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. After teaching middle school science for 6 years, she received an administrative credential and began splitting her time between teaching and administrative duties. Rashida then returned to the classroom full time as both a science teacher and the chair of the science department for an additional 4 years before deciding to leave California to attend Teachers College, Columbia University to obtain a PhD in science education.


Jennifer Kim

Operations Design Specialist

A graduate of Wesleyan University, with a career in the social good space, Jennifer works with small businesses to utilize their workplace as a space for growth and opportunity for their internal community of employees, specifically through the lens of operational design of the day-to-day. She believes play and learning should not stop simply because we get older, and loves being a part of Hk where young minds can develop that growth mindset early on through the principles of science!


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. 


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.

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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.


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. 


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.


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. 

Hk Summer STEAM & STEAM Up!


Chelsea Brunner

Teacher & Scientist

Chelsea has an undergraduate degree in geology and a master’s degree in meteorite geochemistry. After spending a few years as a geologist, Chelsea moved to rural Japan in 2014 to teach English. Now she’s combining her passions by studying for her PhD in science education at Columbia Teachers College. She’s also working on her teaching certification to be an Earth Science teacher in New York high schools. She’s interested in all things science, with particular focus on motivating diverse groups of young people to participate in science, even if they don’t yet see themselves as scientists.


RebeCCA Green


Rebecca is a special education grade 5 science teacher at an East Village grade school. She recently completed her Masters in Elementary Inclusive Education with a dual certification in Teaching Students Labeled with Disabilities at Teachers College, Columbia University. She also holds a Bachelor of Science in Speech Pathology and a Bachelor of Arts in Dance. Her interests lie in connecting kinesthetic and multi-sensory pedagogy approaches to academic concepts.


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. This summer she is excited to help students learn and
discover new things while building teamwork skills and having fun!


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. 



GREG Myers

STEAM Up! Teacher

Greg is currently attending Teachers College, Columbia University, working toward his Masters degree in Secondary Science Education, and hopes to be starting as a teacher in New York Public Schools this coming fall. He is a former math intervention specialist in Chicago Public Schools, working with high school students on Algebra and Geometry course work. He has also conducted original earth science research at government laboratories, major universities in Illinois and Kentucky, and in the high arctic. Greg looks forward to to helping our HYPOTHEkids rediscover New York City as a vibrant, living laboratory for whatever sparks their interest.


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. Her favorite subject to teach is Science, because it allows for so much discovery and hands-on opportunities. This summer, Althea is looking forward to conducting experiments with her young Hk scientists, and guiding them to making exciting discoveries.


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.


Ataa Amponsah


From Yonkers, NY, Ataa is currently pursuing her Bachelor's in Chemistry at Barnard College of Columbia University. After graduation, she plans on doing research. Ultimately, she plans on attending medical school to realize her ambition of becoming either a child neurologist or a child psychiatrist. She looks forward to sparking the little ones' interest in science through engaging, exciting activities!


Nancy Zhang


Nancy is currently a junior at NYU, studying biology education for 7th to 12th graders, and plans to pursue a master’s degrees in bilingual education. She has worked with children for many years in different settings. As a bilingual student, Nancyhas taught basic reading comprehension as well as translated in biology classes for recent immigrants from China. As a high school student, she volunteered as a lab assistant in Stuyvesant High School for 3 years, helping with lab setup, and is looking forward to helping children learn scientific concepts through fun hands-on experiments!