Meet the Team

Texas State NASA STEM EPDC Team and the NASA EPDC Specialists housed at different NASA Centers.

Team Member

Dr. Araceli Martinez Ortiz

Principal Investigator, Lead

Dr. Araceli Ortiz is the director of the LBJ Institute for STEM Education and Research and assistant professor in Curriculum and Instruction, College of Education, and serves as Principal Investigator in the NASA STEM Educator Professional Development Collaborative project. Her research interests include studying the role of engineering as a curricular context for mathematics and science learning in K-20 and developing research-based active-learning instructional models and assessment instruments to enhance engineering students’ learning experiences and STEM Teacher professional development. She enjoys working with teachers, families, and students from diverse communities.

Dr. Ortiz holds degrees from Tufts University (Ph.D.), Michigan State University (MA), Kettering University (MS), and The University of Michigan (BS IOE).

Team Member

Dr. Leslie Huling

Project Director

Dr. Leslie Huling is senior advisor of the LBJ Institute for STEM Education and Research and serves as Project Director in the NASA STEM Educator Professional Development Collaborative project. Dr. Huling has directed a number of STEM-related educator professional development grants including the Mathematics for English Language Learners (MELL) project, the College and Career Readiness Initiative Mathematics Faculty Collaborative, and the Success Initiatives in Developmental Education –Mathematics (SIDE-M) grant. Her research interests include teacher induction and mentoring, teacher development, and school improvement.

Holds degrees from Texas Tech University (Ed.D.), University of North Texas (MS), and Angelo State University (BA).

Team Member

Dr. John Beck

Finance & Operations Manager

Dr. John Beck is Distinguished Professor Emeritus, and serves as Finance & Operations Manager with the NASA STEM Educator Professional Development Collaborative project. His research and writing interests include teacher education, instructional technology, and educational leadership.

Dr. Beck holds degrees from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln (Ph.D./Ed.S./MAT), University of Washington – Seattle (B.S.), and Southwest Texas State (B.S.). He holds Texas educator credentials in High School Mathematics and Physics, Principal, and Superintendent.

Team Member

Dr. Keith Duclos

Ed Specialist Field Based Coordinator

Dr. Keith Duclos, owns and operates Duclos Consulting & Management, LLC, established in 2007. His current role in the NASA STEM Educator Professional Development Collaborative project is a consultant assisting with the interface between the project, NASA Headquarters, and the 10 NASA Centers located across the U.S. and helping to coordinate services provided by the education specialists working at each of the Centers.  Dr. Duclos has a long history with NASA and the management of both technical and educational projects under NASA awards.

Dr. Duclos holds degrees from University of Hartford (Ed.D.) and Cornell University (MBA).

Team Member

Karen Fabac, CPM

Grant Specialist

Ms. Fabac has 29 years of state service, currently serving as a grant specialist with the LBJ Institute for STEM Education and Research supporting NASA grant funded programs.  Prior to transferring to Texas State University in 2004, Ms. Fabac served as the continuing medical education (CME) program administrator with the Texas Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation.

Ms. Fabac holds a Bachelor’s degree and Certified Public Manager® (CPM) designation both from Texas State University. She holds professional memberships with the American Academy of Certified Public Managers (AACPM), Texas Society of Certified Public Managers, and the American Society for Public Administration (ASPA).

Team Member

Richard Carney

Grant Specialist

Richard Carney is responsible for supporting IT needs for LBJ the Institute for STEM Education and Research including its major grant-funded initiative known as the Texas State NASA STEM Educator Professional Development Collaborative (NASA STEM EPDC) grant. He holds a BS in Mathematics from Texas State University and certifications from Redhat, Cisco, Microsoft, and ITIL.

Team Member

Dr. Eleanor Close

Texas State University - MSI TEN Faculty

Dr. Eleanor Close is Assistant Professor of Physics, and serves as Texas State MSI TEN faculty in the NASA STEM Educator Professional Development Collaborative project.  Her research interests include physics teacher preparation and professional development, physics (science) identity, situated learning through communities of practice, and embodied cognition.

Dr. Close holds degrees from Seattle Pacific University (Ed.D., Curriculum & Instruction), University of Washington (MS, Physics), East Carolina University (Teaching Certificate, Secondary Science), and Bryn Mawr College (AB, Physics).

Team Member

Dr. M. Alejandra Sorto

Texas State University - MSI TEN Faculty

Dr. Sorto is an Associate Professor in the Mathematics Department, and serves as Texas State MSI TEN faculty in the NASA STEM Educator Professional Development Collaborative project. Her research focuses on the preparation of teachers in the area of Statistics, the impact of professional development, and comparative studies in Latin-America and Africa. In particular, she is interested in developing instruments to measure content knowledge for teaching, teaching quality and analyzing its effect on student achievement.

Dr. Sorto holds a Ph.D. from Michigan State University in 2004 in Mathematics Education

Team Member

Dr. Vedaraman Sriraman

Texas State University - MSI TEN Faculty

Dr. Vedaraman Sriraman is a University Distinguished Professor in the Department of Engineering Technology, and serves as Texas State MSI TEN faculty in the NASA STEM Educator Professional Development Collaborative project.  His research interests are in engineering education, applied statistics and industrial ecology.

Dr. Sriraman received his doctoral degree in Industrial Engineering from Lamar University, master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, and a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the National Institute of Technology. He has received multiple awards for teaching excellence at Texas State.

Team Member

Dr. Bahram Asiabanpour

Texas State University - MSI TEN Faculty

Dr. Bahram Asiabanpour is Associate Professor of Manufacturing Engineering in the Ingram School of Engineering and a Certified Manufacturing Engineer (CMfgE), is director of the Rapid Product and Process Development (RPD) Center, and serves as Texas State MSI TEN faculty in the NASA STEM Educator Professional Development Collaborative project.  His research interests include Additive Manufacturing, Product Development, Computer Aided Design and Manufacturing, Renewable Energy, and STEM Education.

Dr. Asiabanpour holds degrees from University of Southern California (Ph.D.) and Sharif University of Technology (MS/BS).

Team Member

Dr. Jennifer Jensen

Texas State University - MSI TEN Faculty

Dr. Jennifer Jensen is an Associate Professor in the Geography Department. Her teaching and research focuses on geospatial technologies including remote sensing, GPS and GIS to earth system science questions. She is an active collaborator with faculty in Biology, Agriculture, and Computer Science, as well as Co-PI for the Land Change Science initiative at Texas State. She earned her PhD in Environmental Science in 2009 from the University of Idaho. Jennifer is active with Girl Scouts, enjoys coaching youth soccer, and is obsessed with the Texas Water Safari.

Team Member

Dr. Kathryn Lee

Texas State University - MSI TEN Faculty

Dr. Kathryn Lee has been teaching at Texas State University for 16 years. Prior to her work here as a teacher educator in the secondary education graduate program, she has extensive experience in public education and the mental health field. She has worked as a secondary school teacher; a clinical therapist in child, adolescent, & adult mental health; and as a school counselor at Lorenzo de Zavala Elementary and Rebound Alternative School in San Marcos. As a teacher educator, her emphasis in teaching and scholarship is preparing pre-service and in-service teacher professionals in their development of technological pedagogical content knowledge. She believes strongly in our responsibility as educators to design and facilitate authentic, pedagogically sound, culturally responsive, and engaging technology-enhanced learning experiences for our students.

Dr. Lee holds degrees from University of Texas (Ph.D.) and Texas State University (MEd/BBA).