Our Team

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Christine Kovich

Executive Director

Christine has a Bachelor of Education from McGill University and International MBA from the Schulich School of Business at York University in Canada. She is also Co-Founder of Harlem Biospace, a biotech incubator for early stage life science companies.

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Dr. Aaron M. Kyle

Hk Maker Lab Program Director

Dr. Kyle is a Lecturer in the Department of Biomedical Engineering (BME) at Columbia University. He has spearheaded the formation of a global health technology program in the BME Senior Design course at Columbia. He feels strongly that engineering design is a foundational skill and could be taught to high school students. Exposing minority students to applied STEM, particularly something so tangible as solving real world health problems, will motivate them to pursue STEM degrees.

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Aaron Neal

Elementary Program Director

Aaron Neal graduated from Teachers College, Columbia University with a Masters in Neuroscience and Education. Before moving to New York, he earned his Bachelors in Biology with minors in Chemistry and Psychology at North Carolina A&T State University. While there, he spent quite a bit of his time learning about memory and how stress and sleep effect the human brain in a rat model. He is also interested in students’ perceptions of school and how it can influence their outcomes.

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Devin Elise Wilson

Program Manager

Devin graduated with a Masters in Arts Administration with an emphasis in Arts Education from Teachers College, Columbia University. She received her B.A. in Communication from the University of Southern California and subsequently spent two years as a second grade reading, math, and science teacher in Miami with Teach for America.

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Erin Williams

Hk Summer STEAM Site Director

Erin is a graduate student at Teachers College, Columbia University pursuing a degree in Elementary Inclusive Education with a Dual Certification in General Education and Teaching Students Labeled with Disabilities. Erin graduated from Spelman College with a degree in Pre-Med Biology. During her undergraduate degree she studied abroad in Japan and was a lab assistant in a nano-technology lab at Georgia Tech. She was part of the Women’s International Leadership Program at International House which aims to develop individual and team leadership in young women from cross-cultural environments.

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Michael Carapezza

Hk Maker Lab Program Coordinator

Michael graduated from Columbia University with a B.S. in biomedical engineering, focusing on medical imaging technology. After three years working in biomedical research laboratories, Michael joined the World Science Festival where he managed their digital education initiative and produced their science lecture series. 

Educators

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Althea Benloss

Hk Summer STEAM Assistant

Althea graduated from Teachers College, Columbia University with a dual certification in Elementary Inclusive Education and Teaching Children [labeled] with Disabilities. Althea received her Bachelor’s Degree in Mass Communication from the University of Bridgeport. Afterwards, she spent two years in Bronx classrooms working with children with a variety of learning, intellectual, and physical differences, including Autism, Down syndrome, ID, and Deafness. Althea not only looks forward to helping HYPOTHEkids recognize their full potential, but she is excited to learn from them in order to continue growing as an educator.

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Chelsea Brunner

Hk Summer STEAM Scientist

Chelsea has an undergraduate degree in geology and a master’s degree in meteorite geochemistry. After spending a few years as a geologist in hot Nevada gold mines 2000 feet below Earth’s surface, Chelsea moved to rural Japan in 2014 to teach English. Now she’s combining her passions by studying for her PhD in science education at Columbia Teachers College. She’s also working on her teaching certification to be an Earth Science teacher in New York high schools in 2018. She’s interested in all things science, with particular focus on motivating diverse groups of young people to participate in science, even if they don’t yet see themselves as scientists.

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Derrick Haynes

Hk Summer STEAM Assistant

Derrick is a Harlem native and taught a high school class on personal finance and goal setting at Columbia University. Before shifting back to education, Derrick was a seven year veteran on Wall Street most recently working at Goldman Sachs. Derrick graduated from Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA earning a degree in Economics with a focus in Math. Derrick is most excited this summer for Mathcrush and Living Nature.

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Eliza Eckstein

Hk Summer STEAM Teacher & Scientist

Eliza studied biology at the City College of New York as her undergraduate. Simultaneously, she worked in a variety of learning environments, ranging from NYSCI to DOE classrooms. She’s been teaching middle school science for the past three years, and is currently in the sociology and education program at Teachers College, Columbia University. Eliza is most excited to bring her interest in reimagining science education through freedom-based pedagogies to learn and grow with the HYPOTHEkids team!

 

 

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Jason Wu

Hk Summer STEAM Teacher

 Jason is currently finishing up his PhD in Science Education at Teachers College, Columbia University, and formerly studied Chemistry and Spanish at the University of Michigan. He was previously a 3rd grade bilingual teacher and a chemistry teacher. Jason is most excited about having a fun and awesome time with all of our students as we enjoy the summer and learn about science!

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Jiyoon Kim

Hk Summer STEAM Scientist

Jiyoon is returning for her second year with Hk Summer STEAM. She recently completed her Masters of secondary science education at Teachers College, Columbia University and also holds a Bachelors of Science from Columbia Engineering. Prior to last summer, she developed and taught a variety of classes for elementary school students before joining the HYPOTHEkids team. She loves being able to share her interdisciplinary engineering education and is excited for this summer! 

 

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Olivia Peterkin

Hk Summer STEAM Assistant

Olivia is currently studying Biology Education Grades 7-12 at New York University in the Steinhardt Teaching and Learning department. In the Child and Family Policy Center, Olivia works on a research team called playLabNYU, where she supports research on kindergarten students’ early civic engagement as well as early intervention research. She will graduate with a B.S. in Biology and an initial teaching certificate for middle and high school, and then she aims to pursue her PhD in education. Olivia is looking forward to meeting kids who love science just as much as she does, and as excited to learn as she it to teach!

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Rebecca Green

Hk Summer STEAM Teacher

Rebecca is a special education grade 5 science teacher at an East Village grade school. She recently completed her Masters in Elementary Inclusive Education with a dual certification in Teaching Students Labeled with Disabilities at Teachers College, Columbia University. She also holds a Bachelor of Science in Speech Pathology and a Bachelor of Arts in Dance. Rebecca has studied with prestigious dance programs including the Joffrey Ballet and the Julliard School program. Her interest lies in connecting kinesthetic and multi-sensory pedagogy approaches to academic concepts.

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Xiaoxin Lyu

Hk Summer STEAM Scientist

Xiaoxin is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Science Education from Columbia University; her research is focused on assessment design and science teacher development, with the goal of facilitating effective teaching and learning. She holds a B.S. in Chemistry Education from China and a M.S. in Teaching & Curriculum from Syracuse University. She is excited to work with teachers and our young scientists at HYPOTHEkids this summer.