Current TIPS Teachers

Kelly Auer

Kelly is in her first year of TIPS.   She teaches Biology and Natural Science courses and serves as the science department chair at East High School in Anchorage, AK.

Sarah Church

Sarah is in her first year of TIPS and teaches at Aniak Jr/Sr High School in Aniak, Alaska.  She plans on introducing students to some of the basic techniques of biotechnology like pipetting and gel electrophoresis.  Sarah plans to build upon and develop new partnerships between the community and the classroom.

Andrea Evans

Andrea is in her second year of TIPS and will be transferring from Dimond High School to Polaris K-12 in Anchorage, AK, where she will take over the biotechnology course previously developed and taught by TIPS Coordinator Aaron Kallas.

Megan Fitzpatrick

Megan is in her second year of TIPS and teaches at Thorne Bay School on Prince of Wales Island in southeast Alaska.   In addition to teaching local students in her physical classroom, Megan reaches many of her students via distance education with a virtual classroom that covers over 19,000 square miles!   She is continually looking to improve her pedagogical skills by attending conferences, workshops and taking classes.

Jenny Heckathorn

Jenny is in her second year of TIPS and teaches at Valdez High School.   She has been teaching biological sciences in Valdez for 15 years, and has been slowly integrating biotechnology components into her curriculum over the past few years.

Ashley Hutton

Ashley is in her first year of TIPS and teaches high school in the small community of Craig in southeast Alaska.  She plans to integrate TIPS activities into her biology and marine biology courses.

Joni Johnson

Joni is in her fourth year of TIPS and is a teacher at Petersburg High School in southeast Alaska.  After her initial TIPS instruction in 2010, Joni began integrating biotechnology lessons and labs into her biology classes and after school sessions.  She continuously strives to increase her content knowledge and in 2012, she was able to create and offer a separate genetics course to her students.  Joni not only teaches about the basics of biotechnology but also its applications in research.  Her students spend a large part of the year collecting, analyzing, and preparing data for respective projects to be presented at regional and state science fairs.  These projects often focus on local species of interest, providing opportunities for collaboration with professional and academic communities of Alaska.

Aaron Kallas

Aaron is in his fourth year as a TIPS teacher and will be transferring from Polaris K-12 in Anchorage to Chugiak High School in Chugiak, Alaska.  After his initial year as a supported TIPS teacher, Aaron became (and continues to serve as) the TIPS course instructor, under his larger role in BioPREP as the TIPS Coordinator.  His duties include working with and assisting the TIPS teachers to create and implement biotechnology and molecular biology lessons into their existing curriculums.  While at Polaris K-12 Aaron developed a highly successful biotechnology training program (BioTaPP) that has now become a career and technology education (CTE) program in the Anchorage school district.  Aaron will be bringing the basics of this program along with his expertise in biotechnology curriculum development to Chugiak High School.

Kitty LaBounty

Kitty is in her fifth year as a TIPS teacher and co-teaches with Chohla Moll at Mount Edgecumbe High School (MEHS) in Sitka, Alaska.  Kitty is an Assistant Professor of Biology at the University of Alaska Southeast (UAS) and brings a strong molecular background to her classroom instruction.  The TIPS supported class is a year-long UAS molecular ecology course offered to MEHS juniors and seniors, allowing these students to receive college credit while still in high school.

In the classroom students conduct original research projects about locally relevant biological issues. Kitty instructs the students about the importance of good research design, implementation and analysis.  Students then present their findings with a poster presentation at one of the three major state science fairs.

Vicki Lowe

Vicki is in her third year with TIPS and teaches at Homer High School in Homer, Alaska.  Through TIPS support, teacher collaboration, and community outreach, Vicki has implemented biotechnology labs into all first year biology classes at the high school as well as DNA extraction labs into several 6th grade classrooms. In the coming year, she plans to expand DNA extraction to more middle school and ninth grade classrooms as well as allow for more advanced biotechnology investigation by upper division students.

Brian Mason

Brian is in his first year with TIPS and teaches at Chugiak High School in Chugiak, Alaska.  He has been teaching for six years at Chugiak and began developing a forensic science class four years ago.  He participated in the TIPS training course to gain more hands-on experience and formal training.  With the support of TIPS biotechnology resources, Brian will be able to implement student investigations involving DNA analysis into his classroom.

Megan McCarthy

Ben McLuckie

Ben is in his first year with the TIPS program and teaches at Hoonah City School in Hoonah, Alaska.  He teaches all science courses and coordinates the CTE program at Hoonah.  Ben has experienced continued success by making hands-on activities a focus of his science lectures.  He strives to do the same with molecular biology by introducing lab-based biotechnology into his curriculum.  With TIPS support Ben plans to integrate bacterial transformation, gram staining, and DNA gel electrophoresis into his classroom this upcoming year.

Elaine Miller

Elaine is in her second and final year of TIPS as she will be retiring at the conclusion of the school year.  She teaches at Chugiak High School in Chugiak, AK.  Elaine joined TIPS with a desire to bring DNA technology into her classroom and to integrate biotechnology into the science curriculum at Chugiak.  This year, she will not be alone as TIPS Coordinator Aaron Kallas and first year TIPS teacher Brian Mason will be bringing even more biotechnology studies to Chugiak High School!

Afshan Mohammad

Afshan is in her first year of TIPS and teaches several science courses at Eagle River High School in Eagle River, Alaska.  During her inaugural year, she plans to implement two main labs, a DNA extraction labs so that students can explore their own DNA, and a gram staining lab for students to examine the growth of bacterial colonies. 

Chohla Moll

Chohla is in her fifth year with TIPS and works alongside Kitty LaBounty at Mount Edgecumbe High School in Sitka, AK.  They co-teach a year-long UAS molecular ecology course offered to MEHS juniors and seniors, allowing these students to receive college credit while still in high school.

Chohla is a proud graduate of the Alaskan school system as she received her high school diploma in Sitka, AK and both her bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Alaska.  She has been teaching at Mount Edgecumbe for six years.

Jim Parkin

Jim Parkin is in his second year with TIPS and teaches 7-12th grades at Angoon High School in Angoon Alaska.  Jim has been a teacher for over 25 years and has taught in Angoon for 18 years.  He teaches biology, general science, physical science, environmental science, and physical education.  Jim is an eager and motivated teacher who utilizes the TIPS support to introduce many hands-on activities into his classroom.  These include gel electrophoresis, bacterial culture, and protein purification.  Jim also uses the TIPS support to encourage and guide students in developing and presenting science fair projects.  To learn more about Jim's classroom activities, take a look at his website.  

Joseph Saugstad

Joseph Saugstad is in his first year as a TIPS teacher.  He teaches 7th and 8th grade science at Aqqaluk High/Noorvik Elementary School in Noorvik, Alaska.  While he faces many logistical challenges in remote Alaska, Joseph strives to get more and more hands-on activities into his classrooms.  With the help of BioPREP and his TIPS training, he will be able to just that with activities including pipetting, bacterial transformation, and DNA extraction.

Gary Snyder

Gary is in his third year as a TIPS teacher.  He teaches several high school biology classes at East High School in Anchorage, Alaska.  Gary has been extremely successful at implementing more biotechnology into his classes since joining the TIPS team.  He encourages his fellow teachers to do more biotechnology labs and trainings and this past year he recruited East High teacher Kelly Auer, to join the TIPS program. 

Cheryl Williams

Cheryl is a general science and AP Biology teacher at Palmer High School in Palmer, AK.   With BioPrep support, Cheryl is implementing biotechnology labs into all three years of her science curriculum as well as supporting student science fair projects.