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  • Writer's pictureFrank DiGiovanni

Hi, nice to meet you!

Updated: Jun 13

…The pleasure is all mine...

It’s always nice to put a face with a name and learn a little bit more about a person before meeting them. Here at the Science Museum of Long Island we feel the same way and have four fantastic teachers we’d like you to get to know a little bit more about them. They have diverse backgrounds, hail from different places and have different experiences. They bring all of that and more to the Science Museum to help the next generation of scientists learn more about the world around them in many fun, educational and hands on ways.


Sara Cheris, Alyssa D'Arrigo, Frank DiGiovanni, and Bill Lindmark are the educators here on a full-time, day-to-day basis and the ones your child(ren) will most likely meet any time they’re here. Field trips, scout badges, summer camp and holiday programs (held when there’s no school), after school and outreach programs are part of their teaching repertoire here at SMLI.

We asked our staff a few questions so you can get to know them a little bit before you bring your kid(s) here.

Sara Cheris, Educator

Sara, picking tulips at Waterdrinker Family Farm in Manorhaven, NY. Courtesy of Sara

Where is your education from and what is it in? I earned my Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies from Adelphi University, along with being a Levermore Global Scholar. I will be attending the CUNY School of Professional Studies starting Fall 2024 to begin a Masters in Youth Studies!


Why did you choose that area of study and why it’s important to you? I grew up saying I wanted to be an Astronomer; however, I switched to Environmental Studies as I wanted to be able to educate youth on the importance of our planet and keeping it healthy for both humans and all other life on it. I have a passion for working with youth; I love being able to learn and grow with young people! It is so important to ensure we are helping young people reach their full potential.


What drove you to study your area of science? I grew up always planting and gardening in my local community, and even helped advocate for a community garden in elementary school. I knew from a young age that I wanted science to be a part of my career.


Why do you like STEM? STEM allows individuals to question everything around them, and as someone with a lot of questions, it is so satisfying to learn something new.

Coolest science thing you’ve done/been to/helped with/etc.

When I was in middle school, my parents surprised me with a trip to Kennedy Space Center in Florida. We toured the launch pad and had lunch with NASA Astronaut Story Musgraves, who is the only astronaut to have flown on all five space shuttles!


Anything else you want to share? A favorite quote: "There's nothing I believe in more strongly than getting young people interested in science and engineering, for a better tomorrow, for all humankind." -Bill Nye




Alyssa D'Arrigo, Educator

Where is your education from and what is it in?  

I earned a Bachelor of Arts in English with a minor in Creative Writing at Stony Brook University. I also completed the Teacher Certification Program at Stony Brook University.  


Why did you chose that area of study and why it’s important to you?  

I decided to become a teacher because I LOVE working with children and learning new things! I have a passion for education and want to share that with as many people as possible.  


What drove you to study your area of science?  

When I was younger, I had amazing teachers that inspired me to learn new things and to be curious about the world around me. As an educator, I hope to help bring a sense of fun and wonder into the classroom. I also love learning about plants and animals and spending time in nature.  


Why do you like STEM?  

I like STEM because it allows you to understand amazing things about our world. There are endless questions you can ask, experiments you can run and information you can collect. I also love that STEM is for everyone—no matter your age or experience level! 


Coolest science thing you’ve done/been to/helped with/etc. 

I worked at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory’s DNA Learning Center and had the opportunity to experience an inside look at human evolution and genetics education, including student-led DNA barcoding research.  



Frank DiGiovanni, Educator & blog writer

Frank sitting on a chair made of ice at Harbor Frost Festival in Sag Harbor, NY.! Courtesy of Frank

Where is your education is from and what is it in? My undergraduate degree is in Elementary Education with a concentration in Science from SUNY Plattsburgh and my Master’s in in Special Education from Dowling College.


Why you chose that area of study and why it’s important to you? I became an Elementary Teacher because of my love of working with children and I earned a concentration in science so I would be able to use and teach it on a daily basis; it is also the foundation of our everyday lives. From hydrology to astronomy, so much of what we wonder about is answerable through some kind of science.


What drove you to study your area of science? My grandfather, mother and father were all the main reasons I got into education, but it was my mother and grandfather who fanned the flames for my love of science. I even got a book as a gift called "The Way Things Work” by Neil Ardley and David Macaulay because I had so many questions that my mom and dad couldn’t readily answer.


Why you like STEM? I like STEM because there are so many areas that can be studied to help satisfy my own curiosity and the curiosity of the students who come through the doors of SMLI. Plus, when teaching STEM topics there’s nothing better than watching a student go “WOAH!” because of something they weren’t expecting happened or because they made something happen through their own experimentation.


Coolest science thing you’ve done/been to/helped with/etc? In 2016, I went on a cruise as part of the finals of an international, STEM-based innovation contest for high school students I used to run. The finalists sailed from Miami, Florida to Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic and while onboard the cruise to the Dominican, the final round was held. Plus, while in the DR, we did philanthropic events like helping pour cement foundations for families with only dirt floors, visited local schools and helped create water filtration devices for homes that had no running water.


Lastly. I always tell my students that it’s okay to be wrong, or not know the answer to something. It’s what you do about that ignorance or incorrect answer that makes the difference. Failure is always an option but if you learn from that failure, you’re a success.



Bill Lindmark, Educator & Program Manager


Where is your education is from and what is it in? I earned my Bachelor of Science in Biology from Georgia Tech, where I concentrated on microbiology and psychology. My MBA was focused on the healthcare industry and earned from Georgetown University.


Why you chose that area of study and why it’s important to you? My studies have always been focused on how I can ensure my work has the greatest possible impact on improving the lives of others. I entered college in the school of engineering with an undeclared major. Sciences in general had piqued my interest, but I was jealous of those that had a pre-planned career path laid out in their heads. Eventually the systems of the human body and real-world implications of biotechnology stood out to me as an exciting opportunity to help people. I particularly liked learning about the evolutionary arms race between infectious diseases and the human body's immune system.

Bill, enjoying the mountain views. Courtesy of Bill.

What drove you to study your area of science? My mother had originally worked in the telecom industry after being scared away from a career in education. When she decided to rejoin the workforce after a decade as a stay-at-home mom, she went back to school and became a teacher. I was always impressed with how rewarding she found teaching students, after persevering through so many obstacles that kept her from her chosen profession. She also taught me to leave a place better than I found it, so I hope that we can teach future generations to do so with nature!


Why you like STEM? STEM provides both a rigid lens through which to critically think through problem solving, but also creative outlets to imagine solutions to some of the world's largest challenges. It's interesting to learn how others have pushed scientific knowledge to evolve over time. It's exciting to be a part of increasing our current breadth of knowledge and challenging old perceptions of our limitations.


Coolest science thing you’ve done/been to/helped with/etc.? My first job out of college gave me the opportunity to work in a Harvard professor's photobiology lab, where I was able to pick the accomplished brains of his post-doctoral students. I was able to independently run microbiology experiments, which gave me unparalleled autonomous lab experience. Somehow, I was trusted by hospitals to operate a laser twice my size to emit blue light into saline spheres within the stomach of patients, who were infected with a carcinogenic bacteria that would be killed by the light. However, I was more interested in how our CEO was translating the data from our results to explain to investors how we could find a path forward to creating a business that would help many patients. This set me on a path to enjoying the trials and tribulations of translating business pressures to scientists and scientific constraints to those who are more business minded.



Without the staff, their ideas, research, dedication and teaching, we wouldn’t be able to help inspire the next generation and show them just how amazing the world around them really is! Remember to check the SMLI website (www.smli.org) for information about Holiday Workshop programs, summer camp and other programs we offer.


Hope to see you in the future and keep wondering about the world around you!

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