desi Rotenberg, originally from Denver, Colorado, graduated with his bachelor’s degree in 2012 from the University of Northern Colorado and earned his master’s degree in Exercise Physiology from the University of Central Florida in 2014. He is a Board Certified Athletic Trainer and the Freshman Basketball Coach at Apopka High School. He currently teaches Principles of Biomedical Sciences and Human Body Systems within the Biomedical Program at Apopka High School. Along with being an educator, he is a part of several professional committees, such as the Exam Development Committee for the Board of Certification for Athletic Trainers, Framework and Curriculum Development committee for the FLDOE for Biomedical Sciences, and writer for the Board of Certification Blog.
Laura Schendel, Outdoor Educator/Science Mentor, Ecological Classroom Outdoors
“Laura Schendel is a certified Biology teacher and currently an outdoor environmental educator. She has 13 years of teaching experience and taught middle school Earth and Life Science as well as high school Biology. She is a graduate of Rollins College and a native Floridian. She is passionate about protecting Florida’s waters and the ecosystems surrounding them.
Laura established ECO, Ecological Classroom Outdoors, in order to bring upper elementary, middle and high school students out of the classroom and into the “”field”” to participate in hands-on science investigations. These experiences connect scientific processes and critical thinking skills to real world situations, with the goal of evoking environmental stewardship in the next generation of decision makers. As part of that commitment, ECO Rangers participate in monthly community service events where students have the opportunity to protect and restore the environment. One of our on-going projects is restoring the Nature Connect Trail at Bill Frederick Park.
Currently, Laura is leading a weekly STEAM class on the Ecology of Lake Eola and getting the students involved as Citizen Scientists using Picture Post. Photos taken are uploaded to a database operated by NASA and UNH. We will be installing a Picture Post on the grounds of the UCF arboretum as part of the FEEC conference.
Laura also mentors upper elementary and middle school science teachers who desire to learn skills and gain confidence needed to conduct laboratory lessons on a weekly basis as recommended by NSTA.
Laura has presented for FEEC and FAST conferences in the past and enjoys sharing her passion for teaching science in a hands-on way with teachers.”
Abdul Siddiqui, Lead Systems Engineer, US Army PEO STRI
Abdul M. Siddiqui started working for the US Army as a Systems Engineer in 1991. He was the Software Engineering Manager for the Bradley Fighting Vehicle System, TACOM from 1998 to 2004. He is currently the resident subject matter expert in software architecture development for systems and product lines at US Army Program Executive Office for Simulation, Training and Instrumentation (PEO STRI). He is the Lead Engineer for Configuration Management and Information Assurance Security Officer for Program Manager Digitized Training and leads the effort to certify and accredit the Digital Range Training System since 2007. He is the Engineering Mentor and STEM Coordinator for PEO STRI. Mr. Siddiqui received his Master of Science in Software Engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School, CA in December 2000. He is married and has three boys.
Andrew Silbaugh, Teacher of Gifted, Combee Academy of Design and Engineering
Andrew Silbaugh is a K-5 Gifted Educator at Combee Academy of Design and Engineering, a Polk County School. Before becoming a gifted teacher, Andrew taught library/media for over five years. In his role as a School Library Media Specialist, Andrew inspired his students to think critically using technology. Andrew has presented at NCTIES in Raleigh, North Carolina on Information Access and Retrieval in the elementary grades. Andrew holds a Bachelor of Education degree in Elementary Education and Library Science from Clarion University of Pennsylvania and is certified to teach elementary education and library/media. Andrew will complete his Master of Education in Instructional Technology (distance learning focus) in May and his Master of Library and Information Science (metadata and cataloging focus) in August from Kent State University. Andrew is passionate about teaching and technology and enjoys the “aha!” moments of teaching. Andrew’s research interests include virtual education, technology integration, coding in primary grades, and technology curriculum.
Nicole Spain, Robotics Teacher, Indian Trails Middle School
Nicole Spain has eleven years of teaching experience. She taught science on the wheel at Hamilton Elementary for five years. Then she became Hamilton Elementary Math and Science Coach where she worked with teachers and students to integrate science and math into their curriculum. Then she completed her masters with the NASA Endeavor Program and Adams University in STEM Curriculum. As part of this program she did Action Research on the Benefits of Engineering with racial diverse student which she presented at the NSTA National Conference in 2013. In 2013, she completed her General Science 6-9 certification and moved to teaching Physical Science at Indian Trails Middle School incorporating engineering into her science curriculum. Finally, in 2015 she passed the Technology 6-12 Certification Exam and began teaching Robotics. She is currently Indian Trails Middle Schools Robotics one and two teacher.
Kimberly Stalker, Teacher, Seminole County Public Schools
Ms. Kimberly Stalker is an energetic and motivational 8th grade Science teacher that has student engagement down to a science! She has a gift for teaching and possesses the ability to light up the classroom with inspiration and innovation. Kimberly brings science alive for students at South Seminole Middle School in Seminole County to maintain active engagement, differentiated learning opportunities, and monitor standards mastery. Kimberly is in her 4th year of teaching and teaches an academically diverse group of students with varying skill levels. She has an amazing ability to connect and communicate using a student-centered approach that fosters creativity, exploration, leadership and independent thinking growth. Kimberly has most recently been recognized as the 2018 Middle School Teacher of the Year for Seminole County Public Schools. Visit Kimberly on social media at @TheScienceStalker.
Erica Sutula, Secondary Science Program Specialist, Orange County Public Schools
Erica Sutula is a Program Specialist focusing on Secondary Science for Orange County Public Schools (OCPS). Prior to that she was a science coach at Oak Ridge High School. Her academic background includes a Bachelor of Science in Biology, a Master of Art in Science Education, and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership, all of which were attained at the University of Central Florida.
As a Secondary Science Program Specialist with OCPS she writes innovative and engaging science curriculum for teachers within OCPS. The other component of her work as a Program Specialist involves direct school support. Erica works with teachers, academic coaches, and administrators in order to expand their personal content knowledge while supporting the delivery of lessons that engage students in real world science.
Melissa A. Szentmiklosi, Teacher, Seminole County Public Schools
Melissa A. Szentmiklosi is an 8th grade science teacher at South Seminole Middle School in Seminole County. She currently is in her 9th year of teaching and teaches high school Environmental Science Honors and Pre-IB Physical Science. She was the 2014 Teacher of the Year and 2015 STEM Teacher of the Year for South Seminole Middle School. Ms. Szentmiklosi is in her last semester at UCF and graduates in May 2018 with her master’s degree in K-8 Mathematics and Science from the Lockheed Martin/UCF Academy. She has also been accepted into the PhD program in Mathematics Education at the University of Central Florida to begin in the fall of 2018.
Denise Touchberry, K-5 Engineering Teacher, Manatee County Schools
I teach Engineering K-5 at a Manatee County Elementary School. I have a Mechanical Engineering Degree from Temple University in PA and worked in the electrical connector industry and nuclear industry. Our curriculum covers Power and Energy, Animation, Coding, 3D printing, robotics, structures and construction, innovation and inventions, electricity and magnetism and Forces and Motions in Amusement Parks. We have a TSA and FLL club at our school and compete in state wide competitions in catapults, boat building and racing, water towers, and robot missions.
Amy Trujillo, Instructional Coach, Orlando Science Schools
Amy Trujillo is an Instructional Coach at Orlando Science Schools, a K-7 STEM charter school. She is also the Public Relations Chair for Florida Association for the Gifted and the Area Five Director for Florida Association of Science Teachers. She has written articles, presented, and taught about using technology and innovative approaches to meet the needs of all learners. She is PBS Digital Innovator, Certified BrainPOP Educator, and Epic! Certified Teacher.
Heather Vickers, Math Instructional Coach, Seminole County Public Schools
Heather Vickers is currently the Intermediate Math Coach at Hamilton Elementary School of Engineering and Technology. She is in her seventeenth year as an educator with Seminole County Public Schools. She was recognized as a Florida High Impactful Teacher in both 2014-2015 and 2015-2016, and was named Teacher of the Year in 2015-2016. Heather completed The University of Florida Lastinger Center for learning program and became a Certified Instructional Coach in 2016. During her time at Hamilton, she has deepened her knowledge of the engineering design process and the importance of planning with each content area to enhance the transdisciplinary approach.
Jon Wachob, Co-Founder, Feynman Nano
Jon Wachob is a serial nanotechnology entrepreneur. His first venture, Fourier Electric, used electromagnets and iron nanoparticles to create a cooling system with zero moving parts, was spun out of a research project submitted as part of a NASA Undergraduate Research Proposal. With members of the Fourier Electric team, Jon co-founded Feynman Nano, a nano-manufacturing startup. Feynman Nano manufactures nanostructure 20,000x cheaper and 200x faster than traditional nano manufacturing techniques. Jon has raised venture capital from the most successful VC firm in the world, Y Combinator, rung the bell at the NYSE, and loves teaching others about nanotechnology and it’s applications.
Jazmine Williams, Teacher, Orange County Public Schools
My name is Jazmine Williams. I earned a B.S Degree in Middle Grades Education with concentrations in math and science and an ESOL endorsement from Valdosta State University. After teaching in Orange County for a year, I went back to earn a Master’s in Education in Curriculum and Instruction with a reading endorsement. Now in my sixth year of teaching, I am adding on Educational Leadership to Masters. While teaching, I have had the opportunity to coordinate the STEM/SECME club at my school. In addition to teaching science and working with children in the public school setting, I was able to collaborate with teachers in a RET program, supported by NFSA, and offered by UCF this summer. The program has encouraged to share my classroom experiences with other professionals.
Rudy White, Master Gardener, Seminole County Extension Services
Mr. White is a Florida master gardener, graduating from the University of Florida Extension Master Gardener Training Program in Seminole County in 2001. Prior to becoming a master gardener volunteer, Mr. White held various civilian engineering and management positions during a 30-year career with the Navy and the Army, retiring from the U. S. Army PEOSTRI in Orlando, Florida in 2000. Mr. White holds a MBA from Webster University and B. S. Electrical Engineering from Christian Brothers University.
For the past 10 years Mr. White has specialized in growing vegetables in all sorts of ways using conventional, organic and hydroponic methods. As a Seminole County master gardener, he teaches vegetable gardening classes and hydroponics classes at Extension Services, and volunteers with Seminole County schools helping teachers develop outdoor vegetable gardens and helping them introduce hydroponics to their students both indoors and outdoors. Mr. White adapted the Kratky hydroponic method of growing lettuce into a practical workshop for elementary school students to construct a hydroponic planter from a plastic milk jug. He helps each teacher adapt the workshop to that teacher’s specific situation and recruits other master gardeners to assist in the student workshop. Current plans are under way to train other master gardeners, and possibly school teachers how to organize and lead a hydroponic lettuce planter workshop in a school.
Mr. White’s email address is email@example.com.