THE HOPPER TEAM

TEAM BIOS

KRISTIN LAWRENCE

CEO & FOUNDER

Kristin taught Planetary Geophysics at Stanford University before moving to Boulder in 2015 to found The Hopper. She completed her PhD in Geological and Earth Sciences at Scripps by cooking Apollo missions’ rock samples from the Moon in highly-specialized magnetometers. She likes to joke that she has literally held the Moon in her hands. Kristin also managed international research projects in space science across multiple organizations including multi-million dollar grants from NASA, NSF, and the McDonnell Center for Space Sciences. Her passion for scientific discovery was sparked by her childhood basement, a hands-on learning lab and play zone, created by her father, John. With easy access to dry ice, lasers, power tools, construction materials and makeshift biochemistry labs, Kristin was able to satiate her curiosity, test her ideas, and cure at least four types of “cancer” from a young age. As an adult, Kristin continues to advocate for science education, community, and philanthropy for the sciences. Her mission is to make science and discovery accessible to everyone. She would love to recreate her childhood basement experience, which inspired her vision for The Hopper. On her day off, Kristin enjoys playing with tools to build as well as rebuild things around the house including life-size cardboard mazes and rockets for her kids. Kristin’s favorite scientific discovery is the relationship between electricity and magnetism. The magic of electric currents has inspired the name of her family dog: “Tesla.”

Leslie Newman

Co-Founder & Operations Strategist (On Sabbatical)

Leslie is passionate about education, science and creating a positive learning experience for families. She received her Communications BA from UC Berkeley. Leslie has worked in broadcast media, technology, and human resources as well as the non-profit sector. She thoroughly enjoys the collaborative process and making shared visions a reality. Leslie is a long term Boulder Resident and lives in town with her husband and two science-hungry children. On her day off, she enjoys hiking with her family and indulging in good wine. Leslie’s discovery is the successful mapping of the genome of the Bowhead Whale (the longest-living mammal) which has helped identify a number of genes that are linked to cancer resistance, DNA damage repair, and increased longevity.

Vanessa Schatz

Executive Director of THE HOPPER Non-Profit

Vanessa has 15+ years of national and international experience in Fortune 500 companies, higher education, and government. Her career spans the private and public sector with award- winning projects in strategic planning and community outreach. Vanessa grew up in Munich, Germany. She discovered her passion for implementing positive change while taking down the Berlin Wall with a sledgehammer as a young child. Since then, Vanessa has lived and worked in different countries around the globe, including a brief stint of boat life in the Southern Pacific. Boulder has been her home base since 2004. Vanessa was one of the first team members to join The Hopper in 2016. As Co-Founder, she has built an active network of Hopper partners and supporters, including The Hopper’s Mind Trust – an advisory ecosystem featuring renowned tech leaders, innovative educators, creative misfits, intercultural advocates and international shark experts. As The Hopper’s non-profit Executive Director, Vanessa is committed to secure resources for local youth and their families that ensure The Hopper experience is accessible for everyone. When not busy climbing mountains with her Trail Ladies collective and her Alaskan Malamute, Scone, Vanessa enjoys spending time with her family and friends, traveling to remote destinations that are hard to pronounce, playing her cello, and teaching at CU Boulder’s College of Media, Communication and Information. Vanessa is curious about stories of belonging and how people experience the concept of home on this hyper-connected, rapidly changing planet. Her favorite discovery is meteorite research that reveals unsolved mysteries about our solar system and the origins of molecules necessary for life. Vanessa loved connecting with people, her curiosity is sparked by the stories of others and how we relate to our common, shared human experience on this planet.

Jill Katzenberger

Creative Director

Jill has 17+ years experience orchestrating engaging experiences in STEAM. She coordinated exhibition programming at the world renowned, Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Jill joined The Hopper team in 2016. She is the creative mastermind behind our programming and youth experiences. Jill finds inspiration while interacting with kids. She loves seeing their eyes light up as they discover something new and is constantly surprised by their questions and observations: “Why doesn’t the moon move when we move? Why do bananas taste like bananas? Why do spiders run away when I fart?” Her favorite discovery is the depth of communication and application of tools in the animal kingdom, i.e. the use of sea sponges by dolphins to root for crustaceans without scraping their snouts on coral; the variations in sounds and tones when prairie dogs warn each other or impending predators; and the degree of empathy exhibited by elephants as they mourn the loss of a herd member. In her free time, Jill enjoys flying, flipping, and frolicking in the air…also eating Swedish fish…but not always at the same time. Jill has been teaching and performing aerial acrobatics fabric for over 10 years and now performs with the circus collective, Fractal Tribe.

Ryan Madson

Director of Experience & Innovation

Ryan grew up in Boulder Colorado and earned his Bachelor’s degree in Music Business and Technology from CU Denver. He co-founded a community-run record label and booking agency, a by-kids-for-kids media company, and a software company for the Internet of Things. He’s written and directed award-winning and internationally traveling circus-theater shows, and produced a music album for the band, CASSANDRA, that the HuffPost called, “the power-ballad soundtrack for the resistance.” Ryan entered stage left at the Hopper in 2017, assisting in the development of Hopper Beta Nights and emphasizing community experience as a core tenant of business and operations. Ryan can often be found off on a tangent about emergent behavior and innovations for societal choice-making mechanisms – that or he’s home baking sourdough with his toddler daughter, Evalina, a.k.a. “Danger Princess”. One scientific development that fascinates Ryan is Yadkowski’s “Coherent Extrapolated Volition,” a poetic answer to the problem of perverse instantiation in general artificial intelligence – How can we trick a superintelligence into carrying the thing humans would wish for if humans were the beings they wished they were?

Leo Borasio

Communications & Web Master

Leo is a 2018 CU Boulder graduate with a B.A. in Anthropology and a B.S. in Advertising,  including the Outstanding Graduate Award (for the highest student GPA). Leo joined The Hopper team as an intern in the spring of 2017. His interest in science and discovery  budded from an archeology field school where he researched the Ancestral Puebloans at Cowboy Wash on the Ute Mountain Ute reservation and Cuyumungue on the Pojoaque Pueblo. Leo was quickly adopted by The Hopper team as full-time employee given his excellent leadership skills in web design, project management, social media strategy, event coordination and general adulting. Leo is curious about the future possibilities for alternate modes of transportation such as self-driving drone taxis, magnetic levitation trains, and flying hotel pods. When not busy keeping The Hopper team in check with his epic sense for responsibility, Leo loves to play music, hike, and to serve on the board of CU Boulder’s Silver Buffalo Alumni Band. He also runs a successful freelance design business that helps startups launch their brand identity and online platforms. Leo’s favorite discovery is water on Mars, he hopes Mars is harboring valuable secrets about the planet’s past and its future potential for accommodating human colonies.

Jen Whitaker

Special Projects Manager

Prior to starting a family, Jen spent 15 years in the private sector as an environmental consultant. She managed million dollar contracts, oversaw development of large-scale environmental analyses, and led extensive public outreach efforts. Jen’s work focused on bridging the gap between the needs of the communities surrounded by public lands, visitors to those lands, and scientists and land managers responsible for managing and preserving the resources contained in those lands. After Jen’s family met The Hopper at Girls in Science Day at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science in 2017, Jen was curious to learn more about the team and their vision for pioneering new methods and resources for science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) learning. She started off her Hopper journey as a volunteer focused on community outreach and is now on staff tasked with managing special projects. Jen is curious about how – particularly as parents – we tackle our addiction to technology and encourage the next generation to live science and discovery, not just learn it. In her free time, Jen loves to mountain bike, experiment in the garden, and sit on her back porch while catching up with friends and family including her husband, two kiddos (ages 8, and 5), and dog, Starla. Jen’s favorite recent science discovery is the link between the human brain and the gut, and how gut health can impact physical and mental conditions in a human. Simply fascinating!!

Sharon Reiter

Program Manager

Sharon has been a roving Science Educator since graduating from Bowling Green State University in Ohio in 1994. Since leaving the Great Black Swamp, she completed graduate work in environmental education and has shared science discovery experiences with children and adults across the US. Engagement highlights include her role and advocacy as Naturalist, spanning US National Forests, State Parks, 4-H Camps, Environmental Education Centers, and her teaching assignments in public and private schools as well as inquiry based programming at The Denver Museum of Nature and Science and The Denver Zoo. Sharon got involved with The Hopper through her volunteer work at STEAM Fest, the Front Range’s largest annual gathering of geeky families. Given her superpowers in Instructional Design, she joined the team to help develop innovative programming by sneaking science and technology concepts into crazy fun menu items and games – just like her mother snuck vegetables into her food as a child. When not busy with strategizing how people of all ages and backgrounds learn and do new things in novel ways, you can find Sharon using rubber chickens to explain science to strangers or attempting challenges from The Great British Baking Show. On her day off, Sharon indulges in the local outdoors by frequenting the mountains in all seasons with her husband Brent and their rescue mutt, Yuri Dogovich. She also loves satiating her natural curiosity over questions that usually start with: “Why do you think  that? What happens if?” or she can be found riding public transportation wearing her dinosaur suit. She is scientifically promiscuous across disciplines and her favorite discovery is the very last one she read about which will soon be replaced by the next one she reads about – or the one she helps you make! She also genuinely cares what your favorite dinosaur is.

Arik Markus

FOODIE IN RESIDENCE

Arik is a chef of nearly 30 years. He trained and worked alongside culinary legends Daniel Boulud and Eric Ripert in New York City. As ambassador for sustainability, healthy eating, and local food movements he loves teaching kids about good food and where it comes from. Before moving to Boulder, Arik helped lead the Cultiva Youth Project in Phoenix AZ – a program that teaches underprivileged teens how to grow organic vegetables, basic cooking skills, and techniques to make use of the food they grow. He is also an active member of Chefs Collaborative, a national organization of chefs dedicated to making sustainable sourcing practices more accessible through education. Arik loves pondering questions around the future of food and how climate change will impact our food systems. He was introduced to The Hopper by chance and good fortune. As restaurant consultant, he is developing a unique family eatery experience that inspires adults and kids alike to discover food in unique ways. In his free time, Arik loves spending time with his family in the great outdoors or indulging in tennis, skiing, or yoga. His favorite discovery is accidentally finding porcini while hiking in the Front Range. Where does he find those truffly delights, you ask? Go up to the woods and turn left (foragers never give up their spots).

Nimbus Pup-o-potamus 2000

Head of Security and Trash Inspection

Nimbus Pup-o-Potamus 2000, a.k.a. Nimbus, has  spent the past six months learning on the job after being adopted into The Hopper family. While he is only one year old, he arguably has seven years of experience in human matters. His innately masterful skills in the arts of auditory and olfactory sensation make him better at his Head of Security job than any pro or high-tech robot device (which is more than most can say). Nimbus got involved in The Hopper’s development through nepotism, mostly. He resides with the Katzenberger family, unless busy chasing chickens across the beautiful plains of Boulder’s rural neighborhoods. When not preoccupied with such splendid primordial canine adventures, Nimbus loves to contribute cuddles and alert the office when the strange “man in brown” shows up with more packages to smell. He is also curious about why people throw away the best smelling food items and why they get mad upon his consumption of said items. Nimbus also ponders why everyone keeps using his water bowl like it’s a toilet. In his free time he loves to sleep, smell things, and mask the smell of things. Nimbus has an insatiable appetite for new discoveries. Among his favorite findings are a dead mouse on The Hopper’s patio, at least he thought it was dead. Either way, he got rid of it.

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The Hopper Mind Trust is a collective of local leaders in science, education, tech, community development and the arts. Together, the 2019 Mind Trust, will combine their multidisciplinary superpowers to help develop our future site, programming and community growth. Being a Trustee is an annual commitment that can be renewed at the end of each year. We expect participation in 2-3 ideation sessions per year. Interested in getting involved? Email Vanessa. Explore our 2019 Mind Trust cohort below.

Chris Anthony

Professional Skier, Entrepreneur & Executive Director/Founder of The Youth Project

For more than 27 years, Chris has traveled as a member of the Warren Miller film team as both an athlete and host of the nationally acclaimed film tour. During his career Chris has free-lanced for several publications, co-authored a guidebook, wrote and com- missioned a screenplay, and hosted and produced several television and film projects.

Nicole Banowetz

Sculptor and Designer

Nicole Banowetz works professionally as an artist in sculpture, design, installation, and education. She recently completed large inflatable light installations for both the 2016 and 2017 editions of the Amsterdam Light festival.

Dr. Ben Brown

Assistant Professor CU Boulder Astrophysics, Co-Founder & President Skip Tek

Ben is a theoretical astrophysicist who studies fluid dynam- ics in stars and planetary atmospheres. He is a developer of open source tools for computational physics. Ben is co-founder and president of Skip Technology, a company pursuing novel energy storage technologies. Ben believes that developing effective energy storage is critical to enabling the renewable energy revolution.

Jennifer Burak

Director of Marketing, Demand Generation at Techstars

Jen is a marketing expert with 15+ years in marketing. She has a proven track record in leading global and start up marketing strategy, building demand generation infra- structure that delivers measurable, scalable programs that align with core business objectives and that drive revenue. Jen previously worked at Rapt Media in Boulder, and Getty Images in New York.

Larkin Carey

Optical Engineer, James Webb Space Telescope Ball Aerospace

Larkin has been an integral member of the Webb Telescope team since 2004, where he has worked as an optical engineer for Ball Aerospace. Over the past 14 years, he has helped devel- op groundbreaking technology and techniques. Larkin also works as volunteer technical rescuer in Colorado, teaching swiftwater rescue, and founded an aerial cinematography com- pany working with clients such as National Geographic and films such as Chasing Coral and the Revenant.

Carl Choi

Founder and CEO, The Great Company

Carl is an American entrepreneur & producer. He currently stewards and operates The Great Company, a creative collective of entertain- ment managers, directors and producers. GreatCo is an experiential studio that creates interactive installations and immer- sive experiences for IP, global brands, and cultural institutions.

Aidan Chopra

Co-Founder and Creative Director at Bitsbox

At Bitsbox, Aidan is responsible for product management, content creation, branding, and public speaking. He previously worked at Trimble Navigation and Google where he was a product evangelist. He earned his Masters in Architecture from Rice University and has several publications. Aidan also has skills regarding donuts and bacon.

David Crotser

Principal Test Engineer at Blue Canyon Technologies

Dave is an experienced calibration and test engineer with a demonstrated history of working in the aerospace industry. Dave previously worked at CU Boulder as a Calibration Engineer and is highly skilled in optical design & test, vacuum technology, space flight hardware, and more.

Ryan van Duzer

Outdoor Adventure TV host, YouTuber, Filmmaker and Motivational Speaker

Ryan is a US television presenter, cyclist and travel video journalist and filmmaker. He is an original Boulderite and loves inspiring people to get off their couches and explore this beautiful planet. Ryan’s content has appeared on the Travel Channel, Discovery Channel, Men’s Journal, National Geographic and many other national outlets. Ryan loves bikes, sleeping under the stars, and bean burritos.

Melissa Felderman

Creative Technologist at Sparkfun

Melissa was introduced to the world of programmable electronics while working in advertising in New York. She got her Interactive Telecommunications Program MA from NYU, focusing on programmable electronics, wearable electronics, digital fabrication, and design. As a maker, Melissa has created digital graffiti walls, and “Lady in LED.”

Jenny Filipetti

Electronic Media Artist, CU Denver Inworks Faculty

Jenny Filipetti is a New York-born, Denver-based electronic media artist. Her work explores how through technology we might extend human perceptual abilities and render the imperceptible material. Drawing from a background that also includes computational biology and design, her interactive work has been exhibited and awarded internationally.

Marina La Grave

STEM Consultant, Interpreter/ Translator, Intercultural advisor

With over 25 years of experience as UN Language/STEM Interpreter and Translator, as well as Intercultural Consultant, Marina has been advocating for timely programming to help bring unique information and educational experiences to Latino audiences. Her work has impacted renowned research organizations like NCAR-UCAR, NOAA, the NSF, NASA, and the White House office of Climate Change – among others. In Colorado, Marina has been PI and Project Manager for Research Associate for NSF Latina SciGirls national program, Multicultural Consultant for the City of Boulder and and Coordinator of the Spanish as a World Language program for Boulder Valley School District (BVSD). Marina lives in Boulder very close to her two married children and their families – who have proudly made her the “Mimi” of her 5 amazing grandchildren and grand-dog Roman. 

Qing Hua

Founder & Chief Endurance Officer Kids2Glow, STEAM-learning Expert

Qing founded Kids2GLOW to connect like-minded kids, parents, and educators locally and globally. She is passionate about fusing education, tech- nology, industry, diversity, and human empathy to make this world a better place through education. Qing also currently serves on the Colorado Department of Education Gifted Education State Advisory Committee.

Dr. Mikki McComb-Kobza

Executive Director of Ocean First Institute

Mikki is passionate about shar- ing her love of the ocean. She is one of the top shark experts in the world. Mikki speaks, teaches and conducts research internationally including desti- nations in South America, Africa, Asia and Australia. Her outreach efforts have been covered by the BBC, National Geographic, Discovery Chan- nel’s Shark Week, and CBC National Radio Canada.

Martha Lanaghen

Maker Bolder Founder, Hopper Board Member & Consultant

Martha is working around the world to launch innovative education programs focused on increasing student access to university degrees and improving college completion rates. She is the founder of the international education consulting firm, The Sparrow Group, and is a sought-after speaker and educator.

Dr. Allen Lim

Skratch Labs Founder

Dr. Lim is a sports physiologist, cycling coach, and a founder of Skratch Labs – a manufacturer of performance hydration mixes. Allen was director of sport science for Garmin and RadioShack cycling teams and is the only American scientist to have worked and cooked for teams at the Tour de France. At Skratch Labs, Allen started developing a “secret drink mix” in his kitchen using a healthy, low sodium recipe.

Hugo Matheson

Chef/Co-Founder of The Kitchen Family of Restaurants

Over the last decade, Hugo has culled a network of profes- sionals who have been instrumental in making The Kitchen a world-class restaurant group. When not cooking, Hugo spends his days working with local farmers, purveyors, activists and colleagues, who share his philosophy for creating simple and local food.

John McCluskey

Principal Centennial Middle School, Education Innovator

John will change the way you think about education. He brings insights that span over 26 years in education working as a teacher and administrator. John’s passion and dedication always begin with the youth and his ideas dare to challenge long-held truths. His education leader- ship has been transforming individuals and teams across the country.

Leah Podzimek

Community Outreach Associate for Meow Wolf Denver, Executive Director of Boulder Symphony

Leah is a talented and passion- ate Denver-based creative. She currently serves as the Execu- tive Director of the Boulder Symphony. Leah also works as the Community Outreach Asso- ciate for Meow Wolf Denver and is the Community Relations Director for the Denver Immer- sive Opera, and serves as the Development Coordinator for Colorado Bach Ensemble. She also sings as much opera as she can.

Heather Porter

Program Manager, Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD)

Heather is a scientist, artist, and explorer with a lifelong commitment to being of service. Her scientific work has won international environ- mental awards and been featured in environmental documentaries. As an actress, she has worked with studios such as Netflix, SONY, and BET. Heather now serves the Colorado community as a Program Manager for scientif- ic and arts funding with the SCFD.

Dusty Reid

Marketing and Event Manager at Google

Dusty has been at Google for 12.5 years as the Marketing Event Manager. He was the founding co-lead for Google I/O, Google’s annual developer conference, where he designed and implemented all interactive experiences. Dusty has man- aged other high-profile product launch events, including the launch of Google Maps transit directions. He is currently working on the Google Earth outreach team to support outdoor recreation enthusiasts.

Brad Schell

Co-Founder & Director of SketchUp

Brad has 15+ years of experience with 3D software. It was his desire to make 3D easy and accessible to everyone that brought him and Sketch Up Co-Founder Joe Esch together in late 1999 to form @Last Software (Sketch Up’s predecessor). @Last was acquired by Google in 2006. Today, SketchUp is one of the most popular 3D design programs in the world.

Mathew Sisson

Owner and Head of Design at Stellar Factory, Enigma Escape Rooms

Matt co-founded Enigma Escape Rooms for a challenge to tie game design and interior design into one project. He made the trek to Boulder, CO, after being a Boulder Startup Week Fly-in (Yay! Free ticket!). At that time, he focused on software design and helped many companies going through the Techstars Boulder program. Now, he has broadened his skill set to product design such as board games and also experiential design.

Katie Stjernholm

Director and Co-Founder, Balcony Nine Media

A native Coloradan currently based in Boulder and Crest- ed Butte, Katie has done her share of seeing the world. Katie had a brief stint in the feature film world, working in marketing and distribution for Randall Wallace, a screen- writer and director in Los Angeles. Katie is currently a director at Balcony Nine Media, a production company she co-founded. Edges (Mountainfilm 2016) is her first film and follows a resilient 90-year-old figure skater.

David Thomas

Director of Academic Technology at CU Online

David is an organizational leader who sees technology as a long lever for meeting the evolving needs in higher education and the long term success of the educational mission. David has 25 years of experience advancing quality online courses, programs and degrees in line with organizational values and vision. Additional specialties: Architectural theory, fun places, fun houses, fun objects, wicked problems and wacky workplaces.

Hopper Team

TEAM BIOS

KRISTIN LAWRENCE

CEO AND FOUNDER

Kristin taught Planetary Geophysics at Stanford University before moving to Boulder in 2015 to found The Hopper. She completed her PhD in Geological and Earth Sciences at Scripps by cooking Apollo missions’ rock samples from the Moon in highly-specialized magnetometers. She likes to joke that she has literally held the Moon in her hands. Kristin also managed international research projects in space science across multiple organizations including multi-million dollar grants from NASA, NSF, and the McDonnell Center for Space Sciences. Her passion for scientific discovery was sparked by her childhood basement, a hands-on learning lab and play zone, created by her father, John. With easy access to dry ice, lasers, power tools, construction materials and makeshift biochemistry labs, Kristin was able to satiate her curiosity, test her ideas, and cure at least four types of “cancer” from a young age. As an adult, Kristin continues to advocate for science education, community, and philanthropy for the sciences. Her mission is to make science and discovery accessible to everyone. She would love to recreate her childhood basement experience, which inspired her vision for The Hopper. On her day off, Kristin enjoys playing with tools to build as well as rebuild things around the house including life-size cardboard mazes and rockets for her kids. Kristin’s favorite scientific discovery is the relationship between electricity and magnetism. The magic of electric currents has inspired the name of her family dog: “Tesla.”

Leslie Newman

Co-Founder & Operations Strategist (On Sabbatical)

Leslie is passionate about education, science and creating a positive learning experience for families. She received her Communications BA from UC Berkeley. Leslie has worked in broadcast media, technology, and human resources as well as the non-profit sector. She thoroughly enjoys the collaborative process and making shared visions a reality. Leslie is a long term Boulder Resident and lives in town with her husband and two science-hungry children. On her day off, she enjoys hiking with her family and indulging in good wine. Leslie’s discovery is the successful mapping of the genome of the Bowhead Whale (the longest-living mammal) which has helped identify a number of genes that are linked to cancer resistance, DNA damage repair, and increased longevity.

Vanessa Schatz

Executive Director of THE HOPPER Non-Profit

Vanessa has 15+ years of national and international experience in Fortune 500 companies, higher education, and government. Her career spans the private and public sector with award- winning projects in strategic planning and community outreach. Vanessa grew up in Munich, Germany. She discovered her passion for implementing positive change while taking down the Berlin Wall with a sledgehammer as a young child. Since then, Vanessa has lived and worked in different countries around the globe, including a brief stint of boat life in the Southern Pacific. Boulder has been her home base since 2004. Vanessa was one of the first team members to join The Hopper in 2016. As Co-Founder, she has built an active network of Hopper partners and supporters, including The Hopper’s Mind Trust – an advisory ecosystem featuring renowned tech leaders, innovative educators, creative misfits, intercultural advocates and international shark experts. As The Hopper’s non-profit Executive Director, Vanessa is committed to secure resources for local youth and their families that ensure The Hopper experience is accessible for everyone. When not busy climbing mountains with her Trail Ladies collective and her Alaskan Malamute, Scone, Vanessa enjoys spending time with her family and friends, traveling to remote destinations that are hard to pronounce, playing her cello, and teaching at CU Boulder’s College of Media, Communication and Information. Vanessa is curious about stories of belonging and how people experience the concept of home on this hyper-connected, rapidly changing planet. Her favorite discovery is meteorite research that reveals unsolved mysteries about our solar system and the origins of molecules necessary for life. Vanessa loved connecting with people, her curiosity is sparked by the stories of others and how we relate to our common, shared human experience on this planet.

Jill Katzenberger

Creative Director

Jill has 17+ years experience orchestrating engaging experiences in STEAM. She coordinated exhibition programming at the world renowned, Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Jill joined The Hopper team in 2016. She is the creative mastermind behind our programming and youth experiences. Jill finds inspiration while interacting with kids. She loves seeing their eyes light up as they discover something new and is constantly surprised by their questions and observations: “Why doesn’t the moon move when we move? Why do bananas taste like bananas? Why do spiders run away when I fart?” Her favorite discovery is the depth of communication and application of tools in the animal kingdom, i.e. the use of sea sponges by dolphins to root for crustaceans without scraping their snouts on coral; the variations in sounds and tones when prairie dogs warn each other or impending predators; and the degree of empathy exhibited by elephants as they mourn the loss of a herd member. In her free time, Jill enjoys flying, flipping, and frolicking in the air…also eating Swedish fish…but not always at the same time. Jill has been teaching and performing aerial acrobatics fabric for over 10 years and now performs with the circus collective, Fractal Tribe.

Ryan Madson

Director of Experience & Innovation

Ryan grew up in Boulder Colorado and earned his Bachelor’s degree in Music Business and Technology from CU Denver. He co-founded a community-run record label and booking agency, a by-kids-for-kids media company, and a software company for the Internet of Things. He’s written and directed award-winning and internationally traveling circus-theater shows, and produced a music album for the band, CASSANDRA, that the HuffPost called, “the power-ballad soundtrack for the resistance.” Ryan entered stage left at the Hopper in 2017, assisting in the development of Hopper Beta Nights and emphasizing community experience as a core tenant of business and operations. Ryan can often be found off on a tangent about emergent behavior and innovations for societal choice-making mechanisms – that or he’s home baking sourdough with his toddler daughter, Evalina, a.k.a. “Danger Princess”. One scientific development that fascinates Ryan is Yadkowski’s “Coherent Extrapolated Volition,” a poetic answer to the problem of perverse instantiation in general artificial intelligence – How can we trick a superintelligence into carrying the thing humans would wish for if humans were the beings they wished they were?

Leo Borasio

Communications &
Web master

Leo is a 2018 CU Boulder graduate with a B.A. in Anthropology and a B.S. in Advertising,  including the Outstanding Graduate Award (for the highest student GPA). Leo joined The Hopper team as an intern in the spring of 2017. His interest in science and discovery  budded from an archeology field school where he researched the Ancestral Puebloans at Cowboy Wash on the Ute Mountain Ute reservation and Cuyumungue on the Pojoaque Pueblo. Leo was quickly adopted by The Hopper team as full-time employee given his excellent leadership skills in web design, project management, social media strategy, event coordination and general adulting. Leo is curious about the future possibilities for alternate modes of transportation such as self-driving drone taxis, magnetic levitation trains, and flying hotel pods. When not busy keeping The Hopper team in check with his epic sense for responsibility, Leo loves to play music, hike, and to serve on the board of CU Boulder’s Silver Buffalo Alumni Band. He also runs a successful freelance design business that helps startups launch their brand identity and online platforms. Leo’s favorite discovery is water on Mars, he hopes Mars is harboring valuable secrets about the planet’s past and its future potential for accommodating human colonies.

Jen Whitaker

Special Projects Manager

Prior to starting a family, Jen spent 15 years in the private sector as an environmental consultant. She managed million dollar contracts, oversaw development of large-scale environmental analyses, and led extensive public outreach efforts. Jen’s work focused on bridging the gap between the needs of the communities surrounded by public lands, visitors to those lands, and scientists and land managers responsible for managing and preserving the resources contained in those lands. After Jen’s family met The Hopper at Girls in Science Day at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science in 2017, Jen was curious to learn more about the team and their vision for pioneering new methods and resources for science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) learning. She started off her Hopper journey as a volunteer focused on community outreach and is now on staff tasked with managing special projects. Jen is curious about how – particularly as parents – we tackle our addiction to technology and encourage the next generation to live science and discovery, not just learn it. In her free time, Jen loves to mountain bike, experiment in the garden, and sit on her back porch while catching up with friends and family including her husband, two kiddos (ages 8, and 5), and dog, Starla. Jen’s favorite recent science discovery is the link between the human brain and the gut, and how gut health can impact physical and mental conditions in a human. Simply fascinating!!

Sharon Reiter

Program Manager

Sharon has been a roving Science Educator since graduating from Bowling Green State University in Ohio in 1994. Since leaving the Great Black Swamp, she completed graduate work in environmental education and has shared science discovery experiences with children and adults across the US. Engagement highlights include her role and advocacy as Naturalist, spanning US National Forests, State Parks, 4-H Camps, Environmental Education Centers, and her teaching assignments in public and private schools as well as inquiry based programming at The Denver Museum of Nature and Science and The Denver Zoo. Sharon got involved with The Hopper through her volunteer work at STEAM Fest, the Front Range’s largest annual gathering of geeky families. Given her superpowers in Instructional Design, she joined the team to help develop innovative programming by sneaking science and technology concepts into crazy fun menu items and games – just like her mother snuck vegetables into her food as a child. When not busy with strategizing how people of all ages and backgrounds learn and do new things in novel ways, you can find Sharon using rubber chickens to explain science to strangers or attempting challenges from The Great British Baking Show. On her day off, Sharon indulges in the local outdoors by frequenting the mountains in all seasons with her husband Brent and their rescue mutt, Yuri Dogovich. She also loves satiating her natural curiosity over questions that usually start with: “Why do you think  that? What happens if?” or she can be found riding public transportation wearing her dinosaur suit. She is scientifically promiscuous across disciplines and her favorite discovery is the very last one she read about which will soon be replaced by the next one she reads about – or the one she helps you make! She also genuinely cares what your favorite dinosaur is.

Arik Markus

FOODIE IN RESIDENCE

Arik is a chef of nearly 30 years. He trained and worked alongside culinary legends Daniel Boulud and Eric Ripert in New York City. As ambassador for sustainability, healthy eating, and local food movements he loves teaching kids about good food and where it comes from. Before moving to Boulder, Arik helped lead the Cultiva Youth Project in Phoenix AZ – a program that teaches underprivileged teens how to grow organic vegetables, basic cooking skills, and techniques to make use of the food they grow. He is also an active member of Chefs Collaborative, a national organization of chefs dedicated to making sustainable sourcing practices more accessible through education. Arik loves pondering questions around the future of food and how climate change will impact our food systems. He was introduced to The Hopper by chance and good fortune. As restaurant consultant, he is developing a unique family eatery experience that inspires adults and kids alike to discover food in unique ways. In his free time, Arik loves spending time with his family in the great outdoors or indulging in tennis, skiing, or yoga. His favorite discovery is accidentally finding porcini while hiking in the Front Range. Where does he find those truffly delights, you ask? Go up to the woods and turn left (foragers never give up their spots).

Nimbus Pup-o-potamus 2000

Head of Security and Trash Inspection

Nimbus Pup-o-Potamus 2000, a.k.a. Nimbus, has  spent the past six months learning on the job after being adopted into The Hopper family. While he is only one year old, he arguably has seven years of experience in human matters. His innately masterful skills in the arts of auditory and olfactory sensation make him better at his Head of Security job than any pro or high-tech robot device (which is more than most can say). Nimbus got involved in The Hopper’s development through nepotism, mostly. He resides with the Katzenberger family, unless busy chasing chickens across the beautiful plains of Boulder’s rural neighborhoods. When not preoccupied with such splendid primordial canine adventures, Nimbus loves to contribute cuddles and alert the office when the strange “man in brown” shows up with more packages to smell. He is also curious about why people throw away the best smelling food items and why they get mad upon his consumption of said items. Nimbus also ponders why everyone keeps using his water bowl like it’s a toilet. In his free time he loves to sleep, smell things, and mask the smell of things. Nimbus has an insatiable appetite for new discoveries. Among his favorite findings are a dead mouse on The Hopper’s patio, at least he thought it was dead. Either way, he got rid of it.

MIND TRUST

The Hopper Mind Trust is a collective of local leaders in science, education, tech, community development and the arts. Together, the 2019 Mind Trust, will combine their multidisciplinary superpowers to help develop our future site, programming and community growth. Being a Trustee is an annual commitment that can be renewed at the end of each year. We expect participation in 2-3 ideation sessions per year. Interested in getting involved? Email Vanessa. Explore our 2019 Mind Trust cohort below.

Chris Anthony

Professional Skier, Entrepreneur & Executive Director/Founder of The Youth Project

For more than 27 years, Chris has traveled as a member of the Warren Miller film team as both an athlete and host of the nationally acclaimed film tour. During his career Chris has free-lanced for several publications, co-authored a guidebook, wrote and com- missioned a screenplay, and hosted and produced several television and film projects.

Nicole Banowetz

Sculptor and Designer

Nicole Banowetz works professionally as an artist in sculpture, design, installation, and education. She recently completed large inflatable light installations for both the 2016 and 2017 editions of the Amsterdam Light festival.

Dr. Ben Brown

Assistant Professor CU Boulder Astrophysics, Co-Founder & President Skip Tek

Ben is a theoretical astrophysicist who studies fluid dynam- ics in stars and planetary atmospheres. He is a developer of open source tools for computational physics. Ben is co-founder and president of Skip Technology, a company pursuing novel energy storage technologies. Ben believes that developing effective energy storage is critical to enabling the renewable energy revolution.

Jennifer Burak

Director of Marketing, Demand Generation at Techstars

Jen is a marketing expert with 15+ years in marketing. She has a proven track record in leading global and start up marketing strategy, building demand generation infra- structure that delivers measurable, scalable programs that align with core business objectives and that drive revenue. Jen previously worked at Rapt Media in Boulder, and Getty Images in New York.

Larkin Carey

Optical Engineer, James Webb Space Telescope Ball Aerospace

Larkin has been an integral member of the Webb Telescope team since 2004, where he has worked as an optical engineer for Ball Aerospace. Over the past 14 years, he has helped devel- op groundbreaking technology and techniques. Larkin also works as volunteer technical rescuer in Colorado, teaching swiftwater rescue, and founded an aerial cinematography com- pany working with clients such as National Geographic and films such as Chasing Coral and the Revenant.

Carl Choi

Founder and CEO, The Great Company

Carl is an American entrepreneur & producer. He currently stewards and operates The Great Company, a creative collective of entertain- ment managers, directors and producers. GreatCo is an experiential studio that creates interactive installations and immer- sive experiences for IP, global brands, and cultural institutions.

Aidan Chopra

Co-Founder and Creative Director at Bitsbox

At Bitsbox, Aidan is responsible for product management, content creation, branding, and public speaking. He previously worked at Trimble Navigation and Google where he was a product evangelist. He earned his Masters in Architecture from Rice University and has several publications. Aidan also has skills regarding donuts and bacon.

David Crotser

Principal Test Engineer at Blue Canyon Technologies

Dave is an experienced calibration and test engineer with a demonstrated history of working in the aerospace industry. Dave previously worked at CU Boulder as a Calibration Engineer and is highly skilled in optical design & test, vacuum technology, space flight hardware, and more.

Ryan van Duzer

Outdoor Adventure TV host, YouTuber, Filmmaker and Motivational Speaker

Ryan is a US television presenter, cyclist and travel video journalist and filmmaker. He is an original Boulderite and loves inspiring people to get off their couches and explore this beautiful planet. Ryan’s content has appeared on the Travel Channel, Discovery Channel, Men’s Journal, National Geographic and many other national outlets. Ryan loves bikes, sleeping under the stars, and bean burritos.

Melissa Felderman

Creative Technologist at Sparkfun

Melissa was introduced to the world of programmable electronics while working in advertising in New York. She got her Interactive Telecommunications Program MA from NYU, focusing on programmable electronics, wearable electronics, digital fabrication, and design. As a maker, Melissa has created digital graffiti walls, and “Lady in LED.”

Jenny Filipetti

Electronic Media Artist, CU Denver Inworks Faculty

Jenny Filipetti is a New York-born, Denver-based electronic media artist. Her work explores how through technology we might extend human perceptual abilities and render the imperceptible material. Drawing from a background that also includes computational biology and design, her interactive work has been exhibited and awarded internationally.

Marina La Grave

STEM Consultant, Interpreter/ Translator, Intercultural advisor

With over 25 years of experience as UN Language/STEM Interpreter and Translator, as well as Intercultural Consultant, Marina has been advocating for timely programming to help bring unique information and educational experiences to Latino audiences. Her work has impacted renowned research organizations like NCAR-UCAR, NOAA, the NSF, NASA, and the White House office of Climate Change – among others. In Colorado, Marina has been PI and Project Manager for Research Associate for NSF Latina SciGirls national program, Multicultural Consultant for the City of Boulder and and Coordinator of the Spanish as a World Language program for Boulder Valley School District (BVSD). Marina lives in Boulder very close to her two married children and their families – who have proudly made her the “Mimi” of her 5 amazing grandchildren and grand-dog Roman. 

Qing Hua

Founder & Chief Endurance Officer Kids2Glow, STEAM-learning Expert

Qing founded Kids2GLOW to connect like-minded kids, parents, and educators locally and globally. She is passionate about fusing education, tech- nology, industry, diversity, and human empathy to make this world a better place through education. Qing also currently serves on the Colorado Department of Education Gifted Education State Advisory Committee.

Dr. Mikki McComb-Kobza

Executive Director of Ocean First Institute

Mikki is passionate about shar- ing her love of the ocean. She is one of the top shark experts in the world. Mikki speaks, teaches and conducts research internationally including desti- nations in South America, Africa, Asia and Australia. Her outreach efforts have been covered by the BBC, National Geographic, Discovery Chan- nel’s Shark Week, and CBC National Radio Canada.

Martha Lanaghen

Maker Bolder Founder, Hopper Board Member & Consultant

Martha is working around the world to launch innovative education programs focused on increasing student access to university degrees and improving college completion rates. She is the founder of the international education consulting firm, The Sparrow Group, and is a sought-after speaker and educator.

Dr. Allen Lim

Skratch Labs Founder

Dr. Lim is a sports physiologist, cycling coach, and a founder of Skratch Labs – a manufacturer of performance hydration mixes. Allen was director of sport science for Garmin and RadioShack cycling teams and is the only American scientist to have worked and cooked for teams at the Tour de France. At Skratch Labs, Allen started developing a “secret drink mix” in his kitchen using a healthy, low sodium recipe.

Hugo Matheson

Chef/Co-Founder of The Kitchen Family of Restaurants

Over the last decade, Hugo has culled a network of profes- sionals who have been instrumental in making The Kitchen a world-class restaurant group. When not cooking, Hugo spends his days working with local farmers, purveyors, activists and colleagues, who share his philosophy for creating simple and local food.

John McCluskey

Principal Centennial Middle School, Education Innovator

John will change the way you think about education. He brings insights that span over 26 years in education working as a teacher and administrator. John’s passion and dedication always begin with the youth and his ideas dare to challenge long-held truths. His education leader- ship has been transforming individuals and teams across the country.

Leah Podzimek

Community Outreach Associate for Meow Wolf Denver, Executive Director of Boulder Symphony

Leah is a talented and passion- ate Denver-based creative. She currently serves as the Execu- tive Director of the Boulder Symphony. Leah also works as the Community Outreach Asso- ciate for Meow Wolf Denver and is the Community Relations Director for the Denver Immer- sive Opera, and serves as the Development Coordinator for Colorado Bach Ensemble. She also sings as much opera as she can.

Heather Porter

Program Manager, Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD)

Heather is a scientist, artist, and explorer with a lifelong commitment to being of service. Her scientific work has won international environ- mental awards and been featured in environmental documentaries. As an actress, she has worked with studios such as Netflix, SONY, and BET. Heather now serves the Colorado community as a Program Manager for scientif- ic and arts funding with the SCFD.

Dusty Reid

Marketing and Event Manager at Google

Dusty has been at Google for 12.5 years as the Marketing Event Manager. He was the founding co-lead for Google I/O, Google’s annual developer conference, where he designed and implemented all interactive experiences. Dusty has man- aged other high-profile product launch events, including the launch of Google Maps transit directions. He is currently working on the Google Earth outreach team to support outdoor recreation enthusiasts.

Brad Schell

Co-Founder & Director of SketchUp

Brad has 15+ years of experience with 3D software. It was his desire to make 3D easy and accessible to everyone that brought him and Sketch Up Co-Founder Joe Esch together in late 1999 to form @Last Software (Sketch Up’s predecessor). @Last was acquired by Google in 2006. Today, SketchUp is one of the most popular 3D design programs in the world.

Mathew Sisson

Owner and Head of Design at Stellar Factory, Enigma Escape Rooms

Matt co-founded Enigma Escape Rooms for a challenge to tie game design and interior design into one project. He made the trek to Boulder, CO, after being a Boulder Startup Week Fly-in (Yay! Free ticket!). At that time, he focused on software design and helped many companies going through the Techstars Boulder program. Now, he has broadened his skill set to product design such as board games and also experiential design.

Katie Stjernholm

Director and Co-Founder, Balcony Nine Media

A native Coloradan currently based in Boulder and Crest- ed Butte, Katie has done her share of seeing the world. Katie had a brief stint in the feature film world, working in marketing and distribution for Randall Wallace, a screen- writer and director in Los Angeles. Katie is currently a director at Balcony Nine Media, a production company she co-founded. Edges (Mountainfilm 2016) is her first film and follows a resilient 90-year-old figure skater.

David Thomas

Director of Academic Technology at CU Online

David is an organizational leader who sees technology as a long lever for meeting the evolving needs in higher edu- cation and the long term success of the educational mission. David has 25 years of experience advancing quality online courses, programs and degrees in line with organiza- tional values and vision. Addi- tional specialties: Architectural theory, fun places, fun houses, fun objects, wicked problems and wacky workplaces.

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