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Our Team


The Long Island Explorium  is governed by a dynamic process of broad, transparent multi-stakeholder engagement. The Board of Directors will establish an Advisory Council to ensure continuous incorporation of best thinking and practices into the Explorium’s mission and activities. The Board will have ultimate decision-making authority on recommendations coming from the Advisory Council.

Members of the Board will

Oversee strategy, budget and operations of the Long Island Explorium, including oversight of management, compensation, and development

Demonstrate support for the Vision of the Explorium by promoting its good work, generating goodwill for the organization, encouraging support for its efforts

Assist in identifying and cultivating potential donors and stakeholders to ensure the financial sustainability of the Long Island Explorium.

Executive Committee

Kathleen de Riesthal, President

Professor of Latin, Stony Brook University.

Kathleen de Riesthal is a Lecturer at Stony Brook University in the Department of European Languages, Literatures and Cultures and a former high school Latin teacher.  Kathleen sits on the Board of Directors for Stony Brook Childcare and on the Advisory Council of the Staller Center. She has three young sons who love scientific exploration.

Ryan Ruf, Treasurer, Finance Committee Chair

Associate Superintendent for Management Services, Eastern Suffolk BOCES.

Ryan Ruf is the Associate Superintendent for Management Services for ESBOCES. He has served in this role for the past 4.5 years. Prior to coming to ESBOCES, Ryan was the Assistant Superintendent for Business in Plainview-Old Bethpage CSD for nine years. He believes in strong business practices that create efficiencies while supporting the social and emotional growth of all students.

Ryan is a member of the New York State Association for School Business Officials and was the president for the Nassau County Chapter during the 2012-13 school year. He is currently the secretary for the Suffolk County Chapter. For the past twelve years, Ryan has served as a member of the Long Island Education Coalition representing school business officials. For the past 4 years, Ryan has served on the East End Health Plan board.


Greg Dinin, Secretary, Education Committee Member

Member; Senior Technical Account Manager, Microsoft.

Bio to be added

Toni Mattern, Member; Finance Committee Member

CPA, Stony Brook University

Bio to be added

Joan Miyazaki, Member, Maker Faire Committee Chair

Retired Lecturer of Biology, Stony Brook University

Joan Miyazaki received an AB in Biology from New York University, an MS in Botany from Rutgers University and an MS Paleontology from Stony Brook.  As the curriculum coordinator for large enrollment Introductory Biology Laboratories at Stony Brook for 25 years, she wrote the laboratory teaching materials for the undergraduates and trained the graduates students and adjuncts to instruct the labs.  She redesigned the lab curriculum to include skill and inquiry-based experiments and had students design their own experiments rather than follow cookbook experiment instructions. The curriculum included reading professional research literature to develop technical reading skills and to show students what scientists think about and do when they conduct their scientific research.

After working with tens of thousands of freshmen and sophomores, Joan has direct experience with the kinds of skills and knowledge students bring to college. She sees tremendous potential for the ME to enrich STEM education at the pre-college level and broaden community awareness of important issues about our living world. Once we develop awareness, our appreciation can grow, and with experience that appreciation can become a genuine love of the wildlife and the diverse environments on Long Island.

Joan recently retired and has used the time to experience the joys of doing things that she had no time for while working, tai chi, taiko drums, ukulele, mandolin, violin, and fishing. There’s much more she’d like to do including participating in ME with all the amazing people there.

Kyle Cook, Ph.D – Member, Education Committee Members

Assistant Professor, St. John’s University, School of Education

Kyle DeMeo Cook is an Assistant Professor in the School of Education at St. John’s University. She works closely with educators to design and conduct research that can be used to inform policy and practice. Her research focuses specifically on early childhood education. She enjoys visiting the Explorium with her three young children.


angeline square headshot
Angeline Judex, MPA, Executive Director

Angeline serves as the Executive Director of the Maritime Explorium. She is a veteran nonprofit executive with academic and professional experience through North America, Europe and Asia. She aims to advance the learning of science and engineering concepts that can translate into skills that address social, economic and environmental issues. Angeline brings to the Explorium an in-depth understanding of the diversity in educational systems and academic standards.

Jackie Grennon Brooks, Senior Advisor

Professor Emerita, Department of Teaching, Literacy and Leadership, Hofstra University

Research Professor, Department of Technology and Society, Stony Brook University

Jackie has studied how people learn as a teacher, researcher, professor, and co-founder of a children’s museum. She has investigated the role of crosscutting concepts in STEM learning for many years. She consults nationally and internationally on topics of problem-based instruction and its role in language acquisition and cognitive development. Author of multiple publications on constructivist pedagogy, with a focus on STEM education, Jackie has served as the founding director of the Biotechnology Teaching Lab and Discover Lab, and director of Secondary Science Education at Stony Brook University. She was the director of the Institute for the Development of Education in the Advanced Sciences, STEM Studio, and both Elementary STEM and Secondary Science Education at Hofstra University. For many years, Jackie has served as president of the board of directors and architect of the exhibits and educational programs for the Explorium, a non-profit, interactive museum and professional development center in Port Jefferson, NY.

Lisa Collet Rodriguez, M.S., Digital Marketing & Communications

Technical Consultant, Uprooted Group

Former Assistant Director, Upward Bound Math Science, Hofstra University

Bio to be added

Annika Eriksson, Museum Assistant

Annika is a fusion energy physicist and children’s book author. She has worked as an educator at all levels, from preschool programs to university engineering physics programs. Her interest in how people learn brought her to the Explorium. She joins the teaching staff as an educator who is a life-long learner herself.

Maria Obiols, Museum Assistant


Sally Wellinger

Sally is an elementary, biology and general science teacher who has taught in several Long Island school districts. She is well known among local teachers for her role as an outdoor educator and site director of an outdoor learning lab with Western Suffolk BOCES. Growing up in the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains, hiking and being in nature was a cherished part of her life. She joined the staff of the Explorium in order to explore and create with children within the type of learning opportunities she finds so exciting and enriching.

Julia Todorov

Julia is a biologist and marine scientist with a special interest in environmental education. She has worked as an educator at the Ward Melville Heritage Organization in Stony Brook, the Waikiki Aquarium in Honolulu, and Stony Brook University. Julia’s three children enjoyed the Explorium for years before Julia joined the staff. From creating habitats for frogs to creating paint to draw them, Julia finds children’s questions intriguing.

Vivian Hollinger

Vivian has held several roles in early childhood and elementary education. She has taught grade Pre-K to 5 as a classroom teacher, served as a school district computer facilitator, created and implemented a districtwide stem enrichment program for students in grades 3 to 5, and offered STEM professional development for elementary teachers. She brings an appreciation for children’s inventiveness to her work at the Explorium.

Annika Eriksson

Annika is a fusion energy physicist and children’s book author. She has worked as an educator at all levels, from preschool programs to university engineering physics programs. Her interest in how people learn brought her to the Explorium. She joins the teaching staff as an educator who is a life-long learner herself.

Francesca G. Polo

Francesca is an electrical engineer and engineering educator currently researching middle school students' self-efficacy and career exploration as it informs pedagogy. She has worked in academia, industry, and a DOE sponsored laboratory. She is a member of multiple teaching and engineering associations and a Senior Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. She joined the Explorium staff to participate in and forward the constructivist approach to teaching.


Kevin Sweeney
Zarus Klingel
Lara Fitzpatrick
Gianna Alcala
Toni Foster


The Long Island Explorium could not operate without the contributions of our volunteers who contribute their time, ideas, and energy. Their unique talents enable the Explorium to offer its current level of services to the community.

The program is flexible, matching available opportunities to your talent and availability.

All volunteers can earn the prestigious Presidential Volunteer Service Award, by logging the hours you volunteer at our Explorium through a calendar year (April 1, 2019– April 1, 2020).

All of us at the Maritime Explorium are committed to provide an enriched experience for children and their parents through a constructivist approach to learning.  We strive to provide an engaging experience that can only be achieved by the combined effort of a dedicated skilled team of employees and volunteers.

To apply to be a volunteer, please complete this online form. Our volunteer coordinator, Annika Eriksson will contact you shortly.

Work for us

The Long Island Explorium supports diversity in the workplace. The Explorium is an equal opportunity employer (EOE) and supports a drug-free workplace. Available positions are updated on a regular basis.