Sandy Marshall, Founder/Chair
Sandy Marshall has spent the past twenty years in nonprofit management, including work with the American Heart Association, Special Olympics and Easter Seals; she is a Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE). Three years after creating the national cause marketing campaign, NASCAR Day, Ms. Marshall founded The NASCAR Foundation, which is now a $5 million organization engaging millions of fans annually. In her nearly ten years at NASCAR, she believes her most important work was in the STEM area of NASCAR. Engaging the company and sport with non-profits and making STEM exciting and relevant through motorsports.
Due to her passion for helping nonprofits that have the mission and infrastructure to make great social change, she started Sandra Marshall and Associates— a consulting group focused on fueling social impact, www.smaimpact.com. While funding national STEM initiatives through The NASCAR Foundation, Sandy learned of the disadvantages that girls and women have in STEM majors and careers, and became committed to doing what she could to make a difference in her own community - Project Scientist had lift off!
Personally Sandy had experienced gender stereotyping and a lack of role models as she pursued a STEM major in college and as a result changed majors. As a mother of two young girls with a passion for science, Sandy remains committed to changing the status quo for her girls as well as girls across the country. Project Scientist began summer 2011 out of Sandy’s guesthouse in Charlotte, NC. The organization is now on four University campuses serving over 800 girls annually. Ms. Marshall attended the University of Southern California, where she received a BS in Public Policy with an emphasis on Nonprofits.
She has a certificate in nonprofit management from the University of California, Irvine. Sandy and her family currently split time between Laguna Beach, Pasadena and Charlotte.
Alyssa Sharpe, National Program Director
Alyssa Sharpe joins the Project Scientist team as the National Program Director based in Charlotte, NC. Her passion for experiential learning began during many summers spent serving as a camp counselor in the mountains of North Carolina. Alyssa attended the University of Central Florida where she earned her degree in Advertising and Public Relations. Despite numerous public relations internships, Alyssa felt a calling from the education sector. She proudly joined Teach For America, an organization dedicated to closing the achievement gap. She worked as a First Grade Teacher in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools for three years.
She continued her career at Trinity Episcopal School, an independent K-8 school in Charlotte, serving as the Extended Day and Summer Camp Director. In her four years at Trinity, she doubled the number of campers served and tripled the number of programs offered. Wanting to provide diverse programs for students, Alyssa was fortunate to be selected as a STEM Fellow at Discovery Place Education Studio. Here, she connected with other STEM educators which grew her passion for STEM subjects.
Alyssa is excited to join the team at Project Scientist and meet all the future STEM superstars in Charlotte, Pasadena and beyond!
Rebecca Sims, Program Coordinator
As a Kentucky native, Rebecca attended the University of Kentucky, where she received degrees in Natural Resource Conservation and Soil Science, and the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities, where she completed graduate work in Plant Biology. Throughout college and graduate school, Rebecca coupled her coursework with outreach opportunities. Through these opportunities, she gained an expanded understanding on the issues that prevail in STEM education across all self-identifiers, particularly those related to gender. She became more aware that issues of gender and equity can affect students despite their aptitudes and interests in STEM fields.
Rebecca is passionate about fixing these leaking pipelines early, and giving a young and diverse community an opportunity to explore their STEM curiosities and view a different future for themselves as she once had the opportunity to do. Rebecca is delighted at the opportunity to be a part of the amazing Project Scientist team where through advocacy, mentorship and education we can create a community where all children thrive!
Kelly O'Brien, Office Coordinator
Kelly O'Brien has served on the Project Scientist team as our Office Coordinator, since 2016. Over her entire adult life, Kelly has lived her passion for education and for children. Working in education for more than 10 years, Kelly has taught Kindergarten, 4th grade, 6th grade and 8th grade. More recently, Kelly has managed administration and logistics for a property investment start-up.
A Northern California native, Kelly moved to Southern California more than 15 years ago to pursue tertiary education. Kelly holds a single subject and multiple subject teaching credential; an MA in Education involving post graduate work at Chapman University and the National University; and a BA in English Literature with a minor in Deaf Education from California State University, Fullerton.
A passionate athlete, Kelly believes deeply in fostering an active lifestyle from childhood. Kelly has coached children's soccer and softball and currently, leads a running group for children.
Kelly and her husband have distinguished themselves as advocates for children and have elected to invest in an arts and healing program for children of incarcerated parents, founded in their belief that children of all socioeconomic backgrounds and life circumstances deserve equal opportunities to education and educational support programs.
Kelly is a married, mother of two and lives in Laguna Beach, California.
Erika Duncan- Chair
Erika has been with Bank of America for 18 years. She started her career as a Marketing Database Analyst and moved into the Six Sigma career path and earned Green and Black Belt certifications.From 2001 to present, she’s held various roles in Consumer & Small Business Banking, eCommerce & ATM, Quality & Productivity, Global Human Resources, and Global Corporate Services.
Today she leads a team of Supplier Diversity professionals who have primary responsibility for leading the company’s efforts to increase opportunities for diverse businesses in Bank of America’s competitive Sourcing and Procurement processes. Erika’s key responsibility is driving the strategic analytics and delivering the internal and external supplier diversity reporting requirements for the bank. Her reporting and analytical expertise was a critical input to Bank of America’s induction into the Billion Dollar Roundtable in 2014.
She graduated with honors in Mathematics from Hampton University and earned her Master’s of Science degree in Biostatistics from The University of Michigan. Erika is a native of Charlotte, NC where she resides with her husband and two children.
Leslie Johnson- Treasurer
With over twenty years of arts education experience, Leslie has provided strategic, creative and visionary leadership in the development, operation and evaluation of K-16 arts education, community engagement and audience development programs for some of Los Angeles premier arts and cultural institutions. Currently the Director of Education and Community Partnerships at Center Theatre Group, she previously served as the Director of School Programs for the Music Center, the Performing Arts Center of Los Angeles County; and Associate Director for the Los Angeles Arts & Business Council (ARTS, Inc.).
She is president of the board of the directors for 24th Street Theatre and is a past chair of the board for the California Alliance for Arts Education– the local affiliate of the John F. Kennedy Performing Arts Center’s National Alliance for Arts Education and co-chaired the KCAAEN National Advocacy Committee. Leslie regularly contributes her expertise to the field, including her service as an advisor to the California state PTA and state superintendent of public instruction and secretary of education to determine key policy priorities for arts education equity statewide; and recent work on the National Corporate Theatre Fund’s Impact Creativity Task Force.
Cathy Tran Moses- Secretary
Cathy Tran Moses is an attorney at Cox, Castle & Nicholson LLP in Orange County, California specializing in complex commercial litigation and employment litigation. The STEM gender gap is an issue near and dear to Cathy's heart: while an undergraduate at Harvard, Cathy conducted extensive research concerning the STEM gap, reasons why it exists, and potential solutions for addressing it. After graduation, Cathy spent two years as an analyst at the investment bank Goldman, Sachs & Co., and then attended law school at the University of Michigan.
In addition to being a lawyer, Cathy has two young daughters (whom she hopes will also be STEM Superstars one day) and is involved in a number of nonprofits including the Harvard College Fund and the Public Law Center.
Stephanie Head- Member
Stephanie has over fifteen years of experience in data analytics and reporting in a variety of industries across the country and has always been passionate about STEM subjects. Stephanie currently leads the data management and reporting functions for PwC's Corporate Responsibility team. She leverages her data analytics background to help the team quantify, monitor, and analyze various data metrics in support of all PwC’s Corporate Responsibility programs including social and environmental initiatives.
Prior to joining the Corporate Responsibility team, Stephanie was a Manager in the Advisory Forensic Technology Solutions practice of PwC for 8 years. Here, Stephanie worked with a variety of clients where she specialized in leading teams in the analysis of large, complex data sets, particularly in the context of litigation support and investigations.
Stephanie holds a bachelor’s degree in Decision Sciences from Miami University in Ohio and is looking forward to sending her daughter to Project Scientist in 2019!
Candice Langston- Member
Candice is a native Charlottean raising two kids in the same neighborhood where she grew up. She spent 10 years outside of Charlotte moving around Texas and Europe for graduate school and work, and in 2002 she and her husband Felix decided to make Charlotte their permanent home. Most of her working life has been in the arts or with non-profit organizations, either raising money or in a marketing role.
Candice is an alumnus of Queens University (BA, Art History) and Southern Methodist University (MA, Arts Administration; MBA). She currently works for Solid, a communications firm that specializes in supporting civic projects for non-profits, municipalities, foundations, and corporations.
She has been involved with the Duke Mansion and the Lee Institute for over a decade and joined their board of directors in 2011. Candice started TEDxCharlotte in 2009 and has been involved numerous other fundraising and community programs. In 2012, she started an in-school coding program for gifted, but economically challenged, fifth-graders at Thomasboro Academy with the support of One Laptop Per Child, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, and the Knight Foundation.
As soon as her daughter Ava was old enough (4), she enrolled her in Project Scientist. She believes that opportunities to grow, learn, and prosper should be available and accessible to everyone regardless of circumstance.
Spyridon (Spiros) Michalakis, PhD.- Member
Spiros holds a B.S. in Mathematics with Computer Science from MIT, and a PhD in Applied Mathematics from UC Davis. He is currently a Staff Researcher and Manager of Outreach Activities at the Institute for Quantum Information and Matter at Caltech, where he splits his time between research on quantum many-body physics and outreach to the public. He has worked with Google to design qCraft, a mod introducing quantum mechanics into the popular video game, Minecraft.
His collaboration with Jorge Cham, creator of PHD Comics, has produced popular animations on different aspects of quantum science, such as Quantum Information and Topological Quantum Computing. Spiros is also a science consultant for Hollywood. He recently consulted for the superhero movie, Ant-Man, helping Marvel Studios introduce the quantum realm into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.