Skip to content.

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 6 years and in the worlds of science and education for 14 years.

Cindee Calton
Cindee has a BA in math and anthropology from the University of Northern Iowa and an MA in anthropology from the University of Iowa. Before attending graduate school, Cindee was an Assistant Youth Program Manager in the Science Museum's Kitty Andersen Youth Science Center and an instructor for the Learning Technologies Center. She taught classes in Scratch, Flash, stop-motion animation, Comic Life, PicoBlocks and more. She missed the Science Museum so much, she's back for more science while she finishes her PhD dissertation! In addition to her job at the museum, Cindee teaches Cultural Anthropology for Black Hawk College and does research on American Sign Language. When not working, Cindee is an avid board game player and continuously adds to her ever-growing Lego city.

Jan Elftmann
Jan is an artist and a long-time instructor for the Science Museum of Minnesota specializing in engineering (Engineering is Elementary®), carpentry, electricity, and hands-on design classes. Jan is the founder and director of the ArtCar Parade of Minnesota on the fourth Saturday in July and she has been a contributing artist with the Art Shanty Project for the last six winters. Jan has a Bachelors of Fine Arts from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design.

Erin Fenlon
Erin earned a Bachelors of Science degree in geology and environmental science from the College of William and Mary and a Master of Science degree in geology from the University of Wisconsin Madison. Additionally, she spent time at the National Outdoor Leadership School and completed the Semester at Sea study abroad program. Recently, Erin earned her teaching licenses in 5-8 general science and 9-12 earth and space science at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. Erin believes part of her job as an educator is to encourage students' curiosity about the natural world and help them develop scientific inquiry skills.

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.

Kim Higgins
Kim received her Bachelors of Science degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Elementary Education with an area of concentration in science. Before coming to the Science Museum of Minnesota, she developed a program for 1st and 2nd graders with hands-on science activities, running it for 5 years, and has since taught many different classes with the museum. In her spare time she enjoys time spent with family, college football, and the out-of-doors.

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.

Donna Homan
Donna has taught at the Science Museum since 1993. She has a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering and a special passion for chemistry and physics. Donna is skilled in the effective use of interactive technology in the classroom and in coaching FIRST® Lego League robotics. She loves finding ways to integrate recycled materials into her science experiments. Her free time is devoted to being a Scouting volunteer, recycling fabric into warm mittens, and playing volleyball.

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 life long learning. When she is not teaching, Sam is an avid outdoors woman.

Kelly Jacobs
Kelly earned her Bachelors of Science degree from St. Cloud State University in Elementary Education with a minor and specialty in science. Before coming to the Science Museum of Minnesota, Kelly taught physical and life science to middle school students in the west-metro area for three years. She also has experience as an educator working for the Maryland Science Center in Baltimore, MD. Outside of work, Kelly enjoys traveling, biking, playing sports, and crafting.

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.

Patrick McKennan
After teaching high school mathematics in Boston for seven years, Patrick moved to Minneapolis to work at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design as shop technician and 3D modeling instructor. He currently works at the University of Minnesota's College of Design, as an Art Research Studio Technician, where he instructs students in design and fabrication techniques. He has a Bachelor of Arts from Bentley University and is a graduate of the North Bennet Street School's Acoustic Instrument Program. Patrick is a mathematician, luthier, book maker, sculptor, and furniture maker.

Sarah Meier
Sarah is a licensed K-8 Technology Specialist with a Master's Degree in Education. She is currently pursuing a certificate in K-12 Learning and Technology. Sarah has worked in education for 11 years and joined the museum team in 2008. She enjoys teaching movie-making, gaming, and building the occasional milk carton boat. Sarah likes working at the museum because she is able to explore new ways to use technology that encourage collaboration and creativity in children and adults. When Sarah is not at the museum or in her school's computer lab, she enjoys biking, hiking, and traveling to new places around the world.

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 has also taught at Leonardo's Basement, given historical educational tours for the Minnesota Historical Society, and created artworks that have been shown around the country and abroad in galleries, theatres, online, on the streets, and in impromptu art-spaces. In 2009, Kelley was selected as a recipient of the Jerome Foundation's Naked Stages residency and fellowship program in partnership with the Pillsbury House Theater. In 2010, she was selected to be a Core Visual Artist for Bedlam Theatre's 10th Annual 10-Minute Play Festival, where she worked with youth from North High School and from the Cedar Riverside Arts Zone for Youth to create their original plays. She teaches stop-motion animation, video technique classes, digital photography, and photographic printmaking among many other things, both technology and fine arts related.

Kelly Meyer
Kelly earned her M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Minnesota.  After teaching in Minneapolis for two years, she headed south to take a junior high science position.  Besides teaching in Arizona for seven years, she also served as science department lead and presented at two national conferences on differentiated instruction.  In 2009, she was selected as a Rotary Group Study Exchange Member and traveled to Switzerland and Liechtenstein where she learned about their education systems.  Focusing on science as an ever-evolving subject and instilling a love for inquiry are two of her favorite parts of teaching science.

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 interest lies in genetics, and he completed a research internship in the lab of Nobel Prize winner Mario Cappecchi at the University of Utah. 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 such as the Concordia Language Villages. Peter has lived abroad and traveled extensively to places like central Europe, Madagascar, and the South Pacific.

Meagan Moffitt-Finnegan
Meagan is a current student at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design where she is studying sculpture. She has been experimenting with every tool she can get her hands on and a variety of materials from wood and metal to circuit boards and computer wires. Meagan also attended Dakota County Technical College for her associate degree in architectural drafting.

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 multi-disciplinary 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.

Jerry Ratliff
Jerry has been teaching at the Science Museum since "retiring" in 2006. In addition to teaching a variety of ages and topics at the museum, he tutors homebound students, runs a chess and rocket club, and teaches at North St. Paul and Century College. His background includes undergrad work in engineering and a Masters Degree in Mathematics on Math Labs. He has received a variety of awards: Teacher of the Year finalist (twice), Minnesota finalist for Teacher in Space, and 2005 St. Paul Volunteer of the Year award. When "Mr. R" isn't teaching he enjoys traveling, biking, swimming, skiing, taking classes, reading, and volunteering regularly for three nonprofits.

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 throughout various communities. 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.

Marcos Stoltzfus
Marcos brings a background in environmental education and life science to his instruction at the Science Museum of Minnesota. With a Bachelor's degree in Environmental Studies and Biology, he uses education as a tool to share a passion for science with audiences ranging from Pre-K to Adults. He has instructed for organizations including a wilderness camp in the Rockies, the Adirondack Mountain Club, the Colorado Chapter of the National Garden Club, the Butterfly Pavilion, and is a certified facilitator of DNR environmental education curriculum. He has a particular interest in insects and invertebrates, and is currently pursuing a graduate degree in Nonprofit Management.

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.