BREAKOUT SESSION FACILITATORS
Michael Davis, City Colleges of Chicago – Mike Davis is the Associate Vice Chancellor for Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM). Mike started working with the City Colleges of Chicago in the Fall of 2001 as a professor of chemistry. Since then he achieved tenure, was elected department chair, and has moved into administration. He has a Master’s degree in Chemistry from Northwestern University and is currently working towards a PhD in science education from the Illinois Institute of Technology. Mike has a passion for sharing science with the community at large. In 2006 he created the world’s biggest periodic table of the elements in downtown Chicago. Since 1996 he has performed hundreds of science demonstration shows for tens of thousands of students around Chicago. Current projects include the establishment of a robust early college program at the City Colleges of Chicago, and promoting excellence in STEM education. Getting student prepared for Calculus is one the best indicators of success for persistence in STEM related academic and career pathways. Mike works on programs that encourage persistence and completion of college level STEM programs that result in degrees and/or transfer.
Peggy Espada, National Summer Learning Association – As the Director of Professional Development for the National Summer Learning Association, Peggy Espada develops and implements professional development strategies, products and tools that educate and empower a broad base of stakeholders to improve the quality of summer learning opportunities available to youth. Major areas of work include the Comprehensive Assessment of Summer Programs (CASP) improvement model, professional learning communities, conference presentations, virtual PD opportunities and consultation services. Prior to joining the Association, Espada spent 20 years as a teacher and counselor for students with special needs. Most recently, Espada served as Director of the Upward Bound program at Wilkes University.
Christian Greer, Chief Education and Programs Officer, St. Louis Science Center – At the time of the 2012 Coop convening, Christian Greer was the Program Director for the Hive Chicago Learning Network, a project of the Digital Media & Learning (DML) Initiative funded by the MacArthur Foundation. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Physics from Morehouse College and a Master’s degree in Learning Technologies from Pepperdine University. His background is in STEM education and has served zoos, aquariums, museums, and out-of-school time organizations for over 20 years. Christian is a Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management Executive Scholar in nonprofit leadership, a former Chicago Community Trust Leadership Fellow, and President of the Board of Directors for the Chicago Public Schools Student Science Fair, Inc. Christian is now the Chief Education and Programs Officer of the St. Louis Science Center, where he brings his vision and mission to make great science experience accessible to all.
Rabiah Mayas, Museum of Science and Industry – Rabiah Mayas, Ph.D. is the Director of Science and Integrated Strategies in the Center for the Advancement of Science Education (CASE) at the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago. In this capacity, Rabiah’s primary role is to oversee several cross-departmental initiatives and program areas, including evaluation and research, public science events, science content support, and youth engineering and innovation in the Museum’s Fab Lab. Rabiah holds a Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from The University of Chicago. Prior to assuming her current position in 2009, she was the Science Director of Science Chicago, a year-long campaign spearheaded by the Museum that highlighted science and technology achievements, increased access to science learning experiences, and promoted dialogue about the importance of science and technology.
Jeff McCarter, Free Spirit Media – Jeff McCarter created Free Spirit Media in order to share his expertise as a media professional (Emmy Award-winning producer, cameraman, and editor) with underserved urban youth in Chicago. In his experience working in mainstream media, he witnessed the lack of representation and opportunity for people from low-income and minority communities. Jeff is dedicated to youth development, youth voice, and media access and serves on the Hive Learning Network’s Member Advisory Board, Chicago’s Committee for Media Access, and was a founding co-chair of the Chicago Youth Voices Network. Jeff studied Humanities and Film at the University of Colorado in Boulder and Non-Profit Management at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He has worked on feature films directed by Steven Soderbergh and Ron Howard, and on documentary television with ABC News, PBS, and WTTW Chicago. Jeff is an alumnus of Leadership Greater Chicago. He lives with his family on Chicago’s west side, where Free Spirit Media is based
Michael Ramirez, University of Illinois Chicago Communications Major – I attended ACE Technical Charter High school and am currently a third-year undergrad at UIC majoring in Communications. I am a museum educator/docent at the Jane Addams Hull House Museum. During my free time I like to play video games and watch movies from my 300+ movie collection. I love to listen to music and could not go one day without it, and I also like to draw and just hang out with friends and family. Throughout High School I was involved with many STEM programs including: four Project Exploration student programs, including serving as a team leader and teaching assistant; being a docent at the Field Museum; serving on the ACE Tech Robotics team with FIRST Robotics. I also headed up both the newspaper and yearbook clubs at my high school. I was part of Urban Students Empowered (USE), and I was a member of the National Honors Society.
Rafael Rosa, Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum – Rafael Rosa is Vice President of Education at the Chicago Academy of Sciences and its’ Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. Appointed in 2008, he oversees programming and resources that reach nearly 70,000 school children, 1,700 teachers, and hundreds of thousands of Museum visitors each year. He has been part of the Academy and Museum’s education team for 20 years in a variety of roles: he led the institution’s student and teacher programs, oversaw online learning, coordinated the Teenagers Exploring and Explaining Nature and Science (TEENS) program and the Science on the Go! program. Previous to his tenure at the Academy, he worked at Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry where he developed and implemented public programs. During his over 20 years in the field of museum education, he has given dozens of presentations at state, regional and national conferences focused on environmental, technology and science education. He currently serves as chair of the Museums in the Park Education Committee and co-chair of the Chicago Wilderness Education Committee.
Hillary Stroud, National Summer Learning Association – Director, Strategic Initiatives and Evaluation, National Summer Learning Association. Hillary Stroud directs the Association’s summer program evaluation projects and portfolio of work aimed at expanding and enhancing programs for older youth that help them transition to and graduate from high school successfully. She also manages community initiative projects, specializing in the collection and analysis of data on existing community resource gaps and program quality in order to facilitate a strategic planning with partners to fill gaps and increase the quality of opportunities. Prior to joining the Association in 2008, Stroud worked in institutional research and assessment for the Johns Hopkins University’s School of Education and Carey Business School. She also served as a school liaison for The Ohio State University’s P-12 Project, managing educational programs and events and professional development opportunities for school-age children and their teachers.
Tony Streit, EDC – Tony Streit is a Senior Project Director at Education Development Center, Inc. and a recognized leader in the fields of youth development, alternative media, and community technology. He is the Director of EDC’s YouthLearn Initiative, which develops technology integrated curriculum and training materials for educators in a range of settings, both domestically and overseas. He also serves as Co-PI for the NSF-funded ITEST National Resource Center, is conducting evaluation research for the Time Warner Foundation on youth media programs, and is designing professional development under the USAID-supported dot-EDU Initiative for educators in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
HEATHER THIRY, Research Associate, University of Colorado. Heather Thiry is a Research Associate with Ethnography & Evaluation Research (E&ER) at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Her current and prior work has focused on students’ career pathways and decision-making in the sciences, and improving educational outcomes for students traditionally underrepresented in STEM disciplines. She is co-principal investigator of Mapping Out-of-School Time Science (MOST-Science) research project, funded by the Noyce Foundation and National Science Foundation. She received her doctorate in Educational Foundations, Policy and Practice.
Christy Uchida, Brinson Foundation – Christy Uchida implements The Brinson Foundation’s philanthropic strategies focusing on the education and endorsement portfolios. She interfaces with nonprofit grantees and a close-knit family board of directors. Prior to joining Brinson, Christy worked for nearly five years in Global Corporate Citizenship at The Boeing Company where she executed strategies aligned to the function’s five focus areas: education, arts & culture, health & human services, civic and environment. Prior to working in the philanthropic sector, Christy held several positions in nonprofit arts organizations including Performing Arts Chicago, Writers’ Theatre and most recently as managing director of Redmoon, a nonprofit spectacle theater company in Chicago, which specializes in transforming public spaces into places of celebration.