USF Home > College of Arts and Sciences > Coalition for Science Literacy

ASK FLorida

Professional Development Panel
Biographical Sketches

Mark BMark Bourassa is Associate Professor in Meteorology at the Florida State University (FSU). Dr. Bourassa has expertise in air-sea interaction, satellite observation of the atmosphere and ocean, tropical meteorology, and boundary layer meteorology. He serves as the team leader for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Ocean Vector Winds Science Team, co-chairs the USCLIVAR Working Group on High-Latitude Surface Fluxes, and is Associate Editor for the Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology. Dr. Bourassa is a member of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) OCO Expert Team on the State of the Ocean, NASA’s Tropical Cloud Systems and Processes (TCSP) Science Team, the GCOM-W2 Joint Research and Operational User Working Group, NASA’s PO.DAAC User Working Group, the SEAFLUX Working Group, the Shipboard Automated Meteorological and Oceanographic Systems (SAMOS) Working Group, and the NASA/OSU QuikSCAT Mission. He also has served as co-chair for QuikSCAT Surface Truth and as a member of the Ocean Vector Winds Science Team, the Next Vector Winds Mission Science Working Group, Science Working Team for the NASA NSCAT Mission, and the AMS Committee on Interaction of the Sea and Atmosphere. Dr. Bourassa is PI on the NASA outreach project “Satellites To Go” for elementary students and their families and is Co-PI on the CSL-COAPS NASA GCCE project. He holds a BS in Physics and an MS in Meteorology from the University of Alberta and a PhD in Atmospheric Sciences from Purdue University. He was supported by the Office of Naval Research as an Ocean Science Postdoctoral Fellow in the University of Delaware College of Marine Studies. In 2008, he was awarded the William T. Pecora Award for the QSCAT mission team.

Malcolm B.Malcolm B. Butler is Associate Professor of Science Education at the University of South Florida (USF) St. Petersburg. Dr. Butler earned a BS in Physics from Southern University in Baton Rouge, and a Masters Degree and PhD in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Science Education from the University of Florida. Dr. Butler has taught and learned from elementary, middle-school, high-school, and college students. In addition, he has been affiliated with several institutions of higher education, including the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, Texas A&M, Corpus Christi, the University of North Carolina, Greensboro, and the University of Georgia. Dr. Butler has written manuscripts as well as developed and conducted teacher workshops related to environmental education.

JoEllenJoEllen Carlson is Associate Professor in the Coalition for Science Literacy (CSL) at USF. Before joining the CSL, she directed two USF institutes that successfully managed more than $120 million in federal, state, local, and private research and development grants and contracts. Dr. Carlson has held management positions with the New York Stock Exchange, Educational Testing Service (ETS), CTB/McGraw-Hill, and ACT (formerly the American College Testing Program). She also served as Director of the External Degree Programs and graduate faculty member at Troy State University in Montgomery, Alabama, and previously as a secondary-school teacher. Dr. Carlson has led the development and implementation of programs for a number of organizations and agencies and has served as a consultant to business, professional, and regulatory bodies, as well as state departments of education, school districts, and universities. She has served for more than six years as an invited charter member of the Personnel Certification Accreditation Committee of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), the official U.S. representative to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Accreditation Forum (IAF). Dr. Carlson holds a BA, an MA, and a PhD in Education, with an emphasis on Educational Measurement and Research, Curriculum, and Instruction. She holds the Grant Professional Certification awarded by the certification body of the American Association of Grant Professionals (AAGP) and served as President of the West Central Florida chapter of AAGP.

Angie F.Angie Fairweather received a BS degree in Marine Science from Texas A&M University, Galveston. She then served as a commissioned officer in the NOAA Corps. While serving in the NOAA Corps, Ms. Fairweather worked as an oceanographer aboard the NOAA Ship RAINIER and later as a field technician for NOAA’s National Water Level Observation Network (NWLON). Aboard the NOAA Ship RAINIER she conducted hydrographic surveys in support of NOAA’s nautical charting program, installed hydrographic tide gauges, and was a NOAA Working Scuba Diver. In 2003 she joined Mote Marine Laboratory’s Environmental Chemistry Program, where she worked with Red Tides Research and water quality analysis in Florida’s coastal waters. In 2005 she decided to follow a lifelong dream to be a science teacher and in 2009 was selected as the science coach for Shields Middle School. As a science coach, her key role was to increase student achievement by assisting teachers in applying best practices in science instruction. She is pursuing a Masters of Education (MEd) in Instructional Technology.

Anna L.Anna Lewis is Senior Researcher at CSL. Dr. Lewis holds a BS in physics, an MS in Instructional Technology, and a PhD in Curriculum and Instruction in Secondary Science with an emphasis in Diversity Issues. She has worked as the Space Physics Analysis Network Manager at Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama; as a senior programmer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston, Massachu¬setts; owned her own business as an adaptive technology specialist for 18 years in Sarasota, Florida; and taught high-school physics and general science in Venice, Florida. Dr. Lewis currently coordinates professional development creation in the CSL-COAPS NASA GCCE project, leads the development of STEM curriculum for NASA-funded insertion modules for middle- and high-school students, and is on the team of evaluators assessing STEM PD provided by Florida PRoMISE throughout the State of Florida.

C. MartinezChristopher Martinez is Assistant Professor in the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering and a faculty member of the Center of Landscape Conservation and Ecology at the University of Florida. Dr. Martinez received his BS in Environmental Studies from the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey and his ME and PhD degrees in Environmental Engineering Sciences from the University of Florida, where he also completed postdoctoral work in climate modeling. His current work involves the use of climate forecasts in water resource management. He is engaged in a project with Tampa Bay Water, which manages water resources for three counties (Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas) and three cities (Tampa, St. Petersburg, New Port Richey). His current interests include the impacts of climate variability and change on human and natural systems, statistical methods to improve hydrologic forecasts, ensemble forecasting for water resource decision making, water quality impacts of reclaimed water systems, and hydrologic and biogeochemical modeling of watersheds and wetlands.

Gerry M.Gerry Meisels is founding director of the CSL, where he has served since 1995, and Professor of Chemistry. Dr. Meisels served as Provost of USF and before coming to USF, as chair of the chemistry department and Dean of Arts and Sciences at the University of Nebraska - Lincoln. He began his career with nine years as a chemist for Gulf Oil and Union Carbide Corporation. Dr. Meisels has led numerous initiatives to improve K-12 science and mathematics education, including state legislative appropriations for statewide teacher professional development, the inclusion of science in the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT), and the establishment of a state-funded center for mathematics and science education research. Dr. Meisels has been PI or co-PI on awards of more than $33 million from the U.S. Department of Education, the Florida DOE, and NSF for projects to improve science and mathematics education, spanning teacher professional development, induction of career-change teachers, program evaluation, and public and political advocacy. He participated in developing Florida’s Next Generation Sunshine State Standards in Science. Dr. Meisels received the American Chemical Society National Science Policy Award for his advocacy for mathematics and science education and the organization of the Florida Statewide Summit. He was Chairman of the Council of Scientific Society Presidents, is currently vice president of the National Alliance of State Science and Mathematics Coalitions, and serves on the International Advisory Council of the Florida Center for Research in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (FCR-STEM).

Mindy PMindy Pearson is the science resource teacher at Van Buren Middle School in Tampa, Florida. She has been employed by Hillsborough County Public Schools for 13 years. She holds National Board Certification in Early Adolescence Science. She has a BS in Biological Science and a BS in Secondary Science Education from FSU and an MEd in Educational Leadership from USF. Her research experience includes starch metabolism in the broad bean pea plant, gene therapy for ischemic wound healing, and the use of ethanol in fuel cells. She is dedicated to educating the world's future scientists and stewards of Earth and is excited to join the NASA GCCE panel.

Shawn S.Shawn Smith is Research Associate in Meteorology at COAPS. He has chaired the SAMOS Initiative since 2003 and directs the SAMOS data center at FSU. A part of Mr. Smith’s work has focused on ENSO impacts on Antarctic surface temperature and precipitation the effects of major climate variations (e.g., ENSO, NAO, PDO, and others) on the weather of the U.S. He has published ENSO impact studies related to surface temperature, precipitation, snowfall, and hurricanes. As director of the Research Vessel Surface Meteorology Data Center, Mr. Smith leads a team whose mission is to provide routine access to high-quality marine meteorology data for science and operational activities. Throughout his career, he has been interested in the collection of meteorological observations and began working with meteorological instrumentation during expeditions to Antarctica in 1991 and 1993. For the past 16 years, he has focused on obtaining high-quality meteorological data from oceanographic research vessels. Mr. Smith holds a BS in Earth Science from the Lyman Briggs College at Michigan State University and an MS in Meteorology from the University of Wisconsin - Madison, where his thesis focused on ENSO impacts on Antarctic surface temperature and precipitation. He looks forward to the opportunity to apply his knowledge of U.S. climate variability and surface weather observation to middle-school teacher professional development.

Diane S.Diane Stanitski is a Climatologist and Program Manager in the Climate Observation Division at NOAA in Silver Spring, Maryland. She has been an educator for the past 20 years, teaching meteorology and climatology at Montana State University, Shippensburg University (Pennsylvania), the University of Colorado at Boulder, and most recently, the U.S. Naval Academy, where she taught Global Climate Change. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Geography and Communications from SUNY Geneseo (New York) and her Master’s and PhD in Geography/Climatology from Arizona State University. Dr. Stanitski is responsible for supporting ocean reference stations and coordinating ship time for research cruises to help build the global ocean observing system for climate. She serves as the Coordinator of the NOAA Adopt a Drifter Program, a free educational program for K-16 teachers and students where U.S. students co-adopt a drifting buoy with a school abroad. She served as a NOAA climate scientist consultant for the Smithsonian’s Sant Ocean Hall Exhibit, where she helped design an exhibit on global climate change. She is a NOAA consultant for the climate change component of the Smithsonian’s Ocean Portal and the NOAA climate scientist consultant for The GLOBE Program. She also serves as a NOAA Host Researcher for the National Geographic: The JASON Project in their current climate mission and recently participated in fieldwork with student and teacher Argonauts deploying drifters from the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary vessel, the Shearwater.

Ora D. Tanner is a third-year science teacher and current Subject Area Leader at Ferrell Middle Magnet School located in Tampa, Florida. She holds an MS in Physics from USF and has worked on projects in nuclear medicine and digital medical imaging. Her interests in climate change education include student understanding of implications in the State of Florida, career awareness and exploration in the climate studies field, and project-based learning for students to educate the public about climate change.

Rachel W.Rachel Weihs is Research Assistant at COAPS. She holds a BS degree in Meteorology and anticipates completing her MS degree in Meteorology in the fall of 2010, both from FSU. Ms. Weihs has always had a career goal of involvement in education. She has served as a teaching assistant for two semesters in both a general meteorology class and a senior-level atmospheric physics class. Her duties included tutoring, grading, proctoring exams, and providing some in-class instruction. Ms. Weihs was nominated for an outstanding teaching assistant award by the students and faculty of meteorology in the fall of 2008. She is thrilled to be joining the NASA GCCE program and to be a part of academic development and climate literacy in the Florida school systems.

David ZDavid Zierden holds a BS degree and an MS degree in meteorology from FSU. His master’s thesis research was directed by Dr. James J. O’Brien, noted El Niño expert and Director of COAPS at FSU. Since 2006, Mr. Zierden has served as the State Climatologist for Florida, and he was Assistant State Climatologist for Florida from 1998 until 2006. He is in charge of the day-to-day operations of the Florida Climate Center, overseeing the provision of climate services to the people, businesses, and institutions of the State of Florida. As a contributing member of the Southeast Climate Consortium, Mr. Zierden directs research into climate variability and the development climate information and forecast products for agriculture and forestry available on their website, He is actively involved in Extension, providing education and training to county agents and growers on climate variability, climate change, and impacts on agriculture and society in general. Mr. Zierden is a member of American Meteorological Society and the American Association of State Climatologists.

ALL Logos