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Meet the Idaho STEM Action Center Team

Caty Solace, Executive DirectorCaty Solace previously served as the chief communications and operations officer for the Idaho Workforce Development Council (WDC) since 2018. She led the Idaho Launch program, which has provided financial assistance for more than 2,000 Idahoans to receive employer-requested workforce training. She worked to expand career resources provided by Next Steps Idaho in partnership with the State Board of Education Outreach Team, and managed the annual Age of Agility: The Governor’s Summit on the Future of Work event. Solace also previously worked for the Idaho Division of Career Technical Education. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing and World Literature at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, and a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Antioch University in Los Angeles, California.

Erica Compton, Program ManagerErica Compton is an Idaho native with over 30 years of experience in hands-on STEM education and training. In February of 2010 Erica joined the Idaho Commission for Libraries as a Project Coordinator. She co-developed the Make It at the Library project with the goal of strengthening STEAM skills and supporting entrepreneurship for people of all ages through maker-centered learning. Erica has had the privilege of participating in the Maker Movement at a national level through a variety of presentations and committee memberships including the Capitol Hill Maker Faire, Mayors Conference on Entrepreneurship, and the National Advisory Board on 3D Printing in Education & Accessibility. Erica joined the Idaho STEM Action Center as Program Manager in November 2015 and oversees grant development and management, best practice research and dissemination, and building partnerships with STEM organizations nationwide.

Sondra Chadd, Financial and Development OfficerSondra received Bachelors of Business Administration in Entrepreneurship Management and General Business and a minor in Marketing from Boise State University. Her engagement with the Idaho STEM Action Center preceded working as a member of its staff; she previously aided in accounting and management services for nine different agencies while tracking and disbursing multi-million dollar cash flows with the Idaho Division of Financial Management. Sondra became an official member of the STEM Action Center team in July 2018 where she prepares the Center’s budget and manages financial and accounting services, personnel functions, and Foundation financials.

Stephanie Lee, Grants and Contracts AnalystStephanie is a native Idahoan with more than 10 years of experience in the development, deployment, and administration of statewide programs. She worked at the Idaho State Department of Education supporting districts, schools, and state-wide education leaders with student development and innovative testing programs. Most notably, Stephanie demonstrated her proven leadership skills as the Idaho State Assessment Program Specialist overseeing the design and facilitating implementation of the Idaho Reading Indicator Program and monitoring the program’s multi-million dollar budget as well as providing legislative reports. She also collaborated with numerous state agencies, districts and schools throughout Idaho to directly advise and support the special needs of Idaho students and educators.

Stephanie continues to demonstrate her extensive working knowledge of Idaho state education systems and has achieved progressive growth throughout her career. She eagerly joined the Idaho STEM Action Center team in October 2016 to lead and guide effective implementation of the Idaho STEM AC Grants and Contracts Programs.

Crispin Gravatt, Grants CoordinatorCrispin was born in Pocatello, and grew up in various places along the Snake River. He graduated from Boise State University with degrees in Sociology, French, Gender Studies, and Economics. In 2014, Crispin was selected to represent ten states and various US territories as a human rights delegate, discussing the ways technology changes education around the world. Crispin also volunteers in his community to foster stronger relationships between business, nonprofit, neighborhood, and educational organizations. He is dedicated to ensuring that education opportunities exist for all people, regardless of any existing barrier. Crispin joined the Idaho STEM Action Center team in March 2016 to help facilitate the grants process and ensure effective accountability.

Katie Bosch-WilsonKatie Bosch-Wilson is a native Idahoan with 11 years of service in public education. Katie earned a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics Education and two master’s degrees in Mathematics Education and Curriculum and Instruction. She has a graduate certificate in STEM Education with an emphasis in Computer Science. Prior to joining the STEM Action Center team, Katie taught Math and Computer Science at Capitol High School in Boise. In addition to teaching, Katie has experience working as a district content coordinator and adjunct professor at BSU,and had the honor of sitting on numerous Idaho State Department of Education committees. Katie enjoys spending time with her husband, son, and their family dog. When the weather is nice, they try to get up to the foothills and be outside as much as possible.

STEMazing Part-Time Contractors

Cory Compton, AdministratorCory was born In Takoma Park, Maryland and raised in Boise. She graduated from Whitman College with a double major in Psychology/Sociology. After graduating she moved to Seattle, WA where she entered the world of investment banking. In 1989 she retired to raise her family and became a community advocate and fundraiser for several educational institutions helping to provide scholarships to underserved children. In 2013 she returned to Boise and joined the Idaho Youth Ranch as their Capital Campaign Manager. She joined the STEM Action Center in 2016 which has allowed her to combine her years of experience fundraising, producing events and community activism with passion for education.

Asana Draper, WebmasterAsana was born in California and moved to Boise, Idaho when she was 12 years old. She started her adventure in technology over 30 years ago, working for Hewlett Packard and other local technology companies. She began her career in website development and graphic design in the mid-90s and became an independent contractor in 2003. She has worked with several local businesses and the State of Idaho. Asana joined the STEM team in March 2018.

MaKayla Guthrie, InternMaKayla has worked with the Idaho STEM Action Center for over three years handling a variety of tasks including planning & coordinating the Idaho Science & Engineering Fairs, curating resources for Idaho educators, among database and data entry. MaKayla is also going into her fourth year at Boise State University majoring in Biology and plans to graduate in May of 2023. Before joining the Idaho STEM Action Center team she competed in the Idaho Science & Engineering Fair and later went on to the Intel International Science & Engineering Fair as an observer in 2017 to represent Idaho. She continues to be involved in the Idaho Science & Engineering Fair and continue her passion for STEM.

Tony Harrison
Portrait of Tony Harrison taken in Boise on June 27, 2019. (Photo by Otto Kitsinger)

Tony has worked for more than 30 years as a public relations counselor, representing STEM-related clients throughout his career that range from biotech firms, health care systems, and conservation programs to hardware and software companies, innovative building products manufacturers, and agriculture. Prior to opening his own PR practice, COMMposition, in 2007, he worked for renowned PR and advertising agencies in New York City, Phoenix, and Boise. Tony has helped the Idaho STEM Action Center raise awareness of its mission and programs since January 2016. He is the Idaho member of Unified Strategies Public Relations, a national network of senior-level PR consultants that boasts representation in virtually every major U.S. market. Born and raised in Boise, Tony earned his B.S. in communication from University of Idaho.

Joanna Madden, Foundation Development DirectorJoanna is a development professional with a background in supporting the goals of small businesses, non-profits, tribal entities and local governments. She leads the Foundation’s fundraising and grant writing functions to support STEM AC programs. Joanna has a BA in Business Administration and International Business with a minor in Spanish Literature from Portland State University. A native to the Pacific Northwest, Joanna has lived with her family in Idaho for nearly 20 years where she participates in various advisory boards, and enjoys skiing, trail running and camping.

John McFarlane, MakerMinded CoordinatorBefore joining the STEM Action Center, John was a classroom Science teacher for 33 years – the last 30 of which were in the Basin School District in Idaho City, where he also served as secondary principal and superintendent. With the STEM Action Center since July 2018, John is coordinating the Educator Externship, STEM School Leadership, and STEM School Designation programs. He also serves on the STEM AC Ecosystem, Equity, and STEM Diploma teams, as well as supervises the VISTA, Work U and Encore Fellow volunteers. John has a B.S. in Environmental Studies and an M.Ed. in Secondary Curriculum from Western Washington University, and an Ed.S. from the University of Idaho.

Merrie has been involved with science and engineering fairs for more than 50 years, beginning as a participant and volunteer, then mentoring students and managing local fairs as a secondary teacher, and most recently serving as the State Science & Engineering Fairs Director.  Twelve of her students have been selected to compete at the International Science & Engineering Fairs, some more than once.  With her assistance our Idaho Regional Fairs more than doubled in size in the first four years and now include students from all over the state.  Merrie taught secondary science and math in Colorado, Montana, Nevada, and Idaho before retiring from k-12 teaching in 2016.  She worked as an adjunct professor for Lewis-Clark State College from 2016 to 2020, helping pre-service teachers prepare for their classrooms.  Her degrees include a BA in Biology, a BA in Secondary Education, and an MEd in Curriculum and Instruction with emphases in Environmental Science and Statistics, all from the University of Montana, Missoula.

Ashley was born and raised in Pocatello and has been an educator in Southeast Idaho for the last 10 years. She has taught mostly elementary aged students; however, she has had the pleasure of working with students of all ages (Pre-K-12). During her time as an educator, she has enjoyed bringing STEM education and STEM professionals into her classroom.

Ashley has also been involved with the STEM Action Center for many years. First, as a participant at i-STEM starting in 2016. She then went on to teach a strand on coding and computer sciences for students ages Pre-K through 3rd grade at i-STEM in 2019 and 2021. She also spent several years as a grant reviewer for the STEM Action Center. She is excited to now work with the STEM Action Center and the ISEE STEM group to continue to promote STEM and STEM education in Eastern and Southeastern Idaho as the Region 4, 5, and 6 HUB coordinator.

Dan originally is from Central New York but has found himself roaming the West Coast and Mountain West ever since studying Environmental Studies at Humboldt State in Northern California. He comes from a strong background in experiential education first with Sierra Nevada Journeys outside of Reno with an emphasis on delivering innovative outdoor, STEM based education programs for youth to develop critical thinking skills and to inspire teachers to bring STEM engagement back to their classrooms. Most recently Dan has served as Program Coordinator for the Idaho Conservation Corps helping to build a STEM based curriculum in a workforce development program for youth and young adults with a focus on natural resource conservation. When not working Dan enjoys hiking in the foothills with his dogs and getting out camping as often as possible!

Elizabeth Schneider

Elizabeth is a Boise native who is working for STEM Action Center as the P3/Sponsorships Program Manager and as a grant writer for Idaho STEM Action Center Foundation. She has 35+ years of experience in the tech industry. Before joining STEM AC Elizabeth retired after twenty years at Intel Corporation, her last position as a software engineering manager. Elizabeth has her bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from Boise State University and a master’s degree in Computer Science from Washington State University. Elizabeth joined the STEM team in November 2020.

A native Boisean, Cindy joined the Navy after high school to travel and earn benefits to help pay for her college education. She has a BBA with an entrepreneurial emphasis, and an MPA in Public Administration, both from Boise State University. She’s held a wide variety of jobs in the public and private sectors before joining the Idaho STEM Action Center in the latter half of 2022 as a temporary employee.

Jonny Smith, Graphic DesignerJonathon is an artist and designer with an emphasis in print-media. He is responsible for the visual style of STEM AC designs used in advertising campaigns and public relations. He works with each department to create artwork, images, and informational graphics that clearly communicate the importance and impact of the Idaho STEM AC. Jonathon received a BA in Advertising Design from Boise State University and has over 20 years of experience as an artist and art director working on regional, national, and international marketing campaigns and publications.

Susan Stauffer is thrilled to be part of the enthusiastic experienced STEM INNC team that is dedicated to establishing robust connections for STEM education and pathways in our region.

Susan has an extensive background in STEM education that spans across Idaho. After graduating from Bonneville High School in Idaho Falls, she earned bachelor’s degrees in Chemistry and Secondary Education as well as a master’s degree in Adult Education from the University of Idaho (UI). She is a former math and statistics teacher/department chair at Boise High School and statistics instructor at the UI. As a UI-Micron STEM Education Research Initiative research associate, Susan was involved with all aspects of survey administration and data analysis with Idaho students, parents, and teachers. She co-authored project reports and organized a conference focused on STEM education partnerships with schools, industry, communities, and educators. Susan is currently transferring many of her responsibilities as Associate Director of STEM Access in TRIO-INSPIRE at the UI to dedicate time as the Hub Coordinator of STEM INNC.

Idaho provides the perfect playground for Susan’s passion for outdoor adventures. When not working, she can usually be found whitewater rafting, backpacking, SUPing, canoeing, bicycling, skiing, or hiking. Her three adult sons often join her for an adventure when they take breaks from their engineering and computer science careers.

Teresa Vail

Teresa Vail, born and raised in Idaho, has dabbled in STEM for most of her life. She graduated from the College of Idaho with a BS in Biology and then trekked to Olympia, Washington, to work as a research forestry technician. After six years playing with trees and data, she returned to Idaho to earn a Master’s in Natural Resources with an emphasis on environmental education and science communication at the McCall Outdoor Science School (MOSS) via the University of Idaho.

Teresa started as an AmeriCorps VISTA to the Idaho STEM Action Center in October 2019, and she is now a contractor. She enjoys assisting the center with their work on Idaho STEM Ecosystem, promoting everything STEM on social media like Twitter and LinkedIn, and much more. In her spare time, you can find her working on her master’s of science in data science, walking her stubborn dog, and spending time with her family and friends.

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