Corporate Officers

Richard Stember – Executive Director & Board President

Richard has over 30-years of experience leading non-profits focused on child development and informal science education. He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Chemistry from the State University of New York and runs a software company that develops applications for scientists and researchers.  Richard is also a volunteer with NASA’s Solar System Ambassador program and the California Science Center.


Ruth Kurisu - Board Vice President

Ruth has over forty years of professional experience in both the public and non-profit sectors.  She founded and operated a high-tech electronics company, before moving to the non-profit arena where she developed, incubated, and managed several major initiatives to provide access to health care for Orange County’s underserved population.  She now works as the Director of Business Operations for the California Health Medical Reserve Corps, an organization nationally activated under the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response to strengthen public health, build resilience and improve recovery capabilities after a disaster.


Ruth has a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from Ursinus College, completed graduate work in Industrial Technology at California State University, Long Beach and holds an MBA from the Anderson School of Management at UCLA.  Ruth is also a volunteer with NASA’s Solar System Ambassador program.

Rebecca Hammond - Board Treasurer

Rebecca holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Accounting and is a licensed CPA. She is enthusiastic about sharing her knowledge with students, parents, and the public. She organizes and runs events at local public schools in Orange County, and designs and runs presentation booths at local community events.


James Hammond- Board Secretary

James holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering from the California Institute of Technology and has been a professional software developer for over 25 years. He is passionate about science, technology, engineering, and math, and very keen to learn more about the arts.


Board Members

Brad Friesen – Board Member

Brad graduated from the University of California, Davis, with a degree in civil engineering and is a registered professional engineer in the State of California. He recently retired after a 36-year career with a major international engineering and construction company where he served in many capacities including leading the firm’s renewable energy business line. He hopes to utilize his engineering and renewable energy expertise to help promote STEAM education in local schools.

Bill Garett- Board Member

Bill graduated from California State University, Long Beach with a degree in chemistry and is a registered professional mechanical engineer in the State of California.  He retired from the petroleum industry after a 44-year career working in refineries and for major engineering firms.  Among his responsibilities was to recruit and mentor engineering students.  In retirement, he has developed a passion for astrophysics and service towards youth through Kiwanis.  He also embraces the arts with 25 years of performing in the Laguna Beach Pageant of the Masters.


Chapter Coordinators

Bob and Jann Koepke - North Carolina

Robert Koepke is a retired Electrical Engineer and embedded programmer.  He has been working with students in STEM subjects, especially rocketry and payloads, for over 30 years. With his wife Jann, they have supported the AIAA OC Section Educational outreach program mentoring scores of The American Rocketry Challenge and NASA Student Launch Teams.  Robert is also an Amateur Radio Operator and ARISS (Amateur Radio on the International Space Station) Technical mentor

Janet Koepke has a Fine Arts degree from California State University at Los Angeles and has been mentoring students in STEM for 30 years in a variety of subjects including Rocketry.  Jann is working on her Level 3 rocketry certification, which allows her to use very powerful rocket motors.

Rebecca Hammond – Northern CA

Rebecca is a founding board member of Science Heads and has been leading the development of its hands-on STEM activities. Along with her husband James, this chapter’s focus is to bring STEM educational materials and learning opportunities to mostly under resourced schools and communities in Sonoma county.

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