Other Resources


The D39 Education Foundation is seeking adult volunteers to share their science, math and engineering experience with our students. Science Olympiad is a nationally recognized program offering extracurricular opportunities for students interested in these fields. Students from Highcrest and Wilmette Junior High can choose from 12-15 courses that will meet weekly beginning the first week of December thru the second week of February after school.

Our leaders often prefer to work in groups so you are welcome to join forces with existing friends/colleagues. We are also happy to match you up with other co-leaders or you can lead a course on your own. If you are interested in volunteering your time and expertise for this year’s Science Olympiad courses, the first step is to take the brief survey to assess your availability and areas of interest/expertise. Complete the survey.

We hope you will consider this opportunity to engage with Wilmette students in the STEM fields. Please feel free to forward this on to any friends/colleagues/parents who might be interested!


Michelle Vile,  Science Olympiad Course Coordinator

Michelle is the proud parent of a 7th grader at WJHS, and both a Freshman and a Junior at New Trier.  Michelle’s background is in consumer marketing, primarily focused on brand strategy, product positioning and new product development. She has worked for a variety of consumer packaged goods companies including Pepsico, Del Monte and Yahoo! Most recently, she taught a Consumer Behavior class to undergrads at Northwestern.  Michelle has an M.B.A. in Marketing from Indiana University and a B.A. in Psychology from Notre Dame.

Meet our 2018-19 Course Leaders


Alma Arslanagic

Alma is the parent of 6th grader at Highcrest, 4th and 1st graders at Romona. She is an Internal Medicine physician practicing Hospital Medicine at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital, where she completed her residency training. She is a graduate of University of Sarajevo. Alma is part of the teaching faculty at the hospital, teaching medical student and residents in all stages of learning and medical training. She has an evolving passion for medicine, especially physiology and diagnostic medicine. She is an avid supporter of living a healthy lifestyle to benefit mind and body, including physical activity and proper nutrition. She enjoys spending time with family, traveling, camping, hiking and practicing yoga.


Tanya Bekyarova


Liesel Brown

Liesel is a parent of a 5th grader at Highcrest, an 8th grader at Wilmette Junior High, and a sophomore at New Trier. Liesel is an outpatient orthopedic physical therapist in Wilmette. She has a Master of Science in Physical Therapy from Washington University in St Louis. She has worked at the University of Chicago Hospitals, Accelerated Rehabilitation Centers, and currently at Pilates Central in Wilmette. She has been a clinical instructor for physical therapy students during her entire career. She loves teaching her clients how their bodies work while teaching them how to feel better. In her spare time, she enjoys running and playing paddle tennis.


Kathryn Calkins

Kathryn is the parent of a 8th grader at WJHS and a returning Science Olympiad leader. She is a science writer for one of the National Institutes of Health websites. She has a degree in biology and English composition from DePauw University and a master’s degree in science writing from Johns Hopkins University. She volunteers at the Highcrest Middle School garden and enjoys classical music, hiking and cooking.


Gloria Fountain

Gloria Fountain is a parent of a 7th grader at Highcrest and two students at New Trier High School. She has worked for IBM, Mobil Oil, Unilever, and Kraft Heinz. She is a licensed engineer with a B.S. in chemical engineering from the University of California at Berkeley. She has avid interest in coaching students for US FIRST robotics, debate, Science Olympiad, and Girl Scouts.


Barbara Lau


Emily Mackie


Greg Mayer

Greg  is the parent of a three daughters who are graduates of Highcrest and WJHS.  Greg is returning for his sixth year as a Science Olympiad leader.  He is a registered patent attorney with a background in aerospace engineering. Greg obtained his undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois, and graduate degrees from Stanford University and the University of Chicago. He works for Hollister Incorporated (a medical device company) as its Asst. GC and Chief Intellectual Property Counsel. His interests include tinkering with cars (both real and R/C), traveling, skiing, music, and playing golf.


Albert Menard

Albert is the grandparent of a WJHS student (Russell McGrath), a HMS student (Rose McGrath) and a McKenzie student (Alex McGrath).  He has a BS from Amherst College, an MS from the University of Minnesota, and a Ph.D from the University of Florida all in physics.  He taught College physics for 38 years until he retired in 2012.  The majority of this teaching was at Saginaw Valley State University in Saginaw Michigan.  He taught all undergraduate courses in physics as well as Astronomy, Geology and Meteorology to non-science majors.  Albert and his wife moved to a retirement home in Evanston in 2014 to be nearer their three grandchildren.


Majid Naghshineh


Scott Posch


Evita Vulgaris

Evita is a parent of fifth grade twins at Highcrest. She is the holder of Bachelor and Doctoral Degrees in Physics from MIT along with a Masters in Applied Mathematics from Cambridge University. Her doctoral thesis was in sub-atomic physics developing models to explain nuclear interactions. Today, Evita works as a quantitative analyst of financial markets, specializing in the mathematical modeling of option pricing. She is keen and passionate about getting the younger generation excited about STEM fields and enjoys volunteering at the school, reading and traveling.


Christopher J. Wieczorek, P.E.

Christopher is the father of twins at Highcrest Middle School.  He is the Chief Engineering Officer at F. E. Moran, one of the Chicago area’s largest mechanical construction firms. He is the holder of a BS in Engineering Physics from the University of Illinois College of Engineering.  While an undergraduate, he worked in the Laboratory for Atomic, Molecular and Radiation Physics designing and building instrumentation for the investigation of femtosecond/terawatt laser tunneling phenomena. Today Chris spends whatever free time his wife allows him to have designing and building electronics and experimenting with spectroscopy and additive manufacturing technology.   He is particularly looking forward to being able to geek out with the Science Olympiad students.