Meet the Staff
Haakon Aasan (Physics of Roller Coasters)
Haakon Aasan is a co-instructor of the Physics of Roller Coasters class with Bruce Cameron. He has more than 8 years of experience as a science teacher for the Northshore School District. He has a Master in Teaching from the University of Washington and a B.S. in Environmental Science from Western Washington University.
Jeff Armentrout (Physics of Roller Coasters)
Jeff Armentrout is a co-instructor of the Physics of Roller Coasters class with Burton Barrager. Jeff teaches 8th grade Earth Science at Canyon Park Junior High School in the Northshore School District. He has 11 years of experience teaching Earth Science, Physical Science and Math. Jeff has a Master in Teaching degree from the University of Washington.
Burton Barrager (Physics of Roller Coasters)
Burton is a co-instructor in the Physics of Roller Coasters class with Jeff Armentrout. He teaches 7th grade Life Science and 8th grade Earth Science for the Northshore School District at Leota Junior High in Woodinville, WA. Burton has a Bachelor of Science degree in Oceanography and a Master in Teaching degree, both from the University of Washington. He also earned National Board Certification for Professional Teaching Standards in 2006.
Kristie Bennett (To the Moon and Beyond) Kristie is a co-instructor in the To the Moon and Beyond class with Breanna Binder. She has degrees in physics, mathematics, and education from Grand Valley State University. She currently teaches IB Physics and Physics at Skyline High School in Sammamish, WA. In her free time, Kristie enjoys developing games with her husband and photography. Kristie enjoys making physics and astronomy accessible to learners of all ages!
Breanna Binder (To the Moon and Beyond!)
Breanna is a doctoral candidate in the University of Washington Astronomy Department. She has a master’s degree in Astronomy from the University of Washington and an undergraduate degree in Physics/Astrophysics from the University of California, San Diego. In her free time, she likes to run, play with her dog, and craft.
Heather Brown (The Incredible World of Plants)
Heather is a Biology instructor at Seattle University and a Postdoctoral Researcher at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. She has an undergraduate degree in Zoology from Washington State University and a PhD in Molecular and Cellular Biology from the University of Washington. In her free time, she likes to hike, cook and play Ultimate Frisbee.
Bruce Cameron (Physics of Roller Coasters)
Bruce Cameron is a co-instructor for the Physics of Roller Coasters class with Haakan Aasan. He has a B.S. in Oceanography and a Master in Teaching from the University of Washington. Bruce currently teaches science to energetic 9th graders at Canyon Park Junior High in Bothell.
Peter Donaldson (Chemistry! Ecology! Drama! – Puget Sound in the Year 2050)
Peter is a consummate storyteller with over 30 years’ experience in teaching teachers, designing curriculum and leading sustainability initiatives. Peter is Director of Sustainability Ambassadors, coaching leadership youth, teachers and community champions to improve sustainable community conditions. From 1986-1996 Peter was the Artistic Director for Youtheatre Northwest and was recognized in 1995 as National Youth Theater Director of the Year. In 2010 Peter was recognized as the Environmental Educator of the Year by the Environmental Education Association of Washington. Peter co-teaches Chemistry! Ecology! Drama! with his wife Cynthia Yost.
Jeramy Gee (Inquiring Minds)
Jeramy is a doctoral candidate in the University of Washington’s Philosophy Department. He holds a master’s degree in Philosophy from the University of Washington, and an undergraduate degree in Biology as well as Philosophy from St. Lawrence University. Though Jeramy’s doctoral work lies in ethics, he is also fond of Ancient Philosophy and the Philosophy of Religion. His other interests include fencing, boxing, sailing, and backpacking through the mountains.
Matthew Kelsey (Word A)
Matthew Kelsey was born in Glens Falls, New York, and was adopted when he was seven years old. He received a BA in English from Boston University, and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Washington. In 2010, Matthew was published in the Best New Poets anthology. The following year, he received a summer teaching fellowship from the UW and taught Creative Writing in Rome. Matthew worked for five years as a camp counselor/unit director at the YMCA, and is currently a teacher and writing tutor at Everett Community College. He also acts as Managing Editor of Poetry Northwest.
Sam Kraft (Next City)
Sam Kraft has a Master of Teaching from Pace University and taught 4th grade in the South Bronx for two years as a member of Teach For America. He led his students to learn almost two years’ worth of reading and math material in just a years’ time. Concurrently, he developed his own creative conflict resolution curriculum and implemented it with his students. He left classroom teaching to pursue a Master of Architecture from the UW, but has been volunteering in friends’ classrooms, teaching short architecture units. Sam completed his degree in the fall of 2012 and is excited to integrate his training and experience in both teaching and architecture with the Robinson Center’s Summer Challenge program.
Luba Malkina (Math Topics B)
Luba Malkina got her master’s degree in Mathematics from Saint Petersburg State University, Russia. She develops the curriculum and teaches extracurricular math topics for advanced students of all grades in the Northwest Academy of Sciences and Prime Factor Math Circle. She has also worked as a designer of online interactive curricula for elementary, middle, and high school. Luba has coached elementary and middle school math teams that successfully performed in various regional and state math contests. For the last several years, Luba also has been one of the local coordinators for the Math Kangaroo Competition and a member of the scientific committee for the UW Math Hour Olympiad.
Jocelyn Fraga Muller (The Incredible World of Plants)
Joy teaches Environmental Science and Biology at Seattle University in Seattle, WA. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science (UMASS Amherst), a Master of Science degree in Environmental Science and Engineering (UNC Chapel Hill) and a PhD in Civil Engineering (Virginia Tech). Working in academic scientific research for 12 years, she focused on understanding the biology of soils and sediments and how bacteria can naturally clean up polluted areas. She loves helping kids of all ages learn and explore science – especially our outdoor natural systems – from her daughter’s elementary school class to her college kids.
Michelle Peñaloza (Word C)
Michelle Peñaloza grew up in Nashville, Tennessee and earned her B.A. in Secondary Education and English from Vanderbilt University. Before earning her M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Oregon, she taught English at George School, a Quaker boarding school in Pennsylvania. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in the Asian American Literary Review, Nashville Review, Great River Review, and Bellingham Review, among others. She is the recipient of the 2011 Women Writers’ Literary Fellowship, awarded by Oregon Literary Arts, the Miriam McFall Starlin Award, and a recent Kundiman Fellow.
Jinda Rosmann (Introduction to Robotics)
Jinda Rosmann teaches Science at Evergreen Middle School in Redmond, co-coaches a championship FLL Robotics team, has led a “getting ready” life skills program for transitioning students as well as many science-oriented programs for students from 5 to 15. After discovering her love of teaching, Jinda earned her Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) at Seattle Pacific University (certified Elementary K-8 with a Middle Level Math/Science endorsement). Jinda is fascinated by the various ways our minds work and learn. She enjoys assisting students in exploring their own multiple intelligences.
Faith Rutherford (Math Topics A) Faith Rutherford was born and raised in Seattle, Washington. She received her bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Portland State University and is currently enrolled at the University of Washington for a Master’s in Mathematics Education. Her passion is making mathematics fun and engaging for learners of all ages.
Jane Wong (Word B)
Jane Wong is originally from the Jersey shore, where she grew up in a restaurant. She received a B.A. in English from Bard College, an M.F.A. in Poetry from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and is currently a Ph.D. candidate in English at the University of Washington. Jane is also the recipient of fellowships and scholarships from the U.S. Fulbright Program, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. Her poems have appeared in numerous journals including Mid-American Review, CutBank, Poetry Northwest, The Journal and in the anthologies Best New Poets 2012 and The Arcadia Project. She has taught creative writing to youth for the past six years through programs such as Writers-in-the-Schools, the Wing Luke Museum, the Iowa Youth Writing Project, the Summer Institute for the Gifted, and ArtShare. Currently, she teaches Composition at UW and tutors writing at the University’s Writing Center.
Cynthia Yost (Chemistry! Ecology! Drama! – Puget Sound in the Year 2050)
After earning a bachelors in cell biology and a PhD in biochemistry Cynthia received a postdoctoral fellowship at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. She found her way into the classroom via years of being the volunteer ‘science mom’ in her children’s elementary and middle schools. For the past ten years she has been teaching chemistry, biology and math to middle and high school students. In her current position at Sky Valley Education Center, Cynthia divides her time between her high school chemistry classes and a Montessori program for middle and high school students where she teaches integrated sciences. Cynthia co-teaches Chemistry! Ecology! Drama! with her husband Peter Donaldson.
TA’s are typically University of Washington undergraduate students.
Dr. Maren Halvorsen is the Associate Director and Principal for Summer Programs and the Principal of the Transition School. Dr. Halvorsen received her Ph.D. in History from the University of Washington in 2002 with a focus on Early Modern Europe, with special interest in medieval and early modern spirituality. She has taught numerous courses for the UW Department of History, ranging from freshmen general education classes to advanced senior seminars. She joined the Robinson Center in 1990.
Kristy Carter is the Program Coordinator for the Transition School and Summer Programs. She joined the Robinson Center in January 2010, coming from the Provost’s Office here at the UW. Her previous experience includes four years working for the World Affairs Council in Seattle and two years living and teaching English in Japan.