ESF Outreach Staff: Learning and Innovation

The ESF Outreach office staff brings tremendous expertise, experience, and dedication to their work with faculty and off-campus collaborators.  Several members of our team have been together for over a decade. One of our colleagues has worked at ESF over 30 years.   Whether a veteran member of the College community or a new member of the team, I appreciate the remarkable energy Outreach staff bring to ESF and the diverse communities served.

Here is a brief update on some of the team…

Katherina Bendz Searing became Associate Director for Professional Education and Non-credit Programs with the ESF Outreach office in January 2012.  Since then she has worked with ESF faculty and staff and many off-campus colleagues to plan and manage state-wide, regional and national programs, most recently the American Ecological Engineering Society national conference that was held here in Syracuse. Katherina is also a Ph.D. candidate at ESF where she is working with Dr. Mark Lomolino on a dissertation focused on the effects of climate change on small mammals. Katherina received a B.S. in Biology, a B.A. in Chemistry and a minor in Geology from the SUNYUniversity at Buffalo.  She completed her M.S. in Biological Sciences at Binghamton University. At ESF, she has served as an NSF GK-12 Fellow and a graduate assistant for several courses, including General Botany, Freshman Orientation Seminar, Mammal Diversity, Biogeography, Senior Synthesis in Conservation Biology, and Applied Wildlife Science.  She served for six years as a Teaching Fellow for the College-wide Colloquium on Teaching and Learning for graduate assistants, and as a graduate assistant with ESF Outreach.  Katherina played a key role in the planning and implementing of ESF’s inaugural Summer Session and in the development of several grant proposals, including the current U.S. DOL H1B grant (please see below).

Emily Gillis joined the ESF Outreach team shortly after earning a bachelor’s degree at Syracuse University.  Initially, Emily worked on an hourly part-time basis during a staff member’s leave of absence.  Before long, Emily moved into a full-time professional position and worked on a tremendous range of programs and proposals for youth and professionals.  We all deeply appreciate Emily’s four and one-half years of service and her many contributions and accomplishments. Emily has accepted a position in the Conference Division at Purdue University.  Please join us in wishing Emily success and fulfillment in her new position and in all her future endeavors.

Howie Hollander has joined the ESF Outreach staff as Interim Associate Director for Professional Education as part of Katherina Searing’s upcoming maternity leave (please see above). Many of us know and have worked with Howie on a variety of professional development and outreach efforts.  Howie is a MOST (Museum of Science and Technology) board member, president of TACNY (Technology Alliance of Central New York), and Vice President/Secretary of the Central New York Jazz Arts Foundation board. Howie holds a Bachelor’s in Electrical Engineering from New York University and a Masters in Engineering Management from Northeastern University.  He has worked for nearly thirty years in a variety of roles at Lockheed Martin Corporation, including Senior Manager of Systems Engineering, Software Engineering, Information Technology, and Systems Integration. We know all of our colleagues will enjoy working with Howie and will find his passion for science, technology and engineering education and professional development contagious.

Sean Nicholson. Many outreach program participants and collaborators had the pleasure of getting to know and work with Sean during a rather intense stretch of state-wide, regional and national programs this past spring and summer. Sean is a supportive and capable colleague. This is why we’re enthused he has returned to ESF Outreach with a focus on Professional Education programs and projects. Sean holds a B.S. degree in Biology from Syracuse University.

Erik Untiedt recently joined the Outreach team as program coordinator for a professional training program funded, in part, by a U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration H-1B Technical Skills Training Grant: Enhancing American Jobs and Global Competitiveness: A Collaborative Initiative in Sustainable Materials and Manufacturing.  This nominal grant wasawarded to SUNY-ESF and eleven partner organizations. Erik earned a Bachelor’s of Science from SUNY-ESF in Environmental Studies with a concentration in communication and information. He then earned a Master’s of Science from Canisius College. For the past seven years, Erik has worked in secondary science education with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and with school districts in Virginia and New York. Erik has extensive experience integrating instructional technology and distance learning approaches with science curricula.  We’ll share more very soon about Erik’s work and about this project.

Rosanna Stoutenburg is a Graduate Assistant with the ESF Outreach office who joined our team in May.  She is a Ph.D. candidate at SUNY-ESF working with Dr. Jim Nakas in the area of Applied Microbiology.  Rosanna, who is originally from New Paltz, NY, earned a Bachelor’s degree in Biotechnology prior to pursuing her Ph.D.  Her research entails biofuel production from wood-based feedstocks, focusing on mitigation of inhibitory compounds in these feedstocks. Previous to her position in the Outreach office, Rosanna was a Graduate Assistant for Introduction to Environmental Microbiology and General Biology II Lecture for a number of years. Rosanna anticipates completing her Ph.D. work in May 2013 and pursuing a career in college/university teaching, research and service.

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