Project Team

Grant Team

Peg Steffen: Peg Steffen, has been an educator for over 40 years. Currently, she is the education coordinator for the Communications and Education Division of NOAA’s National Ocean Service (NOS). She started federal service as an Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellow in the Education Division of NASA in 2000. She was an education program manager at NASA Headquarters and started the NASA Explorer Schools program. After Six years as a civil servant, Peg was offered the opportunity to develop education programs at NOAA’s National Ocean Service. In 2006 she joined NOAA where she leads a development team that provides web-based products, professional development and educational games. Advice she gives to students wanting to join a career in the ocean realm is to find their own special connection to the planet. She believes that the world needs a lot of help and there are many ways to make a difference. Peg notes that there will be many careers in the future that have not even been imagined. She says that a prepared, adaptable, and technologically savvy student should be ready to take advantage of new opportunities.

Lisa Dawley: Lisa Dawley, Ph.D., is CEO of GoGo Labs, former Chair of the Dept. of Educational Technology at Boise State University, and co-inventor of 3D GameLab.  Dawley provides innovative leadership in the design of virtual environments for teaching and learning. She has over 20 years of experience in teacher education research, practice and policy. She co-created EDTECH Island, a virtual world resource supporting international teacher education. Dawley is a co-founder of the Applied Research in Virtual Environments for Learning Special Interest Group (ARVEL SIG) affiliated with the American Educational Research Association (AERA). She was an invited research fellow at Stanford’s Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences summer institute, and recipient of grants from the Spencer Foundation and HASTAC. Dr. Dawley is a former member of the Board of Directors for the International Association for K-12 Online Learning (INACOL).  She is recipient of the Distinguished Research Award from the Association of Teacher Educators (ATE), and two Presidential Service Awards from the Association of Educational Communications & Technology (AECT).

Chris Haskell: Dr. Chris is a Clinical Assistant Professor at Boise State University, and co-inventor of 3D GameLab.  He aspires to change the traditional educational paradigm. He believes in the “death” of the grade book, interchanging it for a “player scorecard.” He works with quest-based learning programs, and is the co-inventor of 3D GameLab. He has experience as a Music Educator, an M.S. in Educational Technology (Boise State, 2008), and an Ed.D. in Education, Curriculum and Instruction, Foundational Studies (Boise State, 2012). Dr. Chris Haskell has been teaching in the Department of Educational Technology at Boise State University since 2007 and is a Clinical Assistant Professor. In addition to teaching, he is an active presenter at conferences throughout the West sharing his knowledge and interest in online learning and education through social networks, virtual worlds, and gaming.

Andy Hung: Andy Hung PhD, is an Associate Professor at Boise State University (BSU). He has taught in the EdTech Department at BSU since 2007 and teaches Flash (511), Networks (553), and now Web Development (502) classes in the fall. He earned his bachelor’s degree in biology at National Cheng Kung University with the intention to become a physician, but later decided to earn an MBA with emphasis in Management Information Systems at Sun Yat Sen University instead. Hung worked in the corporate world awhile, but decided it wasn’t quite right for him. So, he decided to take a job as a lecturer of Accounting Information Systems. After eight years, Hung went to the United States to earn a doctorate in the Instructional Technology Department at Texas Tech University. Dr. Hung will be helping Planet Stewards  improve learning analytics and real-time data visualization.

Alark Joshi: Alark Joshi PhD, joined the faculty at Boise State University in 2011, after serving as a Postdoctoral Associate in the Department of Diagnostic Radiology at Yale University. His work has lead to novel visualization techniques in fields as diverse as computational fluid dynamics, atmospheric physics, medical imaging, and cell biology. Through the illustration-inspired visualization techniques that he developed, atmospheric physicists are able to visualize the time varying nature of hurricanes more effectively. Some of his most recent work dealt with developing and evaluating the performance of neurosurgeons on novel visualization and interaction techniques. Dr. Joshi received his PhD in Computer Science from the University of Maryland-Baltimore County, his M.S. in Computer Science from the Stoney Brook University and his B.S. degree from the University of Pune, India. Dr. Joshi will be helping Planet Stewards improve learning analytics and real-time data visualization.

Kodi Sims: Kodi is an undergraduate student at Boise State University, with a major in Environmental Studies. She will be managing Planet Stewards’ blogging, social media, and advertising.  Contact Kodi at

NOAA Content Experts

Ron Gird: Ron Gird is a meteorologist with NOAA’s National Weather Service (NWS) and is responsible for the NWS Customer Outreach and Education Programs, a position held since December, 1998. Mr. Gird is a member of the California State University-Satellite Education Association Advisory Board. He has served as a consultant to Plan!TNOW, Time/Life Books, The American Meteorological Society, the National Geographic Society and the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. Previous assignments included work with the NOAA Satellite Program, NWS Satellite and Spaceflight Programs, the NWS Storms Prediction Center, and The Analytical Sciences Corporation (TASC). He received his B.S. in meteorology from the Pennsylvania State University.

Molly Harrison: Molly is part of NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service. She is the National Education Coordinator and Education of Fisheries coordinator for NOAA, and works with any fishery animal that is on the endangered species list. She interacts with six regional offices, and six science centers throughout the United States. Prior to being the National Education Coordinator for NOAA’s fisheries she was an Outreach Specialist, and a teacher at Montgomery County Public Schools. There she taught students in formal and informal education from 3rd to the 12th grade. Molly attended UMBC, Marymount University and The George Washington University – School of Business.

Atziri Ibanez: Arziri is NOAA’s National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERRS) National Education Coordinator. Recently he helped to develop Estuaries 101, which is the newest multi-media, online science curriculum for middle school students developed for teachers by NOAA. This curriculum offers students a virtual field trip to one of 28 estuaries around the country. Estuaries 101 provides new interactive learning tools that teach fundamental concepts in science to develop scientific thinking skills while helping students discover and explore the nation’s biologically rich estuaries. The curriculum also meets National Science Education Standards for grades 5-8 and can be readily aligned to meet all state standards.

Judith Koepsell: Judy is a physical scientist in the Climate Services Division at National Weather Service Headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland. Prior to joining the National Weather Service in 1990, she served in the United States Air Force, and, before that, taught earth science at Madison High School in Fairfax County, Virginia.



Paulo Maurin: Paulo is the Coordinator of Education and Fellowship for the NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program. He works to increase environmental literacy and incorporate technology to make reefs accessible, interesting, and relevant the classroom. His main focus is to center on the three main threats to corals that the CRCP addresses; impacts from climate change, fishing, and land-based sources of pollution. As the manager of the Coral Reef Management Fellowship, Paulo coordinates a program that places highly qualified individuals, often recent graduates, into two-year fellowships in each of the seven jurisdictional partners: Florida, Hawaii, U.S. Virgin Islands, Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. territories of Guam and American Samoa. Paulo reminds any students wanting to join the ocean realm that it is okay if you don’t see a straight line from what you’re doing now to what you would like to be doing in the future. For Paulo, his most rewarding experiences were the ones he did for free, or next to free, like volunteering as a docent at the Waikiki Aquarium, and working in a tropical marine bay formed by a half-sunk volcano. While the financial benefit of these jobs were minimal they paid off later when he joined a research cruise to the remote Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, and subsequently obtained a grant from the National Science Foundation to fund his dissertation work. These experiences eventually led him to a satisfying career with NOAA.

Bruce Moravchik: Bruce is an education specialist in NOAA’s National Ocean Service (NOS). He is a key developer of NOS’s education website, a series of innovative online materials for students and educators that convey NOAA’s research, technology, and activities. He also manages NOAA Climate Stewards, a national program to provide educators with sustained professional development in climate and related sciences, and use collaborative online to build a climate-literate public, actively engaged in climate stewardship. Bruce has worked with scientists and educators across NOAA to develop original content for many NOAA websites, and with Maryland and Virginia educators on Problem Based Learning initiatives.

Frank Niepold: Frank is the Climate Education Coordinator at NOAA’s Climate Program Office in Silver Spring Maryland and a GLOBE Program Master Trainer. At NOAA, he developed and implemented NOAA’s Climate goal education and outreach efforts that specifically relate to NOAA’s Climate goal and engagement objective. Additionally, he is a co-managing author of the U.S. Global Change Research Program (GCRP) document, Climate Literacy: The Essential Principles of Climate Science. NOAA, NSF, NASA, AAAS Project 2061, CIRES, American Meteorological Society, and various members from both the science and education community worked to define climate literacy in the United States. He is a co-chair of the Climate Education Interagency Working Group at the U.S. Global Change Research Program (GCRP).

Steve Storck: Steve Storck Ph.D., is an Education Specialist in NOAA’s Office of Education. He has worked for NOAA for 5 years and is the project manager on strategic managing, and evaluation. He currently helps run the website His goal is to present students with the best information possible. With constant editing of sources and information Steve keeps up with interesting stories and information. This website is the top resource that NOAA educators will be using in the creation of Planet Stewards.

Instructional Designers

Lucas Gillispie: Lucas Gillispie is a North Carolina educator with over 13 years of experience, working as a high school science instructor for ten years before taking his current position as a district-level Instructional Technology Coordinator for Pender County Schools in southeastern North Carolina. His interests include gaming in education, particularly the use of MMORPG’s (Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplay Games), mobile game-based learning, virtual training and simulations. His current projects include the WoWinSchool Project, a progressive and collaborative effort to explore the impact of using the popular online game, World of Warcraft, in both an after-school program and as part of the regular instructional program. The Minecraft in School project, which seeks to explore the use of the popular independent game, Minecraft, with elementary learners, and iPod Games for Learning, a program that uses the iPad and iPod Touch as mobile platforms for game-based learning. His work has been published in Learning and Leading with Technology and The Electronic Journal of Mathematics and Technology as well as numerous blogs and game-related fan sites. He currently maintains EduRealms. While designing quests for Planet Stewards he will be working with NOAA expert Steve Storck concerning freshwater habitats.

Dr. Melvin Goodwin: Melvin Goodwin Ph.D., works with the implementation of The Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education Coalition. He is a Science and Technology Consultant at the Office of Ocean Exploration and Research at NOAA. In this position Mel writes lesson plans for grades 5-12 based on ocean exploration and research expeditions, prepares professional development programs and materials for in-service educators, and is involved in the production of video tutorials on STEM-related topics. In the past Mel was the Projects Director at Environmental Research Project, Inc. As project director he developed and executed marine research and technical projects in developing countries, and supervised grant funding from public and private sources including the Canadian International Development Agency, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, U. S. Agency for International Development, and World Wildlife Fund – U.S., and prepared strategic documents on marine resource development and management for the United States Agency for International Development and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. He will be working with NOAA expert Bruce Moravchik concerning oceans and coasts in the development of Planet Stewards.

Jennifer Laughlin: Jennifer Laughlin is currently in the field of online education through K12, Inc.  She received her Bachelor’s degree in Business Education from MidAmerica Nazarene University in Olathe, Kansas and is currently working on a Master’s degree in E-learning Design and Implementation from the University of Colorado – Denver.  She taught in a brick and mortar school teaching Chemistry and Earth and Space Science where she used 3D GameLab in the Chemistry classes.  Jennifer will be working with Frank Niepold, Peg Steffen, and Judy Koepsell at NOAA on the Planet Stewards project.

Will Ober: Will Ober attended Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). While attending MIT he was an Undergrad Research Assistant in the MIT Media Lab. From there he ventured into the non-profit sector as an exhibit Developer at Liberty Science Center. Still in the non-profit sector he became an Exhibit Director at the Museum of the Earth / PRI. He’s currently been working for nine years as the Sr. Lead Instructional Designer at K12, Inc. a company vested in the E-Learning industry. While helping to design Planet Stewards he will be working with NOAA expert Molly Harrison on marine life content.

Beth Wellman
: Beth Wellman Ph.D., is the Associate Professor of Educational Psychology at Bard College. She attended the University of California, Los Angeles, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and Pennsylvania State University. In the past Beth was the Director of Technology Projects for the California History-Social Science Project at UCOP/UCLA. Dr. Wellman will be working with NOAA content experts Ron Gird and Judy Koepsell regarding the weather and atmosphere.

Graphic Design

Eva Delgado:  Eva is a freelance graphic designer and illustrator.  She graduated from the Don Bosco University in 2008, since then has  worked in different companies in the areas of final arts, Graphic Design Support and Head Designer.  From her work with clients around the world as a freelancer, she has gained valuable insights on how we can help each other to be successful in our endeavors.


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