Our mission is to connect families and educators with the instruction, tools, and resources to power early S.T.E.A.M. learning.
Board of Directors
Founder & President
Erica Peterson is the Founder of Science Tots and current Board President. Erica graduated from West Virginia University with a Bachelor's degree in Animal Science. During her time at WVU, Erica gained some very important life skills while working in the laboratory- discipline and persistence. She hopes to empower the next generation to be problem-solvers and innovative thinkers through STEAM education. Over the past year, Erica has met with several families and educators in Western PA to learn more about the different needs in their communities. In order to touch the lives of more children, Erica's goal for Science Tots in 2017 is to partner with organizations in Washington and Allegheny County that are currently working to help families in need. She feels that together we can truly make a difference.
Laurie Meszaros Dearolf
Laurie Meszaros Dearolf, PhD is an engineer who has worked on projects from tractor design to heterotopic ossification (a really interesting orthopaedic problem where bone grows where it is not supposed to grow!). After completing a postdoctoral fellowship, Laurie began working for The Perry Initiative, a national non-profit organization dedicated to building the pipeline of women in engineering and orthopaedics careers, and she currently works as executive director. She is interested in informal science education and tissue engineering and likes to spend her free time running, exploring Pittsburgh with her family, and cooking elaborate Sunday dinners.
A leader in local non profit environmental education, Julie has spoken at conferences across the state about the importance of nature study in the early childhood classroom. Her undergraduate and graduate studies led her to positions with the Dawes Arboretum, The Cincinnati Zoo and The Outdoor Classroom. Currently the Education Program Director at Allegheny Land Trust, Julie gets to combine her love of nature and open spaces with creating hands-on interactive programming for all ages. Julie loves being a “teacher’s teacher” and running nature based workshops to increase educators’ confidence in bringing nature into their classrooms.
Katy Wack, PhD currently works as the Director of Product Development at Western Oncolytics, Ltd. in Pittsburgh, PA. Katy loves being a mom to her 10 year old firecracker of a daughter, and looks forward to new adventures daily as they both grow and learn. Katy currently uses her communication and research skills to attempt to cure cancer with her fellow scientists at Western Oncolytics. She’s grateful to have been working in science education and outreach for over 18 years and is extremely excited about Science Tots. Her passion is to bring students of all ages together to investigate the world around them. She believes that the collaborative skills involved in research are applicable in all areas of life and can bring confidence and creativity to a person’s journey.
Roxy is the Development Director at Pittsburgh Festival Opera. She originally was originally was pre-med at Randolph-Macon Woman's College before making the brave/naive decision to instead major in theater. She spent the following decade directing in Los Angeles and New York before returning home to the Pittsburgh area to raise her daughter (like people do). Roxy hold her MFA from Sarah Lawrence College and is working towards her Certificate in Nonprofit Management from West Virginia University. In her free time, she watches whichever episode of Bubble Guppies her daughter deems acceptable.
Eric is the Founder & CEO of a software startup called Imagine Careers. They aggregate data about companies from sites all over the web and then match people and companies based on skill and workplace fit. Eric graduated from Westminster College with a degree in Computer Information Systems. He spent 10 years working in IT in higher education before the inspiration hit him to become an entrepreneur in the software space. He's married to a Trauma/Burn Nurse named Jodi. They live in Robinson Township and are currently raising three little ones. Eric is passionate about helping kids like his pull away from the TV and iPad and roll up their sleeves in STEM!