Yellowstone Institute: Meet the Team 2023

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2023 Yellowstone Institute Participants

Scott Caudill
Science Teacher
Raleigh Charter High School, Wake County
Hobbies: Backpacking, hiking, canoeing, gardening, paddleboarding, fishing.
Looking forward to: The appreciation of nature you can only have from spending a large amount of time outdoors.
Eryn Dillard
2nd Grade Teacher
Woods Charter School, Chatham County
Hobbies: Reading, cooking, thrifting, snuggling with my pups… and of course enjoying the outdoors and exploring new places!
Looking forward to: Reveling in the grand views, experiencing the geysers with all my senses, witnessing wolves, bison, and so much more!
Jessie Francese
8th Grade Teacher
Exploris Middle School, Wake County
Hobbies: Hiking, running, reading, anything related to puzzles.
Looking forward to: I am most excited about seeing the wildlife in Yellowstone and learning more about the geology of the area!
Sharon Harbaugh
Math and Science Teacher
Timber Ridge Treatment Center, Rowan County
Hobbies: Hiking, swimming, soccer, camping.
Looking forward to: Everything! But especially geysers, wildlife, sunrises, and great company.
Rachel Hearn
2nd Grade Teacher
Exploris Elementary School, Wake County
Hobbies: Teaching! Camping, reading, cooking, and hanging with the family.
Looking forward to: The natural wonders of the park, the great company we’ll be in, and some nature immersion!
Becqui Masters
1st Grade Teacher
Central Elementary School, Pasquotank County
Hobbies: Hiking, drawing, crafts, reading, writing, gardening, kayaking.
Looking forward to: Seeing bison, wolves, and grizzly bears in the wild.
Dana Miller
Science Teacher
Tuscola High School, Haywood County
Hobbies: My hobbies include hiking, backpacking, reading, cooking, experiencing live music, and spending time with my loved ones.
Looking forward to: I am looking forward to experiencing the geology and wildlife of Yellowstone, particularly wolves and geysers. I am also excited to connect with other educators who are passionate about science!
Andrew Nelson
Woods Charter School, Chatham County
Hobbies: Hiking, reading, disc golf, pool, classical music, wine.
Looking forward to: Most simply, the nature and wildlife.
Lindsey Purvis
Park Ranger
Haw River State Park, Rockingham County
Hobbies: Hiking, plant & animal ID, gardening, sketching, kitten fostering, laughing at internet memes.
Looking forward to: Hiking in a completely different landscape than I’m used to and finding the similarities with home. Hopefully seeing bison and wolves.
Talicia L. Smith
Science Multi-Classroom Leader, Grades 6-8
Douglas Byrd Middle School, Cumberland County
Hobbies: Writing poetry, singing, spending time with family, encouraging others.
Looking forward to: I am most looking forward to exploring this historic national park and learning more about the organisms that live there and how they have adapted over time to the changing environment.
Darryl Spivey
Science Teacher
South Columbus High School, Columbus County
Hobbies: Travel, dining, sports, DIY projects.
Looking forward to: Learning more details about the Park’s features. Discovering information about Yellowstone I previously did not know. Looking forward to seeing wildlife and how we interact. Excited about the geysers – their formation and continuing functions.
Kimberly Whitehurst
5th Grade Science Teacher
Kitty Hawk Elementary School, Dare County
Hobbies: I enjoy being outside – spending time at the beach, reading, puzzles, painting, and playing just about any sport.
Looking forward to: Being immersed in the ecosystem – learning about the animals and plants, the history of the National Park

Museum Staff Leaders

Melissa Dowland
Manager of Teacher Education
NC Museum of Natural Sciences
Hobbies: Camping, hiking, reading, nature photography.
Looking forward to: Sharing my favorite place in the world with an amazing group of educators. Observing Yellowstone’s wildlife, listening to the sounds of hot springs and geysers, learning from friends and experts, and immersing myself in the wilderness of Yellowstone!
Martha Fisk
Manager of Offsite and Virtual Outreach
NC Museum of Natural Sciences
Hobbies: Reading, adventuring with my two young boys, piano, and baking pies.
Looking forward to: Being in wide open spaces and exploring the big sky country of Yellowstone. I am excited to really get to know these special places and share these experiences with educators. I hope we see and hear wolves!!
Greg Skupien
Curator of the Naturalist Center
NC Museum of Natural Sciences
Hobbies: Gardening with native plants, playing basketball, reading, decorating cookies with my wife, finding new ways to entertain my two little girls.
Looking forward to: Returning to an ecosystem that was a formative part of my early career. Learning from experts, observing wildlife, and hanging out with a great group of educators.

2019 Yellowstone Institute Team