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Who Are We?
We are SARSEF – Meet Our Board Of Directors!
SARSEF is a 501 (c) (3) whose mission is to teach critical thinking and problem solving to Arizona’s K-12 students through science and engineering research. SARSEF serves seven counties of Southern Arizona, with outreach to rural and poverty areas, serving 95,000 students and providing six programs to increase the diversity and representation of females and minorities in STEM fields and future professional excellence.
Every Child. Thinking Critically, Solving Problems.
Board of Directors
Betsy Bolding - Board Chair
Betsy Bolding is consumer affairs director of Tucson Electric Power and UNS Energy Corp. For the past 13 years, Ms. Bolding has been at TEP, where she currently manages outreach for a variety of solar, environmental and educational programs, as well as programs designed for special-needs and low-income customers. A 15-year public-school veteran, Betsy taught high school English and journalism until 1978. After co-managing his campaign in Tucson, Betsy served for eight years on Arizona Gov. Bruce Babbitt’s staff, serving as director of his Tucson office. After serving on the SARSEF board for many years, Betsy stepped down and joined the advisory board, to allow another TEP employee – an engineer and senior director – to serve, with the expectation that he could provide more resources to the SARSEF enterprise. Betsy chairs “Future Innovators Night,” an open house for families and friends of all exhibitors held during SARSEF week.
Ravishankar Palanivelu- Board Vice Chair
Dr. Ravi Palanivelu is a Associate Professor of Plant Biology, in the School of Plant Sciences, University of Arizona. Dr. Palanivelu received his Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture from Annamalai University, India in 1989 and a Masters Degree in Plant Breeding and Genetics from Tamil Nadu Agriculture University, India in 1992. He then joined University of Georgia and obtained a Ph.D. in Genetics in 1998. From 1999-2003, he was a post-doctoral fellow in Dr. Daphne Preuss lab at the University of Chicago. Subsequently, he was a Research Professional between 2004-2005, during which time he was the team leader of the pollen biology research group in Dr. Preuss’s lab. Since 2006, he has been a faculty member in the School of Plant Sciences, University of Arizona and he was tenured and promoted to Associate Professorship in 2012. His area of research is to understand the genes that are important for plant seed formation and his work has implications in improving plants for better quality feed, fiber, food, and fuel. His association with SARSEF began in 2007 when his daughter was an enthusiastic participant in SARSEF science fairs. Since then he has served as a judge in SARSEF for 5 years and was elected as one of the Top 60 STEM community leaders by SARSEF. He continues to do outreach programs to promote the importance of biology, particularly pollen biology, in Tucson area elementary, middle, and high schools and has participated in many STEM activities including, AZ STEM adventure, and Plant Science Family Night.
Mary Fosdick- Board Secretary
Mary is a Senior Chemical/Environmental Engineer with Tucson Electric Power. Mary has been named Volunteer Ambassador of the Year for Sycamore Elementary School in the Vail School District, in part for her work with students in the STEM fields. She previously served on the Advisory Board.
Rajendran Subramaniam- Board Treasurer
Raj Subramaniam is a Software Engineer at IBM. He is a long-time volunteer Judge at SARSEF and helps out Canyon View Elementary School with Science Fair.
Larry has been interested in astronomy since he saw and tried, unsuccessfully, to photograph a lunar eclipse—there was snow on the ground and it was cold enough to crack the film in the camera. Despite that, he majored in Astronomy in college and Planetary Science in graduate school. Throughout most of his professional career, he used telescopes at major observatories, though for several years he also chased asteroid eclipses around the world with a 14-inch telescope.
As a planetary scientist, mostly at the University of Arizona, he has written over 80 refereed science and ten education publications. He also has 140 science and over 50 science education abstracts. As a retired researcher, he collaborates on a program to make observations of near-Earth asteroids that are potential Earth impactors. Larry discovered water of hydration on the asteroid Ceres and with his graduate students laid the groundwork for our understanding of the relationship between C-class asteroids and the carbonaceous chondritic meteorites—thought to be (along with comets) the source of water and organic material on Earth.
Larry’s love of education and public outreach began to alter the direction of his career in 1990 when he and his wife, Nancy, saw that there was a need for teacher training in basic astronomy-related science. Larry has devoted the last 23 years to bringing the excitement of astronomy to children and adults. He has received more than 30 local, state, and national grants for K-12 outreach and for college-level science methods courses. Larry is a past president of Arizona Science Teachers Association and was Education Officer for the Division for Planetary Sciences (DPS) of the American Astronomical Society. He served on the Arizona State Science Standard Committee and is on the Arizona committee reviewing the Next Generation Science Standards. He received the DPS’s Sagan Medal for contributions to education and public outreach in the name of planetary sciences. In addition to this, he is on the Board of the International Meteorite Collectors Association and for five years, he and Nancy, edited Meteorite magazine. He is now the Secretary of the International Meteorite Collectors Association.
Larry has conducted workshops for hundreds of elementary and middle school teachers. Through his grants, he has provided more than 100 telescopes to teachers in Arizona, Ohio, and Arkansas. He has interacted with thousands of students with hands-on activities: classroom visits, after school programs, family science nights, and activity-based programs in conjunction with science conferences. In retirement, Larry is a Senior Education Specialist at the Planetary Science Institute (PSI), working on several teacher professional development projects. He is also on the James Webb Telescope/Near Infrared Camera Education and Public Outreach Team, conducting workshops for Girl Scout adult volunteers and staff from all over the US.
Antonio F. Ramirez
Tony is employed at Raytheon Missile Systems in Tucson, AZ in the Signal Processing Center. Tony earned a Bachelor of Science from California Institute of Technology and a Doctor of Philosophy in Physics from Arizona State University. He is a long-time Volunteer Judge of Physics and Astronomy at SARSEF and helps out at Mesquite Elementary School with judging their fair.
Margaret H. Wilch
Margaret has a master of science degree in general biology, biology and research. She is a retired teacher at Tucson High Magnet School. She received outstanding-teacher awards, and a teacher-of-the-year award for her work with the Southern Arizona Regional Science and Engineering Fair.
Ashley Elaine York
Ashley Elaine York, PhD is an organizational strategist and owner of Spark Gap®, an organizational strategy and executive consulting company advising chief executives and leadership teams, in four countries, in the creation of persistent and increasing competitive advantage. This includes pinpointing watershed expansion or alignment possibilities, hastening decision-making, and producing short-term, quantifiable results within the framework of a longer-term strategy. Read More
Dr. York brings an amalgam of unique and indispensable experiences to her process as an organizational strategist and SARSEF Board of Director. She is a skilled entrepreneur, senior manager, university educator, community researcher, business development and employment specialist; international trainer, speaker, and author; and strategist to organizations and individuals as varied as the Japanese Embassy, Rotary International, AmeriCorps VISTA Corporation for National and Community Service, Big Brothers Big Sisters, regional vocational rehabilitation agencies, state political candidates, and local nonprofit organizations and small businesses. She has hands-on business experience in sectors and industries including education, entertainment, financial services, governmental, information, mass media, nonprofit, political, real estate, retail, and social services. And, in addition to her proven track record as a hybrid strategist, toolkit of skills across a wide range of subjects, and advanced degrees, Ashley cares about her clients and colleagues, and Spark Gap®’s relentless and unceasing commitment to help organizations and their teams thrive, one partnership at a time.
John P. Schaefer, Honorary Chairman of the Board
John Paul Schaefer was dean of the University of Arizona College of Liberal Arts when he became the 15th president of the University of Arizona in 1971. Only 36 years old when he assumed the office, he was the second-youngest UA president. Born on Sept. 17, 1934, in New York City, he received a bachelor’s degree from the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn in 1955, and a doctorate from the University of Illinois in 1958. Following his postdoctoral studies, he taught chemistry at the University of California at Berkeley, before coming to the UA as a chemistry professor in 1960. He also served as head of the chemistry department from 1968 to 1970.
Schaefer is credited by many with setting the University of Arizona on the path that led to its current status as a top research university. He approved the university’s participation in the Multiple Mirror Telescope project, which revolutionized thinking about optical telescope design. During his tenure, he also broke ground for and dedicated the new UA Main Library.
An avid and highly skilled photographer, Schaefer developed a friendship with photographer Ansel Adams, which led to the creation of the Center for Creative Photography in 1975. The center was created after Schaefer asked Adams to entrust the UA with his archives. Adams agreed, with the condition that Schaefer create a repository for a collection of a variety of photographic artists. Today, the center holds the works of more than 50 American photographers.
Schaefer resigned from the presidency in 1982, and became chairman of the board of directors of Tucson Electric Power Co. He also served as president and CEO of Research Corp. from 1988 to December 2004. In this role, he helped fund the Large Binocular Telescope project on Mount Graham. He has published five books on photography, an organic chemistry textbook, numerous scientific articles and many articles on photography.
Schaefer was designated President Emeritus by the Arizona Board of Regents. He now serves as the Honorary Chairman of the SciEnTeK-12 Board, and is actively interested in its mission to excite young minds in Southern Arizona about science and engineering.
With Gratitude to Jack D. Johnson, Ph.D., Founder and Past President
Dr. Johnson recently passed away, but is remembered as the “Father of the Fair.” He retired from the University of Arizona as professor emeritus in arid lands resource sciences. He held several positions at the UA, including associate dean of science, and director of the Flandrau Science Center — a position he retired from 1998. He held various engineering positions with Humphrey Inc., Martin-Marietta Corp., and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. He took over as director in 1996, and founded SciEnTeK-12 Foundation, a 501(c) (3) organization, to expand our mission.
In Memory of William H. Dresher, Ph.D., P.E. Chairman Emeritus
Dr. Dresher was one of the original founders of our foundation and served as its Honorary Chairman in recent years. He passed on August 10, 2014. Dr Dresher was principal of WHD Consulting, and a former dean of the University of Arizona College of Mines. He was retired from the positions of president of International Copper Research Association, Inc., and vice president of technology at International Copper Association, Ltd. An internationally recognized expert in the processing, products and environmental aspects of copper, Dr. Dresher mainly focused on bringing good science and technology to these subjects.
The SciEnTeK-12 Foundation advisory board consists of the following members:
Bruce Bayly- Advisor
Dr. Bruce Bayly grew up in the town of Troy in upstate New York State. He earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Cambridge University in England, followed by graduate study at MIT and Princeton University, where he received his doctorate in applied mathematics in 1987. After a postdoctoral assistantship at New York University, he joined the mathematics faculty at the University of Arizona. Dr. Bayly’s primary research is on magnetic-field generation in the electrically conducting fluid interiors of planets and stars. He is also involved in improving college-level instruction in math, and its applications for students who are not majoring in math. He is a co-founder of the Arizona Mathematics Road Show, and The Physics Factory — two public-outreach programs that teach young children about the exciting worlds of mathematics, science and engineering. He is an original member of the a cappella vocal ensemble Catacoustic Groove, faculty adviser to the UA men’s vocal group Cat Call, and board member of Arizona Onstage Productions. He is currently learning juggling and traditional folk fiddling.
Alan M. Chesser - Advisor
Mr. Chesser, a retired supervisor from the Tucson Police Department in technical support and risk management, served in various other assignments, including that of helicopter pilot. He is a past district governor of Rotary International, and past president of the Tucson High Magnet School Site Leadership Council. He has served on the board of directors of Catalina (Tucson) Rotary Club and Therapeutic Riding of Tucson (TROT), which provides therapeutic horsemanship for children and adults with special needs. He was also a special presenter for the Tucson Unified School District’s National Science Foundation-sponsored DESERT Project. For the last 11 years, Al has been a SARSEF judge and judging team leader.
Nina Daldrup - Advisor
Nina Daldrup is the Executive Director of The Mini-Time Machine Museum of Miniatures, a state-of-the art museum displaying an entertaining and interactive array of antique and contemporary miniatures. Her career in non-profit management spans more than two decades and includes administrative positions at Arizona Opera, Flandrau Science Center, Tucson Museum of Art and The University of Arizona College of Education. Daldrup’s work focuses on the importance of collaborative efforts in developing economic opportunities within and beyond the non-profit sector. She is a graduate of The University of Arizona and has served on the advisory boards of Arizonans for Cultural Development, La Paloma Family Services, the Rotary Club of Tucson, Rotary Club of Tucson Foundation, Salvation Army and the newly formed Tucson Science Works.
Michael Frank - Advisor
Michael R. Frank has taught science for 10 years (primarily Biology, Biology Honors, and Advanced Placement Biology) at Empire High School. He previously taught science for 3 years at Cienega High School (also in the Vail Unified School District). Michael has also taught at the college level, and spends his summer vacations carrying out biological research at the University of Arizona.
Michael helped design the approach and curriculum for Empire High School, one of the first schools built around the idea of replacing texts with laptops. In addition to teaching a full schedule, Michael is the Science Department Instructional Team Leader for his school, working with science teachers across the District to develop effective and relevant science curriculums. He is a Cognitive Coach for new teachers, providing them with peer feedback, and is the District Science Fair Coordinator, increasing participation in and the quality of student science research in the district. He coaches the school Science Olympiad team.
Michael is a winner of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching.
Molly Gilbert - Advisor
Molly Gilbert is a member of the senior management team for Tech Parks Arizona and leads the University and Community Engagement team. Her responsibilities include managing tenant and employee relations, neighborhood and community relations, government relations, K-12 educational outreach, the Tech Park internship program, workforce development and fundraising. She has held a variety of roles since joining the office in 2002, which include public relations, tenant relations and business incubation. She was responsible for submittal and management of a federal grant for infrastructure improvements for the University of Arizona Tech Park at the Bridges
Gilbert is responsible for two major initiatives at the Tech Park. The Security Innovation Hub is an initiative to develop third-party testing and evaluation at the UA Tech Park for technologies with applications in security and defense. She also is the project manager for Innovation Frontier Southwest (IFS) a regional initiative to build advanced manufacturing in security and defense.
She has over 20 years of management experience that spans retail, education, and economic development. She has a background in entrepreneurship as both a business owner and a graduate of the McGuire Program for Entrepreneurship at the Eller College of Management.
She is a member of the Pima County Workforce Investment Board (WIB), Tucson Police Department Police Chief Citizens Advisory Board, the Association of University Research Parks, the Bioscience Leadership Council of Southern Arizona, Vail Connects, Tucson Metropolitan Education Commission and the Southern Arizona Science and Engineering Fair (SARSEF) board. She is a founding member of the Arizona Business Incubator Network.
Gilbert holds an MBA from the University of Arizona with an emphasis in entrepreneurship and marketing.
Dr. Goldberg is a licensed psychologist and attorney. With expertise in social justice, advocacy, psychology and law, Dr. Goldberg has made contributions in the fields of psychology and law. He maintains a practice concentrating on forensic-psychology issues, and adjudicates disability claims in Arizona. During leisure time, he enjoys travel, hiking, films, friends and spending time with his service dog, and a 26-year-old parrot he raised from birth. To keep nimble on the adversarial side of things, he plays competitive Scrabble, and is a prize-winning tournament bowler. Dr. Goldberg was a science-fair exhibitor in the early 1970s, and co-chaired the Greater San Diego Science & Engineering Fair’s student advisory board as a high school senior. He has judged both regional and international science fairs, and has done so for SARSEF since 1993. As a SARSEF board member, Dr. Goldberg works to increase the quality and quantity of student awards, and is active in recruitment of judges and mentors.
Brian Gross- Advisor
Brian is a graduate of the University of Arizona, with a degree in geosciences. Upon graduation, his passion for computers led him to work for IBM in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. He went on to become an advisory programmer, working on mainframe and UNIX software. Before long, he managed to transfer to IBM in Tucson, Ariz. and was contacted by SARSEF when a request for judges went out for the 1996 ISEF. Since then, he has been judging on a yearly basis, and has greatly enjoyed encouraging the students at SARSEF. Since retiring from IBM after 32 years, he has become a member of the SciEnTek-12 board of directors, and looks forward to expanding his support of generations of new young scientists and engineers.
DaNel is the Director of The STEMAZing Project for the Pima County School Superintendent. She is working to improve preK-12 STEM education in Southern Arizona. Previously, DaNel spent nine years as a high school and middle school physics and physical science teacher. Most recently, DaNel completed a two year Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship in Washington, DC where she worked at the U.S. Department of Energy on the Energy Literacy Initiative. DaNel is a passionate educator working hard to help bring exceptional STEM opportunities to every student in Southern Arizona.
George Jenson - Advisor, Software Designer
George is a computer software designer and owner of Tucson-based Jenson Consulting. He holds a bachelor of science degree in management information systems from the University of Arizona’s Eller College of Management. He divides his “work time” between software design and real estate, and, in his down time, enjoys extensive volunteer work, scuba instruction, flying and travel.
Greg Johnson - Advisor, Graphic Design
Greg is a freelance graphic designer, and has designed posters, banners, pamphlets and brochures for SARSEF and the SciEnTeK-12 Foundation since 2008. Greg has worked with Rincon Congregational UCC to develop an identity package that includes the logo, pamphlets, promotional materials, flyers and posters. He is currently working full time in the foster/adoption field, and uses his design skills to create newsletters, targeted recruitment flyers and brochures.
Paula D. Johnson -SRC Chair
Dr. Johnson is an associate veterinary specialist at University Animal Care, and is an adjunct assistant professor in the University of Arizona School of Animal and Comparative Biomedical Sciences. She serves as chair of the SARSEF scientific review committee (SRC), and is a member of the SRC for the International Science and Engineering Fair.
Max Jones - Advisor
Janine Kaucher - Advisor, SARSEF Accountant
Ms. Kaucher is a QuickBooks ProAdviser, and teaches QuickBooks accounting at Pima Community College. She has experience with charter schools and small businesses, and holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of New Mexico, and an associate’s degree from Phoenix College. She owns Clear View Business Solutions, LLC, and is partner to Debbie Elver, CPA. They have combined bookkeeping and tax preparation services for more than 1,500 small businesses in southern Arizona.
Jacob Klein - Advisor
Trish Nuzzo SRC - Advisor
Sharon O’Neal- Advisor
Sharon O’Neal is an engineering director at Raytheon Missile Systems. Over the course of her 22-year engineering career, she has held a variety of assignments, including program management, functional management, technical management and mentoring engineers at all levels. She is a “go to” person within the engineering directorate, and is very committed to program excellence and developing quality products for Raytheon’s military customers. In 2002, Sharon was the first woman at Raytheon to receive her senior engineering fellow status. Sharon has been very proactive and dedicated to reaching out to school-age children in her community to foster a better understanding and appreciation for the math and science disciplines. Six years ago, she created and established a major outreach program called the Math Science and Technology Funfest (MSTFF), which unites hundreds of scientists and engineers from many different companies and affiliations across Tucson to bring their love for math and science to life. Since its inception in March 2003, more than 6,000 children from all socioeconomic backgrounds have benefited from this annual event. Now in its sixth year, the MSTFF has established itself as a much-anticipated event complementing the Southern Arizona Research, Science and Engineering Fair. Sharon began her career with Hughes Missile System Group in 1985, which was later purchased by Raytheon. She has a bachelor of science degree in computer science (graduating magna cum laude) from California State University in 1984. She earned a master of science degree in computer engineering from the University of Southern California in 1991.
Melissa Lamberton Sevigny - Advisor
Melissa is a graduate of the University of Arizona, majoring in environmental sciences and creative writing. She was the education and public-outreach coordinator for the Phoenix Mars Lander Mission, and a researcher for the Water Resources Research Center. She earned a MFA from Iowa State last year, and accepted a position to teach English at Iowa State this fall.
Her nonfiction book, Mythical River: Encounters with Water in the American Southwest, has been accepted by the University of Iowa Press and will be on shelves in a year or two. She also serves on the editorial board of a Tucson environmental journal, Terrain.org
Honorable Bob Walkup - Advisor
The Honorable Bob Walkup is the former Mayor of Tucson and retired engineer. He remains active in improving our community,serving on several boards, and providing leadership for a better tomorrow. Bob continues to learn and tinker in his new workshop so that he can stay active in his field and exploring new developments.
Mayor Robert E. Walkup was elected to his third term as Mayor of Tucson in 2007. During his tenure there were numerous fundamental changes in the way the Tucson region operates. Under Mayor Walkup’s leadership, Tucson began utilizing its share of Colorado River water in 2001 to supplement its potable water supply and reduce its dependence on groundwater. Mayor Walkup was instrumental in forming our Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) and gaining voter approval for its $2.1 billion multi-modal transportation plan, including obtaining full funding for implementation of the first All-American Modern Streetcar System for the city.
Working together with Pima County, Mayor Walkup has engineered consolidations of economic development agencies into one regional entity, the Tucson Regional Economic Opportunities, Inc. (TREO), and consolidation of our regional library system funding. His efforts in economic development have contributed to a net increase of 50,000 jobs and $10,000 per year in average worker earnings during his tenure. Mayor Walkup was the first Arizona Mayor to sign the U.S. Mayor’s Climate Protection Agreement. His local environmental efforts that have resulted in doubling Tucson’s recycling rate, instituting impact fees to make new growth pay its fair share and requiring LEED certification on all new city buildings. Additionally, he led the way on a significant expansion of the solar energy capability of the city.
Believing that mayors can play a key role in reducing health care costs, Mayor Walkup initiated the Healthy Tucson Initiative locally and the Global Alliance for Community Wellness internationally. The Global Alliance commits mayors and city governments to partner with local health care leaders to demonstrate healthy lifestyles and support prevention programs in order to improve the city’s quality of life.
Mayor Walkup has a degree in Industrial Engineering from Iowa State University. He served in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and worked for over 37 years in the aerospace industry as an Industrial Engineer and Executive for Rockwell International, Fairchild Republic and Hughes Aircraft. He is President of the Arizona League of Cities and Towns and is a member of the League’s Executive Committee. He also serves as Chairman of the Aviation Subcommittee for the US Conference of Mayors’ Transportation Committee.
Mayor Walkup and his wife, Beth Walkup, have five children and many grandchildren. He enjoys astronomy, classical history and is an avid cyclist.
Shalane Simmons- Advisor
Shalane is a native Tucsonan who graduated from Sahuaro High School, and the University of Arizona with a degree in journalism. Currently she works at Raytheon Missile Systems as the senior community relations coordinator. In her role she is responsible for business’s STEM programs, employee volunteer efforts, corporate partnerships, and more. Shalane is passionate about STEM and supporting students in her community.
Justin Williams - Advisor
Justin Williams is the Founder of Start Up Tucson and the publisher of Start Up Tucson News, helping Tucson to identify, unify and grow our local Tucson Start Up status and scene. Currently earning a Doctorate at the UA, Justin was previously responsible for the Arizona Technology Council as its Director in Tucson.
Patrick Woida - Advisor
Currently working with Raytheon Missile Systems, Pat was previously a senior engineer for the Phoenix Mars Polar Mission in 2007. He is a graduate of the University of Arizona, and served for 23 years at the UA Steward Observatory, University of Arizona Optical Science Center, and Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, supporting space-optics and aerospace research. For the past eight years, he has been a judge at SARSEF and ISEF competitions.