Camps Staff

Camps Director, science educator, paleobiologist

Camps Director, science educator, paleobiologist

David Levering – Camps Director, Instructor

David joined the Museum staff in 2013. He graduated from the University of Oregon with a bachelors degree in geology in 2007. He also worked as a teaching assistant in the Zoology department at Oklahoma State University from 2010 to 2013, where he graduated with a Master’s of Science. Before coming to the Sternberg, David spent seven summers working in the youth science camp industry. He also worked three summers with the National Park Service at Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument in southern Idaho. There, he carried out paleontology field and lab work and worked with kids showing them geology and paleontology. He is a published researcher, collaborating with professional academics on work focusing on mammal paleobiology and mechanics. David manages the entire camps program, and oversees program logistics and curriculum design.

Geosciences student, camps alumnus

Geosciences student, camps alumnus

Marjie Cone – Program Assistant

Marjie is a student at University of Illinois, majoring in Geology with emphasis on paleontology. Marjie has had a lifelong love of fossils and minerals, leading her to pursue geoscience as a career path. During the summer, Marjie works as a camps program assistant in the field and in the office, working with students and managing logistics. During the school year, Marjie helps with the development and improvement of the camps program. In her own words: “I began my affiliation with the Sternberg Museum in 2015 when I was looking for some way to gain experience in the field, and found the Sternberg’s summer science camps. I participated in the paleontology field camp as a sophomore in high school and I loved it so much that I have been returning for the past two summers as a camp counselor/ teaching assistant. These camps are more than just a fun experience, but a unique educational opportunity that has enabled me to expand my horizons and give back to the scientific community.”

Biology student, camps alumnus

Biology student, camps alumnus

Tropical biologist, ornithologist, science educator

Tropical biologist, ornithologist, science educator

Paleontologist, doctoral researcher (University of Texas)

Paleontologist, doctoral researcher (University of Texas)

Paleontologist, elementary education specialist

Paleontologist, elementary education specialist

Paleontologist, FHSU Biology Faculty

Paleontologist, FHSU Biology Faculty

Paleobiologist, doctoral researcher (University of Oregon)

Paleobiologist, doctoral researcher (University of Oregon)

Paleontologist, Sternberg Fossil Prep Lab Manager

Paleontologist, Sternberg Fossil Prep Lab Manager

Wildlife biologist, Zoology Collections Manager

Wildlife biologist, Zoology Collections Manager

Paleontologist, fossil preparator, Park Ranger (John Day Fossil Beds National Monument)

Paleontologist, fossil preparator, Park Ranger (John Day Fossil Beds National Monument)

Paleobiologist, doctoral researcher (University of Oregon)

Paleobiologist, doctoral researcher (University of Oregon)

Wildlife biologist, science educator, wildlife management consultant

Wildlife biologist, science educator, wildlife management consultant

Biology student, camps alumnus

Biology student, camps alumnus

Maggie Wolf – Program Assistant

Maggie Wolf is a student at the University of Evansville in Evansville, Indiana. She is a Biology and Spanish double major and hopes to continue her education and eventually conduct research. Maggie has had extensive experience in the outdoors through Girl Scouts and Venturing Crew. She participated as a student in Sternberg Paleontology Camp (2015), Southwest Biology Camp (2016), and Expedition Ecuador (2017). During the summer, Maggie works as a camps  program assistant in the field and in the office, working with students and managing logistics. During the school year, Maggie manages our wildlife data processing, including overseeing the work of our student interns. She also helps with the development of new camps, and making improvements to existing camps.

Dr. Megan Patterson – Instructor

After completing her BSc in Wildlife Biology at Humboldt State University Megan moved on to Florida State University where she earned a MSc in College Science Teaching and a PhD in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. Megan spent several months each year between 2006 and 2013 in the tropics with extensive time in Ecuador, Panama, and Costa Rica. This experience includes leading research crews for several months, working with government officials and local business owners, and guiding educational tours including bird banding explanations and night walks. She now works as a scientist and science educator with the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON). While Megan’s specialty is birds, she is also an enthusiast for understanding complete communities. From slime molds to mammals and ants to frogs, Megan will help participants on this trip gain a full appreciation of tropical ecology.

Josh Lively – Instructor 

Josh is a vertebrate paleontologist, specializing in extinct freshwater turtles and marine reptiles called mosasaurs. The majority of the animals Josh researches are from the Cretaceous Period, especially the last 30 million years of the Age of Dinosaurs. He is interested in understanding environmental drivers of evolution during periods of globally warm climate. He is currently finishing up his PhD in Geological Sciences at the University of Texas at Austin and serves as an instructor in the Department of Environmental Studies at the University of Illinois at Springfield. Josh has over 8 years of experience in field paleontology, helping lead expeditions to remote areas across western North America. He has prospected for fossils and done geological work in Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, Wyoming, Texas, Arizona, Alabama, Peru, and Alberta. Josh also has many years of experience in museum collections, and is passionate about the importance of incorporating specimen- and field-based studies into his research.

Darrah Steffen – Instructor 

Darrah is an invertebrate paleontologist with a passion for education. She’s worked at numerous museums sharing her passion for science with the communities they serve. She has prepped fossils and done outreach across the midwest at locations big and small. From the Permian Trilobites to the Western Interior Seaway to the megafauna of the Oligocene, she has a passion for it all. She has developed educational programs for all ages featuring a wide variety of topics in biology and paleontology. When she isn’t exploring the natural world, she works as a paraprofessional for Lincoln Elementary School in Hays, KS and the Public Relations Assistant at the Sternberg Museum. Darrah is an alum of Fort Hays State University, completing her MS in Geosciences in 2017.

Catherine Sartin – Instructor 

Cat is a vertebrate paleontologist who is at home both in the field and the laboratory. Her latest work has been on the growth of a group of dinosaurs known as the ornithopods. This group includes the iguanodontians (Aladar in Disney’s “Dinosaur”) and the hadrosaurs. To study their growth, she made thin sections (microscope slides) of dozens of bones, of all different sized individuals. Before this project, she investigated the traits that paleontologists use to determine what bones belong to what species. She has done field work all over the United States – in Utah, Colorado, Kansas, Wyoming, South Dakota, Montana, Florida and more. She has also works abroad in southern Alberta and in the Gansu Province of China. When she’s not digging up fossils or researching them, she teaches in the Biology Department at Fort Hays State University. This is Catherine’s second year as an instructor, working with the high school paleontology students in 2018.

Dana Reuter – Instructor

Dana has always been interested in the natural world and has tried on many scientific hats over the years. She has worked as a research assistant on glacial lake sediment flow in Svalbard, Norway, as a sample collector in the Grenville orogeny in Canada, and as a research student studying milk tooth morphology of the Carnivora (group that includes bears, dogs, cats, and weasels) at the Chicago Field Museum of Natural History. In 2015, she received a B. A. in Geology and an Honors in Biology from Mount Holyoke College. Now, Dana is a PhD candidate working with Dr. Samantha Hopkins in the University of Oregon Vertebrate Paleontology lab. Her research on mammalian paleoecology focuses on reconstructing ancient food webs from fossil localities, tooth variation in the Carnivora, and the evolution of omnivorous diets. Alongside her research, she has a passion for teaching and was named a 2018 Summer Institute Scientific Teaching Fellow. When she is not working on understanding ancient mammals she is getting lost in the woods, playing board games, and reading philosophy books. 

Hillary McLean – Instructor 

Hillary started her passion with fossil preparation 5 years ago as an intern at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Despite almost dying on the side of a hill in Utah digging dinosaurs during her first field experience, she has since then worked with the Denver Museum of Nature and Science and the Utah Museum of Natural History and also built fossil preparation labs in Ekalaka, Montana and Makoshika State Park in Glendive, Montana.Through those experiences Hillary has been able to teach many different groups of amataur paleontologists the ins and outs of fossil preparations. She is currently a 1st year graduate student at FHSU and is helping to build establish the Sternberg Museum’s fossil prep lab during her time in Hays. Her favorite type of fossil to prep is the many ceratopsian dinosaur found in the Western United States.

Curtis Schmidt – Museum Curator of Zoology, Instructor 

Curtis became the museum’s first official Zoological Collections Manager in 2011. A Hays native and FHSU grad, Curtis received his B.S. in biological sciences in 1999 and his M.S. in 2004. Curtis is no stranger to the museum, as he began as a curatorial assistant in Herpetology in 1998, eventually becoming associate curator of Herpetology and Mammalogy before being appointed Zoological Collections Manager. Because of his involvement in many research projects, Curtis’ contributions to the Herpetology and Mammalogy collections are numerous. As Zoological Collections Manager, his primary responsibilities are the Entomology, Herpetology, Ichthyology, Mammalogy and Ornithology Collections. Curtis also plays an active part in educational programming and exhibits.

Jessica Barnett – Instructor

Jessica is a paleontologist with a passion for exposing data. She’s worked alongside fossil preparators at numerous sites and with material of various ages. She has prepped fossils all across the US at locations big and small. From Pleistocene megafauna in South Dakota and Permian crinoids in Texas, to Miocene monkeys in Oregon and Cretaceous crocodiles in Washington, D.C., Jessica loves to work with it all. She has developed training programs in fossil preparation for independent museums and the National Park Service. When she doesn’t have her hands in the dirt, she can be found at John Day Fossil Beds National Monument working as a park ranger. Jessica is an alum of Fort Hays State University, completing her MS in Geosciences in 2017.

Kellum Tate – Instructor 

After working as an ICU nurse for 4 and a half years, Kellum left the medical field to pursue her dream of becoming a vertebrate paleontologist. She graduated from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock in summer of 2017 and began her Ph.D. program at the University of Oregon that fall. Kellum studies marine mammals and the transition from terrestrial to aquatic environments, and is extremely passionate about sharing the wonder of the earth sciences with the public. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, rock hounding, fantasy fiction, and pestering her cat.

Brent Schulze –  Instructor

Brent Schulze is an experienced field biologist and educator with a BS in biological sciences and an emphasis in zoology. Brent has diverse experience working in wildlife biology, and has formal training in venomous reptiles, birds, insects, mammals, as well as plants, and has an excellent track record of safely conducting wildlife fieldwork in remote and semi-remote locations. He has worked on seven different grant funded research projects since 2011, including endangered species conservation research for the Denver Zoo, Department of Wildlife and Parks multi-species surveys, private consulting for gas and oil companies, and the Bureau of Land Management on endangered species conservation. This will be Brent’s fourth year as a camps instructor.

Jacob Alexander – Teaching Assistant

Jacob Alexander is a conservation biology undergraduate student at Fort Hays State University. Alexander has been involved with the Sternberg Museum for 10 years both as a volunteer and a work study student. As an FHSU undergraduate, he is working with faculty on a long term ecology research project. Alexander has been a part of the camps program since 2015. He attended the Southwest Biology Camp from 2015 to 2017. Jacob is an avid hiker, climber, fisherman, rock climber, and general outdoorsman, and is eager to lead amazing outdoor adventures with future students.

Counselors 

Alese Thompson

Alese Thompson

Katie Gatlin

Katie Gatlin