Welcome RST Members!  One of the important supports your Academy provides is a faculty mentor.  You'll meet with this mentor once or twice each quarter.  There are several good ways to find a mentor.  If you don't already have a faculty member in mind, browse the following list.  Many of these mentors will be attending our events, especially our orientation sessions, giving you a chance to meet them in person, too!



Alissa Agnello

I've been teaching Chemistry, Materials Science, and Nanotechnology at North Seattle Community College since 2007.I also head Seattle's Hub for Industry-driven Nanotechnology Education (SHINE), which is a project funded by the National Science Foundation and includes lots of great opportunities for students interested in nanotechnology. I'm interested in nanotechnology and materials because these fields are interdisplinary, with applications ranging from medicine to alternative energy, from cosmetics to aeronautics, from electronics to water filtration.

Ben Aschenbrenner
I am principally a math instructor but I have also had experience in chemistry, physics and computer programming. I went to University in Scotland and got my master's degree in Theoretical Physics and Mathematics. I have always loved helping students and have experience working in an advisory/mentor role from teaching posts in a private boy’s school in London and a high school in Fairbanks, Alaska. I'm excited to be involved in the RST academy. 
Denise Brannan

More about Denise coming soon! 
Davene Eyres

I have been teaching physics for over 30 years including many years as a high school teacher.  My background includes a degree in Electrical Engineering with undergraduate research on an early prototype of the laser scalpel.  My graduate research in engineering involved the development of a nondestructive testing technique for ceramic materials using a high power pulsed laser.  The project was an early coordination between ceramic and electrical engineering.  I later earned a graduate degree in physics with research in physics education.  I have taught physics at NSCC since 1993 and have teaching background in a variety of subjects from math to computer science, engineering, and networking.  My passion is in creating learning environments that foster learning.  Personally, I love to learn and am always looking for connections between ideas.  This led me one summer to do archaeology in the middle east and to periodically return to school as a student myself.

Personal PhotoJohn Figge
Geology & Environmental Science

My role as a teacher is to help students to understand the dynamic character of the geologic world around us. In doing so, I offer a particular emphasis on the geologic setting here in the Pacific Northwest. We live in one of the most diverse, illustrative and spectacular geologic provinces on the face of the Earth, a truly awesome setting for learning this fascinating subject. It is always a pleasure to share the story of this remarkable landscape with students. 

Tracy Furutani
Earth Sciences


After being beaten up one too many times in the barrio of the east San Fernando Valley, I opted for academia as a way out, which led to successive jobs as a short-order cook at a Pasadena coffeehouse, a DJ at KZSU in Palo Alto and a worker in the deconstruction of Village Lanes at University Village. In my fifteenth year at North, I am approaching senescence with grace and earth sciences teaching, not in that order.

Mike Gaul

I have been teaching Math since 2007, and have been here at North for the past two years.  I received my Master's in Math from the UW where my focus was in partial differential equations, but more recently my interests have been in differential geometry and mathematics education.  I look forward to working with some of you as part of the RST Academy.

Barb Goldner
Computer Science/Math

I've been teaching computer science and pre-college mathematics at North since 1993.  Before teaching, I was a systems engineer in the telecommunications industry (as well as a sailing instructor and boat captain.)  It is a pleasure for me to work with students at different levels of their educational path.  I particularly enjoy sharing in their excitement when they achieve those "a-ha" moments. 

Elizabeth Goulet

I have been teaching at NSCC for 3 years. Before becoming an instructor, I spent many years working seasonally for the US Forest service as a botanist and forestry research technician. I studied plant / insect interactions in graduate school. I love field based learning and encourage students to explore questions and participate in activities that can help them clarify their own particular areas of interest in the endlessly fascinating world of science.

Edgar Jasso
More about Edgar coming soon!
Judy Learn
I have been teaching in the biological sciences for over 35 years. My special interest is in the realm of public health, and especially the influences of nutrition on health and wellness throughout the lifespan. 
Deanne Li
More about Deanne coming soon! 
Hon Li
More about Hon coming soon! 
Ann Murkowski
  I've been teaching a variety of biology at North since 2002.  Prior to teaching, I spent nearly seven years as a research scientist in both academic and start-up biotechnology.  I still very much enjoy molecular biology and genetics, but also have a strong interest in conducting field-based research with students, especially around critical environmental issues.  I'm excited to work with students at all levels who are interested in exploring their options in STEM fields!
Kalyn Owens


More about Kalyn coming soon! 

Brian Saunders

 I received my BS in Biology and MS in marine-estuarine sciences at WWU. My emphasis focused on the intertidal ecosystem and the marine invertebrates and their adaptations. I am a strong advocate for conservation and preservation of sensitive habitats, especially in and around Puget Sound. I have been teacher at the college level since 1996. I have taught Biology for majors and non-majors, Zoology, Environmental Science, Oceanography and Marine Biology. My research aspiration is focused on life in the intertidal zone and the adaptations of the species that live there. I am always looking for students who are interested in being a part of these marine studies.

Dennis Schaffer
Engineering/Computer Science

I have taught engineering and computer science at NSCC for over 20 years. I enjoy the challenge of solving complicated problems using hardware, software, and applied mathematics.  Engineering is the application of several important fields of study: mathematics, physics and economics.  Engineers solve problems that may be unique like designing an underground transit tunnel or the Space Needle; or they may be mass-produced, like the Chevy Volt or an iPhone. I most enjoy finding a simple and elegant solution to a complicated problem. In addition, many engineering problems are interdisciplinary in nature, requiring the engineer to learn about areas as diverse as geology, chemistry, and biology.  Computer Science is a recent outgrowth of engineering that focuses on efficient development of computer software. It is another environment where the computer scientist can discover simple and elegant solutions to large problems. Over the years I have learned or taught FORTRAN, APL, BASIC, C, C++, VisualBASIC, PERL, JavaScript, Java, MATLAB, and Python.

Suzanne Schlador

More about Suzanne coming soon!
Mike Steffancin


I've been teaching since 1988, the last 12 years as a fulltime physics, engineering and computer science instructor at South Seattle Community College. Now that I have transferred to North, I am excited to get to know the students, faculty and staff and am looking forward to many new opportunities and challenges.