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2011 Siemens STEM Institute Fellows


Fifty diverse middle and high school STEM educators were selected from across the country to participate in the 2011 Siemens STEM Institute. These Fellows spent a week at the world headquarters of Discovery Communications where they were immersed in hands-on STEM professional development. Following the Institute, the Fellows served as STEM ambassadors in their schools and communities as they continued to work together on STEM projects and empower peers with the tools and knowledge gained from the Institute.


Janet Ort

Janet Ort, Hoover, AL
Hoover High School

Janet Ort, of Birmingham, Alabama, received her Master’s in Public Administration (Organizational Development and Policy) and her Master’s in Secondary Education with a concentration in Biology from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.  She is an experienced teacher at Hoover High School with the current academic responsibilities of Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate Environmental Sciences, environmental science, and inclusion environmental science.  She coordinates and develops environmental research on the campus of Hoover H.S. and environmental competition teams. With lifelong interests and experiences in protecting biodiversity and sustainable energy issues, she is committed to developing scientifically literate students.   "Participating in the STEM Institute this summer is an exciting opportunity to enhance my teaching/mentoring and to develop materials to for the rest of our science faculty." 

Greg Ennis

Greg Ennis, Cullman, AL
Good Hope Middle School

Greg Ennis, of Cullman, Alabama, earned his Master’s of Education from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and has been teaching for seven years.  Greg currently teaches Technology and 8th grade Science classes at Good Hope Middle School.  He is also the school Technology Coordinator, Science Fair Chairperson, and sponsors the school's live news team.  Prior to teaching, Greg earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from The University of Alabama and worked in industry for ten years.  His background in Engineering enables him to enhance the curriculum and bring relevance to his classroom.  He is honored to be selected for the Siemens STEM Institute and believes it will help him bring new and exciting ideas into the classroom and more STEM awareness to his school and district.

Scott McKim

Scott McKim, Anchorage, AK
Nicholas J. Begich Middle School

Scott McKim, of Anchorage, Alaska, received his Master’s of Arts in Teaching from the University of Alaska Anchorage and has been teaching Math, Science and Applied Technology classes at Nicholas Joseph Begich Middle School since 2007.  He is heavily involved in the school community, acting as a coach after school and advising the student PACE group, a leadership and community-service oriented group of motivated students before school.  McKim believes learning is best achieved when it is student-owned and memorable.  "Having students who gain firsthand experience in how science and math relate to technology and the wider world is vital if we're going to expect them to inherit and take care of this world they're growing up in.  I'm honored to have been chosen as a Siemens STEM Fellow; the Siemens STEM Institute will help me bring even more innovative teaching techniques and cutting-edge technology back to my school and district."

Dan Ray

Dan Ray, Phoenix, AZ
Mountain Pointe High School

Dan Ray, of Phoenix, Arizona, earned a B.A. with a major in Mathematics and Minor in Spanish from Azusa Pacific University in 1994. He later earned a M.A. in Secondary Ed. with an emphasis in teaching from Azusa Pacific University. Currently, he teaches Algebra 1-2, AP Calculus AB, work as an academic coach, coach the chess team, and sponsors the Key Club (a club devoted to community service-High school version of Kiwanis) at Mountain Pointe High School. He is extremely honored to be chosen as a Siemens fellow and looks forward to learning many new technologies, ideas, and strategies to share with his school and district. He believes a focus on STEM education can greatly increase the relevancy of the curriculum which will likely increase student engagement and student achievement. 

Betsy Wilkening

Betsy Wilkening, Oro Valley, AZ
Richard B. Wilson K-8 School

Betsy Wilkening, of Oro Valley, Arizona, teaches 7th grade science and an engineering/robotics elective at Wilson K-8 School in the Amphitheater District in Tucson, AZ.  After receiving a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Arizona, she worked as an engineer for 13 years. She later decided to share her passion for science and engineering with students and earned a Master’s in Secondary Science Teaching from Northern Arizona University.  “I’m very excited about participating in the Siemens STEM Institute because of the opportunities that it will provide to my students.  There are so many scientific and engineering challenges facing our world today.  Everything I learn and participate in translates into new, exciting, real-world learning opportunities for my students and community.”

Caroline Chen

Caroline Chen, Chula Vista, CA
High Tech High-Chula Vista

Caroline Chen of San Diego, California received her Bachelors of Science in chemistry from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. After graduation, she joined Teach For America in Los Angeles and taught 7th and 8th grade science at Robert Louis Stevenson Middle School while earning a Master’s in Secondary Science Education from Loyola Marymount University. In her third year of teaching, she helped open John Liechty Middle School in the Pico-Union district of Los Angeles while teaching algebra and science to 8th graders, serving as the science department chair and science fair coordinator. Now at High Tech High Chula Vista, she teaches 10th graders math and chemistry. Caroline is a believer in project-based learning because she thinks students truly learn when they can connect what they have learned in math and science to their community and apply their knowledge and skills to solve real-world problems. She is excited to use her Siemens STEM Institute experience to design engaging, hands-on projects for her students and to share the techniques she learns with local math and science teachers.

Darlene Pitman

Darlene Pitman, Calimesa, CA
Mesa View Middle School

Darlene Pitman of Yucaipa, CA received her Masters in Educational Technoloy from California State University, San Bernardino and teaches science and a STEM elective at Mesa View Middle School in her hometown. Mrs. Pitman is the facilitator for NASA Family Science night and her school's First! LEGO League robotics coach. Darlene is helping her school expand their STEM and Career Technical Education offerings to a wider range of students. "I am thrilled about the opportunity to participate in the Siemens STEM Institute this summer. I am hoping to bring a greater variety of hands-on, inquiry based activities to the students, and some new perspectives and tools to share with my colleagues. Collaborating with teachers from all over the country and participating in workshops and lectures by experts in the STEM field will be an opportunity of a lifetime and can only improve the instruction I bring to my community."

Martha Cranor

Martha Cranor, Fort Collins, CO
Fossil Ridge High School

Martha Cranor, of Fort Collins, Colorado, received her Master of Science in Mathematical Sciences from the University of Texas at Arlington and her Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics from Baylor University. She has also taken graduate level classes in Statistics at Colorado State University. She has over thirty years of teaching experience and currently teaches AP Statistics and Honors Algebra 2 at Fossil Ridge High School in Fort Collins, Colorado. Martha serves as the Northern Colorado representative on the Colorado Council of Teachers of Mathematics (CCTM) board. She also serves on the steering committee for Poudre School District's Summer STEM Institute at Preston Middle School and has received many honors and awards including  the CCTM Mathematics Teaching Award for Region 4 and being named a national math hero by the Raytheon Corporation. Martha is extremely grateful to the Siemens Corporation for providing her with the opportunity to gain new STEM knowledge and experience to take back to both this institute and her classroom and enhance her ability to help young people experience "Math Encounters" in their lives!

Daniel Newmyer

Daniel Newmyer, Center, CO
Center High School

Daniel Newmyer, of Mosca, Colorado, received his B.S. in Business Finance from the University of Colorado at Boulder with an emphasis in Entrepreneurship.   In 2006 he became a teacher and is currently an 8-12 math and science teacher in the Center School District.   Newmyer has implemented award-winning science fair programs in two of the most under-resourced districts in Colorado, consistently sending students to state and international science fairs and earning with his students the San Luis Valley Regional Science Fair Small School of the Year award four years running.   Newmyer became a Space Foundation Teacher Liaison, was named a New Horizons Educator Fellow and in 2009 he was awarded a Fellowship from the Society for Science and the Public, only one of ten nationally, to create an independent scientific research program for under-resourced students.   “Whether teaching drilling technology or scientific research, I believe that science can change people’s lives, and the Siemens STEM academy will provide me with new ways to help my students reach their full potential as young research scientist.”

District of Columbia  
Aris Pangilinan

Aris Pangilinan, Washington, D.C.
H.D. Woodson High School

Aris Pangilinanis is a math teacher and an Instructional Coach at HD Woodson High School at Fletcher-Johnson in Washington, D.C. He finished his Bachelor of Secondary Education major in Mathematics Cum Laude, and is a candidate of Master in Educational Management and Measurement and Evaluation from Philippine Normal University in Manila, Philippines. Mr. Pangilinan is the 2009 DCPS and Washington Post’s Agnes Meyer Outstanding Teacher of the Year, Ward 7 Education Council Presidential Awardee for Outstanding Educator, and a DCPS Teacher Central to Leadership Fellow.  “As a teacher and an Instructional Coach, I would like to experience a one-of-a-kind immersion program that promotes hands-on, real-world integration of STEM Curriculum. I believe that STEM education will be a catalyst of change and hope in the NEW Woodson STEM High School next school year.”

Nancy Ehrlich

Nancy Ehrlich, Washington, D.C.
National Cathedral School for Girls

Nancy Ehrlich of Bethesda, Maryland entered teaching after a career in water resources engineering.  She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Engineering from Swarthmore College and a Ph.D in Water Resources Engineering from Johns Hopkins University.  She is currently teaching 8th grade Earth Science and a senior-level Introduction to Engineering course at the National Cathedral School for Girls in Washington, D.C.   She also sponsors a Science and Engineering club for middle school students, is a member of the NCS board of trustees, and a member of the Society of Women Engineers.   Her interest in teaching and mentoring girls in science education arose from her work experience in a field with few female colleagues.  STEM activities introduce a unique problem solving approach that should be a part of all students’ experience at all grade levels, and Ehrlich believes that exposing girls specifically to such a program would introduce them to the full range of educational and career opportunities available to them in these fields in which women remain significantly underrepresented.

Patricia Harris

Patricia Harris, Bradenton, FL
Manatee High School

Patti Harris, of Bradenton, Florida, teaches Physics and Engineering at Manatee High School.  She is part of the school’s new IDEA (Innovation, Design, Engineering and Arts) Academy which was accredited this fall.  Patti has been teaching for seven years, previously at Lincoln Middle School, where she taught 8th grade Science and Technology.  She brings to the classroom a wealth of industry knowledge and experience, working in manufacturing, Pharmaceutical sales, newspaper, real estate, computers, communications, and even owning her own business.  She has lived in five different countries and six states.  She is a graduate of the United States Military Academy, where she studied electrical engineering and applied sciences.  She also received her Master’s degree in Engineering Technology from Murray State University while stationed at Fort Campbell, KY.  Patti is also Desert Storm veteran.  Her philosophy in the classroom is largely based on her experiences outside the classroom—learn by doing.  “It is a big world out there, and our job as educators is to open the eyes of our students to what COULD be, then give them the knowledge and skills to go out and make it happen.”


Marilynn Pedek

Marilynn Pedek, Riviera Beach, FL
Suncoast High School

Marilynn Pedek currently teaches International Baccalaureate Chemistry at nationally ranked Suncoast Community High School in Riviera Beach, Florida. In addition to being an award winning instructor, Ms. Pedek is the science department chair, bowling coach, senior class moderator, mentor to new teachers in her school and school district, and a member of the Education Commissioner’s Teacher Task Force. Since earning her BS at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and MS at Barry University in Miami Shores she has participated in numerous learning experiences sponsored by NASA, Florida Humanity Council, Woodrow Wilson Foundation, Institute of Chemical Education, American Chemical Society, FDA, NSTA, Brandwien Foundation and MIT. Marilynn believes in modeling lifelong learning to her students. “I believe the Siemen experience will be rewarding and inspiring and will provide me with the spark to fire up young adults to the wonders of science, math and technology. It is my hope that with this fire all students make a lifelong commitment learning and appreciation of the sciences.”

Willie Haynes

Willie Haynes, Savannah, GA
John W. Hubert Middle School

Willie Haynes, of Rincon, Georgia, received his Education Specialist Degree in Technology Education from Lesley University. Willie is an experienced teacher of Technology in Savannah, Georgia.  He is currently the Career Academy Coordinator and technology instructor at Hubert Middle school.  Mr. Haynes is the TSA advisor and serves on the GA TSA Advisory Council. Willie believes that all students must learn to live in a technical world. He believes that through the application of science, math, and technology, students will develop skills for the 21st century and beyond.  “I know the Siemens STEM Institute will help me develop new, innovative and creative ways to excite students about STEM.”

Alex Mendralla

Alex Mendralla, Lake Villa, IL
Peter J. Palombi Middle School

Alex Mendralla, of Round Lake, Illinois, received his Bachelor’s in Biology and Secondary Education from the University of Illinois.  This fall, he will be completing his Master’s in Educational Technology from Concordia University.  Alex currently teaches 8th Grade Science at Palombi Middle School in Lake Villa, IL, and hasalso designed and taught an Engineering course to both 7th and 8th grade students.  Alex feels science is a great opportunity for students to showcase creative talent as well as academic strengths.  “Teaching science allows me to give students the ability to apply a wealth of knowledge - from math and writing to graphic design and video editing.  I enjoy collaborating with my colleagues to design new, innovative ways to teach science concepts.  Being a part of the Siemens STEM Institute affords me an invaluable opportunity to learn from many talented individuals.  I look forward to a very meaningful learning experience and sharing this with my students, colleagues, and community.”

Lauren Coil-Sherck

Lauren Coil, Culver, IN
Culver Academies

Lauren Coil-Sherck, of Culver, Indiana is in her seventh year of teaching science, currently at Culver Academies.  At Culver she teaches Physics First, an inquiry-based ninth and tenth grade course that initiates the physics-chemistry-biology sequence at the Academies.  Ms. Coil-Sherck is also the assistant Quizbowl Coach for the reigning state-champion Culver Quizbowl team and has travelled with the team to the NAQT National tournament the past two years.   “I am very excited to be chosen to attend the Siemen’s STEM Institute because I think this experience will greatly enhance the opportunities I can give my students to participate in inquiry-based learning.  I am also excited to bring my experiences back to my colleagues and to work with them to further our department’s mission of developing scientifically literate students.”

David Johnson

David Johnson, Indianapolis, IN
Lynhurst 7th & 8th Grade Center

David Johnson III, of Indianapolis, Indiana, is a 2011 Master of Arts in Teaching candidate from the University of Indianapolis.  He is currently an 8th grade Pre-Algebra teacher at Lynhurst 7th & 8th Grade Center in Wayne Township School District as well as a long-term tutor at Emmanuel Missionary Baptist Church.  David believes the selection as a Siemens Institute Fellow is an incredible honor and affirms his recent decision to transition from his business career into the profession of teaching. “The opportunity to spend time with like-minded STEM educators, surrounded by the professional development resources provided through the Institute will enable me to create even richer curriculum with increased levels of engagement for my students.”

Gail Boddy

Gail Boddy, Wichita, KS
Stucky Middle School

Gail Boddy, of Wichita, Kansas, received her Master in Teaching from Friends University. Mrs. Boddy is the recipient of the ISTE SIG-Tel award for online student collaboration, and a GenYes Grant for Student Technology Leadership. She has presented at the National Education Computing Conference (NECC), and the World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia, and Telecommunications (Ed-Media). Mrs. Boddy currently teaches Project Lead the Way, Video Production, and Graphics and Presentation at Dean Ray Stucky Middle School in Wichita. Gail believes students learn best using inquiry-based learning.  “I am excited to attend the Siemens STEM Institute because it will allow me to share innovative STEM ideas with my students and colleagues."

Heather Howle

Heather Howle, St. Francisville, LA
West Feliciana Middle School

Heather Reid Howle, of St. Francisville, Louisiana, received her B.A. in Secondary Science Education from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in 1999 and currently teaches 8th grade Earth Science at West Feliciana Middle School. Mrs. Howle serves as science department chair and for the past three years has collaborated with community stakeholders to bring project based environmental lessons to her middle school. Mrs. Howle was named the 2010 Louisiana Regional Teacher of the Year and represented Louisiana at NASA’s International Space Camp. Heather believes in a “learning by doing approach” to science and feels that partnerships with community stakeholders, corporate and small, public and private, is crucial to the success of students in the 21st century. “I can only dream of the possibilities that forming a partnership with Siemens and Discovery will bring the teachers and students of West Feliciana Parish.”

Patricia Edmiston

Patricia Edmiston, Covington, LA
Covington High School

Dr. Edmiston, of Abita Springs, Louisiana, currently teaches AP Calculus (AB and BC) and Algebra 2 Honors at Covington High School. Patricia has over 21 years teaching experience in secondary mathematics and science, as well as experience teaching at the university level. She has worked with the Louisiana Department of Education as a professional development consultant, as well as a curriculum writer and editor. Dr. Edmiston is the author of “Math Essentials”, a Louisiana Comprehensive Curriculum course and is an alumnus of both the University of New Orleans and Loyola University in New Orleans. “I am excited to be a part of the Siemens STEM Institute and look forward to learning how to integrate more engineering, science, and technology into my mathematics curriculum.”

Doug Romano

Doug Romano, Berlin, MD
Stephen Decatur Middle School

Doug Romano, of Salisbury, Maryland,  received his  undergraduate degree from The Citadel  Military College of South Carolina and his Master’s Degree in Education at Salisbury University. Doug has taught science for over 23 years at both the middle and high school levels and currently teaches 7th grade science at Stephen Decatur Middle School in Berlin Md.  Doug runs an after school class called Open Mind which is centered around STEM learning.  Through many hands on and “real life” projects that excite and invoke a desire to learn he hopes to stimulate a love of science in his students.  Doug is looking forward to new ideas, technology and information from the Siemens STEM Academy to keep his students interested and in pursuit of the exciting field of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. 

Kelly Graveson

Kelly Graveson, Douglas, MA
Douglas High School

Kelly Graveson, of Douglas, Massachusetts, currently teaches Eighth Grade Physical Science in the Douglas Public Schools, where she has also taught Tenth Grade Biology and Fifth Grade Science and Mathematics.  She earned her Master’s degree in Elementary Education with a concentration in Mathematics, Science and Technology from Worcester State University in 2008.  She serves as Co-Chair of the Douglas Public School District’s K-12 Science Vertical Curriculum Team and also coaches DesignLab Afterschool Engineering Workshops, a “hands-on” Science and Engineering series for eighth grade students.  She is actively involved with the Blackstone Valley Chamber of Commerce Education Foundation and the Regional Science Resource Center located at UMass Medical School. Kelly infuses her classroom with hands-on learning and ties to real-world applications and is excited to be chosen as an Institute Fellow.  “I think the experience will improve my personal knowledge of current trends and innovations in STEM disciplines, help me adapt and share that information with my students, and put me in touch with a network of STEM educators with whom I can collaborate as I plan and carry out instruction in my classroom and beyond.”

Susannah Cowden

Susannah Cowden, Boston, MA
Roxbury Preparatory Charter School

Susannah Cowden earned her Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies and Geology from Middlebury College and her Master of Arts in Teaching from Western New Mexico University.  She served as a Teach For America corps member in rural New Mexico and is currently the 8th grade Science teacher at Roxbury Preparatory Charter School in Boston, Massachusetts.  She is invested in using scientific inquiry to provide all students equitable education.  “Scientific inquiry provides the opportunity for students to genuinely explore and understand the world around them.  This summer’s Siemens STEM Institute will help me strengthen my inquiry and instruction by integrating current scientific practices into my class, developing strategies to deepen student understanding, and building an active learning community.”

Elizabeth Jones

Elizabeth Jones, Lansing, MI
Dwight Rich STEM Magnet Middle School

Elizabeth M. Jones received both her Bachelors of Arts Degree in Mathematics Education and Masters of Arts Degree from Michigan State University.  She has received extensive training from Project Lead the Way and is currently teaching the Gateway to Technology pre-engineering curriculum to middle school students. Over the course of her 37-year career, she has worked as a middle school mathematics teacher, engineering teacher, district-wide mathematics consultant, Title 1 Resource teacher, and she currently serves as the school improvement chair at her school.  Additionally, she co-authored workshop materials and facilitated professional development for several projects funded by the National Science Foundation including the Mathematics Assessment Resource Service and Promoting Rigorous Outcomes in Science and Mathematics Education that were based at Michigan State University. “I believe that my participation in the 2011 Siemens STEM Institute will enhance my leadership abilities at the district level and support our efforts towards transforming my school’s 6-8 STEM program into an exemplary K-8 STEM Academy.”

Brad Ward

Brad Ward, Forest Lake, MN
Forest Lake Area High School

Brad Ward graduated from Macalester College with a Bachelor of Arts in Biology and the University of Minnesota with a Master’s degree in Biological Sciences.  Brad has taught many biology and life science courses at Forest Lake Area High School as well as teaching one year at Cairns State High School in Queensland, Australia.  Brad serves as the school district secondary chair in science as well as assists in coordinating the high school prom.  Brad has presented several times at the NABT national conference on different facets of biology teaching. Additionally, he is a member of NSTA, NCSE and a board member for Minnesota Citizens for Science Education.  I am hopeful that the institute will help my colleagues and me continue to inspire our students to recognize the importance of STEM fields in their lives. 

Ann Dressen

Ann Dressen, Excelsior, MN
Minnetonka Middle School West

Ann Dressen, of Minnetonka MN, is a 2009 Graduate of the College of Saint Benedict, St. Joseph, Minnesota She has 1.5 years of teaching experience as a Middle School STEM teacher in Minnetonka Public Schools teaching a quarter long applied learning class for 6th graders during which students are immersed in inquiry based projects to apply science, math and design skills developing innovative solutions for real life problems. “I am honored to be selected as a participant in this elite STEM conference.  I believe my participation at the conference will have an immediate impact on the students I serve starting with the 2011-2012 school year. I will be able to make student learning and connections more diverse and rigorous based on the experiences provided at the Siemens STEM Institute.  Further, I recognize the benefit of the opportunity to interact with colleagues from throughout the United States as we work to prepare today’s students for the dynamic world awaiting them. 



Contact Information:
Discovery Education