Who We Are

Founder:

Dr. Trevor Soponis

trevor-8.jpg

Dr. Trevor Soponis is a life-long education professional with extensive experience in leading transformative education projects involving school, district, state, and university partners. His collaborative approach focuses on implementing improvement cycles by establishing a shared vision, identifying best practices from research, supporting people as they implement changes, and utilizing data to track project impact. Using this approach, he has successfully worked with thousands of teachers and administrators to continually improve teaching and learning practices in classrooms across the world. His doctorate from New York University examined the impacts of innovative environmental education programs while proposing a unique system to better support the design and implementation of sustainable ecological learning in K-12 education.

 

Contributor:

Madhavi Phadke

TSLP 06-21 Short Bio.jpg

Madhavi Phadke is an educator motivated to change how our audiences are learning and helping others to explain the world around them using science. Her inspiration is drawn from her experiences as someone who did not fit the Asians-Are-Great-At-Math-And-Science stereotype. These experiences have helped her design unique ways for her audience to access, express, and demonstrate their learning. Her work under phenomenal faculty members at Rutgers University as a teaching and research assistant finally allowed Madhavi to experience inquiry based and active learning styles for herself. Inquiry and active learning methods allow us to ask questions, generate or deduce answers, and retrieve new information faster. This ultimately allows anyone to become an expert faster than conventional methods. Employing these strategies has helped Madhavi's audience to explore personal questions and compare one’s findings to what they already know. After achieving her Masters in Science Education, Madhavi's founding years as an educator were focused on allowing the audience to abandon the idea that learning is demonstrated by knowing facts and completing worksheets. Her current work focus is developing non-linear lesson design for science which empowers the audience to think critically and emphasizes the learning process itself- a more intuitive and authentic learning experience for all. In her free time Madhavi is busy exploring things with her curious kiddo, pursuing her passion for North Indian Classical music as a vocalist, and growing or cooking lots of food.

 

Contributor:

Elizabeth Szablya

ES.jpg

Elizabeth has 7 years of experience teaching and developing curriculum for school districts and educational groups alike. With a bachelor's degree focused in Biology and currently pursuing her master’s degree in Instruction and Design Technology, she has extensive experience in creating place-based science curriculum. Taking inspiration from her experience in the Philadelphia Public school system and an independent school in Thailand, her goal is to make science personal for teachers and students alike especially in underrepresented groups in science. In Philadelphia, she worked with the Teachers Institute of Philadelphia at the University of Pennsylvania to bring university level study and research into Philadelphia public school classrooms. Her unit “Freshwater Ecology in Philadelphia” bridges the gap between science and the humanities, and is currently used as an instructional resource model for the school district. For The Sustainable Learning Projects, Elizabeth is collaborating to create a multi-year interdisciplinary marine biology curriculum, making sure to incorporate her passion with the design-thinking process that creates real-world impacts.

 

Contributor:

Bri Keo-Williams

20200312_111652.jpg

Bri Keo-Williams is a student at Portland State University majoring in General Science and Environmental Science & Management with a focus in aquatic systems and an interest in ecology and biodiversity. Her deepest belief is that the pursuit of knowledge for the sake of knowledge is unsustainable in the face of Climate Change and that science should be centered around ecological compassion and used to implement meaningful change. With this in mind, she aspires to contribute to actionable bodies of scientific work. This year, she studied Sunflower sea stars, a keystone species that had been recently added to the IUCN red list as critically endangered, due to unprecedented sea star wasting events. Their absence has been associated with trophic cascades that continue to threaten the ecological integrity of kelp forest ecosystems on the Oregon coast. Alongside a team, she developed a potential action plan on behalf of the state Fish and Wildlife Department. This population recovery action plan consisted of six specific goals including establishing an Oregon-based captive breeding program and promoting collaboration with local fishing communities.  Most recently, Bri has taken on the role of research intern at The Sustainable Learning Projects for their Ocean Harvest Project. She is currently helping to develop a small-scale and sustainable oyster farming plan, as well as, supporting curriculum writers through research. She hopes to continue to be involved with meaningful, action-oriented roles in the future.