SARSEF 2021 Winners
2021 Virtual Fair is Now Open
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- How SARSEF Built and Ran a Virtual Science and Engineering Fair
- Meet the 2021 Winners of the Arizona Regional JSHS
- A Message from our Corporate and Community Engagement Manager, Gina Gillis
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Our Program Leaders
Meet our Program Leaders
Liz (Baker) Bowman, MS, CEO
Liz serves as CEO of SARSEF, a nonprofit on a mission to create the next generation of critical thinkers and problem solvers through science and engineering. With an emphasis on equity, SARSEF programs emphasize each student’s ability to solve a real-world problem using STEM research. SARSEF engages over 100,000 Pre-K-12 students in Arizona each year. Liz began her own scientific career as a SARSEF participant, leading to international recognition at seven science fair competitions resulting in over $260,000 in prizes. This research experience led to her Master’s degree in Evolutionary and Comparative Psychology from the University of St. Andrews, and career highlights including serving as a Researcher for Koko the signing gorilla and Deputy Director of SARSEF. Now, Liz serves on the Board of Rotary Club of Tucson and is a member of Charter 100 Arizona, AAUW- American Association of University Women Tucson Branch, and the International Science Fair Planning Committee. An advocate for equal opportunity in STEM education, Liz has been recognized with honors such as Tucson Hispanic Chamber’s 40 Under 40, Women of Influence Education Champion, Greater Tucson Leadership 2016, and WISE’s Award for Excellence in K-12 STEM Diversity.
Julie Euber, MA, COO
Julie Euber is COO of SARSEF. In this role, she promotes the development of future critical thinkers and problem solvers through fundraising, public relations, marketing and communications, volunteer management, and events. Previously, she served as TGen’s Manager of Education and Outreach. In this role, she increased the community’s working knowledge of genomics and educated, trained and inspired the next generation of researchers and physicians. She holds a BA in Anthropology and English with a minor in biology from Indiana University and earned her MA in Anthropology with a focus in Bioarchaeology from Arizona State University. Julie is an alumna of City Year New York and the American Express Leadership Academy at the ASU Lodestar Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Innovation. She is the current President of YNPN Phoenix.
Brooke Meyer, MEd, Chief Program Officer
Brooke is the Chief Program Officer for SARSEF. She earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary and bilingual education, and master’s degree in special education at the University of Arizona. Brooke is a retired public-school educator who worked with students in schools for more than 30 years. During this time, Brooke trained teachers in effective instructional strategies for students, teachers and parents in the field of choice-theory psychology. Brooke is an adjunct professor at Grand Canyon University, instructing in the master’s degree program for special education. Brooke has volunteered with Child Protective Services, and served on the board of an equine-therapy program for students and veterans in Sierra Vista, Ariz. Currently, Brooke provides educational outreach for all schools, students, teachers and parents for SARSEF. She coordinates the educational outreach programs that impacted over 33,000 students, many of them underrepresented students in areas of poverty this past year.
Margaret Wilch, PhD, Director of Research
Margaret joins the SARSEF staff as Director of Research following a 26 -year teaching career at Tucson High Magnet School. From 1995 to 2018, Margaret developed and directed the THMS Research Methods Program, creating a research community that collaborated with dozens of UA research labs, supporting and guiding students through the research process and to the regional science fair. From 1999 to 2018, one or more of her students attended the International Science and Engineering Fair. In addition to the Research Methods Program, she developed and directed Science and Nature in Tandem with Youth (SANITY), a field-based research experience for students at the Southwestern Research Station in Portal, AZ and also started the CTE Bioscience Program at THMS. Margaret received a Bachelor’s of Special Studies in Biology from Cornell College, a MS in General Biology from the University of Arizona and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Science from the University of Arizona College of Science in 2012. As Director of Research at SARSEF, Margaret will provide educational outreach and support to area high school teachers and their students, helping students to identify tractable research questions and feasible methodologies. She will also connect students with appropriate mentors through a central high school outreach lab at the University of Arizona.
Sherrie Dennis, Manager of STEM Curriculum and Instruction
Sherrie joins the SARSEF staff as Manager of STEM Curriculum and Instruction following 25 years as an elementary educator. She obtained her Bachelors of Science at Oklahoma Christian College and has taught Preschool-5th grade in Hawaii and Arizona. During the last 19 years working as an educator for Marana Unified School District, she has served on the Instructional Leadership Team and the Building Leadership Team, been Science Coordinator for the school, and developed many STEM-related activities for afterschool programs. Some of these programs included robotics and coding for Kindergarten-Sixth grade students, creating a community garden and using technology tools to conduct science experiments, electrical circuits class, a maker space for the garden, and a Milers Club where hundreds of students ran over 150 miles during the course of a year. From 2014-2020, Sherrie worked with The STEMAZing Project, first as a Teacher Leader and then as a co-facilitator of workshops on introducing coding, robotics, and engineering into the classroom, impacting over 300 teachers and their students. In addition, she developed quality science and engineering lessons for The STEMAZing Project accessible online through the Sciencing and Engineering Collection. She has worked to ensure teachers access and engage with the new Science Standards by co-hosting free webinars with the Arizona Department of Education, Grand Canyon University, and Arizona Science Teachers Association. Sherrie is also involved with the Marana Unified School Districts Science Teacher Leader Program. As the Manager of STEM Curriculum and Instruction at SARSEF, Sherrie develops instruction that all students have access to by engaging hands-on, minds-on experiences with science and engineering. In her spare time, Sherrie loves spending every Sunday with her family, running half marathons, building automata machines, working in her garden, and finding the next interesting robot to code. She is also known by many teachers as The Robot General and has over 75 personal robots.
Danniey Wright, Director of Events and Volunteers
Danniey is the Director of Events and Volunteers for SARSEF. She received her bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University, where she studied theatre, including stage management and scenic design. She has worked as a stage and events manager for the past 15 years, coordinating a variety of productions ranging from small, community shows to large-scale concerts and conferences. She is passionate about education and the need for critical thinking skills as we encounter new challenges facing our future. When not assisting SARSEF, Danniey spends her time with the theatre community in Tucson, sewing epic Halloween costumes, and enjoying life with her four sons.
Gina Gillis, Corporate and Community Engagement Manager
Gina Gillis is the Corporate and Community Engagement Manager for SARSEF. She works to increase our sustainability through fundraising and corporate relationships. She works to increase our financial sustainability by providing grant writing, donor stewardship, and new development opportunities. Gina comes to us after successful fundraising campaigns for Tucson Wildlife Center and Arizona Chapter of American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. She has served on AFSP’s Board of Directors for 3 years and is currently the Chapter Volunteer Chair. Gina is a member of the National Association of Charitable Gift Planners, Planned Giving Roundtable of Southern Arizona, American Association of Suicidology (serving on both their Networking Committee and an exploratory committee on Suicide and the Disabled), and Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits Policy Council. Studying Psychology at the University of Arizona currently, she is also Mental Health First Aid certified. A native Californian, Gina has called Tucson, Arizona home since 2004 and lives there with her dogs Booda and Nala.
Jeremiah Smith, Grant Writer
Jeremiah is the Grant Writer for SARSEF. Motivated by his own experience growing up in Phoenix, Jeremiah discovered a love for community service and nonprofit work as a freshman at ASU. This passion for change led Jeremiah to complete his master’s degree in Public Administration at ASU and work with some of the largest (and smallest) nonprofits in Arizona. He has secured over $25 million in his career. Jeremiah primarily focuses his efforts locally, creating a better Arizona for his children and the generations to come. He is a member of several boards and groups focusing on systems-changing alliances, coalitions, and organizations.
America Miranda, Programs Liaison
America Miranda is the Programs Liaison at SARSEF. She brings 15 years of experience in large scale event and concert production, as well as experience coordinating community and school programs. In 2018 America was awarded the Hispanic Cultural Marketing award by the International Association of Fairs & Expositions and was a finalist for the Merrill Award for innovation, vision, and excellence in the fair and festival community.
America is passionate about education, marketing, and giving back to her community. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, hanging with her animals, and making sea moss gels.
Catherine Langham, Director of Finance and Operations
Catherine is the Director of Finance and Operations for SARSEF. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Arizona and spent four years teaching science and physical education at her home-school co-op in North Texas. Her son has twice been a participant in Racing the Sun. Catherine has two decades of experience in Office Management in the private sector, and her goal is to support SARSEF moving forward to reach and teach Southern Arizona’s children the critical thinking and problem-solving skills they will need for their future.