Meet the Teacher Institute Staff
Tory Brady was born in California, went to school at UC Berkeley, and finds herself still here in the blue state with the long coastline. She was a registered nurse before she became a teacher, a career change she has never regretted! At the Exploratorium Teacher Institute she works with teachers, helping to bring Exploratorium activities into the classroom, and facilitating the mentoring of new teachers by experienced ones. Tory spends lots of time up in the Sacramento River delta, exploring hidden waterways in a rubber boat. She and her husband have two grown children and two moody cats.
Teacher-in-Residence, Leadership Program Co-Leader
Tammy is Teacher-in-Residence, Life Science in the Exploratorium’s Teacher Institute. Her primary role is to train and support coaches and mentors who work with novice science teachers in their first two years in the classroom and to develop life science content for teachers. A science educator for seventeen years, Tammy has taught elementary and middle school science and has mentored and coached novice science teachers through programs such as Peninsula Bridge, Breakthrough San Francisco, and the Exploratorium’s New Science Teacher Program. She earned her Biology degree at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and her Masters in Science Education at Teachers College, Columbia University. A National Board Certified Teacher in Early Adolescent Science, she is passionate about crafting learning opportunities for all students that ignite a love of science. And is she dedicated to finding the best ways to support STEM teachers in creating classrooms that do just that.
Co-Director, Senior Staff Scientist
Paul Doherty graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a PhD in physics. He was a tenured professor of physics for twelve years at Oakland University, Michigan, where he taught courses ranging from physics, astronomy, and geology to electronics, computer programming, and meteorology. In 1986 he came to the Exploratorium Teacher Institute, where he develops and teaches workshops and publishes them on his webpage. He is the author of many books, including the Explorabook, The Exploratorium Science Snackbook, the Klutz Book of Magnetic Magic, Color of Nature, and Traces of Time. Paul was given the Faraday Science Communicator award by the NSTA and chosen as the “Best Science Demonstrator” at the World Congress of Museums in Helsinki in 1996. He plays music on the whirly—a corrugated plastic tube. He is also a rock climber, and has climbed the face of El Capitan as well as making the first ascent of a 20,000-foot peak in the Sierra Nevada de Lagunas Bravas in the Andes.
Kristal is a lifelong California resident who recently joined the Teacher Institute to support staff and participants. Before arriving at the Exploratorium, she worked as a park ranger and administrative assistant for the National Park Service. Kristal has a varied background that includes an MA in Geography, a BA in Communications, and previous jobs as a summer camp coordinator, an events assistant, a stage manager, and a researcher for environmental nonprofits. She loves her new workplace because it combines education and creativity, with a strong foundation in community.
When she’s not assisting with Teacher Institute operations, Kristal enjoys watching baseball, romping with her dog in the Oakland hills, and making field recordings in interesting places.
Staff Scientist and Director, Science for Monks Program
Bryce Johnson is a scientist-teacher with a background in environmental science and a love of inquiry and hands-on learning. He received a BS and an MS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and a PhD in Environmental Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley. Bryce has worked as a scientist for the California Environmental Protection Agency on water quality issues in Northern California. As a postdoctoral fellow, he worked in a marine chemistry lab at Texas A&M University in Galveston. He also spent two years in India helping to launch the Science for Monks program.
Since joining the Exploratorium in 2010, Bryce has worked with teachers, artists, and exhibit developers on investigations of the San Francisco Bay, with an emphasis on the connection between humans and their impacts on aquatic environments. These investigations have led to new professional development workshops for middle- and high-school teachers and to several new exhibits. Bryce has also continued to lead workshops and programs in India that provide professional development for Tibetan monks, who are emerging as leaders of science education. He has taught them how to develop traveling exhibitions that share their unique perspective on Western science. He is currently a staff scientist at the Exploratorium.
Teacher-in-Residence, Leadership Program Co-Leader
Zeke is Teacher-In-Residence in the Exploratorium’s Teacher Institute. Along with Tammy, Zeke’s primary role is to train and support coaches and mentors who work with novice science teachers in their first two years in the classroom. Zeke taught high school science for 21 years in Houston, Dallas, New Orleans, and San Francisco. He believes that science education starts when students construct their own understanding of the world.
In 2011, he was selected to be an Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellow at the National Science Foundation. During his time there he worked with Congress and the White House on important science education issues, including writing a white paper on using large datasets in the classroom. In addition, he has worked as a science advisor for both NBC Learn and Discovery Digital. For fun, Zeke puts on physics circus shows. He thinks of them as magic shows, but in reverse—the secret to a magic trick is to make something simple intentionally confusing, while Zeke tries to make confusing things easy to understand.
Math and Science Teacher, New Teacher Program Coordinator, and Math Enthusiast
Staff teacher Lori Lambertson was born and raised in California and has a lifelong interest in and love for this area. Lori studied biology and dance at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where she also had a brief but thrilling career as a professional bicycle racer. She completed a BFA with an emphasis in painting at the University of San Francisco, and an MA in education from San Francisco State University, where she also earned her teaching credentials. Lori taught both math and science at the middle school level. She attended the Summer Institute in 1991, which was a life-changing experience. In 1996, she left classroom teaching to work as a Teacher-in-Residence in the Exploratorium’s Teacher Institute (TI). Lori co-authored The Math Explorer, and has had teaching experiences in India and Costa Rica and throughout the United States. She enjoys hula dancing, learning Spanish, painting, gardening, cooking, hiking, and surfing.
Senior Science and Math Educator and Technology Lead
Eric began his career as a geologist, wandering remote dirt roads in the American Southwest. After a few years, he decided to get his hands dirty and became a credentialed teacher. He taught chemistry, physics, geology, math, and at-risk-youth programming in Bay Area public schools. After attending his first Summer Institute at the Exploratorium, he was hooked! He joined the Teacher Institute in 1995 as a science, math, and technology educator.
Eric has created numerous hands-on activities and conducted professional development workshops from Alaska to Costa Rica, China, and Tobago. He has written articles for The Science Teacher, The Physics Teacher, several museum publications, and various websites. He is the author of While You’re Waiting for the Food to Come, a book of science activities that can be done at restaurants. He has also been a contributor to NPR and helped to create an internationally distributed poster of the Earth’s Anatomy.
Eric earned a BS in Earth Science from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and an MA in Education from Columbia University. He was a fellow at Tufts University’s Wright Center for Innovation in Science Education. He has also worked as a whitewater rafting guide, done research on glaciers, worked in a high-energy physics lab, and taught courses at several universities.
Don has taught physics for fifty years—“since the crust cooled,” as he's been known to say—in settings ranging from a college in Liberia and a high school in Turkey to public high schools in Pleasanton, California. He was a participant in the Teacher Institute’s first Summer Institute in 1984. He has been working with science teachers at the Exploratorium since 1985, and co-authored (with Paul Doherty) the Exploratorium Science Snackbook, first published in 1991. The Snackbook shows teachers how to use simple materials to build classroom versions of over 100 Exploratorium exhibits. He also co-authored (again with Paul Doherty) Square Wheels, with thirty-one additional science snacks.
In 1983, Don began “Physics Day” at Great America, an amusement park in Santa Clara, California, an event that has grown from ninety students to more than 20,000. Continuing his lifelong interest in toys, he was the author of Lego Crazy Action Contraptions. More recently, two of his grandkids worked with him at an Exploratorium event, and one of them also served as a volunteer for the TI Summer Institute.
Don received a BS in Engineering from Stanford University and an MA in Science Education from Columbia University. He and his wife, Ann, live in Pleasanton, California.
Senior Science Educator, Leadership Program Co-Leader
Modesto Tamez has been a science educator at the Exploratorium for more than twenty years. His responsibilities include training middle- and high-school teachers to use activity-based science, helping coordinate TI’s Leadership Program, and training experienced science teachers to support new science teachers.
"Cheap science" is Modesto’s motto and, in that spirit, he creates new curriculum involving mostly inexpensive or free materials. He has written articles on science pedagogy and is co-author of Math And Science Across Cultures, a book on the everyday math and science of cultures around the world. Modesto has also taught science methods courses for several universities in the Bay Area.
Before joining the Exploratorium, Modesto was a science teacher for almost 18 years. His experience included K-8 activity-based science. He also taught lab science in Spanish to newcomer Latino students. Modesto received his training at the University of Illinois in Chicago, where he majored in geology and elementary education. He is an avid amateur photographer with a passion for view cameras and pinhole photography. He also loves music and has taught the science of sound at the San Francisco Symphony, the physics of dance at the San Francisco Ballet, and the science of opera at the San Francisco Opera Company.
Lexie’s career path was set in motion during a semester abroad in Greece, where she was brought face-to-face with the Archaeological Museum of Athens. Having experienced the joy and power of education on the museum floor, she moved to the Bay Area for graduate school, earning a double master’s degree in Museum Studies and Business Administration from John F. Kennedy University in 2011. Lexie was introduced to the Exploratorium during her graduate studies and spent a summer interning in the development department. When a position in the Teacher Institute opened up, tying together education and administration, it was clear where she was headed next. As TI’s Program Manager, Lexie coordinates workshops, manages finances, and wrangles scientists and teachers (no small feat).
Director and Staff Scientist
Julie is the Director of the Teacher Institute. She first participated in the Institute as a middle school math and science teacher, then went on to graduate school, earning a PhD in chemical engineering with a minor in molecular and cell biology from the University of California, Berkeley. In 2006, after completing her research in viruses, stem cells, and how to win at foosball, Julie returned to the Exploratorium and discovered an ideal blend of science, education, and play. Julie’s passion is creating hands-on activities that demonstrate real science with the simplest materials possible.
In her spare time, she still thinks about science, but usually in the kitchen, where she can focus on her favorite synthesis of physics, chemistry, and biology—cooking and eating.