Our Mission

The mission of the STEM Community Alliance Program is to provide pathways that broaden understanding and exchange between Youth-In-Custody and STEM communities. We aim to help students self-identify as science-capable learners and encourage them to contribute to science, nature protection, and the STEM workforce. By forging connections between Youth-In-Custody, scientists, educators, and artists, we hope to expand the scope of these contributions by highlighting the role that art and the humanities can play in protecting nature, providing science information to the public, and inspiring others to act.

Meet Our Team

Full time Staff

Dr. Nalini Nadkarni

Program Director

Dr. Nalini Nadkarni is a Biology Professor at the University of Utah. She explores life in the forest canopies of Costa Rica, and studies the effects of deforestation and climate change on forests. She has published over 150 scientific articles and three scholarly books. Dr. Nadkarni’s work goes far beyond science, as she invites different ways of knowing to inspire stewardship of the natural world. She is a passionate communicator, bringing science and conservation to faith-based groups, urban youth, modern dancers, rap singers, the fashion world, and incarcerated adults and youth. Dr. Nadkarni is a TED speaker, a National Geographic Society Explorer, and has a “Tree Top Barbie” created by the Mattel Corporation. Her work is supported by the National Science Foundation and the National Geographic Society. Her awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Washington State Department of Corrections Education Award, the Archie Carr Medal for Conservation, and the William Julius Wilson Award for Achievement in Social Justice.

Dr. Nalini Nadkarni

Program Director

Laura George

Program Manager

Laura earned her M.S in the Environmental Humanities from the University of Utah. As a master’s student, Laura focused on reformation of youth environmental education, aiming to make it more inclusive to underserved populations as well as to those who don’t typically think of themselves as interested in or capable of participating in science through the inclusion of place-based interdisciplinary content. Laura currently works as the Program Manager for Initiative to Bring Science Programs to the Incarcerated (INSPIRE) and STEM Community Alliance Program (STEMCAP) for Youth-in-Care. These two programs bring local scientists to adult and juvenile incarcerated populations, respectively, to provide informal science education. Laura was drawn to these programs by their effort to engage underserved populations while expanding participants’ perception of science through interdisciplinary work and in-person contact with local scientists.

Laura George

Program Manager

Megan Young

Program Coordinator

Meg earned her BS in Anthropology from the University of Utah. She is a Program Coordinator for INSPIRE and STEMAP. She works with both programs to help provide public engagement of science training to scientists, and coordinate workshops at youth and adult corrections facilities. Meg joined the Nadkarni Lab after working in the non-profit field in Salt Lake as a community engagement coordinator.

Megan Young

Program Coordinator

fiona.kuzmack

Fiona Kuzmack

Program Coordinator

Fiona received her BA in Art History from Lewis & Clark College. She has worked in non-profits since 2018, starting at the Natural History Museum of Utah, where she learned about and facilitated Science Communication programs.

Since then, She has worked in domestic and sexual violence prevention and response, accompanying many incarcerated and underserviced populations while learning about the cyclical patterns of incarceration and abuse. she now serves as the Program Coordinator for STEMCAP, helping youth in custody gain access to educators and helping to pave career pathways. She strives to elevate community understanding of the carceral system.

Fiona Kuzmack

Program Coordinator

Past Employees

Amanda Carriero, Program Coordinator

Natalie Toth, Program Manager 

Matt Whitaker, Co-Program Manager 

Celeste Henrickson, Co-Project Coordinator 

Allison Anholt, Program Manager

Skye Willard, Program Coordinator 

Jack Hendershot, Student Intern

Cynthia Cheketts, Student Intern

Kelsey Barnick, Student Intern

Sarah Welker, Student Intern

Ananya Roy, Student Intern

Yuqi Chen, Student Intern

Allison Jacobsen, Student Intern

Kiana Luu, Student Intern

Emily Johnston, Student Intern

Linda Zhao, Student Intern

Monica Andersen, Student Intern

Our Partners

Our Sponsors