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Our Mad Scientists

 MEET THE TEACHERS THAT GET YOUR CHILD EXCITED ABOUT SCIENCE...

"Electric Elaine" (Elaine McGee)- Lead Camp Instructor - Super Duper Science Sampler Camp, After School and Workshop Instructor

Elaine Staff Photo

 "Electric Elaine" joins us for her fifth year. Elaine was a teacher for over 20 years and is now living her teacher retirement dream working as a true Mad Scientist. She teaches our workshops in schools, after-school programs, & assists with curriculum training. She has her Bachelors in Geology-Mineralogy from the University of Michigan, a Masters in Geochemistry at SUNY-Stone Brook, and a Masters in Earth Sciences at the University of South Carolina. Elaine believes that young children who experience the fun of science will always be open to pursuing and supporting science as they grow older. She is passionate about learning and wants to share the excitement that can come from thinking about and exploring observations and new ideas. She has a single message to children: observe, ask questions, and be creative!

 

Anna Tibbetts (a.k.a. Lord Banana) My First Lab Camp Assistant 

Lord Banana is an energetic and passionate Elementary Art Teacher who possesses a State of Maine K – 12 certification and a bachelor’s of Fine Arts Degree from the University of Southern Maine. She joins Mad Science for a second year as the Lead Instructor for Spy Academy. Lord Banana’s talents are endless. Not only has her artwork won awards at various art shows but she also teaches ballroom dancing and has volunteered at Camp Sunshine during their summer camp programs. Somehow, Lord Banana still finds time to hike in nature and cooks up some of her favorite recipes.

"Rocket Ruby" (Ruth Kirkwood)- My First Lab Camp Lead Instructor, Pre-school Workshop Instructor & Birthday Party Specialist 

Ruth Staff Photo

 

"Rocket Ruby" joins us for her 3rd year. Ruby fancies science enrichment because imagination rockets, hands-on activities excite and exploration zooms. Ruth is a retired teacher with over 20 years of experience teaching a variety of ages. She holds her K-12 Certification, a Bachelors in Elementary Education from Illinois State University, and a Masters in Teaching from the University of Ct. Storrs, CT. Be prepared, Rocket Ruby is known for her zaniness and may break out in her science dance while teaching about the 3 states of matter.

   

 

 

“Circuit CeCe” (Celise Murphy) - Birthday Party Specialist 

 Circuit CeCe is a “retired” teacher who loves to inspire learning in children so much that she still spends most of her time in the classroom as a substitute teacher. There’s not one subject that Circuit CeCe has not taught. Besides the basic science courses, she also teaches English, math, and reading. However, Circuit CeCe’s list of educational endeavors does not stop there. Other areas of instruction include dance, drama, music and geology. When not imparting knowledge to young students, you can find Circuit CeCe fishing, swimming, singing, acting in the local theater or just simply hanging out with her husband and their two rescue dogs, Honey and Gracie.


 

 

 

 

 

“Molecular Mac” (Leia McDonnell) – ASP Instructor, Engineering & Brixology Camp Lead Instructor

 

Leia hails from Connecticut and is currently a Bio Major with a focus in Education at USM! She has been working and volunteering with children for many years and is very passionate about science education. Leia has been a genuine lover of science since the 5th grade when she designed a new product for the science fair called the "Thermotemp" which monitored the water temperature in baths and showers! Leia loves to garden, spend time with friends and family, hike, row, and knit. She aspires to be teaching middle school or high school within the next couple of years! 

 

 

“Cosmic Christina” (Christina Kouros) – Eureka! Camp Assistant Instructor

 Cosmic Christina is working on her degree in Education at the University of Maine, Farmington. She is very excited to put on her Mad Science hat and be the assistant instructor for Eureka! Camp. Cosmic Christina loves teaching and believes education is power. It’s her belief that to inspire imagination and fun while learning opens the door to an authentically motivated child. Besides teaching, Cosmic Christina also enjoys working with animals. She has volunteered at both the Animal Refuge League and the Forest Avenue Veterinary Hospital. When she’s not teaching or taking care of a sick pet, Cosmic Christina is winning national championships in adaptive Nordic skiing and wheelchair racing. And when she’s not doing that, she is relaxing with one of her favorite art projects.

 

 

 

 “Amethyst Amanda” (Amanda Eaton) – Program Specialist, Special Event and Assembly Show Specialist, Workshop Instructor 

 Amanda recently moved back to Maine after 11 years in the Midwest. She has been a teaching artist for 14 years and loves working with students of all ages! She holds a BA in Theatre and Minor in Dance from The University of Maine and is graduate of The Second City, Chicago.  Amanda loves all things science and arts related and is excited for Mad Science to now focus on STEAM! Amanda spends her time acting, biking, writing, cooking and singing when not working in the Mad Science Lab and spreading the love of science all over Maine. She lives in South Portland with her partner Brendan and goldfish Emilio. 

 

 

 

 

 

“Catalyst Corey” (Corey Cleary) – Special Event and Assembly Show Specialist

Catalyst Corey is a working artist and educator here in Portland who has a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts, with an emphasis in Illustration from Montserrat College of Art. Catalyst Corey began his teaching career as an Animation Instructor for the Glen Urquhart After School Program in Beverly, MA where he assisted students in designing characters and taught the fundamentals of stop motion animation. Mixing his passion for art, love of teaching, his interest in science, and incredible enthusiasm, Catalyst Corey makes the perfect Mad Scientist for all our Assembly Shows, Workshops, and After School Programs. When he is not creating art or teaching, you can find Catalyst Corey biking in the city he loves, cooking his favorite creative recipes, and playing air hockey (he states he is overly competitive.) And speaking of competitive, he enjoys watching his friends lose to him while playing board games. This Mad Scientist, it seems, is spirited in more ways than one.

 

 

"Jurassic Justin" (Justin Kazar) - Spy Academy Camp Assistant Instructor

 

Jurassic Justin is a graduate student at the University of New England, a substitute teacher, and has had a lifelong interest for both science and spending time with children. Jurassic Justin joins us for Spy Academy Camp because it combines two of his passions - education and science. He is currently in the Teacher Certification Program at UNE, and recently completed his required EDU classes. Jurassic Justin’s journey into teaching started in 2013 when he became a substitute teacher. Very quickly students requested him for their teacher and cheered when they found out he would be. Before teaching, Justin received two degrees from the University of Maine at Farmington in English and Philosophy. Justin has always enjoyed time with children - he has been babysitting since as far back as he can remember, and he is often referred to as "Uncle J" by his friends' children. (And yes, he is definitely that one cool uncle everyone has!) Jurassic Justin has always enjoyed both science and science fiction - some of his favorite TV shows include Cosmos and Planet Earth, and he is a Star Wars fanatic. In his free time Justin can be found reading on the beach, hiking, fishing, writing, and taking pictures of sunsets. 

 

 Lorraine Glowczak (a.k.a. Brainy Rainy) Pre-K Workshops Instructor 

Brainy Rainy began working for Mad Science in the Fall of 2010 as an After School Program Instructor. Although you can still find Brainy Rainy in the classroom and at special events, she spends more time at the lab promoting our super awesome science enrichment programs. Brainy Rainy has a background in Education and Linguistics with a Bachelor's Degree in Leadership and Organizational Studies from the University of Southern Maine. Her multitude of passions and love of learning have led Brainy Rainy on a variety of career paths that include Preschool Instructor, Chiropractic Assistant, Horticulture Specialist, Owner of a Concierge Business, and a journalist. At the moment, Brainy Rainy is learning Italian to prepare for her trip to Italy this fall and is diving into the adventure of Beekeeping. When she's not doing that, you can find her volunteering her time with the League of Women Voters of Maine, exploring the Maine woods, kayaking at the lake or beating her husband in a mean game of Phase Ten.

 

 

“Evolutionary Ethan” – (Ethan Palm)  Birthday Party Specialist

Ethan is new to Maine from the Wild Wild West Coast. In addition to teaching young mad scientists, Ethan works at an educational nonprofit in South Portland that brings arts enrichment to local schools and multicultural training to teachers. He holds a BA in Evolutionary Anthropology from the University of California, Davis so he has plenty of fun facts about primates! Perhaps the only subject he knows more about is Star Wars. May the force be with you--especially if that force is gravity and we're getting ready to kick off a science filled birthday party!

"Kit Catalyst" – (Kit McCann) Birthday Party Specialist   

Kit Cat has been working with Mad Science for 4 years, ever since completing her thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail and moving to Maine from New York City. Kit attended the Maine School of Science and Mathematics for high school, got her bachelors from Ohio Wesleyan University, and lastly got her Master's Degree from Mercy College. Throughout college and afterward Kit was professionally trained and performed in improvisational theater at IO in Chicago and Upright Citizens Brigade in NYC. Kit lives in a tiny house (144 square feet!) with her partners and their two inexcusably large cats. Kit loves the science of music, energy, laughter and curiosity. 

 

       "Jessica Joules”- (Jessica Ferguson) Birthday Party Specialist  

 Jessica got her BA in Theatre and Dance from Ohio Wesleyan University, with an emphasis in Lighting Design. After which she moved to New York, where she worked in professional technical theatre for four years. She now works as an assistant teacher at a day care here in Southern Maine. She is quick to laugh and finds that the joy of science always permeates the fabric of our lives. 

 

 

"Genetic Geo" (Georgia Tillotson) Spy Academy Camp Lead Instructor

 

Georgia is a Biology Major, Studio Arts minor at Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana. She has been leading and assisting at educational summer camps since 7th grade and plans to get her masters in Science Education after graduating in 2019. During the school year at Earlham, she works for the Outreach team at the Joseph Moore Museum on campus creating hands-on activities and tours for kids to learn about animals and evolution. She loves singing, photography, travel and most of all, Beluga Whales! Georgia applied to work for Mad Science Maine after realizing her passion for teaching her students at the Joseph Moore Museum and hopes to continue this passion through and after grad school. After all, among some of the greatest things you can do for the world is teach a child, especially if it's science! 

 

 

      “Static Scott” (Scott Ralston) Reactions in Action Camp Assistant Instructor

Static Scott is a native of South Portland, Maine, and is currently pursuing a degree in Physics and Engineering from Earlham College in Indiana.  Having grown up a child of The Magic School Bus, he has a lifelong passion for understanding the world, and building cool stuff to make it better!  In high school, he competed in the national Science Olympiad competition for the great state of Maine, and finished one event in a not entirely terrible 33rd place!  He loves to build stuff, explore, sing, dance (badly), and teach, and he’s excited to do some (if not all) of these things with Mad Science!

 

 

“Dr.Kilowatt Kersting aka Dr. K2” (Bette Kersting Bell, Ph.D.) – ASP and Mini Camp Lead Instructor 

Bette recently relocated from Birmingham, Alabama with her husband and has been teaching since she was 18 years old! Bette has a Masters in Science Education from Western Illinois University and a Doctorate of Philosophy from Saint Louis University.   She is an experienced teacher and former principal who loves motivating and inspiring her students.  When she is not in the classroom, Bette loves walking, hiking, knitting, cross stitching, Zentangling and cooking!

 

 


   
“Rocket Rachel’ (Rachel Freidman) – Birthday Party and Brixology & Engineering Assistant Instructor

Rachel is elated to be a part of the Mad Science team! She is a Communications student at the University of Southern Maine, and enjoys many activities around Maine such as theater, hiking, and of course performing Mad Science experiments! She has worked numerous jobs such as waitressing in the Old Port and assisting dance classes! Her favorite scientific subject is Astronomy! She hopes to see you at a Mad Science birthday party, or one of our summer programs!

 

 “Supernova Cyrena” (Cyrena Nielsen)- Eureka Camp Lead Instructor 

Supernova Cyrena joins Mad Science this year full of passion for STEAM education and the natural sciences, particularly marine biology. She is finishing her last year in the teacher prep program at Saint Joseph's College of Maine, and will be obtaining her K-8 teaching certification. She loves igniting a passion for STEAM education in all of her students, and is particularly interested in bridging the considerable gender gap in STEAM fields. In her free time, Supernova Cyrena can be found on any of Maine's beaches, hitting the waves or searching the tide pools for new scaly friends. 

 

 

“Zinc Zim” (Zimzim Mohamed)- Robot Recruit Co- Lead Instructor 


Zimzim is a motivated student with a love for science. She has completed her second year of college at the University of New England. She is currently majoring in biological sciences and minoring in psychology. Zimzim has had over two years of experience working with kids of all ages. She loves seeing the light and excitement in kids eyes when conducting an experiment, and the happiness that exudes out of them when they finally understand how it all happened. 

 

 

“Atomic Alex” (Alex Jenkins) – MAKERS of the Future – Assistant Instructor  


Alex originally comes from WV. While still in high school he joined the military, and served as a medic for the US Army. Alex is a combat veteran who was honorably discharged in 2006. Since then he has earned an Associates of Arts with a concentration in Education from SMCC as well as Captained the Men's Soccer Team. 

Alex continued his education at USM where he earned his Bachelor’s degree in Geoscience. He has coached Youth Soccer for the South Portland Strikers organization and now is Assistant Coach for SMCC Men's Soccer. 

.... Alex eventually hopes to go back to school, earn a teaching degree and be at the head of the class!

 

 

 

 

“DNA Destiny” (Destiny Brakey)- Reactions in Actions Lead Instructor 

DNA Destiny is excited to be returning for her second summer at Mad Science! DNA Destiny is originally from Ohio, but has spent the past two years living in Maine working as a case manager for adults with special needs. She graduated from Marietta College in Marietta, Ohio with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and Psychology. DNA Destiny spent her summers working at the Great Lakes Science Center in Cleveland, Ohio as an education specialist, which sparked her passion for science education. At the end of this summer, DNA Destiny will be moving to Buffalo, New York in order to begin a graduate program in Behavioral Neuroscience. In her spare time, DNA Destiny can be found curled up with a good book, her dog, and one of her pet hedgehogs.

 

 

“Deep Space Al” (Alan Gomez)- Super Duper Science Sampler Assistant Instructor

Alan Gomez studied engineering at Amarillo College. He is very enthusiastic about learning and teaching. He was a former supervisor of a math outreach center where he helped tutor adults and young adults in math ranging from algebra all the way up to differential equations as well as supervising his staff. Alan believes that people especially children should be engaged in learning as much as much as they possibly can. Alan believes that knowledge opens up the world.

 

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"Dr. Tara Dactyl" (Tara O'Leary)- ASP Instructor, Co-Lead Robotics Camp Instructor, Birthday Party Specialist

Tara has considered Maine home for over twenty years, but is originally from Western Pennsylvania and still loves her Pittsburgh sports teams. While working on her Bachelor's Degree at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, she jumped at the opportunity to join the U.S. Coast Guard, where she even had the honor of serving as Presidential Attachment in Kennebunkport, ME.

She loved working with kids as a summer camp counselor in her youth, which drew her to Mad Science. With an electrical apprenticeship and uncommonly common sense, she found that the Robotics and Engineering and Brixology programs were her favorite programs to teach to children. In her free time, Tara enjoys fishing, kayaking, golf (even though she is AWFUL), crafts, travelling, supporting non-profit organizations and her Maine Coon cat, but never shoveling snow. 

 

Taryn Friedman (a.k.a. Lightning Lucy) Chief Mad Scientist, Co-Owner and Program Director

 

“Lightning Lucy” can be seen performing Mad Science Shows and facilitating Science workshops all over Maine! She has been Co-Owner of Mad Science since 2010 with “Nitro Nikki”.  She graduated from Union College in 2002 with her degree in English Literature and a minor in Biology.  Taryn has an extensive background in experiential and environmental education.  She has worked as a wilderness therapy guide with teens at the Summit Achievement Academy in Stowe, ME, a snowboard coach for Gould Academy in Bethel, a kayak guide in Casco Bay for Rippleffect, an environmental educator aboard the Schooner Adventuress in Puget Sound near Seattle, WA, and a direct support professional for teens and adults with special needs at Creative Trails in Portland, and of course a Mad Science Instructor teaching science enrichment programs while also fulfilling her duties as the Program Director of Mad Science.  Taryn has always had a passion for science and loves getting kids excited about chemical reactions, Newton’s Laws of Motion, robots, electricity, and more! 

 

 

 

Nichole Troe (a.k.a. Nitro Nikki) Chief Mad Scientist, Co-Owner and Director of Operations

 “Nitro Nikki” is known as the “Renaissance Women” of the Mad Science Lab. You can find her tinkering in the lab, making cool gadgets, designing the website, leading the strategic planning effort, and even cooking an awesome spread for her Mad Scientist’s! Nichole took over as Co-Owner of Mad Science of Maine in 2010. She graduated with a BA from Cornell College. She is pursuing an MBA at UNE. Nichole has a total of 9 years of diverse experience working with children. She worked aboard historic educational schooners teaching cultural history and ecology all the while sailing on the Chesapeake Bay and Puget Sound. She counseled homeless youth in Portland Oregon, taught English abroad in South Korea, has been a Youth and Family Counselor, has done educational outreach for underprivileged kids, case management services, and developed and taught educational programs for refugees living in the Portland area. Roll all of that together and you have got the perfect Chief Mad Scientist! From the time Nichole was very young, she believed in the power of education. She loves science because it doesn't just teach us how the world works, but teaches us how to think in this curious world. Just like Carl Sagan said “Science is a way of thinking much more than it is a body of knowledge.” She is dedicated to Mad Science because it embodies this and empowers children to ask questions, seek answers, and inevitably solve the problems                                                                 of the world all the while hopefully never losing their wonder and curiousity.


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