Meet Jorge Ramos

Associate Director for Environmental Education

Stanford, California, USA


Currently working on:  Developing a more inclusive environment (classroom, labs, and field work) for POC and LGTBQ+ in the STEM fields

Talk with me about:

  • Biology, Earth Science, Ecology, Environmental Education
  • K-12 Education, higher education (undergrad/postgrad), Public Outreach
  • How do students perceive their professors and what can they do better
  • Developing inclusive curriculum development
  • Looking for more ideas on creating multimedia activities for outreach

My STEM Story:  I was introduced to SACNAS and SEEDS in 2003 when I was a sophomore at UTEP. After attending my first SEEDS and SACNAS events, I saw for the first time all the people that looked like me and sounded like me. This made me realize that a more diverse science is a stronger science!


Meet David Tattoni

Undergraduate Student, Stanford University

Stanford, California, USA

Facebook | Instagram

Currently working on: A bird banding study at the Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve, getting into grad school.

Talk with me about (nearby connections preferred):

  • Biology, Earth Science, Ecology, Health, Zoology
  • Primary Education (grades K-8)
  • Research
  • Grad school

My STEM Story: When I was 8, my mom signed me up for a few days of camp at a local nature center over spring break. The first day was spent exploring vernal pools and catching frogs and macro-invertebrates. I’ve always thought of that as the start of my lifelong obsession with ecology.

Meet Ayana Gabriel

Senior Program Officer

Atlanta, Georgia


Currently working on: Building a STEAM careers apprenticeship program in Atlanta.

Talk with me about:

  • Chemistry, Engineering
  • Philanthropy
  • Programs, academic achievement, youth

How I got interested in STEM: My eighth grade class project for Physical Science. We made an electromagnet using everyday materials. My magnet was pretty strong!

Meet Kaberi Kar Gupta

Visiting Scientist at North Carolina Museum of Natural Science

Raleigh, North Carolina, USA

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Currently working on: Urban ecology, (focusing on community-based conservation and citizen science in cities)

Talk with me about:

  • Ecology, Anthropology
  • Higher education (undergrad/postgrad), Public Outreach, Research
  • Non-Profits
  • Grant writing
  • Helping with reaching out to communities, verbal communication, with community members
  • Connecting with museums, schools and policymakers
  • Minority communities

How I got interested in STEM: My mother and my school biology teachers.

I started a community-based conservation project in urban Bangalore to study a nocturnal primate and conservation of biodiversity in cities. I am currently developing a urban pollination project, collaborating with museums, local schools and universities to work in communities. In the past I worked on urban water use and perception of home owners on waterside landscapes in Fresno, CA. My phd work is on behavioral ecology of slender loris in southern India. I also worked as a biologist in a Tiger Reserve before starting my PhD.

Meet Jarrod W. Lockhart

Assistant Director, Morehouse School of Medicine

Atlanta, Georgia


Currently working on:  My education doctorate in learning and organizational change at Baylor University.

Talk with me about:

  • Computer science, health
  • Secondary education (9-12), higher education, Public Outreach, Non-Profits
  • Research and grant writing
  • Curriculum and Pipeline programs

My STEM Story:  A memorable and first STEM moment for me was when I participated in vascular biology and hypertension research at The University of Alabama at Birmingham. My project won 2nd place in the final ceremony. This fuels the passion that I have regarding the importance of pipeline programs.

Projects: My current project includes a $3.2 million dollar federal grant that I wrote and acquired from the Department of Health & Human Services that focuses on health careers exposure for high school and college students. Additionally, the grant provides funding for medical student exposure to public health research. It also provides funding and resources to graduate students that are interested in attending medical school.

Meet Cecilia Tung

Science Dept Chair, The Northwest School

Seattle, Washington


Currently working on:  Finding ways to engage my students in climate science through a physics lens.

Talk with me about:

  • Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Earth Science, Physics
  • Secondary Education (grades 9-12)
  • Science curriculum, pedagogy, scientific mindset

My STEM Story:  I love to hear students in my school eagerly discussing the science lesson they have just had in class whether it is my physics class, or another subject. The enthusiasm and eagerness in their voices gives me hope for the future.

Meet Jessica Cetz Dzib

Proyecto Itzaes Advisor

Ixil, Yucatán, México


Currently working on: Conservation of Mayan numerology and math with children and young people.

Talk with me about:

  • Math and science education in Mayan communities
  • Mayan Culture
  • K-12 education, public outreach
  • Non-profits, grant writing
  • Curriculum and opportunities for teachers

My STEM Story: Since I was a child I liked math but it is when I started working as an advisor in Proyecto Itzaes that I had more opportunity and contact with STEM. In 2016 I worked with a PhD student in Mathematics Education at Stanford University.

Meet Rachel Winheld

Director, Science at Cal
Senior Analyst, Particle Cosmology Group

UC Berkeley, Berkeley, California

[email protected]

Currently working on: A million projects. Big focus on the upcoming Bay Area Science Festival, and other ongoing STEM outreach activities.

Talk with me about:

  • Public outreach for All STEM fields
  • Faculty support
  • Grant writing (federal and state agencies, corporate sponsorships, and foundations)

My STEM Story: I started working in STEM outreach a couple of decades ago, so there have been many memorable moments. Engaging kids at a farmers’ market in doing a science activity was a memorable moment — they were spending the entire day there because their parents were vendors. The kids were excited about science and enjoyed having something challenging to do during a long day of just hanging out.

Meet Casey Mullins

Undergraduate, Stanford University

Palo Alto, California, USA


Currently working on: multicultural STEM education for high school students.

Talk with me about:

  • Earth science & ecology
  • Science communication: effective multimedia usage
  • Grad school opportunities (I’m interested!)

My STEM Story: I found a love for STEM in the 6th grade learning about geology for the first time. What drew me in was the focus on things so much larger and greater than myself or any one lifetime.

Projects: Most of my work so far has been through the Stanford chapter of SEEDS, a national organization through the Ecological Society of America (ESA). The core SEEDS program components offer hands-on, engaging experiences with ecology that exhibit the relevance and applications of the science. Each experience also provides opportunities to interact with a diverse group of ecologists and other motivated students to both broaden and deepen students’ understanding of ecology and potential careers.

Meet Rodolfo Dirzo

Professor, Stanford University

Palo Alto, California, USA

lab website

Currently working on: Ecology and biodiversity science.

Talk with me about:

  • Biology, Earth Science, Ecology, Zoology
  • Science education — primary school, higher education
  • Public outreach
  • Research

Memorable STEM Moment: My participation in the new standards for science education, via the US national academies.

Notable Projects:
New standards for Science Education Report
My STEAM for Latina Girls Program

Meet Ruth Ann Hall

Director of Native American Studies, Nueta Hidatsa Sahnish College

New Town, North Dakota


Currently working on: indigenizing education.

Talk with me about:

  • Anthropology, Ecology
  • Higher education (undergrad/postgrad), public outreach, research
  • Curriculum and outreach

My STEM Story: I became interested in STEM when I was a research assistant at my tribal college. One of the projects I worked on was water quality. I saw a value in having knowledge about my peoples’ natural resources.

Meet Austin Ayer

Fulbright Research Scholar

Puerto Morelos, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Facebook | [email protected]

Currently working on: assessing the efficacy of marine protected areas in the Mexican Caribbean

Talk with me about:

  • Graduate school
  • Working in Latin America

My STEM story: A combination of my interests in biology and food, my undergraduate thesis used genetic techniques to examine the species composition of the American shark fin market. Using DNA extracted from fins purchased in San Francisco and from shark fin soup sold in Las Vegas, I was able to identify CITES listed endangered shark species within the domestic market.

Meet Luis Abdala Roberts

Assistant Professor, Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán

Mérida, Yucatán/México


Currently working on: Plant-insect interactions on wild cotton and tropical trees.

Talk with me about:

  • Ecology
  • Higher education (undergrad/postgrad)
  • Funding options
  • Grant writing

My STEM story: My interest in STEM mostly comes from my undergraduate experiences.

Remembering Cris Alvaro


Cris Alvaro will be greatly missed, they passed away in early 2018.

They had been based in San Francisco, California

Many people still share memories on Cris’s Facebook page.

It is with great sadness that we report the passing at age 29 of Cris Alvaro, an exceptionally bright and talented scientist and educator, and a beloved member of COPUS. Cris identified as a trans and non-binary person, using the preferred pronouns they/them/their.  Cris was a community builder wherever they went, and had friends all over the nation. A GoFundMe campaign, which was created to honor their memory, exceeded its $30,000 goal.

Cris completed their PhD in 2015 from the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, Professor Jeremy Thorner had been their PI. Before their untimely death, they had been an IRACDA Fellow and postdoc in Allan Basbaum’s lab in the Department of Anatomy at UCSF, where they studied differentiation of itch and pain signals in the central nervous system. “Cris Alvaro was one of the brightest, most warm-hearted, deeply caring, and beautiful human beings I have ever known,” said Professor Thorner. “They had the amazing talent of being able to uplift the spirit of every other person with whom they came in contact.”

Cris was also a popular performance artist, participating in performance pieces and drag shows around the SF Bay Area. They believed strongly that scientists should be encouraged to be well-rounded people — that scientists should not only be encouraged to do great research, but also have opportunities to improve their emotional intelligence, mental health, and pursue interests outside of science. They were incredibly supportive of underrepresented individuals in the sciences and were an activitist for the STEM LGBTQ community, as well as students and scientists who were first in their family to attend university, and communities of color.

Cris became a member of the COPUS community when they attended the 2017 January COPUS Unconference in Mexico. They were particularly interested in STEM education/outreach to vulnerable and under-served populations in the US and around the world.

Donations in Cris’s honor may be made to the Cris Alvaro Memorial Fund, which will send proceeds to trans mental health services and racial justice organizations selected by their family.

Cris’s words: My memorable moments that piqued my interest in STEM come largely from my exposure to reach during my undergraduate experience. I did not come from an academic family, and upon entering college I wasn’t aware of STEM job opportunities outside of medicine. My first research experience at Muhlenberg College, a small liberal arts college, opened my eyes to the world of research and there I was mentored by a faculty member and fell in love with the scientific process of experimentation and discovery. As an undergrad, I was fortunate to go to a conference where I was able to present my work and be a part of the scientific community. These experiences and the guidance and support I received through the faculty at my undergraduate institution were the memorable experiences I had and allowed me to believe I could be a part of the STEM community.


Meet William R. Swaney

Sanitarian, Elbowoods Memorial Health Center

New Town, North Dakota, USA

Currently working on: Food safety, disease vectors and injury prevention.

Talk with me about:

  • Biology
  • Environmental Health
  • Education and outreach to indigenous communities

My STEM story: My first wildlife related job I listened to the signal from a radio collared grizzly bear and was hooked.

Meet Monae Verbeke

Senior Research Associate, Institute for Learning Innovation

Portland, Oregon

Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIn | [email protected] 



Currently working on : a fantastic new science literacy tool, a Head Start program and National Park research.

Talk with me about:

  • collaboration in grant writing
  • initiating new STEM outreach programs
  • increasing existing STEM outreach programs

My STEM story: I suppose there’s no one memorable STEM moment in my life that steered my interests, I was just always the girl in the mud and dog sidekick. It wasn’t until college that I realized there were others like me!

Meet Kimberly Gibson

PhD student in Horticulture and Agronomy, University of California, Davis

Davis, California



Currently working on: studying crop evolution and the impact of domestication on biochemical defense mechanisms in beans.

Talk with me about:

  • outreach/finding an audience
  • curriculum
  • grant writing

My STEM story: One of the most memorable STEM experiences I have had was teaching ecology to sixth grade students from Eastside Preparatory School at Jasper Ridge Biological Reserve. Students were encouraged to ask questions and challenge themselves by thinking about advanced scientific concepts. Over the six week course, I was inspired by the enthusiasm and positive attitude with which my students learned material that is usually taught at the undergraduate level. I have tried to emulate them during my move from a social science background to a biological science PhD.

In 2016 I lived in Merida and worked with Proyecto Itzaes and Centro de Educación Ambiental de la Península Yucateca (CEAPY).

Meet David Ng

Director and Senior Instructor, Advanced Molecular Biology Laboratory, University of British Columbia

Vancouver, Canada

email | Twitter


Currently working on: 

  1. research that looks at children’s impressions around creativity and how that fits within scientific contexts (as a way to bridge communities)
  2. exploring game base learning pedagogies (primarily via our Phylo Trading Card Game)
  3. a variety of lab outreach programs that focus on STEM gender equity content
  4. a new project about to start looking at how environmental games can influence advocacy behaviour.

Also, the lab I run is a fully functional science literacy facility with lots of different public programming

Talk with me about:

  • Whether there are any specific strategies worth pursuing to make science outreach more effective in the age where US culture is so factionalized
  • It would also be cool to check in with some of the teachers in the group and see if they have any thoughts about one of our upcoming Phylo decks (this one is on women scientists and engineers) – we have a beta version that we can play with.

My STEM Story: I’ll focus on a recent one that’s been dwelling on my mind: there’s been lots of discussion recently about whether being feisty or civil is the best course of action when trying to reach communities not normally associated with your value systems. Evidence would generally skew towards using civility, but science advocacy folks are generally passionate folks, and so getting outraged (and rightly so) feels more authentic. Is there a line we can toe to bring in the best of both elements?

Meet Jorge Carlos Berny Mier y Teran

Graduate student, University of California – Davis

Davis, California

Facebook | LinkedIn | Twitter | ResearchGate



Currently working on: improving drought tolerance and productivity of beans.

Talk to me about:

  • Outreach

My STEM Story: A key moment that got me interested in/connected me with science was when I corroborated that Mendelian ratios are true in a segregating population for fruit color in peppers.

Meet Russell Joseph Ledet

MD-MBA Student at Tulane School of Medicine

New Orleans, Louisiana

LinkedIn | Facebook | Twitter

Currently working on: Obtaining a medical degree and an MBA.

Talk with me about (Louisiana/nearby connections preferred):

  • Biology, Medicine, Chemistry
  • Leadership development
  • STEM Outreach
  • Research

My Memorable STEM Moment: The development of Clear Direction Mentoring and #Reachback Mentoring, two organizations that truly represent what COPUS is about.

Meet Diana Daniela Moreno Santillán

Ph.D student, Instituto Politécnico Nacional

Mexico City, Mexico

Twitter | Facebook | Researchgate



Currently working on: research into the immune system of bats.

Talk with me about:

  • grant writing
  • meetings
  • collaboration research

My STEM story: I have been working in the evolution of the adaptive immune system in mammals for the last 4 years. During my masters I studied the variation of the MHC-II in blue whales from Baja California, Mexico. Now, for my PhD I am studying the transcripts of the MHC-I and the T cell receptors in five families of Bats from Yucatan. This is a huge challenge for me because for the first time I am learning and doing computing analysis.

A great experience for me was the first time I went to an international meeting and presented my thesis advances. I got many questions and I met a lot of researchers that were interested in my results and shared with me their knowledge and experience. That was the day I realized I wanted to do for the rest of my life.

Meet Jen Collins

jencollins_300Jen Collins is an Education Specialist at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.

Her STEM education and outreach work (mainly in the biological/zoological sciences) is for public audiences. Jen has been a long standing member of COPUS and we’re grateful for her contributions to large collaborations (like the UCMP’s Understanding Science and Understanding Evolution websites).

She’s currently focusing on 1) training volunteers of the Sant Ocean Hall how to effectively communicate about how science works and climate change in the context of exhibits and interactive activities; 2) connecting researchers to education and outreach efforts; 3) exploring ways to use objects to engage visitors in conversation.

Some things she’d like to talk to other COPUS members about: 

  • Evaluation
  • Visitor engagement strategies
  • Working with volunteers
  • Science education researh

Jen’s located in Virginia and is interested in connecting with folks all over the map.

One of Jen’s memorable STEM moments:

“Watching engineers, scientists, lab techs, and welders gathered around a drill pipe onboard the JOIDES Resolution trying to solve a problem with the deployment of a tool into the seafloor. They talked, pointed, talked, tweaked, then finally brought out the duct tape!”

Connect with Jen:

Meet Monica Albe


Graduate Student Services Advisor, UC Berkeley

Berkeley, California, USA

[email protected]  | LinkedIn |Facebook | Twitter

Currently working on: helping graduate students in the Department of Integrative Biology.

Talk with me about:

  • communications
  • equity & inclusion
  • science education

My STEM Story:

Monica Albe is a Graduate Student Services Advisor in the Department of Integrative Biology at UC Berkeley. She has worked closely with the Berkeley Natural History Museums for many years, and she’s also worked with many of the other science departments and institutions on campus through Science@Cal. Before becoming an advisor, she was an external relations specialist on campus, focusing on communications for all the science and math departments in the College of Letters & Science. She has a background in biology and has been at UC Berkeley since 1999.

Remembering Lee Allison


Regretfully I can’t remember how we actually first met. It seems that he was just always there. Lee had an impressive geology career and was serving as the State Geologist and Director of the Kansas Geological Survey during the critical years of cyclic episodes of creationism that overtook the Kansas science standards. So most certainly our paths crossed at the National Conference on the Teaching of Evolution in 2000 if not before.

But in 2005, Lee Allison walked into my office at UC Berkeley, sat down, and said “Judy, we’ve got to do something about these anti-evolution guys – they are anti science!” That was all it took to trigger the idea and then the actions that gave birth to COPUS. That’s who Lee was. He had an unmatched and undeterred energy and enthusiasm about him. Plus, he had an overwhelming passion for understanding the history of our earth and a deep-lying respect for the science that could provide the answers and stimulate more questions.

It seemed that with every encounter with everyone, Lee sparked creative and expanded thinking. That was as true late in his career as it was at our Berkeley meeting in 2005. So before I knew it, we had secured funding from NSF to bring in some folks for brainstorming a national initiative with three goals:

  1. developing a shared appreciation of science, its contributions to the quality of life, and its underlying role in advances in technology and engineering
  2. informing and engaging the public in and about science, its process and products
  3. making science more accessible to everyone

And we even came up with a name – the Coalition on the Public Understanding of Science – COPUS.

Soon there was a COPUS Core of people sharing ideas of concrete steps toward those lofty goals. This resulted in the Year of Science 2009 and the crazy idea of holding an unconference and Lee found the perfect venue – the Biosphere. There in the Arizona desert, the COPUS Core expanded into the COPUS Corps and an annual unconference became the norm… all because of a guy with an impish grin, a huge heart, and an amazing energy.

It was always fun and comfortable being around Lee – whether at a meeting of the minds in DC or sharing a beer at GSA or hanging out with COPUS friends at an unconference. You just wanted to be around him. He will be sorely missed.

By Judy Scotchmoor

Meet Tom McFadden

8th Grade Science Teacher (The Nueva School) and Founder of “Science With Tom”

San Francisco, California

Twitter | Instagram | Youtube | Facebook | Website

Currently working on: Science communication video workshops for scientists and postdocs, and a “freestyle app” that allows students to creatively engage with science through rap.

Talk with me about:

  • Biology, Chemistry, Ecology, Health, Physics
  • K-12 education, higher education
  • Science Communication Workshops for Scientists/Postdocs
  • Professional Development for teachers and districts
  • Business management of a small organization

My STEM Story:  When I first learned about protein synthesis and realized that every cell in our body was a kaleidoscope whirring factory of micromachine creation. And when I first deeply understood evolution and the connectivity of all living things.

SWT Scientist Interview Show
Science History Rap Battles
Science Rap Academy
SWT Website

Meet Marcos Chu


Marcos leads a group of professionals that volunteer their time to build resilient learning communities. They build robots using the same materials and equipment students use when participating in robotics activities and competitions. They are platform neutral and do not favor a particular robotics competition organization — they encourage youth to follow their dreams in the PRESENT time, looking at the PAST for inspiration and the FUTURE for hope for a better tomorrow. Marcos and his team believes in laying the foundation for the future, and their hope is to inspire children that will become professionals of tomorrow to become better problem solvers.

Three words that describe Marcos:
Steampunk, demo robots, brasileiro.

The dots Marcos connects:
Marcos’s hope is to be able to network with other energetic individuals that would be interested in building STEM learning communities that are geographically no more than 30 minutes from each other along BERSDT STEM Corridor that will be parallel to old U.S historical highway 66.

Meet Mattias Lanas

Science illustrator

Bogotá, Colombia

Facebook | Instagram | Website

Currently working on:  a Fulbright scholarship research project in France studying scientific illustration at Paris’ Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle.

Talk with me about:

  • Biology, Earth Science, Ecology, Zoology
  • Public Outreach, Research
  • Curriculum
  • Professional development

My STEM Story:  I became very interested in STEM and STEAM education at Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve at Stanford, California. I was working with students explaining biological concepts out in the field, and seeing the expressions of awe and wonderment with which our kids took in their surroundings—as if they were seeing the natural world in a whole new light—made me certain I wanted to teach science. I have always been passionate about art, too, and have found that practicing diligent observation through nature journaling encourages interest in and connection to nature. I am a huge advocate of STEAM projects that encourage kids to become curious individuals and successful future stewards of the planet.

Notable Projects: I am very interested in promoting foundational natural history topics like botany, geology, and phenology that are so integral to our understanding of more theoretical sciences but which are often marginalized in this day and age. I approach these subjects within the context of scientific illustration and field sketching, which in my experience works really well to prime students for scientific observation and discovery.

Meet Roger Conner

Executive Director, SciComm Summit / Head of Marketing, WorkMonger & TrulyHired

Greenville, North Carolina

Twitter | LinkedIn | Facebook | | Twitter: SciCommSummit | Facebook: TheSciCommSummit

Currently working on:  Launching an online SciComm Summit with the goal of bringing together science communicators no matter where they are located with the goal of improving the capacity to communicate science effectively in order to foster the public understanding of science.

Talk with me about:

  • Astronomy, Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Earth Science, Ecology, Health, Psychology — outreach and communications across STEM fields
  • Speaking and being involved with the SciComm Summit
  • Leveraging technology to make science more accessible
  • Agnotology, misinformation, and science communications
  • Creative collaborations to foster the public understanding of science

My STEM Story:  I worked with the Duke Marine Laboratory researching sea snails. We discovered that antifouling paints were causing snail populations to collapse. I knew immediately that we needed to share our findings with the public in order to enact change.

Ever since that moment I have been involved in connecting scientists with the general public with the vision that everyone can and should make decisions about their life, career, community, government, and environment based on sound scientific understanding.

Projects: Prior projects include directing a Gates Foundation program that uses immersive learning technologies for NGSS and Common Core delivery and assessment, founding a regional science and technology learning center, developing an online STEM learning network across rural NC, and leading the educational arm of SkyCube, the first crowdfunded satellite launch.

Meet Rocio Sanchez

Graduate Student Affairs Manager

Bay Area, California, USA

Facebook | LinkedIn

Currently working on: Supporting Plant Biology and Microbiology (PMB) graduate students and recruiting STEM undergraduate students to PMB doctoral programs.

Talk with me about (nearby connections preferred):

  • General All Stem, Plant Biology, Microbiology, Biological Sciences, Engineering
  • Higher education (undergrad/postgrad)
  • Creating inclusive STEM spaces (i.e laboratories)
  • Supporting STEM students of color in doctoral programs
  • Fundraising for student support and STEM outreach efforts

My STEM Story:  I love to hear students in my school eagerly discussing the science lesson they have just had in class whether it is my physics class, or another subject. The enthusiasm and eagerness in their voices gives me hope for the future.

Rocío Sanchez is Manager of Graduate Student Affairs with the Dept of Plant & Microbial Bio at UC Berkeley. In this role she advises doctoral students through academic and research milestones. As an adviser, she both creates and connects students to services and resources that support personal, academic, and professional development. She is active in efforts to diversify STEM fields through outreach, recruitment, and retention programs for undergraduate and graduate students at CAL. These include SACNAS (Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science) and ABRCMS (Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students), and Amgen Scholars programs. She serves on graduate admission committees and promotes diversity through evidence-based approaches and meaningful conversations with faculty, students, and administrators.

Meet Morgan Thompson


Morgan Thompson is a geneticist, but her passion is informal science education. She is exploring modes of evidence-based dialog & engagement to create new (e.g. Science Presentation as a Performing Art, Emerson College Science Communication Collaborative, etc.) & develop existing programs (e.g. Voice of Young Science USA, Science in the News, Ask for Evidence USA) that provide communication training & public service. Morgan is Assistant Director of Career Development at University of Massachusetts Medical School where she trains Ph.D. students & postdocs in communication & professional skills ( She serves on the Public Outreach Committee of the American Society for Biochemistry & Molecular Biology. Morgan enjoys kayaking, backpacking, gardening, cooking, & random crafts.

Three words that describe Morgan:
Experimentalist, maker, nurturer

The dots Morgan connects:
Morgan connects scientists, particularly early career researchers, to opportunities for training in communication and direct engagement in their broader communities.

Meet Jessie Herbert


Jessie Herbert is the STEM Education Program Manager at the University of Montana spectrUM Discovery Area. Jessie earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the University of Montana in 2008 and has worked in informal education since then. She became a certified SciGirls trainer in 2011 and trains educators to implement gender-sensitive curricula in their classroom. She also currently co-directs the Montana Girls STEM Collaborative. As a passionate learner, Jessie enjoys teaching and learning about all types of science. She is currently pursuing her Masters in Education from the University of Montana.


Three words that describe Jessie:
Energetic, Passionate, Enthusiastic

The dots Jessie connects:
Connecting people, Connecting programs

Meet Yvonne Tsai

After many years of mentoring FIRST Lego League and then FIRST Robotics, Yvonne had a hand in starting NH TechFest to showcase STEM careers to middle and high school students . This annual festival brings in industry and university innovators to do hands-on demos and talk about what skills are necessary for the jobs of the future. NH TechFest hopes to inspire the next generation of innovators and scientists by showing off the latest in technology and providing real-life role models for teens.

Three words that describe Yvonne:
Fun-loving nerd, instigator of social activities, science and math can explain all

The dots Yvonne connects:
Yvonne connects teens to STEM professionals, show the relevance of STEM education and future careers, and connect educators and industry to find out how we can grow our future workers.

Meet Whisper Camel-Means

Whisper Camel-Means is a Wildlife Biologist working for Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes Wildlife Management Program. She started her biology career with CSKT as a Biologist Trainee in 1997 while studying Environmental Studies at Salish Kootenai College in Pablo, MT. After receiving a Master’s of Science degree in Fish and Wildlife Management, she was awarded a fellowship from The Wildlife Conservation Society (WSC) and The Western Transportation Institute (WTI) to conduct a master’s project on US Highway 93 Pre-Construction wildlife movements. While in Bozeman she was employed by WTI to participate in other highway and wildlife related projects, including an animal detection system prototype project in Yellowstone National Park and a wildlife warning signing system on Bozeman Pass.

Outreach and education is an important part of her position at SKC. Along with other biologists, she strives to educate young and old about wildlife and wildlife issues for all to live more harmoniously with nature. SciNation on the Flathead Reservation is a new program that is gaining traction and an excellent reputation for bringing science and STEM/STEAM learning to children on the Reservation. With climate change looming on the horizon, CSKT has been planning for the potential effects on the Flathead Reservation. Whisper has been actively involved in the CSKT Climate Change Oversight Committee. She is an active member of The Wildlife Society, on the national and state level; with achievement of her Certified Wildlife Biologist status and past president of the Montana Chapter. She is a member of the Native American Fish and Wildlife Society. Whisper is past Chair and current vice chair of the Flathead Reservation Fish and Wildlife Advisory Board.

Three words that describe Whisper:
fun, active, Libra

The dots Whisper connects:
“I get along with a wide variety of different types of people. I am outgoing and able to communicate or ask for clarification. I can talk to adults as well as children. I am excited to work with others and share what I know.”

Meet Jenny Cutraro

In her own words: “Every report card I brought home from grade school noted “Is too talkative during class,” but I prefer to translate that to “Enjoys communicating with her classmates.” Today, I’ve channeled that love of talking into a career in science communications and education.”

Jenny is a producer for  youth and family programming and is currently the co-managing editor at SciStarter. She has been a writer and editor at WGBH in Boston, where she produced materials for the Emmy-­nominated PBS KIDS ecosystem science program PLUM LANDING. You’ll sometimes find her writing about science, education, and creativity for outlets including The Boston Globe, Science News for Students, and the New York Times Learning Network as well. When she’s not talking about science, you’ll find her kayaking with her family, cheering for the Green Bay Packers, and looking for slimy things under logs.

Three words that describe Jenny:
Curious, kayaker, nerd

The dots Jenny connects:
Science + k-12 education + journalism

Meet Tom Hata

Co-founder, VP AI at LookDeep Health

Oakland, California, USA


Currently working on: Developing AI-assisted tools to improve patient health outcomes.

Talk with me about:

  • Biology, Computer Science, Engineering, Health, Physics
  • Low-cost tech/engineering projects and demonstrations

My STEM Story: I was an early team member of Foldscope, a low-cost origami-based paper microscope that started out as a project in a Stanford Bioengineering lab and eventually became the flagship product of a startup. Through this project, I was able to interact with many institutions, educators, and hobbyists throughout the world and run microscopy workshops locally and internationally.

Past Projects: Foldscope (, Data Science Fellow at Insight Data Science, R&D Process Engineer at RheoSense

Meet Tokiwa Smith

Founder and Executive Director, Science, Engineering and Mathematics Link Inc

Atlanta, Georgia


Currently working on: Encouraging high school students to engage in STEM Research through an experimental design program that provides a digital learning platform to prepare high school students to conduct STEM research for STEM Fairs and STEM in the City, a community workshop that teaches youth techniques for field research.

Talk with me about:

  • Chemistry, Engineering
  • Non-profits
  • Science festivals
  • Virtual field trips
  • Grant writing

My STEM Story:  I have always loved STEM but I discovered my favorite STEM discipline was chemistry in 10th grade.

Projects: Since the last COPUSMeeting, I was honored by Atlanta Magazine as one of their 2019 Women Making a Mark Honorees, I received a Torch Bearer’s Award for Excellence in Science Education from Dekalb County Public Schools and I published a chapter Creating Support Systems for Black Women in Non-traditional STEM Career Paths in Women’s Influence on Inclusion, Equity and Diversity in STEM Fields.

Meet Stu Koretz

Docent, Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve, Stanford University

Palo Alto, California

Email me

Currently working on: creating approaches to inquiry-based learning in a natural setting.

Talk with me about:

  • Biology, Chemistry, Ecology
  • Public outreach
  • Inquiry-based learning

My STEM Story: My interest in STEM benefitted enormously from childhood mentors and teachers, who stimulated my interest by posing questions and problems for me to solve.

Meet Stephanie Gillin

1_stephaniegillin Stephanie’s first experience with wildlife was working for the Salish Kootenai College, participating in a Reservation-wide survey of reptiles and amphibians. She began her career as a Wildlife Biologist Trainee in 1997 while attended the University of Montana, where she earned her Bachelor of Science in Wildlife Biology. Stephanie has been working as a Biologist with the Tribe for 14 years. She has worked on several projects, including monitoring of Chronic Wasting Disease in ungulates, big game hunting permit organization, permit issuance and compilation of harvest data. She annually conducts numerous public outreach and environmental & cultural education on local wildlife and wildlife issues for local schools and other groups. She represents the Tribes as the Wildlife Biologist on issues related to Yellowstone bison hunting issues and management. She also assists with a wide variety of wildlife projects, including the Highway 93 post-construction monitoring of wildlife crossings and avian surveys.

Three words that describe Stephanie:
Positive, kind, team player

The dots Stephanie connects:
“I am the “middle child”, so I connect as many dots as I can!!”

Meet Russ Campbell

1_russcampbellRuss Campbell is the Senior Communications Officer at the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, a private foundation located in Research Triangle Park, NC. Russ has created and published the Fund’s series on career development for scientists and STEM outreach efforts. He understands the critical role of communications in creating authentic connections leading to substantive policy and community change.

Three words that describe Russ:
creative strategic connection

The dots Russ connects:
Passionate individuals desirous for change

Meet Mónica Ivelisse Feliú-Mójer

Monica Feliu-Mojer
Mónica grew up in rural Puerto Rico, surrounded by nature and with a cow in her backyard, which sparked her interest in all things biology. A scientist-turned-communicator, she loves building connections to make science and scientists accessible to all. Her bilingual outreach and communication efforts focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) topics and opportunities, as well as increasing equity, access and diversity in science and science communication.

Mónica has received numerous awards and recognitions, including a graduate research fellowship from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the COPUS Paul Shin Memorial Award (2013) for her efforts to increase public understanding of science among Hispanic audiences. Her work has been featured on international media outlets, such as UnivisiónVOXXI, and Scientific American among others.

She has a bachelor’s degree in Human Biology from the University of Puerto Rico in Bayamón and a Ph.D. in Neurobiology from Harvard University. Mónica is the vice-director and news editor-in-chief of Ciencia Puerto Rico (@CienciaPR), an organization leveraging social networks to engage Hispanic scientists in science communication and education. Mónica is also the Science Outreach Program Manager for iBiology, an UCSF-based non-profit organization that produces educational open-access videos on research and science-related topics featuring the world’s leading biologists.

Three words that describe Mónica:
Borinqueña, curious, loves stories

The dots Mónica connects:
She leverages online communities to connect scientists, educators and the media to empower people through science.

Meet Diego Román

Assistant Professor in Bilingual/Bicultural Education, University of Wisconsin at Madison

Madison, Wisconsin, USA

LinkedIn, Facebook

Currently working on:  science education for multicultural students.

Talk with me about:

  • Higher education (undergrad and postgrad)
  • Biology, Ecology, Bilingual Education, Linguistics
  • grant writing
  • publishing papers
  • curriculum

My STEM Story: a fond STEM memory I have is hosting science fairs at schools in the midwest.

Projects: check out my current and past projects here:

Meet Lance Powell

Lance_PowellLance Powell has used the environment as a vehicle to teach science in the Bay Area for most of the last 19 years. He has been involved in a variety of schools ranging from the inner city of San Francisco to where he is now, down the Peninsula in the Menlo Park area. As an educator, he strives to bring science alive while improving student thinking and work habits. He is all about hands-­on science, inquiry work and getting kids outside.

Currently he is serving as an instructional science coach and helping his colleagues bring in the new Next Generation Science Standards into their courses. His most recent acknowledgement earlier in 2015 was the Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Education.

Three words that describe Lance:
dynamic, creative, passionate

The dots Lance connects:
Besides the numbered ones, Lance connect kids with the outdoors and the science behind environmental issues that affect them… and maybe even an internship or job.

Meet Colibrí Sanfiorenzo-­Barnhard


Colibrí lives and works in Puerto Rico.

She is in the process of establishing a consulting firm that supports community groups and NGO’s in science education, organizational structure and administrative/fiscal support.

She integrates basic science (mainly ecology) into art projects, outdoor activities and urban participatory design.

She also connects larger NGO’s with community groups and farmers interested in conservation. Starting from scratch is hard but she loves what she does and is filled with joy everyday!

Three words that describe Colibrí:
outdoorsy, helper, researcher

The dots Colibrí connects:
NGO’s, community groups and individuals working towards the well-being of
Puerto Rico

Meet Joel Abraham

Joel_AbrahamJoel K. Abraham is an assistant professor of biology education in the Department of Biological Science at California State University, Fullerton. Joel and his students study a wide range of topics, including non-­native plant invasions in California ecosystems, sustainable urban agriculture, student conceptions and competencies in science, and teacher education and hiring practices. Many of his students have community-­based research projects, partnering with local urban gardens and schools.

Joel received his PhD in biology at UC Berkeley, and was a postdoctoral researcher at the Scheller Teacher Education Program at MIT. He is active in a number of programs and committees aimed at increasing diversity and public engagement in science.

Three words that describe Joel:
Ecology, Education, Community

Meet Gina Schatteman

Gina_SchattemanGina is the Co-­Director of iExploreSTEM, a non-­profit volunteer organization that
produces and supports public STEM events, primarily in rural and remote areas. Their focus is
STEM festivals, but they also work with communities to help them produce other types of STEM events as

Read this feature about Gina from “Stem Women on Fire.” (

Gina is engaged in research to help us better understand the impact of public science events on
the public value, appreciation, and understanding of science. She is an emeritus associate professor
at the University of Iowa where she taught and ran a lab researching the use of stem cells to treat
vascular disease in people with diabetes.

She likes being outdoors, especially in the mountains, and loves (non-motorized) winter sports.

Three words that describe Gina:
scientist, STEM festival advocate, policy wonk wannabe

The dots Gina connects:
She organizes science festivals, and these require the building of broad-­based coalitions in communities. She works to connect STEM education stakeholders in Idaho to share policy best practices in promoting STEM careers and enhancing STEM education.

Meet Amber Finley

Amber_FinleyAmber Finley is an enrolled member of the Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara Nation, and is also Spirit Lake Dakota and Standing Rock Lakota on her maternal grandmother’s side. Although she was raised in California, her home is Mandaree, located on the Fort Berthold Reservation, North Dakota. Amber was a two-time graduate of Fort Berthold Community College before receiving her Bachelor of Science in Fisheries & Wildlife Biology from Univeristy of North Dakota in 2006. In 2008, she earned her Master of Science in Environmental Management from the University of San Francisco. Amber is a Gates Millennium Scholar alum, a lifetime Sequoyah member of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society, and serves as a mentor for several diversity-­based organizations.

After returning to Grand Forks, Amber worked with other members of the American Indian community, exploring avenues for cultural awareness, development, and expression. In 2010, the group established Northstar Council, an organization with the mission of empowering indigenous people through research, education, and outreach. Finley is the Executive Director of Northstar Council.

In 2015, Amber received the Gates Millennium Scholars Alumni Association’s Distinguished Alumni Award.

Three words that describe Amber:
Honest, Kind, Humble

The dots that Amber connects:
Culture, Science,Traditional Knowledge, and Communities

Meet Denny Casey


Denny Casey is Director of Education and Public Programs at Virginia Museum of Natural History. He is also an adjunct instructor with state and private universities as instructor of science methods and education courses. His degrees are in natural science education and science curriculum and instruction, all from Virginia Tech.

His research interests include:

  • education for social justice, social constructivism
  • history and nature of science and technology
  • earth systems science education.

His professional service includes: Journal of Virginia Science Education and Web Administrator for Virginia Association of Science Teachers and the Virginia Junior Academy Of Science, Virginia Master Naturalist Program, Virginia Resource Use Education Council, and National Science Teachers Association Council as District VIII Director, 2015-­2018.

Three words that describe Denny:
Science educator and researcher, nature and techno-geek, community volunteer

The dots Denny connects:
Formal and informal natural history and STEM education throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia; educators, science, and professional development.

Meet Eve Klein

Eve_Klein_300x282Eve Klein manages the Portal to the Public Network, based at Pacific Science Center in Seattle, Washington. Eve’s background is in the physical sciences, and she also has a masters in education (her research was in public perceptions of science). She is interested in when and where adults acquire the science knowledge needed for safety, productivity, and civic engagement.

A Little About Portal to the Public:
The Portal to the Public approach helps Informal Science Education (ISE) organizations connect public audiences with current science in their own communities through direct interactions with local science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) researchers and experts. The Portal to the Public framework has been implemented at over 44 institutions that form the Portal to the Public Network (PoPNet), a diverse community of practitioners dedicated to sharing ideas and strategies for scientist-and-public engagement. Through funding from the National Science Foundation, PoPNet has expanded to a range of informal science settings including university outreach groups, zoos, aquariums, and nature centers. The Network continues to expand and would like to connect with new institutions and other ISE organizations. Find out more information on joining PoPNet here.

Three words that describe Eve:
Adventurer, scrabble fiend, learner

The dots Eve connects:
She brings hands-on, inquiry based science activities to rural schools to provide students with positive, empowering learning experiences.

Meet Amy Vashlishan Murray

amymurray1Amy is an Assistant Professor of Science at Emerson College in Boston; a liberal arts school devoted to communication and the arts. Working closely with talented Emerson undergraduates and a local community of early career research scientists, Amy pursues a passion for addressing communication barriers between scientists, the media, and the public. She has established a Science Communication Collaborative that partners scientists and future artists and communicators for mutual communication training and has worked to build a foundation for the “Ask for Evidence” campaign in the US. To Amy’s great satisfaction, #askforevidence has been adopted in her household (by 3-­year old, Jackson, and husband, Shane) as a verbal shorthand for expressing scientific skepticism.

Amy was the 2014 COPUS winner of the annual Paul Shin Award, honoring the unsung heroes of science communication and engagement. Morgan Thompson, PhD, Assistant Director at the Center for Biomedical Career Development, nominated Amy for the award, saying Amy is “shaping the foundational scientific understanding of future communicators – both conceptual knowledge as well as the process of science and ability to critically evaluate evidence.” The Emerson Science Communication Collaborative “pairs undergraduate students interested in science communication with local early career scientists in a semester-long series of exchanges to further the training and skills of both audiences. Scientists are provided a rare opportunity early in their careers to practice media skills and effective communication with lay audiences in a non-threatening, low-risk environment that utilizes the expertise of Emerson students. The undergraduates come to know the person behind the scientist, helping to dispel popular misconceptions about the process of science and providing more accurate, nuanced, and diverse portraits of who does science. Culminating projects range from children’s books to public service announcements to a musical composition based upon the genetic sequence of a strain of H1N1 flu virus.”

Three words that describe Amy:
Scientist-educator, Idea-­collector, Evidence-­lover.

The dots Amy connects:
She connects arts and communication students and the scientific community and she connects anyone who will listen to evidence.

Meet Lisa White


Lisa White is Director of Education and Outreach at the UC Museum of Paleontology in Berkeley. In this role she promotes teaching and learning of science, particularly of evolution, the fossil record, and the nature and impacts of global change, through online resources and hands-­on science. A geologist and micropaleontologist by training, she previously held positions of Professor of Geosciences at San Francisco State University and she is active in efforts to diversify the geosciences through wide-­ranging field and research experience programs for urban youth. These include the SF-­ROCKS (Reaching out the Communities and Kids with Science in San Francisco) and METALS (Minority Education Through Teaching and Learning in the Sciences) programs that benefit from collaborations with scientists and faculty at the University of New Orleans and the University of Texas at El Paso.

California Magazine put it well:
“As an African-American woman in one of the least diverse scientific fields, White, director of education and public programs at the University of California’s Museum of Paleontology, is accustomed to playing the part of role model. ‘There are very few female black geoscientists who study paleontology, so I get it,’ she says with a chuckle. ‘I’m going to be asked reach out to youth a lot.'”

(…and we know Lisa doesn’t see this as a chore — she loves it.)

Watch Lisa in Nova’s “Making North America” where she highlights California geology in episodes one (Origins) and three (Human).

Three words that describe Lisa:
Paleontologist, educator, sports fan!

The dots Lisa connects:
She connects communities to science through places — both local and global — that are meaningful to their lives: parks and outdoor spaces, neighborhoods, educational centers, and museums.

Read more at UC Berkeley’s news site, where Lisa was highlighted for being featured in a PBS special, or at California Magazine, where her outreach work was recently highlighted.

Lisa, in her role as Director of Education and Outreach, at the UCMP, is spearheading a new “Understanding Global Change” website project — soon to be be a sibling to the already existing Understanding Evolution, and Understanding Science resource websites.