The Team

Who we are

Our Center for Educational Outreach has a breadth and depth of backgrounds that made us the team we are today – passionate about STEM education.

Alisha Sparks is the Interim Executive Director working to ensure and further the excellence, quality, and impact of the Baltimore PK-12 STEM Educational Outreach programs.  Alisha has a B.S. in Mathematics from Voorhees College and a M.A. in Instructional Systems Development from UMBC.  She has her Maryland State Department of Education Advanced Professional Certificate in Mathematics for Grades 7 – 12.  She previously worked at Baltimore City Public Schools in the Office of Enrollment, Choice, and Transfers and taught math at Digital Harbor High School.  She also coordinated the summer program for Baltimore Freedom Schools and was the Director of the K-12 Programs at the Center for Women and Information Technology (CWIT) managing several NSF grants there.

Dr. Karen Borgsmiller is the Assistant Dean, Pre-Collegiate Programs. Karen has a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a Ph.D. Chemical Engineering from Georgia Tech. She has a variety of teaching, research and industry experience. She taught Engineering Innovation for three summers prior to becoming the Director.

Dr. Claire VerHulst is the Assistant Director of Engineering Innovation. Claire has a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Notre Dame and a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Johns Hopkins University. Her specialty is computational fluid mechanics with applications to wind turbines and gas turbine engines. Prior to joining the CEO, Claire taught Mechanical Engineering to cadets at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

Margaret Hart is the STEM Outreach Advisor working closely with student groups and faculty engaged in community outreach and she leads our robotics efforts. Margaret has a bachelor’s degree in Astronomy from Boston University and a Masters in Teaching and Curriculum from Harvard. Prior to joining Hopkins in 2012, she has worked as a software test engineer, run a high school outreach program at MIT Kavli Institute, and taught physics, astronomy and engineering in Cambridge, MA as well as locally in Baltimore City Public Schools. While a teacher, she coached a science team to compete in the Science Olympiad, supported her students in a robotics competition and advised student-driven projects for an assistive technology design fair. One of her passions is photography which she has taught to middle and high school students.

Adrienne Bantum is the Budget Specialist. Adrienne joined JHU in August 2016 to provide financial and budgetary support for the team. Prior to joining CEO, she worked for CurePSP, a non-profit organization, as the Accounting Manager where she was responsible for the day-to-day financial activities.

John Van Beckum is the Barclay Program Manager. John’s interest in phenomenon-based science education began doing graduate work at St. John’s College in Santa Fe, following a B.A. in Economics from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. After earning various teaching credentials, John took a class through Grades 1-8 in a Waldorf School in Princeton N.J. There he worked for a time with “backwards-design” educator Grant Wiggins to help teachers write more effective unit plans. Eventually, he took a position teaching 7th and 8th graders and developed the school’s STEM curriculum at an integrated arts-based, charter public school in Western Massachusetts. After a long run in the classroom, he searched for a new project promoting equity and hands-on STEM education which lead him to our center.

Erin Burk is the Out-of-School-Time (OST) Program Manager. Erin is responsible for implementation, volunteer management, logistical support, external/partner compliance of and data collection for SABES OST and the YES! Connect program. She is the Project Manager for the Baltimore Online Algebra for Students in Technology (BOAST) program – a recently awarded NSF grant aimed at providing high school students interested in engineering the math skills needed to succeed in secondary education. Prior to joining JHU in 2015, Erin served as a Forecaster and Workforce Manager for The Contact Center where she managed the Workforce Management department and forecasted future staffing needs across multiple sites. She also taught for two years as an English as a Second Language teacher in South Korea. Erin has her bachelor’s degree in Philosophy and Sociology from Mary Baldwin College in Virginia.

Melissa Devlin is the Curriculum Writer for Baltimore Programs. Melissa has a B.S. in Elementary Education from Towson University and a M.A. in Leadership in Teaching: STEM from Notre Dame of Maryland University. Prior to joining JHU this year, Melissa was a Science department chair in Anne Arundel County Public Schools where she also taught 8th grade Science and Algebra I. Melissa’s career started in Baltimore City Public Schools, teaching 5th grade math and science for four years. Melissa coached a First Lego League team when she worked for Baltimore City Public Schools. She has experience working with Oyster Recovery Partnership in the Heroes on the Half Shell program for three consecutive years and has been a professional development facilitator for SABES as well as systemic science and math professional development in both Anne Arundel and Baltimore City Public Schools.

Suzanne E. Kantt is a Senior Academic Program Coordinator. Her primary responsibility is supporting Engineering Innovation.  Her duties include reviewing applications for admissions to EI, processing enrollment paperwork, and providing general support for the program.  She was the Homewood Academic Council Coordinator at Johns Hopkins before joining CEO.  Prior to moving to Johns Hopkins in 2012, Suzanne was the Assistant Director of the Brain Injury Association of Maryland where she was very involved in community outreach and awareness activities.

Alexander Scott is the Senior Administrative Coordinator. Alexander has a B.A. in Public Administration from North Carolina Central University. Prior to joining the CEO, he worked for the Maryland Transit Administration as a Senior Assistant to the Deputy Chief Operating Officer.

Mark Tuminello is the Operations Manager for Engineering Innovation. Mark has a BS in Communications from Towson University. Prior to working at the Center for Engineering Outreach, Mark served for eight years as the Operations Manager and Student Disability Services Coordinator for Engineering for Professionals, the online and part-time Master’s program for The Johns Hopkins Whiting School of Engineering.

Amanda Valledor is the Event and Outreach Program Coordinator. Amanda has a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from Johns Hopkins University and is a Raspberry Pi Certified Educator. She previously completed two years of AmeriCorps service in a 4th grade classroom with City Year New Hampshire and worked as a curriculum coordinator at the Museum of Science in Boston where she developed hands-on STEM activities, taught engineering and computer science summer courses, and supported the Overnight Program for students and scouts in grades 1-8. Amanda has also coached elementary and middle school students participating in FIRST Robotics and Science Olympiad.


Student Workers

  • Nafisa Haque, Neuroscience and Anthropology 2022
  • Abisola Adeusi, Chem & Biomolecular Engineering 2025
  • Kwanlada Srijomkwan, Cognitive Science 2025
  • Fanuel Mammo Materials Science and Engineering 2024
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