Our Team

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Christine Kovich

Executive Director

Christine has a Bachelor of Education from McGill University and International MBA from the Schulich School of Business at York University in Canada. She is also Co-Founder of Harlem Biospace, a biotech incubator for early stage life science companies.

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Devin Elise Wilson

Operations & Communications Director

Devin graduated with a Masters in Arts Administration with an emphasis in Arts Education from Teachers College, Columbia University. She received her Bachelors in Communication from the University of Southern California and subsequently spent two years as a second grade teacher with Teach for America.


RashidA Robinson

Curriculum Director

Rashida has an undergraduate degree in biology from UCLA, as well as masters degrees in both secondary science education and educational administration. Rashida was a full time science teacher and chair of the science department before deciding to leave California to attend Teachers College, Columbia University to obtain a PhD in science education.


Hk Maker Lab & NY Bioforce

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Aaron Kyle

Program Director

Dr. Kyle is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Biomedical Engineering (BME) at Columbia University. He has spearheaded the formation of a global health technology program in the BME Senior Design course at Columbia. He feels strongly that engineering design is a foundational skill and could be taught to high school students. 

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Michael Carapezza

Program Coordinator

Michael graduated from Columbia University with a B.S. in biomedical engineering, focusing on medical imaging technology. After three years working in biomedical research laboratories, Michael joined the World Science Festival where he managed their digital education initiative and produced their science lecture series.


Jaskirti Ghataure

Bioforce Program Manager

Jaskirti received her Bachelors in Biotechnology Engineering from India and Masters in Biomedical Engineering from Columbia University. Her experience in research labs motivated her to join NY Bioforce and assist in developing the biotech workforce in the city. She is also currently the Site Director of Harlem Biospace.


Kiel Telesford

Bioforce INstructor

Kiel’s belief that ‘Science drives medicine’,  is what ultimately drove him to complete his PhD in Immunology at Dartmouth. Now a postdoctoral researcher at Weill Cornell, Kiel seeks to understand what causes the central nervous system disease, multiple sclerosis, and how to treat it. Kiel is an advocate for building perspective and intentional reflection. He also believes that educational experiences are greatly enhanced when paired with effective mentorship.


Genevieve brown

Bioforce INstructor

Genevieve is a biomedical engineer and a "bonehead" -- from getting her BS at Penn State to her PhD at Columbia, she spent 10 years studying the cells that make and keep your bones strong. Now, she helps doctors find the right treatments for patients with diseases, including the bone disease osteoporosis.


Rachel Sattler

Bioforce INstructor

Rachel Sattler received her BS in engineering physics at Fordham and her MS in biomedical engineering at Columbia. She currently works as a researcher at Regeneron in the Viral Vector Technologies group. Prior to her career in science she was a professional dancer for 10 plus years. 


Michael Sutton

Bioforce Instructor

Michael received his BSE from Duke University and his MS in Biomedical Engineering from Columbia University, where he is currently a PhD candidate in the Department of Biomedical Engineering. He currently studies cellular and molecular biomechanics within the field of osteoimmunology, which seeks to better understand the interaction between the skeletal and immune systems of the human body.


Darnel Theagene

Maker Lab & Bioforce TA

Darnel received his BS from Columbia University where he is currently a Masters Student in the department of Biomedical Engineering. He studies biomedical image analysis and enhancement with the hope of improving diagnosis and clinical outcomes. He also volunteers at the Child Mind Institute working on wearable medical devices.


Hk Summer STEAM & STEAM Up!


Tomiko Hackett

Site Director

Tomiko graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill with a B.A. in Psychology. Her passion for improving the lives of children has led her to many enriching work and volunteer experiences, and she is very excited to be joining the HYPOTHEkids team and furthering that aspiration. She is currently working on earning her Master's in Public Health at Columbia University with a focus on child and family health.


RebeCCA Cawkwell


Rebecca is a rising Senior at Barnard College of Columbia University, studying Computer Science. She was first exposed to teaching when she was a teaching assistant in a middle school English classroom and was moved by the way teachers can have a positive role in their students lives. She hopes to become a high school computer science teacher and inspire students to pursue STEAM, especially those currently underrepresented.


Alondra Suazo


Alondra is a rising Junior at The City College of New York, studying Early Childhood Education and Psychology. For the past couple years, Alondra has been tutoring native Spanish speakers in elementary levels to help them better their proficiency in English and Mathematics. As she started tutoring she realized her passion for teaching and making a difference in children's lives.


Genevieve MOralez


Genevieve earned her BA in Environmental Studies from Hobart and William Smith Colleges. After graduation, she followed her passion to travel and moved to Seoul, South Korea to be a Kindergarten ESL teacher for three years. Since returning to NYC, she has been the Coordinator for GrowNYC’s Food Scrap Composting Program. She has been focusing on being an advocate for Environmental Stewardship and looks forward to exploring nature through a scientist’s eye with HYPOTHEkids!

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Aaron Neal


Aaron Neal graduated from Teachers College, Columbia University with a Masters in Neuroscience and Education. Before moving to New York, he earned his Bachelors in Biology with minors in Chemistry and Psychology at North Carolina A&T State University.  Aaron is currently pursuing his PhD in Child Adolescent Clinical Psychology at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

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Erin Williams


Erin is a NYCDOE 5th grade teacher. She received a graduate degree from Teachers College, Columbia University in Elementary Inclusive Education with a Dual Certification in General Education and Teaching Students Labeled with Disabilities. Erin graduated from Spelman College with a degree in Pre-Med Biology. 



Leslie Rugumyamheto


Leslie is an International student from Tanzania. She is going to be a junior at Tennessee Technological University this fall, studying Music Education with a Minor in Psychology. She hopes to one day teach music and eventually become a music therapist.


Althea Benloss


Althea is a graduate of Teachers College, Columbia University, and earned her Masters degree in Elementary Inclusive Education, with a dual degree in Teaching Children with [Dis]abilties. She is a Special Education Teacher in a 4th grade ICT classroom, and teaches all subjects. She embeds STEAM as often as she can in her lessons, and ensures that her students think like Scientists daily.


Derrick HayNes


Derrick is a Harlem native - he grew up a few blocks from 116th and has taught a high school class on personal finance and goal setting at Columbia University. Before shifting back to education, he was a seven year veteran on Wall Street most recently working at Goldman Sachs. Derrick is a graduate of Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA earning a degree in Economics (Math focused) and he's worked with students of all ages across the country. Derrick sees himself as a pure creative who has a deep interests in synthesizing complex ideas to the core values needed for understanding. 


Trisha Barton


Trisha has a BA in Psychology from Spelman University and a Masters in Art and Art Education concentrating in Creative Technologies from Teachers College, Columbia University.  She is originally from Silver Spring, Maryland and has been in NYC for the last two years. In the past, Trisha has used her knowledge of maker labs and art to facilitate workshops for children, adolescents and adults to develop programs that revolve around making, creative technologies, and the relationship between inquiry-based projects and career development. This summer she is excited to instill fun while making connections to art, math, and science.


Esme McNamara

Administrative Assistant

Esme is currently a freshman at Grace Church High School. She attended Hk Summer STEAM for two summers and knew she wanted to continue to be a part of it. Since aging out of the elementary program in 2015, she has volunteered and worked to bring hands-on science to our scientists. She is most looking forward to helping kids bring their projects and experiments to life!


Nancy Zhang


Nancy is a recent graduate of NYU. She studied biology education for 7th to 12th graders, and plans to pursue a Master’s Degree in bilingual education as a graduate student at NYU this fall. She has worked with children for many years in different settings. As a bilingual student, Nancy has taught basic reading comprehension as well as translated biology classes for recent immigrants from China. She is looking forward to helping children learn scientific concepts through fun hands-on experiments!