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Meet the Team

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Executive Director

Laura Caldelas

Insights' new ED will be announced soon

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STEAM Outreach Director

Alfred Daniel Olivas

Alfred is a proud husband and son, originally from the old West-Texas town of El Paso. He joined the Insights 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.

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Environmental Education Specialist

Maribel Baeaza, PH.d.

Maribel is passionate about environmental sustainability and has broad experience in educational program development. Maribel joined the Insights team after graduating from UTEP with a Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. During her studies, she researched the effects of UV radiation on organisms, which included studying pigmentation's role in reducing UVR damage, examining UVR exposure effects over generations, and conducting transcriptome analysis of bdelloid rotifers.

In her role at Insights, Maribel leads initiatives to raise awareness about environmental conservation best practices. She works to design comprehensive curricula and deliver engaging presentations, ensuring alignment with educational standards. Maribel thrives in environments where creativity and innovation are encouraged and is committed to fostering positive relationships with all members of our community. 

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Environmental Education Director

Dr. Jennifer Ramos-Chavez

Jen has Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from UTEP and joined Insights after leading a United States Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded project centered around cost-effective research in Indonesia. Her current research and collaborations have centered around community-based participatory environmental research and community-centered outreach. She leads research-based environmental education programs that explore how students’, specifically those from minority backgrounds, perceptions and behaviors are influenced by immersive environmental education programming. She brings her knowledge and passion inspiring young people to pursue STEAM careers to Insights, and leads our Grant-funded programs, Environmental Stewardship Initiatives, and Critical Zone projects.

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Curriculum & Program Coordintor

Brian Gillis

Brian earned a Marine Biology degree from Western Washington University in 1985. He worked with the Washington Department of Fish and Game on salmon and steelhead population studies. After moving to El Paso in 1996, he obtained three master's degrees from UTEP in the art of teaching science, physics (2005), and chemistry (2007). He spent 20 years as a high school science teacher and 8 years as a district secondary science facilitator for the El Paso Independent School District. Additionally, he served as an adjunct professor at EPCC, teaching engineering physics and chemistry for 8 years. Brian is passionate about making science accessible and engaging through hands-on activities and phenomena. He joined Insights in June 2024, bringing extensive expertise in creating engaging and standards-aligned science curricula.

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Office Manager

Jackie Gonzalez

Jackie earned her Bachelors in Business Administration in Management from the University of Texas at El Paso. With many years in customer service, she has developed a passion for delivering exceptional experiences. As an office manger at Insights, Jackie has leveraged her expertise to ensure seamless office operations, streamline processes, and provide top-notch support to colleagues and clients. 

Insights Board

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.

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Board President

Ellen

Esposito

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.  Ellen recently retired from UTEP's College of Science where she served as the Director of Secondary Education and supported 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.

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Vice-President

Fan

Chen

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

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Justice

WalkeR, Phd

Secretary

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).

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CPA, Treasurer

Ericka Hernandez

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).

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Kim

McGlone

Kim McGlone is an Architectural Designer with Root Architects and an instructor at the Huckabee College of Architecture, Texas Tech University in El Paso. Her experience in outreach organizations is well demonstrated through her service as President of the Junior League of El Paso and the Junior League of El Paso Endowment Board, board member of the El Paso Women’s Executive Forum, mentor for the Girl Scouts of the Desert Southwest Camp CEO program, and many others. 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. Returning to school after a successful career in banking, she earned a Bachelor of Science in Architecture from Texas Tech University followed by a Master of Architecture from Rice University.   She received a certification in Historic Preservation while at Texas Tech University and traveled extensively with studies in Europe, Southeast Asia, and North and South America.   

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Larry 

wollschlager

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.

Wade

Warling

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.

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ernesto 

herrera

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.

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Edith Juarrieta 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. 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.

Cynthia 

Wiltshire, Ed.D

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. Directing the Wiltshire Lab for Teachers and Children, Dr. Wiltshire investigates questions of early childhood education teacher well-being by examining associations between perceived and physiological 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.

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Benjamin

Brunner, PhD

Benjamin Brunner is an Associate Professor in the Department of Earth, Environmental and
Resource Sciences at the University of Texas at El Paso. His research field is geobiology, the study of the interaction between Earth’s geochemical and biologically driven processes. He uses the gained insights to understand how life shaped our planet and how organisms survive under adverse conditions such as energy limitation. He also applies the gained knowledge to address
pressing issues, for example how we can source metals to support our economic needs in an environmentally conscious way. Under his code name ‘Benito’ Dr. Brunner engages in geoscience outreach, cracking geodes at various events. Dr. Brunner is co-PI on the NSF-funded Community-driven Inclusive Excellence and Leadership Opportunities in the Geosciences (CIELO-G) project which aims to transform in a profound and long-lasting way our geoscience community culture by consciously and organically changing the way we interact with our broader local community. Dr. Brunner completed his masters in geology and doctoral degree in natural sciences at ETH Zurich, Switzerland in 2004. Before joining UTEP in 2014, Brunner worked as NASA/Caltech postdoctoral scholar in the Center for Life Detection at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA; as researcher with the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology in Bremen, Germany, and as associate professor at the Center for Geomicrobiology at Aarhus University, Denmark.

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Rachel

Tarango

SISD Coordinator of Parent Volunteer Program

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