Who We Are

We used our expertise in science, engineering, classroom teaching, and publishing to create user-friendly NGSS curriculum for you.

Ladie Malek, Co-Founder and President

Ladie started out as a structural engineer before finding her calling as an educator. She taught math and science for 8 years at the secondary level, including at a Title 1 school and a National Blue Ribbon School. Along the way, she wrote many lessons and joined several curriculum writing efforts as a way to engage her students in science and math.

Since 2000 she has been developing content full time, and has developed a number of STEM products and courses for K–12. She is passionate about creating content that is motivating and engaging for students and user-friendly for educators.

Ladie holds a BS in Civil Engineering from UCLA, an MA in Education from Stanford University, and teaching credentials in mathematics and physical science. She founded Impact Science Education with the goal of bringing quality STEM education to every school and every student, and supporting teachers and schools in implementing the Next Generation Science Standards.

Ladie’s hobbies include travel, languages, soccer, guitar, and baking. She is also a serious miniature golfer.

Robin Cooper, Co-Founder and Chief Academic Officer

Robin started out in medical research before switching to teaching full time. She has over 20 years experience teaching middle school science. During that time she has served as department chair and as a mentor to numerous new teachers and student teachers.

Robin is passionate about engaging students’ interest in science. She has created many innovative lessons, from the cell parts role play to the popular sound and light stations lab.

Robin holds a BA in Biology from Vassar College and completed her teacher training at San Francisco State University. She holds a single subject credential in life science with a supplemental in chemistry, as well as a multiple subject credential. She served as a Teacher on Special Assignment for two years, working with her science department to implement the California Next Generation Science Standards integrated sequence for middle school. Her school was recently named a National Blue Ribbon school.

Doug Hamilton, Sales Director

Doug taught high school social studies for 13 years and then moved into the renewable energy field where he spent the next eleven years in Residential Solar Energy as a sales representative, trainer, and sales manager.

As a high school social studies teacher, Doug worked hard to bring history to life through active simulations and historical perspective. His emphasis was on students exercising their critical thinking muscles and discerning how the past influences the present.

Now back in the world of education, he is inspired by the innovative Impact Science Education curriculum. As a parent and teacher, his mission to help transform science education is personal as well as professional. He feels that student engagement is the key to grasping complex concepts and becoming a life-long learner.

Doug holds a BA in History (with a science minor) from the University of California at Berkeley. He received his teaching credential and Masters in Education from Stanford University.

Doug’s hobbies include skiing, tennis, Ultimate frisbee, fishing, and playing music in an R&B band. Doug is a nice guy, but don’t challenge him to a game of darts; he will probably win.

Alex Kushner, Outreach Coordinator / Production Manager

Alex was inspired by the opportunity to join Impact Science Education in their mission to make science education engaging, accessible, and fascinating. Alex is focused on outreach to users, but he has numerous talents and is involved in almost every aspect of the business, including writing, editing, production, and sales.

After studying English and Philosophy in college, Alex reluctantly left the world of education to pursue a career in writing. As a veterinary author, he rediscovered his passion for science and for teaching others using clear, concise language.

Alex’s chief hobbies are reading, rock climbing, bird watching, and board games. He also has a deep and abiding passion for traditional Celtic folk music — especially anything with Irish bagpipes.

Linda McPheron, Product Developer

Linda McPheron is part of the product development team at Impact Science Education. Her specialties are ecology, entomology, evolution, and biology education. Linda has a Master’s degree in Entomology from Kansas State University and a Ph.D. in Entomology from UC Berkeley. She has taught a variety of courses at several colleges in the Bay Area including UC Berkeley, San Francisco State, and Berkeley City College.

Linda has a strong interest in science pedagogy and was an author on a paper that measured active learning in college science classes, published recently in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Her two favorite things are working with the team at Impact Science Education to come up with new lesson and project ideas, and thinking up active and engaging ways to teach biology to her college students.

A longtime soccer player and coach, she also enjoys coffee, pastries, all things creepy or crawly, and her new sport, pickleball!

Mirka Marquez, Product Developer

Mirka Marquez is a curriculum developer for Impact Science Education, and contributed to several earth science and physics units. Previously a middle and elementary school teacher, she practiced project-based learning for multiple subjects, including a weeks-long electricity unit with her 4th and 5th graders. She has enjoyed using her classroom experience as a springboard for creative science lessons and unit design.

Mirka has a degree in Art and Literature from UC Santa Cruz and completed her credential coursework at Cal State Monterey Bay. During her time as a teacher, she also participated in a Noyce Foundation 3-year study on investigative learning in mathematics.

Mirka has traveled extensively and contributed many of the photographs for her lessons from her personal travels. She also loves the outdoors, serving as a volunteer for the National Ski Patrol, snowboarding, and cross-country and alpine skiing. Other favorite activities include reading, cooking, scuba diving, rock and tree climbing — and occasionally spelunking.

Barbara Gottfried, Product Developer

A contributor to a variety of Impact Science units and lessons, Barbara has been an educator, author, and editor for over 20 years. She has taught, developed curriculum, created professional development tools, contributed to textbooks and reference books, and consulted in standards alignment in STEM and other subjects. An author herself, she has also written dozens of books for middle and high school students in the fields of mathematics, science, and economics.

Barbara holds a BA in Economics with a concentration in mathematics from the University of Michigan. She received a Masters in Economics, focusing on statistics and econometrics, from New York University. She serves on Rosen’s Teen Health and Wellness Expert Review Board.

Barbara is passionate about engaging all students in the learning process, focusing on differentiated instruction, real-life applications, and multi-sensory approaches. Her aim is to make learning interactive and accessible for all learners, especially students with disabilities.

Her hobbies include kayaking, hiking, cooking international dishes, and doing puzzles. Her talents are too numerous to count... she once won a prize for interpretive poetry!

Rafael Johns, Marketing Coordinator

Rafael currently contributes to editorial and marketing copy as well as social media marketing support at Impact Science Education. Giving teachers the tools to inspire students like him, who might not fit in perfectly in the current scholastic system, is really important to Rafael, and he believes science is a great medium to do that.

Rafael has always been interested in science fiction. Authors like Octavia Butler and Samuel R. Delany got Rafael to think of the world around him as a wondrous place, and it was through this exposure that he got interested in science. He has written and recorded pieces for radio broadcast and worked for a time in the tech industry in San Francisco.

Rafael loves singing and listening to pop music, writing short stories and articles, and experimenting in cooking, which he would also argue is a practical application of scientific knowledge. As a long-term project, he is working on music and lyrics for Impact Science, The Musical.

Steve Rasmussen, Publishing Industry Advisor

Steven Rasmussen is an education professional with a long track record in curriculum development and publishing.  Currently a Senior Associate at SR Education Associates, Steve advises clients in the education sector on business strategy, product development, strategic relations, mergers and acquisitions, sales, and marketing.

Steve was the Co-founder and CEO of Key Curriculum Press, a publishing company known for innovative software and textbook development in STEM subjects. He was also president of KCP Technologies, the developer of The Geometer’s Sketchpad software for dynamic geometry, and worked around the globe on technology initiatives related to mathematics education and inquiry-based learning.

Steve has also written a series of mathematics workbooks—Key to Fractions, Key to Decimals, and Key to Percents—currently published by McGraw-Hill Education, and has edited more than a dozen other works. Steve has given hundreds of workshops and talks on mathematics teaching and mathematics technology at national and international conferences.

Steve has degrees in mathematics (B.S., 1976) and mathematics education (M.Ed., 1978) from Temple University. He taught secondary mathematics for seven years in Pennsylvania and California.

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