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The D39 Education Foundation is expanding the Science Olympiad program and seeking adults to share their science, math and engineering experience with the students. Science Olympiad is a nationally recognized program offering extracurricular opportunities for students interested in these fields. The 5th-8th grade students can participate in one or more of over 20 courses and will meet weekly beginning the first week of December thru the second week of February before or after school.

Our leaders often prefer to work in groups so you are welcome to join forces with existing friends/colleagues. We are also happy to match you up with other co-leaders or you can lead a course on your own. If you are interested in volunteering your time and expertise for this year’s Science Olympiad courses, the first step is to take the brief survey to assess your availability and areas of interest/expertise. Complete the survey.

We hope you will consider this opportunity to engage the Wilmette students in the STEM fields. Please feel free to forward this on to any friends/colleagues/parents who might be interested!

Michelle Vile, D39 Science Olympiad Leader/Curriculum Advisor

Michelle is the proud parent of a 6th grader at Highcrest, an 8th grader at WJHS and a Sophomore at New Trier who is active in the Science Olympiad program.  Michelle’s background is in consumer marketing, primarily focused on brand strategy, product positioning and new product development. She has worked for a variety of consumer packaged goods companies including Pepsico, Del Monte and Yahoo! Most recently, she taught a Consumer Behavior class to undergrads at Northwestern.  Michelle has an M.B.A. in Marketing from Indiana University and a B.A. in Psychology from Notre Dame.

Meet our 2016-17 Course Leaders

Mark Angres

Mark is the parent of a 5th grader at Highcrest. He is currently a 3D artist and game designer for Incredible Technologies in Vernon Hills. Mark has a B.A.in Fine Arts from Indiana University where he focused on sculpture and graphic design. Mark’s past jobs include work as an Industrial Designer creating products for various toy companies including Hasbro and McDonald’s. Mark has always had a great love for science and technology, from a very young age, building robots, rockets, RC models and go carts. He believes art and science go hand in hand!

Alma Arslanagic

Alma is the parent of 5th grader at Highcrest, 3rd grader and kindergartener at Romona. She is an Internal Medicine physician practicing Hospital Medicine at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital, where she completed her residency training. She is a graduate of University of Sarajevo. Alma is part of  the teaching faculty at the hospital, teaching medical student and residents in all stages of learning and medical training. She has an evolving passion for medicine, especially physiology and diagnostic medicine. She is an avid supporter of living a healthy lifestyle to benefit mind and body, including physical activity and proper nutrition. She enjoys spending time with family, traveling, camping, hiking and practicing yoga.

Tony Asghari

Tony is a parent of a Highcrest 6th grader and Romona 3nd grader. He has been working the past 10 years as a Principle Staff Engineer at Continental Automotive, where he is responsible for development, thermal, vibration, structural modeling, analysis, and testing of various electronic packages used in an automotive environment. Prior to this, he worked for Motorola for 10 years as a Six Sigma Black Belt & Mechanical Staff Engineer. Asghari has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics, as well as Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Illinois in Champaign/Urbana, Illinois.  He enjoys fly-fishing, snow skiing, camping and travelling with family.

Kathryn Calkins

Kathryn is the parent of a 7th grader at WJHS and a returning Science Olympiad leader. She is a science writer for one of the National Institutes of Health websites. She has a degree in biology and English composition from DePauw University and a master’s degree in science writing from Johns Hopkins University. She volunteers at the Highcrest Middle School garden and enjoys classical music, hiking and cooking.

Oleksii (Alex) Dubrovskyi

Alex holds a PhD in molecular biology and biochemistry. During his 16-year postdoctoral career he’s worked for University of Illinois at Chicago, University of Chicago and Northwestern University. He completed his PhD thesis in the Ukraine (Institute for Molecular Biology and Genetics) studying enzymes which connect tRNA to corresponding amino acids during protein synthesis. His scientific interest has shifted to anti-cancer drug discovery and development. Currently, he is working at the Breast Cancer Center at University of Illinois at Chicago. His son is in 8th grade at WJHS and his daughter is in 6th grade at Highcrest.

Gloria Fountain

Gloria Fountain is a parent of a 6th grader at Highcrest and two students at New Trier High School. She has worked for IBM, Mobil Oil, Unilever, and Kraft Heinz. She is a licensed engineer with a B.S. in chemical engineering from the University of California at Berkeley. She has avid interest in coaching students for US FIRST robotics, debate, Science Olympiad, and Girl Scouts.

Frank Gao

Frank is a proud parent of a 3rd grader at Harper, 5th grader at Highcrest, a junior at New Trier, and a freshman at the Ohio State University.  Frank has been working as a patent attorney at McAndrews, Held & Malloy Ltd for almost three years. Prior to that, Frank worked at Sandvik, a Swedish company, as in-house patent counsel for 2.5 years. Before going to law school, Frank worked as an organic chemist for more than 10 years at Chemical Abstracts Services after obtaining his second Masters Degree in organic Chemistry from the Ohio State University. Frank finished his undergraduate and graduate study majoring in Chemistry at Jilin University in China. Before coming to this country, Frank was a Ph.D student in the chemical physics department of Weizmann Institute of Science, Revohot, Israel studying electron transfers for about 18 months.  In addition to his patent and trademark practice, Frank actively volunteers in church and community services, especially in providing free legal services for low income families. His interests are golf, reading and meeting with people.

Eli Horowitz

Eli is a retired Oral and Maxillofacial surgeon and the husband of retired Central School principal Melanie Horowitz.  He received undergraduate degrees in Psychology and Neuroscience from Northwestern University.  He earned a dental doctorate from Loyola University, and then obtained a Master’s Degree in science during specialty training at the University of Illinois Medical Center.  Dr. Horowitz has been in private Oral Surgery practice in Chicago and Oak Park. All medical specialties are heavily invested in a thorough understanding of anatomy and physiology.  Dr. Horowitz looks forward to sharing his knowledge of these fields with his students.

Daisy Knezevich-Weiner

James Lane

James has a college freshman, a junior and freshman at New Trier, and twin third graders at Romona. He and his family joined the District 39 family in 2012, moving to Chicagoland from the Atlanta area. He received his undergraduate and Master’s degree from Georgia Tech in Materials Science and Engineering, and is a licensed Professional Engineer in eight states. Currently, he works for a Naperville engineering consulting firm, Professional Analysis and Consulting, where he performs engineering failure investigations. He coaches youth basketball and baseball, is involved with BSA Troop 9, and is the current Cub Master for Pack 1010 out of Romona. He believes in a holistic approach to education, focusing on all aspects of the mind and body, and is a strong proponent of social and emotional learning as well as academics and athletics. His interests include good literature and opening young minds to the wonders of the world around us.

Greg Mayer

Greg  is the parent of a freshman at New Trier and a returning Science Olympiad leader.  He is a registered patent attorney with a background in aerospace engineering. Greg obtained his undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois, and graduate degrees from Stanford University and the University of Chicago. He works for Hollister Incorporated (a medical device company) as its Asst. GC and Chief Intellectual Property Counsel. His interests include tinkering with cars (both real and R/C), traveling, skiing, and playing golf.

Albert Menard

Albert is the grandparent of a WJHS student (Russell McGrath), a HMS student (Rose McGrath) and a McKenzie student (Alex McGrath).  He has a BS from Amherst College, an MS from the University of Minnesota, and a Ph.D from the University of Florida all in physics.  He taught College physics for 38 years until he retired in 2012.  The majority of this teaching was at Saginaw Valley State University in Saginaw Michigan.  He taught all undergraduate courses in physics as well as Astronomy, Geology and Meteorology to non-science majors.  Albert and his wife moved to a retirement home in Evanston in 2014 to be nearer their three grandchildren.

Majid Naghshineh

Majid is the parent of sophomore and 7th graders and is a returning Olympiad Leader. He has Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Imperial College London, U.K. and works in the area of automotive and medical devices. He is on the industry and corporate advisory boards of UIC, NIU, and NUTC and adjunct lecturer of IIT. He enjoys sports and traveling to new places.

Chris Oh

Chris is a parent of a 7th grader at Wilmette Junior High and a 3rd grader at McKenzie. He is a board-certified internist on staff at Advocate and NorthShore Health Systems. He is a graduate of the combined B.A./M.D. program from Northwestern University and also holds a Master’s degree in physics from CalTech where he spent 3 years doing research in experimental high energy physics. He is also a registered patent agent. Chris is passionate about K-12 STEM education and is currently developing innovative curricula in both life and physical sciences. In his spare time he volunteers as consultant to Guatemala’s ministry of health where he is helping rural Mayan communities develop sustainable healthcare solutions.

Sam Sitabut

Sam is the grandparent of 5th graders at Highcrest and 3rd graders at Harper.  He has a Bachelors Degree in Electrical Engineering from Mapua Institute of Technology, Manila, Philippines and a Master’s Degree in Computer Engineer (Hardware Design) from Texas A&M University.  Sam worked at Continental Can Company in the R&D Center in Chicago.  He also worked at Burroughs Computer Company, UNISYS Company in Bangkok, Thailand before retiring from a 42 year career.  Sam’s interest include engineering and innovation.  He used to be a Project Manager for “ Hand-Holding Project” – a project that provided all supports and training to incubate new innovators in Thailand.  Sam also actively volunteers in providing translation services at the Circuit Courts of Cook County for Asian Defendants.

Helen von den Steinen

Helen is the parent of a 7th grader at WJHS and a sophomore at New Trier.  Helen is a Principal Scientist at Procter & Gamble and has experience with R&D for consumer packaged goods in many geographies around the world.  In addition to her product innovation role at P&G, Helen teaches Human Centered Design, Product and Business Model Innovation to graduate students at Northwestern University.  She has a Degree in Natural Sciences (Biochemistry major) from Cambridge University.  Her interests are ballet, reading and behavioral science.

Frank Wang

Frank is the parent of a 5th grader at Highcrest and a kindergartener at Romona. He is currently in the finance profession in downtown Chicago. Frank has a Master’s degree in Mechanics Engineering and also worked as a software engineer several years ago. Frank likes to fix things that have problems at home, from mobile displays to furnace blowers, etc.  Frank earned a Master’s degree in Engineering from Beihang University in Beijing, China, as well as, an MBA in Finance from CKGSB in Beijing.