Ellen Jorgensen, Ph.D.


Dr. Jorgensen is passionate about increasing science literacy in both student and adult populations, particularly in the areas of molecular and synthetic biology. She cofounded and directed the community lab Genspace in Brooklyn NY where she initiated an award-winning curriculum of informal science education for adults and students in biotechnology and synthetic biology. Under her leadership, Genspace was named one of the World's Top 10 Innovative Companies in Education by Fast Company magazine. Her efforts to develop innovative ways to support citizen participation in science have been chronicled by Science, Discover Magazine, Wired, Make, BBC News, Nature Medicine, Dan Rather Reports, PBS News Hour, The Discovery Channel, and The New York Times.  She holds a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from New York University, spent many years in the biotechnology industry, and is currently adjunct faculty at The Cooper Union. Dr. Jorgensen’s two TED talks (Biohacking: You Can Do It Too and What You Need To Know About CRISPR) have received over two million views. In 2017, Fast Company magazine named her one of their Most Creative Leaders in Business.


Kumar Vadaparty, Ph.D.


Dr. Kumar Vadaparty spent several years being an educator - both as a student and then later as faculty at the Computer Science department at Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland OH. He strongly believes in the importance of education and empowerment of diverse populations, a belief that inspires him to contribute both his expertise and other resources to further this mission. Dr. Vadaparty is convinced  that the more educated the general public is about the fast-changing, nuanced world of science, the more democratic and robust our policy decisions will be, and the more far-reaching and beneficial the consequences will be. To this end, he strongly supports community laboratories of all kinds: electronic/3D-printing maker spaces, bio-maker spaces, maker-fairs, libraries that support DIY making, etc. He currently works in the financial district in NYC, and lives with his family in Belle Mead, NJ. 


Megan Wallner, M.A. Science Education


Megan Wallner teaches DNA Science and Living Environment at Sunset Park High School (SPHS).  She is a founding teacher of SPHS, and has been at the neighborhood public school since its opening in 2009.  Megan holds her Masters of Arts in Science Education from Columbia University, Teachers College.  She is currently a Math for America Master Teacher Fellow and a Barcode Long Island Fellow.  Megan mentors teams in Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory’s Urban Barcode Project and Barcode Long Island Programs.  Her passion lies in providing students with a variety of authentic science experiences, from current biotechnology practices to fieldwork in local communities.  These experiences trigger for students the moment when they realize that science could be their future.