Smithsonian Summer Camp instructors bring a variety of backgrounds and expertise to our camps
in such areas as visual arts, theater and movie makers, scientific lab technicians, and traditional
classroom instructors from all disciplines.
Our camps are structured so that two instructors collaborate to plan and deliver a fabulous week of Smithsonian-immersed camp adventures.
Interested in becoming an instructor on the Smithsonian Summer Camp team?
Send your resume and cover letter to TSAcamp@si.edu.
Jessica Andrews is a Baltimore-based artist and educator with a passion for arts integration and studio-based learning. She has taught at the Smithsonian Summer Camp since 2015, at after-school programs and in schools in Baltimore City, and in the Maryland Science Center DIY space. When not teaching art, Jessica can be found knitting, hiking, or swing dancing around the DMV.
Dawn Arkinson-Red Cloud
Dawn Arkinson-Red Cloud is an enrolled member of the Chippewa-Cree Tribe of Rocky Boy, Montana and has descendancy from the Blackfeet and Nakota Sioux tribes and has knowledge of all three cultures. Dawn has an education in Lakota Studies, Tribal Law, and Social Work. She is married to Darrell Red Cloud and has resided among the Lakota people for almost nine years, learning of the language and culture.
Zach Arlt graduates from George Mason University in May with a BA in History. Last summer was the first in seven years that Zach did not work at a summer camp, because he was here in DC interning with Discovery Theater learning all about museum theater. He hails from the great state of New Jersey, and while he misses the bagels dearly, he is excited to be back in the summer camp world and for his first year as a Camp Instructor at the Smithsonian!
Patrick Carter is a studio artist and Art Education graduate student at Virginia Commonwealth University. Patrick works mostly in textiles and currently teaching weaving and yarn dyeing classes at the Visual Arts Center of Richmond.
Alicia Chambers is a scientist turned teacher. She currently teaches middle school science in DC. She also is a self-described amateur historian and spends her free time visiting historical sites and serving as a Smithsonian volunteer.
Sarah is a local properties artisan and stage manager. She has worked with theatre companies all over DC, including Theater Alliance, WSC Avant Bard, Constellation Theatre Company, Theater J, Longacre Lea, Faction of Fools, Round House Theatre, Faction of Fools, American Century, The Hub Theatre, and Imagination Stage.
Meredith Cosier has been teaching digital art, video games, and other arts camps with the Smithsonian Associates for seven years. During the school year she teaches art and STEAM courses with elementary school students in Fairfax County.
Lucy Dirksen is a DC native illustrator, jewelry designer, and art teacher for Kindergarten-8th grade at St. Mary’s Landover Hills, MD. Her current watercolor project is a children’s book: Patches and the Baby Bunny, by Cathy D. Knepper, Ph.D. Her website is www.lfdstudios.com.
Jasmine Fountain is returning for her third summer as a Smithsonian Summer Camp instructor. The rest of the year, she is an elementary art teacher in Virginia Beach, VA. Jasmine specializes in crafts and sculpture, but also has a passion for digital arts including Video Game Design. Jasmine comes from a family of educators and has always had a passion for knowledge whether it's related to art or not. Jasmine describes herself as a museum nerd, as she loves to learn new things. Her friends compare her to the Harry Potter character, Luna Lovegood. She is a quirky free spirit with a good heart and is very perceptive.
Brooke Friday recently received her BA at American University where she studied Education and Theater. She has designed and taught camps in Rhode Island for 2 summers. Brooke is passionate about sharing her love for Museums and learning with her students and looks forward to returning to her third year at the Smithsonian Camps.
Que Gaskins is a conceptual artist who loves to work with fabric and paper. She enjoys sharing techniques and skills she has learned along the way and would like to enjoy creating her own masterpieces with no distractions one day.
Al Gaspar uses his carpentry and diorama-making skills in shop classes, adult education, and at Smithsonian camps. He encourages all ages to participate in his classes with the use of miniature settings, history, literature, and humor. Since 2001 he continues to teach and build miniature battlefields for the Soldiers and Dioramas camps.
Megan Greene is a 3rd grade math and science teacher in DC Public Schools. She loves science experiments, field trips, and maker-centered learning. Megan also enjoys cooking, camping, and playing board games.
Lucy Hamer is a primary school teacher in the UK who has taught in a variety of settings over the past two years. This is her second time returning to teach at the Smithsonian after having the time of her life in 2018!
Tyler Herman is a Silver Spring native, who has been acting, directing, writing, and teaching theatre professionally for the past ten years. He is currently directing Office of the Speaker at the Capital Fringe Festival, and recently received his MFA in Acting from Brown University/Trinity Rep. Tyler has also acted at Shakespeare Theatre Company, Imagination Stage, Adventure Theatre-MTC, Faction of Fools Theatre Company, and more. Like Drew, Tyler loves board games!
Nick Hernandez teaches music production and improvisational writing with the non-profit Urban Arts Academy (WBL Inc.) and DC Public Libraries. He has composed and performed live for several venues, including the Kennedy Center, Imagination Stage, Wolftrap Performing Arts Center, Children’s National Medical Center, Fox News, and the Smithsonian.
Margaret Huey is an illustrator, comic artist, and recent graduate from the Maryland Institute College of Art, specializing in work using ink, gouache, and digital mediums. She loves bringing global narratives into the classroom with comics and creative applications! Currently, Margaret is also organizing Malulee's Kitchen, an illustrated cookbook and series of cooking lessons all about Asian-American food in the Baltimore-DC Area. She loves teaching at Smithsonian Summer Camps and can't wait to get started with this year's camps!
Sarah Huffman is a current student at the University of Virginia pursuing a degree in Political Philosophy, Policy and Law. Aside from her work with the Smithsonian Summer Camp program, she has worked extensively with the Virginia Science Olympiad organization to help coordinate state and regional science tournaments for middle and high school aged students. In her spare time, she manages her own small business dedicated to fiber art.
Max Johnson is a History and Theater double major from Wesleyan University. He has co-taught the Soldiers and Dioramas camps for the last few years. Currently, he is pursuing acting in the DC area.
Claire Juden is a primary school teacher in the UK who has taught in a variety of settings over the past two years. This is her third time returning to teach at the Smithsonian after thoroughly enjoying her previous two years in DC!
John Judy is a DC area actor-writer-director who has performed on stages here as well as in Los Angeles and Chicago. His more notable credits include House of Cards, Homicide: Life on the Street and writing and performing in over 150 original sketch shows at the IO West Theatre in Hollywood. In DC, John has taught at Imagination Stage (formerly BAPA), and the Rockville Jewish Community Center and performs on-going role of the Detective in Murder Mystery USA's touring company.
Oscar Keyes is a doctoral student at Virginia Commonwealth University in Art Education, who looks at the historical use of the camera in education. Currently, he teaches courses at VCU on photography, time-based arts, and technology in the arts classroom. During the summers, he works with young makers at film camps and digital arts workshops across the southeast.
Randall Knol has a master’s degree in System Design with an emphasis in professional training using gamification. Randy also earned a certification for teaching dance from Novikoff School of Russian-American Ballet and was a teacher and performer for two decades. His current position involves mentoring and developing programs for retraining technical staff in new technologies at US Census and data administration. Randy is a columnist for Prehistoric Times, a magazine dedicated to dinosaur enthusiasts, and is member of the Society of Vertebrate Planetology.
Taliesin has been working in the Smithsonian Summer Camp diorama classes for more than 10 years, covering topics from pre-history to WWII and almost everything in between. During the school year, Taliesin teaches more diorama and history classes at Compass Homeschool Enrichment in Oakton, Virginia.
Drew Kopas is professional actor originally from Cleveland who has performed throughout the District/Maryland/Virginia area. You may have seen onstage at Shakespeare Theatre Company, Wolloy Mammoth Theatre Company, Theatre J, Constellation Theatre, Faction of Fools, Olney Theatre Center, Keegan Theatre, Everyman Theatre, Capital Fringe Festival, or Clown Cabaret. He holds an MFA in Acting from Western Illinois University and teaches bedside manner, empathy and physical exam maneuvers to first-year medical students at George Washington University.
Ryan is a second-year teacher at Smithsonian Summer Camp. He is currently studying for a Bachelor of Fine Arts and Illustration at Savannah College of Art and Design. Ryan can be found in the arts studio or caring for his cat in his free time.
Tara Stallworth Lee
Tara Stallworth Lee is a visual artist specializing in papermaking, book arts, and analog photography. Tara lives and works in Birmingham, Alabama where she is a resident artist at Ground Floor Contemporary, arts educator, and former Arts Education Coordinator for Space One Eleven, a visual arts non-profit. She has enjoyed teaching specialty art classes to youth for over fifteen years.
Sara Hashem Liles
Sara Hashem Liles teaches AP Language and IB Drama at Richard Montgomery High School in Montgomery County, MD. She has a background in theater and creative writing.
Matthew McGee has been performing and designing all over the stages of the Washington, D.C. area for the last 6 years and loves teaching others about all things related to the arts. He has guest taught for high schools and camps and has been an instructor for the National Conservatory of Dramatic Arts in Georgetown.
Luke Meeken has been teaching digital art and video game camps with the Smithsonian Associates for seven years now. He used to be a high school graphic arts teacher in Hanover County, VA, but is now a doctoral student in Art Education at Penn State.
Manna-Symone Middlebrooks is a theatre director and science-enthusiast based in Washington, DC. She is a Directing MFA candidate at Northwestern University and received her BA in Theatre Arts and Literature. Manna-Symone is an alumnus of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University's Women in Natural Sciences program and was employed by the institutions' Museum Education Department.
Karen Miller has been in the classroom for 24 years. She has previously taught in North Carolina and Hawaii, and currently teaches 6th grade at Woodley Hills Elementary School in Fairfax County, VA.
Julie Near is a scientist and educator who is currently teaching in the Fairfax Co. school system. Her graduate work at University College London and UC Berkeley focused on environmental archaeology, and she gathered dissertation research from excavations in Greece, Bulgaria, and Turkey. She is a Virginia Master Naturalist, and loves using her science background to help excite students of all ages about the natural world.
Molly teaches 6th grade Language Arts in Prince George, Virginia. Besides teaching, she loves experimenting with paint and other media, reading and writing, exploring her neighborhood in Richmond, and studying the physics of flight through Ultimate Frisbee.
Psalmayene 24 is an accomplished director, playwright, and actor. He is the creator of Zomo the Rabbit: A Hip-Hop Creation Myth, P.Nokio: A Hip-Hop Musical, and Cinderella: The Remix (three critically acclaimed plays for young audiences collectively known as The Hip-Hop Children's Trilogy). He is currently the Master Teaching Artist at Arena Stage.
Darrell Red Cloud
Darrell Red Cloud is Oglala Lakota from the Sioux people of South Dakota. He is a language instructor at Oglala Lakota College as well as a National Park Ranger at Mount Rushmore.
Kathryn Rickards is currently completing her BFA in Art Education at Virginia Commonwealth University. During the academic year, she helps teach the Art Education department’s middle school contemporary art workshop, Investigation Now, and volunteers as a mentor at a local elementary school. She primarily works as a painter, but is also interested in new media.
Matthew Schleigh is a professional actor and musician hailing from Baltimore, MD, where his love of museums was cultivated in weekly visits to the Aquarium and Science Center with his grandfather. He’s performed in DC area theatres such as Shakespeare, Signature, Constellation, Olney, Everyman, and Imagination Stage (to name a few) and gigs with a four piece cover group, the Chance Club, as well as a bawdy Irish band, the Hooligans. Matt taught previously with Kidville as a member of their early childhood music programs Little Maestros and Rockin’ Railroad.
Anuraag is a high school physics teacher at the H-B Woodlawn Secondary Program in Arlington. Outside of physics, he enjoys playing the clarinet and piano, and is excited to explore the connections between scientific and artistic experiences.
Betty Simmons has been a working photographer and educator of photography for over 30 years, with experience in all forms of analog and digital photography. She has a special love for alternative and historical photography techniques, including infa-red. She has been a Smithsonian Associate instructor since 2005.
Ashlyn Sinclair has worked as a teacher for 7 years. She enjoys running and hiking. Her goal this year is to hike the C&O Canal (up and back).
Brie N. Smith
Brie N. Smith is a design instructor at Arizona State University, and an award-winning architect. Passionate about design that brings people together, she is excited by collaboration and community outreach. Brie is also a maker, utilizing 3D printing and cutting-edge technologies to create jewelry, accessories, and furniture.
Crista Noel Smith
Crista Noel Smith is a British-born and trained artist, puppet maker, and award-winning theatre designer with a passion for story, craft, and unusual history. She works as a set and props designer in the DC theatre. She works as a maker and teacher in the US and UK.
Jack Smith is a freelance writer, game designer, and amateur magician.
Harmony Tahy is a 7th grade U.S. History teacher in Fairfax County Public Schools and is a member of the local 4H. She loves teaching middle schoolers and baking. In fact, Harmony has been a successful repeat competitor in her home state for the Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest.
Danielle Torres is a 7th grade English teacher in FCPS, and loves anything that has to do with history and photography. Her love for education and children are the driving force behind her participation in the Smithsonian Summer Camp. She cannot wait to take campers on a wonderful adventure!
Dean is a former Smithsonian camper, YTA, and intern who is now joining the teaching team. He is a current student at James Madison University studying for a Bachelor of Science in Economics and Political Science. In his spare time, Dean is working towards his Master Captain's License.
Robin Weiner is a recent graduate of American University where she studied Theater and Art History. She works as a professional freelance artist and theater maker, and has worked as an art teacher for K-8 students in Prince George's County. Robin is thrilled to share her love and knowledge of the arts with the students of the Smithsonian Camps this summer!