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.

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.

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.

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.

Alexis Daniels is the Baltimore OST Program Manager. Alexis has a B.A. in Anthropology and Community Health and a M.S. in Occupational Therapy from Tufts University. She is currently pursuing her EdD at Johns Hopkins’ School of Education. Passionate about food justice and cooking, Alexis has developed and taught bilingual urban farming, culinary science, and community-based design thinking programs at the East Boston YMCA, Eastie Farm, and across Boston Public Schools. More recently, she managed enrichment programs, external partnerships, research studies, and curriculum development at Acera: The MA School of Science, Creativity, and Leadership and served as Academic Dean at the Center for Talented Youth in Baltimore.

Liz Jenkins is the Henderson Hopkins Math Tutorial Program Manager. Liz has a B.A in Political Science from California State University Stanislaus and is currently earning her M.A in Educational Studies from Johns Hopkins. She also holds her Maryland State Department of Education Teaching Certificate for grades K-6. Liz moved to Maryland through the Teach for America program and completed her programming in June 2022. Prior to joining the JHU team, Liz taught mathematics in Baltimore City Public Schools.

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.

Alli Reigel is the BOAST Content Developer and Instructional Coach, and previously served as a SABES Instructional Coach. Alli has a B.A. in English Communications from the University of Maryland Baltimore County and a M.S. in Education from the Johns Hopkins University. Before joining the CEO in 2019, Alli worked at Baltimore City Public Schools and served as a Biology teacher and New-teacher Mentor at Carver Vocational-Technical High School. She also has experience as Operations Lead for Mentor Academy with Central Office, and as a Facilitator for Systemic Professional Development.

Emily Henkes Callahan is a SABES Instructional Coach. Prior to joining the CEO in 2015, she was a high school science teacher with Baltimore City Public Schools. She comes to the team with experience in informal educational settings, working for over 10 years in STEM afterschool programs and summer camps. Emily has a B.A. in Biology from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a M. Ed. in School Counseling from Loyola University Maryland.

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