W.I.S.E. Workshop Leaders & Speakers 2018
Nina Tandon is CEO and Co-Founder of EpiBone, the world’s first company growing living human bones for skeletal reconstruction. She is the co-author of Super Cells: Building with Biology, a book that explores the new frontier of biotech. Nina has also been awarded Crain’s New York, Forty Under 40; Ernst & Young, Winning Woman; and Goldman Sachs, 100 Most Intriguing Entrepreneurs. She has a Bachelor’s in Electrical Engineering from the Cooper Union, a Master’s in Bioelectrical Engineering from MIT, a PhD in Biomedical Engineering, as well as an MBA from Columbia University. Her PhD research focused on studying electrical signaling in the context of tissue engineering, and has worked with cardiac, skin, bone, and neural tissue. Visit Nina Tandon's website.
Juliette Guarino-Berg is the Lower School Science Teacher at Poly Prep Country Day School, where she teaches life, physical, and Earth sciences to students in kindergarten through fourth grade. She is also a co-advisor of the Lower School Ecology Action Team, which focuses on environmental initiatives. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Biological Sciences from Binghamton University and her Master of Science in Childhood Education from Hunter College. Her passions lie in developing and implementing STEM curricula for elementary-aged students.
Marie Corkhill has been teaching at Poly Prep for 39 years. During that time, she has taught AP Biology and Form I Science, as well as some Reading and Math classes. She is currently teaching 5th- and 6th-grade science (her favorite classes) and is one of the coaches for the Middle School Science Olympiad team. Before coming to Poly, Marie worked in the Education Department at the American Museum of Natural History.
Shannon Comer teaches 7th and 8th grade science at Poly. Although this is only her second year at Poly, she has been a science educator for more than 17 years. She has taught high school Earth Science and Biology as well as physical and life science to middle school students. Her adventures in education have take her to many places around the world, from testing the water quality of Newtown Creek, to designing environmental education curriculum in Uganda and exploring the glaciers of the Swiss Alps. Shannon was the advisor of the "Making Things" club last year and enjoys incorporating STEAM projects into her units.
Becca del Monte is a product engineer at OXO, where she builds and tests kitchen tools from egg poachers to cheese graters. In previous jobs she has worked on faucets, LED light fixtures, and vibrators, but designing for food has been by far the most delicious. She studied product design at Stanford University and loves to combine technical and creative work to make real-world stuff that everyone can use.
Emily Giurleo is a Poly Prep alumna (class of 2013) who is passionate about education and software. She graduated from MIT with a degree in computer science, and she is now working as a software developer at Codecademy. She is interested in using technology to help children learn about math and science and hopes to one day found her own educational technology startup or become a teacher.
Alexa Jan is a rising junior at MIT studying Computer Science and Electrical Engineering, with a concentration in Education. She has a background in machine learning, autonomy, and virtual reality and has worked everywhere from Pittsburgh, PA at Google to Santiago, Chile at InstaGIS, a startup specializing in finding trends from map data. Originally from the Bay Area, she grew up among technology and believes that the greatest innovations come from a team of diverse voices and backgrounds. When she's not in front of her computer, she enjoys ballroom dancing and rock climbing.
Kari Jacobsen has specialized in evaluating and improving train safety, including conducting accident investigations, performing full-scale testing, and developing safety standards for the last 16 years. Kari earned a B.S. and M.S.c in Mechanical Engineering from Tufts University and has authored over 20 technical publications on train safety. She was one of four women in her undergraduate class of 42 mechanical engineers. Kari resides in Oakland, California and teaches yoga classes locally, as well as yoga retreats in Costa Rica and Bali. Her goal in life is to do meaningful work that helps people be safe, healthy, well-balanced, and stress-free.
Nicole Karpf de Castillo is an architectural designer living in Los Angeles, CA. After graduating Poly Prep in 2006, she earned her masters' degree from the Southern California Institute of Architecture in 2013, and is a specialist in Building Information Modeling. For the past four years, she has worked on civic, commercial and adaptive reuse projects in the Los Angeles area. She enjoys learning about new technologies, and is currently learning how to create virtual and augmented reality experiences for her projects. In her free time, she loves to run, hike, and camp in the desert.
Sarah Lee is a product manager at Symbiont, a blockchain startup, where she works with business and engineering teams to transform the financial services industry. Sarah is also active in STEM education. She has spent the past five years as a volunteer teaching and designing computer science curriculums in NYC public schools with TEALS (tealsk12.org). She has a bachelor’s degree in Computer and Systems Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
Stacey Lebitz is a Solution Architect at Ericsson where she defines solutions for measuring the quality of services in telecommunications networks. She studied Electrical Engineering and has a B.S. from Case Western Reserve University and a M.S. from Princeton University.
Sonja Lindberg '16 is Poly Prep alumna and is currently a junior studying Computer Science and Management and concentrating in Theater at MIT. Outside of class, she enjoys singing, dancing, reading, volleyball, musical theater, dabbling in rugby and kickboxing, watching gaming Let’s Plays, and listening to podcasts (RT, MFM, NPR, and TED). She also loves to speak French and visit her family in Sweden and China while exploring the world through travel. In the past, she’s worked in Stockholm, Sweden at Accountor AB, has spent a summer living and working on Location Privacy Mechanisms research in Grenoble, France, has had a great time with web design projects at MIT, and has spent her most recent summer in Washington, D.C. developing a Natural Language Processing platform at Booz Allen Hamilton, a consulting firm. On campus, she is a Sigma Kappa sister and class rep, consultant for the MIT Consulting Group, and Freshman Associate Advisor.
Angie Neefus is a licensed Professional Engineer in the State of New York. She designs and specifies structural glass and specialty structures as a structural/façade engineer at Eckersley O’Callaghan. She has experience designing everything from art installations to 650-foot-tall residential towers and has projects located in New York City and around the world. She has a particular passion for the renovation and reuse of existing buildings and has worked with the NYC Department of Buildings on a project to standardize how existing buildings are altered. Angie has wanted to work with buildings for as long as she can remember and attributes a lot of her passion early on to her love of Legos.
Luisa Pereira is an artist, engineer, and musician based in Brooklyn. Her interactive music projects have been shown around the world, venues include the Museum of Contemporary Art in Santiago de Chile, the Loop Summit in Berlin, and the New Museum's Art and Technology Incubator in New York City (where she was an inaugural member). As a designer and engineer, Pereira builds interactive and generative systems in collaboration with artists, brands, and production studios. Her work spans across concept development, interaction design, software engineering and hardware prototyping. Her clients include Samsung, Hermés, and Google. As an educator, she has developed creative computation teaching materials and curriculum for the NYC Department of Education and the Processing Foundation. She has taught at NYU Tisch's ITP, the School of Visual Arts, the School for Poetic Computation, and the Interactive Media Arts program at NYU Shanghai.
Ella Schwartz is a Poly Prep alumna (Class of 1992) and received a bachelor’s and master’s degree in engineering from Columbia University. Today, she works as a cybersecurity specialist with the U.S. Federal Government on strategic technology initiatives. She holds a Department of Defense-issued top secret clearance to support her role. Ella is also the author of several science nonfiction books for young readers. Her debut, IS IT OKAY TO CRACK THE CODE? (Bloomsbury, 2018), is the first book in a nonfiction STEM-based middle grade series, exploring concepts in cryptography and internet security.
Kelley Surun is a designer and maker of places, spaces, and things. Prior to moving to New York in 2012 she had been working in Boston, MA for 10 years. She received both her B.F.A. in Industrial Design and her Masters of Architecture from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. This education, in addition to her varied onsite experiences, combine to influence how she designs each aspect of object, home or workplace that people interact with. A vinyasa yoga instructor, Kelley integrates elements of mindfulness and introspection into her designs and artwork, creating moments for her audience to stop and reflect.
Debbie Van Ryn is a Science Teacher and the MS Sustainability and Service Learning Coordinator at Poly Prep. Prior to teaching at Poly, she taught science in Austin, TX, Providence, RI and Washington, DC. She has also done forest science related research at Cornell University and with the Forest Trust, a non-profit in New Mexico. She hopes for her science classes to allow students to be, even if only temporarily, scientists and engineers . She loves being out of doors, cycling, hiking, camping, canoeing and more, and tries to live a sustainable life.
Jenny Young has a degree in mechanical engineering from Purdue University. She grew up working alongside her father in his garage shop and doing projects with her mother. From an early age, she was exposed to the joys of building and designing things from found items. She also has a special place in her heart for teaching girls about the coolness of math and science. She lives in a 450 square foot apartment in Manhattan with her incredible husband, little girl and baby boy. As her parents always told her growing up, “You can be whatever you want to be in life!” She lives by this philosophy and hopes to inspire it in others.
Gretchen Ziegler works as an API developer at Vitals, where she builds software that helps people find great doctors and estimate how much their healthcare will cost. She also volunteers as an instructor for New York On Tech, a technology education program that teaches high school students to code. Before programming professionally, she taught high school English and drama. She earned her B.A. in theater at Skidmore College and her M.A. in education at New York University.