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Our Mad Scientists


Ruth Staff PhotoRocket Ruby (Ruth Kirkwood)- Pre-school Workshop Instructor & Birthday Party Specialist 

Rocket Ruby joins us for her 4th 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.




Amethyst Amanda (Amanda Eaton) – After School and Camp Coordinator, 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, After-School Program Instructor 

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.



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. 



Dr.Kilowatt Kersting aka Dr. K2” (Bette Kersting Bell, Ph.D.) – After- School Program Instructor

Dr. Kilowatt is back for her second year with Mad Science! Last year she relocated from Birmingham, Alabama with her husband and has been teaching since she was 18 years old! Dr. Kilowatt 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 Specialist  

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 After School programs!                                                                                                                                                         




Supernova Cyrena (Cyrena Nielsen)- After-School Program 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. 





Dr. Tara Dactyl (Tara O'Leary)- After -School Program Instructor

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. 


Jetpack Jed (Jed Thomas)- Operations Manager, Birthday Party Specialist, After-School Program Instructor 

Jetpack Jed got his BA in Psychology from Hendrix College in Conway, AR in 2008. He moved to Maine in 2012 to run a small bed and breakfast in Kennebunkport and immediately fell in love with New England. After working as an After-School Instructor for Mad Science of Maine he moved into his current role as Operations Manager, overseeing the day to day maintenance and inventory of all the fun sciencey things that make our programs rock. When not making slime in the lab, Jed is brewing at home and working toward opening his own brewery in the Southern Maine region. He believes that no matter what you do it's everyone's responsibility to pass along knowledge and educate.





Taryn Friedman (Lightning Lucy)- Chief Mad Scientist

Co-President & 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 (Nitro Nikki)- Chief Mad Scientist, Co-President & Director of Marketing

 “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-President of Mad Science of Maine in 2010. She graduated with a BA from Cornell College and will recieve her Leadership MBA from Saint Joseph's College of Maine in 2018. 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 has also counseled homeless youth in Portland Oregon, taught English abroad, done Youth and Family Counseling, and developed and taught educational programs for refugees. Roll all of that together and you have got the perfect Chief Mad Scientist! Nichole has always believed in the power of education and the idea that knowledge is power. She loves science because it doesn't just teach us how the world works, but teaches us how to think in this curious world. She is dedicated to Mad Science because it encourages wonder and empowers children to ask questions, seek answers, and then ask more questions so as to develop stronger critically thinking and problem solving skills.


Cyber Steve (Steven Harris) – After- School Program Instructor  

Cyber Steve is a kid at heart. He grew up in one of those neighborhoods where you come in when the street lights came on or when Mom rang the cow bell.  He and his friends were always dreaming up things to make and do.  They would tromp through skunk cabbage to go catch pollywogs, build balsa wood gliders, venture into the town forest, play Hide & Seek or endless games of Monopoly on a screened in porch long into the night.  As an adult he was a DoDad for the Girl Scouts and was a Cub/Boy Scout leader for 15 years. He has been a Hardware man, a Jeweler, a Saddler, a Computer Game tester, and a Software Quality Analyst.  Cyber Steve has been seen volunteering, carving walking sticks, playing or designing games, writing, making unusual lamps, creating/fixing necklaces, repairing stuffed animals, meditating, cooking, making Halloween costumes, or on a bike ride with his wife.  He graduated college last year at the tender age of 58 with a Bachelors in Business Administration and high honors then moved to Maine in July.



Kaleidoscope Kate- (Kate Seaver) - After -School Program Instructor

Kaleidoscope Kate grew up in Fryeburg, Maine and has loved nature her whole life. She has always been interested in creative arts and went to Maine College of Art for illustration and UMaine, Orono for art education. She drew the poster design for Common Ground Fair in 2014. Kate has spent many years working in childcare programs and centers. She has training as a Montessori teacher, yoga instructor, and dance teacher and as a lifeguard. She has 2 beautiful children, ages 15 and 15 months and two dogs and a cat. Kate loves to garden organically and runs 6 times a week. 


Kinetic Kelsey (Kelsey Franklin) – Marketing Specialist & After- School Program Instructor 

Kelsey hails from Oxford Hills and has worn many hats in her professional and theatrical career.  From being a medical assistant, an emcee, a teaching artist to a marketing specialist, she has enjoyed many wonderful opportunities.  Kelsey’s true passion is performing!  She has been seen on stages all over Maine; singing, acting, and trying to dance!  Oh, and she’s recently found a passion for improv and creates some laughs with Self IMPROVment.  And, that’s not all folks, Kelsey is also Vice President of OHMPAA (Oxford Hills Music and Performing Arts Association) where she performs, produces and even directs. Kelsey has been a teaching artist for several years and is excited to immerse students in the world of science! Kelsey enjoys the science of Anatomy and Physiology - the human body is such an impressive machine!  You can catch Kelsey in the Mad Science Lab during the day working as our marketing specialist and after school teaching our programs!  


Solar Sarah (Sarah Raymond) - After -School Program Instructor
Solar Sarah is a recent graduate from UNE. In school she couldn’t decide whether she wanted to go strictly into conservation work, do research on the front lines, or if she wanted to teach since working with kids has always been a passion of hers! The solution was to do both! Graduating with a BS in Animal Behavior and minors in Education and Environmental Science has allowed Solar Sarah to enjoy jobs both working within the realm of conservation biology, like conducting salt marsh research and working with the endangered Piping Plover, as well as work inspiring kids about how COOL the world we live in is through jobs at children's science centers and wildlife parks. Solar Sarah truly think that one of the best ways to conserve the environment and the species that live in it is to educate and inspire the next generation to value such things and the first steps to that is getting them excited about science! When Solar Sarah is not at work she enjoys hiking with her dog, kayaking, camping, and crafting!



Alloy Andrew- (Andrew Silver) -Birthday Party Specialist 

Alloy Andrew grew up in Westbrook Maine. As a young child he loved learning about math and science and even had a Mad Science Party for his 8th birthday! Now that he is a bit older, he finds the same joy in performing Mad Science shows for others. Graduating from the University of Maine with a double degree in theatre and communications, Andrew has found a way to fuse his loved of performance with his passion for science and learning.  



Crazy Carolyn- (Carolyn Brady) – After- School Program Instructor 

Although originally from the suburbs of Philadelphia, Crazy Carolyn comes to Mad Science as a student at Bowdoin College where she is pursuing a major in Government and Legal Studies with a minor in Mandarin Chinese. Outside of the classroom, you can find Crazy Carolyn participating in a wide array of campus activities such as the Track and Field Team or one of the many college music ensembles. As she will be calling Maine home for the next few years, Crazy Carolyn looks forward to interacting with the exciting minds of this state's youngest scientists! 



                                                         Dr. Y- (Andrew Hill) - After-School Program Instructor 

A lifelong love of science has brought Dr. Y to Mad Science of Maine. Dr. Y wants to pass along his science passion to the next generation of students, allowing them to observe, to question and to wonder at the world around them.  Dr. Y has a degree in Environmental Sciences, spending many years in renewable energy, environmental sciences, and in information technology.  Hoping for more young students to be excited about a STEM education and career, Dr. Y is enthusiastic to help students focus their natural curiosity for new things.  When he is not being a Mad Scientist, Dr. Y can be found in the Maine woods, enjoying hiking, birding, boating, water sports, and camping. 



Recycling Rebecca – (Rebecca Matz) – After-School Program Instructor
Recycling Rebecca just moved to Maine this year from sunny Florida! She has never seen snow and is excited to experience her first winter here. Growing up in Florida she loved gardening and learning about native plants in the area. She still enjoys being in nature and is looking forward to seeing the beauty Maine has to offer through hiking, camping, snowmobiling, and many other exciting new experiences! Rebecca earned her BA in Elementary Education at Florida Gulf Coast University and hopes to go back to school to study Environmental Science. For now though, she can't wait to jump into exploring science with you in an After School Program! 




Blast Off Brittany (Brittany Burke) – Birthday Party Specialist 

Blast Off Brittany is so thrilled to be a part of the Mad Science of Maine team! She will be earning her Bachelor of Arts in Theatre from USM this coming spring. Brittany spends her time acting in plays, drawing, and doing photography. One of her favorite things about photography is working with all the chemicals in the dark room to develop her own photos! Watching the images appear on the paper is one of the most magical things. Brittany also works as a Humane Educator at the Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland. Brittany has always loved the art of theatre and performance, and is so excited to be working in a place where she can use her love of entertaining to educate youngsters! 



Botanical Brendan- (Brendan Daly) - Birthday Party Specialist 

Botanical Brendan holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Broadcast and Electronic Communication from Marquette University. When not assisting with experiments in the lab, he enjoys playing guitar, piano, and drums. He is a huge fan of Star Wars and loves the science that is used to make movie magic! Botanical Brendan hopes to see you at a birthday party soon!


Jurassic Jessica (Jessica Antonez) – Birthday Party Specialist

Jurassic Jessica is from Manchester, Vermont but has lived in Maine since getting her BA from the University of New England studying marine biology and environmental science in 2016. She works as an educator at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute during the day where she can combine her love of the ocean with her passion of teaching! Jessica loves to spend her free time outside hiking, kayaking, and exploring around the beach with her dog Molly. 





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