The wonderful team who works to bring you Beyond Penguins and Polar Bears includes Regular Contributors, Guest Contributors, and a Technology and Graphics team.

Regular Contributors

Kimberly LightleDr. Kimberly Lightle is the Director of Digital Libraries in the College of Education and Human Ecology at the Ohio State University. She has supported the professional growth of K-12 science and math teachers over the last 15 years by building collections and services that meet the needs of those teachers. Dr. Lightle is the Principal Investigator on the Beyond Penguins and Polar Bears project.

Fries-Gaither was an Elementary Resource Specialist in the College of Education and Human Ecology at the Ohio State University. She is now the Elementary Science Teacher at the Columbus School for Girls. Jessica also taught at the elementary level (grades 4-6) and middle school (grades 5-8 math and science) in Memphis, TN and Anchorage, AK. Her work with Beyond Penguins and Polar Bears involves creating and managing content for the magazine and blog.

Dr. Carol Landis is a retired science teacher who serves as the Education Outreach Specialist for the Byrd Polar Research Center at the Ohio State University. She went to Antarctica for a month in December, 2003. Carol is a co-Principal Investigator for the Beyond Penguins and Polar Bears project.

Robert Payo serves on the Education Programming Team at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. He formerly worked for the National Science Digital Library as the Outreach and Professional Development Manager where he also supported outreach efforts for Beyond Penguins and Polar Bears.

Angela Grandstaff (MLIS Kent State University 2003) is a youth librarian at the Upper Arlington Public Library near Columbus, Ohio.

Stephen Whitt is the Director of Experience Programs Teaching and Learning at the Columbus Museum of Science and Industry. Stephen has been with COSI since 1993, performing shows and demonstrations, writing exhibit signs and show scripts, and co-directing COSI’s floor faculty. He has written over 40 articles for children’s science magazines. His first book, The Turtle and the Universe, was published in summer 2008.

Carolyn Hamilton is the editor for Beyond Penguins and Polar Bears. She has edited print and online magazines for different education audiences, including school board members, teachers, administrators, and K-12 media specialists.

Nancy Brannon is a lifelong educator of young children. She is an Early Childhood Specialist with the Ohio Resource Center.

Kate Hastings (MLS Indiana University, 1998) is a youth librarian at the Upper Arlington Public Library near Columbus, Ohio. She writes the monthly Virtual Bookshelf column for Beyond Penguins and Polar Bears.

Lois McLean is co-owner of McLean Media (Grass Valley, California), creators of the Content Clips web site. She has been a producer, instructional designer, and writer for numerous educational publishers, museums, and NSF-funded projects. She began her career in education as an elementary classroom teacher and reading specialist.

Rick Tessman is co-owner of McLean Media in Grass Valley, California, where he is a producer, graphic artist, and Flash programmer. He began his career in multimedia as a producer/director for public television. He helped develop the Content Clips web site and creates Flash-based e-books and interactives for Beyond Penguins and Polar Bears.

Stephanie Chasteen is an education/outreach consultant and also researches student learning at the University of Colorado at Boulder. She has a PhD in physics, is a podcaster, writer and teacher, and worked at the Exploratorium Museum of Science in science education and outreach. Visit her webhome and blog at

Tracey Allen is an educational consultant for REAL Educators and a literacy coach in Yuba City, CA. She provides professional development in instructional strategies with a specific focus on differentiating instruction. Her work with Beyond Penguins and Polar Bears involves contributing literacy articles for the elementary classroom.

Clarissa Reeson is an educational consultant for REAL Educators and currently teaches third grade in Yuba City, CA. She enjoys using her own classroom experiences to provide professional development for teachers with a focus on instructional strategies and differentiating instruction. Her work with Beyond Penguins and Polar Bears involves contributing literacy articles for the elementary classroom.

Julie Moran (MLS Kent State University, 2008) is a youth librarian at the Upper Arlington Public Library near Columbus, Ohio.

Besides being a popular culture afficionado, Carol Minton Morris is a research associate in the digital libraries research group in Computing and Information Science at Cornell University and the communications director for the National Science Digital Library (NSDL) and Fedora Commons.

Guest Contributors

Andy Monaghan is a scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado. He formerly was a student and scientist at the Byrd Polar Research Center at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. Andy has a broad range of scientific interests, with special emphasis on Antarctic weather and climate

Janell N. Catlin is the project director for a General Electric Foundation grant to Teachers College, the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science, Columbia University, and the Harlem Schools Partnership for Science and Math Education and an adjunct assistant professor of science education at Teachers College, Columbia University.

Felicia Moore Mensah is an assistant professor of science education at Teachers College, Columbia University.

David Hayward is the Project Manager at Instructional Technology Services of Central Ohio (ITSCO). His responsibilities include planning, creating, and teaching technology integration professional development opportunities for K-12 teachers in central Ohio.

Eric Biederbeck teaches middle school in Essex Junction, Vermont.

Nicole Luthy is Interim Director for the Ohio Resource Center, where she coordinates the selection of high-quality, web-based resources and professional development opportunities for K-12 educators. A former classroom teacher and state language arts consultant, she has experience in staff development and curriculum and assessment.

Michelle Crabill is a school-based Technology Specialist at Kings Park Elementary in Fairfax County, Virginia. She assists teachers with the integration of technology by training, co-teaching and modeling technology integrated lessons, and assisting with development and data analysis of online formative assessments.

Nancy Spaulding teaches first grade at Kings Park Elementary School in Springfield Virginia. She has been a teacher of kindergartners, multi-age and first graders for over 18 years. Mrs. Spaulding works with George Mason University as a site facilitator and guide for training education interns. She has been a member of the research team at her school for four years. Using the blog with young students has been one of her main research topics.

Kathleen Leith is a Kindergarten Teacher at Kings Park Elementary in Fairfax County Virginia. She has taught Kindergarten in the Fairfax County Virginia for over 20 years. She is a National Board Certified Teacher and received her Masters in Early Childhood Education from James Madison University.

Laura Kissel is the Polar Curator for the Byrd Polar Research Center Archival Program at The Ohio State University. Her primary responsibilities involve providing reference services to the historical polar collections housed in the Archives. Though typical users of the Polar Archives collections are post graduates or scholars, Laura has recently been involved in a variety of outreach activities to undergraduates as well as K-12 teachers and students.

Lynn Lay is the librarian of the Goldthwait Polar Library of the Byrd Polar Research Center at The Ohio State University, where she has worked for over 25 years as the sole librarian. She is responsible for the management and operation of the library, including collection development, cataloging, circulation, and reference. She is also responsible for the Byrd Center’s Publication Distribution Program.

Pamela Burish is an Institute for Educational Initiatives Fellow at the University of Notre Dame working on educational technology initiatives, teaching with the ACE (Alliance for Catholic Education) M.Ed. in the areas of language arts and assessment, teaching undergraduate service seminars, and working with educational outreach in local schools.

Rachel Hintz has a Ph.D. in science education from Ohio State University, where she was supported by the Center for Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets (CReSIS) at the Byrd Polar Research Center (BPRC). She was the technology instructor in the BPRC Learning Center and researched science education in the Boy Scouts. Her son is a Life Scout.

Natalie Kehrwald is a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Venice, Italy, where she studies past fires recorded in the Kilimanjaro ice core. Her immediate research goals are to examine the impacts of climate change on water resources derived from glacial melt. Her doctoral work at The Ohio State University included investigating high-altitude thinning glaciers in the Himalayas and the implications for major rivers in the area.

Dr. Kevin Cordi currently teaches language arts and education classes at Ohio Dominican University. He is the Co-Director for the Columbus Area Writing Project and has been a professional storyteller for over 24 years. He has taught and told in over 40 states, England, Singapore, Japan, and Scotland. Learn more at

Nancy Mazza is a retired art instructor currently giving workshops on making unique books. She received her Bachelor of Science in education at Kutztown University in Pennsylvania and did graduate work at Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia and University of Wisconsin Oshkosh.

Becky Schuler is a veteran reading specialist of 11 years. She received her Bachelor of Science in education and Reading Masters in education at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh.

Tamara Fisher is a K-12 gifted education specialist in northwestern Montana and president-elect of the Montana Association of Gifted and Talented Education. With Karen Isaacson, she is coauthor of Intelligent Life in the Classroom: Smart Kids and Their Teachers. She also writes a blog on, Unwrapping the Gifted.

John Costilla is an educator with more than 18 years experience in public education. He currently works with a free social community for teachers, WeAreTeachers. In addition, John is an active member of Classroom 2.0, the social network for those interested in Web 2.0 and collaborative technologies in education.

Colleen McLinn is an education outreach associate at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. She has a Ph.D. in behavioral ecology and has worked with K-12 students and teachers in New York state and Minnesota.

Jennifer Fee is the BirdSleuth project leader at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. She creates print and online resources for teachers and is interested in authentic science inquiry through citizen science and schoolyard research.

Retired this year after 24 years as a communications teacher in a male juvenile correctional facility in Pennsylvania, BJ Berquist is an associate educator for Tapped In. She leads several discussion groups, is a Help Desk volunteer, edits the Tapped In monthly newsletter and schedules the monthly calendar of events.

Susan Buhr is the director of the Education and Outreach Group at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES), a NOAA joint institute at the University of Colorado, Boulder. She has been engaged in professional development for teachers on climate change since 1996.

Shelly Althauser has been a teacher in the Kenton City Schools for nine years. She has taught first, third, fourth, and fifth grades and was a reading interventionist for one year.

Dr. Alison Schirmer Lockman is a physics teacher at Rowland Hall-St. Mark’s School in Salt Lake City, Utah. She has also spent several years teaching physics, astronomy, and elementary and secondary science methods to undergraduate and graduate students.

Ann Pilewskie has been in Special Education for 29 years as a classroom teacher, low incidence consultant, special education coordinator (in Columbus City Schools), Director of Autism Services at OCALI, and Transition Coordinator at the Ohio State School for the Blind. Ann teaches graduate level classes on inclusion, differentiated instruction, sensory systems, autism and multiple disabilities.

Cheri Hamilton is the K-12 Outreach Coordinator for the Center for Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets at Kansas University in Lawrence, Kansas. She teaches students about ice and climate change through polar science lessons called Ice, Ice, Baby.

Mille Porsild owns NOMADS, a leader in the development and implementation of adventure learning programs for the K-12 classrooms. Committed to Arctic education she is program director of the GoNorth! adventure learning series at the University of Minnesota and has traveled in the circumpolar Arctic every year on extensive 2-6 month dogsled expeditions since 1992.

Dr. Rita Oates taught high school in Kansas. After more than seven years as director of ed tech in Miami-Dade County Public Schools, she was chair of the Computer Education and Technology graduate program at Barry University. Now VP of Education Markets at ePals, Rita presents workshops and webinars on using ePals for 21st century learning, data collection and analysis, and literacy practice.

Larry Ferlazzo teaches English and social studies to English-language learners and mainstream students at Luther Burbank High School in Sacramento, California. His ELL book,Organizing To Learn: The Art Of Teaching English Language Learners, will be published by Linworth Publishing next year. His first book from Linworth, Building Parent Engagement in Schools, will be available September 30. He also has a popular resource-sharing blog.

Mary LeFever is a resource specialist for the Middle School Portal, and a doctoral candidate in science education at Ohio State University. She has taught middle school and high school science and is an adjunct instructor of biology and natural sciences at Columbus State Community College.

Julie Codispoti is the assistant curator at the United States Polar Rock Repository, housed at the Byrd Polar Research Center at the Ohio State Univesity. She is completing a master’s degree in geology.

Karen Koehler is a science teacher at the Ohio State School for the Blind.

Tiffany Wild is a doctoral candidate at the Ohio State University, a National Center for Leadership in Visual Impairments Fellow, and a certified teacher of the visually impaired.

Todd Williamson is a 7th grade science teacher at Broad Creek Middle School in Newport, NC. He was recently named Cartert County Teacher of the Year in large part for his efforts to integrate technology throughout the curriculum.

Jessica Gittings is licensed as an Intervention Specialist for Hearing Impairments K-12. She has taught for the Columbus Public Hearing Impairment Program at Dominion Middle School and Northland High School. She currently teaches a multiage class at The Ohio School for the Deaf.

Daniella Quiñones is the marketing coordinator for Teachers’ Domain, a digital library of media resources and professional development for K-12 educators developed by Boston public television station WGBH. She works with educators across the country offering hands-on workshops and interactive webinars that promote technology integration using rich media resources from public television.

Rebecca Alberts (MFA, Cranbrook Academy of Art; MPS, George Washington University) teaches 8th grade science at The Lab School of Washington, a k-12 for students with language-based learning disabilities; she is also an adjunct instructor at The Corcoran College of Art and Design. Rebecca is currently working on her Doctorate degree in Curriculum and Instruction at GWU.

Mark McCaffrey is an Associate Scientist III at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) at the University of Colorado at Boulder. He helped initiate and develop Climate Literacy: The Essential Principles of Climate Science and is a co-founder of the Climate Literacy Network.

Technology and Graphics

Lynette Rayle has worked with software development and systems design for 18 years. She is currently part of the research team for the National Science Digital Library at Cornell University exploring interoperability of collaborative tools in the production of digital resources.

Angela Jones is a graphic designer living in Sarasota, Florida. She specializes in visual design for web using XHTML and CSS technology standards and also designs for print such as brochures, trade show graphics, business cards and stationery. She has been designing and implementing attractive websites since 1997. She received her Bachelors of Fine Art from Bowling Green State University in 2003.

Elly Cramer’s doctoral studies focused on researching online education environments and building virtual communities. As a researcher and developer on the NSDL team for over 7 years, she works with user interfaces and tools that integrate with the digital library and projects like Beyond Penguins and Polar Bears with an eye toward usability, discovery, and collaboration.

Copyright March 2008-2011 – The Ohio State University. This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0733024. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

This work is licensed under an Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported Creative Commons license.