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 Baltimore Programs 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 leading our robotics efforts.  Margaret has a bachelor’s degree in Astronomy from Boston University and a Masters in Teaching and Curriculum from Harvard.  She has worked as a software test engineer, run a high school outreach program at MIT Kavli Institute, and taught physics to 9th graders in Cambridge, MA as well as to 11th and 12th graders in Baltimore City Public Schools.  One of her passions is photography which she has taught to middle school students.  While a teacher, she coached a science team to compete in the Science Olympiad, a robotics competition and an assistive technology design fair.

Becky Palmisano is the Barclay School Program Manager working with the Barclay Hopkins STEM Partnership. In this role, Becky works to engage Barclay youth, teachers, and staff, with JHU faculty and students, to promote STEM education at Barclay Elementary Middle School. Her primary activities include developing both in-school and out-of-school STEM programs for Barclay youth including the Barclay Summer Program Series, JHU campus visits, curricular aligned field studies, the STEM Exploration Series, and JHU sponsored after-school programs. She has a B.S. in Psychology from Frostburg State University, an M.S. in Student Affairs in Higher Education from Colorado State University, and an M.A. in Leadership in Teaching STEM from Notre Dame of Maryland University. She worked for ten years as a teacher in Baltimore City Schools, most recently teaching STEM and environmental education to students in grades PreK-8. Prior to teaching, she worked in both higher education and community based organizations, primarily overseeing service-learning and volunteer initiatives funded through the Corporation for National and Community Service.

Dr. Karen Borgsmiller is the Director of Engineering Innovation. 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.

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.

Adrienne Bantum is the Budget Specialist. Adrienne recently 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.

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 the Baltimore suite of after-school and summer programs including SABES OST, Barclay OST and Summer STEM Academy, and the YES! Summer program. She provides support for middle school and family Explore series and the annual Hopkins Robotics Cup. 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.

Christine Newman is the Assistant Dean of Engineering Educational Outreach. She has a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Virginia Tech and a MBA from Marshall University. Christine has worked in chemical manufacturing, environmental consulting, software development, and financial services. She is on the board of the Mid-Atlantic Girls Collaborative Network and spearheaded STEM career days with Girls Inc. of DC.

Student Workers

  • Emnet Atlabachew, Neuroscience with a minor in Africana Studies 2020
  • Samantha Hardy, Molecular & Cellular Biology and Spanish 2019
  • Courtney King, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering 2019
  • Vivian Sanchez, Computer Science 2021
  • Halle Teart, 2022
  • Nordia Simmonds, 2022
  • Sophie Dunn, 2022
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