2008 Catalyst Masters

Ronald Andres (Chemistry — Chemical Engineering)

Ronald Andres received a BS in Chemical Engineering from Northwestern University in 1959. He was a NSF Fellow at Princeton University and received a PhD in 1962. He joined the Princeton faculty in 1962, achieving the rank of full professor in 1972. While at Princeton, Andres’ research focused on the behavior of rarefied gas expansions and the use of these flows to study fast chemical reactions and nucleation phenomena. In 1981 Andres left Princeton to become the Head of Purdue's School of Chemical Engineering. He served in that capacity until 1987 when he became Engineering Research Professor.  While at Purdue, Andres' research activities have centered on the synthesis of novel nanostructured materials. Professor Andres' research group has developed aerosol techniques for synthesizing metal particles of controlled size, composition and crystal structure whose diameters are in the nanometer size range. They have pioneered the encapsulation of these ultrasmall metal crystals by organic molecules and the self-assembly of these composite particles into superlattice arrays that exhibit unique electronic, magnetic and optical properties of interest for nanoelectronic and information storage applications. Professor Andres' current research interests also include the synthesis of superparamagnetic Fe/Au nanoparticles and the use of these particles as MRI contrast agents and for noninvasive detection and treatment of cancer. Since becoming an emeritus professor in 2004, his research program involves only undergraduate research and honors research students.

Paul Barbara (Chemistry — Physical Chemistry)

Paul Barbara is the Richard J.V. Johnson Welch Chair in Chemistry and the director of the Center for Nano- and Molecular Science and Technology at the University of Texas at Austin. He received a BA in chemistry from Hofstra University in 1974 and a PhD in chemistry from Brown University in 1978. From 1978 to 1980 he carried out postdoctoral work at Bell Laboratories. He joined the faculty of the University of Minnesota in 1980, achieving the rank of full professor in 1990. In 1995 he was named 3M-Alumni Distinguished Professor of Chemistry. He moved to the University of Texas in 1998. His research interests include nanoscience, nanotechnology, ultrafast chemical reaction dynamics in solution, photochemistry and single molecule spectroscopy of protein/nucleic acid interactions. He is currently a senior editor of Accounts of Chemical Research, and a past chair of the Division of Physical Chemistry of the American Chemical Society. He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1999, a Fellow of the American Physical Society in 1993, a Fellow of the American Association for Advancement of Science in 2004 and a Member of the National Academy of Sciences in 2006. Other awards include an Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship (1983), a Presidential Young Investigator award (1984) and a NSF Creativity Award in 1998.

Erica Dankmeyer (Art — Dance/Choreography)

Erica Dankmeyer, artistic director, dancer, choreographer and teacher, began her ballet training with Paul Curtis and Anna Bena in California. She studied modern and African dance at Williams College, where she returns annually as guest artist. Ms. Dankmeyer has been a member of the Martha Graham Dance Company since 1996, has performed in many Graham ballets, such as the Woman in Yellow in "Diversion of Angels." Ms. Dankmeyer has choreographed works for herself and for members of the Graham Company and Ensemble, which have been presented around the United States. Ms. Dankmeyer is on the faculty of the Martha Graham School and has taught at the Neighborhood Playhouse School of Theater, Williams College and Marymount Manhattan College.

Wendy Klemperer (Art —Sculpting)

Wendy Klemperer, born 1958 in Boston, Mass., earned a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry at Harvard University before moving to New York City to pursue art full time, earning a BFA in sculpture at Pratt Institute in 1983. She has received residency grants from the Skowhegan School, The MacDowell Colony, The Ucross Foundation, Sculpture Space in Utica, N.Y. and many others. She completed a visiting artist residency at SIAS University in Zengzhou, China. Her work has been exhibited extensively in NYC and throughout the United States, including installations at Socrates Sculpture Park, N.Y., the Bridgewater-Lustberg Gallery, New York City, The DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park in Lincoln, Mass. and Pratt Institute Sculpture Park in Brooklyn, N.Y. Her large-scale permanent installations include 560 Broadway in New York city, Henry Lay Sculpture Park in Miss., Somersby Landing Sculpture Park in Newburyport, Mass., California State University at Bakersfield, Coastal Maine Botanic Gardens and the LL Bean Company in Freeport, Maine.

Klemperer teaches welded sculpture at the Educational Alliance Art School, New York City, Third Ward, Brooklyn, NY, and the Carving Studio and Sculpture Ctr, West Rutland Vt. She lives in Brooklyn, N.Y. and Nelson, N.H.

William Klemperer (Chemistry — Spectroscopy)

William Klemperer was born in New York City October 6, 1927. After graduation from New Rochelle High School he joined the U S Navy. After service in the U S Navy Air Corps 1944-1946, he entered Harvard College and received a BA degree in 1950. His PhD was at the University of California, Berkeley (1954), where he studied with Professor George Pimentel. He joined the faculty at Harvard University as an instructor in analytical chemistry in 1954. He has remained there except for brief absences in 1968-1969 when he spent an enjoyable sabbatical year with the astronomers at Cambridge, England, and in 1979-1981 when he was at the National Science Foundation as Assistant Director for Mathematical and Physical Sciences. He was a Visiting scientist at the great Bell Telephone Laboratories in Murray Hill, N.J. 1963-1983. He spent a term at Oxford University in 1989 as Hinshelwood Lecturer as well as a semester as Visiting Miller Professor at the University of California, Berkeley, in 1998.

He has taught undergraduate courses in analytical chemistry, physical chemistry, inorganic chemistry, briefly freshman chemistry as well as more advanced courses in quantum mechanics, statistical mechanics and spectroscopy. His present teaching is a most enjoyable freshman seminar titled "Seeing by Spectroscopy."

Steven J. Sibener (Chemistry — Nanoscience and Materials Chemistry)

Steven J. Sibener has made seminal contributions to chemical physics, surface and materials chemistry, and nanoscience. He has conducted pioneering molecular beam studies of gas-phase combustion processes, mechanistic studies of interfacial catalytic reactions, and precision measurements on the atomic-level dynamics of interfaces. In particular, his innovative use of sophisticated gas-surface scattering instruments and atomic-resolution scanning probe microscopes combined with appropriate theory and numerical simulations has led to advances in these areas of research. His program is now also examining molecular self-organization, polymer dynamics, atomically-resolved studies of molecular reactivity and nanoscience projects that may lead to the development of novel functional materials.

Steve accepted appointment to the University of Chicago faculty in 1979 while still a graduate student at Berkeley. He then spent a postdoctoral year of study at Bell Laboratories before settling in Chicago in autumn 1980. Sibener has also been twice elected a Visiting Fellow of the Joint Institute for Laboratory Astrophysics (JILA) located at the University of Colorado in Boulder. At Chicago, he has served as mentor for many postdoctoral fellows, graduate students and undergraduates and is involved in K-12 scientific outreach involving neighboring schools on the south side of Chicago.

He has served in many leadership positions at the University and elsewhere:  He was Director of the University’s Materials Research Science and Engineering Center, Director of the Multi-University Center for Materials Chemistry in the Space Environment and, as Director of the university’s interdisciplinary efforts within The James Franck Institute, played a key role in the conceptualization and design and of the university's new interdisciplinary research facility, the Gordon Center for Integrative Science.  He has also served as Chairman of the Division of Chemical Physics of the American Physical Society.

Steve's honors include the Marlow Medal of the Royal Society of Chemistry, an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation research fellowship, a Camille and Henry Dreyfus Young Faculty Award in Chemistry and an IBM Faculty Development Award. He is an elected Fellow of the American Physical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of The University of Rochester, where he received bachelor’s degrees, with honors, in chemistry and physics. He earned his MS and PhD degrees in chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley, under the guidance of Nobel Laureate Yuan T. Lee.

Andrew Thomas (Art — Music Composition)

Andrew Thomas teaches and was the chairman of the Composition Department at the Pre-College Division at Juilliard from 1969 to 1994. In 1994, The Juilliard School appointed him the Director of the Pre-College Division. In addition to composing, Dr. Thomas performs as a pianist, conductor and is a guest teacher throughout the world. His many awards include a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and a Distinguished Teacher Citation from the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars.

After Vladimir Ashkenazy conducted The Deutsches Symphonie Orchester/Berlin in Dr. Thomas's Marimba Concerto, "Loving Mad Tom," with Evelyn Glennie as the soloist, Jürgen Otten of Der Tagespiel wrote "... his arsenal of romantic ghost music from Weber to Berlioz to Liszt is recognized here, and sound-consciously conveyed into the modern idiom."

Other works of Andrew Thomas that were commissioned and premiered by soloists and organizations within the past few years include: "Wind" for solo marimba, composed for Makoto Nakura, "The Heroic Triad," for Twentieth Century Unlimited, "For the class of 2003," for Renée Fleming, "Valse Triste," a solo marimba work for Simon Boyar, "Crane by the River Li," for the traditional Chinese instrument Orchestra of the Guangxi Arts College in Nanning, China, and "A Samba," a work for two solo flutes (Carol Wincenc and Robert Langevin), two flute choirs and chamber orchestra. Dr. Thomas has also orchestrated his music for lyricist, Gene Scheer‘s: “Lean Away,” which Nathan Gunn sang with the St. Louis Symphony and "I Just Found Another New Voice Teacher" for a Metropolitan Opera performance of “Die Fledermaus.” On January 4, 2001, Renée Fleming sang "I Just Found Another New Voice Teacher" with the Orpheus Strings on “Live From Lincoln Center.“

On October 9, 2004, Dr. Andrew Thomas gave a piano recital in the Juilliard Theater at the Juilliard School celebrating his 65th birthday, 35 years teaching at the Juilliard School and 10 years as its Pre-College director. After 12 years he stepped down from his administrative position in 2006 to concentrate on his composition works, to teach his gifted students and hopefully to foster the musical talents of young international Citizens of the World. At his farewell party Juilliard bestowed upon him the title of director emeritus.

2008 Catalyst Associates

Gaby Avila-Bront (Chemistry — Nanoscience and Materials Chemistry)

Gaby Avila-Bront is a graduate student at the University of Chicago. Born in Venezuela and having moved to New York City as a child, Gaby attended Columbia University and received a BA in chemistry in 2007. As an undergraduate, Gaby was very active in the Columbia University chemistry community as a leader of the Chemistry Undergraduate Society, a teaching assistant and a member of Professor George Flynn's research group. Her research in this group included studying the self-assembly of organic acids on graphite with the Scanning Tunneling Microscope. When she moved to graduate school, Gaby joined Professor Steven Sibener's group at the University of Chicago. Here, her research interests include the study of charge transfer systems with Ultra High Vacuum Scanning Tunneling Microscopy. Gaby's honors include a leadership award for outstanding leadership within a recognized student organization, multiple teaching awards and Research Experience for Undergraduates Fellowships, and Honorable Mention for the 2008 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. In her spare time, Gaby enjoys playing tennis, volleyball and Scrabble.

Johanna Schmidtke (Chemistry — Physical Chemistry)

Johanna Schmidtke is a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Nano and Molecular Science and Technology at the University of Texas at Austin. Originally from Arizona, she received a BS degree in Biochemistry and Mathematics from the University of Arizona in 2002 and a PhD in Physics from the University of Cambridge, UK under Prof. Sir Richard Friend in 2006. She moved to Texas in 2007 and works with Prof. Paul Barbara at UT Austin. Her research interests include organic and inorganic thin film photovoltaics, polymer electronics and single-molecule and high-pressure optical spectroscopy. During her graduate studies, she served as the president of the graduate student body of Churchill College as well as supervising undergraduate courses in the department of mathematics and master’s students in the department of physics. Her honors include a Bill and Melinda Gates Cambridge Scholarship, Winston Churchill Scholarship, Cambridge Overseas Trust Award, National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship, USA Today All-American Academic team award and Flinn Foundation Scholarship.

2008 Catalyst Scholars

Paul Bissonnette (Chemistry — Nanoscience and Materials Chemistry)

Paul Bissonnette is a junior at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools. He has demonstrated an interest in science, through his selection of rigorous science courses as well as his volunteer work at a University of Chicago cancer research lab. Paul also enjoys computer science and is currently taking undergraduate computer science classes at the University of Chicago. Paul is currently working with another Lab School student and a computer science teacher to develop a pilot class to teach parallel and distributed computing to fellow high school students at the Lab School.

Outside of school Paul is a bright, inquisitive individual always searching for answers to difficult problems. He often finds himself writing computer programs and reading scientific publications in his spare time. Paul also enjoys going biking and swimming during the summer with his two brothers. Paul has demonstrated a passion for basic science and computer science both inside and outside of school and is always actively searching for answers.

Catherine Crawford (Chemistry — Nanoscience and Materials Chemistry)

Cati Crawford is a rising senior at the Illinois and Mathematics Science Academy. In school, she greatly enjoys both humanities and science. Recently, she earned a spot as a national finalist in the History Fair Day competition with her documentary on the meat packing industry in Chicago. In terms of science, Cati has pursued many research topics, including an investigation that looked at the effects of Betaseron, a commonly used drug for multiple sclerosis, on the cells of the immune system.

Cati loves sports, particularly soccer, which she has played on her club and school teams for many years. In addition to that, Cati is the vice president of her student council, president of Key Club, and the editor-in-chief of the school newspaper. Outside of school, Cati enjoys running, being with friends, and participating in any activity where she can be outside (Except for the in middle of Chicago winter).

Jessica Durden (Chemistry — Nanoscience and Materials Chemistry)

Jessica Durden is currently attending the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy in Aurora, Ill. This past year, she completed a research project titled "Developing Economically Feasible Magnetically Levitating Trains." Though the project was physics-centered, she is looking to continue similar kinds of research in the field of chemistry. Her current desired college major is a double major in chemical engineering and computer science, though it changes every year or two.

Outside of school, Jessica participates in American Computer Science League and is an avid swimmer. She also has been unofficially involved in Science Olympiad but would like to make that official next year. Although she was hurt and couldn't play soccer or frisbee this year, those are her next two favorite sports behind swimming. She also loves to play water polo on the side and is in the process of restarting the water polo club at school. Next year, she would also like to go to nationals in the chemistry olympiad.

Lee Wei Kao (Chemistry — Chemical Engineering)

Lee-Wei Kao is currently a sophomore in Zionsville Community High School in Indiana. He enjoys taking upper-level math and science courses, such as Physics II and Calculus BC. He actively participates in school clubs, particularly academic teams. He has also participated in and received awards for many national academic tests such as the AMC-12, ACS scholarship test and SAT/ACT.

In his free time, Lee-Wei enjoys working on puzzles, chatting with friends and reading about the latest technology. He plays the piano and violin, taking piano lessons every week. He also plays in the school orchestra.  Music is a big part of Lee-Wei’s life with the Classical and Romantic time periods being his favorite. From an early age, Lee-Wei has been very interested in chess. He enjoys playing against his friends and reading about new strategies online. Whenever he has an extremely large amount of free time, he’ll spend time playing video games with his friends or watching TV.

Jiayi Kong (Chemistry — Physical Chemistry)

Jiayi Kong is a student at the Academy of Science and Technology, and has always been fascinated with science. Since then, she has won numerous science fair awards, including going to the Houston Regional Science Fair twice. Furthermore, Jiayi has advanced to the Canon International Envirothon competition, and is very interested in all the new technology and methodologies that have the potential to improve the environment. This summer, she is one of 40 students who will participate in a summit regarding the topic of sustainable fuels. In the future, there is no doubt that Jiayi will pursue a career in science, and continue to try to leave our world a better place than it was when she arrived.

In Jiayi’s spare time, she likes to spend time with her two little sisters, Sarah and Rebecca. Also, she has a passion for reading, and as a little girl, when others were reading picture books, Jiayi read shelves of nonfiction books about mammals, insects and birds. As of now, her favorite books include "The Three Musketeers," "Jane Eyre," "Candide," and "Gone with the Wind." She has also played the piano for 6 years, and enjoys playing tennis or table tennis with family and friends. Jiayi furthermore loves working at a local restaurant, and also looks forward to an internship with a medical clinic this summer.

Peter Nebres (Chemistry — Chemical Engineering)

Peter Nebres is a 14-year-old incoming junior at the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy. He just finished a busy and exciting sophomore year, adjusting to high school life and living away from home with primarily teenagers other than his residential counselors. Last school year was Peter’s first year of high school having skipped freshman year. He has taken a wide variety of classes, including biology, chemistry, physics, scientific research methods and band, where he plays the clarinet and sometimes helps in the percussion section. Peter also resides at his high school, making it seem like his high school was a college. His favorite classes are chemistry and math. His interest in chemistry led to his application for the Catalyst program and his choice to take more advanced chemistry classes in his junior year. He likes his math classes because of the unorthodox way it is taught at IMSA and gets to help his peers if they can not understand a certain idea.

Peter was a member of the IMSA math team, which took first place overall at the state math tournament. He also is a pianist for the Gospel Choir at his school and a member of the speech team where he competed in the Humorous Duet Acting category. Outside of school, he lives the life of a normal teenager, hanging out with friends, watching the Chicago Bears or Bulls depending on who’s playing, and playing Ultimate Frisbee when he finds the time. He also takes piano lessons and recently played at his piano teacher’s concert. He also is a black belt in karate and continues to go to karate classes with his two brothers, Philip and Paul.

Mark Pavlyukovskyy (Chemistry — Physical Chemistry)

Mark Pavlyukovskyy is a rising senior at the Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science. His curiosity in science, and especially chemistry was sparked by chemistry teachers at his school: Paula Robinson and Heather Hatory. With their help, Mark was a national finalist in the United States Chemistry Olympiad two years in a row. Upon transferring to the Academy, Mark joined the laboratory of Dr. Pamela Padilla, a genetics researcher who studies oxygen deprivation in the nematode C. elegans. Recently Mark presented a poster about his ongoing research at the University of North Texas Graduate Poster Day competition. Mark hopes that he will be better able to appreciate chemistry and science in general by participating in the Catalyst Program, and working with acclaimed chemists.

His interests apart from science include political history and government. Mark has served as a Congressional page and an honorary member of U.S. Congressman Michael Burgess’ Congressional Youth Advisory Council. He founded and was elected president of the Junior Statesmen of America chapter. Mark volunteers with the Denton Teen Court and has served over 150 hours as a prosecutor, sentencing teens who have committed misdemeanors to serve community service time. He also volunteers at the Dallas Children’s Hospital, and has shadowed an orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Williamson, at the Lewisville Medical center, spending over 30 hours in the operating room.

In his free time Mark enjoys playing tennis and chess, hanging out with friends and reading Russian literature. He also likes to weight train, and jog.

Ian Strickman (Chemistry — Spectroscopy)

Ian Strickman is seventeen years old and lives in Weston, Massachusetts, about 20 minutes outside of Boston, and goes to the Commonwealth School, in the Back Bay in Boston. He is interested in nearly any subject having to do with science, but he is specifically interested in quantum mechanics, particle physics, genetics and DNA, and, of course, anything about chemistry. Outside of lab science, Ian is really interested in economics.

Outside of school, Ian likes fencing, watching the Red Sox and cooking. Ian fences sabre (the weapon where one slashes at their opponent, as opposed to poking them) on his high school team. Being from Boston, Ian is an avid Red Sox fan. Ian loves cooking, eating and even just reading about gourmet food.

Brynn Umbach (Chemistry — Physical Chemistry)

Brynn Umbach has just completed her sophomore year at The Academy of Science and Technology and The Woodlands College Park High School, both located in The Woodlands, Texas. Brynn takes her math, science and technology courses through the Academy, which is hosted at The Woodlands College Park High School. The Academy allows dedicated and enthusiastic students to extend their interests in the sciences beyond school by including internships and explorations as a part of the curriculum. Brynn has been an active participant in science fair since seventh grade which has provided her with many great opportunities and honors. In school this past year, she enjoyed taking chemistry and computer science.

At school Brynn also plays in the school band. She has been playing the oboe since fifth grade. She also plays water polo during the school year and the summer, swims during the summer and enjoys running track in the spring. Brynn hopes to use her high school experiences to some day become an architect focusing on sustainable design and advanced materials.

Shirlee Wohl (Chemistry — Spectroscopy)

Shirlee Wohl is currently finishing her junior year at Champlain Valley Union high school in Hinesburg, Vt. As early as elementary school, Shirlee showed an interest in math, and has since received numerous awards in various math competitions. She will be part of the Vermont All-Stars team at a national mathematics competition this June. Her interest in science soon followed, and the CTY Astronomy course she took after seventh grade began her fascination with the stars. The exciting topics discussed in AP Biology this year expanded her interest in science and also contributed to her Second Place finish in the national ExploraVision science contest, for which she created a conceptual technology aimed at regenerating damaged nerve cells. Shirlee hopes to further expand her scientific knowledge by taking  advanced placement chemistry and physics classes next year and she is very excited to develop her research skills at Catalyst this summer and over the following year.

While excelling at her various academic activities, Shirlee also finds time to participate in the USA Junior Olympic gymnastics program — a passion that started with her first cartwheels at age 4. She also has been playing the piano for 9 years and plays the trombone in the school band and jazz band. Although her schedule is usually packed, Shirlee also loves baking bread and desserts, reading novels and enjoying Vermont's beautiful seasons with her friends.

Zoe Yan (Chemistry — Chemical Engineering)

Zoe Yan will be a junior at Carmel High School in Carmel, Ind. After taking a chemistry class and winning an American Chemical Society scholarship competition last year, she became highly interested in the field of science. She will take AP Chemistry and AP Physics during the 2008-2009 school year. Zoe enjoys many other subjects besides science, including human geography, English and French. She has a particular interest in history and politics. She participates in her school's debate, speech and Model United Nations team. 

Outside of school, Zoe loves to curl up on a chair and read novels. She recently picked up yoga as a relaxing hobby. Piano is a great passion for her; she enjoys having numerous recitals and competitions. Shopping and chocolate are her favorite ways to produce endorphins. She also loves to see exotic new places and experience different cultures. Last year she visited China, and this summer she toured Italy, Switzerland and France.  Next summer, hopefully...Australia?


Daniel Aalberts
Daniel Aalberts (husband of Erica Dankmeyer) is associate professor of physics at Williams College. He received an SB in 1989 and PhD in 1994 from MIT and did postdoctoral work at Leiden University in The Netherlands and at Rockefeller University in New York. His current research is in bioinformatics and polymer physics applied to RNA folding, modeling the splicing of mRNA, and pseudoknots. Previous projects include modeling the photochemistry of vision, gel electrophoresis and gels. 
Lois Cardillo
Lois Cardillo currently works as a speech and language pathologist at Seth Boydon Elementary School and also serves on the South Orange/Maplewood, N.J., Board of Education. She received her BA in Education from Emerson College in 1969, followed by an MS in speech pathology and audiology from Northeastern in 1970 and a MEd in ELS from Kean College in 1982.
Mark Cardillo

Dr. Mark J. Cardillo assumed the position of executive director of the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation in March 2003.

He received his BS from Stevens Institute of Technology in 1964 and his PhD in chemistry from Cornell University in 1970. He was a research associate at Brown University, a CNR Research Scientist at the University of Genoa, Italy, and a PRF Research Fellow in the Mechanical Engineering Department at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

In 1975, Dr. Cardillo joined Bell Laboratories as a member of technical staff in the Surface Physics Department. He was appointed head of the chemical physics research department in 1981 and subsequently named head of the photonics materials research department. Most recently, he held the position of director of broad band access research.

Dr. Cardillo is a fellow of the American Physical Society. He has been the Phillips Lecturer at Haverford College and a Langmuir Lecturer of the American Chemical Society. He received the Medard Welch Award of the American Vacuum Society in 1987, the Innovations in Real Materials Award in 1998 and the Pel Associates Award in Applied Polymer Chemistry in 2000.

He presently serves as an advisor to the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago, the New York Academy of Sciences and InPhase Technologies, Longmont, Colo. He serves on the Board of Overseers of the Chemical Heritage Foundation and as a trustee of The Discovery Orchestra of New Jersey.

Amy Goldstein

Amy Goldstein is a staff writer for The Washington Post, where she writes nationally about social policy issues. Goldstein joined the Post in 1987 and worked for the next decade as a local education writer and regional health care reporter. She then moved to the newspaper’s national reporting staff and covered health care in Washington and around the country for the next few years. When President Bush took office in 2001, Goldstein became a White House reporter with an emphasis on domestic issues. She focused on the politics and policy questions surrounding Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, welfare, housing, government regulation and the federal judiciary. In her current beat, she divides her time between in-depth pieces on social policy and other high-profile national stories. Most recently, she co-wrote a series of articles about flawed medical care for immigrants detained by the U.S. government.

She has been involved extensively in the Post’s coverage of major news stories of recent years. They include the Monica Lewinsky scandal and impeachment of President Bill Clinton, the killings at Columbine High School, the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, early casualties in the Iraq war and recent Supreme Court nominations.

Goldstein previously worked as a reporter at The Baltimore Sun and the Ledger-Star and Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk, Va. Her work has won many journalism awards over the years. She was part of a team of Post reporters that won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for reporting on national affairs for the newspaper’s coverage of 9-11 and the government’s response to the attacks. She spent 2004-2005 as a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University. A native of Rochester, N.Y., she holds a degree in American civilization from Brown University.

Howard Kessler

Acting from an early age, Mr. Kessler won a scholarship in the Drama Department at the University of Miami. He graduated from Miami with five majors: acting, directing, production and costume design as well as architecture. At New York University's Tisch School he earned, under full scholarship, a master's degree in production and directing. He became the design assistant at NYU to and was mentored by Oliver Smith (producer of American Ballet Theater and renowned broadway designer).

Designing on his own, Mr. Kessler used the creation of production posters as a tool to focus his stage designs clearly. During lean times he worked for nonprofit organizations, developing strategies for fundraising, designing graphics and writing appeals. He also taught computer graphics for a number of years at Parsons School of Design. During Andre Thomas’ tenure as director of the Pre-College Division at The Juilliard School, Howard expanded his extensive photographic skills into creating sensitive and descriptive portraits of musicians.

This varied and demanding background led Mr. Kessler to writing short stories and poetry, and to the libretto/story for "Property," a short opera and first collaboration with Andrew Thomas. Since then Andy has composed the music to many of Howard's poems and stories. Due for its premiere this coming year, Howard and Andy are collaborating on a two-act ballet "Focus of the Heart" for the People's Republic of China. Howard has written the story and is designing sets, lights and costumes for Andy's music.

Elizabeth Klemperer
Elizabeth Cole Klemperer received her BS in Chemistry from Radcliffe College in 1949. After completion of her degree, she moved to California, where she served as a research assistant in the Department of Biochemistry at UC Berkeley. In 1955 she took a research assistant post in the Chemistry Department at Harvard, where she worked for the next 13 years. In 1971 she taught as a lecturer at Mass Bay Community College and in 1973 took a position at Tufts University Chemistry Department. In 1979 Ms. Klemperer moved to the Washington, D.C., area where she served as a research associate at the George Washington University Medical School and then at the National Bureau of Labor Statistics. In 1982, she moved back to Massachusetts where she began her job as a chemist with her current employer, the US Army Quartermaster Corps.
Leah Sibener

Leah Sibener is a rising senior at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools. Last summer, she worked in a stem cell research lab experimenting how to control transcription factors within cells. From her research, she has discovered a particular interest in biochemistry and biophysics. She believes that these particular areas of science can have the biggest impact on human lives, and therefore are the most practical and interesting to study. Before and after participating in the Catalyst program, she plans to work in a Biophysics research lab looking at how cells can detect antigens.

Although she finds science fascinating, Leah has a wide range of interests.  She loves sports, especially tennis and running track. In both sports she has qualified for the Illinois State Competition. Besides her athletic enthusiasm, she is an active member of her schools nationally acclaimed Model United Nations Team. She has served for 3 years on the board, and hopes to lead her team to victory in the upcoming season. Her participation in Model UN has led her to discover a passion for international relations, political theory and political philosophy. This year she did an independent study on Leo Strauss (a political philosopher) and his impact on the Bush Administration. In college she would like to double major in biochemistry and political philosophy. Aside from academics and athletics, Leah loves to spend time reading or hanging out with her friends, playing ping-pong and going to the beach.

Leslie Sibener

Leslie Sibener is an entering freshman at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools. She is passionate about her scholarly activities, music, theater and sports. She has participated in many dramatic and musical plays at school, including the title role in "Kara in Black," a powerful play about the lives of two sisters entwined in the Iraq war. She also composed, with a good friend, the music and lyrics for a song that was performed at her middle school graduation. She has enjoyed her science and other academic classes, and looks forward to her first year in high school.

Her sports activities include tennis, volleyball and ice skating. She has a great time with her many friends at the Lab School.

Catalyst Staff

Rena Subotnik

Rena F. Subotnik began her position as director of the Center for Psychology in the Schools and Education at the American Psychological Association in January 2002. Before she came to APA, Dr. Subotnik was professor of education at Hunter College, where she coordinated the secondary education program and served as research and curriculum liaison to the Hunter College laboratory schools (grades PK-12). In 1997-1998, Dr. Subotnik was an APA Congressional Fellow in child policy with U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman, a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee. Her fellowship assignment involved drafting and promoting legislation related to teacher quality, which led to passage of Title II of the Higher Education Act in 1998. Since the fellowship, Dr. Subotnik has been actively involved in the community of scholars and practitioners concerned about federal policy related to teacher education.

Dr. Subotnik has been awarded grants from the McDonnell Foundation, the Institute for Education Sciences, Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation, the American Psychological Foundation, National Science Foundation, U.S. Department of Education Javits program and the Spencer Foundation.

She is co-editor (with Robert Sternberg) of "Optimizing Student Success with the Other Three R’s" (in press), (with Herbert Walberg) "The Scientific Basis of Educational Productivity" (in press), (with Kurt Heller, Franz Monks, and Robert Sternberg) "The International Handbook of Research on Giftedness and Talent" (2nd Edition) (2000), (with Karen Arnold and Kathleen Noble) "Remarkable Women: Perspectives on Female Talent Development" (1997), (with Karen Arnold) "Beyond Terman: Contemporary Longitudinal Studies of Giftedness and Talent" (1994), and the author (with Lee Kassan, Alan Wasser, and Ellen Summers) of "Genius Revisited: High IQ Children Grown Up" (1993).

Ashley Edmiston

Ashley Edmiston is the project director for Catalyst in the Center for Gifted Education Policy. She also works in the Center of Psychology in Schools and Education where she assists with projects involving the Coalition for Psychology in Schools and Education; the Applications of Psychological Science to Teaching and Learning Task Force, and the Task Force on Math and Science Education. Prior to working at APA, Ashley spent a year abroad teaching ESL at an independent English school in Japan. She holds a BS in psychology with a concentration in neuroscience from the University of Westminster, UK.

Maya Bassford

Maya Bassford is the program officer for the Center for Psychology in Schools and Education. Before she came to APA she was with Clear the Air/National Environmental Trust, where she worked on environmental federal legislation. She is a graduate of the George Washington University School of Law and is admitted to practice law in Virginia. She got her BA in psychology from Tufts University receiving a Magna Cum Laude and Highest Thesis Honor. She has lived in many different countries including Spain, the Dominican Republic and Egypt.

Elan McCollum

Elan McCollum is a summer intern with the Coalition for Psychology in Schools and Education, where in addition, to helping with Catalyst, she also provides research support related to their various projects and task forces. She is a rising senior at Smith College. There she is majoring in psychology with a minor in Spanish. Elan’s research interests include the link between standardized tests and academic achievement as well as alcohol use among college women. Currently, she is studying religiosity and alcohol use among college students. In addition to academics, Elan is a member of the Epilepsy Foundation National Youth Council. In her spare time she enjoys traveling abroad, playing her piano and watching a good movie with friends