GYSTC Spotlight

August 2022 Spotlight

This month, we are shining a light on our West GYSTC Board Chair, Mr. Victor Rundquist. Mr. Rundquist started his studies at DeAnza College in Cupertino, CA a mere 1 mile from Apple’s headquarters. While there he spent 3 years at NASA Ames. As an intern at NASA, he spent time working on the very first WIFI networks and even spent a summer in the Artic studying mobile computer networks. After taking the opportunity to work for NASA, he transferred to Auburn University where he received a bachelor’s degree in Wireless Engineering and a master’s degree in Electrical Engineering. During graduate school he restructured a radio lab where he taught undergraduate students to build their own working AM/FM radios. They even had their own small scale FM radio station for testing.

Through his exposure at NASA and Auburn University one of the things Mr. Rundquist learned very well was the ability to learn. His job at Southwire has him delving into the areas of material science, metallurgical science and even some biology (even though his formal training is in electrical engineering). He is responsible for the research and product development of Southwire products on the metallic side of the business. His job has him becoming an expert in all the areas of our copper, aluminum, steel, and even lead materials. Having the ability and drive to always learn new things keeps Mr. Rundquist on top of his tasks every day. He spends time Southwire’s plants helping with day-to-day issues and implementation of new products and manufacturing processes. As an R&D engineer he even gets the opportunity to invent new things. He currently has 6 patents granted with a few more pending.

We are excited to share the lesson, Be an Electrical Engineer with your students so that they can see what it is like to be an Electrical Engineer just like Mr. Rundquist!

Be an Electrical Engineer - Lesson


May 2022 Spotlight

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This month, we are shining a light on our Regional Coordinators and State Staff. We would not be the organization we are today without the true dedication that it takes from our Regional Coordinators and the program staff at the State Office. Each of our coordinators comes from various educational backgrounds, but one thing that remains consistent is their love for teaching and helping inspire our next generation.

We want to thank LaTrina Howell of Central GYSTC; Emily Anne Strickland of Chattahoochee-Flint GYSTC; Robert (Bob) Young of Etowah GYSTC; Valarie Ages-Lockett of Gordon GYSTC; Erin Youmans of Magnolia Midlands GYSTC; Will Dodd of Oconee River GYSTC; Tammy Nowell of Southwest GYSTC; Cathy Fontenot of West GYSTC; and Amanda Buice, Jenna Henkel, Lynn Larsen, and Pam Parks of the GYSTC State Office.

Tuesday, May 3, 2022 is National Teacher Day. We applaud all of our Georgia Educators and are excited to share this lesson with your students so that they see what it is like to be a STEM teacher just like our coordinators!

Be a STEM Teacher - Lesson

April 2022 Spotlight

This month, in honor of Earth Day on Friday April 22, 2022, we are shining a light on one of our Chattahoochee-Flint GYSTC Board Members, Dr. Michele Smith. Dr. Smith is the Professor of Chemistry and STEM Coordinator at Georgia Southwestern State University in Americus, GA. She received her bachelor’s degree from Wilson College with a major in Chemistry and a minor in Biology. She received her Ph.D. from Auburn University in Inorganic Chemistry.

Dr. Smith is involved with the Georgia Adopt-A-Stream program as a local community coordinator for the Lower Flint River Watershed. The Georgia Adopt-A-Stream program is Georgia’s volunteer water quality monitoring program. She started as a chemical and bacterial monitoring volunteer in 2014 and became a community coordinator in 2016. As a community coordinator, she trains and certifies individuals who are interested in chemical and bacterial monitoring of their local waterways. Chemical monitoring involves determination of water temperature, pH, conductivity, dissolved oxygen levels, alkalinity, phosphates, and nitrates. Bacterial monitoring is utilized to determine levels of E. coli in surface waters, since E. coli since high levels may indicated potential pathogens. Since becoming a community coordinator, she has had the privilege of working with K-8 teachers in the Chattahoochee-Flint GYSTC region, Georgia Southwestern students, area residents, members of local homeowner’s associations, local business owners, and staff from the Flint Riverkeeper, Flint RiverQuarium, and Chehaw Park and Zoo.

As the STEM Coordinator for Georgia Southwestern, Dr. Smith has been able to interact with K-8 students in the Chattahoochee-Flint GYSTC area and speak with them on a variety of environmental topics. Her favorite topics are water quality and pollution, ultraviolet light and the ozone layer, and recycling the plastics that we use in our everyday lives. She is always amazed at the knowledge that students possess about the environment and their eagerness to learn even more.

Be an Environmental Engineer - Lesson


March 2022 Spotlight


This month, in honor of National Doctor's Day, we are shining a light on one of our State Board Members Dr. Dana Neacsu.

Dr. Neacsu is Board Certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine. She completed her residency in Internal Medicine at Englewood Hospital and Medical Center, affiliated with the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. She is a recipient of The Joseph Caltabiano Award for Professionalism in Medicine. Early in her career, she was a teaching associate and instructed students from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Later, she was an instructor within the medicine clinical track at the Emory University School of Medicine, teaching physicians’ assistants. She was compelled to learn more about integrative medicine so she applied and was later accepted to the University of Arizona Integrative Medicine Fellowship, one of the oldest and most respected programs of its nature in the country. Currently, Dr. Neacsu is one of few Practitioners in Atlanta who completed the Kalish Institute Advanced Functional Medicine course, which now utilize his treatment protocol for treating various conditions including adrenal fatigue. She opened her own practice in Atlanta, Medical Creations Integrative Medicine, in order to better treat patients’ root medical issues instead of just focusing on their symptoms. She believes that by integrating elements of healing, therapy, wellness, nutrition, stress reduction, and other practices, that patients will start to see real, lasting results and improvements to their health.

We are excited to share this lesson with your students so that they see what it is like to be a Medical Doctor just like Dr. Neacsu!

Be a Medical Doctor - Lesson

February 2022 Spotlight

Since February includes special holidays like International Women and Girls in Science Day as well as National Engineers Week, we choose to spotlight our State Board Chair Mrs. Kathleen Atkins.

Mrs. Atkins graduated with her Bachelor’s Degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Cincinnati and Master’s Degree in Aerospace Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology. She began her career as an engineer in a modeling and simulation group for Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company. The simulation group coded the aircraft characteristics and basically played war games with computer models! Now, as a program manager on the C-130 program, she is responsible for ensuring that Lockheed meets all the objectives of their contracts with their customer as well as their company financial goals. She oversees all aspects from negotiating multi-million dollar contracts to building and delivering aircraft to ensuring that they provide the products and services that their customers need to operate their aircraft. Her career has provided the opportunity to travel around the world! She is currently working on programs with the French Air Force, supporting a major upgrade to their legacy C-130H aircraft and managing production of the new C-130J aircraft expanding their Hercules fleet to meet their current operational needs.

Share this lesson with your students so that they can be an aerospace engineer just like Mrs. Atkins!

Be an Aerospace Engineer - Lesson

eKathleen Atkins portrait