Meet Our Teacher Advisors

Our teacher advisors come from all over the country and share a passion for science education. We're thrilled to have them on board!

Candice Autry · Sheridan School · Washington, D.C.
6th-8th Grade Science Teacher
3rd-8th Grade Yoga Teacher

Candice Autry is an Oklahoman who relocated to Washington, D.C., where she has been teaching middle school science at the Sheridan School for the past 17 years. She has also taught middle and high school students ​in New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Switzerland, and Argentina. She loves to travel, read, look at art and architecture, practice yoga, and cook as a sous chef.

Holly Berkebile · Pressley Ridge Day School Johnstown · Johnstown, PA
High School Special Education Teacher

Holly Berkebile is beginning her fifth year of teaching special education students at Pressley Ridge Day School, having previously taught middle school math and science for four years. Her favorite subject to teach is science, and she uses Science World magazine and its online components in her classroom daily. Holly is honored to be a part of the Science World Advisory Board for the 2019-20 school year. Her interests include spending time with her family and cooking.

Seena Brodnax Purham · CICS Longwood · Chicago, IL
6th Grade Science Teacher
Science Fair Coordinator
MSI Science Minors Club Site Coordinator  

Seena Brodnax Purham has been in education for over 20 years and has been the sixth-grade science teacher at Longwood for five years. She received her bachelor's degree from Governor's State University and is currently pursuing her master's in science education from St. Xavier University. Her educational philosophy is that all students have the ability to reach their own greatness, and her aim is to help all children find the excellence within them. She is a mother to three amazing daughters and enjoys traveling, attending outdoor concerts and festivals, and spending time outside with family and friends.

Nia Cannon · Inman Middle School · Atlanta, GA
7th Grade Life Science Teacher
Science Department Chair

Nia Cannon is a seventh-grade science teacher at Inman Middle School, where she has taught for seven years. Over her 11-year teaching career, she has been a science grade and department chair, a track coach, an academic bowl coach, and a part of her district’s curriculum writing team. Nia has used Science World in her classroom to incorporate nonfiction text that sparks student interest in science. Outside of teaching, she enjoys reading, cooking, and traveling the world.

Kathleen Charlson · Gilbert Middle School · Gilbert, IA
6th Grade Language Arts Teacher

Kathleen Charlson has taught sixth grade for 14 years in the states of Colorado and Iowa. She currently teaches language arts, but she has been fortunate to bounce between all content areas. She enjoys having the opportunity to read and study nonfiction and best-writing practices with her students each year. Her interests include traveling, reading, and enjoying the outdoors with her family.

Craig Hegrenes · Robert J. Elkington Middle School · Grand Rapids, MN
8th Grade Earth Science Teacher

Craig Hegrenes will be starting his 26th year as a middle school science teacher this fall. He has integrated Science World into his teaching for more than 20 years! Living in rural northern Minnesota allows him to have many outdoor pursuits. He enjoys fishing, camping, hunting, cross-country skiing, and ultrarunning with his family. So far, he has reached the finish line 10 times in trail races ranging from 50 to 100 miles. His advice to students: Never quit!

Aaron Johnson · Camden Middle School · Camden, SC
6th Grade Science Teacher

Aaron Johnson has been teaching science for 11 years and is dedicated to providing students with a quality education in an authentic and innovative classroom environment. His mission is to help his students grow academically, think critically, improve their character skills, and build solid relationships. He is delighted to be a part of the Science World team and is looking forward to developing initiatives that will help teachers and students to be engaged, challenged, and empowered.

Mia Kang · Portola Highly Gifted Magnet · Tarzana, CA
6th Grade Science Teacher
Model U.N. Coordinator

Mia Kang teaches sixth grade integrated science to highly gifted learners in California. Over the course of her teaching career, she has also taught dance, social studies, and art. Mia is now working on her EdD at the University of Southern California and will be focusing on the development of leadership skills in young learners in her dissertation. She is also currently working on interpreting the NGSS standards for sixth grade through the lens of marine biology, since the study of the ocean offers many exciting opportunities for student exploration and inquiry.

Jenny Karpelenia · Wayne E. Bartels Middle School · Portage, WI
8th Grade Science Teacher

Jenny Karpelenia has been teaching middle school students for the past 30 years. She has the important (and fun!) job of helping students learn the skills needed to succeed in the science classroom, in high school, and beyond. In addition to teaching, Jenny has written 20 science books. Her other favorite activities are watching movies, going to concerts, riding her moped, and cheering her sons on in sports.

Tricia Kearns · Webber Middle School · Fort Collins, CO
6th Grade Science Teacher
6th Grade Environmental Science Teacher
7th Grade Health Teacher

Tricia Kearns has spent the last eight years teaching middle school science. Previously, she taught seven years of high school biology in the Chicago suburbs. She loves taking students outside to learn, and her favorite trips involve chaperoning students to raft the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. She is a National Geographic certified educator and loves to travel, ride horses, and play flute and piccolo in a local orchestra.

Anna Khawam · John C. Haines Elementary School · Chicago, IL
Middle School Science Teacher

Anna Khawam is a middle school science instructor, with more than 19 years served in Chicago's public schools. Anna uses everyday science principles to help her students understand important scientific concepts and ideas. When she is not teaching, she loves to spend time with her two children and her two black cats. Anna also loves history, and she makes sure to bring history alive while teaching science.

Malissa Lyons · Springfield Middle School · Lucama, NC
7th Grade Science Teacher

Malissa Lyons is a 21-year veteran teacher and North Carolina Teaching Fellow alumni. She has taught Science, Language Arts as well as has a love of reading and all things science. One of her most exciting ventures was attending Educator’s Space Camp where she had the opportunity to participate in training that many astronauts experience. She has a thirst for knowledge and loves exposing students to new elements of science that make it relevant and exciting.

Alison MacPherson · Middlefield Collegiate Institute · Markham, ON
High School Science Teacher
Department Head of Science

For more than a decade, Alison MacPherson has taught in grades 9-12 with a focus on chemistry. She is interested in inquiry-based learning, innovative teaching practices, enhancing 21st-century skills, using technology effectively in the classroom, and engaging in citizen science with her students and colleagues. She loves teaching science because of the new discoveries made on a regular basis that challenge us and push us to question what we currently know and understand.

Kelly Mitchell · Arts Impact Middle School · Columbus, OH
8th Grade Science Teacher

Kelly Mitchell has been teaching middle school science for the past 20 years and believes in keeping things fresh and exciting for her students. Her philosophy is that hands-on experiences help provide background information and develop deeper understanding of content. She loves bringing her own adventures into the classroom, including ziplining, hiking, rock climbing, horseback riding, camping, scuba diving, and coaching softball. She challenges her students to bring their own experiences into the classroom as well to make science class even better!

Jami Phillips · San Elijo Middle School · San Marcos, CA
7th Grade Science Teacher
Science Department Chair

Jami Phillips is a seventh-grade science teacher at San Elijo Middle School (SEMS). Teaching and enjoying life with family and friends are her passions! She has been teaching middle school science since 1984 and has continued to inspire students with the same enthusiasm, high expectations, and creativity as she did 35 years ago. She is currently the science department chair at her school. This year, SEMS honored her as teacher of the year. In 2004, Woodland Park Middle School also recognized her as teacher of the year. She then represented San Marcos Unified School District in San Diego’s “Salute to Teachers” and was honored as one of the top 10 teachers in San Diego County, California.

Natalie Regan · Saint John the Apostle School · Lincoln, NE
Middle School Science Teacher

Natalie Regan has been teaching middle school students for 19 years. Her goal has always been to get her students to think past the classroom and put science into practice in their daily lives.

Meghan Rice · Portsmouth Middle School · Portsmouth, NH
6th Grade Science Teacher

Meghan Rice has been in the field of education for more than 30 years. She has taught grades kindergarten through high school in a variety of capacities. She has also taken time away to raise a family, run a small business, and start a preschool cooperative. While she started out as a meteorology major in her undergraduate program at Pennsylvania State University, she has since happily found her way back to her first love—teaching science!

Joy Starks · Blythewood Middle School · Blythewood, SC
7th-8th Grade Science Teacher
Science Department Chair

Joy Starks is a South Carolinian who loves the beach and the outdoors. She is a graduate of the College of Charleston and George Washington University and has taught at the high school and middle school levels for many years. In addition to working with students in the traditional brick and mortar setting, Joy is a fourth-year teacher for a nationally accredited online high school. She loves to travel and is an avid sports fan.

Rachael Von Elmendorf · Swanson Middle School · Arlington, VA
8th Grade Science Teacher

She has been teaching middle school science in Virginia for 10 years. Through investigating key concepts in physical science, her students work together to understand and improve our world. Together, she and her students use science to answer questions and address global problems. She’s passionate about making science engaging, accessible, and relevant to all students. When not teaching, she enjoys going on adventures in books, riding her bike, and traveling with her wonderful husband.