Online Advisors are experienced educators who help Learning Center users identify resources and tools in support of their professional development. Learning Center users may interact with Online Advisors in the asynchronous Community Forums and by sending them a private message through their profile page. You may access a specific online advisor's profile page, by clicking on their name (below).
Don Boonstra, NSTA Coordinator for Online Advisors, has over forty years of experience as an educator. Don has been a teacher, Math and Science Department Chair, Curriculum Coordinator, Principal, and NASA Education Specialist. Don is currently Lead for Professional Development and Thematic approaches for NASA Planetary Science Education Forum. He also teaches on-line professional development courses for NASA and NSTA. Don runs his own systemic STEM educational consulting business, sySTEMec LLC.
Lorrie Ann Armfield
Lorrie Ann Armfield has 19 years of experience teaching middle school science (10 years) and mathematics (9 years). She currently serves as a Science Instructional Specialist (K-12) for Prince George's County Public Schools in Maryland, and a Maryland State Department of Education Online Course Facilitator. Ms. Armfield holds a BS in Biology, a Masters in Science Education, a Masters in Technology Integration in the Classroom, a Masters in Bilingual Special Education, and Administrative Supervision Certification.
LeRoy Attles, a 10 year veteran Science Teacher, is currently a Science Specialist in the Boston Public Schools. In addition, he Co-Directs a STEM Summer Camp in the Boston Area. Prior to teaching, Mr. Attles worked as a NASA Contractor for five years and a Software Quality Analyst before starting his teaching career. He holds a BS degree in Aerospace Science Engineering and a MS degree in Computer Information Systems.
After nearly 20 years as a chemical research scientist in the private sector, Dr.
Auburn began teaching full time in 2005. She holds PhDs in Chemistry from the University
of Toronto (1986) and in Education from the University of Houston (2002). She holds
seven US patents and authored over twenty papers. Her areas of expertise are catalysis,
material science, and chemical education. Currently she is teaching chemistry classes
at Lonestar College and at the University of Houston Downtown.
In her 40+ years in science education, Dr. Mary Laverty Bigelow has been a middle and high school teacher and a specialist in federal, statewide, and regional projects for math-science partnerships and literacy in the K-12 content, focusing on professional development, effective classroom practices, evaluation, and technology applications. She has blogged for NSTA and co-authored for NSTA Press. She also volunteers for a local nature center and is involved in several citizen-science projects.
Alyce has experienced an eventful 35 year journey being a science educator. She
has taught early childhood through high school level science in Talented & Gifted,
SPED and alternative classrooms throughout the United States and abroad. Alyce’s
leadership and expertise have been recognized through grants and awards that include
US Space Foundation, Toyota Tapestry, US Navy SeaPerch Trainer, Adler Planetarium
Heliophysics Liaison and Honeywell Teacher in Space. Alyce currently lives in Colorado
and is director of “Join Forces4STEM.”
Pamela Dupre has 23 years of teaching experience with a Masters in Educational Leadership. She spent the last three years as a STEM Master Teacher. Pamela participated in the 2016 Mickelson ExxonMobil Teachers Academy and completed training as an Essential Elements Certified Instructor through the Chemical Education Foundation. She is a member of the Civil Air Patrol. Pamela worked with the Dean of Engineering at McNeese State University to pilot the Engineering is Elementary after school program.
Rebecca Falin transitioned to teaching after 25 years in industry and academic research and now teaches science at a STEM high school. She earned bachelor degrees in chemistry and physics before completing a PhD in biophysics. Falin facilitates courses for West Virginia's eLearning for Educators program. Rebecca is a former NSTA New Science Teacher Academy fellow and has been awarded numerous grants, including the Voya Unsung Heroes Award and the ACS Hach High School Chemistry Grant.
Sandy Gady is a National Board certified teacher entering her 18th year of teaching.
Sandy works with all grade levels as a facilitator of National Board candidates
as well as collaborating with teachers integrating 21st century technology in the
classroom. Currently she teaches Science, Technology, Engineering and Math in middle
school. Sandy is a successful grant writer and is recognized in Washington State
as a leader in integrating 21st century technology into the STEM classroom.
Sue Garcia has been teaching for 28 years, in four Texas school districts, from
4th grade through high school, teaching mathematics (20 years) and science (eight
years). She has earned a Bachelor of Science in Education (with a minor in mathematics),
a Masters of Education (specialization in physical science), and an Administrative
Susan German has 17 years of experience teaching math and science in the classroom.
She currently teaches math and science to 8th grade students in Hallsville, MO,
but has experience teaching from grades 6 through 12. She holds National Board Certification.
She has her BS- Ed in Science Education, a B.A. in Chemistry, a Masters in Science
Education, and is an Educational Specialist in Educational Technology with emphasis
on Learning Systems Design and Development.
Dr. Dorothy Ginnett is a wildlife ecologist and science educator. She teaches science
at the secondary (6th – 12th) and post-secondary levels in both face-to-face and
fully online teaching/learning environments. Dorothy is certified as a Wisconsin
Professional Educator in Biology/Life Science, Environmental Studies and Broadfield
Science. As a curriculum development consultant, she has designed and delivered
four fully online graduate courses for the M.S. in Environmental Education program
at University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, WI.
Jen is enjoying a 28+ year career in education which includes K-4 teacher, district science specialist, and recently K12 STEM education specialist. She enjoys being involved with district, state, and local science fairs and is a member of the NGSS writing team, including the Diversity & Equity team. Gutierrez stays active in science education leadership serving on the Arizona Science Teachers Association executive board and the NSTA Council as District XIV Director.
Sue Hokkanen is an experienced middle grades science teacher with experience teaching
in the secondary setting. Sue was awarded a fellowship into the NSTA New Science
Teacher Academy, 2009-2010. She earned her Master’s of Science in Science Education
from Montana State University. Sue has conducted teacher training workshops at the
Museum of Science and Industry (MSI) in Chicago on Polar Science and at MSI and
NSTA conferences on the 5E Learning Cycle and formative assessments.
Jessica Holman is a Special Education Teacher at Boone County High School. She has worked in education for eight years in North Carolina and Kentucky. She is active in her role as a science teacher leader in her school district, collaborates with peers, and integrates instruction into her blended learning classroom. As a Teacher Leader, Jessica has worked with educators across the state of Kentucky to communicate educational strategies that support the learning and growing of fellow teachers.
Ruth Lehmann Hutson
Ruth Lehmann Hutson teaches all ages biology, earth science, chemistry, physics, and applied statistics & analysis in science at Blue Valley High School in Randolph, KS. She works to build partnerships with science experts so her students can see science at work. As the result of funding through several grants from Toyota Tapestry, the Toshiba America Foundation, and the Monsanto Grow Rural Education Fund, her classes use field work as well as traditional lab work to better understand the tallgrass prairie and the geology of the Flint Hills. Ruth has a Masters of Science in Science Education from Montana State University. She was a PAEMST state finalist for Kansas, as well as a recipient of the Educating Excellence Award from Perceptive Software and the University of Kansas School of Engineering. In addition to her work with NSTA, Ruth was a part of the Biology team for Better Lesson's Science Master Teacher Project.
Jim Johnson graduated with a Bachelor's Degree from Temple University and a Master's Degree from St. Bonaventure. Jim has been a teacher at a private alternative education school for the last nine years and a public school teacher prior to that. Jim recently completed a workshop at Oxford University on "The Boundaries of Science." Jim has two children, both of them are teachers. Jim has been married for 43 years and has two grandchildren.
Dr. Laurence's work has taken her across the country, in schools and informal learning settings, to increase STEAM learning opportunities for all children so that no dream is deferred and no potential unrealized. As a consultant and STEAM Teacher Coordinator she designs curriculum, builds community partnerships and creates hybrid teacher support systems. Wendi has presented at NSTA conferences, chaired the NSTA Aerospace Advisory Board and now serves on the NSTA Urban Science Advisory Board.
Arlene Jurewicz-Leighton M Ed is an instructor and instructor trainer for on-line
science education courses, an e-mentor and facilitator for eMSS for new science
teachers and an analyst and consultant for science digital resource projects. Arlene
has facilitated over seventy -five sessions of science education graduate courses
for Jason Project / National Geographic. During her tenure Jason won the prestigious
EdNet Pioneer Award for excellence in technology innovation for science professional
Caryn Meirs, elementary teacher, works with gifted and talented 3rd to 5th graders
in a magnet setting and is a resource for enrichment and science content (grades
2 through 5). She is a veteran of NSTA conferences, web seminars, JASON Project,
GLOBE, and NASA training programs. Her current coursework includes studying the
Earth’s polar regions, LEGO competition robotics, field investigations using GLOBE
protocols, science misconceptions, and designing and building an organic garden/outdoor
Carolyn holds an EdS in Educational Leadership from Northern Illinois University and is an SIU/C instructor in Grayslake, Illinois. She taught science methods, science, and math courses for 30+ years and chaired regional and state committees for the Illinois Junior Academy of Science (IJAS). She received the Illinois State Board of Education’s 2008 “Those Who Excel” Award of Excellence and KCSD 96’s 2007 President’s Award. Carolyn loves to attend and present workshops at NSTA conferences.
Paulsell currently works for Mad Science delivering science programs to schools
and libraries. She also creates and teaches Online courses and FTF science workshops.
She is a retired Program Director for Science Pioneers in Kansas City. She taught
science for thirty years in the Independence Missouri School District and holds
a BA and MA in Education from UMKC. Paulsell is a NASA JPL Solar System Educator
and has presented workshops at NASA and NSTA conferences.
After earning her degree in geosciences, Rahn worked as a hydrologist for the USGS.
With an MS in information technology, she designed systems for online learning,
and taught information technology at several universities. Rahn is guest teacher
in several schools and informal education programs, and is working on an MS in Science
Education. Jennifer has her own academic coaching service, Morpheus.Academic, and
is developing curricula to support individualized, on-demand math and science learning.
Kathy Renfrew is currently the elementary science and math assessment coordinator
for the Vermont Department of Education. Before that she was an elementary and middle
school teacher for 30 years. She has been an active member of NSTA serving on committees,
performing duties as a district director, and reviewing manuscripts. Over the years
she has been the recipient of some grants and awards including the Toyota Tapestry
Award and Presidential Award in Science.
Patricia Rourke leads professional development and moderates online forums in physics
and chemistry. She served as Science Chair and physics teacher, creator and instructor
of online physics courses, Woodrow Wilson Institutes Director, instructor for AAPT/
PTRA programs, leading teacher-moderator for TERC projects, and presented at NSTA,
AAPT, and VAST conferences. She sat on boards for NSTA and CSAAPT and received a
Sci-Mat Fellowship, competitive science grants, a Tandy Technology Scholar and is
a Presidential Awardee.
Dr. Kathy Sparrow is currently an adjunct professor at Florida International University (FIU), teaching Elementary Science Methods. She previously worked as a middle and high school science teacher as well as the Science Supervisor for Akron Public Schools. She was a Regional Director for SECO, served on the NSTA Board of Directors and was president of the National Science Education Leadership Association (NSELA). Kathy was also awarded the Outstanding National Science Supervisor Award in 1999.
Maureen Stover is a space and science enthusiast who enjoys sharing her passion
with students and teachers as a Jet Propulsion Lab Solar System Educator. She graduated
from the Air Force Academy, Class of 1997, with a B.S. in Biology/Aerospace Physiology.
After serving in the Air Force as an Intelligence officer, she attended a post-baccalaureate
teacher preparation program at Western Governors University. Maureen and her family
live in Fayetteville, North Carolina.
Karen Umeda's 33 year teaching journey has taken her from being an elementary classroom teacher, to teaching the gifted and talented, followed by 9 years as a district/state resource teacher for Induction and Mentoring, Science, and STEM. Currently a STEM Coordinator for an elementary school in Hawaii, Karen also delivers the â€œWonders of Science and STEMâ€ to teachers statewide, coordinates the Mauna Kea Scholars Program, and is an NGSS Curator for the National Science Teachers Association.
Brenda Velasco teaches third grade in Rapid City, SD. She holds a BA degree in Journalism and Anthropology from the University of Wisconsin and a Masters in Teaching from Gonzaga University. In 2016 she was selected to attend the Mickelson ExxonMobil Teachers Academy in Jersey City, NJ. Velasco taught in a Bilingual classroom and also at an Expeditionary Learning School in Washington State. She is establishing a STREAM curriculum at the Catholic school where she is currently teaching.