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Meet our team

Anne Kaplan, Vice President of the Division of Outreach, Engagement, and Regional Development and Anne Birberick, Vice Provost, Co-Directors

Kathleen Almy
Mathematics Research Associate
kalmy@niu.edu
815-753-1907

Kathleen Almy is a mathematics research associate for the P-20 Center. She leads projects for state agencies related to transitional and developmental math initiatives focused on improving student and teacher experiences and increasing completion rates. Prior to joining the P-20 Center, she was a mathematics professor with 20 years of experience in high school and college classrooms. Her degrees include a B.S. in Mathematics Education from Southern Illinois University and an M.S. in Pure Mathematics from NIU. Kathleen is passionate about making math enjoyable, meaningful, and relevant.

Marilyn Bellert
Associate Director
mbellert@niu.edu
815-753-8051

Marilyn BellertMarilyn Bellert manages Northern Illinois University’s Center for P-20 Engagement in her position as associate director. Since 2001, she has built a P-20 program that is now recognized across the region, state, and national levels for the diversity and quality of its initiatives, including STEAM Works programs, the Northern Illinois Regional P-20 Network for college and career readiness and professional development activities for educators. In FY 15, P-20 Center activities engaged more than 100,000 residents of the region. Marilyn loves working every day with the highly energetic and creative staff of the P-20 Center and seeing the transformational impact of their activities. She holds a B.A. and an M.A. in English.

Mary Baker
SmartSpace@NIU Director
marybaker@niu.edu
815-753-2030

Mary BakerMary Baker is the director of SMARTspace@NIU, which provides free virtual standards-aligned STEAM learning opportunities for pre-K-12th grade learners. Mary ardently promotes student creativity through online problem-based learning opportunities to help learners collaborate, engage in STEAM activities, develop innovative solutions to authentic problems and make connections across multiple disciplines. Mary has a B.F.A. in graphic design, a M.F.A. in studio art, as well as a M.Ed. and an Ed.S. in educational technology.

Jeremy Benson
STEM Outreach Content Developer
jjbenson@niu.edu
815-753-0533

Jeremy BensonJeremy Benson develops content for NIU STEM Outreach programs. He shares his passion for STEM with tens of thousands of students each year as a presenter for STEM Outreach’s in-school and STEM Saturday programs. During the summer, he serves as camp director for our STEM summer camps. Throughout the year, Jeremy regularly presents his workshops on using LEGO Robotics in the classroom to HS teachers from all over the country at national meetings of the American Association of Physics Teachers and loves exploring the intersections of science and music and sharing those with others. Jeremy has bachelor’s degrees in both communications and physics education and earned his science teaching certification from NIU.

Paulette Bowman
Administrative Assistant
pbowman@niu.edu
815-753-1403

Paulette BowmanPaulette Bowman provides administrative support for university-wide P-20 programs including STEAM Works. Paulette earned her bachelor’s degree and a graduate certificate in technical writing from Northern Illinois University. She uses her eagle eyes and attention to detail to make sure eyes are dotted, tees are crossed and bills are paid while continually making connections across programs. Paulette also serves on the NIU Executive Support Team, helping to connect us to the rest of the university. She relishes the challenge of meeting staff needs before we know we have them.

Kristin Brynteson
Director of Professional Development
kbrynteson@niu.edu
815-753-0928

Kristin BryntesonKristin Brynteson is the director of professional development for the P-20 Center. She supports interdisciplinary STEAM education through annual events such as edcamp Northern Illinois and the STEAMing it Up! Conference, as well as ongoing professional development opportunities throughout the state. Kristin also works with state partners to support educators as they use data, technology and open educational resources to support student success. For over 15 years, Kristin has enjoyed helping in-service and pre-service teachers become fearless with technology while they explore innovative ways to impact student learning. She is a former industrial engineer with a M.S. in engineering and an Ed.D. in instructional technology from Northern Illinois University.

Hannah Carmack
Communications Associate
hcarmack1@niu.edu

Hannah Carmack is a communications associate for the P-20 Center. A recent graduate of Northern Illinois University, she enjoys volunteer work and spends most of her time connecting reluctant readers and bookworms alike to the world of literature and science. She has a number of poetry publications, all of which regard living with ulcerative colitis. Although living with an auto-immune disease is difficult, she finds power in using her writing as a way to convey the world that people with disabilities live in to people who may not fully comprehend it.

Alan Clemens
Program Evaluation and Instructional Design Specialist
aclemens@niu.edu
815-753-9334

Alan Clemens is a program evaluation and instructional design specialist for the P-20 Center. He comes to us after over 15 years as a member of the faculty of NIU’s College of Education and years of experience as a technology consultant, system designer and support specialist for schools and corporations. He is a lifelong Huskie, having received his BA in Political Science, MS.Ed. in Instructional Technologies and Ph.D. in Instructional Technologies all from NIU.  His core commitment is to student success at all levels, and volunteers with Junior Achievement, regional youth soccer programs and is Chair of NIU’s Presidential Commission on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity.  In his spare time he is an avid sports and event photographer.

 
Amy Jo Clemens
Senior Research Associate
ajclemens@niu.edu
815-753-3942

Amy Jo ClemensAmy Jo Clemens coordinates projects spanning cradle to career as a senior research associate in the P-20 Center. She leads initiatives for teachers and providers in birth-3rd grade and high school and higher education activities in career pathways. Amy Jo also delivers professional development for implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards. Her experience in state educational policy and program delivery includes serving as an assistant superintendent for Illinois State Board of Education and regional superintendent in Lee and Ogle Counties. Her degrees from NIU include an M.S.Ed. in secondary education and an Ed.S. with an Illinois Superintendent's License. Amy Jo believes that building systems that drive lifelong learning is at the foundation of true educational excellence and the Center for P-20 Engagement is a leader in that work across the state.

Judith Dymond
Coordinator, NIU Center for Economic Education/STEM Outreach Associate
jdymond@niu.edu
815-753-4751


Judith DymondJudith Dymond
serves as coordinator for the Center for Economic Education and is an Outreach & Engagement Associate for STEM Outreach. Judy connects K-12 schools to the university through professional development for educators in economics, and she conntects addults and students to the university by leading the STEM Cafés program. Prior to coming to NIU, Judy spent 10 years as a K-12 administrator in Illinois and Ohio, and 23 years teaching middle and high school reading and language arts in Illinois and Wisconsin. She holds numerous K-12 certifications including superintendent in addition to a doctorate in educational leadership from National Louis University and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from University of Wisconsin-Madison. Judy is passionate about connecting K-12 schools and the community to learning opportunities.

Sara Finnigan
Program Assistant
sfinnigan@niu.edu
815-753-1272

Sara FinniganSara Finnigan is the program assistant for STEAM Works, providing critical support for all of our programs. She specializes in volunteer coordination, event planning and logistics. She has played a starring role in several STEAM Works films, including this video with her beloved cat Birdie. Sara has a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Northern Illinois University and shares her passion for critical thinking with everyone around her.

Gillian King-Cargile
STEM Read Director
gkingcargile@niu.edu
815-753-6784

Gillian King-CargileGillian King-Cargile is the director of NIU’s STEM Read program, which introduces young readers to the science, technology, engineering, and math concepts behind popular fiction books. To do this, STEM Read creates free online lesson plans, interactive games, videos, collaborative writing prompts and live events that bring science and stories to life. She is also the author of The Toy and the Twister and The Toy and the Tide Pool, books one and two of her Stuffed Bunny Science Adventure Series. These picture books tell fun, fast-paced stories that incorporate STEM concepts aligned with Next Generation Science Standards for Kindergarten through second grade. King-Cargile holds a BA in film production and an MFA in creative writing from Southern Illinois University.

Kim Likier
Media Associate
klikier1@niu.edu

Kim Likier is a media associate for the P-20 Center. Kim has an avid interest in rhetoric, specifically regarding gender and sexual identity, but is otherwise an eclectic consumer and producer of media. In this position, they create videos (and sometimes photographs) for promotional, instructional, and documentation use. Because visual media are pervasive and impactful, they are interested in creating videos that engage with children of all genders in order to increase interest in STEAM-related fields. They hold an MA in Communications from NIU, a JD from NIU College of Law, and a BA in German from Carthage College. Their dog, Bean, is pretty great.

Debbie Pixton
Assistant Director
dpixton@niu.edu
815-753-1898

Debbie PixtonDebbie Pixton is the assistant director for the Center for P-20 Engagement and manages the Northern Illinois Regional P-20 Network, a P-20 Center-backed collaboration of school districts, community colleges, and education organizations to increase college and career success for students through regional action. She supports STEAM Works programming by providing the glue across programs, focusing on administrative and financial operations, as well as web and social media communications. Debbie has a bachelor’s of music degree from Illinois Wesleyan University and a master's of arts management degree from Carnegie Mellon University. She is passionate about learning in all its forms and aims to reduce barriers for people of all ages to engage in opportunities to grow.

Tracy Rogers-Tryba
Research Associate
tlrogers@niu.edu
815-753-2090

Tracy Rogers-Tryba, is a research associate at Northern Illinois University’s Center for P-20 Engagement. Tracy contributed to the development of Huskie Hack, a new program focused on digital literacy involving computer coding and hacking skills for innovative community problem solving. Her prior extensive international experiences in Africa, South America, Europe and the South Pacific with the National Security Agency uniquely qualify her work on global projects, including community building through collective impact and dialogue activities, serving as co-investigator on an economic and entrepreneurial education program in South Africa, as well as assisting in the development of several new summer camps on coding and curriculum on global leadership skills. With her dual B.A. in international relations and communications, and an M.S.Ed. in adult and higher education, she continues to learn, engaging in coursework on her Ed.D. in community development.

Pati Sievert
STEM Outreach Director
psievert@niu.edu
815-753-1201

Pati SievertPati Sievert is Director of STEM Outreach, a P-20 Center initiative which provides STEAM programming to tens of thousands of people throughout northern Illinois and from around the world each year. With a broad background in formal and informal education, Pati began at NIU in Physics Outreach in 2002, and has led STEM Outreach efforts at NIU since the office was formally established in 2006. She holds a B.S. in design from the University of Minnesota; she also holds an M.S. in physics from NIU and teacher certification in physics. Pati has a special passion for encouraging girls to explore STEM fields for fun and for careers.

Sam Watt
STEM Educator
swatt1@niu.edu
815-753-0533

Sam Watt is a STEM educator for the P-20 Center. After teaching physics and hands-on projects to students in both Illinois and China, Sam has a variety of experience in both education practices and in working with kids of all ages. he develops curriculum and projects throughout the year for Saturday classes, Summer Camp, and lessons for teachers in the classroom. Sam is an NIU alum with a B.S. in physics and a certification in secondary science. As an Eagle Scout himself, Sam is interested in bringing STEM to Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts of all ages.

The P-20 Center is located in Lowden Hall 307 at Northern Illinois University. Email us at p20@niu.edu or call 815.753.1403.