Our team

Meet the Team. Who We Are?

Our Team

Dr. Sharon Locke
Dr. Sharon Locke
Director
Sharon Locke is Associate Professor and Director of the STEM Center. Before joining SIUE, Dr. Locke served two years as Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa, where in addition to her guidance in funding of STEM projects she assisted in science teacher training. From 2006
Dr. Georgia Bracey
Dr. Georgia Bracey
Research Assistant Professor
Georgia Bracey conducts STEM education research and assists with program evaluation and implementation in both the formal and informal educational settings. As an experienced classroom teacher, she supports educators as they incorporate innovative technologies and integrated STEM activities into their current teaching environment.
Henriette Burns
Henriette Burns
Research Fellow
Henriette Burns is a STEM education researcher with a focus in Math and Science Education. She comes to the STEM Center from the Portland, Oregon area, but grew up in St. Louis and once saw Bob Dillon at a summer concert at Edwardsville! Her research interests include student STEM identity
Dr. Carol Colaninno
Dr. Carol Colaninno
Research Assistant Professor
Hello, I am Dr. Carol Colaninno, research assistant professor at the STEM Center. I grew up in sunny Florida, spending as much time as humanly possible in the outdoors exploring the world around me, whether that was the longleaf pine forests or the bays of the Gulf of Mexico. This
Candi Johnson
Candi Johnson
Program Coordinator
Candi earned a BA in Biology from Saint Louis University and a MAT in Science Education from SIUE. She currently is working on her thesis to complete a MS in Biology. She enjoys using her experience to generate knowledge and passion around STEM education for underserved youth in Madison County.
Matt Johnson
Matt Johnson
Instructional Designer and Curriculum Specialist
Matt received his BS in Integrative Biology from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and his Masters of Arts in Teaching at SIUe. From there, Matt taught math and science at the SIUE East Saint Louis Charter High School for four years and began work with the STEM Center as a
Samantha Murphy
Samantha Murphy
Research Assistant
Samantha graduated from the University of Missouri – St. Louis with a bachelor degree in psychology and certification in trauma studies. Samantha graduated from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville with her master’s degree in Clinical Psychology and plans to continue research as a large component of her career. Samantha has conducted
Dawn Olive
Dawn Olive
Office Manager
Dawn has spent the past 25 years working to support science education in both formal and informal settings. Her philosophy is simple: Everyone has something worth teaching, and there’s always more to learn.
Emily Stanley
Emily Stanley
Program Coordinator
Emily earned a bachelor's of science in biology from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and a master's of science in zoology from Southern Illinois University Carbondale. She has 20 years experience in informal education and most recently was responsible for the STEM initiative and robotics programs for Girl Scouts in southern
Colin Wilson
Colin Wilson
Instructor
Colin graduated with a Masters from Washington University from the Earth and Planetary Sciences Department after completing his Bachelor’s degree at Vassar College. He took his experience from both of those to pursue a passion for STEM education and has delivered outreach lessons at many schools, youth programs, and afterschool
Carolyne Banks
Carolyne Banks
Graduate Assistant
Carolyne graduated from Wellesley College with a bachelor in biological sciences. She previously implemented a national academic chemistry competition for middle schools students. Currently, she is pursuing a master’s degree in environmental science with a focus on environmental education at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. Carolyne serves as a graduate assistant
Cristal Campocasso
Cristal Campocasso
Graduate Assistant
Cristal assists with various programs at the STEM Center supporting both student program and education research. Cristal received her bachelor degree in psychology from Lindenwood University. Cristal is continuing her education at Southern Illinois University Edwardsivlle with a master's in Social Work. Her primary interest is mental health therapy with
Lisa Drennen
Lisa Drennen
Graduate Assistant
Lisa graduated from Webster University in St. Louis, Missouri with my bachelor of science in biology and an emphasis in research and technology. Currently, Lisa is pursuing a master’s of environmental science at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. Lisa is a research assistant in the STEM Center working on Y-CITYSCI, a
Christine Favilla
Christine Favilla
Graduate Assistant
Christine graduated from Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado with a BA in sociology and a minor in environmental policy. Christine is currently pursuing her master’s in environmental sciences at SIUE, focusing on environmental education and toxicology. She is currently working in the STEM Center on theYouth-Led Citizen Science Network
Josh Gifford
Josh Gifford
Graduate Assistant
Josh graduated from Illinois State University with a bachelor degree in geography and a certificate of geographic information systems (GIS). He is currently working towards a master’s of science degree in environmental sciences at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. Josh serves as a graduate assistant on the STEM Center’s National Institutes
Xander Kalna
Xander Kalna
Graduate Assistant
Xander is currently pursuing a master’s of science in environmental science at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville with a focus on technology and assessment. His graduate research focuses on fluvial geomorphology and large wood interactions. He obtained a bachelor of science in biological sciences from Lindenwood University and currently works as
Olivia Middendorf
Olivia Middendorf
Graduate Assistant
Olivia received her bachelor degree in nutrition from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville in 2020. She is continuing her education at SIUE with a master’s in Nutrition and Dietetics. She currently serves as a graduate assistant working on the STEM Center’s National Institutes of Health Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) Environmental
Aryaki Nagirddy
Aryaki Nagirddy
Graduate Assistant
Aryaki received her a bachelors in computer science and engineering from Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University, Hyderabad, India. She is currently attending SIUE to pursue her master’s degree in computer science. At the STEM Center, Aryaki assists with the research associated with our “Exploring Global Challenges: A STEM+C curriculum for Girls”
Juliana Okonya
Juliana Okonya
Graduate Assistant
Julie graduated from Principia College with a bachelor degree in biology and a minor in sociology and anthropology. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in environmental sciences at SIUE with an emphasis on environmental education. Related to this, she and STEM Center director, Dr. Locke, are researching how students
Clark Sturdevant
Clark Sturdevant
Graduate Assistant
Clark received his bachelor degrees in anthropology and performance (music) from the University of Iowa and a master's of music in vocal performance from Washington University. He is currently pursuing a master's degree in cultural heritage and resource management at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. At the STEM Center, he supports
Waleska Do Valle Santos
Waleska Do Valle Santos
Graduate Assistant
Waleska graduated from University of São Paulo, Brazil with a natural resources teaching degree. Waleska is pursuing a master’s in Environmental Sciences at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville with a focus on environmental education. Waleksa has conducted research into informal education and urban greening with vulnerable youth in Brazil. She also
Suprasanna Aryal
Suprasanna Aryal
Former Graduate Assistant
Suprasanna is pursuing her master’s degree in Environmental Sciences with concentration on environmental policy and public administration at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. Her graduate research is primarily focused on agricultural runoff and water pollution, and the political and social aspects related to them. She is interested in the interrelationship between
Jannatul Ferdous
Jannatul Ferdous
Former Graduate Assistant
Jannatul completed her master’s degree in environmental science at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville with a focus on technology and assessment in 2020. Her primary interests included soil contamination, demographics, and conservation. Her main goal with her work at the STEM Center was to improve sustainability by enhancing the planet’s environmental
Danielle Fischer
Danielle Fischer
Former Graduate Assistant
Danielle is pursuing her master's degree in environmental science at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville with a focus on chemistry and toxicology. She graduated from Webster University with a bachelor degree in education and a minor in biology, chemistry, and general science.  She has worked previously as a middle school and
Manuel Gomez
Manuel Gomez
Former Graduate Assistant
Manny graduated from the University of Illinois – Springfield with a bachelor degree in global studies and a minor in business administration. He completed the environmental science management professional science masters program at SIUE in 2020. As part of his graduate research, Manny analyzed the environmental conditions for fish species
Katrina LaCombe
Katrina LaCombe
Former Graduate Assistant
Katrina graduated from the University of Missouri- Kansas City with a bachelor degree in psychology and foreign languages and literature. Katrina earned her master's degree in art therapy counseling at SIUE in 2020, where she focused her research on the impacts of applying art interventions into programming for homeless youth.
Morgan Tallman
Morgan Tallman
Former Graduate Assistant
Morgan received her BS in Psychology from SIUE. She completed her master's degree in Clinical Psychology with a focus on how emotional life experiences affect cognitive performance at SIUE in 2020. At the STEM Center, she worked on virtual outreach, helping to develop the Center’s webpages and social media efforts.