Diana Dizon is the founder and president of Bionerds. Biology has been her passion ever since she can remember. She thinks the human body is a very fascinating machinery. She earned her bachelor degree in Medical Microbiology with a minor in Chemistry from California State University, Long Beach. Then, she continued her academic journey to earn a Master of Science degree in Biotechnology from the University of California, Irvine. She co-authored several publications related to her field. She is also a mother of two children who are curious about everything. Spending more than 16 years combined in pharmaceuticals, academic research and manufacturing department has only deepened her love for biology. Now she is excited to be sharing her passion, expertise, and experience with the younger generation.
Sopheap Phin, Ph.D., is the curriculum consultant at Bionerds. She helps develop our curriculum, which is guided by the California Department of Education standard and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematic (STEM) Program. She earned her bachelor degree in Medical Microbiology and Molecular Biology from California State University, Long Beach and her doctorate degree in Developmental Biology from the University of California, Irvine. She authored numerous publications in her field and has experience teaching students from the elementary to the college level. She is very passionate about science as well as sharing her enthusiasm for biology. Bionerds is very grateful to have her on board.
Anika Kenion is an Educator Associate who received a BA in Integrative Biology from University of California, Berkeley, with an emphasis on Ecology, Evolution and Organismal Biology. She taught for several summers in the Ocean Sciences Program with the Prevent Drowning Foundation of San Diego and spent the last year as an educator at SeaWorld San Diego. She also spent a year in Puerto Rico mentoring college students and engaging in relief work. In addition to teaching at Bionerds, she develops curriculum and teaches ocean science with Sally Ride Science @ UCSD Extension. In her free time, she loves singing, writing and reading poetry and spending time with loved ones. She is passionate about exploring the world of biology with students and creating learning spaces to inspire growth, compassion and challenge. Bionerds is fortunate to have her in our team.
David Durtschi is an Educator Associate at Bionerds. He graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia, with a Bachelors degree in Biological Sciences. He has 20 years of experience in Molecular Biology and Genomics research from prestigious institutions such as Yale University, Oak Ridge National Laboratories, and the University of California-Irvine. He has one 11-year-old daughter who also loves science. After volunteering during the after-school programs at his daughter’s school for two years, he discovered a passion for teaching children. He plans to continue teaching and passing on his knowledge and expertise to our next generation of scientists. Bionerds is fortunate to have David in our team.
Elizabeth Mesic is an Educator Associate who graduated from University of Minnesota with a Bachelors of Science degree in Biological Sciences and Public Health. She has years of experience working with kids. She went on to work with a laboratory technology company where she worked with laboratories all over the United States on their purification processes. After observing the after-school programs at her child’s school, she jumped at the chance to share science with kids in a fun, hands on way. She enjoys the excitement kids bring to science and loves to see that interest grow. Bionerds is fortunate to have her on the team.
Eric Fan is an Educator Associate who graduated from California State University, Fullerton with a Masters (MS) degree in Biology and a Bachelors (BS) degree in Biological Science at the University of California, Davis. He has years of experience in marine biology and cancer research. He enjoys science because it is a field of study where he can always learn something new about the world around him. He enjoys playing music and maintaining his planted aquarium during his free time. While pursuing his Master’s degree he discovered a passion for teaching. He enjoys seeing the excitement in his students’ eyes when they learn something new, and he hopes that he can inspire the next generation of young biologists! Bionerds is fortunate to have him in the team.
Fabian Pardo is an Educator Assistant for Bionerds with a strong passion for Biology. Fabian wants to pursue a career in Marine Biology and is currently working to obtain his Bachelor’s Degree in Biology at California State University, Fullerton. Fabian believes that exposing children to the world of Biology helps them develop their potential, especially at a young age. Working with Bionerds gives him the opportunity to share his knowledge with the children. Fabian is a wonderful addition to the Bionerds team.
Helen Cohen has taught natural history and environmental education for over two decades, was an elementary school teacher, and managed an Outdoor Education School for elementary through high school students. Helen has grown the Puente Hills Preserve Outdoor Education School from a great idea to a nationally recognized Environmental education program. Helen holds a degree from California State University, Northridge and is a Certified Applied Behavior Analyst. At times, Helen can be found on the lake or with a pack on her back, but her main focus is fostering future environmental stewards and helping with the development of the programs’ curricula. Helen is a mother of two teen children who love the outdoors as much as she does. Bionerds is lucky to have Helen in our team.
Ivy Stecher is an Educator Associate who graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a Bachelors degree (BS) in Biology. She has years of experience teaching and tutoring children and also worked as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). She enjoys biology because it is fun and cool to understand how everything around you is working and how you can improve the world. She enjoys doing yoga and walking her dogs in her free time. While volunteering to teach children at a community center during undergrad, she discovered her love for teaching and helping them better understand difficult but fun topics, and hopes to continue inspiring future scientists! Bionerds is grateful to have her in our team.
Jamie Lee is an Educator Assistant for Bionerds with a strong passion for education. She has a Bachelor of Arts in French Language and Literature from Konkuk University in Korea. She has been an English tutor for students for years and now is excited to share her passion in education and science to our young Bionerds. Bionerds is grateful to have her in our team.
Jessica Ballard is an Educator Associate at Bionerds. She received her degree in Biological Science with a concentration in Marine Biology from California State University, Fullerton. Jessica has years of experience in marine biology research and education, which motivated her to spread this passion by teaching biology to students. She hopes to give students a positive experience in biology and encourage them to apply those skills in the future. Bionerds is grateful to have her in the team.
Josephine is an Educator Assistant for Bionerds. She finds biology to be a very interesting subject. She is attending Irvine Valley College to pursue her bachelor degree in Psychology. She also loves music, playing a violin during her free time. She enjoys working with all students of Bionerds and is excited to work with more future young Bionerds. Bionerds has a blast having her in the team.
Joshua Mckinley is an Educator Associate who graduated from California State University, Fullerton with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biological Science (concentration in Cellular Biology). He has years of experience in marine biology research, mentoring and teaching. He enjoys science because it allows us as a society to think critically and answer life’s important mysteries. He also plays piano during his free time. Joshua has a passion for mentoring youth and allowing them to reach success. Bionerds is fortunate to have him in the team.
Kristine Martinez is an Educator Associate at Bionerds. She graduated from Bradley University, Peoria, IL, with a degree in Biology. She went on to do corneal research at Bethesda Eye Institute in St. Louis, MO, and then immunology research at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, CA. She received her Masters in Biology at University of California, San Diego, concentrating in immunology and co-authored several publications in her field. In the classroom, she loves to see students make connections and learn to love science. Bionerds is fortunate to have her in the team.
Sameera Rangwala is an Educator Associate at Bionerds. She has a passion for all things science. She earned her bachelor degree in Biology with a minor in Family Psychology from the University of Maryland, College Park. She continued her academic journey to earn a Master of Public Health with a concentration in Biostatistics from the University of Maryland as well. Not long after, she earned another Master’s degree in Biotechnology from the University of Maryland. Sameera has 15 plus years in the industry field. She is also a mother of three young children who naturally love science and technology. She hopes to teach, inspire, and ignite a passion for science in the next generation of world changers. Sameera is a pleasure to have in the Bionerds team.
Sana Datar is an Educator Associate at Bionerds. She graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Health Sciences from Chapman University, and is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Public Health from The George Washington University. Sana has many years of experience working with elementary school children and is passionate about making an impact in education. She also tutors and mentors students of all ages to help them build confidence and develop a love for learning. In her free time, she loves going to the beach and doing yoga. Sana is a pleasure to have in the Bionerds team.
Sarah Quintero is an Educator Associate who graduated from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona with a Bachelors of Science degree in Biological Sciences with an emphasis in Microbiology. She is pursuing a Single Subject Teaching Credential at Cal Poly to teach high school level life science. She is passionate about the use of proactive learning strategies in the classroom including collaborative scaffolding and the multisensory teaching method. Sarah believes that education is a lifelong process and spends her time learning about pedagogy, digital art, and foreign language learning. She is also an advocate of community building efforts and participates in city beautification projects and sustainable urban transport lobbying. Sarah is a pleasure to have in the Bionerds team.
Serafina Benjamin is an Educator Associate at Bionerds. She graduated with a bachelor degree in Elementary Education from California State University, Chico. She loves teaching Science at Bionerds, and sharing her love for learning with her students. A mom and active member of the homeschool community, she founded a community group, where she planned and led educational field trips for the students, along with homeschooling her own daughter for many years. She currently is a substitute teacher in Saddleback Valley Unified, and completing her Masters in Teaching degree through University of Southern California. Her plans are to obtain her teaching credential. She enjoys hiking, and surfing, in her free time. Bionerds is excited having her in the team.