STEM Education Staff

Battelle has some of the best employees working to solve the world’s most difficult challenges. And education is no exception. Meet the people that help spread and innovate STEM education.

Headshot of Becky Ashe

Becky Ashe

Director of Professional Learning and Innovation


Becky Ashe joined the Battelle team full-time in 2019 following a 30-year career in public K-12 education. She works as the Director of Professional Learning and Innovation because she believes that the outcome of education is hope; and just like the problem-solvers of Battelle, when smart people focus on an issue, the needle moves. She maintains that high quality professional learning experiences allow teachers to acquire tools that amplify their voices to change the systems in which they work to the benefit of students (and themselves); and all children deserve to see momentum towards an educational system that gives them hope and provides opportunities to see their dreams come true.

Becky holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Secondary Science Education from the University of Tennessee, and an Education Specialist (Ed.S.) from Lincoln Memorial University in Administration and Supervision.She is also certified as a Specialist in Urban Education by the University of Tennessee and as a Cognitive Coach (and trainer) by the international organization, Thinking Collaborative.Becky used her education and experience to see one of her dreams come true in establishing the L&N STEM Academy, a standalone magnet STEM high school in Knoxville, Tennessee which rose to rank in the Top 5% of high schools nationwide by US News and World Reports in its 5th year in operation.

In her free time Becky enjoys travel, camping and hiking with her family. She is also a prolific southern cook and holds licensure as a taxidermist in Tennessee (only natural for a former biology teacher!).



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Gretchen Brown

Operations Director


Gretchen Brown joined the Battelle team in 2011 to aid in the startup of the Tennessee STEM Innovation Network. She is now a Program Manager for Battelle Education, working on not only the Tennessee STEM Innovation Network, but also the Ohio STEM Learning Network and STEMx National Network. Whatever kind of work Gretchen does day-to-day, she always keeps in mind that it’s all about the kids. From kindergarten to jobs, she works to ensure that students are college and career ready upon graduation.

Gretchen earned her Masters in Business Administration from Western Governors University and her BA in Mass Communication with a specialization in public relations from Wright State University. She comes to Battelle with a background in nonprofits and extensive experience in startup organizations. Gretchen is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) from the Project Management Institute. She is also a graduate of the Donelson-Hermitage Leadership program, trained by the Center for Nonprofit Management in Grant Writing and Major Gifts, and is a licensed real estate agent in the state of Tennessee.

In her free time, Gretchen enjoys boating, sewing, and crafts of all kinds, including do-it-yourself interior design and home improvement. She is a proud fur-mom to three dogs and one cat and can often be found cuddling with any animal she might come across.



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Headshot of Misty Brown

Misty Brown

STEM Relationship Manager


A veteran educator, Misty Brown spent over a decade teaching 9-12th grade English, AP Psychology, AP Literature, AP Research, and STEM in magnet schools, including a STEM Designated school in Tennessee. In 2019, the staff of the L&N STEM Academy honored her work with a Teacher of the Year Award.

In her career, Misty has worked to expand STEM learning opportunities for economically disadvantaged communities, both urban and rural, as a Magnet Facilitator for a STEM magnet school. From 2009-2012, she worked in an urban school promoting education equity and supporting students in their college preparation. After moving to the L&N STEM Academy 2013, she attended multiple events held by TSIN and participated in programs including the Innovative Leaders Institute.

Misty holds a BA in English Literature and a MS in Secondary Education with a minor in English Education both from University of Tennessee, Knoxville; the first in her immediate family to attend and graduate from college. A child of rural, south Knoxville, her family had limited access to education experiences, as well as higher education. She hopes to help provide STEM opportunities for all children across Tennessee.

Misty loves creative hobbies like photography, journaling, and gardening. As a mom of twin boys, the family can be found enjoying camping weekends, long bike rides, and hiking.



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David Burns

Director of Education Operations


David Burns is the director of STEM Innovation Networks at Battelle Education. He joined in 2008, doing instrumental work to establish and expand the Ohio STEM Learning Network and Tennessee STEM Innovation Network. He also helped to establish STEMx, a nationwide STEM education network linking over 20 statewide organizations across the United States.

David had a previous career in the restaurant and hospitality business, as well as working with the Disney Corporation on the EPCOT project. In his career in education, David worked as the Chief of Staff for Cincinnati Public Schools. During their restructuring project, David’s work was instrumental in opening 11 new high schools over two years.

David holds a BA in English and Education, and a master’s in English Literature from Northern Kentucky University. Before working at Battelle Education, he was the Executive Director of the Office of Transformation and Career Technical Education in the Ohio Department of Education. There, he pioneered state policy initiatives like STEM schools, STEM networks, credit flexibility, and stackable certificates.

David continues to create these opportunities through his work at Battelle Education. In his spare time, he enjoys working on his house and yard.


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Sarah Cook

STEM Project Specialist


Sarah joined the Tennessee STEM Innovation Network in 2019 as a STEM Project Specialist. She specializes in event management and operational improvement projects. Sarah is passionate about improving equity and access in education; she also believes that strong educator professional development, student advocacy and community outreach are key factors in equitable access in education.

Sarah earned her bachelor’s degree in English Literature and master’s degree in College Student Personnel from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Prior to Battelle, she was a Program Manager for the Tennessee Department of Education. As a Program Manager, she helped students earn college credit while still in high school through managing Tennessee’s eight early postsecondary opportunities.

Sarah enjoys reading, hiking, and the occasional pop culture needlework project. She also loves exploring new cultures, art, and food through traveling. You can generally find her, coffee and maps in hand, planning her next adventure.


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Headshot of Kelly Gaiar Evans

Kelly Gaier Evans



Kelly Gaier Evans aims to open doors and opportunities for students across the Ohio. She started her career with the Education and Philanthropy team at Battelle in 2012 as a STEM Project Specialist. Currently, she serves as the Director of the Ohio STEM Learning Network for Battelle and works to expand access to quality STEM  education for all students across Ohio.

At Battelle, Gaier Evans has spent the past ten years managing STEM teacher professional development experiences for teachers across Ohio and multiple states across the STEMx network. A certified Project Management Professional, she managed and led multiple contracts for Battelle including the regional partnership with In this role, Gaier Evans managed a team of facilitators as well as deliverables and the project budget. With a team of facilitators, she worked to expand teacher capacity across Ohio to teach foundational computer science to Ohio K-12 students. As director of the Ohio STEM Learning Network, Gaier Evans is finding ways to embed computational thinking and computer science across STEM initiatives. 

Prior to joining Battelle, Gaier Evans worked both in the classroom as a high school math teacher and on state level policy at the Ohio Department of Higher Education (formerly referred to as the Ohio Board of Regents). Kelly earned her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and International Studies from Capital University. She earned her teaching license while teaching in the Delta region of Arkansas.

Kelly apologetically dominates family games of Settlers of Catan. . As someone who loves exploring by foot and kayak, she is on a mission to ensure her daughter shares that love of the great outdoors. 


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Headshot of Rob Evans

Rob Evans

Strategic Partnerships & Communications Manager


Rob Evans helps people understand the complex stories that impact our world. As Battelle Education’s Strategic Partnerships & Communications Manager, he works on a variety of projects, ranging from press releases to social media. Rob shines the spotlight on exciting developments within and beyond the Ohio STEM Learning Network by managing

Rob craves the moment when the audience really “gets it.” Whether with a presentation, video, or writing, he creates true moments of understanding, conveying the core content and feeling of a topic. Rob strives to make those moments happen every day.

Rob earned a BA in Political Science from Capital University before working with the Ohio Board of Regents. His previous experience as a communication consultant primes him to bridge the gaps between teams, connecting innovative educators with communities that seek to do more with their school system.

Rob is passionate about practical science in almost any form. In 2016, he was thrilled with the opportunity to speak at the Kennedy Space Center. He volunteers for Columbus Science Pub and reads textbooks about rocketry and spaceflight in his spare time.



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Stephanie Johnson

Senior STEM Relationship Manager


Dr. Stephanie Johnson started her career with the Education and Philanthropy team at Battelle in 2012 as a STEM Relationship Manager. Currently, she serves as the Program Manager for Battelle’s work with the Army Educational Outreach Program. She developed and manages the Innovative Leaders Institute. She leads the team’s work in crafting a new business strategy to reach one million students by 2025 and serves as the team’s proposal manager. In addition, she is a Mission First Facilitator, serves on the Affinity Board, leads a Team Battelle project at the Community Shelter Board, participated in the Leadership Cohort program, and was named a 2018 Women’s History month honoree.

Prior to joining Battelle, Stephanie managed the education program at the Ohio State University’s Center for Clinical and Translational Science. Before returning to Ohio, Stephanie managed school-based nutrition and physical activity research projects in the Los Angeles Unified School District for the University of California, Los Angeles.

Stephanie earned her Bachelor’s degree in Family Relations and Human Development from The Ohio State University. She also earned her Master’s in Public Health and Doctorate in Educational Leadership from the University of California, Los Angeles. She received her teaching license from the University of Texas, Pan Am while teaching and serving as a Teach for America in the Rio Grande Valley.



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Headshot Kristin McQueen

Kristin McQueen

STEM Relationship Manger


A seasoned educator, Kristin McQueen spent eight years teaching K-4 STEM in a rural school. While there, she helped lead the charge of earning STEM School Designation. In 2018, she was named the school’s Teacher of the Year and the district’s Elementary Teacher of the Year. In 2018, the Tennessee Science Teachers Association honored her work with Tennessee Science Teacher of the Year Award.

Throughout her career, Kristin has worked to expand STEM learning opportunities for herself, her colleagues, and her students through the Tennessee STEM Innovation Network. In 2017, she participated in the Rural STEM Collaborative. This program helped her to bring STEM resources and opportunities to her students. In 2019, Kristin participated in the Manufacturing and Engineering Externship. The program helped her learn how to close the skills gap between students and the industry. In 2019, she participated in the Innovative Leaders Institute and improved her school’s STEM action plan.

Kristin holds a BS in Interdisciplinary Studies K-6 from Tennessee Technological University, a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Tennessee Chattanooga, and an Educational Specialist Degree in Administration Leadership from the University of Tennessee Chattanooga. Raised in a small town in East Tennessee, her passion has always been to provide STEM access to rural areas.

Kristin enjoys the company of her family and friends. She takes being an “auntie” to the next level. You can typically find her kayaking on a river, front row at a classic rock concert, or reading a mystery novel.



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Headshot Thomas Phillips

Thomas Phillips

Senior Congressional Affairs Specialist


Since starting as a Policy Fellow in 2014, Thomas Phillips has been a member of Battelle’s government relations office in DC, where he brings his passion for public policy and communication to his role in advocating for Battelle’s interests on Capitol Hill. His portfolio supports the work of the Battelle Education team, with a focus on federal policy that builds state capacity and improves equity and access to high-quality STEM education for all. He collaborates with major coalitions in D.C. to educate members of Congress and their staff on the critical role that STEM will play in closing America’s skills gap.

Before joining the Battelle Washington Office full-time, Thomas worked for Battelle in another capacity, managing the satellite proposal office during their successful re-compete for the National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center (NBACC). He took this role after his time in Ohio State’s Washington Academic Internship Program and proudly serves as the current internship coordinator in Battelle’s Washington Office. He is also a Mission First Culture Champion and is pursuing certification from Senn Delaney as a culture facilitator.

Thomas is the President of the Ohio Society of Washington, D.C. and the former D.C. Outreach Chair on the John Glenn College of Public Affairs’ Alumni Society Board. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from The Ohio State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Public Affairs, specializing in Rhetoric & Policy.

He currently lives in Georgetown with his wife Alyssa and their dog Sukey. When he's not working the room of a Congressional reception, Thomas enjoys biking, sailing, and birding.



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Headshot of Regina Schofield

Regina Schofield

Corporate Engagement & Education Outreach Director


The Honorable Regina B. Schofield is the Director of Corporate Engagement & Education Outreach for Battelle Education. Based in the Washington D.C., she leads national STEM education initiatives in addition to regional philanthropy efforts.

Nominated by the President, she served as Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs at the U. S. Department of Justice. In that position, she oversaw programs like Project Safe Childhood, the Prisoner Reentry Initiative, and the White House Initiative on Helping America’s Youth, among many others.

Regina attended Mississippi College for a BS in Business Administration, then attended Jackson State University, earning an MBA in Business Management. She currently serves on the boards of the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation, Northern Virginia Science Museum, Maryland Business Roundtable for Education, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and the National Center for the Prevention of Community Violence.

Her wide-ranging career has placed her in the public, private, and not-for-profit sectors. Awarded Alumna of the Year by Mississippi College’s School of Business in 2014 and the Order of the Golden Arrow Award in 2020, she enjoys knitting and reading when she has the time.



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Headshot of Heather Sherman

Heather Sherman

Director of STEMx Network


Heather leads the national STEMx NetworkTM, managed by Battelle. Through STEMx, she seeks to lift the collective voice of STEM leaders across the country to advocate for STEM as a national priority while creating a professional learning community to close the nation’s gaps in access, talent, and skills.

Heather uses her insatiable curiosity and genuine love of people and problem solving to bring about solutions to important problems. When dealing with complex issues, she sees patterns and connections between people and ideas to find creative avenues to optimize results.

Heather has managed the Ohio STEM Learning Network for three years prior to taking on leadership of STEMx. She has extensive experience leading and managing programs like the OSLN annual statewide student Design Challenge program which reaches thousands of students each year. Other significant program management work includes: Manufacturing and Engineering Externship Program (MEEP), a teacher externship program; the Ohio Rural Educator Program designed to help rural teachers infuse agriculture-based PBL into their science classrooms, and a NASA Educator Professional Development program.

She has a BA in English from Roanoke College and an MBA from Franklin University. She also received two teaching excellence awards from Franklin University, her former place of employment.

Heather likes reading, hiking, and treasure hunting for antiques. She’s also convinced that she is going to be one of the last people on earth who uses the telephone for talking.



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Headshot Brandi Stroecker

Brandi Stroecker

Director, Tennessee STEM Innovation Network


Brandi Stroecker is the Director of the Tennessee STEM Innovation Network. A veteran educator, she has spent over a decade teaching 6-12th grade Science and STEM in high poverty, urban schools. In 2012, the Tennessee Science Teachers Association honored her work with an Excellence in High School Science Teacher Award.

Throughout her career, Brandi has worked to expand STEM learning opportunities for economically disadvantaged communities, both urban and rural. Brandi used her education and experience to design and scale the Tennessee Rural STEM Collaborative (TRSC), an innovative solution to reducing teacher isolation and to improve the participation and advancement of K-12 rural students in STEM immersive experiences. The TRSC was cited by the Rural STEM Education Act as a promising practice to advance STEM education in rural communities.

Brandi holds a BS in Biology from the University of Memphis, a Masters in K-12 Education from the University of Tennessee, and a master’s in educational leadership from Christian Brothers University. A child of rural Arkansas, her family had limited access to STEM and Science disciplines, as well as higher education. She hopes to help provide STEM and Science opportunities for all children across Tennessee.

Brandi loves adventure: anything from skydiving to spelunking. As a mom of three boys, the outdoors is always a part of any free time they spend together.



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Headshot of Leslie Vesha

Leslie Vesha

Manager of Philanthropy


Leslie Vesha has been Philanthropy Manager at Battelle since 2011. She manages Battelle’s philanthropic portfolio which includes the Battelle STEM Grant Program, distributing over $4.3M to Central Ohio organizations since 2013.

Leslie is frequently the first point of contact for community partners that need support bringing ideas to implementation. She is a key driver of scaling Battelle’s philanthropic impact to reach 1 million students and supports colleagues across Battelle through employee giving and the Women’s Network.

Prior to joining Battelle, Leslie worked for The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in Washington, DC supporting their K-12 education work to advance college-ready rates in states, school districts and networks. This began a career motivated by challenging and innovative ideas in education.

Leslie holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business, majoring in Operations Management with a focus in Purchasing.

A proud mother of four girls, she is passionate about improving informal educational opportunities for students in early grades, setting them up with a solid foundation for success on their educational journeys.



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Headshot Sandra Wilder

Sandra Wilder

STEM Relationship Manager


Sandra joined Battelle and the Ohio STEM Learning Network team in 2021 as a STEM Relationship Manager.  She believes that STEM education is a pathway to students experiencing, learning, and applying academic content in an authentic and relevant manner.  Sandra considers engaging teachers in dynamic and personalized professional learning to be one of the key approaches to creating such pathways. When we invest in educators, when they are supported and encouraged, they successfully create learning environments of excellence that their students deserve.

Sandra holds a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in Applied Mathematics. During her time at the University of Akron, she fell in love with education, which led to earning a doctorate in Secondary Education. Her experiences as an educator at secondary and post-secondary levels (at both urban and suburban institutions), as well as a pre-service and in-service teacher trainer, have fostered Sandra’s passion for positioning all students and educators as capable of success in STEM related fields.

To her two sons’ delight, Sandra loves baking. Equipped with a good supply of cookies and cakes, the family can often be found enjoying board games and taking long walks.



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