in-house educators

These are the amazing volunteer educators who                 have come to our home Spaceship Mercury Two 

and engaged and inspired all the AstroNut kids


 alphabetical order by surname. 

Aird, Aidan... brilliant student, multi Canadian national science fair winner, 2016 Three Dash Global Teen Leader,  and Founder of “Developing Innovations” and "STEM KIDS ROCK"

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Baijnath, Janine… NASA Research Associate 2013 and NASA Ames Academy Alumni; PhD Candidate at the University of Waterloo; and CBC News Meteorologist

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Balaskas, Nick… an awesome, high energy astrophysicist and a space enthusiast that provides the opportunity for kids to “walk on the surfaces of Mars and on the moon”…very cool!


Battler, Melissa… Manager @Mission Control Services, Centre for Planetary Science and Exploration


Berthiaume, Robert James... pictured with the International Space Stations “bay window (the cupola), is a graduate student studying Atomic Physics at York University. He loves sharing his interest in atoms and galaxies and all the stuff in the universe, big and small, with people of all ages, big and small! 


Bonis, Philomena... is a grade 8 teacher in science and math at Queensmount Senior Public School in Kitchener, Ontario. She has worked with many school boards in developing and promoting space education in the fields of math, science and technology. She has travelled extensively to space conferences and has attended many NASA and CSA educational courses.


Chowdhury, Sharmin…is an amateur astronomer, a very active member of the RASC Toronto Centre outreach team and has engaged the AstroNut kids on all-things astronomy.

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Coleshill, Elliott… is an amazing “rocket scientist”...has extensive experience in the aerospace and military defense industries. He has worked on projects directly related to the space shuttle, the international space station and many satellite systems.


Delaney, Paul... is a professor of astronomy at york university and the director of the Observatory at York University. Paul did an awesome interactive crafts demo wih the AstroNuts, challenging the imaginations of the crew.


Dong, Hang Jason… is a graduate student in autonomous space robotics at Utias, the University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies. He spends most of his time developing methods that help mobile robots drive  themselves without using GPS (global positioning system, since GPS doesn’t operate in space!) On earth, the same technology can be used on search and rescue robots as well as industrial applications like underground mining.


Efston, Irene... is former President of Efston Science in Toronto, a retail leader in telescopes and astronomy and “all things science”. Irene joined us for Mission #2 and spoke on astronomy and science but also supplied the AstroNuts with 15 telescope making kits! She also supplied us with ISS quality blue flight suits and many educational props. 


Gilbert, Scott... is an astronomy enthusiast with York Simcoe Amateur Astronomy. He loves astronomy and travels extensively to night sky parties all over the continent. Scott brought with him to mission #4 (astronomy themed) free copies of telescope and astronomy magazines for the kids to learn from and lent us his autographed copy of the book “Orbit - NASA Astronauts Photograph the Earth”. He was also very generous with his time and his telescope to come out and set up twice in one week to view the night sky!


Gufstafson, Luke… is cofounder of the international education company, called Star Acer Academy, to develop super-fun space cartoons and technology for kids. Luke presented a fun, engaging reading of one of his on-line comic episodes of Star Acers to the AstroNut kids… very cool!!!

Harris, Tim… is a teacher and space science enthusiast. He presents the top space-related news stories to the AstroNuts at their monthly missions and assists with maintaining the clubs website and social media pages. He is also one of the lead trainers at the nearby Apple Store!

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Ho, Mathew… student and co-creator of “legoman in space”! Follow this link to see the YouTube video Mathew and Asad made… Lego Man in Space!


Hunter, Kent... the father of two astronuts, Andrew and Jessie. Andrew and Jessie describe their dad as follows: Dad is an engineer and is interested in gadgets, novelties, scooters, scuba, camping, costumes (dressing up) Elvis and all things Sci-fi, including Star Wars, Star Trek, Dr. Who and 2001 a Space Odyssey.

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Iverson, Glenn… the newly elected President of NAPAS (North American propulsion & Aerospace Society). Glenn has been involved in high powered rocketry for 5 years now and is currently a level 2 Tripoli certified Flyer. Glenn frequently takes his "big" rockets to New York rocketry events where he flies them to over 8'000ft. Glenn loves to share his passion for his hobby to people all all ages.

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Ivey-Duensing, Janet is committed to enriching the lives of children through education and programming. She has won numerous Emmy award’s for her PBS TV series Janet’s Planet.


Manzer, Lianne… has a Masters of science in astrophysics from York University, studying active galactic nuclei. Since 2005, Lianne has been involved with the York University Observatory where she has lead, and contributed to, numerous public outreach events. Outside her scientific exploits, Lianne enjoys spending her time baking, playing competitive sports, and futilely attempting to become a better photographer.


Marciniak, Ryan… grew up loving the night sky and that lead him to a M.Sc. in Astrophysics. His passion in astronomy lead to many presentations on the cosmos which in turn lead to creating his own company “Astronomy In Action”...a travelling planetarium!


Martini, Suzanne... is the store manager of Spectrum Educational Supplies lmt. in Newmarket, Ontario. She is very involved in FLL Canada competitions across the country, which stands for First Lego League. Awesome product loved by the AstroNuts!


McDonald, Bob... host of CBC “quirks and quarks” and the national senior science correspondent, appeared at “mission #5” having driven up on his motorcycle in winter conditions to deliver a scale model of the space shuttle and gave an awesome presentation on how it worked. Bob also showed the  “crew” a segment of his t.v. series “heads up”, where Bob is in zero gravity on the “vomit comet!”


Mehrnoush, Jen…is an amazing astrophysicist and is the primary organizer at the world famous York University Observatory.


Meschkuleit, Frank... is “puppets and voices”. For 25 years he has been a puppeteer and voice over guy. Just google his name and the credits are extensive! Frank appeared in Mission #1 with his space-sidekick “Grizzle” to the delight of the “AstroNuts”. Frank is currently busy with film work but is known by many kids as the voice of both “Toopee and Bino” and Dragon!


Mortfield, Paul… is an astronomer with a working background at NASA. Paul is also known as the “backyard astronomer” and is a very active member at the David Dunlap Observatory.


Moses, Nancy…Founder of New Life Robotics…and presents very engaging educational demo’s with her NAO robot.


Mozel, Phil… is a science educator who has worked with 3 different planetariums. His special interest are variable stars… written for sky news and sky telescope. He was a contributing editor of RASC and is a stained-glass hobbyist incorporating astronomical themes in his works. 

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Muhammad, Asad... student and co-creator of “lego man in space”. Follow this link to see the YouTube video Asad and Mathew made… Lego Man in Space!


Nursall, Alan… is the “scientist in the street” for the Daily Planet and “the Alan Nursall experience” for Discovery Channel. Alan drove down from Sudbury during a severe snow squall alert in order to entertain and educate the AstroNuts with some real crazy science experiments on our driveway!  


Pitfield, Michael… a very engaging and fun space enthusiast with a working knowledge of amateur rocketry through his activities at NAPAS.


Pustovyi, Yaroslav…former astronaut with the Ukranian space agency, trained at NASA and served as backup payload specialist for STS-87, Space Shuttle Columbia mission in 1997.


Rajnauth, Dave… is an astrophysicist and has involved and inspired both kids and adults in amateur rocketry through NAPAS (the North American Propulsion and Aerospace Society). Dave has also coached "team K-9”, an amazing team of young kids that have successfully made it to the FLL (First Lego League Robotics) competitions a number of times.

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Reid, Lauren… STEM outreach, engineering science, researcher and top 3 finalist in the “Next1 Einstein North American Competition”


Rogerson, Jesse... is a professor of astronomy … originally at York University in Toronto, Ontario While he enjoys the details of the universe, his passion lies in bringing that knowledge and excitement to others.


Sama, Marco…  Marco is completing a Master’s at the University of Toronto, studying the brain’s visual system. Outside of his research he has a strong interest in physics and space exploration. After all,  the brain and outer space are the 2 things we know least about: they are the "final frontiers for science".

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Shortt, Kevin… is the former  president of the Canadian Space Society and has amazing experience with the CSA, NASA and the Canadian military amoung other aerospace companies. Kevin travels extensively attending major space conferences around the world, all in the pursuit of the final frontier. Kevin can also be found on the major television networks (ie. CBC, CTV) providing commentary on “live” space shuttle launches, landings, as well as International Space Station manoeuvers and other international missions.


Smith, Geoffrey… president of ARISS York region...a retired chemistry teacher, principal, and an amateur radio operator since 1977… his call sign is VA3GS.

Scotland, Jay… CBC meteorologist and space weather enthusiast

Taylor, Stan… an author and a science workshop presenter. Stan has done his workshops in schools, community functions and at science conferences. He has done workshops on his pneumatically controlled Canadarm (found in his book, Taylor’s Pneumatic Toys) in Toronto, at Johnson Space Center (NASA) in Houston and with the AstroNuts in Newmarket.

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Toliopoulos, Jason… is an amateur astronomer with RASC, Toronto Centre. His astrophotography is amazing and can be found on


Tomé, Julie... of the Royal Ontario Museum, where she is a teacher, a traveling starlab instructor and a camp instructor. Julie taught the AstroNuts to create aliens from craft materials… the look of the alien was relative to the planet they came from! Spooooky!!!


Chris Vaughan… aka "AstroGeoGuy" is a professional Geophysicist and Astronomer (U of T, 1982) with a passion for education and public outreach. He is the recipient of the RASC Toronto Centre’s 2014 Bertram Topham Award for Observing and the 2013 and 2014 Andrew Elvins Awards for Promotion of Astronomy. His weekly Astronomy Skylights bulletin, written for non-astronomers, is read by recipients worldwide. He is an operator of the DDO’s 1.88 m telescope, a presenter, and hosts school field trips there.

Wagstaffe, Johanna… is a CBC Newsworld Meteorologist, a space enthusiast, a geophysicist and a pilot… wow! She is great in her enthusiastic presentations to the young crew. Covering everything from solar winds to how weather affects launch and landing windows, Johanna has been with the AstroNuts from the start! Thanks Johanna!


Williams, Dr.Dave… is a Canadian physician, public speaker and a retired CSA astronaut.[3] Williams was a mission specialist on two space shuttle missions, STS-90 and STS-118