2018 UtSTA Board Member Nominees

Region 1

Kelli Munns

I started teaching Integrated Science at Fort Herriman Middle School in 2012-2013 school year. I am fully invested in hands on learning and inquiry, especially in the science subjects. My degree is biology education, I have a level two teaching license, and I have endorsements in integrated science and environmental science. I currently teach at Utah State, I am finishing my masters in leadership education & administration development. I was the keynote speaker for Utah State’s 2017 Empowering Teaching Excellence conference. I plan to pursue my Ph. D. in education.

Region 1

Emma Smith

My affiliation with UtSTA members and programs has been instrumental in shaping my science teaching career.  As I enter my twenty-first year in the profession it would be an honor to give back and serve Region 1 teachers.  My first seventeen years teaching were spent at Box Elder High School and the last four years in Cache County School District all the while living in Logan, so I feel I have a good grasp of the needs and goals of teachers in this region.  Additionally, I taught Science Methods at USU several years ago and enjoyed working with preservice teachers.

Region 3

Laura Cotter

Laura Cotter has a strong background in chemistry, biology, and math. She graduated in 2011 with a Bachelor of Science degree in professional chemistry from the University of Utah. She worked as a research assistant for Dr. Matthew Sigman at the U of U and Dr. Eileen Kennedy at the University of Georgia. She worked at a compounding pharmacy for seven years where she found diverse ways to apply her knowledge. Beyond practical applications, Laura has tutored in math and sciences from elementary to college levels. Laura cares deeply about encouraging children, especially young girls, to become interested in the sciences from an early age. Her position allows her to help science become more accessible for children of all backgrounds and abilities.

Region 3

Christine Schmitz

I hold a BA in literature and in Biology from Scripps College and a Master's Degree in Curriculum and Science. My thesis illustrated how using informal science resources and training can improve science test scores. I have a varied informal science background and have worked at Sea World of California, Northwest Trek Wildlife Park, Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium, the Oregon Coast Aquarium and for the last 12 years, I have been the Director of Education at Utah's Hogle Zoo. I believe it is imperative that the public is engaged in science issues which have an impact on their lives, in their own self-interest, to best thrive in modern society and the best way to engage in science is by supporting science teachers and the work they do with students.

Region 6

Jason Pierce

I am a teacher at Uintah Middle School in Vernal, UT where I teach 7th grade science. Over the course of my career, I have taught 6th-8th grade science.  I currently serve on the regional science fair committee, the USTA Science board, and the Great Basin Wildlife Rescue Board of Directors. During the summer, I work as an environmental consultant doing habitat assessments for endangered and protected plant and animal species. I also coach soccer and hockey.

Region 7

Jamie Carling

I have taught science in rural schools since 2002.  I love small communities.  I think that there should be more support for rural teachers since they often have a large workload as far as number of subjects needed to teach.  I have taught most science classes from 6-12th as a rural teacher throughout my career. I have worked in the natural resources field, wildlife biology, fire, and fisheries. I believe in rural towns, natural resources sciences are very important and needed to inspire our students into land management careers.

Region 10

Deb Neal

Deborah Burge Neal has been an activist for environmental causes since her first pelagic birding trip off the coast of Fire Island in 1976.  Her early experiences with the Student Conservation Association (SCA) in high school and college started her on a journey from coast to coast in a variety of occupations and places she has called home.  She received her AAS from Cobleskill College in Recreation Land Management, and a BS from Utah State University in Environmental Studies, and worked on a Graduate Program in Science Education. Science education has become her passion.  Working with students in all age groups, she loves to get students excited about the possibilities that science can offer. Deborah is currently the Director of STEM/Community Outreach at DaVinci Academy of Science and the Arts in Ogden.  She has been teaching for 15 years. Deborah was born in Bellport, New York.  Her husband John is a retired U.S. Fish and Wildlife Special Agent.  She has three children.  Her hobbies include anything that keeps her in the outdoors.

Region 10

Megan Funk

I graduated from USU with a BS in Elementary Education. I have taught at a rural charter school for 12 years, beginning in elementary grades. I participated in the Science Plus program at BYU for three years. I then completed the necessary courses to become highly qualified in middle science and began teaching 6th, 7th, and 8th grade science. I was also the science specialist for all of the elementary classes at our school. I understand the unique challenges and benefits of working at a non-district school. I love learning about and sharing the natural world with others. My husband and I are raising our 5 children in Emery County.

Higher Ed

Adam Johnston

I originally moved to Utah for graduate work in physics and science education. Now, many years later, I'm privileged to work in science education with teachers and students at all levels throughout Utah. At Weber State, I serve dual roles as a physics professor and as someone who works closely with preservice and inservice teachers, and together we get to figure out what science is, what it means to learn science, and how these things go together. My work has included efforts to bring meaningful science learning to a wide variety of places, including Ogden City parks, dance/science performances and workshops near and far, and our STEM Endorsement programs. I've worked closely with others on SEEd standards and professional learning efforts in science. I've enjoyed and valued my work with UtSTA that has continued to grow, and I look forward to more of this service in the future.

Higher Ed

William Heyborne

My name is William (Bill) Heyborne. I am a native of Kanab, Utah, and received my undergraduate zoology degree at Southern Utah University. I have graduate training in entomology, herpetology, and biology education, with degrees from Oregon State University and the University of Northern Colorado. I have been teaching full-time at the collegiate level for 12 years. In addition to my role as professor of biology at SUU, I am also the Director of the Southern Utah University Center for STEM Teaching & Learning. My colleagues and I are dedicated to supporting STEM teachers, from levels preK-16, in their pursuit of improved teaching practice and STEM integration. One of our largest current projects is providing the Elementary STEM Endorsement for teachers from eight Utah school districts. Outside of work, my wife Jennifer and I have three children, and enjoy recreating in the great outdoors of southern Utah.

President Elect

Maggie Huddleston

Maggie Huddleston is currently teaching 7th grade Integrated Science at Sand Ridge Junior High in Roy, UT and is in her 16th year of teaching. Some of her awards include the national 2015 PAEMST, National Stem Cell Foundation Scholar, the KSL Teacher Feature Award, and Ritchey Science Fair Teacher of the Year. She has attended the NASA Space Camp in Alabama and San Diego Safari Park Conservation Week for Teachers. Maggie has presented at numerous conferences and regularly conducts professional development at the local and state levels. She currently holds a regional position on the Utah Science Teacher Association Board. Maggie earned a B.S. in biology from Weber State University and a M.A. in middle school science education from Western Governors University. She is endorsed to teach the biological sciences and middle level science 6–12. She resides with her husband Ken and 4 of their 10 children in Hooper, UT.