Faculty & Staff

Nancy Hertzog is the Director of the Robinson Center.  A Professor in the area of Educational Psychology at the University of Washington, Dr. Hertzog has an extensive background in gifted education and expertise on curriculum development. From 1995-2010 she held a faculty position in the Department of Special Education and directed University Primary School, an inclusive early childhood setting that serves children from preschool through first grade at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Dr. Hertzog has extensive experience training teachers in the project approach and has written web-based curricular guides that detail project investigations of preschool, kindergarten, and first grade students that have won national recognition from the National Association for Gifted Children.

Dr. Hertzog’s research focuses on teachers’ implementation of the Project Approach in classrooms with both high- and low-achieving children and with predominantly low income and African-American families.  In addition to teaching courses in gifted education, Dr. Hertzog teaches methods courses in differentiating the curriculum for children with diverse needs and abilities, specifically geared toward general educators at the elementary level.  Her primary area of interest relates to ways that teachers engage and challenge all students. Currently, Dr. Hertzog’s research engages teachers in collaborative inquiry groups that focus on how teachers differentiate their instruction to address the diverse needs of their students. She is the author of two books, and has published in the Journal of Curriculum StudiesGifted Child Quarterly, Journal for the Education of the Gifted, Roeper Review, Teaching Exceptional ChildrenEarly Childhood Research and Practice, and Young Exceptional Children.

Kim Lee is the Robinson Center’s Administrator, and a UW alum.  She has worked supporting large research centers with both the UW School of Nursing and School of Medicine for 12 years before transitioning over to academics.  From the perspective of a new mom, she has gained a wealth of knowledge from the Center’s activities and programs.  Better than any parenting book, website or blog, she is receiving much welcomed guidance on her daughter’s upbringing.

Kristen Lamb, Ph.D., is a Research Associate for the Robinson Center at the University of Washington. She studies equity issues in gifted education and talent development as well as the role of creativity in talent development of high ability students and classroom conditions conducive to developing creative thinking and advanced academic achievement. Her research on teacher perceptions of creativity has been published in Creativity Research Journal and Thinking Skills and Creativity.

Chloe Mahar is a Fiscal Specialist with the Robinson Center. She holds a B.A. from the UW in Anthropology, with a focus in cultural studies. She came to the Robinson Center from the UW School of Nursing, where she was a Program Assistant for both undergraduate and graduate programs. In her spare time you can find her studying for her next adventure abroad, or exploring the many offerings of the PNW.

Theresa Eultgen, recently transplanted from Missouri and is thrilled to be living in the PNW. She earned an A.A. in Mass Comm at St. Louis Community College while on athletic scholarship, then graduated from Webster University with a B.A. in Sociology. She has worked in the nonprofit sector and in higher education, has participated twice in the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, and is passionate about non traditional students feeling seen and celebrated on college campuses.  She is fueled by aerial arts and cold brew coffee.

UW Academy

Curtis Hisayasu is the Director of our EEP and UW Academy Programs, as well as the English instructor for the Early Entrance Program’s Transition School.  He has a Ph.D. in 19th and 20th Century American Literature. While working towards this degree, he has also taught several classes for the English Department and has served as a liaison between the UW Extension “UW in the High Schools” Program and the Expository Writing Program, training teachers and coordinating college level composition curriculum in local area schools. Dr. Hisayasu’s current research interests include theories of citizenship and national belonging, American urbanism, and histories of race and industrialism.

Kathryn Grubbs, MA, is the Academic Adviser at the Robinson Center. Prior to her current position she worked as a middle school/high school counselor for 8 years, most recently at a residential high school for gifted students outside of Chicago, Illinois. Besides working in schools, she has experience in college counseling, inpatient and outpatient mental health centers, homeless shelters, and domestic violence programs. Kathryn has presented at NAGC, NCSSSMST, SENG, and WAETAG and provides professional development locally to parents, teachers, counselors and administrators.

Joyce Díaz is a recent graduate of UW. She received a B.A in Law, Societies, and Justice (LSJ) and Philosophy.  During her undergraduate years, she volunteered and interned at a handful of public interest organizations. Her most recent job was at the King County Bar Association working with immigrant youth seeking asylum.  Currently, Joyce is applying to concurrent J.D Ph.D. programs. In her free time, Joyce loves to do ballet and kickboxing.

Transition School

TS Principal: 

Crystal Mitchell has served in public educational leadership positions at both the high school and middle school level over the past 14 years.  She received her B.S. in Biology from Texas State University and earned her M.Ed. in Educational Administration from the University of Texas at Austin through their highly selective Principalship Program.  Crystal has spent her entire career working with large minority and low income student populations. In each of her leadership roles, she worked to increase access to advanced curriculum and strengthen the “Kinder to Career” pipeline.  Most recently, Crystal served as the Vice Principal of the John Jay Science & Engineering Academy, a District Magnet STEM high school. She is excited to start her new role at the University of Washington where she can continue to achieve her goal of providing rigorous and engaging educational experiences for students of diverse backgrounds.

TS Instructors:

Curtis Hisayasu is also the Director of our EEP and UW Academy Programs. He has a Ph.D. in 19th and 20th Century American Literature. While working towards this degree, he has also taught several classes for the English Department and has served as a liaison between the UW Extension “UW in the High Schools” Program and the Expository Writing Program, training teachers and coordinating college level composition curriculum in local area schools. Dr. Hisayasu’s current research interests include theories of citizenship and national belonging, American urbanism, and histories of race and industrialism.

Cristina Valensisi is the Biology instructor for the Early Entrance Program’s Transition School. She received her Ph.D. in Neurobiology from the Università di Modena e Reggio Emilia (Italy). She has completed her postdoctoral studies at the Turku Center for Biotechnologies (Finland) and at the University of Washington, training in epigenomics and stem cell biology. Through her years in academia, Cristina has mentored many students and cultivated her passion for teaching and science education, which led her to graduate in the STEP (Science Teaching Experience for Postdocs) program at UW-Bothell. Among other professional interests, she collaborates with PopBrains, an Italian company that specializes in medical writing, science communication, and science classes for kids.

Reese Johnston is the Mathematics instructor for the Early Entrance Program’s Transition School. Reese is a Transition School graduate himself, having graduated from the Transition School in 2007 and from the University of Washington in 2012. He received a B.S. in Mathematics and Computer Science and a B.A. in Philosophy from the University of Washington. He went on to receive a PhD in Mathematics at the University of Wisconsin in 2017, studying computability theory in the context of uncountable sets. During that time, Reese taught in the Robinson Center’s Summer Stretch and Saturday Enrichment programs, while also working privately with a variety of students. In addition to teaching at the Robinson Center this year, Reese has also been teaching calculus and precalculus at colleges in the greater Seattle area.

Michael Reagan is the history instructor for the Early Entrance Program’s Transition School. Michael is a historian trained at UC Berkeley where he graduated with highest honors and the University of Washington where he earned his PhD in 2017. He researches the history of capitalism in the United States, and his dissertation focused on the material and cultural constructions of the 1975 New York City fiscal crisis.  His forthcoming book Of Ourselves: Class in the 21st Century surveys theories of social class from an intersectional perspective. He teaches history and labor studies at Puget Sound area universities and colleges and lives is south Seattle with his partner Angela and their dog Arthur.

Enrichment Program:

Jana Lamon is the Director of Saturday and Summer Enrichment Programs and Outreach. She is a UW alum and received her Master’s in Education from Antioch University. Jana worked for eight years in Seattle Public Schools as a classroom teacher and administrator for the summer school program. She enjoyed designing the summer program and building relationships with the children and families. She is a wife and mother of two loving boys and enjoys sharing her love of art and books with her family.

Kathryn Higgins is Program Coordinator for Enrichment Programs.

Janette Rawlings is Program Assistant for Enrichment Programs.

Saturday Enrichment Instructors:

A.J. Balatico is a Ph.D. student in the Learning Sciences at the University of Washington. For the last six years, A.J. has been a high school physics and chemistry teacher in southeast Louisiana who mentored FIRST robotics teams and taught engineering skills at summer programs for 7-14-year-old students. He believes that K-12 STEAM programs not only promote building robots, but building character. The opportunities for leadership, creativity, fun, outreach, and learning foster the development of a goals-oriented, growth mindset. A.J. has made it his life’s mission to spread the wildfire of hands-on, minds-on learning in order to create a better future together.

John Benner is a doctoral candidate in learning sciences and human development. His academic interests include designing equitable and engaging learning environments and family engagement in learning. Prior to attending the University of Washington, he was a Reggio-inspired childcare center director and managed after-school enrichment programs at South Shore P-8. He’s been obsessed with Mancala since he was a preschool teacher and is continually inspired by what students of all ages (even adults!) can learn through play. John’s educational philosophy is best summed up by “take what’s fun and dig into the learning hiding there.” John is also an aikido instructor and a bass player.

Cary “Coach Ray” Easterday is from Hagerstown, Maryland, has a M.S. in geology from The Ohio State University, and has 30 years of teaching experience at the Smithsonian Institution, Field Museum (Chicago), University of Washington, The Ohio State University, Burke Museum, Otterbein College (Ohio), Northeastern Illinois University, Bellevue College, and North Seattle College. He is a member of the U.S. Chess Federation and has played chess for more than 35 years, including the 1985 Maryland High School Chess Championship Team. He owns and operates Orangutan Chess Academy, which teaches chess and life skills to help kids, teens, adults, and seniors maintain a healthy lifestyle.  For more information on learning chess and the joy of a healthy mind, click here.

Richard Farr grew up in England, has a Ph.D. in philosophy from Cornell, taught on the philosophy faculty at Colgate University and the University of Hawaii, and has been a full-time writer since 2008. He has also taught English as a second language, been a theater critic for The Seattle Times, and worked with the UW’s Center for Philosophy for Children. His first book, Emperors of the Ice, won both a National Science Teachers Association Best Book of the Year commendation and a Washington State Book Award. More recently, he is the author of a sci-fi series with a philosophical twist: The Fire SeekersGhosts in the Machine, and Infinity’s Illusion—collectively The Babel Trilogy. He loves sea-kayaking, and also hiking with his golden retriever, Darwin. His philosophy of teaching (and learning) is that the world is a very big sandbox and you might as well play in all of it.

Chiara Marazzi graduated from the University of Pavia (Italy) with a Bachelor in Economics and a Master in International Economics. In 2011, Chiara moved to Toronto where she obtained a Master’s degree in Applied Economics and began her doctoral studies at York University. Chiara moved to Seattle in 2015, when her husband was offered a faculty position at UW. She continues working remotely towards the completion of her doctoral degree (currently on hold). She has been employed as a teaching assistant and a tutor over the past nine years at the University of Pavia and at York University, teaching classes ranging from Statistics to Monetary Economics at both the undergraduate and graduate level. When not working, she loves spending time with her 3-year-old daughter, writing her personal blog, reading and serving as volunteer for the Italian Cultural Center of Seattle “Il Punto.”

Drue Miller received her B.A. in Philosophy from the University of Washington. During which time, she was introduced to doing philosophy with pre-college students. Through the Pacific Northwest Center for Philosophy for Children and coaching for the National High School Ethics Bowl, she discovered the underestimated and uncultivated potential of young minds. She aims to continue her academic career in Education while making Philosophy more accessible to those outside of the college classroom. She is still working with the PNW Center at UW Seattle campus and is facilitating philosophy sessions throughout the Seattle school system. She firmly believes that comprehensive inquiry is vital to learning. Philosophy is an ideal foundation for all forms of education.

Corey Olds earned his B.A. in French from Oberlin College in 1991. He also holds an M.A. in History (1995) and in Humanities (2007) from Stanford University. As an award-winning teacher with nearly 30 years of experience, Corey is a former university professor of history and humanities, as well as the cofounder of Excelsus Foundation, an educational trust. After writing six children’s books, he began teaching Kid Scribes (creative writing) and Shutterbugs (digital photography) at independent schools throughout the San Francisco Bay Area in 2015. Since 2017, Corey has lived in Seattle.

David Phelps is a Ph.D. candidate in the Learning Sciences at the University of Washington where he designs game-based inquiry activities for elementary students and studies how they take up and sustain their inquiries over time. David brings a holistic view of how young children learn and develop from his past experiences working in a Reggio-Emilia preschool in Vermont, a community school in Peru, a care farm in the Netherlands, a philosophy for children program along the Ohio River, and various game-based after-school clubs in Seattle. These experiences have taught him that young children are incredibly capable and competent, and a joy to learn alongside with.

Isabelle Shain graduated from Vanderbilt University with a bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Women’s and Gender Studies. During her time at Vanderbilt, she competed on a nationally ranked mock trial team, allowing her to hone her skills in speech writing and communication. Since then, Isabelle has worked with the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s office and FBI on sex trafficking cases, with a focus on consulting attorneys on speeches and examinations. When Isabelle isn’t in the courtroom, she coaches the University of Washington mock trial team and intends to go to law school in the near future.

Jennifer L. Stephens, M.A., J.D., is a local Seattle attorney and returning instructor here at the UW Robinson Center. She’s competed in Lincoln Douglas debate, Parliamentary debate, and other competitive alternative dispute resolution and trial advocacy events. Her early debate experience and speech practice is the foundation on which she’s built her law career today. Fall 2017 Jennifer was also an applicant for the interim seat 8 position on the Seattle City Council, where she enjoyed a week long foray into local politics. Her passion for law is matched by her excitement to introduce students to speech, debate, and civic education.

Jordan Sherry-Wagner is a Ph.D. student in the College of Education and director of a local early learning center. Broadly, his research aims at generating axiological change in terms of how we think about childhood development and education toward increased recognition of, and resources for, the field. Jordan believes there are few things as important and fulfilling as working with young learners to develop critical thinking skills, humanistic values, and philosophical dispositions.

Ching-Ying Sung is an M.ED student in the Learning Sciences and Human Development program at the University of Washington. She earned her B.A. and M.A in Computer Science from National Chiao-Tung University (NCTU), in Hsinchu, Taiwan. After ten years as a tutor (mainly teaching math and science for 3rd grade to high school students), she changed her career path from computer science to education. Her life mission is to improve individualized learning and curriculum development with digital and technological resources. Her research interests are curriculum design and education technology. In her spare time, she loves drawing, dancing, and designing her unreleased computer game.

Summer Enrichment Programs 

2020 Summer Challenge Instructors:

Jeff Armentrout (Physics of Roller Coasters) teaches 8th-grade Earth Science at Canyon Park Junior High School in the Northshore School District. He has 11 years of experience teaching Earth Science, Physical Science, and Math. Jeff has a master’s degree in teaching from the University of Washington.

Burton Barrager (Physics of Roller Coasters) is a co-instructor in the Physics of Roller Coasters class with Jeff Armentrout. He teaches 7th grade Environmental Practices and 8th grade Earth Science for Eastside Preparatory School in Kirkland, WA. Burton has a B.S. degree in Oceanography and a Master’s in Teaching degree, both from the University of Washington. He also renewed his National Board Certification for Professional Teaching Standards in 2015.

John Benner (Adventurer’s Guild) is a doctoral candidate in learning sciences and human development. His academic interests include designing equitable and engaging learning environments and family engagement in learning. Prior to attending the University of Washington, he was a Reggio-inspired childcare center director and managed after-school enrichment programs at South Shore P-8. He’s been obsessed with Mancala since he was a preschool teacher and is continually inspired by what students of all ages (even adults!) can learn through play. John’s educational philosophy is best summed up by “take what’s fun and dig into the learning hiding there.” John is also an aikido instructor and a bass player.

Kristie Bennett (To the Moon and Beyond!) is a co-instructor in the To the Moon and Beyond! class with H.B. Telling. She has degrees in physics, mathematics, and education from Grand Valley State University. She teaches IB Physics, Astronomy, and Physics at Skyline High School in Sammamish, WA. She is also a National Boards Teaching Candidate. In her free time, Kristie enjoys developing games with her husband and photography. Kristie enjoys making physics and astronomy accessible to learners of all ages!

Ariadne Brancato (Next City) earned a master’s degree in urban planning from the University of Washington in 2017, where she was a founding member of Race and Equity in Urban Planning (RE:UP), and has since taught urban design to middle and high school students through the Seattle Architecture Foundation. In working with youth, her focus has been on teaching visual communication skills in order to develop students’ capacity to communicate their perspective and experiences of the built environment. Beyond the classroom, Ariadne organizes with social movements around housing and climate change.

Richard Farr (Philosophy in Science) grew up in England, has a Ph.D. in philosophy from Cornell, taught on the philosophy faculty at Colgate University and the University of Hawaii, and has been a full-time writer since 2008. He has also taught English as a second language, been a theater critic for The Seattle Times, and worked with the UW’s Center for Philosophy for Children. His first book, Emperors of the Ice, won both a National Science Teachers Association Best Book of the Year commendation and a Washington State Book Award. More recently, he is the author of a sci-fi series with a philosophical twist: The Fire Seekers, Ghosts in the Machine, and Infinity’s Illusion—collectively The Babel Trilogy. He loves sea-kayaking, and also hiking with his golden retriever, Darwin. His philosophy of teaching (and learning) is that the world is a very big sandbox and you might as well play in all of it.

BritNEY Frantece (Creative and Experimental Writing About Art) In my teaching, I encourage students to venture out of what they consider to be “rules” when they are creating their projects, written or otherwise. I do this so that we can focus more on the effectiveness of chosen rhetorical strategies in conveying our messages. I work to offer students a variety of creative and intellectual mediums so that we can come to a deeper, more pervasive understanding of the concepts we seek to engage with. Therefore, I practice and encourage multimodal and multidisciplinary composition.

Natalie Janson (I Think So!) is a graduate student pursuing her Masters of Education in Social and Cultural Foundations at UW. Natalie worked with the UW Center for Philosophy for Children as a 2017-2018 Fellow. She is a Washington State certified teacher and taught third grade prior to graduate school. In her free time, Natalie likes rock climbing, sewing, and arts and crafts.

Hailey Karcher (Environmental Philosophy)) graduated from Northwestern University in Evanston, IL with a B.A. in American Studies and Legal Studies. While at Northwestern, she taught health in high school classrooms across Chicago and has been working with students ever since. After graduation, she taught 7th and 8th grade English in Newark, New Jersey, where she also helped organize the school’s first poetry slam. Since teaching in New Jersey, where she’s originally from, Hailey has taught abroad in Nicaragua and tutored and mentored students across grade levels. She moved to Seattle to pursue her M.Ed. with a certificate in Equity, Education, and Society at the University of Washington’s College of Education.

Corey Olds (Media Literacy) earned his B.A. in French from Oberlin College in 1991. He also holds an M.A. in History (1995) and in Humanities (2007) from Stanford University. As an award-winning teacher with 30 years of experience, Corey is a former university professor of history and humanities, as well as the cofounder of Excelsus Foundation, an educational trust. After writing six children’s books, he began teaching Kid Scribes (creative writing) and Shutterbugs (digital photography) at independent schools throughout the San Francisco Bay Area in 2015. Since 2017, Corey has lived in Seattle, where he has served as a language arts and photography instructor in the Robinson Center’s Saturday Enrichment Program, as well as a media literacy instructor in the Summer Stretch Program.

Jinda Rosmann (Introduction to Robotics) teaches Science and Math at Inglewood Middle School in Sammamish, co-coached a championship FLL Robotics team for several years, taught in the QUEST (gifted) program and has led a “getting ready” life skills program for transitioning students, as well as many science-oriented programs for students from 5 to 15. After discovering her love of teaching, Jinda earned her MAT at Seattle Pacific University and is now pursuing her National Board Certification in Middle Level Science.  Jinda is fascinated by the various ways our minds work and learn. She enjoys assisting students in exploring their own multiple intelligences while developing the skills that leverage their strengths and build a foundation for success.

Jessica Stanton (After My Own Art) is a working artist who grew up in Seattle; see her work here. She studied oil painting and portraiture at Gage Academy in Seattle and at Studio Escalier in France. She has also worked doing intaglio and monotype printmaking at Sev Shoon Printmaking studio in Ballard, as well as completing a certification in Scientific Illustration through the UW and in letterpress printmaking and bookbinding through the San Francisco Center for the Book. She is a self-taught stained glass artist as well. In addition to her own work, primarily commissions for oil portraits and stained glass, she also collaborates on work with children and teens, and teaches all-ages visual arts classes at the Cazadero Family Performing Arts camp in Soundview, WA.

H.B. Telling (To the Moon and Beyond!) was born and raised in Alaska, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics from the University of Alaska and a very large beard. He soon escaped, and after working for a few years at a large local software company, earned his Master’s Degree in Education from the University of Washington. He currently teaches IB Mathematical Studies, Calculus I, Calculus 2, and Electrical Engineering at Skyline High School. He has two children, and in his spare time enjoys building guitar pedals, making things out of Lego, and getting out of the city to look at the stars.

Hollie Joy Wagner (Environmental Philosophy) is a philosopher and graduate student in the College of Education at UW in the Social and Cultural Foundations of Education program. Hollie has enjoyed working with and learning from youth in a variety of settings both in and outside of the classroom. She has facilitated experiential outdoor education at UW’s partner IslandWood, directed children’s theater, facilitated after-school programs, and taught at the Chicago Free School. She has also worked with UW’s Philosophy for Children program and is absolutely taken by the brilliant curiosity the students exude in these sessions. Hollie is delighted to be returning for her second summer session at the Robinson Center!

2020 Summer Stretch Instructors:

Thomas Ames (Geometry) graduated from Montana State University – Billings with a B.A. in Mathematics-Teaching Option in 2008, and completed his Master of Accountancy from Golden Gate University in 2012. He has taught grades 6-9, and is currently teaching Mathematics to 7th and 8th graders at Tolt Middle School in the Riverview School District.

A.J. Balatico (Physics of Robotics) is a Ph.D. student in the Learning Sciences at the University of Washington. Before attending UW, A.J. was a high school physics and chemistry teacher in southeast Louisiana who mentored FIRST robotics teams and taught engineering skills at summer programs for 7-14-year-old students. He believes that K-12 STEAM programs not only promote building robots, but building character. The opportunities for leadership, creativity, fun, outreach, and learning foster the development of a goals-oriented, growth mindset. A.J. has made it his life’s mission to spread the wildfire of hands-on, minds-on learning in order to create a better future together.

Truman Buffett (Geometry) is happy to be returning for another round of Geometry with the Robinson Center. He holds an undergraduate degree in Mathematics from Oberlin College, and a graduate degree in Pure Mathematics from the UW.  He began his teacher career 20 years ago as a lecturer at the UW, and has worked all over the city:  as far North as Lakeside School, and as far South as Rainier Beach High School.

Gust Burns (Essay Writing) is a Ph.D. candidate in the University of Washington’s English department. With a background as a pianist and composer working in free jazz, improvisation, and experimental composition, Gust studies literary, cinematic, and artistic production, critiques of political economy, analyses of anti-blackness, and the production of the human faculties.

Zoe Burstyn (Fundamentals of Speech and Debate) earned her B.A. from the University of Washington in Comparative Literature and Comparative History of Ideas, where she was exposed to the Pacific Northwest Center for Philosophy for Children. She has been actively involved in all levels of the Speech and Debate community for over 15 years, and has coached students to numerous state and national titles in many forms of debate, including Student Congress, Lincoln Douglas, Public Forum, and Ethics Bowl. Zoe’s main goal in the classroom is to foster the development of critical thinking skills in her students. To borrow from the CHID handbook, the questions are the content.

Bill Carty (Creative City) is the author of a book of poems, Huge Cloudy (Octopus Books, 2019). Originally from coastal Maine, Bill lives in Seattle, where he is Senior Editor at Poetry Northwest. He teaches writing at Hugo House, the UW Robinson Center for Young Scholars, and Edmonds Community College. https://www.billcarty.com/

Amina Cesario (Evolutionary Biology) earned her B.S. and M.Sc. degrees in biological science from the University of Milan (Italy) and her Ph.D. in marine science from the University of Hong Kong. After completing her B.S. in 2005, Amina moved to Egypt to study the habitat use and foraging ecology of a population of spinner dolphins in the southern Egyptian Red Sea as part of her M.Sc. degree. In 2008-09, she was a research assistant at the Murdoch University Cetacean Research Unit (Australia) and a marine environmental educator at the Civic Aquarium of Milan (Italy). In 2010 she went back to Egypt to conduct research on the megafauna (marine mammals, sea turtles and sharks) in the southern Egyptian Red Sea. Her work contributed to the formulation of conservation policies in collaboration with the Egyptian NGO, the Hurghada Environmental Protection and Conservation Association (HEPCA). Relocated to Hong Kong in 2013, she earned her Ph.D. in 2017 with a thesis focusing on the population ecology of Red Sea spinner dolphins. Amina is currently based in Seattle.

Reese Johnston (Precalculus) is the Mathematics instructor for the  Summer and the Early Entrance Program’s Transition School. Reese is a Transition School graduate himself, having graduated in 2007 and from the University of Washington in 2012. He received a B.S. in Mathematics and Computer Science and a B.A. in Philosophy from the University of Washington. He went on to receive a Ph.D. in Mathematics at the University of Wisconsin in 2017, studying computability theory in the context of uncountable sets. During that time, Reese taught in the Robinson Center’s Summer Stretch and Saturday Enrichment programs, while also working privately with a variety of students. In addition to teaching at the Robinson Center, Reese has also been teaching calculus and precalculus at colleges in the greater Seattle area.

Nic Jones (Philosophy in Sci-Fi and Fantasy) is a second-year Philosophy Ph.D. student and a fellow with the UW Center for Philosophy for Children,  facilitating philosophical conversations in 3rd and 4th grade classrooms in Seattle for the past two years. They are a TA in introductory philosophy of science, introductory logic, and ethics courses, as well as with the UW Robinson Center’s Summer Stretch Program. Nic’s greatest joy when teaching is seeing students break out of rote memorization and start to think critically about whatever topic is at hand.

Yunee Kim (From Literature to Cinema) earned her B.A. in English Literature with a minor in Writing and Japanese Language from the University of Guam. She is now working on her master’s degree at the University of Washington in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. Yunee fluently speaks English, Korean, and Japanese. She spent her school-age years in the international community of Guam and has over ten years of teaching experience with students of all ages. She has a passion for teaching writing and is currently employed by Uplift Writing. She has been involved in various filmmaking communities, theater, and commercial productions. Yunee loves coffee, music, yoga, food, and of course, reading.

Jean Lutgen (Precalculus), a Seattle native, attended Seattle Public Schools and earned both her B.A. in Mathematics, and Teaching Credential from Seattle Pacific University. She is currently working on her Master’s in Education at SPU. Jean resides with her family a short distance from Roosevelt High School, where she has taught math for many years. year year, she was pleasantly surprised to receive a “Hero in the Classroom” award from the Seattle Seahawks and Symmetra Financial. She is very much looking forward to another Summer Stretch!

Matt Martell (Algebra 1) is a Ph.D. student in the University of Washington’s Industrial Engineering Program. He earned his B.E. from the University of Minnesota. Currently, Matt works in the Disaster Data Science Lab on UW campus where his projects are driving towards building a model of the recovery of infrastructure systems after a disaster. Matt has long been involved in education, and has worked in various roles including private tutor, peer learning consultant, and corporate trainer over the last eight years. Matt’s belief is that the classroom should always be a fun, welcoming space with plenty of opportunities for students to solve new and interesting problems.

Joey Miller (Philosophy of Science) received a B.A. in philosophy (with an emphasis on applied ethics) and a B.A.Sc. in psychology in 2009 from the University of Minnesota Duluth. In 2012 he received his M.A. in philosophy from Virginia Tech, and in 2016 he received another M.A. in philosophy from the University of Washington, Seattle. He is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the philosophy department at the University of Washington, Seattle, but he teaches introductory philosophy courses at Marian University in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. His academic and research interests include ethics and scientific studies of morality. When not doing research or teaching, his interests include watching sports, being outdoors, and listening to music (especially pop music). This is his fourth summer teaching philosophy of science as a Summer Stretch instructor for the Robinson Center.

Mark Morrow (Chemistry) has a B.A. in Biology from Cornell University and a Master’s degree in Secondary Science Education from Long Island University. He has been teaching Chemistry and Advanced Placement Chemistry for more than 34 years, and is currently on the faculty at Bellevue High School.

Pauly (Algebra 2) earned a B.S. in aerospace engineering with minors in applied mathematics and computer science from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Pauly is a former engineer with The Boeing Company where he performed research on aviation biofuels and, separately, helped implement a factory process designed to reduce manufacturing waste to landfills. He has a passion for teaching math and enjoys connecting with and challenging his students. In his spare time, he stays active outdoors by hiking, running, and cycling.

Caitlin Postal (Digital Humanities) is a doctoral student at the University of Washington and an instructor of record in the Expository Writing Program. She holds an M.A. in English from California State University Northridge and a B.A. in English from Westmont College. In the classroom, Caitlin explores the ethics and accessibility of educational technology, asking students to interrogate their user data and digital privacy. She is a Mellon Fellow for Reaching New Publics under the new Catalyzing Collaboration program with Kaelie Giffel, an assistant developer for the Richard Coer de Lyon Multitext, and a contributor to the Archive of Early Middle English and Rolls and Scrolls After the Codex

Barkley “Nolie” Ramsey (Digital Humanities) is a Ph.D. student in the English Department at the University of Washington and is an instructor-of-record in the Expository Writing Department. She holds an M.A. in English from the University of Washington and a B.A. in English from Mississippi College. She currently serves as Assistant Director of the Expository Writing Program for the Educational Opportunity Program and as the associate chair for the 2020 Praxis Conference. She has worked on a digital edition of La Comédie Sans Titre with the instruction of Geoffrey Turnvosky and Christophe Schuwey and is an assistant developer for the Richard Coer de Lyon Multitext.

Kyle Schultz (Physics of Robotics) holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Washington and is currently a Ph.D. student with a focus on robotics and automation. Kyle is interested in how robotics and humans can collaborate to make the world more productive. He has taught both mathematics and engineering classes at the University of Washington and a local community college. Kyle’s current research is in partnership with Boeing, using robotics to make manufacturing processes more ergonomic for mechanics. Kyle enjoys diving, fishing, and skiing in his free time.

Isabelle Shain (Mock Trial) graduated from Vanderbilt University with a bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Women’s and Gender Studies. During her time at Vanderbilt, she competed on a nationally ranked mock trial team, allowing her to hone her skills in speech writing and communication. Since then, Isabelle has worked with the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s office and FBI on sex trafficking cases, with a focus on consulting attorneys on speeches and examinations. When Isabelle isn’t in the courtroom, she coaches the University of Washington mock trial team and intends to go to law school in the near future.

Jeannine Sieler (Chemistry) has a B.S. and Master’s degree in Chemistry from the University of Puget Sound. She renewed her National Board Certification in November 2016, and has been teaching Chemistry and Advanced Placement Chemistry for 40 years. Jeannine is currently on the faculty at Bellevue High School.

Samantha Simon (American Literature) holds a Ph.D. in English from the University of Washington where she currently teaches literature and writing courses. She earned her M.A. in English from Hunter College, and her B.A. in English from Emory University. She has been working at UW since 2011, teaching multiple courses for the Expository Writing and Interdisciplinary Writing Programs, as well as both literature and cultural studies courses for the UW’s English and American Ethnic Studies departments. Her research focuses on African American literature from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Jennifer L. Stephens (Mock Trial), M.A., J.D., is a local Seattle attorney and returning instructor here at the UW Robinson Center. She’s competed in Lincoln Douglas debate, Parliamentary debate, and other competitive alternative dispute resolution and trial advocacy events. Her early debate experience and speech practice is the foundation on which she’s built her law career today. Fall of 2017 Jennifer was also an applicant for the interim seat 8 position on the Seattle City Council, where she enjoyed a week long foray into local politics. Her passion for law is matched by her excitement to introduce students to speech, debate, and civic education.

Sharon Strodel (Algebra 2) graduated from Western Washington University with a B.S. in Computer Science and was employed as a Systems Analyst for a number of years. She obtained her teaching certification through City University of Seattle.  Sharon taught pre-Algebra and Algebra 1 at Cedarcrest High School in the Riverview School District, and is currently employed by the Issaquah School District teaching Geometry and Algebra 2.

Shawn Swanson (User-centered Design) has worked as the CEO at MedsForAll since completing graduate school in 2016. MedsForAll strives to bring affordable rescue drug autoinjectors, such as epinephrine and naloxone, to all with an innovative autoinjector technology. He manages relationships with strategic partners, heads R&D strategy and product development, and focuses on capital-efficient project management. Shawn recently began his Ph.D. at the University of Washington, where he leads another medical device project and is a teaching assistant for the medical device development class, Engineering Innovation in Health, which focuses on addressing unmet needs in the medical space through iterative innovation.

Debi Talukdar (Philosophy in Sci-Fi and Fantasy) is an instructor and Ph.D. candidate in the College of Education at the University of Washington. She has been facilitating philosophical conversations with K-12 students in Seattle for several years and is the Philosopher-in-Residence at Thurgood Marshall Elementary School. Debi is also the Executive Director of the Philosophy Learning and Teaching Organization (PLATO) and serves on the board of the University of Washington Center for Philosophy for Children. When she is not working, Debi enjoys theater, yoga, wondering, and sleeping in.

Rebecca Taylor (Essay Writing) is an Instructor in the University of Washington’s Department of English. Before that she was an Assistant Lecturer at the University of Hong Kong, an English Language Fellow for the US Department of State in Surabaya, Indonesia, and an instructor of collegiate writing at Edmonds Community College. She also worked in test production and assessment at Seoul National University, Korea, and was a newspaper editor at The Seattle Times before changing careers to education. She has also taught English in Korea and the Cook Islands. When she isn’t teaching or grading essays, Rebecca enjoys learning new languages, taking photos, reading, hiking, and traveling.

Stephen Thornsberry (Fundamentals of Speech and Debate) holds a B.A. and M.S.A. from Northwestern University (Evanston, IL) and has been coaching speech and debate in the Puget Sound region for ten years. National Board Certified, he currently teaches mathematics, primarily statistics, at Redmond High School where members of his team regularly qualify for the state tournament. Stephen enjoys coaching all forms of speech and debate, especially Lincoln-Douglas, which applies philosophy to address social and political issues. It is Stephen’s hope that young scholars from the Robinson Center’s summer program become active members of the local speech and debate community. Stephen is also a ski instructor at the Summit, coaches tennis at Redmond, and enjoys performing folk music.

Cristina Valensisi (Evolutionary Biology) holds an M.A. in Biotechnology and a Ph.D. in Neurobiology from the Università di Modena e Reggio Emilia (Italy). She has completed her postdoctoral studies at the Turku Center for Biotechnologies (Finland) and then at the  University of Washington, training in epigenomics and stem cell biology. Through her years in academia, Cristina has mentored many students and cultivated her passion for teaching and science education, which led her to graduate in the STEP (Science Teaching Experience for Postdocs) program at UW Bothell. Cristina has now moved her career toward outreach, science communication, and teaching. Among other things, she has recently started a collaboration with PopBrains, an Italian company that specializes in medical writing, science communication, and science education classes for kids.