Ralph Imondi, Ph.D.
Coastal Marine Biolabs Integrative Biosciences Institute
Ventura Harbor, CA
Ralph developed a passion for science through his childhood explorations of nature in and around Rhode Island’s Narragansett Bay. He received his M.A. in behavioral neuroscience from the Department of Psychology at Bucknell University (PA), where he worked collaboratively with his mentor on the design of a new neuroscience survey course and conducted research aimed at identifying the brain pathways that control ultrasound production and other forms of reproductive behavior in mammals. During his subsequent doctoral studies at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine (NYC), Ralph redirected his focus of study to nervous system development and the identification of molecular navigational cues that direct spinal cord hardwiring during embryonic development. He then traveled to the West Coast to conduct postdoctoral research – which began at the Department of Biological Chemistry at UCLA/Howard Hughes Medical Institute – and continued in the Molecular Neurobiology Laboratory at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies (La Jolla, CA). During his postdoctoral studies, Ralph’s research interests in neuronal connectivity expanded to include education research. He is the founding Executive Director of Coastal Marine Biolabs Integrative Biosciences Institute, a non-profit science center and learning laboratory that was founded in 2006 to help bridge the gap between science research and high school science education. Since 2011, Ralph has served as the primary investigator on three federally sponsored education research awards from the National Science Foundation (Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers program) and the National Institutes of Health (Science Education Partnership Award program). Each of these projects give high school students early exposure to the collaborative nature of science inquiry and early membership into the scientific community as real data contributors. Outside of the lab, Ralph is a martial arts practitioner, coastal sailor, SCUBA diver, and outdoor/fitness enthusiast who devotes much of his free time to mountain biking, hiking, and backpacking in the west coast hills, canyons, and forests.
Linda Santschi, Ph.D.
Scientific Director and Executive Co-Director
Coastal Marine Biolabs Integrative Biosciences Institute
Ventura Harbor, CA
Linda received her Ph.D. in June 2000 in the field of neurophysiology from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine (NYC), where she dedicated her doctoral studies to understanding the molecular underpinnings of complex, emergent brain function, including how humans learn, remember, and store and retrieve information. She then pursued a five-year postdoctoral fellowship in the Molecular Neurobiology Laboratory at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, CA. Linda's primary research interests in biomedicine have ranged from understanding mechanisms of neuroplasticity in the mature nervous system, to understanding how brain circuitry is established during embryogenesis. Since 2006, Linda's professional interests have expanded to include developing models to address science education reform directives. As the founding Scientific Director of Coastal Marine Biolabs, her efforts have focused on the creation of a unique and dynamic environment in which scientists are empowered to develop, implement, and assess novel instructional strategies that place students at the center of cutting-edge scientific discovery and at the intersection of science domains, while continuing to pursue their passion for basic research. Linda has played a principal role in establishing a private, state-of-the-art biosciences laboratory in Ventura Harbor capable of supporting this wide spectrum of interrelated research and educational activities. Her role as Co-PI on federally sponsored education innovation awards has resulted in the formation of an extensive collaborative partnership model that supports integrative teaching, learning, and research across a diversity of life science domains, including neuroscience, comparative functional genomics, and biodiversity genomics. These efforts have also led to the creation and dissemination of curriculum materials and open-access technology resources aimed at bridging science research and science education. She has also worked with some of the world’s largest pharmaceutical firms on the design of educational and scientific resources that aid physicians and scientists in communicating their clinical and research findings to a diversity of target audiences. Linda is a consummate outdoor adventurer and fitness enthusiast who enjoys sailing, backpacking, rock climbing, and mountain biking. She has an intrinsic fascination with the sea and has lived aboard her sailboat since 2003.
Darcy Duffy, M.A.
College, Career, and Media Center Coordinator
Foothill Technology High School
Born and raised in Ventura, CA, Darcy earned her Bachelor of Science in Biology with a minor in Teaching at the University of California, San Diego. It was there that she discovered her love of working with students and teaching science and math. Upon graduation, she immediately began her career in education by teaching at Foothill Technology High School (FTHS) in the Ventura Unified School District and earning a teaching credential from California State University, Channel Islands. During her formative years teaching math and science, her emerging roles in leadership motivated her to earn a Masters of Arts in Educational Leadership Policy Studies through California State University, Northridge. She continued to develop her skills as an Educational Leader through her roles as Activities Director, Bioscience Academy Director, and Science Department Chair at FTHS. In 2008, Darcy partnered with Coastal Marine Biolabs (CMB) on a three-year National Science Foundation ITEST Strategies project rooted in biodiversity genomics. As the project rapidly expanded to schools around the country, Darcy was appointed as Project Coordinator to help support a nationally distributed network of participating teachers and students. She currently serves as the Project Manager for two of CMB’s programs: the Barcoding Life’s Matrix program (which currently receives annual support from the Amgen Foundation), and the NeuroLab project. She is also the College, Career and Media Center Coordinator at Foothill Technology High School and Principal of Duffy’s Book Biz. Darcy’s passion for providing transformative learning opportunities to students is heightened by her desire to create a better education system for her two young sons.
Kristin M. Bass, Ph.D.
Director of Research Development
Rockman et al
San Francisco, CA
Kristin has over 20 years of experience in teaching and educational research. As the Director of Research Development at Rockman, she is responsible for proposal development, research and evaluation, funding, and research trends. Kristin is actively involved in evaluations for the National Institutes of Health’s Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) program, as well as projects within the National Science Foundation’s Education and Human Resources Directorate (e.g., AISL, ITEST, DRK-12). Kristin has a B.A. in Psychology from Yale University and a Ph.D. in Education and Psychology from the University of Michigan. Her papers have been published in a number of peer-reviewed journals and books, including Cell Biology Education-Life Sciences Education, the Journal of Science Education and Technology, the Journal of the Learning Sciences, and the Journal of STEM Outreach. She is also an Associate Editor for the Journal of STEM Outreach. Prior to joining Rockman, Kristin was a postdoctoral fellow at the Learning Research and Development Center at the University of Pittsburgh, and the Berkeley Evaluation and Assessment Research Center at the University of California, Berkeley. Kristin is a fan of children’s literature, theatre, and very bad puns.
Andrea Iorizzo, B.F.A.
Principal, Creative Director
Mission Viejo, CA
Andrea’s expertise as both as a freelance and on-staff graphic designer encompasses all aspects of graphic design, including creative concept exploration and implementation, branding and logo development, promotional material design, direct mail, advertising, package design, infographics, website concept development, and user interface (UI) design. Prior to relocating to California in 2007 and establishing EastWest Design, Andrea earned her B.F.A. at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. During her time in the Empire State, she gained experience at a number of prominent design firms working with diverse clientele and industry sectors, including toy, consumer packaged goods and biopharmaceutical firms. Her collaboration with Coastal Marine Biolabs (CMB) began in 2006 with the creation of a corporate branding and identity program. Since that time, her work with CMB has culminated in the creation of illustrated manuals and SOPs to support hands-on work in high school laboratories around the country, various forms of digital and print materials to support course instruction, visually engaging recruitment and informational flyers, organizational and programmatic web pages, scientific posters, user interfaces for student-centered databases and science gateways, and scientific figures, tables, and graphs for grant proposals and manuscripts. Andrea currently serves clients on both the East and West Coasts and believes in applying her design skills to advance the missions of her favorite non-profit educational, outreach, and environmental organizations.
Mika Anderson, M.Ed.
Bioscience Academy Director Science Department Head
Medical Technology, Physiology, Biology Instructor
Foothill Technology High School
Although raised in San Diego, CA, Mika is a Vietnamese-born immigrant who enjoys bringing her unique cultural background and life experiences to any endeavor she pursues. Mika received her B.S. in Biological Sciences from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and went on to earn her M.Ed. and Single Subject Teaching Credential in Life Science. Because of her immigrant background and personal experiences in high school, Mika has always been drawn to the field of education. In 1996, she began her career as a middle school teacher at Anacapa Middle School, where she implemented the first AVID (Advanced Via Individual Determination) program in the Ventura Unified School District and assisted in the district-wide establishment of the program at all secondary levels. The program’s goal was to help close opportunity gaps to prepare all students for college and career readiness. During that time, she focused on developing the AVID curriculum and providing professional development training for teachers and administrators in San Luis Obispo, Kern, Ventura, and San Diego counties. Currently a faculty member at Foothill Technology High School (FTHS), Mika is one of the original grant writers who founded the Bioscience Academy, a three-year program that was founded in 2003 to provide high school students interested in a career in medicine or biotechnology access to advanced coursework, lab skills, leadership experience, and career exposure. She is currently the Academy Director and the Science Department Chair at FTHS. Mika is a life-long learner and adventurer. She has worked on a variety of science research projects, ranging from field research at Santa Cruz Island with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, to lab research on non-viral gene therapy at the Materials Research Laboratory at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Mika is also an instructor for the American Heart Association and holds a CTE credential in Health Science and Medical Technology. When she’s not teaching, Mika loves to travel. Her favorite traveling experiences include a three-month Spanish immersion program in South America and a month-long program providing care to rescued Asian elephants in Thailand. Above all else, Mika gets her strength and motivation from her devoted (and very patient) husband and two beautiful children.
Dan Baker, M.S.
Foothill Technology High School
A native of Southern California, Dan received a B.S. in Genetics from the University of California, Davis and a M.S. in Molecular Biology from San Diego State University, where he examined the post-transcriptional regulation of cholesterol-7alpha-hydroxylase, the rate-limiting enzyme controlling bile acid synthesis and a major player in cholesterol homeostasis. After completing his graduate studies, he joined the ranks of biotechnology industry professionals. During his seventeen-year tenure at Amgen in Thousand Oaks, CA, Dan worked as a lab research scientist in the departments of neurobiology, molecular profiling, and pharmacogenomics, eventually managing the core molecular profiling and genomics lab within the Clinical Biomarker and Diagnostics Development group. In 2017, Dan left industry to pursue a second career as a science educator, teaching General Biology and Anatomy classes at Ventura College while completing his Single Subject Teaching Credential, which he earned in 2018. Since that time, Dan has been a core member of the Bioscience Academy at Foothill Technology High School, where he teaches Chemistry, Biotechnology, and Bioscience Survey courses. He also maintains an Adjunct Professor position at Ventura College. In both settings, Dan draws upon his enthusiasm and extensive industry expertise to help prepare the next generation of science professionals for successful careers.
Mera Clobes, M.A.
Ventura High School
Mera is a native of Ventura, CA. She earned her B.A. in Biological Sciences from the University of California, Santa Barbara and received her California Secondary Teaching Credential from California State University, Bakersfield. She taught middle school science and mathematics for Bakersfield City School District for ten years before returning to Ventura and continuing her middle school teaching career in Moorpark, California. In 2016, she began teaching Biology and Advanced Placement Biology at Ventura High School, where she continues to teach today. In 2019, she earned her M.A. in Educational Leadership and her Administrative Credential from California Lutheran University. She is currently pursuing a Career Technical Education Credential. Mera enjoys challenging her students with genuine scientific inquiry. She maintains a rich and especially busy personal schedule caring for her three high school aged children.
Schatzi Sovich, B.A.
Ventura High School
Schatzi received her B.A. in Environmental Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 1989 and her teaching credential from Cal State Northridge in 1992. She has taught a wide variety of science courses during her 26-year tenure at Ventura Unified School District. She is currently teaching Medical Chemistry, Medical Technology Honors, and Physiology Honors at Ventura High School. Outside of school, Schatzi enjoys trail running, gardening, skiing, surfing, mountain biking, river rafting, backpacking, climbing, and spending quality time with her daughter and husband.
Wendy Wooten, Ph.D.
Science Teacher, Science Magnet
CTE Teacher, Biomedical Science Pathway
Reseda Charter High School
Wendy is a fifth generation Californian who attended the University of California, Los Angeles to earn a B.S. in Biology and Physics, an M.S. in Molecular Biology, and a Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Cell Physiology. While conducting her postdoctoral fellowship, Wendy also taught at UCLA for 3 years. She later accepted a teaching position at the University of La Verne, where she taught for the ensuing 7 years. After a one-year adventure in home kindergarten day care, Wendy began her public education career in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), teaching Biology, Chemistry, and Physics. While teaching at Chatsworth High School, she became involved in the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics program, which she helped introduce to other high schools on the west coast. Wendy was a founding teacher at a Los-Angeles-based charter school (High Tech High, LA) for 7 years before returning to LAUSD to develop a Biomedical Science pathway at Reseda Charter High School. In an effort to bring authentic research opportunities into the classroom, Wendy has partnered with Coastal Marine Biolabs (CMB) on a number of Career Technical Education Incentive Grants and has participated in NSF ITEST and NIH SEPA projects hosted by CMB. Wendy possesses an unswerving passion to expose her students to the beauty and excitement of scientific discovery.