Staff

Ezra Allen - Saturday Academy Instructor

I am currently a member of National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) and previously tutored students in Pre-College Initiative (PCI) in Seattle, WA.  I have also taught Grade 7 students Algebra through Detroit Area Pre-College Engineering Program (DAPCEP) at Lawrence Technological University, MI and tutored AutoCAD.  As an independent contractor I have provided clients with design and drafting services for over 12 years. Technical training and consulting for various engineering firms & government agencies include: Seattle WA, Vancouver BC, Detroit MI and Windsor Ontario. The UW Capital Projects Office, Seattle Public Utilities, City of Renton, Road Commission for Oakland County, MI and the City Of Vancouver (BC).  I’ve been an AutoCAD user in the industry for more than 20 years.

Vicente Arroyos - Student Assistant

Vicente is originally from Tri-Cities in Eastern Washington and is a former volunteer of the Yakima Valley/Tri-Cities MESA program. He was first introduced to the program as a freshman in high school and it has been an influence in his career plans. He is a first year student at the University of Washington looking to Major in Electrical Engineering and plans to go on to graduate school after his Bachelors. He Join Seattle MESA October of 2016 looking to continue his work with the MESA program.

Neiri Carrasco - Director

Neiri Carrasco joined the Seattle MESA Program in 2013. She has ten years of experience partnering with teachers, administrators, school district officials, and industry representatives, with the goal to provide academic enrichment and support educationally disadvantaged students in STEM. Prior to Seattle MESA, Neiri was the Director for Yakima Valley Tri-Cities MESA Program. Under her leadership the program became the largest MESA program in Washington State. She is also a former MESA student, and has experienced first-hand the challenges and lack of guidance that come with being the first person in her family to attend college. She is eager to help underrepresented students bridge the opportunity gap so they can achieve their goals in college and their careers.

Martha Flores Pérez - Senior Coordinator

Martha’s many years of experience working at different schools throughout the Seattle Public School District are brought to Seattle MESA as she works directly to support teachers. She has worked with teachers and parents to help students in reading, math, and writing. She has also taught Spanish at the University of Washington (UW- Seattle), and recently graduated with a Master’s in Hispanic Studies. She did her undergraduate work in Spanish, English, and Latin American and Caribbean Studies, also at UW. Martha enjoys working for Seattle MESA because, for her, learning never stops.  During middle and high school, she was a MESA student in South Seattle. Martha’s projects include In-Class Model, After school, Summer Programs, Teacher Professional Learning, MESA Day, Scholarships, and the Awards Ceremony.

Thomas Pool - Saturday Academy Instructor

Thomas is very interested in studying food webs within rivers, estuaries, and the ocean. He has been fortunate enough to conduct his research in Denmark, Australia, France, and Cambodia, as well as in the Puget Sound and the surrounding marine waters of Washington. Thomas is also passionate about teaching children ranging in age from elementary to high school age about aquatic systems and wildlife conservation. He has developed and taught outdoor education curriculum for over ten years and continues to work with middle school students in the Seattle area with the Seattle Inner City Outings organization.

Nancy Soto - Student Assistant

Nancy is currently a senior at the University of Washington majoring in Communications with a minor in Spanish. From Skagit Valley, Nancy seeks to secure a career in marketing research. She comes to Seattle MESA from CHID – Comparative History of Ideas – starting in January 2016. She is the current treasurer of Unidas Seremos, a Latino – based organization that provides cultural awareness and volunteering opportunities within the Seattle community, while promoting academic excellence. She is excited to support and provide opportunities for underrepresented students to STEM related fields.

Kristi Straus - Saturday Academy Instructor

Dr. Kristi Straus is passionate about marine biology, effective teaching, and education equity. She was thrilled with the opportunity to teach the MESA Saturday Academy in Marine Biology as this seemed like an incredible way to teach marine bio while empowering students to pursue careers in science. Kristi received her B.A. in Biology from Colby College in 1998 and her Ph.D. in Aquatic and Fishery Sciences in 2010 from the University of Washington. Her dissertation research focused on conservation genetics of marine invertebrates—using DNA based tools to answer conservation oriented questions about abalone and geoduck living in Puget Sound. Since earning her doctorate, Kristi has been a UW faculty member in environmental studies as well as a research scientist examining science learning in middle school students. When not teaching science or doing science, Kristi likes to be at the playground with her two young children.

Brian Tracey - Program Coordinator

Brian Tracey is the newest member to the Seattle MESA team. Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Brian adds more East Coast flavor to the group. He has a degree in Life Sciences from Rutgers University, with a concentration in marine science. With research projects that ranged from upstate New York to the western most borders of U.S. territory, Brian has extensive experience in marine and environmental science field work. Through his commitment to the dissemination of science information, he made his personal mission to be involved in science outreach, especially to underserved communities. Although hired in September of 2015, he has been a mainstay and lead volunteer with the program for over two years. One peek at his activities at the University of Washington, and it becomes apparent that he has a relentless dedication to the mission of MESA, and to social and education justice. Brian sits on the Executive Boards for both the Graduate and Professional Student Senate (GPSS), and for the Black Student Union. He is also an integral member of the Diversity Committees for GPSS, the College of the Environment, and the University level, the Diversity Council. The list goes on, and on, but Brian is most excited to be a part of Seattle MESA and contribute to the enrichment of young minds. Currently he is finishing his Masters in Marine and Environmental Policy. In his spare time, he is an urban ninja, social activist, and volunteer to various community programs.

Elizabeth Wheat - Saturday Academy Instructor

Elizabeth Wheat earned her Ph.D. at the University of Washington in 2010.  Her thesis research focused on ecosystem engineers.   She is a lecturer in the Environmental Studies program at UW and she owns and operates a small integrated vegetable farm on South Whidbey Island.  She loves teaching in the food science program with MESA students because of their enthusiasm and dedication to learning.  It is an honor to work with students who so clearly want to better understand our food system and the science of food production.    Her favorite activities are reading, hoeing, hiking and eating great food – in that order!

Advisory Board

Stephen Green - Director Research & Development, Continental Mills

Stephen is a chemical engineer who has worked in the food industry for the past 20 years at Frito-Lay, Kellogg’s, and General Mills before coming to Continental Mills. Originally from Cincinnati, Stephen attended Purdue University in Indiana before embarking on a career taking him through Texas, Michigan, and Minnesota before landing in his current Seattle home three years ago. At Continental Mills, Stephen primarily works to guide a team of scientists in developing new product offerings across dry mix baked goods and snacks.

A recent member to Seattle MESA Advisory Board, Stephen began working with MESA in 2015 as a guest speaker and organizer of a Saturday Academy visit to Continental Mills to further Academy participant’s knowledge of food science and product development processes.

Gregory King - Advisory Board Member

Dr. Gregory King has served as a Chief Academic Officer, Executive Director of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math,  principal, assistant principal, adjunct professor, teacher, and debate coach. Dr. King joined the MESA advisory board to assist in further providing students of color opportunities to learn about as well as pursue STEM degrees and careers.  He wholeheartedly believes STEM careers can change the economic outlook for students of color and communities.

Jon Madamba - CEO & Co-Founder at Dokoji

Jon is a consultant, technologist, enterprise architect/automation, cloud computing evangelist, and tech entrepreneur, he has been involved in many global projects over the last 15 years that have shaped the landscape in mobile telecom, business-to-business (B2B), SOA, and BPMS.

His key skills include the ability to lead complex large-scale, distributed systems projects in a fast-paced environment with cross-cutting functional teams and business units across global geo-locations.

Jon is happy to be the newest member of the Advisory Board!

Dana Norwood - Product & Technology Development, Production Engineering, The Boeing Company

Dana is a Seattle native that spent some of his childhood in Central Alabama. He returned to Seattle and attended then South Shore Middle School where he was first introduced to MESA. He participated in several MESA programs until graduating from Rainier Beach High School. He returned to Alabama to attend the historic Tuskegee University where he received a BS in Aerospace Engineering. He has worked at the Boeing Company in the Puget Sound area for 16 years. Dana has been an active member of the Seattle MESA Advisory board and is the current chairperson.

Eugene Onishi - Technology Strategist, Microsoft Corporation

Eugene Onishi works with large enterprises in the greater Seattle area. He has worked for leading information technology companies for over 30 years, including over 25 years in the Seattle area, and the last nine with Microsoft. He has been a member of the Seattle MESA Advisory Board for over 15 years, and is a past board chairperson. He is acutely aware of both the great career opportunities available in the technology sector and the need for strong STEM education to open these opportunities to students. He continues to serve Seattle MESA because he knows MESA’s innovative, hands-on approach is a great way to deliver the education needed to prepare students for higher education in a STEM field.

Yvonne Sanchez - Advisory Board Member

After a career that spanned the private, non-profit, and public sectors, Yvonne Sanchez retired to San Diego in 2006. But she returned to Seattle in 2012, bringing back with her the commitment to social and economic justice that marked her stints as Director of the City of Seattle Department of Neighborhood, Management Analyst, Director of King County Department of Public Works, and Director of Career Planning & Placement at North Seattle Community College. As an “active retiree” Ms. Sanchez now serves on several non-profit boards, and she recently joined the Seattle MESA Advisory Committee, where her perspective and knowledge will be invaluable.

Alejandro Saucedo - Sr. Engineer, Technical Services and Factory Standards – Global Supply Chain Starbucks Coffee Company

Alejandro was born and raised in the Little Village community, in the south side of Chicago. He holds a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering from the  Illinois Institute of Technology – Chicago. After earning his undergraduate degree, he worked at Crown Holdings, as a Research & Development Project Engineer in the metal packaging industry. He returned to the University of Wisconsin – Madison for a Master’s of Business Administration, graduating in 2014. He moved to Seattle to join Starbuck’s Global Supply Chain department where, as a senior engineer, he manages continuous improvement projects that support the company’s roasting plants. He became involved with Seattle MESA because, as the first person in his family to go to a four-year university, he faced many challenges due to lack of guidance and mentors. Now, he enjoys giving back to students that face similar circumstances.

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