Meet the Team
Alysha Swann, MBA
Alysha is an El Paso native and chooses to raise her family here because she loves the strength and diversity of the community. Alysha received her Executive MBA from UTEP and holds a BA in Anthropology with a minor in Biology.
Alysha believes that all in El Paso, especially the youth, should have equal experiences and opportunities to accomplish their dreams through growing STEAM activities in the region, regardless of their background, socio-economic status, or self-identity. With over 12 years of community service and partnership experience that encompasses over 8 years of management and leadership experience, she leads Insights in the right direction to empower our community through STEAM education.
Curriculum Designer & STEAM Outreach Liason
Alfred Daniel Olivas
Alfred is a proud husband and son, originally from the old West-Texas town of El Paso. He joined the INSIGHTS Science and Discovery team in the fall of 2021. He has spent almost half of his life living and working abroad as a facilitator of science learning, instructional coach and educational consultant in Egypt, Venezuela, China and Vietnam.After obtaining his Bachelors and Masters degrees in Biology and Science Education, he worked with the Directorate of Environment (DOE) at Fort Bliss/White Sands Missile Range as a Research Field Biologist. His professional interests, for both students and colleagues, lie in facilitating personalized learning experiences around interdisciplinary contexts, as well as leading intentional feedback and reflection sessions for continued growth and learning.
Experience Curator, Space Science Education
An El Paso native now returning home, Brenda Trinidad will be coordinating the development of a holistic Space Education and Experience portfolio for Insights, of which the annual El Paso Space Festival will be the flagship event. The Space Festival is held each Fall and works to celebrate space adventure and give voice to the socio-cultural dimension of space exploration in tandem with STEAM educational programming. Brenda’s most recent training in the Human and Social Dimensions of Science and Technology compliments her 25+yrs experience in higher education and informal science education. Her ongoing research focuses on space ethnography, socio-cultural dimensions of space exploration and education, and the role of art and storytelling in astronomy education through contemplative pedagogy.
Environmental Education Manager
Dr. Jennifer Ramos-Chavez
Jennifer joined the Insights team in October 2020 after graduating from the University of Texas at El Paso with her Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. She has dedicated herself to STEAM education by promoting new ideas and new information to students while working as an assistant instructor. She’s taken her dedication outside the classroom by leading a United States Agency for International Development (USAID) funded project centered around cost-effective research in Indonesia. She has brought that knowledge to Insights by leading our Student-led Environmental Stewardship Initiative (SESI), Nerd Night, and Critical Zone projects.
Sue Huffman first joined our Insights team as a dedicated volunteer while pursuing a degree in Biological Sciences and a minor in Secondary Education from the University of Texas at El Paso. After graduating, Sue gained experience teaching in a science classroom, leading an after-school computer coding program, and working with preservice teachers as the Outreach Manager for ADP Math and Science Teachers Academy in the College of Science at UTEP. In addition, Sue continues to write various curriculum for Insights, present professional developments and hands-on STEAM workshops, as well as train facilitators and manage summer programs.
Brandi graduated from the University of Texas at El Paso with her Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting. As an undergraduate, she joined Future Educators of Math and Science (FEMaS) and volunteered with Insights for a pop up Dinosaur exhibit and to put on a “Fiesta de las Ciencias” that brought together numerous UTEP student organizations to bring informal science education to the community. She is excited to use the knowledge she has gained to help further Insights’ work with the community.
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, andc lubs!
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.
Edith Jaurrieta de Velasco
Edith Jaurrieta de Velasco has been part of Insights since May 2010 where she joined as the volunteer specialist. In 2013, she served on the board as secretary and currently serves as Board President. As a UTEP undergrad and grad student, her past field research experience was in polar regions including Antarctica, Svalbard, and Arctic Alaska. She is currently finishing up an online Master's in Environmental Law and Policy (MELP) from the Vermont Law and Graduate School. Edith is passionate about environmental and public education advocacy, by helping to increase and expand a love of science to our Spanish speaking community.
Ellen Esposito joined the Insights Board in Fall 2014. 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.
Justice Walker is a learning scientist, assistant professor of STEM education, and Principal Investigator of the ABC Learning Lab—a research group at the University of Texas at El Paso College of Education that studies emerging technologies in biology and computer sciences and their use in K-12 education. He leads work developing and deploying curriculum activities to study their impact on student learning. His recent work focuses on how middle and high school students learn when they design and construct with biology. He is also currently leading a research initiative to bring culturally relevant computer science-based data science to high school learners. His work in computer science education has been consistently funded by the National Science Foundation. Walker holds a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) Graduate School of Education, and M.S. in Engineering from the UPenn School of Engineering and Applied Science and a B.S. in Molecular Biology and English Literature from the University of Miami (FL).
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).
Kim McGlone offers over 20 years of background in operations management to the Insights board. She has served on the Endowment Board and as President to the Junior League of El Paso, as such, her experience in outreach organizations is well demonstrated. Kim also bears the Yellow Rose of Texas Award: Awarded by Texas Governor Rick Perry to honor Texas women who have demonstrated exceptional volunteer and community service. She is also a member of the Texas Master Gardener Association and has a degree from the Southwest Graduate School of Banking and an Associate’s of Science in Architecture.
SISD Coordinator of Parent Volunteer Program
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.
Associate Professor, Assistant to the Dean of Architecture, Art, Math, & Science, Math/Engineering Lead Faculty Advisor, and Technology Resource Center Trainer at El Paso Community College
Ernesto (Ernie) Herrera is a lifelong El Pasoan. He has 26 years of teaching experience in both secondary and post-secondary level science. He has have taught physics, biology, chemistry, and IPC. He is currently a science consultant at the Service Center, Region 19, for 9 years.
Development Manager, Young Women’s Preparatory Network/ Young Women’s Leadership Academy
Cynthia A. Wiltshire is an Assistant Professor of Early Childhood Education in the Department of
Teacher Education at the University of Texas at El Paso. Dr. Wiltshire’s work examines the relationships that exist between teachers and children in early childhood education classrooms.
Specifically, her work investigates associations between teacher stress, teacher warmth, and
children’s outcomes in cognitive and socioemotional development. A graduate of the University of Virginia (BA, Biology), New York University (MA, Childhood Education), and Teachers College, Columbia University (MS, Neuroscience & Education), Dr. Wiltshire completed her doctoral degree in Early Childhood Education from Teachers College, Columbia University in May of 2021. Dr. Wiltshire is most proud of the 20 years prior to receiving her doctorate which were spent in classrooms as an educator to children between the ages of 2 and 18. These years as a classroom teacher afforded her the opportunity to recognize the most critical years of brain architecture and learning occur long before kindergarten entry. Moreover, these years illuminated the criticality of the teacher-child relationship and the necessity to focus the research questions and goals of The Wiltshire Lab on, both teachers and children.
Larry Wollschlager graduated from UTEP with a biological science degree in 1971 and a master’s degree in geological science in 1975. During his time at the University, Wollschlager was an outstanding wrestler – winning Western Athletic Conference titles in 1969 and in 1970. He was honored as a Gold Nugget recipient by the Alumni Association in 2009.