STEAMentor Night Co-Coordinator
Dr. Lisa Appeddu
Camp Director: Dr. Lisa Appeddu is an Associate Professor of Physiology at the SWOSU College of Pharmacy. Lisa has been involved with camp planning as a director since its original inception as Tech Trek in 2013 and leads camp planning year-round. During camp, she helps to keep the camp going behind the scenes. She received the 2019 City of Weatherford Roots & Wings Award for the camp. Lisa is active in the American Association of University Women (AAUW) as a current member of the Weatherford branch and past state president. At SWOSU, she is Chair of the Pre-Medical Professions Advisory Committee and co-advisor for both APhA-ASP and Phi Delta Chi Professional Pharmacy (Co-Ed) Fraternity. She also mentors student pharmacists in research and collaborates with fellow faculty and residents with data analysis. In her free time, Lisa enjoys reading, indoor cycling, and walking with her sheltie dog “kids” and husband.
Growing up, Lisa wanted to be a veterinarian; she was also interested in teaching as a career because of her mom. Her experiences in undergraduate research with her advisor, Dr. Don Ely, motivated her to get her Ph.D., to have the best of both worlds - to teach and work with animals at the university level. Lisa earned a B.S. in Agriculture and M.S. in Animal Science from the University of Kentucky and a Ph.D. in Animal Science (Nutrition focus) from New Mexico State University. After finishing her dissertation while spending a year as a Congressional Science Fellow in Washington D.C., she found her way to Oklahoma and worked two years as a Research Animal Scientist at USDA-ARS-GRL in El Reno. She got her chance to teach when a one-year, temporary job opened in the SWOSU Department of Biological Sciences. From there, she taught for ten years in the SWOSU Health Sciences Department, one more year in Biological Sciences, and found her current career in the SWOSU College of Pharmacy. While she still loves animals, she enjoys teaching about how the body works and using data to support what we know. There is always something new to learn!
Lisa counts her mom as the woman who inspired her to bring Tech Trek to SWOSU in 2013 because her mom believed in education and helping others. Lisa’s mom ran the home while working full time as a science teacher; she went back to school later in life to earn her master’s degree in library science to become a school librarian; she mentored promising but less fortunate students in her jobs; and created an Alpha Delta Kappa local scholarship for students to become educators. Lisa’s mom is the original reason Lisa wanted to make a difference in young people. Lisa is inspired today by the other members of the SAGE STEAM Team's passion for learning, drive and creativity. She sees how the synergy of bringing people together from different backgrounds and different departments leads to great outcomes, such as the creation of the SAGE STEAM Camp in 2018 and the Educators Professional Development Workshop in 2021. Lisa believes integrating the arts and humanities with STEM is vital to becoming a successful professional.
Dr. Lori Gwyn
Fundraising Coordinator: Dr. Lori Gwyn is the Director of both the SWOSU Office of Sponsored Programs and SWOSU Student Success Center; she also worked in the SWOSU Department of Chemistry from 2012 to 2018, and she still holds the title Associate Professor of Biochemistry. Lori has been involved with camp planning since its original inception as Tech Trek in 2013, and she serves the vital role of securing camp funding. During camp, she co-teaches the DNA / Protein folding and Tie-Dye Goggles Workshops, and she organizes Supporters and Alumni Day for camp supporters and former campers (alumni). Lori is a Biochemist by training, having earned her B.S. in Chemistry-Professional from SWOSU as well as her M.S. and Ph.D. in Chemistry with a Biochemistry emphasis from the University of Missouri St. Louis.
When asked to reflect on why STEAM is important to support, she explained that she grew up with an artist for a father. It’s very ironic that she became a chemist. Some of her most vivid memories from middle school were from spending time in the clay studio at OU and learning about the different techniques to get the colors that were desired on a completed piece of pottery. In order to make that happen, the art students had to know chemistry to get those desired effects. When she was in 9th grade, Lori’s science teacher taught her class about the periodic table and how elegantly it described nature and how it works, all from a very well-organized point of view. That is what sealed the deal for Lori to become a Chemist. While she doesn’t spend my time in the lab anymore, she uses what she’s learned from both art and chemistry to write persuasive arguments to encourage people to invest in worthwhile projects that provide opportunities for all students. You never know where your skill set will lead you.
Lori counts her High School Science teacher, Ms. Ginger Coleman, as a woman who inspires her. In addition to her responsibilities at SWOSU and with camp, Lori is the Lt. Governor for Division 17 of Texas-Oklahoma Kiwanis; a Girl Scout Leader; a community leader; and mother of twins. In her spare time, her favorite hobby is Genealogy Research.
Camper & Family Coordinator: Mrs. Adina Foust is the Administrative Assistant for the Dean at the SWOSU College of Pharmacy. Adina joined the camp team in 2015. She gathers teacher nominations, student applications, and camp forms in her camp role. She helps to conduct camper interviews. She also communicates with camper families and helps host Supporters & Alumni Day.
Adina holds a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Oklahoma. She started her adult life pursuing psychology and social work, working as a social worker for ten years. She had her third child at age 34, and at the time, she was working for adult protective services at DHS. She enjoyed social work but wanted a job that allowed more flexibility to be a mom. She found a job at SWOSU that fit her family’s needs and has been a blessing.
When asked why STEAM is important, Adina says, “Our world runs on STEAM. (Pun intended. HA! 😊) STEAM answers so many questions about how our world works and helps to improve the lives of everyone in one way or another.” She says, too, that women who pursue their goals/dreams despite adversity and haters inspire her, and she especially loves Kathrine Switzer’s story. Switzer was the first woman to run in and complete the Boston Marathon as a numbered entrant five years before women were officially allowed to run the Boston Marathon. Adina’s favorite quote from Switzer is, “Life is for participating, not for spectating.”
Outside of camp, Adina is active with girls and boys in the Boy Scouts of America and has served as the Scoutmaster for a Boy Scouts of America (BSA) girl troop for the last few years and as assistant den leader for a cub scout Bear den. In 2022, she received the City of Weatherford Roots & Wings Award for her BSA leadership. She keeps busy with her three children and their extracurricular activities, including a son who currently attends SWOSU. In her spare time, she enjoys exercising, specifically running (she has run marathons), and she has been an active member at the YMCA for over 20 years.
Assessment Coordinator: Mrs. Kristin Flaming is a faculty member in the Department of Psychological Science at Valdosta State University, and she serves as Key Personnel on the National Science Foundation grant: Passion-Driven Statistics. Kristin creates, administers, and analyzes online surveys for camp. She has helped to arrange the Oklahoma City field trip, and she recruits professionals for STEAMentor Night. Most recently, Kristin has become an integral part of the Educators Professional Development Program, helping with planning, and conducting a two-day workshop during camp on integrating data analysis and interpretation into STEAM applications in K12 classrooms.
Kristin became involved with the camp in 2014 while working in the Psychology department at SWOSU, and she still volunteers her time. Kristin got involved with the camp as a professional at mentor night and was inspired by the impact the camp had on the girls, inspiring her to do her part in exposing and encouraging young women from Oklahoma to STEAM career paths. Kristin completed a B.A. in Psychology and an M.A. in Experimental Psychology from the University of Central Oklahoma, and she is ABD (writing her dissertation) for her Ph.D. from Oklahoma State University.
Kristin was born and raised in central Oklahoma and currently resides there with her husband, bonus daughter, and fur babies. Rodeo was a major part of her life until her mid-twenties. It taught her about hard work, sportsmanship, and chasing her dreams. Her hobbies include traveling, lounging in the pool, boating, golfing, and being an avid dice, card, & board game player.
Camp Treasurer: Mrs. Kathy O’Neal is an Instructor in the SWOSU Department of Mathematics.
Kathy is the “super shopper” for camp: she secures all supplies and food needed for the dorm, workshops, and activities. She helps to keep the budget balanced and, to do so, works with the SWOSU Business Office and SWOSU Foundation. Kathy has been involved in the camp since its beginning as Tech Trek in 2013 and its transition to SAGE STEAM.
She got her B.S. in mathematics from Purdue University in Lafayette, Indiana, and her M.Ed. in Math Education from SWOSU. She has been teaching math at SWOSU since 2000. While at Purdue, she was told by a professor, “Women do not belong in Math. You do not belong in Math.” Therefore she is involved in the camp. She hopes that by coming to camp, these young women will be exposed to areas of STEAM that they had not thought about, they will expand their interests, and they will walk away with more confidence in themselves.
Growing up, Kathy lived in 8 different states and Okinawa as a child – finally settling in Terre Haute, Indiana, after her father retired from the Air Force. Kathy and her husband, Steve, have lived in Weatherford since 1990. Besides math and her husband, Kathy’s other interests are her two grown sons, spending time with friends and family, reading, and enjoying nature. She hopes to spend more time traveling – after camp!
Dr. Regina McGrane
Science Liaison/Camper Selection Coordinator/Workshop Co-Director: Dr. Regina McGrane is an Associate Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at SWOSU. This is Gina’s third year on the camp committee. She coordinates camper interviews and camper selection and helps plan science activities for the camp program. Gina also teaches a microbiology workshop during camp.
Gina teaches introductory biology and microbiology courses at SWOSU and works with undergraduate researchers to understand how microbes make plants sick. She is also a co-sponsor of the Biology Club and coordinates the Natural Science Education program at SWOSU. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Biology from the University of Northern Iowa and a Ph.D. in Genetics from Iowa State University.
Gina counts Frances Arnold, the 2018 recipient of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry and Barbara McClintock, the 1983 Nobel Laureate who discovered mobile genetic elements, as women who inspire her. In her spare time, she enjoys reading science fiction and fantasy books. Gina also enjoys being outside with her three dogs and two cats and traveling with family.
Dr. Denise Landrum-Geyer
Arts & Humanities Liaison/Workshop Co-Director/Editor: Dr. Denise Landrum-Geyer (LG for short) is an English Professor in the SWOSU Department of Language & Literature and has been at SWOSU since 2010. In 2021, LG became Chair of the SWOSU Department of Language & Literature. LG has been involved with the camp as a workshop presenter for many years, and in 2018, she became one of the arts and humanities liaisons on the SAGE STEAM Team. LG helps with writing and editing tasks as they arise and thinking about how the A in STEAM can work with the other letters (STEM). She also co-teachers the workshop on writing thank you notes, during which campers apply this lost art in helping the STEAM Team express their appreciation to their nominating teachers and camp supporters.
LG has a double B.A. in English and French, an M.A. in English, and a graduate certificate in Women’s Studies, all from the University of Kentucky, as well as a Ph.D. in Rhetoric and Composition from Miami University of Ohio. She has long been interested in supporting girls and women in achieving their goals due to the number of strong women in her own life, including her mother and the women she worked with in Girl Scouts as a young woman.
For that reason, LG originally planned on becoming a criminal prosecutor and majoring in English; she soon learned, however, that her passion was teaching writing (thanks to her work with the Kentucky Governor’s School for the Arts program) instead. She has long enjoyed working with people in other fields, and the interconnectedness of all the STEAM fields is what draws her to this camp and its mission. At the root of STEAM is the importance of connecting, communicating, and helping other people; working across various fields allows people to share their strengths and solve important problems worldwide. LG is originally from Louisville, Kentucky, and the Kentucky Derby is her favorite holiday (yes, it IS a holiday). She is married with a school-aged son, and she loves to read, write creative nonfiction, watch movies with her family, and spend time outdoors.
Dr. Sally Drinnon
Special Events Coordinator: Dr. Sally Drinnon is the Introductory Pharmacy Practice Experience Coordinator, Interprofessional Education (IPPE) Coordinator, and the Seminar Course Coordinator at the SWOSU College of Pharmacy. After serving as a STEAMentor for many years, Sally joined the STEAM Team to lead campers' goal-setting and reflection activities. She also co-coordinates the STEAMentor Workshop and provides food for the Family Picnic during camp. During camp, Sally also leads a pharmacy workshop with her husband, Dr. Steve Drinnon. Sally earned a B.S. in Pharmacy from SWOSU and is a registered pharmacist in the states of OK, TX, & FL. She also serves as co-advisor of the Phi Delta Chi Fraternity (a co-ed pharmacy organization) with her husband and Dr. Lisa Appeddu.
Sally counts her sister, Anna Maloy, as a woman who has inspired her because her sister is a pharmacist who inspired Sally to pursue pharmacy as a career. What’s more, Sally has only ever worked in pharmacy. She started at 15 years old as a clerk in a local drug store, then became a technician, intern, and, finally, a pharmacist. Sally has two grown children with careers in the Arts & Humanities – one who is involved in camp (Jillian Drinnon).
Dr. Taylor Orgeron
Arts & Humanities Liaison: Dr. Taylor Orgeron is an Assistant Professor of English in the Department of Language and Literature at SWOSU. She became an Arts & Humanities Liaison for camp in Fall 2019 and offers planning suggestions for arts and humanities camp programming and potential places for the camp planning team to share their work with others via conferences and publication opportunities. Taylor earned a B.A. in Humanities & Social Thought from Northwestern State University, a Master of Humanities from the University of Dallas, and a Ph.D. in English from Louisiana State University.
Playing video games was Taylor’s favorite pastime growing up, especially when her younger brother joined in. In college, Taylor originally majored in Computer Science with plans to be a video game developer. She switched her major to Humanities because she became interested in how video games could be used as an educational tool and wanted to learn more about the storytelling power of games. Taylor sees video games as the perfect embodiment of STEAM—it is a medium that combines stories, art, math, physics, engineering, and computer code to create a playable world. She has written and helped design various video games for educational and entertainment purposes, and she still works as a freelance writer for indie game studios today, along with teaching first-year writing and writing for digital media to college students at SWOSU. Taylor added a workshop to teach campers about creating stories for video games, starting with the 2021 SAGE STEAM Camp.
Taylor counts Janese Swanson as a woman who inspires her. Swanson is a software developer and inventor who co-developed the first of the Carmen Sandiego educational games and later founded Girl Tech, a company focused on making products to inspire young girls about the possibilities of technology. In her spare time, Taylor still enjoys playing video games, cooking, and hanging out with her dog, Teche.
Counselor Coordinator: Professor Natasha Tinsley is an Assistant Professor, Writing Center Coordinator, and the Black Student Union Advisor at Southwestern Oklahoma State University. She joined the SAGE STEAM team as Counselor Coordinator for the 2022 camp and leads a Diversity & Inclusion workshop starting with the 2021 camp. She holds a BA in English, an MFA in Fiction, and an M.Ed. in Education. She has presented at several writing center conferences themed around racial injustice, as well as published book chapters and worked as an editor for Oklahoma State University, published academic pieces in The Writing Center Journal, and published poetry in Arcturus. She came to SWOSU in 2019 and has since participated in and led several diversity and inclusion programs, including the creation of the O.U.R. Conversations, which is a series of workshop-based activities intended to help participants process and discuss social and racial matters that impact them, the students, and the community on and off campus.
Natasha agreed to become the counselor coordinator because she values all students feeling acknowledged, supported, and encouraged. Her work in racial awareness and social justice has led her to understand that people are not inherently “good” or “bad.” She has learned that meaningful exposure and appropriate education are key factors in combating and reversing many negative and/or inappropriate misconceptions and interpretations. Growing up African American and a woman, she has learned first-hand how these misconceptions and interpretations can threaten to limit progression and achievement. Programs like SAGE STEAM are essential to ensure young people never feel limited or denied. Regardless of factors such as race, nationality, creed, or sexuality, everyone should be allowed and encouraged to strive to reach their full potential and achieve any goal or dream they can envision.
On an interesting note, Natasha is nicknamed “Frosty” because her hands and feet are cold year-round. She also enjoys almost anything horror related, even though she is a self-proclaimed “chicken.”
STEAMentor Night Co-Coordinator: Mrs. Melanie DeFehr began participating in SAGE STEAMentor Night in 2017, and then began working with Sally to coordinate STEAMentor Night activities for the 2022 camp. Melanie obtained a BA in communication from OU, followed by a Master of Science in speech and language pathology. She worked at the Custer County Health Department for twelve years, serving the birth to three-year-old population and their parents. She is currently a homemaker with all kinds of projects on the side. One of those projects is teaching swimming lessons, where she enjoys helping children learn to master their bodies in the water.
Melanie lists Elizabeth Caty Stanton as inspirational because she passionately pursued women’s rights. Ms. Stanton was proactive in obtaining help because she knew her priorities and her limits. She and Nancy B. Anthony were quite the team! For Melanie, it is exciting to see campers learning about professional opportunities, some of which they did not know existed. She believes that helping young people see opportunity and how it can be achieved is a strong avenue toward economic security and a fulfilling life. Melanie says, “It is a joy and honor to get to be a part of SAGE STEAMentor Night!”
Melanie loves to learn new things and is currently challenging herself by learning to play Bridge and knit. She also loves to travel and learn about the history and how people live in different cultures.
Educator Liaison: Mrs. Marla Pankratz co-taught a pre-camp session on “How to fund your STEAM ideas?” for the Educators’ Professional Development Program in Spring 2021. She then joined the SAGE STEAM planning committee in Fall 2021 to provide her education expertise and ideas in the planning and execution of the K-12 teachers’ program the camp is developing. Marla came to SWOSU in 2019 as the Director of Early Childhood Education. Prior to that, she served as Principal at Burcham Elementary in Weatherford, OK. Marla holds a B.S.Ed. Elementary and Early Childhood Education and an M.Ed. in Library Media Specialist from SWOSU, and an M.A. in Educational Leadership from Southern Nazarene University; she is pursuing a Doctor of Education degree in Early Childhood Educational Leadership at Walden University.
Marla counts her mother as her primary inspiration, as she taught Marla to love and care for others first and foremost. Marla’s mother always said that kindness is a gift you should give freely and generously, and she encouraged Marla to push herself to be better tomorrow and pursue her dreams. Marla’s mother was a dedicated reader who loved learning and instilled that passion for reading and learning in Marla. Professionally, the woman that inspires Marla the most is Dr. Maria Montessori. She was an Italian doctor who developed an interest-led educational philosophy that centers on the child’s use of autodidactic materials in a prepared environment. Montessori faced hostility from male students and teachers who opposed a female studying medicine at university, but she persevered. She advocated for women’s rights, used a scientific approach to education, and advocated for peace.
As a teacher and principal, Marla found that students passionately engaged in creative, hands-on experiences connected to science, technology, and engineering. She wrote a successful grant leading to Devon Energy and The Cal Ripken Foundation awarding $60,000 to put a STEM center in Burcham Elementary when she was principal. STEM/STEAM/STREAM engages students in critical thinking, problem-solving, communication, and collaboration. SAGE STEAM camp creates opportunities for girls to explore STEM fields while equipping teachers with resources and professional development to lead STEM in their schools.
Dr. Pragya Sharma
Science Liaison: Dr. Pragya Sharma is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at SWOSU. She teaches introductory biology and cell biology courses at SWOSU and does research with undergraduate students in the field of cancer. She earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Pharmacy from India and a Ph.D. In Biomedical Sciences from the University of Tennessee followed by two years of postdoctoral training from the University of Michigan.
Pragya’s role model is her mother, who has taught Pragya the value of good education and has always motivated her to do her best. Pragya joined the SAGE STEAM team for the 2022 camp and is involved in camper interviews and selection. She is a part of the STEAM Camp because she believes we need to make every possible effort to close the STEAM gender gap actively. SAGE STEAM Camp is a great way to inspire and nurture girls by giving them first-hand experience and showcasing real examples of women from the different fields of STEAM. Pragya is proud to join the SAGE STEAM team in 2022. Pragya enjoys spending time with her two kids and husband in her free time.
Graphic Designer: Ms. Hailey Husband joined the SAGE STEAM team for the 2022 camp. Hailey has an associate degree in Enterprise Development. She is currently a full-time student at SWOSU majoring in Graphic Design and minoring in Communication Arts, and she works as an illustrator, freelance artist, and graphic designer. She plans to use her digital art and traditional craftsmanship skills to make her way as an independent freelance artist and travel the world until she finds the ideal location to settle down as a full-time Graphic Designer, Art Director, or Creative Director working in the professional industry.
Hailey’s focus for camp is to create logos, designs, prints, and original art for the SAGE STEAM program. She is proud to be a member of the SAGE STEAM team because it is a fantastic opportunity to gain experience as a Graphic Designer and because she loves the arts and expanding her knowledge and skills! She admires the aspirations that drive SAGE STEAM and hopes that she, too, can be an example of persistence and excellence in female achievement. She loves creating designs while in college that will see actual use, and she looks forward to coming up with more exciting and innovative solutions to camp design prospects in the future.
Haley counts her grandmother as a woman she ardently admires. She says, “I'd say that I struck the jackpot. I don't have a mother or father to guide me through life as most of my peers do, but my dear grandmother, Jeanne Groeneman, has stuck by my side through all the trials and tribulations. She is my pillar, role model, personal coach, and self-proclaimed #1 fan.” Hailey says her grandmother inspires her beyond all measure with her endless generosity, kindness, grace, wit, and charm; she hopes to mimic the unconditional love and joy her grandmother brings into the world. Beyond her work with Camp, Hailey invests all available free time into her creative outlets and hobbies: she is the president of the Casual Gaming Club and enjoys playing board games and video games, as well as making illustrations, paintings, sculptures, art, cosplays, and other fan projects for the content that inspires her.