Introducing the 2022 MLC Board of Directors
The MLC Board of Directors (BOD) is tasked with the hefty duties of serving and managing the business and strategic affairs of the MLC. One might argue that more importantly, the BOD will see that the organization's vision - to be a catalyst for delivering innovative education inside and outside the classroom, inspiring lifelong passion for discovery - remains at the forefront of activity. And that is exactly what our elected BOD plans to do.
Meet our newly-elected Board of Directors.
In no particular order, we'd like to share a short introduction of each board member (starting from top left). Click on the bullet points below to read more about each member:
Michelle Ventura Ezeoke, PhD
Michelle is a professor of biology with 10 years of teaching experience. Over the past 13 years, she has had the opportunity and responsibility of managing the NIH/SEPA project for Georgia State University’s Bio-Bus program. From their first funding period to our current funding period (2008- 2019), she has been an activities coordinator, laboratory coordinator and overall program manager. With the support of NIH/NIGMS SEPA, Michelle's research focuses on developing genetics learning modules for young learners where over 250 genetics-oriented presentations have been delivered to more than 15,000 K-5 students, teachers, and families.
Being responsible for creating and implementing modules that make up the Bio-Bus Program has provided Michelle with the first-hand experience of the important factors that are needed for a successful science education program. During her tenure as a program manager, she completed her Ph.D. dissertation which was based on NIH/SEPA research project in addition to a bench research component. This enabled her to work alongside the Principal Investigator (PI) of the project and Director of the Bio-Bus program, Dr. Barbara Baumstark. As part of her position, she has had the opportunity to share her passion for science education by mentoring and training our graduate students (i.e., MS and PhD) who have subsequently been accepted to professional programs and post-doctoral fellowships. As a member of the MLC Board of Directors, Michelle volunteered her time to represent the membership in a multitude of facets including organizing an in-person conference, a virtual conference and countless MLC presentations.
Joshua Von Trapp
As a student, Joshua was first inspired by my own outdoor education trips, science class labs and the caring teachers who made them all so fun and even possible. Joshua said, "thanks to those blessed experiences and amazing people, I have enjoyed being in the education field for over 16 years". Before joining Salk’s Education Outreach, Joshua served as a classroom science and technology teacher for twelve years, spanning kindergarten through eighth grade in Southern and Northern California schools. Outside the classroom, he led ‘paper-less’ professional development workshops for educators who sought to add more STREAM to their curriculum. He served on planning committees for national high school youth gatherings where over 25,000 youth would be in attendance to volunteer within the community. Now at the Salk Institute, Joshua manages their Mobile Science Lab, community events, activity kits (aka lab-in-a-box), as well as supporting his team with video editing, content creation and social media communications. He is passionate about working creatively and collaboratively to solve problems, provide new solutions for students/educators/the community, while inspiring students to a career in STREAM.
Jennifer Colvin is Learning Undefeated’s Chief Innovation Officer, providing strategic direction for the organization and new initiatives. Jen has developed eight mobile laboratory programs and was the founding member of Maryland’s first mobile laboratory in 2003. Deeply committed to equity and access to STEM opportunities for all students, Jen has extensive experience developing and delivering informal science education programs, including mobile laboratories, distance and hybrid learning curricula, equipment loan programs, education resiliency programs, and professional development workshops and seminars for educators and life science professionals. Jen’s scientific background includes genomics and high throughput DNA sequencing research, development, and quality control experience. She is the past Chairman of the Mobile Laboratory Coalition Board of Directors and served on the Executive Board of the Maryland Association of Science Teachers. Jen received her undergraduate degree in Biology from The Pennsylvania State University.
Li Murphy, Interim Director of Community Science for BioBus New England, has been involved with the Mobile Laboratory Coalition for over a decade, attending her first conference in 2012. She is passionate about driving the mobile science lab model to best support community-centric and endogenously motivated STEM pathways. She holds a degree from Harvard University in Organismic & Evolutionary Biology and Earth & Planetary Sciences, where her research explored how social behavior evolved in bees. Currently, she oversees BioBus’s expansion to the New England area, building on years of momentum to bring a new mobile laboratory to serve this region’s unique community science priorities. She is a National Geographic recognized educator and a certified Dimensions of Success observer. When not exploring sidewalks and parks in Greater New England with students, she likes to meander worldwide looking for roadside attractions or interesting insects and rocks.
Since March of 2022, Danielle worked with the Denver Museum of Nature and Science as a Program Coordinator. She works with the community to identify and address barriers the surrounding communities may face in gaining access to the resources at the museum. In her role as outreach specialist, she works to build and maintain partnerships with other nonprofits around the Denver Metro area and find various ways to support them in their endeavors. As a bi-racial woman, Danielle gives people representation in the STEM fields and gives them the opportunity to feel welcome in new spaces, building deep and strong connections based on trust.
David Garbe, PhD, Past Chair
Dr. David Garbe has a wealth of experience in the academic, nonprofit, and corporate domains. Throughout his tenure as a scientist, Dr. Garbe performed research focused on cancer, nervous system development, circadian biology, sleep, and the treatment of mood disorders. He was also an adjunct professor at the University of the Sciences as well as Haverford and Bryn Mawr Colleges. Since joining the Pennsylvania Society for Biomedical Research (PSBR) as their Outreach Educator, Dr. Garbe has developed numerous in-class programs and activities, presented to countless classrooms, and engaged over 7,500 students. Dr. Garbe also participates in Teacher Professional Development Programs, Science Fairs, Career Workshops, and Public Community Outreach initiatives. He was recently promoted to Director of Outreach and Education and looks forward to extending the scope, reach, and mission of the organization to educate the public about the importance of biomedical research and its significance to human and animal health.
Carrie Ferraro, PhD
Carrie Ferraro, Ph.D., is the Director of the Rutgers Science Explorer and an Assistant Professor of Professional Practice in the Math & Science Learning Center at Rutgers University. She received her Ph.D. from Rutgers in Oceanography in 2010, and after graduating, began working with researchers to share their science more effectively. Working with researchers on the construction and implementation of innovative broader impacts projects, Carrie created high quality educational materials that fostered connections between students, educators, and researchers. She is excited to work with the Mobile Laboratory Coalition to build partnerships and improve practice.
Ashley LaVerdure joined the Greenwood Genetic Center in 2019 as a genetics instructor and now serves as the Outreach Operations Manager for the education division. In her current role, Ashley works with teachers and community leaders throughout South Carolina to coordinate outreach visits, school field trips, and community events. Also in her role, Ashley develops genetics and biotechnology curriculum for grades 7-12+ and teaches students during the school year and in summer camps. She is passionate about equity and accessibility in STEM and strives to ensure her students leave the mobile lab feeling confident and capable. Ashley is a first generation college student and earned her Bachelor of Science in Biology Education from New York University.
To review a copy of the Board Members' Election Position Statements, please download a copy here.
We are excited to have this talented and diverse group of professionals at the MLC table and look forward to working together to benefit the MLC community.