Introducing the WISSARD Education and Outreach Team

Introducing the WISSARD Education and Outreach Team

Written by Betty Trummel

Let me introduce the WISSARD Education and Outreach team to you.

Betty Trummel is a fourth grade teacher from School District #47 in Crystal Lake, Illinois.  She has 33 years of teaching experience.  Betty has also been an adjunct teaching both science and social studies methods for elementary education majors at Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Illinois.  She has a B.S. in Elementary Education from the University of Illinois and a
M.S. in Outdoor Education from  Northern Illinois University.

Betty has been involved in two other Antarctic science research experiences.  She first traveled to Antarctica in 1998 as part of the Teachers Experiencing Antarctica and the Arctic (TEA) Program. She worked with scientists on a geologic drilling project, the Cape Roberts Project.  Her second Antarctic education and outreach experience took place in 2006 as part of the ANDRILL (ANtarctic DRILLing Program). She was one of six educators on the Andrill Research Immersion for Science Educators (ARISE) team.

Betty is involved in other special projects as well.  In 2002 she began a teacher exchange program with Gunnar Jonsson at Lulea University and teachers in northern Sweden.   She has been involved with “A to Z Literacy” ( teaching in Zambia, Africa.  She is also on the board of the “A to Z Literacy” nonprofit organization.  Antarctic science presentations and teaching experiences around the U.S. and world include Tasmania, Australia; Sweden; England; New Zealand; Italy, Belgium, Germany, and Switzerland.

Betty has received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Elementary Science Education and the Outstanding Young Alumni Award from the Education Department at Northern Illinois University.

Betty is always excited to share the process of science and the unique research being conducted in Antarctica.  She is looking forward to teaching through blog posts, video podcasts/clips, curriculum development, and presentations associated with the WISSARD Project.


Dave Monk is co-owner (with his wife, Kathy) of Brave New Pictures, Inc.  Since 1991, they have produced Television and Radio programming, Digital Photography, eLearning, New Media and Exhibition Interactives for a wide range of clients.  Their work has appeared in over 200 countries and has been translated into 38 languages on Discovery Channel, Travel Channel International, The History Channel, Science Channel, ABC 20/20, NBC Nightly News, PBS, BBC, ZDF and other international networks.  They enjoy producing Travel, Cultural and Ethnographic programs, as well as Science-based material.  Along with their two daughters, they have had many opportunities to experience distant and fascinating cultures, first-hand.

Recent projects include:

Journeys in India – the first U.S. produced television series featuring the Indian subcontinent.  Over the course of several months, BNP shot on location throughout India and Nepal

MythBusters:  The Explosive Exhibition – a traveling science & education showcase featuring the MythBusters team.  BNP produced 21 custom interactive programs, as well as TV & Radio commercials and a series of behind-the-scenes videos for

The Adventurers Club of Chicago – BNP captured larger-than-life images of Amazon-region shrunken heads, tribal artifacts and other bizarre curiosities for their permanent archives

Sherlock Holmes: The Science of Deduction – (work in progress) BNP is producing interactive gallery videos for this traveling exhibit, which will premiere at the Museum of London and the Oregon Museum of Science & Industry in Portland


Susan Kelly has been teaching formal and informal science for over 20 years in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem as a National Park Service Interpretive Ranger and as an Education Specialist at Montana State University.  Currently Susan is the Education and Public Outreach Coordinator for the WISSARD (Whillans Ice Stream Subglacial Access Research Drilling) program, and conducts outreach programs for a variety of polar science projects.

Susan has run education and outreach programming focused on extreme environments, and is excited to expand her experience to include the Cryosphere. Susan organizes a science outreach program with the Crow Indian Nation in south-central Montana.  The Crow Education Partnership uses hands on science activities, field experiences, and teacher professional development framed in a cultural context, to get kids and teachers excited about science.

Susan has a BA degree in Environmental Science from the University of Colorado, Boulder and a M.S. in Earth Sciences from Montana State University. She teaches field classes in the Master’s of Science in Science Education (MSSE) program at MSU, and was recognized for outstanding achievement in science education by the Montana Science Teachers Association in 2007 and 2009.  Susan is thoroughly enjoying her experiences in Antarctica is looking forward to sharing her adventures with you.


Michael (Mike) LeBaron grew up “on science”, learning everything from welding to soil sampling on the family farm that was a part of the University of Idaho Agricultural Experiment Station. When Mike began college, majoring in Geology was a natural choice, as he knew that he wanted a profession where he could work outside while continuing to learn about the world around him. He has had a variety of careers since graduating with Bachelors and Masters degrees in Geology. These have included spending many years in the oil and gas industry, working as a field geologist in Uranium and Industrial Minerals Exploration, and even a short time in the banking world.

Mike made one last career change into teaching, opening the door for him to give back and share what he had learned over the years as a professional geologist. He teaches Earth and AP Environmental Science teacher at Lake Norman High School, bringing his various science travels and knowledge into the classroom in some pretty offbeat and unusual teaching strategies.

Mike is connected with WISSARD through the PolarTrec (Teachers and Reserachers Exploring and Collaborating) Program.  You can follow his work at

Travels have included going to Ecuador with the North Carolina Museum of Natural History to have a firsthand look at the impacts of poverty on environmental quality, and a three-week period aboard the RV Atlantis as an observer and outreach participant in the New Millennium Observatory (NeMO) Project along the Juan de Fuca Ridge.

When Mike is not at school or wandering around other parts of the world, he can be found traveling with his wife (also a teacher), backpacking with Boy Scout Troop 162 of Mooresville, or checking up on his two sons.


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