Vera Vander Kooy

Executive Director

Vera Vander Kooy is the founder and executive director of The STEM Connection. She is a highly regarded STEM educator and naturalist who has facilitated hands-on standards based STEM learning experiences in elementary and middle school settings for over 15 years. To complement her inherent love of the sciences, Vera studied science education at Calvin College and differentiated programming at Grand Valley State University. She has taught 5th grade, middle school science and served as a K-8 science lab facilitator. In 2017 she received the Joe Wright Recognition of Excellence Award by the Environmental Educators Association of Indiana and along with entire STEM Connection team the Hoosier Chapter Soil And Water Conservation Society’s Education and Communications award. Currently, Vera presents, consults and trains others empowering them to provide positive STEM learning experiences.


Stacie Hernandez

Program Specialist

Stacie Hernandez is a Program Specialist for Summer Camp.  Stacie is an educator and occupational therapist with a passion for helping students of all abilities learn about and explore the world around them.  She received her Occupational Therapy degree from Indiana University and her Transition to Teaching degree from University of Phoenix. Stacie has over 20 years experience working with children, and currently works as a third grade teacher at St. Monica Catholic School and a STEM Educator for The STEM Connection.


Krista Hershey

Director of Advancement

Krista worked on The STEM Connection’s social media marketing for over a year before joining the team more permanently in her current position on staff. Krista graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Business Administration. She has experience in starting and growing a nonprofit including marketing, communications, community involvement, and volunteer coordination. She also has several years’ experience sitting on grant-making boards. Krista loves hiking and sharing new adventures with others and is excited to help tell the story of The STEM Connection.


Ana Clay

Program Support Facilitator

Ana Clay joined the STEM Connection in the Spring of 2018.  She is a Field Trip Facilitator. Ana enjoys nature and loves exploring outdoors with her children. Ana has previous experience with Veterinary Technology. Ana is looking forward to passing on her love of nature and encouraging children to ask questions and being more open to new experiences.


Ann Niednagel


Ann Niednagel joined The STEM Connection as a facilitator in the fall of 2021. She earned her masters of education from Indiana University and taught middle school in Perry Township.   Most recently she facilitated environmental education lessons as Outdoor Ann in public and private schools for over 15 years.  She served on the board of the Environmental Education Association of Indiana, EEAI and is one of the founding committee members of Indiana Children and Nature Network, ICAN.   Ann’s personal mission is to foster the sense of wonder that’s found outdoors.

Mary K. Holland


Mary joined TSC as a facilitator in the fall of 2022. She has a Bachelors and Masters of Education from Butler University and taught at Greenfield Central Schools, Hamilton Southeastern, and Charles A. Beard schools before pausing to raise her children. For the past 14 years, she has been a Program Leader for Reaching for Tomorrow, a program of the BSA that incorporates SEL and character education with core subjects in several schools in Central Indiana. Mary believes in the interconnectedness of all things and relishes the opportunity to help others see that relationship through TSC. When she is not working she loves to farm, travel, read, play musical instruments, and spend time with her family.


Jennifer Fisher


Jennifer has a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Rockford College.  She taught several years for Indianapolis Public Schools before deciding to stay home with her boys who are now in high school. She’s led field trips at Tuttle Orchards for the last six years. Jennifer loves connecting with students and guiding them with hands-on learning that field trips provide. When she is not working she loves to travel, read, exercise, play board games, spend time with her family and her two beagles. 

Angela Fitzgerald

Director of Programs

Angela Fitzgerald is the Director of Programs for The STEM Connection. She has been involved in middle school math and science education in the Indianapolis area since 2003. Angela grew up in Indianapolis and attended St. Matthew School and Bishop Chatard High School. She graduated from the University of Dayton with a degree in Middle Childhood Math and Science Education and then taught middle school math and science for twelve years. Her hope is that all students have the opportunity to participate in quality STEM experiences that lead to greater interest and involvement in STEM classes and careers in the future.


Eileen Wodda

Program Specialist

Eileen Wodda is a Program Specialist for Summer Camp, and she manages registrations and the website. Eileen is a teacher at St. Monica Catholic School and has been in the classroom helping students explore and grow for the last 28 years. Eileen is originally from Chicago, but has been living in Indianapolis for the last 25 years. She graduated from St. Joseph College with a degree in Elementary Education and a minor in Spanish.


Ruth Wolff

Director of Operations

Ruth Wolff is the Director of Operations for The STEM Connection. She has worked in the non-profit sector of Indianapolis for more than 15 years, providing operational support for organizations large and small since 2006. Ruth grew up across the Midwest but calls Indianapolis her hometown. She graduated from Culver-Stockton College (Missouri) with a degree in Business Administration and a minor in Art, following that up with a master’s degree in Arts Administration from Indiana University. Her passion is to enable incredible educators, facilitators, and artists to do their best work.


Cathy Duda

Onsite Coordinator

Cathy attended Purdue University, where she received an Associate degree in Computer Technology. Cathy participated in the Train a Facilitator program and has facilitated many TSC Day Camps and Summer Camps. Cathy loves being outdoors, especially if it is on the beach, spending time with her family and reading. 


Amy Altman

Program Support Facilitator

Amy Altman joined The STEM Connection in the Spring of 2018.  She is a Field Trip Facilitator. She graduated from Purdue University with a bachelor’s degree in Aquatic Science.  Amy has previously worked at the Surveys Section for the Indiana Department of Environmental Management and a 319 Grant Coordinator.


Harlie Hubers


Harlie joined The STEM Connection in the summer of 2021. She is currently a third-grade teacher at Hudsonville Christian school in West Michigan. She earned an undergraduate degree from Calvin University in Elementary Education and Integrated Science. She is very excited to conduct and provide innovative STEM activities and opportunities for children this summer. 


Kate Antrim

Seasonal Facilitator

Kate graduated from IUPUI in 2004 with a Bachelor of Science/High Distinction in Elementary Education.  She has spent the last 15 years in various roles in the field of education.  She has worked for Perry Township, Montessori Education, St. Monica Catholic School, and most recently, St. Mark Catholic School.  She is also a true devotee of literacy and is certified in Orton-Gillingham.  She is married and has two sons.  In her free time, she loves to read, travel, and spend time with her family enjoying Mother Nature.


Ren Dennis

Seasonal Facilitator

Ren joined The STEM Connection as a facilitator in the spring of 2023. They are studying urban agriculture through Purdue Extension and also work as a garden assistant. Ren volunteers with various food and farming projects throughout Indianapolis in their free time and is passionate about sharing food and native plants. Ren enjoys hiking and backpacking, learning about Indiana phenology, and making art with friends.

Lauren Christy

Program Coordinator

Lauren joined TSC at the beginning of 2024. She is an Indianapolis native, having graduated from North Central High School. She holds a B.S. in Education from IU with minors in Studio Art, History, and Biology. Lauren has experience teaching preschool through high school, but most of her career has included middle and high school Science. Before teaching, she was a therapeutic horseback riding instructor and managed a farm with animals ranging from emus to alpacas to horses. When she’s not working, she spends time with her pets (of which there are many) and her family.