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Meet Our Instructors

Meet Our Instructors

Abigail (Abbi) Allan
Abbi's work is about creating a hybridized experience between art and science. She attended the Alfred University: New York School of Ceramic Art and Design; where she majored in Mixed Media Sculpture, while minoring both in Biology and Art History. She got her Masters of Fine Art in sculpture at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. She has taught at the Science Museum of Minnesota since 2001, and moved to the division of Lifelong Learning in 2011; teaching science through visual project. She also teaches at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. Her own work examines the fragility of nature: both its beauty and its grotesque accumulated effects when mistreated. She loves her furry family of two Dobermans, two cats, and more fish than we can keep track of, and finds ways of integrating both her love for science and art into her daily life.

Peter Anderson
Peter has a Master's Degree in Science Education and a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry. He has taught Biology, Physics, Chemistry, Health, Physical Science, Forensic Science, Environmental Science, ACT preparation, and guided student research and independent studies. Originally from Tulsa, Oklahoma, Peter attended the University of St. Thomas and the University of Minnesota. Before becoming an instructor of science, Peter held many jobs including: bench-top chemist, procedure validator, quality analysis technician, student researcher, office manager, production chemist, kitchen worker, gas station clerk, laboratory technician, summer camp counselor, stockroom assistant, kickball umpire, and professional tutor in all subjects. Peter has been with the museum for 8 years and in the worlds of science and education for 16 years.

Jan Elftmann
Jan has been an instructor for the Science Museum of Minnesota since 1986 specializing in engineering (Engineering is Elementary®), carpentry, electricity, technology and hands-on design classes. Jan is an artist and has a Bachelors of Fine Arts from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. In 2014, Jan was a recipient of a Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative grant to research and create, The Portable Museum of Supper Clubs. She is the founder and director of the ArtCar Parade of Minnesota held on the fourth Saturday in July around Lake Harriet.

Janet Gronert
Janet developed her first class Space Clothes for the Science Museum in 1982. In 1992 she took on the full-time management of the youth staff, classroom facilities and began growing the materials collection used for children and family programing. She has developed numerous classes, managed programming including birthday parties, full-day and half-day summer camps and after-school programs with local partners. A favorite part of her job is assisting instructors in selecting and modifying activities to be age appropriate, creative and accessible often using recycled materials. Janet has a BFA from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. Her artwork explores materials and context through wearable art and sculpture. She is currently researching scaling up a sculpture for the out of doors with funding from the Jerome Foundation through Forecast Public Art.

Rebecca (Becky) Hill
Becky has a Bachelor's of Science Degree in Biology from the University of North Dakota and a teaching license in 7-12 Life Science, 5-8 General Science, and Coaching from the University of MN Morris. In addition, she holds an Associate's Degree in Graphic Design Media from Duluth Business University. Becky has had a variety of jobs in her career including teaching, subbing, coaching gymnastics, fitness instructor and manager, day camp counselor, MN Math Corps and do not forget the world of retail and restaurant service. She also has coached Math Masters, Destination Imagination and Junior Great Books. She spent a summer in Alaska as a volunteer for Alaska Fish and Wildlife. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family, being outside gardening, hiking, biking, Nordic skiing, and rowing.

Peter Hoh
Peter Hoh has been teaching at the Science Museum of Minnesota since 1995. While he's taught a variety of classes, Peter has a special interest in the basic principles of physics. He has developed several classes that use LEGO toys to teach engineering and mechanics. Earlier in his career, Peter was a fourth-grade teacher in Pennsylvania, where he rewrote the science curriculum to emphasize hands-on activities. Peter graduated from Saint Olaf College. When he's not teaching, Peter enjoys gardening, cooking, and volunteering in his neighborhood.

Jessica Holm
Jessica received her Bachelor's degree in Biology and English from the University of Minnesota, Morris. She completed her graduate degree in Museum Studies at the University of Colorado, Boulder where she was a graduate assistant at the CU Museum of Natural History. Jessica is passionate about informal science education, especially finding ways to connect museum visitors to emerging science research. Before becoming a Lifelong Learning Instructor, Jessica was a Science Museum volunteer for several years, and has also worked for the History Colorado Museum and the Boulder History Museum.

Sam Horak
Sam graduated from the University of Minnesota with a degree in Early Childhood Education. A licensed teacher since 1996, Sam is passionate about teaching science and ecology to students of all ages and backgrounds. Twenty years of teaching experience exemplifies Sam's continuing dedication to lifelong learning. When she is not teaching, Sam is an avid outdoors woman.

Lukas Johnson
Lukas has taught children of all grades and ability levels. Lukas has taught at Saint Paul Public Schools, the Bell Museum, and at Lebanon Hills, Dodge and Tamarack Nature Centers. He holds two Minnesota teaching licenses and is completing his Masters in Public History. Here at the Science Museum of Minnesota Lukas' focus is on connecting his environmental, musical, and historical background to STEM education creating holistic experiences where students learn through inquisition and exploration unhindered by divisions in subject matter.

Kelley Meister
Kelley has worked as a teaching artist in schools around the state and at the Science Museum of Minnesota since receiving her Masters of Fine Arts in 2008 from Minneapolis College of Art and Design. Kelley’s multimedia artworks have been shown around the country and abroad in galleries, theatres, online, on the streets, and in impromptu art-spaces. In 2014, Kelley was a recipient of a Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative grant to create an animated video collage about the effects of climate change on the Mississippi River Valley. She teaches stop-motion animation, video technique classes, digital photography, and photographic printmaking among many other things, both technology and fine arts related.

Sue Meyer
Sue is a long-time instructor with the Science Museum of Minnesota. She has driven Science Museum vans to teach science to students aged preschool through high school in practically every county in Minnesota. She has developed many of the residency classes, large-group assemblies and special events that are taken out to schools and other locations. Sue has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology and Physiology from the University of Minnesota, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Education from Concordia University, Nebraska. She really enjoys collaborating with others to develop new teaching lessons and witnessing the reaction and understanding of students to their new experiences.

Peter Midthun
Peter graduated from St. Olaf College with a degree in Biology and received his teaching license at Hamline University in St. Paul. Peter's interests also include programming, chemistry, engineering, Legos, and all things technology. Peter has always enjoyed working with young people and has spent over ten years counseling, coaching, and teaching kids in high school, after-school programs, and summer camps.

Amy Montero
Amy has a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology and a Master's Degree in Elementary Education: Curriculum and Instruction. She has been teaching for 14 years, six with the Science Museum of Minnesota. Amy has experience working with diverse populations ranging in age from preschool through 9th grade. She brings a multidisciplinary approach into her science classroom and enjoys making science-literacy connections. Amy has a special passion for sparking preschool and young elementary minds.

Karla Ollanketo
Karla graduated from the University of Minnesota with a degree in Life Sciences Education and Chemistry minor. A licensed teacher since 1987, Karla has taught science to students of all ages and backgrounds. After joining the Science Museum of Minnesota in 2007, Karla has designed curriculum for youth, family, and homeschool programming. Karla is a facilitator for the DNR's environmental education programs, and is proficient in American Sign Language. For over 20 years Karla has been spreading the love of science.

Ryan Ouradnik
Ryan earned a degree in computer animation from Academy College and studied filmmaking at Minneapolis Community and Technical College. He is an active graphic designer and video producer and has shared his skills in technology with students for over five years. Ryan has developed and lead classes at the Science Museum of Minnesota science 2008 and is also a teacher for Mad Science of Minnesota.

Aaron Pierson
Aaron has worked at the Science Museum of Minnesota since 2000 during which time he has specialized in creating and teaching engineering and design classes. He has also worked with Special Education students in the Saint Paul Public Schools and was a long time presenter and instructor for Mad Science of Minnesota. Aaron holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theatre Arts, with a minor in History.

Matthew Rody
Matthew holds a Bachelor's Degree in Physics and received his teaching license from Hamline University. He enjoys playing with the "hands on" side of physics and engineering and loves nothing more than to get students excited about a challenge or puzzle. Matthew brings a variety of life experiences to the world of science education, including work as a bicycle mechanic, wilderness canoe guide, winemaker, cook, and farmhand. In his free time, he enjoys fixing bicycles, gardening, building things, and going on adventures. One of his proudest creations was a guitar-playing robot he created for college project.

Cathy Scobie
Cathy has worked in education and science for over 25 years. She has been with the Science Museum for many of those years and has taught a wide variety of science classes. She has a Bachelor's degree in Earth and Space Science Education and has taught in the Mounds View School District. Cathy has trained teachers around the state on the use of various hands-on science curriculums. With an interest in renewable energy, she is currently working on an Energy Education Certificate at Hamline University.

Aki Shibata
Aki has taught visual arts and conceptual arts to children of all ages and ability levels. She has taught at Saint Paul and Minneapolis Public Schools, Walker Art Center, White Bear Arts Center and Lebanon Hills Nature Centers. She earned a degree in Photography from College of Visual Arts. She is passionate about finding connection between STEM education and visual/conceptual art and creates classes that students can learn through exploring and wondering.

Katie Urban
A licensed educator for over 20 years, Katie also holds a Master of Arts in Teaching and Bachelor of Arts in History. Katie's experience has been developing new initiatives with interdisciplinary, multi-grade level programs in schools, inquiry education, artifact analysis, and experiential learning. Katie has been leading programming at the Science Museum of Minnesota since 2007, has taught grades K-12, as well as, provided professional development workshops on a number of topics.