Director: Dr. Susan Rowe Visit Susan's website
Dr. Susan Rowe joins Precollege Programs and the SMILE team with a diverse array of professional experiences in science education research and practice in informal learning settings (e.g. museums, zoos, aquariums, and other out-of-school learning settings such as our very own STEM afterschool clubs). She holds a doctoral degree in Environmental Sciences with a focus on environmental education from OSU; a master’s degree in Animal Ecology with a focus on environmental literacy from Iowa State University; and a double degree in Biology and Education from Universidade Federal Rural de Pernambuco, her home university in Brazil.
Susan has worked as a K-12 science teacher in Brazil and at various education venues the US, developing curriculum and delivering science education programs. As a science education scholar, her research focuses on conservation education from a critical environmental literacy standpoint and via community engaged models. Prior to joining our team, she filled the role of OSU Carnegie Community Engagement Reclassification Project Manager helping collect, analyze and document important aspects of OSU’s institutional mission, identity and commitments to outreach and engagement, engaged scholarship, teaching and service. As a first-generation student and a Latina woman in science, Susan is also committed to help build equitable pathways for success for underserved students in STEM and STEM education. She is focused on bridging her research, education and community engagement skills to support the mission of Precollege Programs and SMILE.
Senior Program Coordinator: Emily Nicholson
Emily Nicholson, originally from Northern California, graduated from Oregon State University with Bachelor of Science degrees in Education and Zoology and has been involved with youth programming since she was young. She has experience with 4-H, YMCA, STEM Academy as well as informal youth science outreach through Sigma Delta Omega, Oregon State’s Academic Science sorority. She is excited to be working with Precollege Programs at OSU to open students’ eyes to the possibilities around them.
Program Coordinator: Dr. Adam Talamantes
Dr. Adam Talamantes has been involved with the Science and Math Investigative Learning Experience (SMILE) program for several years. His graduate research revolved around integrating project-based learning into SMILE’s summer bridge program and evaluating the impact of the summer bridge program on college self-efficacy. His research also focused on building community-university partnerships to support out-of-school time STEM education. Currently, he is working closer with SMILE as a Program Coordinator.
Administrative Program Specialist: Kami Hammerschmith
Kami Hammerschmith has worked at Oregon State University for more than 25 years, previously with Orange Media Network/Student Media. She provides administrative support for Precollege Programs and The SMILE Program. Kami is also a proud OSU alumni.
Associate Director, SMILE Program: Jay Well
Jay Well is the Associate Director of the Science and Math Investigative Learning Experiences (SMILE) program. After spending seven years researching wildlife genetics, genomics, and population health, Jay discovered his passion for working to advance equal access to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) curriculum and opportunities for rural underserved students. Over the past 10 years, Jay has worked toward that goal through creating innovative teacher professional development and linking K-12 teachers and students to OSU research, faculty and students. This effort works to establish a pathway to success for SMILE students as they transition through K-12, college, and then on to STEM careers. Outside of the office Jay can be found spending time with his family or running on local trails.
STEM Academy Director: Dr. Catherine Law
Catherine Law, Ph.D., Director of STEM Academy at OSU, has twelve years of experience in university outreach at Oregon State University and Portland State University. She has a B.S. in Sociology from U.C.L.A., a teaching credential from Sacramento State's Multicultural Education Program, and a Ph.D. in Public Administration and Policy from Portland State University. Cathy oversees the operation of STEM Academy at OSU, including creating and administrating summer camps, science and engineering clubs geared toward girls, and in-school outreach programs, with a mission of inspiring young people to consider college in their future and the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) fields in particular. A significant focus at STEM Academy is to target underrepresented students to attend STEM Academy programs. Cathy has taught at every level from preschool through graduate school and has a strong background in and passion for working with underserved and underrepresented students. Cathy collaborates with faculty, students, community members, schools, and private industry in Oregon and beyond to serve STEM Academy participants, as well as further research efforts in the STEM fields.
Administrative Program Assistant: Carole Rodriguez
Carole Rodriguez has a Master of Science in Biomedical Science and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Northeastern University in Boston. Carole worked as an Environmental Consultant at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Washington before deciding to leave this position to work full-time at home under new management...her two young sons. During that period, Carole undertook several leadership roles that centered around the safety and education of children. When the opportunity arose to join STEM Academy in 2014, it seemed like the perfect way to combine her business and science backgrounds to further impact youth in this community and beyond.
Ex-officio Executive Director: Dr. Skip Rochefort, Chemical Engineering Department
Dr. Skip Rochefort is currently an Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering in the School of Chemical, Biological, and Environmental Engineering (cbee.oregonstate.edu/people/skip-rochefort) and the Executive Director of OSU Precollege Programs (precollege.oregonstate.edu/) and the Center for Outreach in Science and Engineering for Youth (COSEY) at Oregon State University.
He has degrees in Chemical Engineering from the University of Massachusetts (B.S., 1976), Northwestern University (M.S. 1978) and the University of California, San Diego (Ph.D., 1986). He has held several industrial research positions (Dow Chemical, Kodak, AT&T Bell Labs), and since 1993 he has been on the faculty at Oregon State University and has been a University Honors College Faculty member since 1995 and a UHC Eminent Professor since 2012 . He has been recognized for his teaching and advising activities by ASEE, AIChE, the College of Engineering, and Oregon State University. His research interest for the last 40 years has been in all areas of polymer engineering and science. He established the Polymer Research Laboratory in 1993 with complete capabilities for molecular, thermal, rheological, and surface characterization of polymers.
He has been involved in K-12 outreach and recruitment/retention issues in engineering since his arrival at OSU in 1993. During that time he has mentored over 100 high school and undergraduate students, and for those endeavors he has been recognized as the OSU 2013 Mentor of the Year and the Saturday Academy 2014 Science Educator of the Year. In 1997 he founded the Summer Experience in Science and Engineering for Youth (cbee.oregonstate.edu/sesey) a one-week research experience on the OSU campus which has served over 600 high school girls and ethnic minorities and engaged over 250 engineering undergrads as mentors and counselors. His passion is K-12 outreach for the recruitment and retention of women and minorities into engineering, with the current focus on introducing engineering science to Oregon youth at the middle school and high school levels.
SMILE Program Assistant: Becca Harver
Becca Harver is the SMILE Program Assistant. She is an OSU graduate who has worked in a variety of educational settings including outdoor schools, science centers, and environmental non-profit agencies. Having been a preschool teacher and paraeducator, Becca greatly enjoys working with students and teachers. As an Oregonian and nature enthusiast, Becca likes spending her free time exploring the outdoors with her family.
Grants Specialist: Erin Christensen
Dr. Erin Christensen, Grants Specialist, has a background of grants management in graduate education. She has an Ed.D. in Higher Education (2019) and a Master of Music in cello performance (2012) from the University of Denver, a Master of Fine Arts in literary translation (2004) from Naropa University, and a B.A. in music (2000) from Gonzaga University. She is excited to join Precollege Programs to help with K-12 programming across Oregon. In her free time, she regularly performs cello for a variety of ensembles, enjoys spending time with family, and especially enjoys learning and practicing paleontology with her daughter.
Curriculum and Evaluation Specialist: Renee O'Neill
Renee is a dedicated science and environmental educator with more than 15 years' experience leading and coordinating field-based programs for students and teachers. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Fisheries from Oregon State University and a Master's of Science Education in Curriculum and Instruction. Renee is responsible for the oversight of curriculum and evaluation for Precollege Programs. She has developed curriculum around a variety of topics including watersheds, ecosystems, fisheries, and climate change. Renee spent many years living and working throughout Alaska on land and at sea, but ultimately found that her passion was in connecting youth to the amazing world of science, particularly those with the least access. When not working, she can be found on the trails with her husband, son, and dog, or in the kitchen cooking and baking.