Presenter Bios

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Keynotes

Tony DeRose is a senior scientist and lead of the Research Group at Pixar Animation Studios. From 1986 to 1995, DeRose was a professor of computer science and engineering at the University of Washington. In 1998, he was a major contributor to the Oscar-winning short film “Geri's Game;” in 1999, he received the ACM SIGGRAPH Computer Graphics Achievement Award; and in 2006, he received a Scientific and Technical Academy Award for his work on surface representations. In addition to his research interests, DeRose is involved in a number of initiatives to make math, science, and engineering education more inspiring and relevant for middle and high school students. One such initiative is Pixar in a Box, a collaboration with Khan Academy designed to show students how creative challenges at Pixar are addressed using concepts they are learning in classrooms. A second initiative is the Young Makers Program that supports youth in building ambitious hands-on projects of their own choosing. He received a bachelor's degree in physics from the University of California, Davis, and a doctorate in computer science from the University of California, Berkeley.

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Juan Martinez

Juan Martinez is the Children and Nature Network’s director of leadership development and the Natural Leaders Network. He is also a National Geographic explorer, and a TED speaker. At an early age, his passion to empower youth led him to direct the Sierra Club’s first environmental justice youth leadership academy in Los Angeles, and his interesting journey continued from there. Martinez represents The North Face as an ambassador for outdoor engagement and his adventures include reaching the summit of the Grand Teton in 2010 with famed mountain climber Conrad Anker. Martinez was named a National Geographic Emerging Explorer and travels across the U.S. speaking and encouraging other young people to explore the outdoors. In 2014, the National Science Teachers Association’s Multicultural and Equity Committee honored Martinez for his work as a global explorer. A few years ago, he was invited to be a Murie Center Explorer in Residence in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming. Following his residence experience, he was elected to the Murie Center’s board of directors.

Workshop Session Presenters

Cheryl Anderson has taught middle and high school math and science for 20 years. She holds bachelor’s degrees in both elementary education and biology: life sciences, and master’s degrees in both language and literacy and middle school mathematics. She is currently teaching math and science at Midwest School in Natrona County, Wyoming.

Darin Anderson has been an instructional coach for Sweetwater County School District #1 in Rock Springs, Wyoming, previously for five years. He taught secondary language arts for 12 years in Idaho, Nevada, and Wyoming. He has a master's degree in kinesiology and health from the University of Wyoming and a bachelor's degree in secondary education (English and PE double major) from Idaho State University. He serves on the Wyoming Technology-Engagement-Curriculum Connection board.

Reid Bauer has been teaching environmental science since 2001. After teaching in Ohio, Michigan, and New York, Bauer joined the field education faculty at Teton Science Schools in 2012. He is currently the instructional technology specialist for Teton Science Schools and the chair of the technology committee.

Zachary Beam has taught at Newcastle High School in Newcastle, Wyoming, for two years and previously worked for the U.S. Forest Service Job Corps’ Education Department. He has presented on using Google to manage a paperless classroom and science inquiry to encourage student interests. Beam earned a Bachelor of Science in education from Black Hills State University and a master’s in science education from Western Governors University.

Andrea Burrows is an assistant professor in the department of secondary education at the University of Wyoming (UW). She teaches courses in science methods, pedagogy, and research and creates, implements, and evaluates grants at UW. Her research interests include secondary STEM school partnerships and the associated meanings, negotiations, and conceptual changes. Burrows received a doctorate in curriculum and instruction with a science specialization from the University of Cincinnati, a Master of Science in science education from Florida State University, and a Bachelor of Science in education/biology from the University of Central Florida.

Megan Candelaria serves the University of Wyoming as the WYSTEM coordinator where she works to coordinate UW’s STEM outreach efforts through the WYSTEM K-14 Engagement Office. Candelaria received a Bachelor of Science in mathematics and physics in 2006 and a master’s in mathematics in 2009 and is pursuing a doctorate in mathematics education at UW.

Michael Cheadle is a professor of geology and geophysics at the University of Wyoming and has taught university courses in the U.K. and U.S. since 1991. He received a Bachelor of Science in geology from Oxford University, a master’s in geophysics from Cornell University, and a doctorate in geophysics from Cambridge University.

Willow Curtis serves as the math and science instructor for the Gifted and Talented Program at CY Middle School. She has degrees in secondary education including a bachelor’s in both biology and math/science and an associate degree in forensic science from Casper College.

Victoria Davis has taught middle school math and science as well as 3-5 STEM at Kaycee Middle School in Kaycee, Wyoming, for the past seven years. She has a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education from the University of Wyoming and a Master of Arts in curriculum and instruction of mathematics from Chadron State College and is completing a Master of Science in natural science through the Science and Math Teaching Center at UW. Davis also has her national certification in early adolescent science.

Amber French manages the science kits for grades K-8 at the Natrona County School District Science Depot and is the instructor for FOSS science kits. She teaches kit-ology classes for staff in the school district. She taught in Weslaco, Texas, for two years. French received a bachelor’s degree in science education from the University of Wyoming and a K-12 library media endorsement from Black Hills State University.

Rachel Giesmann is a National Board Certified math teacher at Lander Valley High School in Lander, Wyoming. She received her Bachelor of Arts from Wartburg College and her master’s in school mathematics from Iowa State University. She is a 2015 state finalist for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching and the 2016 Fremont County School District #1 Teacher of the Year.

Crystal Graf has taught elementary education for over 11 years and currently teaches fourth grade at Beitel Elementary School in Laramie, Wyoming. She earned her National Board Certification in 2014 as a middle childhood generalist and assists in running her school chapter of Kiwanis Kids. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education from the University of Wyoming in 2005.

Jessica Haas is a program manager and instructor for the Yellowstone Association Institute. She worked for three years as a technician researching wolverines with Round River Conservation Studies and also taught math and science for two years at Foothills School of Arts and Sciences in Boise, Idaho. She is certified through the National Association of Interpretation. She received a bachelor's degree in both geology and theatre at the University of North Dakota and her graduate certificate in environmental education at the McCall Outdoor Science School.

Naomi Heindel has worked for the past year and a half as a field education faculty at Teton Science Schools in Jackson, Wyoming. Previously, she worked for three years as a field instructor for NatureBridge in Yosemite National Park and for two years as an environmental history research associate and analyst in Boise, Idaho. She has over a decade of experience as a wilderness trip leader and guide. She holds a master’s in environmental science from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and an undergraduate degree in geology from Dartmouth College.

Laurie Hernandez is the supervisor of standards for the Wyoming Department of Education. Hernandez was a classroom teacher in Arizona for 14 years where she taught fifth grade students, middle school science, and summer school math. She helps teachers across Wyoming integrate fun and engaging STEM lessons and provide real-world experiences for their students. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in elementary education at the University of Wyoming and a master’s degree in educational leadership from Northern Arizona University.

Mark Hileman has taught high school in Natrona County for over 27 years. He will teach in the new Pathways Innovation Center beginning in the fall of 2016. In addition to teaching biomedical sciences, he has spent three years as the Health Sciences and Human Services Academy coach designing the learning spaces and curriculum for the new Pathways Innovation Center. Hileman holds a Bachelor of Science in science education from the University of Wyoming and a Master of Science in sports medicine from United States Sports Academy.

Jim Hoffman teaches math at Riverside High School in Basin, Wyoming. During his 30 years in teaching he has taught math, physics, and computers. He graduated with a Master of Science in education technology from Chadron State College.

Teddi Hofmann is the K-14 project coordinator for the University of Wyoming College of Engineering and Applied Science, where she connects with schools around the state to expose K-14 students and teachers to engineering through hands-on learning. She worked in K-12 field science education for Teton Science Schools and Jackson Hole Land Trust. She received her Bachelor of Arts in environmental geography from Colgate University and her Master of Science in natural science education from UW.

Elizabeth Horsch worked as an industrial chemist in Texas, a chemistry teacher in Natrona County School District #1, and a science consultant with Inverness Research, Inc. She is a Presidential Awardee in science and a Natrona County School District #1 trustee. Horsch earned a Bachelor of Science in chemistry from Texas Tech and a Master of Science from the University of Wyoming.

Zach Hutchinson is a community naturalist for Audubon Rockies, an award-winning program, and has worked in various science and education fields since graduating. He earned a Bachelor of Science in zoology from Northwest Missouri State University.

Kendal Jacobs has been teaching mathematics at Casper College since 1999. He taught high school in Malad, Idaho, for several years. Jacobs is the co-director of the Wyoming Science Olympiad and an organizer of the Wyoming FIRST Robotics programs. He is particularly interested in teacher education, distance education, technology, and teaching mathematics in the context of application. He earned a Bachelor of Arts and Science in geology and secondary education and a master’s in mathematics from Montana State University.

London Jenks is a high school science educator and director of technology at Hot Springs County High School in Thermopolis, Wyoming. He is a National Board Certified Teacher, Google Certified Teacher, National School Board Association 20 to Watch Educator, and Knowles Science Teaching Foundation Teaching Fellow. Jenks holds a Bachelor of Science in physics education from BYU-Idaho and is completing a master’s in education leadership from Western Governors University.

Jason M. Katzmann teaches at the University of Wyoming at Casper, serves as the faculty advisor for the UWC NSTA student chapter and principle investigator for UPPER WInd WDE MSP grant, coaches Lego Robotics, and works with science fairs. His robotics team competed last year at the First Lego League World Festival and earned third place in the teamwork category. Katzmann is also a former middle school science and high school biology and chemistry teacher. He has a doctorate in biological education from the University of Northern Colorado.

Rod Kennedy is the lead educator at the Casper Planetarium. He teaches astronomy to high school students at Kelly Walsh for BOCES credit. He is currently working to increase awareness of the upcoming total solar eclipse of 2017. Kennedy is also earning a Master of Science degree from Montana State University.

Ciera Lee is a second-year physics and biology teacher at Riverton High School in Riverton, Wyoming. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in science education and additional endorsements in chemistry and biology from the University of Wyoming.

Terry Logue taught earth science and biology in public schools for 27 years. He is the recipient of numerous awards including Murie Audubon Society Education Award; The Science Zone Volunteer of the Year; University of North Alabama Emeritus Professor of Earth Science; Wyoming Science Teachers Association Life Time Achievement in Science with Dana Van Burgh and Beecher Strube; NSTA Search for Excellence in Science Education, Field Science Program, with Dana Van Burgh and Beecher Strube; and NSF Academic Year Institute at the University of South Dakota – Geology. Logue earned a Bachelor of Science in biology education, a Master of Natural Science in geology from the University of South Dakota, and a doctorate in curriculum and instruction, science education emphasis, from the University of Wyoming.

Paul Marquard is the Wyoming State Science Olympiad director. He holds a doctorate in education from the University of Wyoming, a Master of Science in astronomy and physics from the University of Nebraska, a Master of Science in electrical engineering from the University of Southern California, and a Bachelor of Science in physics and mathematics from Creighton University.

Barb Marquer is the Science/STEM/C&VE consultant for the Wyoming Department of Education. She worked nine years in the Wyoming National Guard’s STARBASE Academy program as a teacher and director. She earned her Bachelor of Science in nursing at Loyola University and is a certified teacher in secondary biology.

Mark McAtee has taught science at Roosevelt Alternative High School in Casper, Wyoming, for over 25 years, including biology, chemistry, physics, anatomy and physiology, earth science, aviation science, and physical science. He holds an associate degree in biology, a bachelor’s in secondary science education, a bachelor’s in natural science and mathematics, a Master of Science in technology education, and a principal endorsement through the University of Wyoming.

Brett McDonald is the science and operations officer for the National Weather Service in Riverton, Wyoming, and an adjunct professor at Central Wyoming Community College where he teaches “Introduction to Meteorology” and “Introduction to Climatology.” McDonald earned a Bachelor of Science in meteorology and doctorate in meteorology from the University of Utah.

Monica Mosier is the language arts and fine and performing arts consultant at the Wyoming Department of Education. Before joining the WDE, Mosier designed and edited online curriculum for a start-up education company and spent six years teaching language arts in New York City public schools. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in music performance from West Texas A&M University and a master’s in elementary education from Lehman College in New York.

Rob Nickerson is in his 26th year of elementary education as a classroom teacher, instructional coach, mathematics content specialist, and professional learning educator. He facilitates professional learning for elementary teachers across the nation while regularly teaching students in the classroom.

Jordan Nobler joined the faculty of Teton Science School’s Teacher Learning Center in 2016. He has 10 years of experience teaching environmental science at NatureBridge in Yosemite National Park and other environmental education organizations and physics at Amistad High School in New Haven, Connecticut. He received a Bachelor of Science in biology from Marquette University and a master’s degree in ecology from Boise State University.

Tara Pappas is the arts education specialist with the Wyoming Arts Council. Before joining the arts council staff, Pappas was an elementary arts educator in Albany County. Additionally, Pappas is a studio artist specializing in mixed media painting and collage. Her educational background includes a Bachelor of Arts in music performance and studio art from Colorado State University and a Master of Education in arts education from the University of Texas.

Kim Parfitt teaches biology and AP environmental science at Cheyenne Central High School in Cheyenne, Wyoming. She received the 2013 Presidential Award for Excellence in Science and Math Teaching. Parfitt is a past recipient of the Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award, a Fund for Teacher Fellow, and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Teacher Ambassador. Parfitt has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from Michigan State University and a Master of Science in natural resources from Ohio State University. She is certified in secondary biology and earth science and National Board Certified Teacher in adolescent and young adult science biology.

Sylvia Parker coordinates the Science and Mathematics Teaching Center at the University of Wyoming and is a senior lecturer in the college of arts and sciences. She has worked as a teacher, researcher, and facilitator providing professional development and technical assistance to teachers, schools, and communities seeking to create high quality public schools. Her work has focused on rural education, place-based learning, community development, and issues of social justice. She has a Bachelor of Arts from Colorado State University and Master of Arts from Teachers College, Columbia University.

Pat Patterson teaches environmental science and integrated science at Riverton High School in Riverton, Wyoming. He has participated on the Bioenergy Alliance Network of the Rockies education team for two years, developing and field-testing bioenergy-related concepts in his classes. Patterson is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in kinesiology and a minor in biology. He received his master’s in teacher leadership from Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas.

Ruby Perry has taught elementary school in Montana and Wyoming for over eight years. She has been teaching in Casper, Wyoming, since 2011 and is currently teaching at Fort Casper Academy. In addition, Perry is the gifted and talented program liaison, summer school coordinator, and a building leadership member. She has an associate degree in criminal law from BYU and a bachelor’s degree in elementary education with a minor in computer technology from Montana State University. As of July 2016, she was completing a Master of Education in curriculum and instruction from Concordia Portland University.

Brandon Ray is a math teacher at Saratoga Middle/High School in Saratoga, Wyoming, and has nine years of teaching experience in Wyoming and Alaska. He earned a bachelor’s degree in math education from Pittsburg State University and a master’s degree from the University of Wyoming.

Kelly Reddin started with the Pitsco/LEGO Dacta partnership in 2000 as a curriculum specialist. She is currently a global master trainer, facilitating workshops for products from preschool through college across the US as well as other countries and giving keynote addresses. Prior to joining LEGO Education, she taught elementary and middle school as well as college courses. She holds degrees from the University of Missouri, Columbus University, and College of Notre Dame with additional studies completed at Sophia University in Tokyo, Japan.

Kevin Ritter has been an educator with The Science Zone in Casper, Wyoming, for the last two years. He has developed numerous after school classes and summer camps focusing especially on engineering design and computer programming. He is also head of The Science Zone’s engineering department and exhibit construction. He has a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering.

Leah Ritz is the director of education at The Science Zone in Casper, Wyoming. The last six years she has been teaching a number of out-of-school-time science and technology programs in Wyoming and Minnesota. She has experience developing and implementing engineering design based and digital media programming for middle school youth and curriculum that integrates natural science, natural history, and art in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. At The Science Zone, she is focused on developing integrated, hands-on, inquiry-based science programming. She holds a Master of Science in natural science from the University of Wyoming with a concentration in natural science education.

Emily Schaller has a heartfelt desire to inspire stewardship via art, volunteerism, outreach, and education. Her transformative experiences with the field-based Audubon Expedition Institute took her on educational adventures throughout the U.S. and Mexico and equipped her with the tools to empower others throughout the learning process. She spent over five years connecting youth to the natural world with Nature Bridge Yosemite while hiking and backpacking in the Sierra Nevada. Schaller holds a master’s in ecological leadership and education from Audubon Expedition Institute of Lesley University and a bachelor’s in illustration with a minor in art history from the University of Connecticut.

Doug Scribner has taught science at Newcastle High School in Newcastle, Wyoming, for 11 years. Scribner is a National Science Teachers Association member and has presented workshops on science inquiry, one-to-one laptop strategies, and implementing Google in the classroom. He has been a member of the Bioenergy Alliance Network of the Rockies education project for two years working to create educational materials related to biofuels and bioenergy. He earned a Bachelor of Science in education from the University of Wyoming and a master’s in science education from Chadron State College.

Sharon Seaton has taught science for 22 years and uses the blended learning model at Black Butte High School in Rock Springs, Wyoming. She is working on a project for students at Black Butte High School to access 20 different science classes using Moodle. She has a bachelor’s degree in secondary education from Grand View University in Des Moines, Iowa, and a master’s in science education, integrating technology into the classroom, from Walden University in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She has been a presenter at Wyoming Technology-Engagement-Curriculum Connection and taught professional development online in her district.

Jeanne Spawn is a Presidential Awardee in science. She co-designed the math and science integrated thematic format for Park Elementary in Casper, Wyoming, and has an extensive background in gifted education. She retired from the Natrona County School District #1 after serving as the coordinator for gifted education. She is a former board president for The Science Zone in Casper.

Jim Stith has taught science at Newcastle High School in Newcastle, Wyoming for five years. Stith is a National Science Teachers Association member and has presented workshops on science inquiry, one to one laptop strategies, and implementing Google in the classroom. Stith earned a Bachelor of Science in education from Black Hills State University and is working on a master’s degree.

Jill Stringer is the math/STEM consultant at the Wyoming Department of Education. Stringer was a high school mathematics teacher for 22 years before joining the WDE. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in elementary education at the University of Wyoming, a master’s degree in educational leadership from Grand Canyon University, and a master’s in mathematics from Northern Colorado University.

Debra Swedberg is the department head of math at Casper College and has taught for 31 years. She is currently the president of Wyoming Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges, the state chapter for the American Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges. She holds a Master of Science in mathematics from the University of Wyoming.

Becky Underwood has taught mathematics and computer science for 29 years, from basic math to AP calculus AB/BC as well as a full range of programming courses, including AP computer science. She is a TI Certified Regional instructor. She has a Bachelor of Science in mathematics/education from the University of Wyoming and 60 plus graduate credits from a variety of institutions. Underwood’s awards include Tandy Technology Scholar, Presidential Award finalist, Siemens AP Teacher Award recipient, and Natrona County School District #1 Significant Educator Award.

Michele Wistisen is the Casper Planetarium director and supervisor. She has shared her methods for teaching phases of the moon at the National Science Teachers Association conference and numerous planetarium conferences. She was selected as the National Space Foundation teacher liaison in 2012. Wistisen is an ELED, astronomy camp director, NASA product reviewer, regional science fair coordinator, NSTA presenter, American Planetarium Operator in Italy, and Wyoming Math and Science Conference presenter. She earned a master’s in curriculum and instruction from the University of Wyoming.

Theresa Williams has taught math and science at Lab School in Laramie, Wyoming, for 16 years. She is a National Board Certified Teacher and National Science Teachers Association member. Williams received a Bachelor of Science in both biology and secondary science education and a master’s degree in mathematics instruction from the University of Wyoming.

Ali Yeates is an education ranger and co-director of the Youth Conservation Corps in Yellowstone National Park where she conducts educational programs for school field trips, travels the region and uses online platforms to bring the park to classrooms and events, and conducts teacher workshops. She is a former elementary classroom teacher, state park volunteer, backpacking guide, and middle school environmental educator. Yeates is an advocate for instilling a sense of discovery in students of all ages and empowering youth to enjoy science by incorporating their passion for the natural world. She has a Bachelor of Arts from Louisiana State University and is a candidate for a master's degree in environmental management from Western State Colorado University.

Andrew Young spent some time working at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and Los Alamos National Laboratory before arriving at Casper College in 2005. He has taught physics and astronomy courses. Young serves as the Casper College representative for the Wyoming NASA Space Grant Consortium and is the Wyoming RadNet systems operator for the Environmental Protection Agency. He earned a bachelor’s degree in astronomy and physics from Boston University and a master’s and doctorate in astrophysics from the University of Minnesota.