Insights is responding to community input and shifting our focus toward meeting the public where you are. Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics (STEAM) learning experiences will be brought to schools, parks, partner museums, restaurants, and clubs!
Insights is undergoing some major transitions as it envisions it’s future in the city of El Paso. Our Board is central to that effort. Below you will find the list of current board members, which will expand as we identify the best players to help secure our vision.
Ellen Esposito joined the Insights Board in Fall 2014 and currently serves as President. She has a Bachelors in Wildlife Science from Texas A&M and a Masters in Teaching Science from UTEP. An El Paso resident since 1977, Ellen and her husband owned and operated a veterinary hospital for 22 years. In “retirement” she worked for Girl Scouts of the Rio Grande for 7 years, with a focus on developing science educational programs for girls. Currently working at UTEP for the College of Science, Ellen is Director of Secondary Education and supports students seeking to become high school math and science educators. Her focus is on developing a long term funding strategy so that Insights is able to reach a sustainable mission of serving the El Paso community with a state of the art science, mathematics, engineering, and technology outreach.
Vice President, Ph.D.
Dr. Carolyn Awalt is Vice President of the Insights Board of Directors. She was also a Co-Principal Investigator on a $3.2 million dollar grant from the United States Department of Education, Transition to Teaching Grant for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics educators. Dr. Awalt formerly taught educational technology courses at the College of Education, the University of Texas at El Paso. She now teaches both educational technology and writing courses for the University of Maryland University College. She is a Texas certified teacher in Social Science and History. Dr. Awalt’s interest in the El Paso environment led her to become a Texas Master Gardener and to train as a Texas Master Naturalist. She sees Insights as a future outreach hub, stimulating science experiences for all ages in the West Texas, New Mexico and Juarez areas.
Ericka Hernandez, CPA
Ericka Hernandez was born in Cd. Juarez, Mexico, and has lived in El Paso, Texas, since 1994. She received her Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting and her Masters in Business Administration from University of Texas at El Paso. Since 2008, Ericka has been an auditor for Gibson Ruddock Patterson, LLC. She earned her certification as a public accountant in 2012. Ericka is an active volunteer at Make-A-Wish Foundation and is also a member of the Texas Society of Certified Public Accountants (TSCPA), El Paso Chapter of TSCPA, Young CPA’s, and Texas Association of School Business Officials (TASBO) Leadership El Paso graduate, class 38 (2016).
Dr. Mary Spalding
Initially from Campbellsville, KY, Dr. Mary Spalding joined the board in September 2017. Graduating from the University of Texas Medical School in Galveston, where she specialized in family medicine. Dr. Spalding has produced multiple publications on cervical cancer screening, chronic pain and opiate use, and hip fracture outcomes. She is currently a professor at the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine, developing new curriculum in practice management, service learning, and chronic disease management. As Insights’ Treasurer, she continues to share an outstanding career and dedication to the medical profession with our community.
Richard, having joined in June 2008, is the longest serving member of the Insights board. During his service, he has supported and served on the Exhibits and Facility Committees, where he has used his 40+ years of engineering experience to help improve the facility and exhibits. He was also a part of the relocation team that helped prepare the exhibits for the move and storage. Richard strongly believes “that my early childhood interest in math and science is what launched my engineering career.” He further believes the Insights is an essential resource for educators in the region because we provides a fun hands-on learning.
Cheryll joined the board in August 2017, having over 37 years of experience as a Math and Science educator. With a Master’s Degree in Educational Administration from the University of Texas at El Paso, she has worked on numerous initiatives with Region 19, Clint ISD, and Ysleta ISD to enhance student success in the STEM fields. Along with her vast experience in education, Cheryll began her professional career with Pathlab Clinical Laboratory (Nichols Laboratories) as a registered medical technologist and intern instructor. She has earned a multitude of certifications, including: teaching certifications in (Biology & Chemistry), principal certification, T-Tess Administrator Certification, and a STEM Certification from Rice University, NISE.
With a Master’s in Education from Lesley College, William (Bill) Swanson began his career at the Atmospheric Science Laboratory in Computer Programming. He joined Insights’ board in August 2017, having taught Chemistry, Physics, AP Biology, and AP Environmental Science for over 12 years under the Synergy Program at Socorro ISD. He currently is a Math Coordinator at Clint ISD, in addition to teaching Curriculum Planning at the University of Texas at El Paso. Amongst his many grant awards in robotics, Bill was invited by Congressman Sylvestre Reyes to Washington D.C to promote the advancement of STEM education. He is also active in multiple local and national teaching associations.
Wade Warling has been a member of the board since January 2013. He is a 40 year veteran of the El Paso Fire Department with a Master’s Degree in Executive Fire Service Leadership from Grand Canyon University. Wade’s interest is in associating STEM curriculum with all aspects of our lives, specifically the fire service, through exhibits about contemporary innovations and the historical journey to their inception. As one of Insights’ longest serving board members, Wade has provide a rich depth of organizational history.
Dr. Charles Cavaretta
A native, originally from New York, Dr. Charles Cavaretta rejoined Insights’ board members in March 2018. After graduating from Medical school, specializing primarily in Internal Medicine, Dr. Cavaretta relocated to El Paso. He has served as Captain within William Beaumont Army Medical Center, Chief of Department of Hospital Clinics & Outpatient Services, and as consultant in Rheumatology and Internal Medicine. After leaving private practice, Dr. Cavaretta transitioned into becoming an educator; he is now currently a professor at the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine. It is with great hope, Dr. Cavaretta will use his extensive years of knowledge and experience to lead our community in STEAM education.
Brock Benjamin joined the Insights board in July 2018, after serving 6 years in the United States Army, he went on to receive his Juris Doctor degree from the Thurgood Marshall School of Law in Houston Texas. He has become an eminent attorney, having quickly establishing himself with the District Attorney’s Office in El Paso. In 2010, he opened a solo practice specializing primarily in civil and criminal law. He continues to serve on several State Bar associations, in 2015, he became the Vice President of the Federal Bar Association. Brock has been the recipient of numerous awards and has been published in the Marshall Literature Review. Throughout his career, Brock has been an advocate, he hopes to continue to lead the community through STEAM education.
Sarah Babins joined the Insights board in July 2018, with a Masters degree in Public Administration. Her vast experience with finance, has helped support other non-profit organizations; she is currently a development officer with the NMSU Foundation. Sarah continues to advocate and fundraise, on behalf of the College of Engineering department, in order to provide and award scholarships for first year students and recent graduates. By joining Insights, Sarah hopes to expand her advocacy platform for students pursuing STEAM education throughout the border region.
Denise Kroeker became an Insights board member in July 2018, she graduated from the University of Texas at El Paso majoring in Business Administration. After she received her Masters degree, Denise applied her vast experience and is currently working within an Engineering Consulting firm in El Paso. Along with serving as the executive director of the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC); it is through the field of business and engineering she has been able to establish key relationships within both industries. Denise continues her leadership skills, by becoming apart of Insights, to help build and promote STEAM education.
Meghan joined the Insights team in September 2017 as Project Manager with a Master’s degree in Entomology. Her research, ranging from spider endosymbionts to ant genetics, has been published in multiple journals. In addition to building an edible insect advocacy business after graduate school, Meghan also co-founded a global virtual conference for the edible insect industry. Since her arrival in El Paso in 2015, Meghan has had the opportunity to teach Science, Reading, Project-based Learning, and Rock Climbing. As Insights Project Manager, Meghan will continue to apply her years of experience in public service to advocate for STEAM education in El Paso.
Education Coordinator, Curriculum Writer
Sue Huffman first joined our Insights team as a dedicated volunteer, after graduating Summa Cum Laude from the University of Texas at El Paso with a degree in Biological Sciences and a minor in Secondary Education. It is through the UTEP MAST Scholarship and FEMas student organization, that has helped Sue become a successful certified teacher; where she has taught physics and chemistry with EPISD school district. In addition, Sue continues to write various curriculum for Insights, and has coordinated and lead several Insights summer camps. Sue has worked tirelessly towards the future of STEAM education, her dedication is reflected in her extracurricular activities: hosting dinosaur and fossil booths, and has brought together (8) UTEP student organizations together from the College of Science for a weekend festival hosting various activities.
Curiosity Machine Project Coordinator
Antonio Motta is originally from El Paso, graduating from UTEP with a B.S. in Civil Engineering in 2009. After graduation, he discovered teaching when he became a substitute teacher for EPISD, where he decided to become a certified teacher. He taught math for three years: one year in El Paso and another two in Austin; for two different charter schools. Most recently, he discovered a passion for outreach programs while working at the Children’s Museum of Houston. He is a passionate advocate for STEAM and Fine Arts education.
Ashley joined our Insights team in August 2017 as our Administrative Assistant. She is a senior working on her second bachelor’s degree in Chemistry at the University of Texas at El Paso. Along with making the Dean’s List, she has been a member of the American Chemical Society, and has taken part of the Chemistry Circus outreach program to promote the field of Chemistry to local schools. Upon graduation, Ashley will pursue a PhD in Medicinal Chemistry, with an emphasis on organic synthesis, to ultimately work in the pharmaceutical industry. In addition to a strong enthusiasm for STEAM education, she enjoys painting in her spare time with a focus on Pop Art.
Stay tuned for more great events from Insights: