Board of Directors
David T. Adler, PhD in Physics
Washington, DC 20016
David Adler retired from Fannie Mae in 2008. During his quarter century there, he worked as system and financial analyst, building simulation models, pricing mortgage products, and developing financial databases. Before joining Fannie Mae he was a consultant in the areas of regional economics and occupational health and safety. For five years he was the treasurer of his synagogue. In addition to RESET he is on the boards of the Montgomery County Meals on Wheels program and Micah House, a residential program for women in recovery from drug and alcohol abuse. Dr. Adler has Ph.D and MSIA degrees from Carnegie-Mellon University and has taught physics.
Having spent many years of education studying physics and math, Dr. Adler joined RESET because he believes that these skills are valuable in today’s world, and because an appreciation of science and how scientists see the world provides logical tools applicable to any field of endeavor.
Nina Barcelli, Science Curriculum Designer
Washington, DC 20001
Nina Barcelli is a Teach for America alum who worked as a middle school science teacher in the Washington, DC area for eight years. In 2013 she connected with a group of volunteers from the NIH to form an extracurricular science program at the school where she taught, Center City Public Charter Schools’ Shaw Campus. From there, the Saturday science club called Curiologie in the Classroom was born, but it was not until a partnership with RESET in 2014 that the program reached its full potential. Mrs. Barcelli credits RESET with taking Curiologie to the next level, providing resources for everything from lesson planning to field trips, and establishing an overall structure that could support dozens of participating students long-term. Because of her demonstrated dedication to her students and commitment to the success of Curiologie in the Classroom, Mrs. Barcelli was honored as RESET’s Teacher of the Year for the 2017-2018 school year.
Since making the difficult decision to change career paths in the summer of 2018, Mrs. Barcelli has worked as a Learning Design Editor for the science curriculum team at Great Minds, assisting in the development of a highly anticipated national science curriculum aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards. As a new Board member, Mrs. Barcelli is looking forward to lending her expertise in science curriculum development and is most excited about interacting with students again.
Claudia C. Austin, First Grade Teacher, Montgomery County Schools
Gaithersburg, MD 20878
Claudia Austin is a teacher in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math/ English for Speakers of Other Languages at Richard Montgomery High School in Rockville, Maryland. Prior to that position, Ms. Austin taught first grade for four years at Clopper Mill Elementary School in Germantown, Maryland, where she hosted RESET programs in her classrooms. She received her B.A. degree in Early Childhood Education from Towson University in 2010, and a M.Ed. in Teacher Leadership: Special Studies in STEM Education from the University of Maryland in 2016. Ms. Austin was born in Brazil and she utilizes her Brazilian heritage to connect and inspire diverse students to pursue their dreams. Ms. Austin strongly believes that STEM education should be offered to ALL students regardless of their race, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status.
Sara has nearly 20 years of experience in global public health including Peace Corps/Togo, USAID/Senegal, USAID/West Africa, World Bank, university research centers, and USAID-funded projects. She currently works for the CIRCLE Project focused on using evidence-based approaches to improve maternal, newborn, and child health in low- and middle-income countries. She has a bachelor’s degree in international relations and French from William and Mary, a master’s degree in public health from University of North Carolina, and a doctor of public health degree from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
In her spare time Sara enjoys volunteering and mobilizing groups of volunteers, particularly youth, to participate in community service projects. For the past ten years she has volunteered for the Girl Scouts Council of the Nation’s Capital to bring STEM, Leave No Trace outdoor ethics, and global programs to Girl Scouts in the DC metro area. With the local BSA council she teaches Leave No Trace and advises scouts on significant conservation and environmental projects. At the local elementary school she’s the parent member of the STAMP (Science Technology Art Music Philanthropy) committee aimed at providing family-friendly STEM and volunteer opportunities to the school community. In Fairfax County she serves as a site leader for the Fairfax County Park Authority Invasive Management Area program to educate the public and lead work days to remove invasive plants from public land, helps label storm drains with the Soil & Water Conservation District, and plants native trees with Fairfax ReLeaf. For these conservation and environmental efforts she recently earned an Elly Doyle recognition and IMA volunteer of the year award from the Park Authority and the Environmental Excellence Award from the Office of Environmental and Energy Coordination.
John W. Meagher
RESET Board Chair
Fairfax Station, VA 22039
John Meagher served as RESET’s Executive Director from 2007 to 2018, led its Communications Program from 2018 to 2021, and is now the Board’s Chairperson. Employed for 32 years at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Mr. Meagher served as Director of its Wetlands Division from its inception in 1990 until 2005. As a member of the federal Senior Executive Service he supervised a staff of 35 and managed a nationwide program with a budget of $35 million a year. He holds a B.S. in civil engineering and an M.A. in environmental engineering, both from Manhattan College, New York. Mr. Meagher started as a volunteer at RESET in early 2007 and later that year accepted the Executive Director position. He has presented hands-on science curricula to a wide variety of elementary school classes throughout the Washington, DC metro area. RESET appealed to him because it provides low-income children exposure to pathways they may want to consider for their futures.
Lewis J. Mendelson, Esq., International Capital Market Consultant, Retired
Bethesda, MD 20816
Lew Mendelson is a graduate of Columbia College and Columbia Law School. Upon completion of his military duty, he served as Law Clerk to the Chief Justice of the Oregon Supreme Court and briefly practiced law in New York City. Lew joined the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) during the Kennedy Administration. He became an Assistant Director of its Division of Investment Management and Special Counsel in its Enforcement Division. Over the 20 years following retirement from the SEC, as an international capital market consultant with World Bank, USAID and Asian Development Bank projects, Mr. Mendelson was instrumental in formulating and implementing strategies for capital market development in emerging markets in 18 country’s across Europe, Asia, Africa and South America. He accepted the invitation to join RESET from its founder, Dr. Harold Sharlin, because he believed that scientific, engineering and technological proficiency were the engines of strong economies, that the enrichment and inspiration RESET provides for careers in STEM could help create life changing opportunities for some students, and that familiarity with STEM is essential to adapting to life in the 21stCentury.
Shelia Tobias, Author and Educator
Sheila Tobias has made an art and a science of being an outsider to science and mathematics, where hers is a household name for the books, Overcoming Math Anxiety, They’re not Dumb, They’re Different, Breaking the Science Barrier, and Rethinking Science as a Career.
She has just co-authored a new book, Banishing Math Anxiety. Ms. Tobias is equally well known in academic and popular circles as a feminist and for her books, Women, Militarism and War (with Jean Elshtain) and Faces of Feminism: An Activist’s Reflections on the Women’s Movement.
Supported by the Ford Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, Research Corporation, and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, her work has made her a sought-after consultant on college and university curricula, general education, post-baccalaureate alternatives, professional master’s in science and mathematics, and women’s studies.
Ms. Tobias chose to join RESET because it corresponds to her twin agendas: giving girls a head start in dealing with the social stigmas they may still encounter being interested in math/computers, and providing researchers like herself with models as to what interventions work.
Educated in history and literature at Harvard/Radcliffe, Ms. Tobias earned a master’s in history and an M. Phil at Columbia University and eight honorary doctorates, the most recent from Michigan State University and Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Ms. Tobias has taught at the University of California, Claremont Graduate School, Wesleyan University and City College of New York.
Juan Valentin, Education Program Advisor, Office of Education and Outreach, USPTO
Juan Valentin is an Education Program Advisor in the Office of Education (OE) at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). He is responsible for the development and implementation of educational projects of national and international scope, with a particular emphasis on directing and coordinating the development of STEM, design-thinking, or invention-focused projects infused with intellectual property (IP) concepts. Cultivating relationships and finding areas for collaboration with external organizations, academic institutions and federal agencies is also a significant part of Mr. Valentin’s job. Prior to joining the OE team, Mr. Valentin was a USPTO patent examiner for 12 years, specializing in the art of optical measuring and testing devices. Community outreach has also been an important part of Mr. Valentin’s life, as evidenced by his volunteerism with over 15 years of support for Washington, DC’s based non-profit, Raising Excitement for Science, Engineering and Technology (RESET). His volunteer work is also witnessed with the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE), which includes youth education and outreach on behalf of engineers and leadership training for members of all levels within the organization. Mr. Valentin holds a Bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the Clarkson University.
Katie Vollmer has recently completed a Post-Baccalaureate Intramural Research Training Award Fellowship at the National Institutes of Health. Her research focuses on enhancing motor function and neurorehabilitation after stroke and traumatic brain injury. Katie joined RESET in 2018 to share her enthusiasm and love for science with underserved students. She hopes to instill confidence and a similar fascination with STEM in these students and empower them to create change in the world through scientific advancements. With a passion to invest in and better her community, Katie has held multiple leadership positions and her friends fondly refer to her as “The Advocate”. Katie graduated summa cum laude from the University of Florida with a B.S. in Applied Physiology and Kinesiology and Minor in Chemistry with long-term career goals of becoming a physician.
Christa Weber is a 5th grade teacher at Crestwood Elementary School in Springfield, Virginia and has been working with RESET volunteers for the past six years. Prior to becoming a teacher, she spent two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in Vanuatu, inspiring her to switch careers to teaching. Ms. Weber acquired her teaching credentials from California State University, Monterey Bay and volunteered with AmeriCorps through Girls Incorporated.
Ms. Weber holds endorsements in Advanced Academics and STEAM through Fairfax County Public Schools. These endorsements have empowered her to provide rigorous opportunities to students who might not otherwise have access to them. Ms. Weber’s passion for science was ignited when she was selected to attend a pre-service teacher training institution hosted by the National Institute of Aerospace (NIA) and NASA Langley. Being immersed in science for two weeks was all it took to hook her. This experience empowered her to become a strong science educator that has led to many leadership opportunities in and outside of her school.
Ms. Weber believes that in order to help children reach their fullest potential, they must be provided opportunities to apply STEAM knowledge to real life scenarios and see themselves in roles they aspire to become.
Ujjawal Savani has recently completed a Post-Baccalaureate Intramural
Research Training Award (IRTA) Fellowship at the National Institutes of Health.
His research revolves around the discovery of novel antibodies that target kidney cancer and the application of these antibodies in immune-based therapies to kill this tumor. Ujjawal began volunteering for RESET in 2019 to inspire students from underserved backgrounds to explore and learn more about STEM-related topics. By providing students an early exposure to science and mathematics, he strives to motivate these students to discover scientific advances and provide them the confidence to become leaders in STEM-related professions. With a strong enthusiasm and curiosity in the scientific field, Ujjawal has helped in the publishing of several research papers and has presented his work in national scientific conferences, like the Transplantation & Cellular Therapy Meetings. Ujjawal graduated from the University of Michigan in 2019 with a B.S. in Biopsychology, Cognition, and Neuroscience. Ujjawal will be starting medical school at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia.
Jeremy Taigman is a Post-Baccalaureate Intramural Research Training Award Fellow at the National Institutes of Health. At the Section on Clinical and Computational Psychiatry, he supports research on the pathophysiology, treatment, and prevention of adolescent major depression. He is particularly interested in lowered motivation and pleasure in children with mental illness. Jeremy began volunteering for RESET in Fall 2020 to build on his passion for scientific teaching and service, and to help adapt physical experimentation to the virtual learning space. By planning and leading chemistry, engineering, and computer science activities with fellow volunteers, he hopes to create engaging STEM experiences for young students that will facilitate long-term passion for the sciences. Jeremy graduated from the University of Michigan in 2020 with a B.S. in Neuroscience, where he researched speech neurophysiology and adult stuttering. He hopes to begin medical school in 2022 on his path to become a physician.
Noradeen Farlekas, Chartered Financial Analyst
Dr. Noradeen Farlekas has both researched and witnessed first-hand the power of engagement in schools. She was led to RESET by her understanding of the importance of early education and her personal volunteer experience.
Dr. Farlekas recently joined MMBB Financial Services as the Chief Investment Officer with responsibility for their $2.5 billion portfolio. Prior to joining MMBB, Dr. Farlekas held many investment positions, including as Head of Global Equities and Vice President at IBM Operations, Senior Investment Manager for defined Benefit and Contribution Plans at the Entergy Corporation, Project Manager/Senior Investment Analyst at Braeloch Holdings, and Senior Financial Analyst at American Standard. Additionally, she has consulted and advised in the impact investing, foundation, and nonprofit space. Dr. Farlekas has also taught undergraduate and graduate courses at Fairfield University and Northeastern University. She has served as a Board Member for IBM, the University of Scranton and the Daniel Trust Foundation.
Dr. Farlekas received a Doctorate of Law and Policy in 2016 from Northeastern University, has a Master’s degree in Business Administration, and holds Bachelor degrees in Mathematics and Finance/Economics. She continues to leverage her deep institutional investment experience and research around her interest areas of racial justice and socially responsible investing, and social, education and economic justice issues. Dr. Farlekas has volunteered as a college, high school and pre-K mentor in Connecticut. In 2019, she was recognized as Mentor of the Year at Fairfield University.
Brian Gaines, Non Profit CEO
Brian Gaines is the Chief Executive Officer for Learning Undefeated, formerly MdBio Foundation. Brian joined the Learning Undefeated in 2012 after serving as Executive Director of the Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation. He has spent most of his professional career creating and working for several entrepreneurial endeavors at the intersection of the for-profit and nonprofit worlds.
In previous roles, Brian has held leadership positions with two of America’s most effective social change organizations: College Summit (now known as Peer Forward) and KaBOOM! Brian also was the Founding Executive Director of the Joshua Venture, a national venture philanthropy fund working to launch and support innovative nonprofits. In his business career, he was the CEO and Managing Partner of a chain of Ben & Jerry’s retail outlets in the San Francisco Bay Area and served as the Western Regional Business Manager for Ben & Jerry’s Homemade, Inc. He has also helped to found several other nonprofit organizations and served as the President of the San Francisco Human Services Commission.
Jonathan Simon, Mathematics Professor Emeritus
Dr. Jon Simon has been a teacher and active researcher in mathematics since 1969. He taught undergraduate courses across the curriculum and at all levels, from developmental to honors, and directed student research projects. He has held visiting
positions in Canada, Mexico, and Japan. His research and graduate teaching focused on Topology (the study of properties that are preserved through deformations, twisting and stretching of objects) and its applications to chemistry and other physical systems. More recently, he is working with colleagues to use topology ideas to help understand the complexity of financial networks. Dr. Simon was Principal Investigator (PI) or co-PI on many research grants including from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Office of Naval Research, and served on scholarship and grant review panels. Administratively, he directed the Mathematics Department undergraduate and graduate programs and served as Chair of Computer Science at the University of Iowa. He served as Project Director for a Mathematics Department’s six-year NSF grant ($3M) that combined summer research projects for undergraduates, developing partnerships with area colleges, mentoring graduate students and junior faculty, and outreach activities. He also has had the pleasure of doing workshops on mathematical knots with elementary and middle school students and teachers.
Dr. Simon became interested in RESET because his work with undergraduate and graduate students led to the belief that reaching students early is essential to engage more than just a few – and he was curious to see what was being tried. After learning more, he was impressed with the RESET programs and people and is happy to offer the help that his different background can provide.
Adeoye I. Owolewa, Doctor of Pharmacy, Shadow Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from DC
Washington, DC 20020
Oye Owolewa has been a board member and RESET volunteer since 2014. A community pharmacist by day, he volunteers in elementary classrooms to expose young people to STEM. Oye strongly believes early exposure and hands on experiences are critical to increase science enthusiasm and inspire students to pursue STEM professions. In the past, Oye has volunteered at Ross Elementary School and DC Prep charter school (Benning Road campus). Currently, he volunteers at Excel Academy.
Oye was recently elected as the Shadow Representative of the US House of Representatives from the District of Columbia. Previously, he was commissioner of his neighborhood and plans to spread RESET through more elementary schools in Ward 8. Dr. Owolewa received his Doctorate of Pharmacy from Northeastern University in 2014.
Keith Osterhage (Executive Director)
Fairfax Station, VA 22039
Keith Osterhage is Executive Director of RESET. Keith brings more than three decades of experience in management and administration, consulting, program evaluation, policy development and implementation, as well as financial and regulatory compliance. He has held leading administrative positions at five universities, has developed programs for mentoring and training young professionals, and has led teams of 10 to 30 professional staff. Having managed over $1 billion in funding (grants, contracts, cooperative agreements) from government, industry and foundations for programs of research, training and technical assistance, he has also worked directly as a contractor/consultant for the National Institutes of Health, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Departments of Energy, Transportation and Education Departments. His nonprofit expertise has included leadership roles at US Legal Services Corporation, American Society for Engineering Education and now RESET. Keith has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Ohio Northern University and two graduate degrees from Ohio State University. He has also been a Graduate Fellow in Government (Georgetown University) and a Certified Research Administrator since 1993. He holds a Management Development Certificate from Harvard University and a Leadership Institute Certificate from Temple University. Keith is a non-voting board member of the RESET Board of Directors.
Amanda Laurier (Classroom Skills Advisor)
Amanda has been working as an educator for over 20 years, first as an elementary classroom teacher in Baltimore and Southern Maryland. In 2012, she received her Master of Science in Education from Johns Hopkins University, with a focus on science education. During her studies, she interned at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), where she developed educational resources for the Climate Program Office’s Ocean Observation Division website. Through this work, her passion for improving science education, particularly during the foundational elementary grades, was further ignited.
In 2012, Amanda left the classroom to work as the curriculum developer for STEM Achievement in Baltimore Elementary Schools (SABES), a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant-funded partnership between Johns Hopkins University and Baltimore City Public Schools. Then, in 2016, Amanda became the Elementary Science Specialist for Baltimore City Public Schools and was responsible for developing all K-5 science curricula and teacher professional development for the district. She managed several grants and created partnerships with local institutions, including the Maryland Zoo and Chesapeake Bay Foundation to create field experiences for students, aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). In 2019, Amanda returned to the school setting to become a science instructional coach at The Barclay School, a public school in Baltimore City, through a partnership with Johns Hopkins University. She has also worked as an adjunct professor and student teacher supervisor at American University. Currently, in addition to working for RESET, Amanda is an academic intervention teacher for Montgomery County Public Schools.
Through her work at RESET, Amanda plans on utilizing the skills gained from her diverse experiences with SABES, as a district science administrator, and from the classroom, to help build partnerships between STEM professionals and local teachers to ensure that all students, regardless of their background and life experiences, have equitable access to high-quality, inquiry-based science instruction.
Tammie Confer (Program Manager)
Tammie Confer is a retired research physicist from the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) where she had the pleasure to serve for 23 years in the Tactical Electronic Warfare Division. She enjoyed many years working in the area of surface physics and studying the properties of very thin films and nanoparticles. As a graduate student, she helped to build a scanning tunneling microscope capable of imaging atoms and atomic structures and was “over the moon” when she saw the first images of atoms actually being captured. She has had many years experience conducting infrared radiometric measurements and blackbody radiation experiments. Prior to NRL, she worked in industry in a metallurgical laboratory testing the properties of metals. She has an M.S. in Physics from the University of Akron and a B.S. in Physical Science, physics option, Pennsylvania State University. Tammie serves as RESET’s Classroom Skills Advisor recruiting and training volunteers, developing school partnerships and organizations, and expanding RESET’s role in providing hands-on programs for students in emerging fields, with a strong focus on Computer Science.
Shreya Nandi (Media Specialist)
Shreya Nandi has recently completed a Post-Baccalaureate Intramural Research Training Award (IRTA) Fellowship at the National Institutes of Health. Her research focused on developing a CRISPRi screen to uncover genes and pathways involved in neuron survival in rare, hereditary neuromuscular disorders such as ALS and SMA.
Shreya first joined Curiologie in the Classroom out of her passion for teaching STEM, helping to build skills, confidence, and inspire new STEM dreams in underrepresented and/or underserved children in the DC Metro Area. In the summer of 2020, Shreya joined RESET to help strengthen and expand RESET’s online presence and motivate even more children to pursue STEM careers. As a Media Specialist, Shreya has overhauled the website, established RESET’s new social media campaign, and has created commercials and career videos.
Shreya is a graduate of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, an NCTE Superior Writing Achievement Award winner, a 2014 NIH CRTA Summer Fellow, a recipient of multiple Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, and a 2015 Intel Science Talent Search Semifinalist and Research Report Badge awardee. She graduated cum laude from Cornell University, where she was a Tanner Dean’s Scholar majoring in Biological Sciences and minoring in East Asian studies. Shreya will be starting an MD/PhD with the support of the NIH’s Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP).
Shaheen Khurana (Program Director)
For more than 21 years, Shaheen Khurana worked on the design and implementation of mobile systems, GPS, and disaster emergency telecommunications, including at CSRA Inc. in Arlington, Virginia, and at Sprint Nextel Corporation in Reston, Virginia. She now works with a number of local nonprofits and grassroots organizations focused on STEM/Computer Science outreach to underserved communities and girl scouts, promoting legislative actions for achieving menstrual equity in VA, campaigning to elect women candidates to public office and empowering victims of domestic abuse at the Women’s Center serving the metropolitan DC area. She holds bachelor’s degrees in mathematics and computer engineering from the University of Bombay, India, and a master’s degree in computer science from the University of Texas in Dallas. Ms. Khurana began working for RESET in 2017. She recruits and trains volunteers, develops school partnerships, provides social media content, compiles annual program data, and expands RESET’s role in providing hands-on programs for students in emerging fields, especially Computer Science. She also develops curriculum content to help volunteers design and improve classroom programs.
Sherri Kohr (Classroom Skills Advisor)
Professor Sherri Kohr has worked with RESET since fall 2013. An adjunct professor at George Mason University, Ms. Kohr teaches future elementary school teachers how to present hands-on science in the classroom. As RESET’s Volunteer Education Skills Developer, Ms. Kohr provides training to RESET volunteers, observing them in the classroom and providing feedback and mentoring. She also participates in several RESET training seminars a year. Ms. Kohr has worked in the education field for 30 years. She also serves as the STEM Coordinator at a private school in Fairfax County where she develops STEM curriculum for Grades K–8 and plans a yearly STEM project for the entire school. In addition, she works with Fairfax county homeless youth at area shelters assisting them with homework and school-related issues.