Our Staff

Download our staff organization chart here!

Dr. Carol O'Donnell



Carol O’Donnell is the Director of the Smithsonian Science Education Center (SSEC), a unit of the Smithsonian Institution that is dedicated to transforming the learning and teaching of science throughout the nation and world. In this role, Carol is responsible for all operational activities and planning for the unit, including building awareness for K-12 science education reform among State and district leaders; conducting programs that support the professional growth of K-12 science teachers and school leaders; and, overseeing all research and curricular resource development, philanthropic development, and administration. In this capacity, Carol also serves as the US representative on the Global Council of the InterAcademy Partnership (IAP) Science Education Programme (SEP), the global network of the science academies. Carol also serves on the Subcommittee on Federal Coordination in STEM Education (FC-STEM), which advises and assists the Committee on STEM Education (CoSTEM). In this role, Carol served as one of the co-authors of the 2018 National Science & Technology Council’s 5-year CoSTEM strategic plan.

Prior to joining the Smithsonian, Carol was a leader at the US Department of Education for nearly a decade, supporting States and districts as they built their capacity to implement and sustain education reforms and achieve continued improvement in student outcomes; she also oversaw the Cognition and Student Learning program of the Institute of Education Sciences (IES). A former K-12 teacher and curriculum developer, Dr. O’Donnell is still in the classroom today, serving on the part-time faculty of the Physics Department at The George Washington University.

Carol has expertise in education policy, professional development, cognition and student learning, education research, and curriculum development. She has spoken extensively about Women in STEM, the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), diversifying the STEM teaching workforce, educating youth across the globe on the complex socio-scientific issues that underlie the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and Social and Emotional Learning (SEL). Dr. O’Donnell earned her Bachelor of Science in Education from the University of Pittsburgh, Master of Science in Geosciences from Mississippi State University (MSU), and her doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction with a focus on science education from The George Washington University (GWU). 

Read about the latest SSEC news in the Director's Corner.

Teng Chamchumrus
Executive Officer, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Education and Access

As Executive Officer, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Education and Access, Teng serves as an advisor to the SSEC on strategic issues relating to business plan formulation, implementation, and marketing to ensure financial sustainability of new initiatives and existing programs that fall within education and access strategic objectives and priorities. Teng joined the Smithsonian in 2012 as Executive Officer, Office of the Under Secretary for Finance & Administration/Chief Financial Officer, where he served as the principal advisor to the Under Secretary on policies, strategy, and operations in financial management and contributed to the leadership of finance and administration functions. Prior to the Smithsonian, Teng’s professional tenure included a 10-year career with the American Red Cross with responsibilities that spanned across strategic planning, financial management, customer service improvement, business partnership, project and change management, and operational and fundraising support. Prior to the American Red Cross, Teng worked in the private sector and graduated from Harvard University with both a BA (magna cum laude) in economics from Harvard College and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Amy D'Amico, PhD
Division Director of Professional Services



Amy D’Amico, PhD, joined the SSEC in 2013 as the Division Director of Professional Services. She oversees professional development and leadership development initiatives at SSEC. Prior to joining the SSEC, Amy was a member of the faculty in the biology department at Georgetown University. At Georgetown, she taught a variety of biology courses and co-directed the RISE & Teach program for biology undergraduates who complete a thesis while teaching in the District of Columbia Public Schools. In addition, Amy served as a full-time consultant at the SSEC to assist in the program development and execution of the K-12 Science Education Institutes for Leadership Development and Strategic Planning.

Amy has 18 years of experience as an educator that began by teaching middle school for the Cambridge Public Schools in Massachusetts. Amy quickly became a Middle Grade Science Teacher Leader and worked to implement the district’s five-year strategic plan based on the SSEC’s model of science education reform. While in Cambridge, she also worked on various educational and consulting projects with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, and the American Museum of Natural History. Amy earned her BA in Biology with a minor in Education for Certification from New York University and received a MS and a PhD in Biology from Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts.

Cole Johnson
Division Director of Advancement & Partnerships



Cole Johnson is the Division Director of Advancement and Partnerships. In this role, she leads the advancement efforts to secure the vital funding needed to transform K-12 education through science.  With over 20 years of professional fundraising experience, Cole has a proven track record of developing and deploying strategic fundraising plans, as well as a special gift for building lasting donor relationships and connecting prospects with programs that reflect their interests.

Prior to joining SSEC in October 2019, she began her tenure at the Smithsonian at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute where she had considerable success raising fund for scientific research and facilities to save species.  She was responsible for securing a $5 million pan – institutional gift to seed Smithsonian’s Working Land and Seascapes initiative.  Before coming to the Smithsonian, Cole was the Executive Director of the Northern Piedmont Community Foundation where she grew the Foundations assets from $1 million to over $10 million in 5 years.  She also served as the Executive Director of Headwaters, a local education foundation as well as advancement positions at Share Our Strength, Georgetown University and the Kennedy Center.  A graduate of The American University, Cole holds a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting and is a formerly licensed Certified Public Accountant.

Lisa Rogers
Division Director of Finance & Administration



Lisa Rogers is the Division Director of Finance & Administration for the SSEC. Lisa is responsible for the financial and administrative operations and financial compliance for the organization. Before assuming this position, she was the Program Specialist for the SSEC’s Professional Development Center. Lisa has over 20 years of experience in finance, grants administration, program management, and development. Prior to joining the SSEC, Lisa was the Program and Grants Administrator for the Council of American Overseas Research Centers, a Development Officer with the Navy League of United States, and worked with the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History, National Museum of the American Indian, and the Smithsonian Associates. Lisa holds a BA in History from the State University of New York at Plattsburgh and studied at the American University of Rome. She has been an adult literacy tutor and received her certification in Teaching English as a Foreign Language.

Ashley Deese
Acting Division Director of Digital Media & Communications



Ashley Deese is the Manager of Digital Media at the Smithsonian Science Education Center, a part of the Smithsonian Institution, where she leads the digital media team throughout the production and distribution of Smithsonian STEM products such as game apps, interactives, and videos for children around the world. Ashley has produced internationally acclaimed and bestselling game apps for the Smithsonian such as “BumperDucks,” “Disaster Detector,” and “Showbiz Safari.” Ashley’s game app, “Morphy!,” received an honoree award by The Webby Awards in 2016. “Aquation: The Freshwater Access Game” was a 2018 nominee for The Webby Awards inaugural games category for Public Service & Activism. Ashley was named to the 2019 Forbes 30 Under 30 list for her work in games.

Ashley is a voting member of the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences, a member of the Smithsonian Networks Review Committee for Smithsonian Channel, a Smithsonian unit editor for the Smithsonian Magazine Voices blog, member of the digital advisory board for the Smithsonian’s American Women’s History Initiative, and the co-chair for Smithsonian Gaming. She earned her BS in Biology from Methodist University and a MA in Interactive Media from Elon University.

Katya Vines, PhD
Acting Division Director of Curriculum



Katya Vines, PhD, is the Manager of Curriculum Development at the SSEC. Katya is responsible for writing new science publications for elementary and middle school students. Her journey to SSEC has spanned three continents and involved teaching 5 year olds up to undergraduates! After completing a BSc and PhD in Chemistry at the University of Liverpool, Katya took up research positions at the University of Barcelona and Oxford. While in Oxford she tutored undergraduates studying chemistry. After a brief period teaching middle school science she joined the academic publisher John Wiley and Sons as an Acquisitions Editor for Analytical Chemistry. She then moved into educational publishing, where she has been for 14 years with a short break in the middle to teach elementary science in Kenya. Prior to joining the SSEC in 2014, Katya worked at the International Baccalaureate, where she was responsible for developing inquiry-based resources for K-12 teachers and students. In her spare time Katya enjoys running (slowly), playing Mahjong, and making cocktails.

Katherine P. Blanchard
Program Manager for Leadership Development and International Programs



Katherine Blanchard is the Program Manager for Leadership Development and International Programs in the Professional Services division of the SSEC, where she has managed and supported a variety of programs across the United States, including STC™ professional development workshops, leadership institutes, and the Smithsonian Science Education Academies for Teachers. The main focus of her work has been supporting teachers, schools, and districts in building support and awareness for science education in their communities and working to expand the SSEC’s reach both in the United States and internationally. Prior to coming to the SSEC, Katherine worked for theatre companies in both Belgrade, Serbia, and Santa Fe, New Mexico, and completed a Fulbright Fellowship teaching English at the University of Belgrade and studying theatre. Katherine graduated from Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, with a BA in Theatre Arts and Political Science. She has completed an MA in International Education from The George Washington University.

Reuben Brenner-Adams
Interactive Developer



Reuben Brenner-Adams is an Interactive Developer at the Smithsonian Science Education Center, focusing on creating games and other interactive digital media for use in the unit’s science curriculum and beyond. Reuben joined the SSEC as a full-time employee in 2018, but was part of the development of Aquation: The Freshwater Access Game, a Webby-nominated digital strategy game, as a Digital Media Intern at the SSEC in 2016. Before joining the organization, Reuben worked at Dig-It! Games as a developer of educational and commercial games. Reuben is a voting member of both the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences and the Academy of Interactive and Visual Arts, a member of the Federal Games Guild, and a member of the Washington, DC chapter of the International Game Developers Association. He earned a combined BS/MS degree in Game Design & Development from the Rochester Institute of Technology.

Sofia Elian
Graphic Designer



Sofia Elian is the Graphic Designer at the Smithsonian Science Education Center where she develops illustrations and graphics across multiple platforms for digital projects such as apps, e-books, games, interactive/simulations, and web. Before joining the team, Sofia was a full-time student at American University receiving a BA in Graphic Design. She also worked at her student-run campus coffee shop as both a barista and their graphic designer, as well as interning at The Federal Reserve as a graphic design intern. On top of working and studying, Sofia was the art director for her University’s 2018 Design Show, creating and developing the show’s content, visuals, and exhibition. She has received two awards during her time as a student, a Design Show “Best in Show” award in 2018 for a UI/UX app design and a Visions Award for a scientific explainer animation. In her free time, Sofia enjoys painting, drawing, and longboarding around DC.

Kate Echevarria
Executive Office Coordinator



Kate Echevarria is the Executive Office Coordinator and is responsible for handling all projects, contracts, events, etc., associated with the Executive Office. Prior to SSEC, Kate was in Human Resource Management having worked for an international hotel chain, the U.S. Government, and a science non-profit. 

Katie Fancher
Program Specialist



Katie Fancher is a Program Specialist with the SSEC. Before joining the SSEC, Katie was an educator at McWane Science Center in Birmingham, AL where she created and presented informal science education for the public, students, and teachers.  She received her Bachelor’s degree in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and her Master’s degree in Instructional Design and Development from the University of South Alabama. 

Katie Gainsback
Program Manager for Leadership Development



Katie Gainsback is a Program Manager for Leadership Development in the Professional Services division at the SSEC. Katie coordinates events promoting inquiry-based learning and STEM education across the United States for science teachers, administrators, and community partners. Through her role designing and executing leadership and professional learning opportunities, Katie has reinvigorated her passion for working with teachers and grade school love of hands-on science. Before joining the Smithsonian in 2012, Katie worked at the National Geographic Museum planning and facilitating drop-in programs for visitors of all ages on exhibits ranging from the Anglo-Saxon Hoard to Animal Grossology. Prior to that Katie was part of the Education Team at the National Archives and Records Administration, supporting school and public programs while in graduate school. Katie earned her BA in History from the College of William & Mary and received an MA in Museum Education from The George Washington University.

Sarah Glassman, PhD
Science Curriculum Developer



Sarah Glassman, PhD, is a Science Curriculum Developer at the SSEC. She is responsible for developing new science curriculum for elementary and middle school students. Prior to joining the SSEC, Sarah taught middle and high school and worked in education research at AAAS Project 2061. As a teacher, Sarah taught life, earth, and physical science to middle and high school students in Virginia and New York State. At Project 2061, Sarah worked on assessment alignment to the NGSS and on an NSF-funded project identifying linguistic factors associated with differential student performance on science assessments. Sarah has also taught science methods to pre-service elementary teachers as an adjunct faculty at George Mason University.

Sarah earned her doctoral degree in Education from George Mason University in 2016. Her research focused on the relationship between middle school science instruction and student engagement. Sarah has a Master’s degree in Biology Teaching from Union Graduate College and a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Brown University.

Cara Hackett
Marketing & Communications Specialist


Cara Hackett is the Marketing and Communications Specialist for the Smithsonian’s Science Education Center. As a graduate of American University’s MA in Journalism and Digital Storytelling program, she’s immersed herself into various forms of multimedia storytelling by sharpening her print, audio, and video production skills. Much of her graduate studies focused on covering food economics, education, and environmental issues that impact Black and Brown communities. She also holds a bachelor's degree from Florida A&M University in public relations where she served as editor-in-chief of the university’s award-winning newspaper. In her spare time, Cara is an avid baker and enjoys reading novels by her favorite author, Toni Morrison.

Anne-Marie Kom
Finance Manager



Anne-Marie Kom is a Finance Manager for the SSEC and works with the Director of Finance to make sure that all grants and gifts financial compliances are followed. Before joining the organization as a permanent employee, she worked with the Smithsonian Office of Sponsored Project as a Financial Analyst, where she oversaw the financials of multiple grants across the whole institution. She received a BS in Finance from George Mason University and has been working in finance since then. She is originally from Cameroon, a country in central Africa, and moved to the United States 15 years ago. She is fluent in French and her native language called Bayangam. She has two children and enjoys spending time with her family and watching movies and tennis in her spare time.

Hyunju Lee, EdD
Research Scientist



Hyunju Lee, Ed.D. is a research scientist in the Professional Services division of the SSEC. Before joining the group, Hyunju was a research fellow at Utah State University and at the University of South Florida. Hyunju participated in NSF-funded longitudinal PD projects that science and mathematics teachers learned to implement technology in science inquiry pedagogy. Hyunju received the NASA HST Education & Public Outreach grant, and a postdoctoral fellowship from the Science Education Center at the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) of the Caltech. Hyunju’s research has focused on teacher learning of technology professional development, student learning of science, and astronomy education.

Hyunju earned her doctoral degree in education from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. And, she received a MS in astronomy from Seoul National University, and a BS in physics with a science teaching certificate from Ewha Womans University in South Korea. Hyunju had previously worked for STEM education programs, taught students, and translated children’s science books. Hyunju likes to travel, likes to look at the night sky, and to spend time with her kids.

Sherrell Lewis
Program Manager for Diversity, Equity, Accessibility and Inclusion


Sherrell Lewis is the Program Manager for Diversity, Equity, Accessibility and Inclusion (DEAI) within the Professional Services Division of the Smithsonian Science Education Center.  Sherrell manages the SSEC’s  programs that support educators in identifying, and removing, barriers that discourage students, with diverse backgrounds and experiences, from pursuing pathways to STEM education and STEM careers.  In this role, she is able to support the work of educators to connect and create lasting impact in their school communities, and education systems. Prior to joining the Smithsonian, she managed school-based family programs at Turning the Page, where she fostered relationship-building between school staff and families to increase meaningful family engagement in Washington, DC public schools.  Her work in continuing conversations around DEAI stems from a teaching career, where she successfully led as a mentor teacher and implemented schoolwide initiatives to address lack of diversity in parent involvement.  Sherrell earned a BS in Health Management from Norfolk State University and a M.Ed. in Education Policy and Leadership from American University.

Nejra Malanovic
Program Assistant



Nejra Malanovic is a Program Assistant in the Professional Services division of the SSEC where she supports a variety of programs. Prior to coming to the SSEC, Nejra worked at World Learning where she supported the US Department of State’s professional exchange program, International Visitor Leadership Program. She graduated from the University of Michigan with a B.S. in Biomolecular Science and a minor in Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian (BCS) Language, Literature, and Culture.

Patricia Marohn
Managing Editor



Patricia Marohn is the Managing Editor with the Curriculum and Communication department at the Smithsonian Science Education Center (SSEC). She has a BA in Journalism from Loyola University Chicago. She worked for two major television networks, WGN and Fox, during her time in Chicago. She transitioned into publishing in Washington, DC, training as a copy editor with the American Geophysical Union and editing the Journal of Geophysical Research and Geophysical Research Letters. She joined the SSEC in 2013. She has developed and managed the editorial style that the SSEC uses for all of its publications, including print and online material. She also writes content for SSEC products. 

Tamara McDonald
Regional Coordinator - Colorado


Tami McDonald is the Colorado Regional Coordinator at the SSEC. Her office is located at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. Her main responsibilities include: 1) building awareness for science education among leaders, 2) helping develop science education leadership among groups from school districts and states, 3) conducting professional development programs to support the professional growth of teachers, and 4) developing and disseminating information about exemplary science instructional materials. Prior to joining SSEC, she was an elementary and middle school teacher in both rural and urban public schools in Colorado. Tami earned her BA in Elementary Education from Regis University. She earned a MA in Curriculum and Instruction with a STEM emphasis as well as a Math Interventionist Certificate, both from Adams State University. She earned a STEM certificate from Teacher’s College of Columbia University through the NASA Endeavor Teaching Program.

Alexa Mogck
Program Assistant



Alexa Mogck is a Program Assistant in the Professional Services division of the SSEC where she supports a variety of domestic and international programs. Prior to joining the SSEC, Alexa worked and volunteered with many youth-facing science organizations in the Santa Barbara and Minneapolis greater areas and completed a Fulbright Grant teaching English in Terengganu, Malaysia. Alexa graduated from Westmont College with a B.S. in Biology: Ecology, Evolution, and Natural History and a minor in Anthropology.

Eva Muszynski
Program Assistant



Eva Muszynski is a Program Assistant in the Professional Services division of the SSEC where she coordinates and supports a variety of professional development workshops and leadership institutes. The main focus of her work is guiding teachers, schools and districts engaging in systemic change efforts around STEM education, with an emphasis on developing programing around diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility; ensuring all students have access to a high-quality science education. Eva graduated from the University of Miami with a BS in Marine and Atmospheric Science. In her spare time, Eva can be found coaching volleyball, sailing and hiking.

Hannah Osborn
Curriculum Product Specialist



Hannah Osborn is a curriculum product specialist for the Curriculum and Communications division where she is the contact for general operational responsibilities, manages and administers budget, procures vendors and contractors, and supports the writers, editors, and subject matter specialists within the division. Prior to coming to the Smithsonian Science Education Center, Hannah worked in healthcare as a Prosthetist and Orthotist, where she provided braces and artificial limbs to patients. In her free time, Hannah loves to travel anywhere and everywhere. She also enjoys watching and participating in sports, attending theater performances, and being outdoors hiking or camping. Hannah earned her MA from Georgetown University in Liberal Studies and her BA from the University of Michigan in Psychology and Classical Archeology.

Kayla Powitz
Advancement and Partnerships Assistant



Kayla Powitz is the Advancement and Partnerships Assistant for SSEC. In this role, she supports advancement efforts to secure the vital funding needed to transform K-12 education through science. She assists in all aspects of advancement through various projects. Prior to SSEC, Kayla was a Gift Assistant with the Smithsonian Office of Advancement. She was also an intern at The Kennedy Center and Leonard Cheshire Disability in the United Kingdom. Kayla received her Batchelor’s of Arts (BA) in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from George Mason University. 



Angela Pritchett
Human Resources Liaison



Angela Pritchett, PHR, SHRM-CP, has been the Human Resources Liaison for the SSEC since 2008. Her role as the internal expert on a variety of HR-related themes regarding leave administration, recruitment and selection, employee relations and performance management ensure the SSEC’s greatest asset, the people, keep the organization running smoothly and effectively. Angela also manages the internship and volunteer programs. Her 10 years of HR experience started when she worked for The National Academies. Before joining SSEC, Angela also held HR positions at a Federal credit union and a communications firm. She received a BS in Business Administration from Bowie State University.

Melissa Rogers
Science Curriculum Developer



Melissa Rogers is a Science Curriculum Developer on the Curriculum and Communications team. She joined SSEC in 2017 to support the writing of the NGSS-aligned Smithsonian Science for the Classroom modules for elementary classrooms. Melissa completed a BS and MS in Geophysics at Virginia Tech, with a focus on earthquake seismology. Following that, rather than studying the vibrations of Earth, she applied her data analysis skills to understanding the microgravity environment of Earth-orbiting spacecraft such as the US Space Shuttles. After explaining microgravity to researchers for several years, she started to develop microgravity educational materials for NASA and to design and facilitate related teacher professional learning opportunities. That led to (earth systems, environmental science, engineering, physics) classroom teaching at the high school, community college, and four-year college levels. For four years prior to joining SSEC, Melissa created in-person, on-line, and hybrid climate change professional learning workshops for educators. In her spare time, she enjoys perusing cookbooks and testing out new recipes.

Logan Schmidt
Science Curriculum Developer



Logan Schmidt is a Curriculum Developer on the Curriculum and Communications Team. Logan learned at an early age that the only thing she liked better than science was talking to people about science, and she has spent the last twenty years pursuing that passion. Logan began her career as a teen volunteer in the rainforest and aquarium exhibits of Discovery Place Science Museum, and went on to hone her educational skills at museums, aquariums, wildlife refuges, penguin colonies, publishing companies, and the classroom. She has a B.A. in Biological Sciences and Classics from Wellesley College and a Masters of Science in Teaching with a concentration in Secondary Biology from Boston College’s Lynch School of Education. In her spare time, Logan enjoys volunteering at the USO, fishing at the Tidal Basin with her fly rod, and searching for the city’s best mozzarella sticks.

Ryan Seymour
Digital Producer



Ryan Seymour is the Digital Producer and is responsible for creating web and other digital STEM products including websites, online learning platforms, videos, simulations, interactives, apps, interactive e-books, and digital games within the subject-matter area of STEM.  Prior to joining SSEC, Ryan began his career as an ESL teacher in China, South Korea and the United States.  He then moved into the position of E-Learning Support Coordinator at American University. Ryan earned his MA in Game Design from American University, focusing his research on how games can improve educational experiences.

Beth Short
Science Curriculum Developer



Beth Short, is a Science Curriculum Developer in the SSEC’s Curriculum and Communications division.  Prior to working with SSEC, she worked in both formal and informal educational settings.  Her experience includes working as Associate Director of Nature’s Classroom Inc. where she developed standards-aligned environmental education curriculum, coordinated with schools across the New England region, and served on the board of directors for the Massachusetts Environmental Education Society.  As a classroom teacher, Beth taught fourth, fifth, and sixth grade where she continued to share her passion for the natural world with her students.  Most recently, she worked in education research at George Washington University where she is currently enrolled as a doctoral student in Curriculum and Instruction.  Beth’s research includes the NSF funded Arctic PIRE project for which she developed and implemented a global sustainability curriculum.  Her research explores students’ perceptions of global environmental issues.  She also taught Evaluating Museum Learning at GWU. Beth earned her Master of Science in Ecological Teaching and Learning in 2011 from Lesley University and Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theater from the University of Detroit-Mercy.

Inola Walston
Advancement Program Specialist



Inola Walston is the Advancement Program Specialist for the SSEC. Inola has over 22 years of fundraising and non-profit experience. As the Advancement Program Specialist, Inola composes and drafts detailed proposals and correspondence to donors and prospects; prepares reports and marketing materials; participates in solicitation and stewardship activities; and assists in the planning, management, and execution of special events and educational experiences to maintain donor engagement. Prior to joining the Smithsonian, Inola was the Organizational Advancement Officer for the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED), an economic development non-profit organization in Washington, DC. While at CFED, Inola was primarily responsible for a variety of grants management and fundraising activities such as grant writing, reporting, stewardship, and prospect research. Over her professional career, Inola has been employed at such venerable organizations as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, where she helped to raise funding during the museum’s capital campaign. Ms. Walston earned her BS in Interior Design from Louisiana State University.