Meet Our Instructors | Science Museum of Minnesota

Meet Our Instructors

Abbi Allan
Abbi has been teaching both art and science for the past 15+ years at the museum and elsewhere to students of all ages (preschool to college, and beyond). Her life’s work is about creating hybridizations between art & science. She attended the Alfred University: NY School of Ceramic Art and Design; where she majored in Mixed Media, 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 museum since 2001—teaching science through visual projects. Abbi looks forward to seeing the students explore, experiment and create. She also enjoys thunderstorms, gardening and loves her Dobermans.
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. Peter has been with the museum for 10 years and in the worlds of science and education for 17 years. Simply put, Peter is looking forward to working with our campers and seeing our lesson come to life this summer!
Vanessa Arboleda
Soon to be Elementary School Teacher and lifelong learner, Vanessa has taught students of all ages and loves hands on learning. Vanessa joins us from Metro State University’s School of Urban Education with experience working as a Paraprofessional in Obama Elementary. She is excited to find ways to use technology and science together to make learning fun.
Keith Braafladt
Keith is an artist and director of the Learning Technologies Center at the museum, he has over 25 years of experience designing, developing and introducing computer programming and computational thinking processes to youth and educators in informal settings: museums and libraries as well as creating professional development training for classroom teachers to integrate computer programming into the classroom. As with every summer Keith is looking forward to the joy of sharing new ideas with campers possibly for the first time: math can be creative, problem solving can be fun, 4-square should be in the Olympics (based on our years of informal research).
Taylor Champoux
Taylor has a Master’s of Education in Art Education and a Bachelor of Arts in Studio Art; she just finished her first year as a high school art teacher and is excited to return for her second summer at the Science Museum. As a teacher, Taylor has experience integrating various aspects of digital arts into curriculum, including stop-motion animation and using Chrome books in the classroom. When not teaching art, she is often found working on her drawings or paintings to continue growing as an artist. She is also an avid runner and biker and enjoys traveling with her trusty sketchbook to document the world and find new ideas for her artwork.
Jan Elftmann
Jan is an artist and a long-time instructor for the Science Museum of Minnesota specializing in engineering, carpentry, electricity, technology and hands-on design classes. She has a Bachelors of Fine Arts from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, is the founder and director of the ArtCar + ArtBike Parade of Minnesota, and is a curator for Art at 801 Gallery and Track 29 Gallery in Minneapolis. Jan is looking forward to working with our newest Instructor team members.
Samantha Glick
Sam has been an instructor for the Science Museum of Minnesota for the past 3 years. An avid science enthusiast, Sam has a Bachelor of Science in Physics with a minor in Astronomy from Iowa State University. She has been active in the FIRST robotics organization for the past 16 years, first as a participant, and now as a volunteer and coach. In her spare time, she does weekly podcasts and works at the Renaissance Festival in Shakopee, MN. She is looking forward to sharing her love of science with students this summer.
Emilee Gohl
With a STEM education background, Emilee is so excited to be back at the Science Museum for another summer of hands on fun! She is passionate about seeing kids learn to love learning as much as she does. Emilee also teaches at a STEM magnet school in the Twin Cities during the school year.
Janet Groenert
Janet is the Learning Activity Developer and Instructor in the Lifelong Learning Group. She builds props for the museum's school assemblies and advises on the materials we use in our learning experiences. Developing project-based camps that integrate technology is her passion. Outside the museum she is an artist who explores materials and context through wearable art and sculpture. She has collaborated on the Pedal Bear Art Shanty and currently the Illuminated Reef for Northern Spark. She’s been at the Science Museum since 1982. Janet is looking forward to seeing camper excitement and the efforts they put towards their projects.
Devyn Guse
Devyn has recently graduated college with a Bachelor's degree in Life Science Education and has both formal and informal experience in education. Her favorite past times include disk golfing, playing games and spending time on the lake. This summer, Devyn is excited to get married and help campers both explore and develop their interest in science.
Gretchen Henke
Gretchen comes to us from Metropolitan State University with a Bachelor of Science in Urban Elementary Education. Besides interests in education, she is passionate about the arts, social justice, and environmental issues. She has a wide variety of artistic experiences and this lends itself to creative thinking. Her aim is to explore where art meets science through technology.
Becky Hill
Becky has been teaching and coaching for over 25 years in a variety of different settings for people of all ages (preschool to seniors). She has a crazy collection of fleece pants, fun socks, and loves puppies of all kinds. This summer, she is looking forward to finishing a massive bathroom project and seeing all kinds of creativity in summer technology classes.
Peter Hoh
As a child, Peter started taking things apart to learn how they work. Sometimes, he managed to put them back together. More often, the loose parts became the raw material for new projects. Peter brings his passion for tinkering to his teaching at the museum. Earlier in his career, Peter was a fourth-grade teacher in Pennsylvania, where he rewrote the science curriculum to emphasize hands-on activities. Peter is looking forward to seeing the amazing things that campers make this summer.
Jessica Holm
Jessica has loved connecting learners with science since she was a nature camp counselor in high school, and has a Bachelor of Arts in Biology and a Master’s of Science in museum education. She loves amateur paleontology, learning about new dinosaur discoveries, and exploring the natural world. This summer, she’s looking forward to camping, kayaking, and trying lots of fun new ideas with our campers.
Sam Horak
Sam has been passionately teaching science concepts and ecology practices to kids of all ages for over 2 decades. She actively engages students with her knowledge, enthusiasm and energy. This summer, Sam is looking forward to expanding camper’s skills and confidence.
Evie Johnson
Evie is a sophomore at Saint Catherine University and majoring in English for Secondary Education. In her free time she enjoys going to volunteer, read books, and cross-stitch. She is excited to spend her summer seeing all of the amazing projects that the campers will create!
Lukas Johnson
Lukas has been a teacher for over a decade and this is his summer fifth summer here at the museum. While each one has been amazing he expects this year will be the best yet. When not working he loves to hang out with his daughter, and play music. This summer he is especially excited to teach just that—as Music and Sound comes to the museum. Prepare to make a joyful noise!
Kelley Meister
Kelley has been a teaching artist for seven years and a youth worker for thirteen. Kelley’s work has been exhibited nationally and abroad in galleries, theaters, film festivals, museums, coffee shops, bookstores, garages, and in the streets. This summer, Kelley’s looking forward to fostering campers' creativity and problem-solving through making, tinkering, playing, wondering, and exploring the intersection of technology and art.
Sue Meyer
Sue is looking forward to guiding campers as they develop potions, flying things, forts and amazing engineering designs. She has been teaching with the Science Museum for over 25 years, and enjoys seeing how excited learners of all ages can be when they explore, investigate and create. After a busy day with the campers, there's nothing better than puttering in the garden, talking a walk or relaxing on the porch with a good book and listening to a baseball game.
Peter Midthun
Peter has always enjoyed working with young people and has spent over ten years counseling, coaching, and teaching kids in high school, afterschool programs, and summer camps. Peter loves making things whether it’s circuitry, computer games, rockets or legos. He is currently working on an arduino robot and is looking forward to teaching technology classes this summer!
Tabatha Mountain
This is the second summer Tabatha will be joining the summer camp program at the Science Museum. With a Master’s Degree in Education, Tabatha has a passion for working with young learners. This summer she looks forward to working with our youngest campers while they explore, create, and build!
Karla Ollanketo
Karla has been at the Science Museum since 2007. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Life Sciences Education and has both formal and informal experience working with learners aged 6-60+. Karla loves teaching her dog new tricks, playing all sorts of games (one of her favorites is Minecraft), and has a skull collection. She is looking forward to another summer of amazing camper creations and good safe fun in the lab.
Ryan Ouradnik
Ryan holds a degree in computer animation and has worked with the museum since 2008. He has given science presentations to crowds as large as three hundred and as small as one. Ryan can't wait to do technology and hands-on experiments with kids, as well as make cakes, candies, ice cream and any sugarcoated activity he can get his hands on!
Serena Pitala
Serena is passionate about bringing the love of learning and inquiry to all children. Working with children in a range of settings has given her the opportunity to spend time on coding, circuitry, engineering and more. While at Saint Catherine University, she has taken classes in a range of sciences, including physics, chemistry and biology. She looks forward to facilitating tinkering and learning through play this summer!
Matthew Rody
This is Matthew's third summer teaching at the Science Museum, but he has been a builder, inventor and tinkerer his whole life. He has a one-year-old daughter, and he enjoys inventing and building toys and furniture for her to play with. He also enjoys gardening, and fixing neighbors' bicycles. This summer he is excited to see what new things campers will create out of wood, Lego bricks and more!
Aki Shibata
Aki Shibata loves young people, teaching, dancing, laughing, and eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner with her little son Atom. Working at Science Museum aligns with her passion for education. She maintains a deep connection to her mother Japanese roots by going home once a year.
Sarah Spainhower
Sarah graduated from St. Catherine University with her Bachelor of Science in elementary education in the spring of 2016. Having minored in STEM education and psychology, she looks forward to broadening her STEM education emphasis this summer.
Emilie Stallman
Emilie has been teaching in history and science museums for eight years, and can't wait for her second season of summer camps at the museum. She loves knitting and is always trying to convince her friends to play board games and go to the zoo with her. Emilie can't wait to dive into camps and explore strange new worlds with the campers.
Katie Urban
Katie has been developing new initiatives with interdisciplinary, multi-grade level programs in schools, inquiry education, artifact analysis, and experiential learning for more than 20 years. She has been teaching at the Science Museum since 2007, has taught grades K-12, and has done professional development workshops on a number of topics. This summer Katie looks forward to seeing all of our campers!
Alondra Velazquez
My name is Alondra Velazquez. I am a student at Metropolitan State University and hoping to get my B.A in Elementary Education. I will be student this Fall at Riverview Elementary School in Saint Paul. I hope that one day I can get a job as a pre-kindergarten or Kindergarten teacher. This is my first year working as an instructor at the Science Museum of Minnesota and it is very exciting. I previously had work as a teacher assistance so I am very excited in stepping into a new exciting role. I hope to learn new skills and apply them to my future classroom.