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 Studies, Gifted Child Quarterly, Journal for the Education of the Gifted, Roeper Review, Teaching Exceptional Children, Early 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, 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, 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 ed, has participated twice in the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, and is passionate about working with marginalized populations and non traditional students. She is fueled by aerial arts and cold brew coffee.
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, LMHC is the Academy 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.
Julie Loh is the Academic Counseling and Student Services Assistant. She is an alumna of the UW Academy program and holds a B.S. in Physiology and B.A. in Psychology. Julie has recently returned from Taiwan where she obtained a Master of Science in Molecular Medicine where she conducted research on skeletal muscle dystrophy diseases. She loves traveling, drawing, and sharing delicious food.
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.
Emily Jacobs-Palmer is the Biology instructor for the Early Entrance Program’s Transition School. She received her Ph.D. in mammalian evolutionary genetics in 2015, studying how populations of wild mice respond to environmental variation and change. Prior to her recent arrival in the Pacific Northwest, Dr. Jacobs-Palmer taught high school in the Boston area. Presently, in addition to her work with the Robinson Center, she will be teaching college-level biology at the Washington Corrections Center for Women in Gig Harbor, and engaging in research to determine the effects of ocean acidification and its mitigation on the composition of Puget Sound biological communities.
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.
Jana Lamon is the Director of 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.
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.
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 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. See more online at www.richardfarr.net.
Joseph Gray is from Brooklyn, NY and is currently pursuing a Master’s of Urban Planning and an Urban Design Certificate at the University of Washington. Joseph received his B.A. at the University of Rochester where he crafted an interdisciplinary major in Urban Studies. He has worked with the City of Rochester to implement effective community engagement methods in planning and policymaking while pushing the city to better account for equity and accessibility. He has worked in neighborhood development and enjoys learning about different communities and their environments. Joseph has experience tutoring ESL students, mentoring students, and teaching students of various ages and from different backgrounds. He believes in experiential learning and teamwork. When he is not teaching or studying he can be found exploring the city, practicing urban landscape photography, or just enjoying a sunset at his favorite park.
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.
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.
Harry Stern is a mathematician at UW’s Polar Science Center, where he studies Arctic sea ice using satellite data. Current interests include the changing sea-ice habitat of polar bears and whales, and the history of Arctic exploration. He organizes the annual Polar Science Weekend at Pacific Science Center, a three-day outreach event for families and kids. He has a B.S. in math from Stanford and M.S. in applied math from UW. He has been with the Polar Science Center since 1987.
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 (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.
Jeff Burgard (Chemistry, Ecology, Drama!) is a National Board Certified Science Teacher and an international presenter. He has been involved in teaching science for over 20 years, with remarkable success in boosting student motivation and achievement in his science classes. He has taught elementary and high school students, but has spent most of his career in middle schools. From 1991- 2002, he taught in California where he applied Quality Management Principles in public and charter school classrooms in all subject areas. In 1999 he wrote Continuous Improvement in the Science Classroom and from 2002-2008 he traveled extensively within and outside the country to work with other teachers. He has conducted workshops and seminars in 27 states and five countries and helped public, private, charter and home school environments align standards based assessment, increase student learning and enthusiasm as well as improve organizational practices. In 2008, he went back into the classroom full time. He now teaches 8th grade science near Seattle, Washington as well as conducts workshops in the summers and during breaks.
Bill Carty (Graphic Novels, Poetry, and More!) is originally from Maine and was educated at Dartmouth College (B.A.) and UNC Wilmington (M.F.A.). He is the author of Huge Cloudy (Octopus Books, 2019) and the chapbook Refugium. He has received poetry fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Artist Trust, the Richard Hugo House, the Sorting Room, and Jack Straw, as well as the 2017 Emily Dickinson Award from the Poetry Society of America.
Gabriel de los Angeles (Adventurer’s Guild), PhC, is an enrolled member of the Snoqualmie Nation and son of Chief Andy de los Angeles. He is in the last leg of his doctoral program, writing his dissertation for Learning Science and Human Development on play and indigenous design. Gabriel has grown up geek from Atari and NES to Advanced D&D and Alpha and Beta Magic: the Gathering to becoming a convention chairman for Sakura-Con, Seattle’s premiere anime convention. Since taking up LARPing in the last several years, role-playing has become a central space to his research, using it to help shift perspectives in science education. Gabriel spends much time in reflection on pop culture, game design, game communities, and how all of them affect learning and equity across the life course.
Peter Donaldson (Chemistry, Ecology, Drama!) is the Director for Sustainability Ambassadors, coaching student leaders, teacher leaders, and community leaders to drive collective impact at the intersection between educating for sustainability in the core curriculum and empowering students to design, implement and report measurable improvements in sustainable community conditions. Classroom rigor meets community impact. Peter is a strategic storyteller with over 30 years of experience in theater, public speaking, curriculum design, community facilitation, and classroom instruction from grade school to college. Once, with a full beard, he toured the nation in character as Leonardo da Vinci asking the question, “Are we in a new Renaissance?”
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. See more online at www.richardfarr.net.
Ari Hock (Podcasting) is a Master of Education student in the Learning Sciences and Human Development program at the University of Washington. He is especially interested in how people learn outside of school and across physical, social, and technological contexts. Ari moved to Seattle from the District of Columbia, where he spent three years working on the digital engagement team at KaBOOM!, the national non-profit dedicated to making sure all kids have great places to play. He has also served as an AmeriCorps member, leading the Red Cross Youth Program on the Kitsap Peninsula, and has taught English to students in China. Ari is also an avid photographer and documentary filmmaker.
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 (Word! Telling My Story) 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.
Fatema Maswood (Next City) will complete a Master’s of Landscape Architecture from the University of Washington in 2019 and holds a B.A. in Architecture from Barnard College. She currently coordinates the Urban Environmental Justice Initiative through Urban@UW and is a returning Next City instructor. As a design/build educator at DownCity Design she worked with youth to design small-scale interventions throughout the city of Providence, Rhode Island. Some of her design work explores decentralized water management in urban drylands, in-situ soil and water remediation, tools for community land ownership and engagement in the design process, and interactive disaster preparedness merging play and asset mapping.
Katherine Owens (Physics of Roller Coasters) graduated with a B.A. in Mathematics from Willamette University before serving as a Math Specialist at White Center Elementary School through Americorps. Currently she studies mathematical biology as a graduate student in the Department of Applied Mathematics at the University of Washington. Katherine’s favorite activity is picnicking because it combines spending time outdoors, hanging out with friends, and eating great food.
Josh Paik (Math Topics: Why Polls Get Things Wrong) is a graduate student pursuing an M.S. in mathematics at the University of St. Andrews, where he also received his B.S. in mathematics. He hopes to pursue a Ph.D. in mathematics with a focus in combinatorics and algebra. He has been teaching math since high school, tutoring, helping in his IB mathematics course, and working with Math for Love. In his free time, he loves to figure skate and golf.
David Phelps (Game Design Academy) 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.
Nolie Ramsey (Social Media for Young Writers) is a Ph.D. student in English Literature and Language at the University of Washington and a predoctoral instructor of first-year writing courses in the Expository Writing Program. She graduated with a B.A. in English from Mississippi College and moved shortly after to Seattle in 2017. She holds an M.A. in English from the UW. In her free time, Nolie enjoys embroidery, playing the piano, learning to cook new things, and reading for fun. She is excited to work with her students this summer to explore the power of public writing.
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.
Jenny Shibayama (Physics of Roller Coasters) teaches 7th grade Life Science and 8th grade Earth Science at Canyon Park Junior High in the Northshore School District. Jenny recently earned her National Boards Certificate in Science and earned her B.S. in Zoology and Masters in Teaching from the University of Washington. Jenny enjoys hiking, camping and biking in the mountains and at the beach.
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 (Game Design Academy) is a graduate student in the College of Education at UW in the Social and Cultural Foundations of Education program with a focus on Philosophy of Education. As a first generation student, she earned her interdisciplinary B.A. at Evergreen in Olympia, WA after transferring from community college in Illinois, where she is from. Hollie has enjoyed working with and learning from youth in a variety of settings both in and outside of the classroom. She has directed children’s theater, facilitated after-school programs, and taught at the Chicago Free School. This past year she has been working with UW’s Philosophy for Children program and is absolutely taken by the brilliant curiosity the students exude in these sessions. Hollie is super excited about her first summer with the Robinson Center!
Jason R. Walsh (Seattle: Our City) is a graduate student at the UW, currently pursuing a Master in Urban Planning and a Master in Community Oriented Public Health Practices. Prior to his graduate studies at the UW, he taught for 13 years, starting out in Washington DC, where he earned his Master in Art of Teaching (MAT) and worked in special education. Jason went on to teach in multiple subject areas and multiple countries, from Algebra to English Literature, from Brazil to Poland. He has studied or worked in eight countries. Jason believes that education is the foundation for positive change in the world, and that education is not just a formalized process within a school, but the explorations of heart and mind that we undertake every day.
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. 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.
Truman Buffett (Geometry) holds a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from Oberlin College in Ohio, and a Master’s degree in Pure Mathematics from the University of Washington. Since before his Summer Stretch students were born, he’s been teaching math in every corner of Seattle, from his first high school job up at Lakeside School, to down at Rainier Beach High School, where he’s been for the last few years. While teaching at the Northwest School, Truman was the recipient of the Mathematical Association of America’s 2006 Pedagogy award for the state of Washington. In his spare time he runs triathlons and juggles fire.
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.
Matthew Dirks (Algebra 1) is a proud alumnus of the Summer Challenge and Summer Stretch programs. He majored in mathematics at the University of Chicago and earned a master’s degree in math teaching from Boston University, as well as an endorsement in teaching Latin from the University of Washington. He has taught math courses at several levels in Boston and Bellevue, including Algebra 1, Algebra 2, Precalculus, and Business Calculus. In his spare time, he enjoys solving math problems with friends, learning languages, cooking, hiking, and playing piano.
Wendy Ellison (World Literature) holds both an M.A. and a Ph.D. from the University of Washington in English. Her doctoral work focused on the artistry of Jane Austen, the 19th-century novel, and the theory of expository writing. Since then she has taught for over a decade at Lakeside School, where her classes focus mostly on 11th- and 12th-grade literature (British and American) and expository writing. Wendy has worked since then for extended periods at various private schools in Seattle, including Bush School and the Seattle Waldorf School. In addition to her expertise in teaching the expository essay—the dreaded College Essay—she has published her own memoir: Ronnie Wood’s Smile (and where it led.) Yeah. That makes her a Rolling Stones fan.
Joseph Gray (Seattle History and Design), from Brooklyn, NY, is currently pursuing a Master’s of Urban Planning and an Urban Design Certificate at the University of Washington. Joseph received his B.A. at the University of Rochester where he crafted an interdisciplinary major in Urban Studies. He has worked with the City of Rochester to implement effective community engagement methods in planning and policymaking while pushing the city to better account for equity and accessibility. He has worked in neighborhood development and enjoys learning about different communities and their environments. Joseph has experience tutoring ESL students, mentoring students, and teaching students of various ages and from different backgrounds. He believes in experiential learning and teamwork. When he is not teaching or studying he can be found exploring the city, practicing urban landscape photography, or just enjoying a sunset at his favorite park.
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 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.
Maddie Kappel (Essay Writing) received her Master’s degree in English from Georgetown University. Her research and coursework focused on rhetoric and technology, 20th century literature, and teaching writing. While at Georgetown, she fell in love with helping writers of all ages. Since graduating, she has worked as a professional editor for EBSCO, taught English Language Arts at an International Baccalaureate school in Atlanta, and headed up her school’s English department. A recent Seattle transplant, Maddie taught Essay Writing with the Robinson Center’s Summer Stretch Program and will continue to work with a diverse range of middle and high school students around the city, helping them to read for deeper meanings, find their stories to tell, and write like they have something to say.
Elliot Lee (Microbiology) is a Ph.D. student in the University of Washington’s Microbiology program. Elliot became interested in science education during his freshman chemistry class when he wondered, “But what if this was fun and interesting?” Since then, he has used his interests in games and technology to make science more accessible and engaging for students. Elliot earned a B.S. from the University of Utah and an Ed.M. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Elliot has built online learning activities for the Genetic Science Learning Center and educational VR programs for the Schneider Lab at Harvard as well as ARUP Laboratories.
Alex Liebman (Environmental Studies) has a B.A. in biology from Macalester College and M.Sc. in agroecology from the University of Minnesota. He has published research on soil nutrient dynamics in agricultural environments as well as the historical and sociopolitical factors shaping agri-food systems in the United States and Colombia. He currently works as a researcher for Lurralde, a Chilean group supporting indigenous water and territorial defense in the face of lithium and copper mining in the Atacama Desert of Chile. For Alex, teaching is about working with students to deepen critical thinking and analytical skills, such that the classroom becomes a space to constantly search for the rare and unexpected. Alex plays saxophone, makes sound collages, and translates poetry from Spanish to English.
Sara Lovett (Election 2020) is a Ph.D. student in English Language and Rhetoric at the University of Washington and an assistant director of the Expository Writing Program. She received a B.A. in International Studies at American University in Washington, D.C. and then worked as a field organizer in Minneapolis (her hometown) before moving to Seattle. Outside of academia, Sara acts in musical theater productions and is an avid board game player. She is excited to bring her love of writing, politics, games, and theater to students this summer.
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. This 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 her another Summer Stretch!
Mandy Macklin (Research and Writing) is a Ph.D. candidate in Language & Rhetoric at the University of Washington and teaches writing in the UW English Department. She earned her M.A. in Rhetoric & Composition and B.A. in English Literature from California State University, Northridge. Mandy specializes in composition studies, qualitative research, and writing program administration. She is currently working on her dissertation, which focuses on the dynamic and unpredictable pathways students inhabit, create, and traverse as they encounter and make their way through writing tasks, especially what is lost or set aside in negotiating and translating across contexts, genres, and modalities.
Kenya Mejia (User-centered Design) is a Ph.D. student in Human Centered Design and Engineering at the University of Washington. She has a B.S. and M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from MIT and the University of Minnesota respectively. Teaching is something she has been passionate about since high school and has worked with K-12 and college students over the years. Being relatively new to Seattle, she is still trying to make her way through all the different hiking trails and delicious restaurants.
Joey Miller (Believing in Things We Cannot See) 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 third 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 & Advanced Placement Chemistry for more than 33 years, and is currently on the faculty at Bellevue High School.
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 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.
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.
Jennifer L. Perevodchikov (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.
Dijana Raco (Algebra 1) comes from the Las Vegas Valley where she teaches high school mathematics. Originally from the Seattle area, Dijana earned her B.A. at the University of Washington and went on to complete a two-year commitment with Teach for America in Las Vegas. She completed her Masters in Curriculum & Instruction at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas with a focus on Secondary Mathematics Education and enjoys finding creative ways to teach her students. Dijana coaches the tennis and basketball teams where she attempts to combine the teams’ talents with math applications. In her spare time, Dijana loves to try new recipes to satisfy her sweet tooth.
Kathleen Reeves (Essay Writing) is a Ph.D. student in the English Department at the University of Washington, where she teaches Rhetoric and Composition and studies 20th- and 21st-century American literature and culture. She is particularly interested in the relationship between artistic labor and reproductive labor in fiction and poetry written after 1965. Before coming to the UW, Kathleen taught high school English in Austin, Texas. She is also a fiction writer and poet, and she is an assistant editor of Process Journal of Multidisciplinary Undergraduate Scholarship. She received a B.A. in English from Yale University and an M.A. in Humanities and Social Thought from New York University.
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.
Shraddha Shirude (Number Theory) earned her Master’s and Bachelor’s Degrees in Teaching Mathematics from Seattle University. Currently, she teaches precalculus and geometry at Garfield High School in the Central District neighborhood of Seattle. Shraddha has had a passion for learning and teaching since she was in school herself. She has been tutoring and teaching mathematics for over 10 years and is excited to start her second year with the UW Robinson Center. For Shraddha, mathematics is more than just numbers and equations; mathematics helps provide us with the peace of mind that there is a solution to every problem, even if we can’t see it yet.
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 & Advanced Placement Chemistry for 39 years. Jeannine is currently on the faculty at Bellevue High School.
Laura Silverman (Essay Writing) holds a B.A. in Social Inquiry from Eugene Lang College. She went on to earn her M.A. in politics and political philosophy from New School for Social Research. Her research focused on political rhetoric of theories of the contract and the history of capitalism. She currently teaches writing and history to middle and high school students around Seattle. For Laura, teaching is about empowering students to cultivate critical thinking skills that carry them confidently into and beyond the classroom. In her spare moments, she enjoys playing bass and organizing a poetry reading series.
Samantha Simon (American Literature) is a Ph.D. candidate in English at the University of Washington where she is working on her dissertation which focuses on African American literature from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. She earned her M.A. in English from Hunter College, and her B.A. in English from Emory University. She has been teaching at UW since she entered the Ph.D. program in 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.
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.
Debi Talukdar (Philosophy Café) 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 also serves on the board of the University of Washington Center for Philosophy for Children and the Philosophy Learning and Teaching Organization (PLATO). When she is not working, Debi enjoys Theater of the Oppressed, yoga, and sleeping in.
Stephen Thornsberry (Fundamentals of Speech and Debate) holds a BA and MSA 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 UW’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 (Microbiology) 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.
David Zook (Physics of Robotics) is a lifelong teacher and technology aficionado. He holds a Master’s degree from the University of Washington, and is the Owner/Founder of both Big Brains Preparatory (a boutique High School for kids that want to do more with their High School career) and Big Brains Education Enrichment in Bellevue. He also coaches a highly successful competition robotics team, WASABI Robotics. David loves working with kids, and is looking forward to another summer with the Robinson Center.