Staff Information

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Dr. Kay Etheridge, Program Director
Dr. Etheridge has a B.S. and M.S. from Auburn University and her Ph.D. from the University of Florida. She researches the history of images in science and teaches physiology classes in the Biology Department at Gettysburg College. Dr. Etheridge has been the program director for Advancing Science since its inception in 1994.  Kay will be retiring at the end of the school year.

Dr. Ryan Kerney, Future Program Director
Picture of Ryan Kerney Ryan has a B.A. in Biology from Hampshire College, and a Ph.D. in Biology from Harvard University, where he worked in the Museum of Comparative Zoology under its director, James Hanken.  He has postdoctoral training from Dalhousie University in the lab of Brian Hall and worked as a Science Policy Fellow through the American Association for the Advancement of Science on energy and environmental policy at the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.  Ryan’s research on amphibian development, ecology, and evolution has been funded by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the U.S. Fulbright Program, the National Science Foundation, and Sigma Xi. He teaches courses on Ecology, Evolution, Developmental Biology, Amphibian Conservation, Symbiosis, Morphology, and Regeneration for Gettysburg College. He is affiliate faculty with Gettysburg’s Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Major, an advisory member of Gettysburg’s Public Policy Major, as well as a research associate at the American Museum of Natural History.

Valerie Stone, Assistant Director
Picture of Val Stone Val has a B.S. in Biology from the University of Akron and an M.Ed. in Secondary Science Education from the University of Massachusetts.  She is Pennsylvania certified in both Biology and General Science.  Before joining the Advancing Science staff, Val taught middle school science in Massachusetts.   She began with Advancing Science in 2004 as a Mobile Educator, became the Program Coordinator in 2015, and is currently serving as the Assistant Director.  Val manages the day-to-day operations of the program and works directly with teachers to enhance science education in south-central Pennsylvania.  As a MWEE Ambassador, Val is passionate about engaging teachers and students in outdoor education and environmental literacy. 

Lesa Bird, Mobile Educator
Lesa has a B.S. in Biology from the Pennsylvania State University. Prior to joining the AS staff, Lesa worked in hepatitis and cardiovascular research. She developed and demonstrated science labs to augment the science curriculum for schools in her area. Lesa also worked as a long term substitute teacher for middle school science and math and was a board member for the Adams County Watershed Alliance. Lesa is originally from Pittsburgh and is married with three children. Lesa joined the AS staff in 2004 as a part time Mobile Educator and is currently serving as a full time Mobile Educator.

Phil Eberspeaker, Mobile Educator
Picture of Phil Eberspeaker Phil has a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering from the North Carolina State University.  Phil is a retired NASA engineer and program manager where he served as a recovery systems engineer and project manager for the NASA Sounding Rockets Program.  In the 18 years prior to his retirement from NASA he served as the Chief of the NASA Sounding Rockets Program.  Phil has been a life-long advocate of STEM education and past educational activities have included the development of a hands-on science museum, production of science videos and classroom lectures, and development of numerous hands-on NASA educational initiatives for teachers and students including spaceflight opportunities for student experiments.  Phil joined the Advancing Science in January 2022 and brings a focus on physical science and engineering concepts.