CEO Marnie Olcott
Administrator Assistant Laura Mese
Laura moved to Alaska in 1988 from Colorado. She and her husband, Sonny, have loved raising their ten children in our beautiful state! In the past 28 years, Laura has enjoyed being a mom and a homeschool teacher. Their big family loves learning together and coming to the Challenger Learning Center has always been a highlight of that. It seems to have become a family tradition to work at CLCA. Her oldest son, Luke, was the IT Director for several years, and recently one of Laura’s daughters, Annie, was the Assistant Facility Director. Laura says she loves everything about being CLCA’s Administrative Assistant. “I get to work with an amazing team of very talented people, who share the common goal of offering the very best in STEM learning, and making it fun!” Laura’s life is often busy watching her children’s hockey games and dance classes, but when she gets a moment to herself you can find her relaxing on her deck enjoying chocolate.
Marketing/ Program Director Colette Gilmour
Colette moved in 2013, from upstate New York to start her new adventures in Alaska. Since then, she has taken on many administrative roles, starting with serving as an AmeriCorps VISTA, developing sustainability of homeless teen shelters in Fairbanks. With Colette’s natural curiosity in how things work, background in advertising, art, and love for kids, everything came together teaching k-5th graders at Fort Wainwright, and Fort Drum School Age Services. As a Computer Tech Lab Lead, she created and administered STEM activities, multiple 4-H clubs, and taught computer skills. Along with other positions she’s held, and her own commercial photography business, Colette has done marketing for multiple local businesses over the years. Colette is excited to be a part of such an amazing program and team at the Challenger Learning Center. “You know it is something special when you see excitement in students and adults alike, when they step into our center. Not to mention, I get to ‘play’ as well!” When time allows, Colette loves enjoying the coastal beaches the Peninsula has to offer, going hiking, fishing, and working in her ever-expanding vegetable garden. Among photography, baking is also something Colette wishes she had more time to do; making scratch pies are her specialty. Secretly, Colette dreams of opening her own bakery…along with a ferret rescue.
CSET Training Coordinator/ Lead Instructor Greg Olcott
Director of Educational Operations Suzanne Phillips
Suzanne Phillips joined the Challenger Learning Center in September of 2019, bringing with her 18 years of experience as a High School Science Teacher in Texas and Oklahoma. She has been involved in various ways with NASA since 2001, when she coached a team of high school students who flew a project on the Reduced-gravity aircraft. Since that initial visit, she has returned nearly every year to participate in various programs, including conducting experiments in zero-g on NASA’s Reduced-gravity aircraft, visiting the Neutral Buoyancy Lab at Johnson Space Center, spending time on the floor at the Space Vehicle Mockup Facility in Building 9, and spending time on the flight line at Ellington Field in Houston. Suzanne returned yearly to the NASA Space Exploration Educators Conference, both as a presenter and an attendee, enjoying sessions on the latest in Space Exploration and Research, and educational lesson and activity sessions on a variety of STEM topics to take back to her classroom. Originally from Odessa, TX, she came to Alaska in 2016 and lives in Kenai with her husband and teenage son. In her spare time, Suzanne and her family enjoy spending time in the gorgeous Alaska outdoors and are huge movie buffs. Suzanne is excited to be a part of the Challenger Learning Center mission and its passion for Science Education. If you see Suzanne, make sure to ask her to show you her Atom dance!
PART-TIME EDUCATIONAL STAFF
Part-Time Teacher and Assistant Facilities Director
Before settling on Alaska in 2015, Drew was born in Ohio, and lived in Colorado, and California. No matter where she is, Drew enjoys being outside; Hiking, camping, fishing, and bringing her dogs to the beach, are frequently a part of her days off. Drew also stays busy dancing at Encore Dance Studio, in Kenai. Her talents don’t stop there though! For seven years she has been a guitarist, and shares her music at church, a part of the worship team. Last summer Drew also interned at Hospice of the Central Peninsula. Drew is excited to be a part of the Challenger Learning Center. Science and space have always intrigued her. Freshman years of college she tutored at an elementary school. Students will be surprised when Drew solves a Rubik’s cube in a minute!
PART-TIME SAFETY TRAINING STAFF (CSET)