Classroom coordinators

Meet our dedicated classroom coordinators who mediate the communication between scientists and students.


Taneisha Gillyard

Taneisha Gillyard CCTaneisha Gillyard is a Ph.D. candidate in the department of Neuroscience and Pharmacology at Meharry Medical College. Her research focuses on how the central nervous system regulates body weight and food intake. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Cellular and Molecular Biology from Louisiana State University in Shreveport. Taneisha found her love for science while in the third grade and is very passionate about encouraging young students to explore and engage the world of science early on. She truly believes that it is important for students to see representation of themselves in the sciences and other fields. This is what drew her to the Letters to a Pre-Scientist program. She is very excited to be working with LPS this year and is looking forward to helping build the bridges that inspire the future generations of scientists.


Anna Madden

Anna is a recent graduate from the College of William and Mary and earned a Bachelor of Arts in Government. “She currently works as a technical editor and business analyst at iWorks Corporation in northern Virginia. After learning about and applying for programs such as Teach For America, she has been searching for ways to advocate for the power of education and to encourage young students to pursue their dreams. She was recently accepted as a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate for children) volunteer in Maryland and was appointed as a CASA to a child’s case by the court. Her main responsibility is to compile information surrounding the child’s case and act as a consistent figure in the child’s life. Her goal is to produce a comprehensive court report for the judge that provides recommendations for what will be in the best interest of the child. She is uncertain about her long-term career track but hopes to attend law school in the future! LPS caught her attention because it is important for every student to know that someone believes in him or her. She is excited to be joining the LPS team and helping to facilitate the inspiration of young minds throughout the country.


Hannah Miller


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Hannah is an ecological researcher and environmental educator. She’s interested in how humans are changing the natural world, and getting people to understand both the wonder of nature and the effects that they can have on it. Hannah earned her Bachelor of Science in Biology from the State University of New York at New Paltz, where she worked with a state-sponsored program focused on getting girls and minorities into STEM fields. She was reluctant to accept her interest with science in middle school for fear of being teased, and now wishes she had a scientist pen pal when she was younger so maybe she could have embraced her love of science sooner. She is excited to be working with LPS to make that a reality for students today!


Sergio Mojica

Sergio is a postdoctoral fellow at Umeå University in northern Sweden. He has a Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology from the University of Maryland, Baltimore. His Bachelor of Science is from Binghamton University in New York. Currently, he is investigating the inhibition of fatty acid synthesis in Chlamydia trachomatis with novel antimicrobial compounds. During his scientific training, Sergio has gained an interest in science education, outreach, and communication by mentoring students and teaching laboratory sections of general biology and bacteriology courses. Sergio is excited to join the LPS team this year to help inspire interest in science in young students.





Cari Ritzenthaler

Cari is a recent graduate from Bowling Green State University with her Master’s degree in Ecology. She studied invertebrates living on the rain forest floor in Hawaii! Among her time there in the rain and while running away from wild boars, she found an intense passion for science communication and education. With dreams of helping people understand, and love, science, Cari’s doing a little bit of everything she can! She works with a local 3rd grade class, PlantingScience, The Junior Academy, and hosts a podcast called Bugs&Stuff! She’s excited to be working with LPS as well to help inspire more students to love science!


Louisa Savereide


Louisa is a Ph.D. student at Northwestern University.  Her research focuses on reducing automotive emissions by developing more sustainable catalysts.  She earned her Bachelor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Minnesota.  During her undergraduate education, she gained an interest in empowering young scientists through teaching math to middle school students.  She believes strongly in encouraging students to try new things through personal connections, and looks forward to building those connections as a Science Classroom Program Coordinator.




Sophia Tsang

Sophia Tsang CCSophia is a PhD candidate at the University of Auckland in New Zealand where she studies the impact of lava flows in the built environment. Her research takes her to volcanoes around the world in addition to some more surprising places, like Syracuse, New York where she created molten basalt to study lava flows in a lab. When not in the field or the lab, Sophia loves participating in public outreach because her research help people. This is Sophia’s first year with LPS, and she’s really excited to connect scientists from a variety of fields with students.



Kelsey Williams

Kelsey is a Ph.D. student at Washington University in St. Louis, studying earth and planetary science. Originally from Indiana, she earned her Bachelor’s degree in Geochemistry at Brown University. Her research focuses on the chemistry of rocks from different planetary bodies. Through her studies, she has worked with Moon rocks collected by the Apollo astronauts and Martian meteorites. Kelsey enjoys educational outreach because she loves explaining the processes that occur on other planets, and what they might mean for us here on Earth! She was a pen pal in the LPS program last year, and is extremely excited to work with both sides of the pen-pal program this year.





Judith Zimmerman

Judith Zimmerman CCJudith is a PhD student at Technical University Munich, Germany. Her research focus is on developing image post processing tools for improving medical image diagnostics. In particular, she works with tomographic images of the human heart generated by magnetic resonance imaging systems. The images depict blood flow dynamics in the cardiovascular system and dedicated image processing software tools are needed to exploit the full information for better diagnostics and therapy. Judith spent some time at UCLA where her roommate introduced her to the LPS program in 2013. She has been a scientist in the program ever since then and is excited to return as a classroom coordinator this year. Communicating exciting science to the public in an easy-to-understand and inspirational manner is one of her main driving forces.