Dr. Wendy Calvin, Planetary Science
Dr. Calvin is a Professor and Chair of Geological Sciences and Engineering in the Mackay School of Earth Sciences and Engineering. She serves on the NASA Mars Exploration Rover Science Team and on the committee charged with determining where NASA should explore in the next decade. Her scientific discoveries have included identifying oxygen on Ganymede, large path lengths in ice for the seasonal polar cap of Mars, and identification of ammonia ices on Pluto’s satellite Charon. She continues to work with three active science instruments at Mars and is also the Director of the Great Basin Center for Geothermal Energy.
Richard Brong, Aerospace and Science Curriculum
Richard is a professional educator with the Washoe County School District, teaching courses in physical and geosciences since 2001. Brong’s educational background is through the University of Nevada in Reno and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. He's researched safety in light, general aviation, and technically advanced aircraft. Brong appeared in the Washoe Parents magazine for his use of technology in the classroom. He's also been interviewed on NPR’s Talk of the Nation about the Mogul Earthquake Swarm and science education. Brong volunteers with the Civil Air Patrol in support of their missions including aerospace education.
Paul McFarlane, Programs and Technology
Herz Gold Medal Winner and Best of Education Recipient from the Reno Gazette-Journal, Paul was selected as Outstanding Student Teacher at UNR and as the Senior Scholar for the College of Arts and Sciences. He’s taught K-College students for 24 years, created interdisciplinary space programs and worked as a writer and director of video projects. He’s trained at the Kennedy Space Center, Johnson Space Center and the US Space and Rocket Center and has represented Nevada at Honeywell Educators@Space Academy. He’s been in charge of Challenger Center interdisciplinary programs for Nevada for the last eight years.
Dr. Richard Simmonds, ISO Team Advisor
Dr. Simmonds spent six years with NASA where he managed the Animal Testing components of the Apollo Lunar Quarantine Program and a joint space biology program with the Soviet Union. His experiments flew on missions from Apollo through Skylab, including five mice on the last Moon mission. He also served at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, MD as Director of Instructional and Research Support and Associate Professor of Physiology and Surgery. He continues to teach at the University of Nevada Medical School and College of Agriculture, Biotechnology, and Natural Resources.
Jenny McFarlane, Operations and Outreach Director
Jenny is a certified secondary teacher, with a background in middle school methodology. In college, she traveled across Africa providing educational programs; she also loves working with students across northern Nevada as the CLCNN Outreach Director. This includes taking Challenger's mobile dome to schools from Gardnerville to Gerlach, providing programs and workshops for thousands of K-12 students. (She's also the best one to contact if you'd like to book a mission or program.) Her email is: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Melodi Rodrigue, Astronomy and Astrophysics
Dr. Rodrigue did her doctoral research in the area of interacting galaxies, using such tools as the Hubble Space Telescope and the International Ultraviolet Explorer. Currently she teaches in the UNR Department of Physics and is respected for her ability to make courses relevant for introductory-level students and non-science students — as well as her gift for working with a wide range of learners of all ages. Rodrigue serves on the K-12 Northern Nevada Science Coalition, helped develop the UTeach program and Astronomical Measurements course at UNR and established the MacLean Observatory for students and fellow researchers.
Chef Craig Rodrigue, Food Science & Associate Flight Director
Rodrigue was a master navigator in the Coast Guard, worked on an internet startup, and was trained as a classical chef. Yet another of his passions is teaching. Weekdays he works at TMCC, preparing his first-place-in-the-nation students for SkillsUSA competitions. Evenings, weekends and free time, he serves as an associate flight director for the Challenger Learning Center, helping participants of all ages "reach for the stars!"