STEM Institute Speakers

Ron Ottinger

As the Executive Director of the STEM Next, Ron Ottinger oversees all program areas and operations of the Noyce Foundation. For the past eight years, he has led the foundation’s strategies and initiatives in informal and out-of-school-time science, focusing on field-building efforts that are marrying afterschool and science. Ron also spearheads the foundation’s human capital management and math initiatives. Prior to joining Noyce, Ron served for fourteen years as National Associate Director of the non-profit AVID Center, which disseminates AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination), the nationally acclaimed college preparation program for low-income students. He was elected to three terms on the San Diego City Schools’ Board of Education from 1992-2004, during a period of major reform of the school system, and was the longest running board president.

Building STEM System Panel

Kari Pardoe, Facilitator

Kari Pardoe is an associate program officer at the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation.
Pardoe most recently directed The LEAGUE Michigan, a K-12 service-learning and
philanthropy program of the Michigan Nonprofit Association (MNA) and joined the
MNA in 2006 after serving as manager of community relations at the Pistons Palace
Foundation for Palace Sports and Entertainment in Auburn Hills. Pardoe is a graduate
of Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant, where she received a bachelor’s
degree in Applied Arts in Commercial and Community Recreation. Pardoe also holds a
master’s in Public Administration in Nonprofit Administration from Grand Valley State
University in Allendale, Michigan.

Dr Amelia Courts

Since 2013 Dr. Courts has served as the President/CEO of The Education Alliance which cultivates business and community support for public education.  Under her leadership, the Alliance launched a statewide education summit, provided technical assistance to the Governor’s STEM Council and directed programs that serve over 21,000 West Virginia students. In addition, she worked to help support an expansion of the AmeriCorps program which nearly doubled the number of AmeriCorps members impacting students across the state.

Prior to coming to the Alliance, she served as Assistant State Superintendent at the West Virginia Department of Education. She taught English as a Second Language (ESL) for six years in Japan and China as well as at Marshall University. In 2002, she completed her doctoral degree at West Virginia University.

Martha McCabe

Martha McCabe serves as the Director for the Kansas City STEM Alliance developing relationships with preK -12 schools, post-secondary institutions, STEM organizations and industry working on strategic education initiatives, community partnerships and workforce needs.  Martha serves as the project lead for Kansas City’s STEM Learning Ecosystem, ecosySTEM KC, chairs the regional Girls in STEM Committee, is the co-state leader for the MO/KS Million Women Mentor initiative and coordinates outreach and advocacy efforts serving as a liaison to the national Project Lead the Way and FIRST organizations. As a clinical exercise physiologist, Martha worked at healthcare facilities prior to focusing on healthcare advocacy and workforce initiatives. With an interest in rural healthcare issues, Martha opened a federally and state funded Area Health Education Center earning a National AHEC Outstanding Health Professions Education Program Award, WI Business Friend of Education and WI DPI Outstanding Rural Schools Initiative Award. She received both her graduate and undergraduate degrees from the University of Kansas and resides in Lawrence, Kansas.

Ann Marie McSwiggan

Anne Marie McSwiggan is the General Manager for Intel Corporate Services Technology Development. Scottish born, McSwiggan joined Intel 14 years ago as Chemical Engineer in Ireland in 2002. She managed technology and was the Site Manager for Ireland before moving to Oregon in 2013. In her current role with Intel, she manages all Technology Development sites for Corporate Services, including the Oregon site in Hillsboro. Hillsboro is Intel’s largest and most advanced site in the world and is the global center of semiconductor research and manufacturing.

McSwiggan lives in Portland, OR with her husband and daughter. McSwiggan’s husband and their two children, (their son still lives overseas), are in the music industry. When not on official Intel business, McSwiggan splits time between training and competing on her horse and following her musical family around the country.

Jim Piro

Jim Piro has more than 40 years’ experience in the utility business. Before becoming CEO in 2009, he served nine years as executive vice president of Finance, chief financial officer and treasurer. Piro serves on several boards and is chair of Greater Portland Inc. and the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Investment Council. He is a member of the Oregon Global Warming Commission and is active in the business and utility industries, both locally and nationally, serving on the boards of the Oregon Business Council and the Edison Electric Institute. He is also a member of the Electrification Coalition, a national group of business leaders advocating for policies that support electric vehicles. He serves also on the Oregon State University Foundation and the PGE Foundation. Piro earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering with an emphasis in structural engineering from Oregon State University.

Graham Pugh

Graham Pugh became Deputy Director of The Lemelson Foundation in 2015. In that capacity he works to help advance programs and initiatives in support of our strategy, as well as lead efforts that span across the Foundation’s portfolio. Graham draws on three decades of diverse experience in the public policy, international development, engineering, and technology sectors.

Prior to joining the Foundation, Graham most recently served as director of the Office of Climate Change Policy and Technology at the U.S. Department of Energy. In that position, he oversaw engagement with global energy ministries and managed agreements focused on renewable energy, energy efficiency and access, and human capacity. Previously, Graham served at the White House as deputy associate director for Technology and International Affairs at the Council on Environmental Quality. Graham also spent years facilitating development of new technologies for Intel and other corporations. Graham holds a B.A. in physics and a master of engineering from Cornell University. He also served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Kenya.

What, Why and How We Talk STEM

John Falk

Dr. John H. Falk, Sea Grant Professor of Free-Choice Learning at Oregon State University and Director, OSU Center for Research on Lifelong STEM Learning, is internationally acknowledged as a leading expert on free-choice learning; the learning that occurs while visiting museums or parks, watching educational television or surfing the Internet for information. Dr. Falk has authored over one hundred fifty scholarly articles and chapters in the areas of learning, biology and education, more than a dozen books, and helped to create several nationally important out-of-school educational curricula. He serves on numerous national and international boards and commissions and has been Associate Editor of several internationally prominent journals. Before joining the faculty at Oregon State University, he founded and directed the Institute for Learning Innovation where he oversaw more than 200 research and evaluation projects involving a wide range of free-choice learning institutions. He also worked as an early child science educator at the University of Maryland and spent fourteen years at the Smithsonian Institution where he held a number of senior positions including Director, Smithsonian Office of Educational Research. In 2006 Falk was recognized by the American Association of Museums as one of the 100 most influential museum professionals of the past 100 years. In 2010 he was further recognized by the American Association of Museum’s Education Committee with its highest award, the John Cotton Dana Award for Leadership. In 2013 the Council of Science Society President’s gave Falk their Educational Research Award for his outstanding achievement in research that improved children’s learning and understanding. Falk earned a joint doctorate in Ecology and Science Education from the University of California, Berkeley.

Anita Krishnamurthi

Anita Krishnamurthi joined the Afterschool Alliance in June 2010 as Director of STEM Policy after serving as the John Bahcall Public Policy Fellow for the American Astronomical Society. As Vice President of STEM Policy, Anita is responsible for creating and advancing federal, state and local opportunities and policies to expand resources and activities that provide students with access to a rich STEM curriculum in their afterschool programs. Anita brings nearly a decade of experience in science education and outreach to a wide variety of audiences to this role. Prior to her fellowship, she worked at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for six years, firstly as an Education and Public Outreach (EPO) Program Planning Specialist at NASA-HQ, and then as Lead for EPO in the Astrophysics Science Division at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. Before joining NASA, Anita was a Program Officer at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C. in the Office on Public Understanding of Science. Anita’s formal training is as an astrophysicist, receiving her PhD from The Ohio State University. She conducted her postdoctoral work at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Heidi Sipe

Heidi Sipe serves as the Superintendent of the Umatilla School District. An Eastern Washington native, she began her work in Oregon in 2000 and has developed a deep passion for rural education, especially for linguistically diverse students and students of poverty. She is committed to ensuring that all students have opportunities to achieve their future dreams by establishing a strong foundation of skills through effective instruction delivered by dedicated and skilled staff. She believes in the power of extended learning time and has been a champion for after-school and summer school opportunities for students. Sipe took a leave of absence from Umatilla to serve as the Assistant Superintendent for the Oregon Department of Education in fall of 2012 and oversaw the Office of Educational Improvement and Innovation before returning to her district in spring of 2013. Sipe currently chairs the Teacher Standards and Practices Commission and has been a member of the commission since 2012. She is the current President of the Oregon Association of School Executives and held various leadership roles with the Confederation of Oregon School Administrators. She was selected as Oregon Superintendent of the Year in 2016. Heidi received her Bachelors of Arts in Reading from Eastern Washington University and her administrative credentials and Ed.S in Educational Leadership from Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon.

Future of Education Panel

Iris Bond-Gill

Iris Bond Gill works with the Mozilla Foundation on projects related to web literacy, digital badges, and promoting any time, any place, and any pace learning. Prior to working with Mozilla, she was Assistant Superintendent of K12 at the DC state education agency. Ms. Gill started her career as a seventh grade teacher in New Orleans. She holds a masters degree in public policy & management from Carnegie Mellon University and a bachelors degree from Arizona State University.

Kiki Prottsman

Kiki is Education Program Manager at and a former computer science instructor at the University of Oregon. As a champion for responsible computing and equity in both CS employment and education, Kiki works with many organizations to improve the experience of girls and women in STEM. Her landmark work with the hands-on Traveling Circuits computer science curriculum helped Thinkersmith receive the 2013 Google RISE Award for excellence in Science and Engineering. She currently sits on the Advisory Board for Wonder Workshop Robotics, and is a member of the Leadership team for the Oregon Girls Collaborative Project.

Wayne Skipper

Wayne Skipper is Founder and CEO of Concentric Sky and also chairs the board of Innovate Oregon. His background spans both hardware and software technologies, including award-winning works of technology art. Recently Wayne has helped pioneered the area of digital credentials and in 2014 launched the Oregon Badge Alliance.

Speakers & Ignitors

Lindsey Capps

Lindsey Capps is Chief Education Officer and Education Policy Advisor to Governor Kate Brown. Lindsey has worked with education and community leaders across Oregon, and has a track record of being a bridge builder. Lindsey has effectively developed strategic partnerships and enacted innovative policy solutions to improve student learning. Prior to serving Governor Brown, Lindsey was deputy to Chief Education Officer Nancy Golden. Prior to his recent leadership roles, Lindsey was instrumental in the creation of the Center for Great Public Schools, a hub for education policy, practice and research within the Oregon Education Association. He served as Chair of the statewide Coalition for Quality Teaching and Learning, and was an executive committee member of the Oregon Leadership Network, an initiative of Education Northwest to improve educational equity in Oregon’s public schools. Lindsey served in the Clinton Administration as a special assistant at the U.S. Department of Commerce, and was a policy advisor to the House Minority Leader and a ranking member of the Ways and Means and Joint Economic Committees in Congress. A native Oregonian, Lindsey is a product of Oregon public schools. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of California at Santa Barbara, and his master’s from Georgetown University.

Lynn Dierking

Lynn D. Dierking is Professor, Free-Choice STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) Learning, College of Science, and Associate Dean for Research, College of Education, Oregon State University. She is internationally recognized for her research on lifelong learning, particularly free-choice, out-of-school time learning (in after-school, home-, and community-based contexts), with diverse youth and families. Recently completed projects include two NSF-funded studies: Cascading Influences, long-term impacts of girls-only informal STEM programs; and, Pathways to Brighter Futures, with incarcerated Hispanic youth. Current research includes NSF-funded projects at Denver Museum of Nature & Science, focused on youth and family STEM literacy, and two projects at Oregon Museum of Science & Industry: REVEAL, investigating family mathematical discourse at math-related exhibits and Designing Our World (DOW), studying girls’ identities in relationship to engineering. She is also co-investigator on the Noyce-funded SYNERGIES project, studying youths’ STEM, creativity and invention interest trajectories in an under-resourced community in Portland and a connected effort, the Lemelson-funded Advancing STEM, Creativity, and Invention Learning through SYNERGIES project. Lynn publishes extensively and is on three editorial boards. Her awards include the 2010 American Association of Museums’ John Cotton Dana Award for Leadership and being an invited speaker in NSF’s 2013 Distinguished Lecture Series.

Heidi Ham

Heidi Ham recently joined NAA as Vice President of Programs and Strategy. She works to advance current work and to create and support new opportunities specifically focused on quality improvement, advancing professionalism, and strengthening state and local alliances. In 1996, Heidi started as a site director with Champions before- and after-school programs in Portland, Oregon, and later became a multisite manager of twelve . Since then, Heidi has served in various roles with the Knowledge Universe (KU) Education Department, working with sites across the nation and facilitating training for a variety of program types including science and academic intervention, coaching for continuous improvement, and developing tools and resources. Heidi is a Council on Accreditation endorser, a Weikart Center for Youth Program Quality Work Methods and Program Management Series trainer, and a National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) conference proposal reviewer. Heidi holds a bachelor of arts in social science and education from Central Washington University. She currently lives in the D.C. metro area with her husband, who also works in the afterschool field.

Dr. Gil Noam

Gil Noam, Ed. D., is the founder and director of the program in Education, Afterschool & Resiliency (PEAR) at Harvard University. An Associate Professor at Harvard Medical School and McLean Hospital focusing on prevention and resilience, Dr. Noam trained as a clinical and developmental psychologist and psychoanalyst in both Europe and the United States. Dr. Noam has a strong interest in translating research and innovation to support resilience in youth in educational settings. He served as the Drector of the Risk and Prevention program at Harvard, and is the founder of the RALLY Prevention Program, an intervention that combines early detection of health, mental health and learning problems in middle school youth, and pioneers a new professional role – “prevention practitioner”. Dr, Noam has published over 200 papers, articles, and books on topics related to child and adolescent development, and risk and resiliency. He is the editor-in-chief of the award-winning journal New Directions in Youth Development: Theory, Practice and Research and onsulsts nationally and internationally to youth development, education and child mental health organizations, foundations and agencies.

Diane Smith

A life-long teacher, Diane Smith began her career as a play-ground monitor in fourth grade. Her 30-plus years of public school experience spans instruction at the elementary, middle, high school and college levels. An expert in the fields of curriculum and instruction, she shared her talents as a teacher, alternative school principal and Director of Curriculum for a large Oregon school district. She is the author of several reflective and research documents on proficiency, as well as It’s About Time, A Framework for Proficiency-based Teaching & Learning. Diane delivers college courses on such topics as administrator leadership, grading for learning in a standards-based classroom and student-centered practices. She is a passionate advocate for proficiency/competency-based education, presenting at national conferences such as Achieve, iNACOL, National Association of Secondary School Principals and ASCD.

Maryann Stimmer

Maryann Stimmer supports STEM education nationally through professional development and project and curriculum design. She is the architect of the Frontiers in Urban Science Education model used in sixteen states and the senior technical adviser on two National Science Foundation projects. Ms. Stimmer served as the chairperson of the Math Special Interest Group (SIG) at the Association for Science and Technology Centers (ASTC) and founded the STEM SIG at the National Afterschool Association. She also served on the US Department of Education’s STEM Technical Working Group and the National Science Teacher Association’s Committees on Informal Science Education and Science Education for Students with Disabilities. Ms. Stimmer is the recipient of the 2008 National Science Teachers Association’s Distinguished Informal Educator Award, the 2009 After School Experience Excellence Award and the New York City Reliance Award for Education. She has been named one of the National Afterschool Association’s 25 Most Influential People in STEM.


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