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Hello educators! We are so happy to have you join us! Please meet the team :)

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Karen A.L. Guerrero, PhD, EdD
Principle Investigator

Karen Guerrero is an educator with 20 years of K-12 classroom experience, 16 years of teaching future educators at local colleges and universities, and 20 years of conducting teacher professional development. She has worked with a variety of students from inner-city children to urban adults.  Her research focus is teaching STEM content to diverse learners. She is a National Geographic explorer with research on STEMSS teaching and learning and continually looks for opportunities to collaborate globally.

Meet our GeoCivics student assistants! (L to R) Stephanie, Sara and Abby! 


Dianne McKee, MEd
Project Director

Dianne McKee is an alumnus of ASU and brings over 20 years experience teaching in both formal and non-formal settings, directing federal and regional grants, developing courses and curricula, and designing and delivering both in-person and online professional development for K-12 teachers. She is a Teacher Consultant for the Arizona Geographic Alliance, and a Teacher Trainer for Engineering is Elementary, Makey Makey and Population Education. She has also authored numerous science, environmental, and geographic student publications, as well as developed a number of environmental programs, courses, and training guides for government agencies and non-profit organizations.


Dawn Lambson, EdD
Academic Coach

Dr. Dawn Lambson received her Bachelor's Degree from Arizona State University in Elementary Education and Special Education, Learning Disabilities, and taught in various capacities in elementary and middle school classrooms in the Phoenix area. She then received her Master's Degree from ASU in Teaching English as a Second Language (MTESL) and went on to receive her doctorate from ASU in Curriculum & Instruction/Language and Literacy, with an emphasis on Teaching English as a Second Language (ESL). She then served as a lecturer in Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College and as a clinical assistant professor in the Department of English, teaching English language education courses to pre-service and in-service teachers. She also served as Program Coordinator for the BLE/ESL Initial Teacher Certification Program at Mary Lou Fulton Teacher’s College from 2008 to 2011.

In 2018, Dr. Lambson served as the project director for the STEMSS CRUISE EL Project, a National Professional Development grant-funded project through the Office of English Language Acquisition, providing STEMSS-based professional development for teachers of English learners. Dr. Lambson currently serves as Teacher Coach and Mentor for teachers participating in the STEMSS CRUISE EL Project, supporting them to develop their knowledge and skills for teaching ELLs and helping them to effectively apply their learning to better support the English language learners in their classrooms.

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Stephanie Nunez

Student Assistant

Stephanie is pursuing a bachelor's degree in Biological Sciences at Arizona State University. After graduation, she wants to continue her studies culminating in her master's degree in Microbiology, and continue her research of interest studying fungi and bacteria. 


Abby Schmidt

Student Assistant

Abby is a second year student in the landscape architecture program at Arizona State University. While she is originally from Bismarck, North Dakota, she came to Arizona to pursue her passion of playing golf. She is currently on the ASU club golf team and plans to use her degree to design golf courses. 

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Sara Montes Delgadillo

Student Assistant

Sara is pursuing her bachelor's degree in animation at the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at Arizona State University. After graduation, she wants to continue her studies by pursuing a Masters of Arts in character animation and animated filmmaking. She hopes her studies here at ASU will help her decide which branch of animation she wants to pursue whether it be character designing, storyboarding, or animating. She hopes to become a stop motion animator for LAIKA and immerse viewers through the art of storytelling. 

Dr. Margarita Jimenez-Silva

External Evaluator

Dr. Margarita Jimenez-Silva is Associate Professor and Chair of Teacher Education at the University of California, Davis, and co-founder of Sisterhood for Equity Consulting. Prior to entering higher education, Professor Jimenez-Silva worked with newcomer students as a middle-school math and science. Her research focuses on preparing and supporting teachers to work with culturally and linguistically diverse learners. She has coordinated curriculum and programs addressing the needs of emergent bilinguals in the U.S. and internationally. Dr. Jimenez-Silva has evaluated numerous federally-funded projects. Her most recent work focuses on developing pipelines of future bilingual teachers in ways that honor and build on their cultural and linguistic capital. Her research has been published by journals such as Harvard Educational Review, Multicultural Perspectives, and the Journal of Research on Childhood Education.


Juan Mendoza
Business Operations Specialist

Juan is an ASU alumni, who got his bachelor’s degree in business with an emphasis on sports and marketing. He’s a first generation Mexican-American, born in Los Angeles but grew up in the east valley of Phoenix for the majority of his life, so he would consider himself an Arizona native. He enjoys hiking, watching shows and movies, as well as playing pickleball, soccer and basketball (Go Suns!) with friends. For the last few years, Juan has had the opportunity to gain some experience in both warehouse operations and the logistics industry. The bulk of which was spent working as a Staffing Planner and admin for Amazon, then as a Carrier Sales Executive for a 3rd party logistics company, moving freight all over the country. He has a passion for event planning and coordinating, with the hope of pursuing a career in related fields at ASU or within Arizona.

Ashley Alarcon, MEd
Pensar Academy


My name is Ashley Alarcon and I currently teach at Pensar Academy; a public, Project Based Learning school serving students in grades 4th -8th grade located in the heart of Phoenix, Arizona. Previously, I taught 6th grade and this will be my fourth year teaching 4th grade. I am an enrolled member of the Chemehuevi Indian Tribe: we are the southernmost branch of Southern Paiute. 

I’m from a small town alongside the Colorado River called Parker, Arizona. I moved to the valley over a decade ago to attend Arizona State University, and then Grand Canyon University. I earned both my bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Grand Canyon University. I am an active member of my school community and continue to seek opportunities to perfect my teaching craft and support my diverse learners. I am also a proud member of the Arizona Geographic Alliance. I was a part of the 2020 STEMSS Cohort and then became a Teacher Lead in the Summer of 2021. I am extremely passionate about multicultural education and representation in the classroom!


Melissa Mercado

Cesar E.Chavez Leadership Academy


Yá'át'ééh! My name is Melissa Mercado and I am an Indigenous matriarch from the Diné (Navajo) Nation. I am a proud Arizona State University alumni, graduating with a degree in Elementary Education with an emphasis in Bilingual Education.

Currently, I am at the end of my third year teaching at Cesar E.Chavez Leadership Academy in South Phoenix, Arizona, where I teach science to fifth and sixth graders. In the last seven years, I have had the opportunity to participate in various organizations that allowed me to present my experiences and knowledge at numerous local and national conferences, giving a voice to indigenous voices. As an indigenous person, I am constantly working to decolonize my way of life and advocate and create opportunities for indigenous youth to reclaim and sustain language and culture. For this reason, during the summer I host a day camp to provide space and learning for Diné kids to connect to their culture, language, and other kids. I find joy in dancing salsa, bachata, cha cha cha, and merengue, spending time with my siblings and family, learning Spanish and human anatomy and physiology, crafting, and sewing.

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