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.
Alyssa Speicher, Intern
Alyssa is an aspiring writer, editor, and designer with a passion for marketing communications (especially social media communications). She is a Pittsburgh native who is halfway through her junior year at Cedarville University in Ohio. She's almost done completing her degree in Professional Writing and Information Design, and she'll also graduate with a minor in Business Administration. She hopes to one day go back to school for her MBA. She is most passionate about sharing her skills with others to help make a difference in her community.