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Teaching Assistants

Megan Stanton

Megan Stanton (STEM Skills)

My name is Megan Stanton and I will be a junior at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville in the fall. I am majoring in Computer Engineering and minoring in Cybersecurity, and I am also a part of the Chancellor’s Honors Program. I plan on getting my masters in Cybersecurity when I graduate. I like to volunteer at the Humane Society of the Tennessee Valley whenever I have time, and I also love playing video games. I am very excited to get to know everyone and teach you about exciting STEM topics!


Shahram Hatefi Hesari (STEM Skills)

My name is Shahram and I am PhD student at electrical engineering and computer science department. Staring from 2017 I’ve had incredible years at the University of Tennessee. I cannot put into words the amount that I have grown and learned from working with the incredible faculties and staffs both academically and spiritually. I am glad that in the past 3 years, I have had a chance to serve as graduate teaching and research assistant at EECS department and governor’s school, mentor for young scholars, and executive member of graduate student senate (GSS). These are great opportunities for me to serve in a community that I believe is my Home away from Home!


MeiLi Charles (STEM Skills)

Hello, my name is MeiLi. I’m currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Computer Science at the University of Tenessee-Knoxville. In my free time, I enjoy watching anime and sewing, and have a not so subtle obsession with kpop. I look forward to learning with you guys this summer!


Dan Castillo (STEM in Society)

More info to come.


Erica Allen

Erica Allen (STEM in Society)

My name is Erica Allen and I am currently a 8th grade science teacher for West Valley Middle School. I have a 14 year old son and two Jack Russells. I enjoy running and gardening in my free time. I received my BS from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville in Geology and my MS in Secondary Science Education. My post master’s research was on sedimentology of Mars in conjunction with MSL and Curiosity. This will be my 4th year as a TA for Dr. Pagni. I look forward to teaching at the Governor’s School this summer!


Annastashia Blesi (STEM in Society)

My name is Annastashia Blesi, and I am currently a graduate student at Bowling Green State University for their College Student Personnel master’s program. I graduated from the University of Tennessee in 2019 with my degree in Physics. This will be my third year helping with GSSE with one year as an RA, and this is my second year as a TA. In my spare time I like to crochet and hang out with my cat, Andromeda.


Taylor Woods (STEM in Society)

My name is Taylor and I am a 2nd year Ph.D. student in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. I study freshwater systems (lakes, rivers, and streams) and how these habitats and the organisms that live within them are impacted by human activities. In my free time I like to run and hike on trails, make pastries, and play with my two dogs. This is my first year as a GSSE TA and I am excited to work with all of you!


Maggie Limbeck

Maggie Limbeck (Biology I)

My name is Maggie and I am a 3rd year Ph.D. student studying the evolutionary and geochemical relationships of echinoderms (sea stars and sea urchins).  Basically, I want to understand how echinoderms are related to each other and how they grow and interact with their environments and I do that by looking at fossils and the chemistry of modern echinoderm skeletons. In my free time I like to listen to music, work in my garden, and hang out with my cat. This is my third year as a TA for Governor’s School and I am very excited to get to know you!


Brandon Reagan (Biology II)

My name is Brandon Reagan and I am a 5th year Ph.D. student in the Biochemistry & Cellular and Molecular Biology Department. I study how plant cells communicate with each other and how plant viruses disrupt this communication. I use a variety of different molecular biology and microscopy techniques to look at changes in the plant cell behavior during infection. In my free time I enjoy going for long runs with my dog and I play saxophone and clarinet with two local symphonies. I am looking forward to working with you this summer!


Mike Hanson

Mike Hanson (Mathematics)

Mike is a graduate student in mathematics at the University of Tennessee studying Number Theory. After graduating, he plans to continue his career in academia as a researcher in mathematics. Aside from math, Mike enjoys making and listening to music, drawing, and traveling. He is very excited to assist the Governor’s school math students while they learn about proofs, number theory and matrices.


Qing Huang

Qing Huang (Physics)

My name is Qing Huang. I am a fourth year PhD student in the Physics Department at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UTK) and majoring in condensed matter physics. Currently, I am working in Dr. Zhou’s research group, focusing on the single crystal growth and studies of quantum magnet. In my free time, I enjoy listening to music, playing basketball and playing video games. This would be my first year to work as a TA for Governor’s School, I am looking forward to assisting students to learn physics during this summer.


Matthew Cothrine

Matthew Cothrine (Materials Science & Engineering)

Matthew Cothrine is a second-year PhD student in the Materials Science and Engineering (MSE) Department at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UTK). Matthew received his M.S. degree in MSE from the University of Central Florida in December 2017. He is a graduate teaching assistant for the undergraduate-level Principals of Materials laboratory courses. Matthew was a TA for the 2019 Governor’s school MSE course, and is excited to continue this year as well! He works in Dr. Mandrus’ research group focusing on novel material synthesis, specifically investigating growth and discovery of spin liquid candidates. He also works with neutron diffraction techniques for material characterization. In his free time, he enjoys reading, playing video games, and playing with his ferrets.


Ian Greeley (Materials Science & Engineering)

Ian Greeley recently graduated with a B.S. in Materials Science and Engineering (MSE) from the University of Tennessee. He was an undergraduate teaching assistant for the Honors Engineering Fundamentals course sequence and an assistant soccer coach for the boys’ soccer team at Central High School. Ian worked in the Scintillation Materials Research Center preparing and characterizing single-crystal metal-halide and metal-oxide samples for research into novel scintillators for radiation sensors and imaging systems. He attended the TN Governor’s School for the Sciences and Engineering in 2015 and took the MSE course.


Lorna Treffert (Industrial & Systems Engineering)

More info to come.