Summer Weekend Faculty Bios

About The Executive Director

Steve Coxon, PhD, is professor of education and executive director of the Center for Access and Achievement (CA2) at Maryville University. The CA2 focuses on partnerships with schools and nonprofits to prepare pre-collegiate students for college and the careers of the future and their teachers through Constructivist STEM education.

Steve conducts research on developing STEM talents, especially spatial ability, mathematics, and creativity with a special focus on talent development in populations traditionally underrepresented in gifted programs and STEM professions. He is the author of more than 60 publications including the book Serving Visual-Spatial Learners and has given more than 100 presentations and workshops on these topics.

Steve earned his PhD from the College of William and Mary in educational policy, planning, and leadership. He was the 2010 recipient of the Joyce VanTassel-Baska Award for Excellence in Gifted Education and the 2020 recipient of the Laura Joyner Award from the Mensa Foundation.

Managing Director

Angie Moehlmann, EdD, is Director for the Summer Science and Robotics Program for the Maryville Center for Access and Achievement. She has 25+ years of experience in the field of Education with a passion for children, technology and STEM. Her previous roles include elementary classroom teacher, professional development coach, assistant principal and principal in the Lindbergh School District. She holds her BA in English from Truman State University, MAE from Truman State University, her EdSp in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis from the University of Missouri-Columbia, and her EdD in Educational Leadership from Maryville University. Angie is also an adjunct professor for the Education Department at the University of Missouri.

Mara G. Berry, MEd, is adjunct faculty with the School of Education at Maryville University and is program director for Teen Tech as part of Summer Science and Robotics with Maryville University. Formerly, she was Director of Gifted Education and English Language Learners for the Hazelwood School District. Mara has presented at state and national level gifted conferences. She holds her BS from the University of Missouri-Columbia, her MEd from the University of Missouri-St. Louis, and certification in Special Education Administration from Lindenwood University. Mara has coached FIRST® Lego® League & Jr. FIRST LEGO teams plus she volunteers as a judge at FLL competitions. She also volunteers time as a Master Gardener with Missouri Botanical Gardens and Missouri Forest ReLeaf. Currently, as an adjunct teacher, Mara supervises student teachers for the School of Education. In 2020 Mara was named Outstanding Adjunct Teacher for Maryville’s School of Education.

Associate Director Of The Center For Access And Achievement

Gretchen Roberts, BA, is the Program Coordinator for the Center for Access and Achievement. She holds her BA in early childhood and elementary education from Maryville University. Previously, she provided gifted enrichment in mathematics and robotics in Ladue Schools and directed a preschool gymnastics program. Gretchen also served as the program manager for the Children using Robotics for Engineering, Science, Technology, and Math (CREST-M) and C3 grant project Monsanto Fund to create math curricula that engage diverse children in STEM fields through the use of robotics.

Nicole Binion is a gifted resource teacher at Jackson Park Elementary School in the School District of University City. She has a Master’s degree in Elementary Education with an Emphasis in Reading and Adult Education from the University of Missouri-St. Louis, and Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education K-8 from Harris Stowe State University. She also has certifications in Gifted Education K-12 and STEM Education from Maryville University. Ms. Binion has been a teacher for over 25 years. She has experience working in the classroom with gifted, special education, middle and elementary students. During the summer and after school, Ms. Binion has taught The Young Scholars (Maryville University Program) Coding Camp and Summer and Winter Robotics programs at Maryville. Ms. Binion loves exploring and teaching STEM-related courses. Nicole is a lifelong learner and loves reading.

Maye Bryant is an Early Childhood STEM specialist who has over twenty years’ experience teaching in St. Louis Public Schools. She is currently a gifted enrichment teacher focusing on engineering, coding and robotics in grades pre-k through second. She holds a BA in Early Childhood Education, M. ED in Educational Administration and an M.A. in Gifted Education. She also holds her STEM certificate through Maryville University. Mrs. Bryant is the coach of the Stix First LEGO League Robotic Team. Mrs. Bryant loves spending time with her husband, three amazing sons, gardening, reading and being outdoors.

Stacy Donovan, PhD, is an associate professor of biology and forensic science and Apple Teacher at Maryville University. She has been teaching introductory and advanced science courses at Maryville for the past 10 years. Prior to her career in teaching, Dr. Donovan spent 8 years doing scientific research at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. She published 15 peer-reviewed articles on understanding neuronal development and degeneration of the nervous system. Dr. Donovan’s passion for training future scientists continued at Maryville University, where she mentored over 30 students on various research projects. When she is not in the classroom or lab, Dr. Donovan spends time with her family and dog, Moose, and pursuing her other passion – science outreach opportunities. She is thrilled and excited to work with the program this year!

Kelly Eggers, MA, holds her BA in Art Education, Bachelor of Fine Arts, and MA in Education from Maryville University. During her studies, she completed internships in Kirkwood, Affton, and Parkway. This will be her 3rd year helping to integrate art and creativity into the Summer Science and Robotics Program. Currently, she serves as a high school art teacher in the Normandy Collaborative School District. Kelly is a painter and focuses on imagination in her own work.

Jessica Fisher, MAEd, holds her BA in psychology as well as her MA in elementary education from Maryville University. She is a third grade teacher at Orchard Farm Elementary School in the Orchard Farm School District.

Tarren Fritz, PhD,
is an associate professor of educational sciences and professional programs at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. She has a BA in Human Environmental Science and a BA in Psychology. She has an MA in early childhood and elementary education. She has a PhD in curriculum and instruction. She holds a Missouri teaching certificate in early childhood, elementary and middle school social sciences. She was an elementary teacher at Lindbergh Schools and a middle school teacher at Parkway School District for a combined total of 30 years. She has taught after school enrichment and summer technology courses for 20 years to Kindergarten through 7th grade students as well as adults. She has experience with designing and implementing STEM units, coding, and supervising project based STEAM activities.

Erin Gaubatz holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Middle Level Education and English, and she is currently working towards her Master’s Degree in Educational Technology through Lindenwood University. She teaches 8th grade English Language Arts and Publications at Bernard Middle School in the Mehlville School District, where she coaches the school’s FIRST LEGO League team. Erin has worked with the Maryville Science and Robotics Program since 2017, teaching summer and winter courses on LEGO robotics.

Beth Grebe holds her BS in Communication Disorders and her MA in Teaching from Fontbonne University. She has worked for the Lindbergh School District for the past nine years, where she began by assisting in an elementary makerspace earning her support staff of the year honors in 2017. Additionally, Beth has been an instructor for the district’s summer STEM camp since its inception in 2015 and has taught elementary multilingual learners as well as first grade. Currently, Beth serves as an elementary design lab instructor (her dream job), teaching K-5 students critical thinking and creativity through hands-on STEM experiences while helping the district develop STEM curricula. Prior to earning her elementary teaching certification, Beth was a speech and language teacher in the St. Louis Public Schools. She is married to her high school sweetheart and has two sons in college and two daughters in high school. She is a bibliophile, tinkerer, and hobbyist of many things including photography, hand lettering, graphic and interior design, computer coding, and writing. Learning by doing are words she lives by and Beth encourages her students to do the same!

Debra Haalboom holds a BS in Business with an emphasis in Management Informational Systems from University of Missouri, St. Louis and has a Master’s in Education earned through Lindenwood University. She has taught at Walker Elementary in the Hazelwood School District for the past 25 years. Debra has presented at the Experimental Education Exchange on behalf of Washington University’s MySci Program and has earned the Emerson Excellence in Education award for her school twice. She was Walker’s teacher of the year in 2019 and is currently coaching Walker Elementary’s first Lego Robotic club sponsored by Girl Scouts.

Laura Link, MAEd, holds her BA in Elementary Education from UMSL and her master’s degree from Lindenwood University. She also received her gifted certification through Lindenwood University. She has worked for SLPS for the past 22 years as a classroom teacher and then for the last seven years, as a gifted specialist. She has been teaching a variety of robotics since 2015 and has been a robotics coach since 2021. This year she provided professional development to middle school teachers using Lego Spike Prime robotics.

Lindsay Lombardo holds Masters in Gifted Education K-12 from Maryville University and a Bachelors in Elementary Education 1-6 from Fontbonne University. She is the gifted specialist at Conway Elementary in the Ladue School District where she teaches LEGO SPIKE Essential and Prime and EV3 robotics. This is her 7th year
teaching gifted education. Lindsay hastaught in the Maryville Science and Robotics program since 2015 and is
looking forward to this summer of learning. When she is not in the classroom, she loves to spend time with her husband and two young boys.

Jessica McMaken holds her BA in Psychology with a focus in child development from Wheaton College and her MAT in Early Childhood Education from The College of New Jersey. She began her teaching career in central New Jersey where she taught preschool and kindergarten. Upon moving to Missouri, she started homeschooling her own children and creating unique and outside of the box classes for other homeschoolers in the St. Charles area. Jessica is passionate about exposing children to scientific concepts at a young age through hands-on, investigative activities and problem solving tasks.

Elizabeth Platte holds her Masters in Elementary Education and Bachelors in Art History and recently completed her STEM certification through Maryville University in 2022. She has taught K-2nd grade for 12 years in the Ferguson-Florissant school district and currently teaches Kindergarten. In 2021-2022 she accepted a LEGO grant to use STEAM Park education in her classroom through Maryville University. During Maryville Summer Robotics Camp in 2022 she taught with Chris Sellers and introduced Makey Makey projects using circuitry with students in the summer camp classes. She currently runs a STEM club at Bermuda Elementary school for students K-2 and teaches a Circuitry course at the Winter Robotics Camp through the Maryville Science and Robotics Program. She has two children, two dogs and loves the outdoors and science.

Matt Raithel has brought some of the most famous brands to life through video games including Transformers, My Little Pony, Sesame Street, Dora the Explorer, Play-Doh, Ben 10, Garfield and the Zhu Zhu Pets. As the Studio Director and owner of Graphite Lab, Matt has helped produce games for Playstation, XBOX, and Nintendo Switch. Matt is an advocate for the video game industry and speaks on topics such as gaming violence and game production at major events nationwide. Matt holds a BS degree in Electronic Art from Missouri State University, and has taught classes in animation and game design for Maryville University as an Professor of Practice of Game Design.

Shannon Riley is a second grade teacher at Wilkinson ECC in the St. Louis Psublic Schools District. She has a Masters degree in Early Childhood Education and a Bachelors degree in Elementary Education from Maryville University. She also has a certificate in STEM Education from Maryville. Ms. Riley has been a teacher at Wilkinson for over 8 years. She has experience working in the classroom with gifted, special education, early childhood, and elementary school students. During the summer months, Ms. Riley teaches The Young Scholars (a Maryville University Program) and the Summer & Winter Robotics programs at Maryville. This is Ms. Riley’s fifth year teaching our summer robotics program. Ms. Riley loves hands-on learning and investigating with her students! She also loves spending time with her humongous dog, Bear, being outdoors, and dancing.

Chris Sellers, MAT, is a veteran secondary education teacher with a wide range of teaching experience in the Midwest, and now at Whitfield School in St. Louis. In his current role teaching chemistry and physics, he incorporates elements of information technology through coding and virtual reality as well as engineering design. While serving as the Head Coach of the NextJenn STEM TEAM, his team garnered recognition and awards in multiple competitions including FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC), CyberPatriot, WWT Student Forum Hackathon, and the Show-Me-Manufacturing Video Contest. Sellers now leads the GAMA Aviation Challenge team at Whitfield where his students apply concepts of physics to aeronautics, incorporating flight simulators and immersive 3D near-eye displays. He is married to Wendy Dillinger and the couple has two children, Braydon and Kayla.

Matthew Sinclair is a recent graduate from Maryville University with a degree in Game Design. He has worked on two unreleased games at local development studio Graphite Lab. Matthew currently works as a STEAM Recreations Supervisor for the City of Wentzville where he oversees their STEAM programming and eSports Lab. As the Saint Louis game design scene continues to grow, Matthew works to offer opportunities, careers, and connections for students with a passion for game design and competitive gaming.

Kelly Smith holds her Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in Interactive Design from Maryville University. She is a full-time instructor for the Maryville Interactive Design program. She teaches students how to design and build for the web, games, and mobile devices. Kelly also teaches design to elementary students at her local recreation center. One of her favorite hobbies is playing board games with her husband and her daughter. Kelly grew up involved in Robotics and Girl Scouts, and pursued every avenue of creativity she could get her hands on. These experiences have positivity shaped her life and wants to pass those experiences on. This is Kelly’s first year teaching for the robotics program and she is very excited.

Becky Spellmeyer holds two Master’s degrees in Education from Lindenwood University. Her first degree is in Gifted Education and her most recent Master’s is in Education with an emphasis on Character Education. Her undergraduate degree is a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts with a MO Art K-12 teaching certification also from Lindenwood. She has taught elementary art in the Ferguson-Florissant School District since 2013 and was a Special Education teacher two years prior. Becky currently teaches grades 3-5 art at Halls Ferry Intermediate and also serves at the Donors Choose liaison for her school. She has worked with the Young Scholars Academy and Maryville’s Science and Robotics Program over the past few summers. She enjoys teaching a variety of academics including geology, advanced art techniques, the science of art and the science of slime. Teaching is her dream job and she loves every minute working with young people.

Rasmiliya Sporny is an educator in the Hazelwood School District. She taught private school in Texas for more than a decade and received her Masters in Elementary Education from Maryville in 2020. Rasmiliya is a STEM Champion for the Hazelwood School District and is passionate about video-editing and stop-motion animation. She serves on the leadership team for ConnectED Learning STL. Rasmiliya has a background in photojournalism and received her B.A. in Journalism and Mass Communications from Marshall University in Huntington, W.Va. The Missouri Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (MACTE) selected Rasmiliya as one of Missouri’s Outstanding New Teachers for the 2020-2021 school year.

Erik B. Taylor is the upper school science specialist and STEAM coordinator for City Academy School, a private elementary school in St. Louis City. He holds BS degrees in biological sciences and secondary education from SIU-Edwardsville, and is currently working on his EdD in STEM education. He has worked as an educator and camp counselor for over 20 years engaging students in and out of the classroom through the integration of science, technology, engineering, art and math. Erik mentors a robotics club for aspiring engineers, writes and assesses STEM curricula for a local residence camp, and volunteers as a Scoutmaster for the Boy Scouts of America encouraging scouts to pursue STEM-based merit badges. In summer 2009, Erik took part in the prestigious Mickelson ExxonMobil Teachers Academy in addition to a workshop at the Center for Engineering Education Outreach at Tufts University. He has been recognized as an Educator of Distinction by the Independent Schools of St. Louis.

Michael Vordtriede, MEd, earned his MA and certification in gifted education through Maryville University. He has taught with the Ferguson Florissant School District since 1995. He currently works as an instructor with the PROBE: Gifted Education (2-5) and at the FFSD 6-8 Steam Academy. He embraces creatively and integrates LEGO robotic platforms into their Project Based STEAM units. He has been involved as faculty with the Summer Robotics and Maryville Young Scholars Program since 2014.

Dr. Dustin York is an Associate Professor at Maryville University and visiting lecturer at Stanford University and the University of Florida. Before entering academia, Dr. York worked in public relations for the 2008 Obama Presidential campaign and clients like Pepsi Co., and Nike. Dr. York’s is fueled by bringing new technology into the classroom and guiding hands-on learning with students. Beyond his primary passion for teaching, Dr. York is a subject matter expert for CNN,, and Forbes, a contributor for Harvard Business Review, and serves as a national consultant. Dr. York was awarded the St. Louis Business Journal 30 Under 30 Award, President’s Award for Strategic Leadership and Transformation Innovation, American Marketing Association 4 Under 40, and an Apple Distinguished Educator.