Project Teachers

Amanda Allen

Amanda Allen

My name is Amanda Allen and I live in the beautiful state of New Mexico. I am a high school science teacher in the Magdalena Municipal School District. I teach Earth and Space, Biology, Physical Science, Anatomy and Physiology, and Health. Magdalena is a community located about fifteen minutes from the Very Large Array (VLA). My favorite pastime is farm life. We ride horses and raise animals. I also LOVE the dark skies outside of Magdalena where I can really appreciate the night sky!

Jacqueline Barge

Jacqueline Barge

Jacqueline Barge is a National Board Certified Teacher, having received a Bachelor of Arts in Biology from the University of Chicago and a Master of Arts in Teaching from National Louis University. Jackie started with Chicago Public Schools at Reilly Elementary School. After ten years at Reilly, she left to become part of the original faculty group at Walter Payton College Prep High School in Chicago. Jackie has been part of many educational groups involving curriculum development such as the University of Chicago’s Yerkes Observatory, the Depaul Nasa Center and Hands-On Universe, UIC-Fermilab’s Quarknet group, Beyond the Solar System project from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, and the Chicago Public Schools/University of Chicago Internet Project. In 2016 Jackie was awarded the Thomas J Brennan Award by the Astronomical Society of the Pacific for demonstrating excellence in the teaching of astronomy at the high school level in North America.

Holly Bensel

Holly Bensel

Holly Bensel has spent the last 24 years teaching science at St. Mary’s School in Medford, Oregon. Despite her long tenure, she still surprises her students. During the last 9th-grade field trip to an amusement park in Vallejo, CA, Holly rode the front seat of a roller coaster with a 55mph top speed, impressing her students with her daredevil attitude. Holly’s love of geology and the outdoors started in her childhood. She loved visiting lava flows, crawling through lava tubes, visiting Pederson Rock Gardens, and wondering how the Cascade Mountains formed. She spent many summers sleeping on the patio, using her planisphere to identify constellations in the night sky. As an adult, she loves to travel around the United States in a travel trailer with her husband of 30 years, looking at rocks, mountains, and stars.

Neal Boys

Neal Boys

Neal Boys graduated from the University Wisconsin-Madison with Bachelor of Science degrees in Earth and Space Science for secondary education, and Physical Science for sixth through ninth grade, and a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction from National Louis University. Neal is an Earth & Space and Physical Science Teacher and serves as the Science Department’s Instructional Manager at Parker High School in Janesville, WI. During the summertime, he enjoys nature with courses he developed for youths in fourth through twelfth grades, with a couple of courses becoming part of the Wisconsin Ice Age Alliance. Neal currently is a part of the Class of 2020 NITARP (NASA/IPAC Teacher Archive Research Program). Recently he helped present the IDATA poster with his daughter, Naleah, at the AAS meeting in Honolulu, HI, stepping foot in his 50th state with his family.

Tim Fahlberg

Tim Fahlberg

Tim Fahlberg grew up in Arizona and got his BA and MA in math/math education. He teaches math at the Wisconsin School for the Blind and Visually Impaired in Janesville, Wisconsin. He previously taught math and computer science in the State of Washington and Arizona. He is also a programmer and educational consultant. Tim, who is a longtime amateur astronomer, enjoys introducing students and adults to the wonders of the day and night sky.

KRISTEN GRENDER

Kristin Grender

Kristin is a skilled, dedicated teacher that is passionate about life and learning. She received her degree in Special Education, transition, and autism from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. She also earned two master’s degrees from Western Michigan University, the first in Orientation, and the second in Teaching Children with Visual Impairments. In the Spring of 2017, the state of Wisconsin recognized Kristin with the Herb Kohl Fellowship for her contributions in the field of Education. Kristin is a published author that loves cooking meals using vegetables from her garden and being active with her family. Besides a liking for yoga, leading her to earn a yoga certification in 2017, Kristen enjoys reading, photography, skiing, biking, and 4-wheeling.

David Lockett

David Lockett

David Lockett is a committed S.T.E.M. teacher with a distinguished and diverse background in the fields of Astronomy, Biotechnology, and Engineering, and is an advocate and practitioner of S.T.E.M. accessibility for all students. At present, he is responsible for implementing a project-based curriculum for all students as they rotate through the STEM lab at the Bok Academy, and is an Advisory Board Member of the Aerospace National Science Teachers Association.

 Matthew McCutcheon

Matthew McCutcheon

Matthew McCutcheon is a 33-year veteran educator, who began his career in Wahington, D.C. teaching at an all-girls Catholic school, and then taught at Lake Forest Academy. His career then moved to Administrative roles as Director of Math, Science, and Technology at the Latin School of Chicago, and Chief Academic Officer at Cathedral School, and is currently at the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy, a public boarding school in Aurora, Illinois. At all of these schools, Matthew’s focus has been mathematics, physics, and astronomy. His interest in astronomy began as a physics major and continued in graduate school, where he earned a degree in History and Philosophy of Science, with Johannes Kepler as an area of concentration. Subsequently, he was involved in developing astronomical curriculum and engaging students in research, including investigating ultra-blue objects in the Kepler Field (NITARP), and searching for pulsars (PSC) with radio observational data from the Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia. He is excited to begin collaborative work in IDATA as well.

Caroline Odden

Caroline Odden

I was inspired by my excellent high school teachers to pursue a career in teaching. I loved English, art, and math in high school, but fell in love with physics when I took my first course in college. I enjoy introducing physics with its many practical applications to Andover’s bright, motivated students. I received a B.A. degree from Yale University in 1997, where I majored in Physics and Philosophy and was a goaltender for the women’s ice hockey team. I began my teaching career at Westminster School in Connecticut immediately after graduating from college and have been teaching ever since. I now live in Stuart with my husband, two young daughters (Katie and Abby), and dog Mandy. In addition to teaching, I supervise the observatory, and I coach ice hockey and golf.

Michael Prokosch

Michael Prokosch

Mike first got interested in astronomy when he was very young, spending as much time as his mom would let him outside trying to find Halley’s Comet, years before it arrived. He is now the Education and Public Outreach Director of the SHSU Planetarium and Observatory and has worked for the Sam Houston State physics department for over 15 years. He traveled to Chile as a member of the 2015 cohort of ACEAP, the Astronomy in Chile Educator Ambassadors Program. He founded the Huntsville Amateur Astronomy Society in 2004, a member of the Night Sky Network and has been an AAVSO member for five years and writes a column for a Huntsville, Texas newspaper. Currently, he is participating in the IDATA program. He enjoys observing variable stars, watching Jupiter, comets, and supernova. He also teaches fulltime: 2 years as a middle school science teacher and 15 years in special education.

Kara Rowbotham

Kara Rowbotham

I have been teaching in Williams Bay since 1993. In that time, I’ve taught 8th Grade Science, Physical Science, Chemistry, Honors Chemistry, Physics, Honors Physics, and AP Chemistry. I grew up in Reedsburg, Wisconsin and received my BS from UW-Madison. After teaching for 3 years in Cadott, WI, I joined the faculty in Williams Bay. In that time, I’ve earned a Master’s Degree at UW-Whitewater, flew on an airborne observatory, and joined the education outreach team at Yerkes Observatory. I enjoy attending Wisconsin Badger sporting events (particularly football and hockey), reading, sewing, crocheting, walking, riding bike, listening to music, eating, and, of course, TEACHING!

Rick Sanchez

Rick Sanchez

Rick Sanchez is a teacher at Clear Creek Middle School in Buffalo, WY. He got his undergraduate degree in education from the University of Wyoming and his graduate degree from Colorado College. Rick taught elementary and middle school in the Denver area for three years before returning to his home state of Wyoming where he has taught middle school since 1996. Since 2015, he has extended his work to high school students, along with mentor astronomers, in conducting research and presenting at professional venues. His interest in education has evolved over the years to focus less on content and more on how to get students interested in the learning process and motivate them to learn how to learn. He is currently working on a Ph.D. in education from the University of Wyoming.

Barbara Stachelski

Barbara Stachelski

Barbara Stachelski earned her Bachelors of Science in Liberal Studies from California State University, Fullerton, and her master’s of Education from Concordia University, and became a National Board Certified Teacher in 2010. She has dedicated her career to teaching students with learning disabilities and language barriers, though her career started in a third-grade general education classroom. But in 2003, Barbara transitioned to teaching Kindergarten through 8th-grade students with special needs and is now a teacher at the Columbus Tustin Middles School in Tustin, California. There she works with 6th through 8th-grade students with a variety of special needs in math, language arts, and science. Plus a one-day a week general education 8th-grade science class, where students are part of the IDATA Project.

Font Resize
Contrast