RET Participants

RET 2020 Participants

  • Jodi Burns (Bakersfield Middle School), All Aboard with Conductors
  • Paula Deaver (Horace Maynard Middle School) Structure of the Atmosphere
  • Michael Fugate (Putnam City West High School) – Mac the Toucan: Renewable energy and engineering design

RET 2019 Participants

  • Betsy Hondorf (Oak Ridge High School) –  High Voltage Power Transmission for AP Physics. [poster]
  • Lars Hondorf (Jefferson Middle School) – Photovoltaic Cells and Renewable Power for Middle School Math Students. [poster]
  • Nick Sirek
  • Konstantin Yakunin (Pellissippi State Community College) – Basic Structure of the Power Transmission and Distribution: Modeling Power System with MATLAB. [poster]

RET 2018 Participants

  • Chris Baldwin (Pigeon Forge High School) – Can the Sun Power the World? and Do I have to pay my electric bill? A personal finance look at solar power. [poster 1] [poster 2]
  • Jennifer Hodge, (Whittle Springs Middle School) – Career Exploration and Can We Neutralize Acid Rain?  [poster]
  • Elizabeth Hondorf (Oak Ridge High School) – Wireless Power Transmission for AP Physics. [poster]
  • Lucius Irvin, (Gresham Middle School) – The Big Energy Debate and Changing the Future One Alternative Source at a Time. [poster]
  • Michael Knapp (Hardin Valley Academy) – “Baselines and Batteries: An AP Environment Science Introductory Lesson to Electricity and Batteries and Multicelluar Batteries. [poster]
  • Nicole Leatherwood (Gresham Middle School) – Going Big Green in Neyland Stadium and The Big Energy Debate. [poster]
  • Jennifer Moylan, (Powell Middle School) – The Electricity/Magnetism relationship in Useful Machines. [poster]
  • Santiago Munoz, (Bearden High School) – Battery powered karts and Charging a Smartphone. [poster]
  • Nick Sirek (L&N STEM Academy) – Our Place in the Solar System: Understanding Geomagnetic Storms. [poster]
  • Ruben Saroukhanian, (Nashville State Community College), Modern Electric Power Grids: Components, Vulnerabilities, Threats, Cyber-security incidents and  Smart Grid, Distributed Power Systems, Microgrid: Towards Cyber-physical Security and Resiliency.
  • Rachel Wood (Bearden High School) – Designing a Wind Turbine to Optimal Performance Using Mathematical Concepts and Using Trigonometry to determine a Maximum Angle of Elevation of an Incline for electric vehicles. [poster]

2016 RET Participants


My name is Christina Stansberry. I am the Design Lab teacher at Green Magnet Academy where I teach engineering to students kindergarten through 5th grade. I graduated from The Ohio State University with my masters in elementary education and have been teaching for 13 years now. I am married and have a beautiful daughter about to begin The University of Tennessee. I now live here in Knoxville with my wonderful husband, 3 dogs and 2 cats.

Sanderson_LaurenMy name is Lauren Sanderson, and I am from North Augusta, South Carolina which is where I attended the University of South Carolina Aiken to earn my Bachelor of Science degree in Math Secondary Education.  Georgia Regents University is where I earned my Master of Education degree in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Mathematics.  I met my wonderful husband, Matt Sanderson, who is the meteorologist for 10 News, and moved to Knoxville one year ago.  I started working at Bearden High School where I taught Algebra 2 and Finite Math.  This year, I will be teaching Algebra 2 at BHS and will implement the research that I have done this summer.  My husband and I have a cat and 125 pound Doberman.  We love to travel, try new restaurants, get involved with any community event, work out, go to the lake, and hike.

Hardison_Brian My name is Brian Hardison, and I teach 7th/8th grade at Pi Beta Phi Elementary School in Gatlinburg, TN. I have two girls, Maggie and M’lynn and they are 13 and 11 years of age. I enjoy running and spending time with my family.

Roberts_Laura My name is Laura Roberts, and I am originally from Fairfield, CT. I attended Skidmore College for my undergraduate studies in management and business, and later received my MAT from Sacred Heart University. This is my second year with CURENT as an RET. I am currently a math and special education teacher at West High School in Knoxville, and am hoping to use this program to further explore making my lessons relevant and applicable.


My name is Lauren Migun, and I am a graduate from Eastern Kentucky University. I am currently a mathematics teacher at Bearden High School.   For the 2016-2017 school year, I will be teaching Geometry and Honors Geometry.  I also co-sponsor the Key Club at BHS, a service organization for students, and have enjoyed seeing the students grow through community outreach.  I love having adventures with my husband and continuing to learn everyday.   This is my second year at CURENT as an RET, and I hope to use this experience to help my students explore potential career fields.

McNichols_Monica My name is Monica McNichols, and I started my career teaching abroad in Italy and Spain.  After then teaching with the Peace Corps in Colombia, I slowly found my way to Knoxville where I have just completed my first year teaching 6th grade math at Powell Middle. Having worked exclusively in early education and with early elementary students before this year, sixth grade math has been my favorite adventure to date!  Over the course of this past year I have thrown myself into teaching STEAM skills and careers.  Teaching students what they can practically do with math skills has increased student excitement and involvement in class.  I am excited for the opportunity CURENT offers to build my own understanding and turn it into hands-on learning experiences for my students.  Looking forward to another year of hearing student proudly proclaim they want to be an engineer when they grow up!

DSC_0038 My name is Karen Cragwall, and I am the librarian at Karns Middle School.  The RET program at CURENT is providing me with vital information needed to get our Markerspace integrated into the school community.  Learning about 3D printing and how the electrical grid works gives me a better view of how to incorporate the resources I have into our different curriculums.  The field of Library Science has changed dramatically since I began teaching in 1993.  This program is preparing me to stay current with new ways of providing information to students and support teachers. I am a graduate of Howard Payne University in Brownwood, Texas and earned a Masters in Library Science at the University of Tennessee. Middle School is where I have spent my entire career. I read a lot, swim, hike, run, well jog, and walk miles and miles around Knoxville.  I am the elder stateswoman here, have 3 children, 4 grandchildren and 3 grand animals.  I share my life with an Associate Professor of Communications at Carson Newman University.

2015 RET Participants

LauraRobertsOriginally from Connecticut, Laura Roberts has a B.S. in Management and Business from Skidmore College and a MAT from Sacred Heart University. In addition to a certification to teach secondary math, she is a certified therapeutic horseback riding instructor, instructing part time at Shangri-La Therapeutic Academy of Riding in Lenoir City. Ms. Roberts just completed her first year teaching at Bearden High School in Knoxville.

LaurenMigunMy name is Lauren Migun, and I am a mathematics teacher at Bearden High School. Next year I will teach Geometry at BHS and volunteer with Key Club. When my principal emailed out various information about summer programs, CURENT caught my eye. I have always been interested in engineering and felt that this would be a fantastic way to explore the career field. It has been a blessing to be able to investigate the various ways that mathematics (specifically geometry) and engineering overlap.

JasonWrightMy name is Jason Wright. I am a married father of two (Emma and Andy).  I have held numerous jobs in both the Technical and Sport fields and now I am beginning my second full year teaching CTE at Fulton High School in Knoxville.

DebbieFraserDebbie Fraser is a graduate of the College of William & Mary, B.S. Biology. She worked at Virginia Institute of Marine Science – Marine Education and taught at Walt Whitman High School, Bethesda, MD (Honors Lab Science) Montgomery County Public Schools. Mrs. Fraser is married to Bruce Fraser, a chemical & systems engineer modeling nuclear power training. She has four awesome kids! Mrs. Fraser is presently teaching AP Chemistry/Honors Chemistry at Farragut High School, Knox County Public Schools. She has previously taught Ecology and developed a Marine Ecology Course for the state of TN. Mrs. Fraser also served on the Town of Farragut Stormwater Advisory Committee for several years, helping with development of education water quality outdoor classroom adjacent to Farragut High School  owned by the town of Farragut.

JillLawrenceMy name is Jill Lawrence and I am a 7th grade science teacher at Gresham Middle School in Knoxville, TN.  I have been teaching for 11 years, the first 4 in a high school setting and the last 7 in the middle grades.  Outside the classroom I can be found training for races (5K and half-marathons) or relaxing with my 2 cats.

JessicaMintonJessica Minton has been teaching science for 6.5 years. Throughout her career, she has taught high school Biology and Environmental Science, Physical Science, 6th grade and 8th grade science. Ms. Minton is now currently teaching 8th grade science, STEM and Honor’s Physical Science for the Germantown Municipal Schools.  Ms. Minton holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Maryville College in Biology for Teacher Licensure, a Master’s Degree from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville in Science Education, and an Educational Specialist Degree from Lincoln Memorial University in Curriculum and Instruction.  She loves teaching science and working with students. Ms. Minton has been married for 7 years, has a 4 year old daughter and 3 cats.


My name is Eric Stansberry, and I am the Building Level Coordinator and STEM educator at Gresham Middle School. I have been a teacher for over 20 years, with the majority of my career spent in Hamilton County. I have received the ITEEA Teacher of Excellence 3 separate times. I am married and have 2 children, 1 step-daughter, 3 dogs, and 2 cats. I am a big Doctor Who/Star Trek fan.     

BrianHardisonMy name is Brian Hardison and I teach 7th/8th grade at Pi Beta Phi Elementary School in Gatlinburg, TN. I have two girls, Maggie and M’lynn and they are 12 and 10 years of age. I enjoy running and spending time with my family.

TracyMarstonTracy Marston is entering her tenth year of teaching. She has taught language arts for 5 years and science for 4 years. Dr. Marston currently teaches 6th grade science at Northwest Middle School. She received her undergrad and graduate degrees from East Tennessee State University. Dr. Marston and her husband have been married 13 years and have 2 daughters; her eldest is 6 and a half and her youngest is almost 4.

JessicaSmithJessica Smith is entering her tenth year in the teaching profession. She has currently worked nine years at South Doyle Middle School where she teaches sixth grade science. Mrs. Smith attended Maryville College, receiving her bachelors, and she attended Tennessee Tech for her Masters. Mrs. Smith is married and has a two year old son with another child on the way.

2014 RET Participants

JMr. Joe Foy teaches mathematics, computer programming, and physics at the L&N STEM High School in Knoxville, TN. He weaves power generation and distribution application problems throughout his courses. Mr. Foy is a second career high school teacher, having worked previously as an engineer for 24 years. He holds two degrees in electrical engineering (BSEE, U.S. Naval Academy, MSEE University of Tennessee).

teacherMy name is Mr. Brian Hardison and I just completed my 14th year as an educator in Sevier County. My educational career includes a B.A. from Carson Newman College, a M.A. from Tusculum College, and an Ed.S. degree from Lincoln Memorial University.I am married to my beautiful wife Alison Hardison who is also an educator in Sevier County. We have 2 little girls, Maggie is 11 and M’lynn is 9. We love to travel all over the world. We have been to Canada, Jamaica, Mexico, Las Vegas, Honduras, Belize, and Ireland(Novemeber of 2012).

JMs. Jill Lawrence is currently serving as a 7th and 8th grade science teacher at Gresham Middle School in the Knox County Public School System.  Miss Lawrence has been with Gresham Middle School for seven years.  Prior to her career with Knox County, Miss Lawrence taught high school Biology and Integrated Science at Western MST High School in Louisville, KY where she also served as the science department co-chair.  She earned her bachelor’s degree in Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation Biology through the College Scholars Program at The University of Tennessee in 1997 and her masters in Secondary Science Education from The University of Tennessee in 2005.  Miss Lawrence has served as a mentor teacher for the TeacHere program, new teachers, and pre-service teachers.

JMs. Jessica Minton has been teaching science for 6 years.  She started her career teaching high school Biology and Environmental Science, then moved into Physical Science as well.  After moving to Memphis, she taught 6th grade science for 1 year and is now currently getting ready to start teaching 8th grade science and Honor’s Physical Science for the Germantown Municipal Schools.  Mrs. Minton holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Maryville College in Biology for Teacher Licensure, a Master’s Degree from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville in Science Education, and an Educational Specialist Degree from Lincoln Memorial University in Curriculum and Instruction.  She loves teaching science and working with students.  Mrs. Minton is so grateful for the opportunity to participate in CURENT’s RET program to gain new skills and knowledge to take back to the classroom with her.

pic1Mr. Nick Sirek is a second-career high school science teacher at L&N STEM Academy in Knoxville TN. He teaches multiple subjects that include: Geology, Honors Biology, STEM (I, II, and III) and Physical World Concepts (into to physics).  This is his first year with the CURENT RET Summer program. His educational background is in environmental geology (B.S.) and hydrogeology (M.S.) from the University of Kentucky (Go Big Blue!).  In his first career, as a registered professional geologist (P.G.) he was a task/project manager in the environmental consulting field for 16 years. In February 2012, Mr. Sirek was chosen as one of only fifteen Governor’s Fellows for the Teach Tennessee program.  The program provides an alternate avenue for industry professionals to transition into teaching science and/or math in TN middle and high schools.

Mug4Mr. Nick Wilsey teaches math, physics, astronomy, and design thinking at the L&N STEM Academy. He also coaches cross country, coaches a team for CyberPatriot (the Air Force Association’s national high school cyber defense competition), and helps coordinate a team in the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program. He will be working with CURENT to write authentic problem-based learning scenarios for his students.