Tzipor Ulman, PhD, is the founder and Executive Director of Science is Elementary. Tzipor has a passion for science education along with solid experience in the corporate and non-profit sectors. While a graduate student at Stanford, Tzipor co-taught an interdisciplinary course in “science for non-scientists.” While teaching, she realized that many students who had not already developed an interest in science were either lost or uninterested in the subject matter. Sadly for them, science had come too late. If those students had been exposed to science at a younger age, perhaps they would have maintained a lifelong interest in the field. Thus, the idea for SiE was born.
Before founding SiE, Tzipor worked with Fortune 500 and startup clients as a business strategy consultant at Helmer & Associates, consulting on matters ranging from technology spin-offs to corporate business opportunities. She has also served on the boards of several non-profit organizations.
In college, Tzipor was a mentor/tutor and later a site coordinator for Project Step-Up, a mentoring and tutoring program in some of Cleveland’s toughest inner city schools. She was also a volunteer math and science tutor at Mountain View High School and a private tutor for public and private school students.
Tzipor is the proud mother of 2 boys in whom she has instilled a curiosity about the world and the way things work. She holds a PhD in physical chemistry from Stanford University and a BSc in Chemistry from Case Western Reserve University.
Rinat Goren is SiE’s Director of Curriculum. Rinat’s interest and involvement in science education began when her daughters were in elementary school. While their education was excellent in some areas, the science curriculum was lacking. She researched science curricula at several schools and found that much of it was theoretical and segmented. Consequently, students had little or no understanding of science and were uninterested in it.
Rinat helped rebuild the science curriculum to focus on true understanding of basic science concepts. The new curriculum ties abstract ideas to concrete concepts and makes connections to everyday life using hands-on, experiential activities.
Rinat holds a BS in Physical Therapy from Tel Aviv University.
Julia Olszewski’s interest in science began at a very young age. The child of two astronomers, she tested out science experiments in a new science curriculum her mother designed for her school district. In high school, she was not satisfied with just memorizing facts in science class and started her research career in a lab studying bees at the University of Arizona. Julia brought her love for science to college, where she earned an Sc.B. in Marine Biology at Brown University, winning the senior prize in biology. After college, she moved to the Bay Area for a gap year before graduate school. In addition to her work with Science is Elementary, she is a research assistant at UC Berkeley.
Katie Settle began her teaching career at Gunn High School in Palo Alto, where she taught various levels in biology. There she was involved in College Pathways (a program that supports minority students), Small Learning Community (a transitional program for freshmen), and the school’s WASC accreditation process. In 2011, she had a baby boy and took a leave to spend time with him. She is thrilled to be a part of the SiE staff and is enjoying using her passions and skills with elementary school students. When she is not teaching, Katie enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, cooking, reading, and doing anything outdoors.
Katie earned a B.S. in Biology from the University of California San Diego and a Masters in Education and teaching credential from Stanford University.
Kate Kester has over 13 years experience teaching and directing preschools, including almost 8 years at the Stanford University campus. She has also taught hands- on lessons in science and video arts in various elementary schools. She loves teaching hands on lessons in which children can discover things on their own and is an active volunteer in her son’s public elementary school in Mountain View.
Kate received her BA in Social Sciences at San Jose State University, and has a Program Director Permit from the State of California.
Maya Ray has been involved in both Education and Science for more than ten years. She holds a Masters in Neuroscience and conducted extensive research on ADHD. Maya has worked as a camp counselor, a teacher, and an educational specialist to countless youth. She has an inspiringly enthusiastic approach to enlivening children’s discovery of the world and is passionate about making the concepts and insights of scientific discovery come alive for those she works with.
Maya holds an MS from the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada, a Multiple Subjects Teaching Credential from San Jose State University, and is ESEA compliant. She has taught at a Title I school in Campbell Unified for 3 years as well as at a private day school.
Melinda Joffe Melinda is in her third year with SiE. A credentialed elementary school teacher, Melinda worked for five years as a second grade classroom teacher at a private school in Los Gatos and as a first grade teacher in the Ravenswood School District in East Palo Alto. Now she is an active volunteer in the public charter school that her three children attend. Melinda has seen firsthand the differences between various schools in Santa Clara County, especially in the area of science education. She is proud to work with the students who are served by SIE.
Melinda holds a BS in Human Development from UC Davis and a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from Dominican University.
Teela Pulliam earned her PhD in Particle Physics at UC Santa Cruz. She has conducted research and developed software at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory.
Teela has always been interested in science outreach and working with children. She volunteered at a summer outreach program funded by Fermilab (Quarknet) that connects high-school students, science teachers and physicists to work together on research projects. In that capacity she supervised and trained students.
As her own child is just starting in elementary school she is very excited to be involved with a program that provides excellent science education for young students.