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Meet Our Team

Jeremy Benson

STEM Outreach Educator

Jeremy develops content for 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 high school 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

Paulette provides administrative support for university-wide P-20 programs including NIU STEAM. Paulette earned her bachelor’s degree and a graduate certificate in technical writing from NIU. 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

Kristin is the director of professional development for the P-20 Center. She leads efforts to support interdisciplinary STEAM education and technology integration through regional and statewide professional development programs and annual events such as the STEAMing It Up Conference. 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 NIU.

Hannah Carmack

Content Creation Manager

Hannah Carmack is a research associate with NIU STEAM and serves as the creative content coordinator for NIU’s STEM Read. Carmack began working for STEM Read in 2015 as a student worker. Since graduating from the university’s English program in 2017, Carmack has come on as a full-time NIU STEAM associate. In her day-to-day responsibilities, Carmack operates and evaluates all of NIU STEAM’S social media channels, as well as the STEM Read Blog. At large community events, she can often be found live-tweeting and snapping photos for future media campaigns. When not working on public-facing promotion, Carmack also assists with STEM Read field trips, lesson plans and professional development.

Amy Jo Clemens

Director, Center for P20 Engagement

Amy Jo coordinates projects spanning cradle to career as the Director of the Center for P20 Engagement. She leads a highly accomplished, enthusiastic, committed staff in grants, projects and activities that research early childhood program effectiveness, deliver migrant education services, address STEM shortages, improve high school to college transition and promote lifelong learning. Amy Jo’s 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 to 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

Judith serves as coordinator for the Center for Economic Education and is an Outreach and Engagement Associate for STEM Outreach. She 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 Coordinator

Sara is the program coordinator for NIU STEAM, 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 NIU STEAM films with her beloved cat Birdie. Sara has a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from NIU and is currently working on her Masters in Library Science.

Gillian King-Cargile

STEM Read Director

Gillian 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 the author of the Stuffed Bunny Science Adventure Series (The Toy and the Twister, The Toy and the Tide Pool, The Toy and the Test Drive). 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 B.A. in film production and an M.F.A. in creative writing from Southern Illinois University.

Kim Likier

Media Associate

Kim 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 M.A. in communications from NIU, a J.D. from NIU College of Law, and a B.A. in German from Carthage College. Their dog, Bean, is pretty great.

Pati Sievert

STEM Outreach Director

Pati is the 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.

Kerri Sosnowski

STEAM Educator

Kerri is a STEAM Educator with NIU STEAM. She assists with curricular resources for NIU STEAM’s STEM Read, STEM Outreach and STEAMing It Up, as well as for the Illinois Migrant Education Program and international clients. She helps to provide professional development to educator’s throughout Illinois, bringing NIU STEAM’s educational philosophies and resources to a growing number of schools and districts offering STEAM education to their students.Kerri holds a B.S. in elementary education from St. Xavier University and a K-9 professional educator license through the state of Illinois. She was previously a third grade teacher and has substituted in classrooms ranging from pre-k to 12th grade.

Sam Watt

STEM Educator

Sam is a STEM educator for the P-20 Center. After teaching physics and hands-on projects to students in both Illinois and China, he 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 or call 815.753.1403.