Madison Sanchez works for the J. Craig Venter Institute in La Jolla, CA as a Laboratory Assistant in the Infectious Disease department
Through her education, Madison has grown a passion for teaching and mentorship, having assisted courses ranging from Chemistry to Introductory Dance. She has volunteered at multiple STEAM events through the San Diego area and is enthusiastic to spread the knowledge and love of science. She is currently attending UC San Diego as an undergraduate student in pursuit of a B.S. in Chemistry/ Biochemistry.
James Newton is a professional embedded systems engineer, specializing in robotics and data logging. Although James is self-taught and holds no degrees
James has a deep love of making and teaching which lead him to join a small volunteer group which brought the Maker Faires to San Diego starting in 2013. This "Makers Guild" has continued to provide James an outlet for volunteer work, activities, and events geared towards teaching people of all ages the technical skills required to make interesting things. James started with UCSD Extension in 2018 by teaching the introductory course for the Program Your Future certifications, and hopes to continue in similar activities as time allows.
Phil Ballo is a library professional with significant involvement with maker technology. He currently holds two masters degrees in history and library and information sciences
Thomas Kearney earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications-Visual Arts from UCSD Muir College. He subsequently worked in advertising for a full service agency.
Additionally he was employed as Director of Operations at a National Yellow Pages specialty agency. Switching focus, he applied his skills to Software Quality Assurance. During this time he was a Software Tester and a Database Support Specialist. He spent 5 years as a Software Quality Assurance Manager. The next decade was filled with caring for elderly parents, first his wife's and then his own.
Along the way Tom enjoyed sixteen years of involvement with youth as a Boy Scout volunteer, which served to round out his experience with the age groups he has been working with for UCSD Extension. During the summer of 2018, Tom re-entered the formal job market serving as an Instructor Assistant with UCSD Extension for the Program Your Future classes. This fall he continues to be involved with the ACT/SAT prep classes, the Program Your Future program and the Library NExT classes.
Mackenzie Roberts has worked for several years as a geologist, both in industry and as a researcher at Scripps Institution of Oceanography.
She holds a B.S. degree in Earth Science from UCSD. Currently, she is working towards her Masters in Education degree at UCSD while obtaining her single subject Science teaching credential. She hopes to use this credential to teach high school sciences, particularly environmental and earth sciences. Mackenzie teaches Library NExT courses through UCSD Extension.
Anika Kenion received a BA in Integrative Biology from UC Berkeley with an emphasis on Ecology, Evolution and Organismal Biology.
In addition, she spent the last year in Puerto Rico mentoring college students and engaging in relief work. Currently, she is an Educator at SeaWorld and beginning to substitute teach in San Diego County.
She is interested in all things ocean and would love to continue exploring the relationship between the ocean and art. “You might not ever find the meaning of life, but you can find meaning within life. By doing what you love and loving others by what you do.”
Manju Muralidharan has a Master's Degree in Computer Science from Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago and a Bachelors degree in Computer Engineering from Anna University, India,
She combines her passion for teaching, love for technology and penchant for crafting to teach a variety of courses including Lego Mindstorms, Android App Design, Craft - Electronics, DIY Robots for Library NExT through UCSD Extension and as a volunteer & official vendor for the San Diego Public Libraries.
Cynthia Matzke is an explorer and ocean science communicator who creates STEAM courses by taking lessons from the field into the classroom.
As part of an injured marine wildlife responder team, Cynthia has training assisting with humpback whales, dolphins, sea lions, sea turtles and oiled bird rescues. She is an Adjunct Professor at NewSchool of Architecture + Design and teaches science, research and communications courses. As an underwater researcher and Explorers Club Fellow, Ms. Matzke “takes a deep dive into marine ecology” to study and film marine life worldwide, from the tropics to the poles. For more information: https://spiralpacific.org/about-us.
Lorrie Blackard Friet
Lorrie Blackard Friet has a BFA in Studio Art & a MFA in Design. Also know as thewavepainter, Lorrie's artwork is featured in collections across the United States as well as in Sweden & Germany.
Reesha Rajen has earned her Associate's Degree in Mathematics from MiraCosta College in Oceanside, CA. It was there at MiraCosta that she discovered her passion for teaching.
Reesha wishes to use her background within computer science and mathematics to inspire other students to pursue careers in the sciences. As a participant in Sally Ride Science programs when she was younger, she hopes to give back to her community in the same way. Currently, Reesha is continuing her undergraduate studies in Computer Science & Engineering as a junior at the University of California San Diego.
Christopher Johnson is a geophysics researcher at Scripps Institution of Oceanography with a PhD from UC Berkeley and a BS degree from Georgia Tech in Earth Science.
In the Bay Area he was actively involved with educational outreach by visiting underrepresented schools to discuss with students what is geologically known about their community. Currently, he is apart of the UCSD Extension Library NExT program to continue engaging young adults with geology, physics, and computation exercises that explore the Earth.
Shirli Cohen received a B.S. in Bioengineering from UC San Diego and is excited to share her passion for STEAM with her students.
In the past, she has studied bacteria from the International Space Station and the applications of placental cells in regenerative medicine. Shirli’s favorite part of research is coming up with new and exciting questions, and being equipped with the right tools to figure out the answers. She hopes to instill this sense of curiosity and creativity in all of her students.
Ms. Cervantes received her bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley in Political Science with a minor in English. During college, she started tutoring as part of her work-study program.
Kayleen received her undergraduate degree in chemistry before moving up to Alaska to work for an oceanographer at an environmental non-profit (Prince William Sound Science Center).
Joseph Kennedy is an architectural designer, writer, artist and filmmaker who specializes in sustainable building, ecological design, and community development.