Nino Polizzi

Nino Polizzi is the Founder and CEO of "Rocket Science Tutors" (RST), an all-volunteer non-profit organization that conducts a 24 week, after-school program to improve STEM education in America by generating interest with real-life engineers and scientists in the classroom. Nino has 30 years experience in the aerospace industry including 12 years as Vice President of Engineering at Universal Space Network where he was responsible for the design, integration and test of the satellite ground station network infrastructure. Prior, Nino served 18 years with McDonnell Douglas/Boeing, working on a wide variety of programs including leading the Integrated Product Team for the design/manufacturing/test on the "Unity" module, the first US element of the International Space Station and directing the team responsible for the flight harness and fluid components on major truss assemblies of the Space Station. He was also was responsible for the electrical design/build/test effort on the DC-X, the first reusable single stage to orbit demonstrator rocket. Nino holds a BS Electrical Engineering from Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan and a BS Industrial Technology. He also has a Limited Service Credential for Engineering in the state of California. Nino was awarded a Special Service Citation by AIAA for his effort in STEM education and published "Igniting STEM Interest In Middle School" (AIAA-2009-6615). Nino's LinkedIn profile can be seen at: Nino's Linked in Page

Tom Shult

Tom was with Universal Space Network for 7 years and had managed the software development team for 3 years. Through his leadership, software related problems have been dramatically reduced. Tomís initial assignment at USN was as a senior software developer where he was instrumental in development of the current satellite ground monitoring and control system. Prior to USN, Tom worked for Sync Research doing low-level network protocol programming. Before that, he worked for Logicon developing missile testing simulators and performing nuclear safety testing on various missile systems. Tom has over 20 years experience in software development of monitor and control systems. He has a BS in Applied Mathematics from the University of Nebraska, Omaha. When not at work, Tom coaches his sonís sports teams emphasizing fun and teamwork over competitiveness and winning.

Al Paddock

Al retired after 20 years with Douglas/McDonnell Douglas/Boeing where he worked on the Spartan anti-missile, DC-X reusable rocket, Mast Mounted Sight optical sighting system and the International Space Station. His involvement in aerospace programs also included Pratt & Whitney (jet engines), Northrop (SR-71 navigation system), Ford Aerospace (Sidewinder missile), plus various work with start-up companies and consulting. Al is currently working at Hoyt Tooling in Fullerton. Al received a BS in Electronic Engineering Technology from California State University Long Beach and is a graduate of the U. S. Army Air Defense School (guided missile).

Lionel Grove

Lionel retired after 10 years at Raytheon Systems as a Project Engineer working in the areas of satellites and radar systems. Prior to Raytheon, he spent 20 years in the computer field in the areas of Computer Engineering, Sales, Program Management and Marketing Management. Products developed included: Computerized Police Mugshot Photo System, peripheral component cabinets, processors for ATM machines, computer disks drives and Computer Aided Design systems. The first 10 years out of college found Lionel involved in aerospace programs that included: Ford Aerospace (Shillelagh missile), Jet Propulsion Lab (satellite tracking stations), Ford (environmental emission testing). Lionel received a BS in Electronic Engineering Technology from California State University Long Beach and MBA from University of Southern California.

Bill Fugard

Bill is a native of Santa Monica, CA and a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Class of '64. During his 24-year Navy career, he specialized in surface ship and ship systems design, engineering and maintenance. In his second career Bill was a Project Manager in the Power Generation Business Unit of Fluor Corporation in Irvine, CA. Bill has now retired, again, and joins RST this year as a new recruit. He enjoys working with young people, and he and his wife, Jean, are both very active in a local Huntington Beach church. When relaxing, Bill enjoys creating leaded-glass projects.

Dale Finke

Dale received the BS degree in Electrical Engineering from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. His employers have included McDonnell Douglas, Rockwell and Boeing. Dale has spent most of his career working on avionics for airplanes, missiles and rockets. Uplinks, Downlinks, and Telemetry are his favorite topics. Navigation is also an area of interest, perhaps because his uncle Howard was a navigator in World War II. Daleís hobbies include mountain biking and river rafting.

Carl Glim

Carl is currently a Systems Engineer at Boeing for the Global Positioning System (GPS) program. Previously, at Universal Space Network for 7 years, Carl managed software development. Prior to that at the Kennedy Space Center, Carl led a small team that developed the Control Center for the DC-X reusable rocket, and also developed the Space Shuttle and Delta rocket test systems. Carl has developed computer control systems for laboratory test equipment, semiconductor testing, petroleum refineries, and medical applications. Carl has a BS in Electrical Engineering, an MBA from UCI, and has two patents for space communication systems. Carl grew up in Chicago. He enjoys hiking in the mountains, biking, skiing, reading, doing crossword puzzles, and playing chess and cards. Carl also facilitates Summer Science sessions for kids with Team Science.


Carol Stone

Carol is owner of the Stone Nonprofit Consulting Group. Her expertise is in creating innovative solutions for nonprofit organizations to improve performance and impact. One of her specialties is facilitating board retreats. Organizations benefit from her extensive knowledge and expertise in all aspects of board governance, including board development, board structures, fund raising and strategic planning. Prior to opening her own business, she served as the President and CEO of the Volunteer Center Orange County for twenty-five years. During her tenure she transformed the Center from a small grassroots nonprofit organization, into a nationally recognized leader in the field of community building, volunteer mobilization and nonprofit training and development. Among the 360 Volunteer Centers nationwide, the Center, under her leadership, became the fourth largest in the United States.

Her past experience spans 35 years of consulting and training to audiences throughout the United States, Russia, Romania, England, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Japan. She has served as a national consultant and trainer for Points of Light Foundation, Camp Fire, U.S.A and a broad range of local, regional and national nonprofits. She was a master teacher and curriculum designer for a variety of school districts throughout California, Texas and Libya, North Africa. She was an adjunct faculty member at California State University Long Beach, California State University Fullerton and University of California Irvine Carol is a graduate of UCLA with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Education. She holds her Master's Degree in Public Administration from the University of San Francisco with a focus on nonprofit business management. She is a widow who enjoys her four children and ten grandchildren, traveling, reading, cooking, shopping and mentoring the many nonprofits who continue to come to her for help.


David Janisch

David, CEO and Board Member of American Laser Healthcare Corporation, has over 30 years' experience in the technology industry including aerospace, data storage, semiconductors, medical devices, venture capital and investment banking in both Southern California and the Bay Area. He worked extensively with established corporations and start-ups and held management and executive positions in marketing, business development, program management, engineering and corporate finance. David built new organizations and new businesses throughout his career. At AMCC, he defined the growth strategy and led the mergers and acquisitions efforts by transacting numerous deals, including the $4.5 billion purchase of MMC Networks by AMCC, the largest communication semiconductor acquisition in history. He launched a new program management organization for disk drive development at Western Digital, while leading the effort to acquire IBM as a new $1 billion customer. Managing worldwide cross-functional teams, he traveled extensively internationally, acquiring new customers and developing or integrating new operations. He advised the various Boards of Directors of Wasserstein Ventures portfolio companies, served as VP of Marketing at a Silicon Valley network processor start-up and was involved with its sale to FutureWei Technologies. He co-founded the semiconductor advisory practice at Pharus Advisors, a boutique investment bank in San Francisco, where he advised BitBlitz on the sale to Intersil. He is a member of the USC Health Leaders, and also a member of the Penn State College of Engineering IP Mentoring Panel and a guest lecturer. At the Larta Institute in LA, he serves as a mentor to start-up companies that have received grants from the National Institute of Health and the Department of Defense. He is an Executive Premier Member of the Southern California Venture Network and served on the City of Laguna Niguel Investment, Banking and Audit Committee and Sports Advisory Committee. He was President of the South Orange County Patriots Football and Cheer non-profit organization and was a Board Member of the 12th Man Club, the non-profit football boosters at Dana Hills High School in Dana Point, CA. David holds an MSEE degree from USC, an MSME degree from CSU, Long Beach and a BSME degree from Penn State. He also holds a California teaching credential in Mathematics from UC, Irvine and taught math for one year in the Santa Ana Unified School District where he was the faculty sponsor for Rocket Science Tutors.


Teddy Nickel

Teddy joined Bank of America within the Corporate Banking Group and has over 25 years of experience. Over the course of her career, she has worked in various capacities in client services, treasury management services, and transaction services. She participated on five merger transition teams and was California Regional Support Team leader for disaster recovery efforts. Teddy was Senior Vice President - Group Operations Executive at Bank of America, a position she held for nine years. She directed and managed national research and reconcilement functions in support of the company's 5,200 banking centers, 14,000 ATM's, check capture sites and cash vaults. She directed West Coast Operations, led more than 1,800 associates and managed a $164 million operating budget. She gained extensive experience in process improvement cultures, performance management and strategic planning. Teddy is Six Sigma Green Belt and Process Excellence certified. She currently serves as a Board Advisor for Rocket Science Tutors and is a volunteer mentor for the UC Irvine Executive Mentoring Program. She is currently an active member of Mothers Against Drunk Driving and the Council on Aging Orange County. Teddy is married, a mother of three and resides in Yorba Linda, California.


Vicki Boatman

Vicki is the managing partner of Social Cats Rule Online, an Internet marketing and public relations company that provides services to companies locally and nationwide. She serves as a strategist and advisor to senior management to create plans that maximize marketing efforts online and offline. Vicki provides clients marketing and public relations strategies based on key messages and an integrated marketing communications approach. She is also actively involved in providing a comprehensive understanding of marketing on the Internet, including mobile, local search and social media advisement. She works actively with the media to gain exposure of product launches and company news, overseeing press briefings if needed, domestically and internationally. Vicki has worked in the aerospace & defense, high-tech and healthcare industries for Fortune 500 companies, notably, McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing), Columbia/HCA and Raytheon. Vicki's interests include working with other women, providing mentoring and supporting causes that raise up women locally and globally. She has formed a Christian Business Women's Network and serves on the Rocket Science Tutors advisory board. She resides in Orange County and loves cats.

Grant Matthews

Grant received his Bachelor of Science degree in Ocean/Mechanical Engineering from California State University, Long Beach. He has 30 years experience developing and integrating Command & Control, Mission Planning, and avionics software systems. Grant has worked for Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems and is currently between jobs. He is an active member of INCOSE and a Certified Systems Engineering Professional (CSEP). Grant is also active as a volunteer in several other youth-based programs. Grant and his wife have hosted foreign exchange students for six years and he has been a soccer coach and referee since 1997. He enjoys fishing, skiing, gardening, and reading.

Jennifer Bushnell

Jennifer is a seasoned banker serving the small business community. She has primarily lead and developed sales teams to build strong relationships and to achieve results. Her drive and motivation has contributed to her success at both National and Regional Banks. She spent over 9 years with Wells Fargo Bank, and over 2 years with City National Bank. Jennifer graduated from Cal State Fullerton school of Business with a degree in Business Administration. She currently serves as a Board Advisor for Rocket Science Tutors, and is an active volunteer with the Council on Aging Orange County. Weekends often find Jennifer and her husband exploring hiking trails, enjoying the outdoors, and/or appreciating some delicious cabernet.


Mike Varon

Mike retired after over 33 years as a space systems Thermal Control Engineer and Associate Technical Fellow at Boeing's Satellite Systems group in El Segundo, CA (formerly Hughes Space and Communications Group). While at Boeing/Hughes, Mike worked on a variety of Space Programs from Commercial Satellites, to Nasa's Venus and Jupiter Atmospheric Probes and the Space Shuttle. Mike has worked the thermal control for programs from proposal, to preliminary design trades, to final design analysis, through the various phases of thermal vacuum testing and to on-orbit mission support. After Boeing, Mike worked as a contractor for several years with the engineering firm of Solidyn Solutions Inc. He is currently semi-retired and is an instructor and the webmaster for Rocket Science Tutors as well as is the head of his own high school math tutoring organization called: Mike Varon Tutoring: Algebra & Physics & Calculus Tutoring Services. Mike has a bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering from The City College of the City University of New York as well as a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Southern California. Mike is married to his wife Jane for over 30 years and they enjoy driving vacations around the various parts of the USA.


Armen Miamidian

Armen received his MBA in Financial Management and Economics from Drexel University in Philadelphia. He is a seasoned financial executive with over 20 years experience as a Chief Financial Officer for mid market companies in a variety of industries including B2B services and the toy industry. He has provided financial guidance through rapid growth and expansion into new geographies. Among other things, his expertise lies in the areas of strategic planning, budget development, cash flow planning, financial controls, scalable systems and allocation of resources.


Monica1 is a first-generation college graduate and is the first in her family to pursue an engineering degree. She is currently a graduate student at the University of California, Irvine pursuing a Ph.D in Biomedical Engineering under the guidance of Dr. Elliot Hui. Her research involves developing and using microfabricated devices to study the interactions between different cell types. By studying these interactions, she hopes to gain a better understanding of cells and to apply this knowledge to improve tissue engineering techniques and therapies. Monica has received an MS in Biomedical Engineering at the University of California, Irvine, and a BS in Bioengineering at the University of California, San Diego. Monica ran cross-country and track competitively during high school and hopes to someday get back in shape to run a marathon. She also enjoys playing video games and watching basketball, especially the Lakers.


Katrina is a second year graduate student at UC Irvine, studying cellular communication using micro-engineered cell culture platforms. She is currently completing her doctorate degree in Biomedical Engineering and received bachelor degrees in Mathematics and Biology from Cabrini College. She loves to tutor students at all educational levels in a wide variety of fields. She is currently a teaching assistant for a cell biology and genetics engineering course at UC Irvine and was formerly an advanced tutor in biology, chemistry, and calculus at the Cabrini College Center for Teaching and Learning for three years. Her hobbies include rock climbing, ultimate frisbee, traveling, and volunteering.


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Bio coming soon!


Vanessa received her Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering at the University of California, Irvine (UCI). She is currently a graduate student working towards her Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering at UCI conducting research in nanocrystalline metals. She previously interned at The Aerospace Corporation in the Mechanics Research Department. She enjoys listening to music and singing as hobbies.


Mary is a Chemical Engineering Ph.D. student at UC, Irvine. She has 6 years of research and design experience. Currently, she is developing a platform for fundamental studies of charge transport in organic macromolecules. Mary's teaching experience includes work with elementary school students in Afterhours Tutoring in New York City and work with high school students as a staffer at Appalachia Service Project in West Virginia. Mary received her bachelor's degree in chemical engineering at Columbia University in 2010 and her master's degree in chemical engineering at Columbia University in 2011.


Alejandro, currently a second year graduate student at UCI, conducts research on ultrafast laser spectroscopy combined with scanning probe microscopy techniques to resolve the evolution of atomic/molecular orbitals in time and space. He obtained his BS in physics from University of Costa Rica. His teaching experience includes: (1) high school teacher (2) instructor at a science camp (3) assistant program director at a science camp (4) physics and chemistry lab instructor at the college level.


Bio coming soon!


Sean is a 5th year biomedical engineering graduate student at the University of California, Irvine. Sean is originally from Pennsylvania and spent four years living in Rochester, New York where he pursued a Bachelor of Science in optics. He joined RST because he wants to help younger students become as excited and passionate about engineering as he is.


Bio coming soon!


Jeff is currently Chief Engineer of Hypersonic Systems for Northrop Grumman Corporation. His experience includes Senior Specialist in Advanced Vehicle Design and the Airframe Integrated Product Team lead for the X-51 Scramjet Engine Demonstrator at Boeing in Huntington Beach, CA. He has over 30 years of experience in engineering design and analysis including aerothermodynamic analysis, thermal protection system design, primary structures design and high speed vehicle configuration design & analysis. Jeff has led design teams on several launch and re-entry programs including Peacekeeper, Advanced Maneuvering Reentry Vehicle, Delta Clipper (DC-X), High Speed Civil Transport and the Delta IV Expendable Launch Vehicle. Jeff received his bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Oklahoma in 1979 and a Master of Science in Systems Management from the University of Southern California in 1991. As a member of the National Association of Rocketry (NAR), Jeff coordinates RSTís rocket launch events.


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Bio coming soon!


Bio coming soon!


Jolie is currently a third year biomedical engineering graduate student at UC Irvine and participating in her third year as a Rocket Science Tutor. Her current research topics focus on developing a diagnostic device with a lower detection limit than the current standards as well as leveraging material properties to create superhydrophobic surfaces. Past teaching experiences include summer high school tutoring programs such as Upward Bound as well as two semesters of middle school and high school tutoring programs (Science and Math Initiative) at UC Merced. Jolie is currently Rocket Science Tutors' lead instructor at McFadden Middle School in Santa Ana, CA.


Christine is currently a fourth year biomedical engineering graduate student at UC Irvine and is participating in her third year as a Rocket Science Tutor. Her current research topics focus on brain computer interface systems for rehabilitation of stroke and spinal cord injury individuals. Past teaching experiences include performing interactive science and engineering demonstrations for middle and high school students at UC Irvine. Additionally, Christine performed writing tutoring for the Graduate Resource Center, math and engineering tutoring for Manhattan College, and assisting in teaching for UC Irvine and Manhattan College.


Bio coming soon!


Jason is currently pursuing a Ph.D in Aerospace Engineering at the University of California, Irvine. He received his Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Florida. Jason's research focuses on mechanics of materials and he is currently exploring the frictional evolution of the surface structure of nanocrystalline metals. He interned for several years with United Launch Alliance doing both control dynamics and launch operations for the Delta IV launch vehicle. He's also a private pilot and enjoys sharing his passions for engineering and math with students in RST! His hobbies include fishing, surfing, and skiing.


While working for Robert Half Accountemps in 2007 Patty was a contract accountant for Universal Space Network where she first learned of RST and joined the team for a season, that was when RST was at Carr Intermediate School in Santa Ana. With some schedule changes she was able to return to RST at McFadden in Spring 2011. Her in-depth education in mathematics was gained from California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo. After she moved to Orange County she completed her bachelor's degree in business administration from California State University at Fullerton with an emphasis in entrepreneurship. Patty has been training others in business software, tutoring math, and teaching guitar for over ten years, and she works full-time working in accounting and benefits administration. She writes songs, sings, plays guitar, and publishes her own music, including educational math songs that are available to the public through online music sources. Patty is also a sound recording engineer, and periodically she records music artists in South Orange County.


Nick2 received his bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Notre Dame. He has five years of experience in product design and development for surgical device manufacturer, Abbott Medical Optics, and is currently pursuing a doctorate in biomedical engineering at the University of California, Irvine. He is an Orange County native that loves playing music, surfing, and rock climbing.


Bio coming soon!


Jon is currently a graduate student in the Materials and Manufacturing Technology Program at the University of California, Irvine (UCI). He investigates system integration for microfluidics, and flexible electronics for medical devices. He earned his BS in Bioengineering at the University of California, Merced, and his MS in Biomedical Engineering at UCI. Outside the lab he enjoys rock climbing, mountain biking, kiteboarding, and soccer.


Bio coming soon!


Bio coming soon!


Bio coming soon!


Maulik is a graduate student in the Biomedical Engineering department at the University of California, Irvine studying oscillating acoustic bubbles and their applications in microfluidic cell/particle manipulation and point of care diagnostic systems. Prior to entering graduate school at UC Irvine in 2007, he worked at Boston Scientific Corporation developing implantable neurostimulation systems. He graduated with a bachelors degree in Electrical Engineering from UCLA. His interest in teaching science, engineering and mathematics was sparked during a trip to Tanzania where he had the opportunity to teach his fellow classmates about electronics. In his spare time he enjoys running, volunteering, traveling and meditation.


Nicole is a first year graduate student at the University of California, Irvine studying charge transport in biological structures. She received her bachelor degree in Physics from Occidental College in Los Angeles, and is currently working to obtain her doctorate degree in Materials Science and Engineering. At Occidental College, she was a mathematics and physics tutor for three years at the Center for Academic Excellence and a physics workshop facilitator for the Academic Mastery Program. She has also tutored physics and math at the middle school and high school level. Nicole has been a workshop facilitator and educator in the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California's Solar Cup for three years. She enjoys dancing, yoga, and eating food.


David earned a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry at California State University Fullerton (CSUF). While at CSUF, David worked in the laboratory of Christopher Meyer, a protein enzymology laboratory. Currently, David is a first year Ph.D. graduate student at the University of California, Irvine (UCI) in the Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacology program. During his first year at UCI, David became engaged in Rocket Science Tutors, an organization that provides scientific experiments to underrepresented minorities with the purpose to build analytic minds.


Dominique is a chemical and biochemical engineering Ph.D. student at the University of California at Irvine where she works on nanotheranostics, combined diagnostics and therapy using nanotechnology. She earned her Bachelor of Science in chemical biomolecular engineering and chemistry from the University of Pennsylvania, where she was a vice-president of Penn Engineers Without Borders and volunteered with the Alpha Phi Omega community service fraternity. She enjoys playing tennis and making music.


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Bio coming soon!


Bio coming soon!


Pete is a graduate student at the University of California, Irvine (UCI). He is involved with the Advanced Power and Energy Program which, as its name implies, explores a vast range of energy technologies. His particular research interests are related to hydrogen and its prospect as a future energy carrier. He is heavily involved in the planning of California's hydrogen infrastructure, along with hydrogen safety. Before attending UCI, Pete graduated from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering. His interest in teaching was sparked from volunteering his time at the RPI chapter of Engineers Without Borders. In his spare time, he enjoys staying active by hiking and biking in the area surrounding Irvine.


Bio coming soon!


Bio coming soon!


Tim is a graduate student in biomedical engineering at UC Irvine studying how the properties of implanted materials affect the immune response they evoke. An east coast native, he completed his undergraduate training at Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering in Needham, Massachusetts. His career goal is to work to apply tissue engineering techniques to medical device design. Weekends often find Tim perusing the Irvine farmer's market or biking the roads and trails of southern California.


Bio coming soon!


Bio coming soon!


Bio coming soon!


Jeb is a Chemical and Material Physics PhD student at the University of California at Irvine (UCI). He investigates the properties of new chemicals using a computer, and creates new mathematical models to better understand practical chemistry. He likes to swim, eat desert, and listen to heavy metal music while he studies "heavy metal" chemistry.


Adrian is a materials science and engineering Ph.D. student at the University of California at Irvine where he performs experimental work with graphene in nanotechnology. He earned his B.S. in mechanical engineering from UC Merced where he was a UC LEADS scholar and co-founder of the Men's and Women's cross country teams. He enjoys running and dreaming of an awesome futuristic world.


Charles was born and raised in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. He joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 2001 at the age of 18 and, following four years of active duty, began to pursue an education in Mechanical Engineering. Charles worked on the UC, Irvine Rocket Project after he transferred to the institute in Spring 2010. He enjoys all aspects of engineering, especially research, design, and fabrication. Charles will be graduating in Spring of 2014 with a Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering and a minor in Materials Science Engineering.


Yosuke is a graduate student in biomedical engineering at the University of California, Irvine. Moving from Japan to the United States at the age of 10, Yosuke grew up in Rhode Island, completing his undergraduate degree in biomedical engineering at Brown University in 2012. He hopes to get young students excited about math and science through his involvement in RST. In his spare time, Yosuke likes to listen to music and play the guitar.


Bio Coming Soon!


Tiffany is a second year graduate student in Biomedical Engineering at the University of California, Irvine (UCI). She received her undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California, Los Angeles, then spent two years doing cancer research at City of Hope before coming to UCI. Always having had a passion for math and science, Tiffany joins RST in hopes of encouraging young students to pursue engineering careers in the future.