Our Teachers Are Experienced
Educators, Authors, & Content Developers
BLAIR LEE MS
Blair Lee, M.S. is the primary author of Pandia Press’s critically acclaimed REAL Science Odyssey Series, and she is the author of The Science of Climate Change: A Hands-On Course and Project-Based Learning Creating a Modern Education of Curiosity, Innovation, and Impact. Blair earned Bachelor’s degrees in Biology and Chemistry and Master’s degree in Chemistry at the University of California San Diego. She is a passionate advocate of innovative academics using secular materials. Through her speaking and writing, her goal is to empower educators to dare to be innovative and create something unique and academically-rich when handcrafting their child’s journey through learning.
When teaching at her local community college, Blair found that many of her students were lacking in basic foundational science upon entering college. She believes science can be and should be taught from the beginning of a child’s education. She began working with her own son and his friends on methods of teaching science concepts usually reserved for high school or college students. The results of her research and writing is REAL Science Odyssey Chemistry 1, Biology 2, Astronomy 1, Astronomy 2, Earth & Environment 1, and The Stargazer’s Notebook—concept-rich, hands-on courses that engage young people’s minds and lay a firm foundation of science concepts. Blair plans on using these same methods while incorporating a project-focus into the online classes she will be teaching.
Blair now spends her time writing science for young people and is currently working on REAL Science Odyssey Biology 1 and Earth & Environment 2. She is also the founder of Secular Eclectic Academic (SEA) Homeschoolers, a supportive community of over 39,000 members that advocates for the exclusive use of secular, academic materials. She spends time in the SEA Facebook group answering questions and offering advice for that community. She lives in California with her husband, son, many dogs, and several guinea pigs. When not homeschooling her son and writing textbooks, she loves to ski, cook (most chemists are good cooks), read, and hike. You can contact Blair directly with questions about REAL Science Odyssey and SEA Homeschoolers at [email protected].
SAMANTHA MATALONE COOK MAT
Samantha Matalone Cook, MAT, is an educator, historian, writer, maker, and speaker. She has almost three decades of experience in education, program development, and the arts and is a dedicated mentor and lifelong learner. She has a BA in Humanities with an emphasis in Medieval History and Archaeology, and an MAT from the George Washington Graduate School of Education and Human Development, specializing in Museum Education. As an educator, Samantha has worked with both small and large organizations to create educational programming that centers and connects the learner to concepts and skills. She has taught in classrooms and in private workshops, mentored other educators, and worked for and with many museums and non-profit organizations, including the Smithsonian.
Samantha was or is a founder or advisor of several makerspaces, including Curiosity Hacked, a non-profit hackerspace for kids and families, where she built international learning communities and pushed the boundaries of what learner-centered, alternative STEAM education could look like. She is a consultant and advisory board member for Home Base, a community education center for home educating families, and an advisor and consultant for SEA, an international advocacy group for secular, academic education. Samantha has recently joined SEA as an editor for the magazine and to help build the SEA Publishing branch, with the intention of supporting other authors and midwifing high quality, interesting, and secular educational materials.
Samantha works on a consulting basis with both families and organizations and in leading professional development workshops. She continues to experiment with learning through teaching dynamic, project-based classes on History and the Humanities through the lens of art and invention (SHTEAM), expanding how her favorite subjects can be used as a catalyst for understanding, expression, and intersectionality. Samantha believes that learning should be consensual, multidisciplinary, and dynamic, and uses those values as a foundation for her classes. Her courses center on modeling passion for History and the Humanities and making connections for relevance and meaning. She enjoys building relationships with her students that are based on trust, humor, and limitless collaboration.
Samantha recently co-authored the book Project-Based Learning: Creating a Modern Education of Curiosity, Innovation, and Impact. Her next books to be published include a series of project-based learning centered book studies inspired by the world of Harry Potter, and a multi-disciplinary curriculum for Ancient History, which is the first of a four part series for Pandia Press’ History Odyssey (Level 2), with a companion curriculum designed to build students’ skills in historical research and writing.
When not working, Samantha spends her time painting, reading, cooking, gaming, and hiking in the beautiful Rocky Mountains. She also finds new adventures and manages mischief every day with her two teens and one preteen, all home educated; the oldest of whom has recently fledged into college.
To see her past and current projects, please visit www.samanthamatalonecook.com
DR. MICHELLE PARRINELLO-CASON
Dr. Michelle Parrinello-Cason has a Ph.D. in English with an emphasis on rhetoric and composition. She has more than a decade of teaching experience including six years of full-time college experience. She has designed workshops and classes for elementary, middle, and high school students and is a homeschooling mom of two.
Her passions include pop culture, moral philosophy, essay writing, and reading skills. She designs classes that take a multi-disciplinary, integrated reading-writing approach to make sure learners have context and purpose for everything they create.
During her time as an English professor, Michelle specialized in teaching “developmental” writing, which means she was working with the students who had been deemed unprepared for college-level writing. In that work, she formed a teaching philosophy deeply centered on trust.
She believes that students learn best when they know that their instructor genuinely trusts them to do well. She works hard to avoid assignments and classroom dynamics that create antagonistic power structures. Instead, she wants learners to see her as a supportive guide who genuinely aims to help them reach their own goals.
Michelle’s doctoral work heavily focused on the history of writing instruction in America with an emphasis on the way writing pedagogy reinforced structural power dynamics. This work has committed Michelle to a lifelong pursuit of pedagogical practices that resist such power dynamics. She aims to create — through the practical impacts of assignments, course discussions, and feedback — educational experiences that empower learners to use their own voices.
DR. SABRINA WEISS
Dr. Sabrina Weiss specializes in developing theoretical models that represent the ethical and social dimensions of issues at the intersection of science, technology, and society. Topics of interest include gender and sexuality, discourse theory, bodies and cyborgs, bioethics, food ethics, and innovative pedagogies, as well as the institutional and change dimensions affecting those areas.
Dr. Weiss earned a B.S. from Stanford’s Science, Technology, and Society program, an M.S. in Bioethics from Albany Medical College, and a Ph.D. in Science and Technology Studies at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and is a former U.S. Naval Officer (ROTC) who served overseas in Japan and at the Office of Naval Research.
An interdisciplinary and international scholar, Dr. Weiss has taught at Rochester Institute of Technology, which houses the National Institute for the Deaf, and at Leuphana University in Lüneburg, Germany. Dr. Weiss is a coauthor of Worlds of ScienceCraft: New Horizons in Sociology, Philosophy and Science Studies (2009).
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