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Our Team

Marisa

MARISA MITCHELL

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Marisa earned her BA in Sociology from the University of Chicago and MSW from Adelphi University. She has over 20 years of experience in nonprofit education organizations and mission-driven tech start-ups. Marisa is very grateful to lead an organization with such dedicated team members, inspirational program participants, and generous supporters.

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ALLISON SOLARU

DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS

Allison earned her BA in Chemistry from The Ohio State University and a MS in Medical Physiology degree, jointly with an MBA, from Case Western Reserve University. She brings a wealth of organizational management, laboratory, and biotech start-up experience to the HYPOTHEkids team.   

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JASLEEN KAUR

HIGH SCHOOL PROGRAM MANAGER

Jasleen earned a BS in Interdisciplinary Biology from Stony Brook University, minoring in gender studies. As a Wadsworth Fellow at the NY Department of Health, she developed COVID-19 antibodies and HIV-1 detection assays. She decided to join HYPOTHEkids because its mission aligned perfectly with her passion for training and mentoring youth underrepresented in STEAM, along with a clear vision for expanding our programming to serve even more deserving students.

NICOLE FRAIDENRAICH

OPERATIONS CONSULTANT

Nicole earned her BS in Mechanical Engineering from Rutgers University. In the past Nicole has been dedicated to her robotics team, gymnastics team and community garden. During the years she spent leading and teaching children about these facets of her life, she discovered a passion for STEAM education and is excited to help spread the mission of HYPOTHEkids.

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SHANNON MAHONY

ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT

Shannon has her Bachelor’s in Sociology with a concentration in Human Services from SUNY New Paltz. She has almost ten years of experience working in nonprofits helping kids and families with mental health needs. She is excited to join the team of HYPOTHEkids to continue her work and support the vital mission of STEAM education.

JEROME MURPHY

LOGISTICS ASSOCIATE

Jerome is a born and raised New Yorker. Through his professional organizing and efficiency skills, Jerome ensures every little one gets the right materials at the right time, facilitating the best hands on learning science experience. The silent leader, Jerome is the one to get it done!

AVERY KRAVITZ

ELEMENTARY INSTRUCTOR

Avery earned his BS and MS in Biomedical Engineering from Tulane University. He is currently the chief scientist at Bacon Bio, a Harlem based biotechnology start up. Avery has been a beloved instructor for HYPOTHEkids since 2021.

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HOWARD JAMES NICHOLSON III

MAKER LAB INSTRUCTOR

Howard earned a BS in Chemical Engineering on the Biotechnology track with a minor in music from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. He is currently a Biomedical Engineering Ph.D. candidate at Columbia University where his work focuses on exploring the effects of physical and chemical stimuli on cells and tissues. Howard has valuable experience in tutoring and advising middle and high school students through his involvement with the National Society of Black Engineers and the Meyerhoff Scholars Program. With his diverse background, research expertise, and dedication to mentoring, Howard is thrilled to join the HYPOTHEkids team!

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KAY CHIOMA IGWE

MAKER LAB INSTRUCTOR

Kay is a doctoral student with expertise in computational neuroimaging research, specifically in creating algorithms for the detection of Alzheimer's Disease (AD) biomarkers in neuroimaging. Kay has worked and conducted research in the areas of software automation, analog and digital hardware design, software development, nano- and microfabrication, neural recording devices, and amplifier design.

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ELLIE THOMPSON

BIOFORCE INSTRUCTOR

Ellie earned her BS degree in Neurobiology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has numerous research experiences in the fields of oncology, developmental biology, stem cell biology, and neuroscience. She is currently a rising 4th-year graduate student in the lab of Elaine Fuchs at Rockefeller University.

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NEERAJ SAKHRANI

BIOFORCE INSTRUCTOR

Neeraj earned his BA in Applied Mathematics and is pursuing a PhD in Biomedical Engineering from Columbia University as an NSF Graduate Research Fellow. A member of the Cellular Engineering Lab, his research focuses on tissue engineering of the knee joint. Inspired by those who have stimulated his academic curiosity, Neeraj continues to serve his local community through tutoring and instructional teaching across various Columbia programs.

Hope

HOPE VAN VELSEN

ELEMENTARY CONSULTANT

Hope has a BA in Liberal Studies from San Francisco State University and received her MS in Childhood Education from Brooklyn College. She has over twelve years of experience teaching and iterating STEAM modules and truly enjoys learning from her students. 

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EMILY LEVY

CURRICULUM CONSULTANT

With a rich background as an elementary educator spanning over a decade, Emily transitioned her teaching passion into a career in curriculum development. She excels in crafting engaging and inclusive educational content. Recognized for effectively bridging current teaching methods with evolving curriculum needs, Emily dedicates herself to a range of impactful educational projects, continually enriching learning experiences for diverse audiences.

CHRISHA NARIO

TECHNICAL CONSULTANT

Chrisha has her Bachelor's in Biomedical Engineering (BME) and Master's in Translational Medicine (MTM) from CUNY City College. Her experience as a student working in research labs inspired her to aid in the workforce development of NYC. She is currently the Site Director of Harlem BioSpace, HYPOTHEkids' sister organization.

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