July 17, 2015

Board of Directors

Tim Smith

Current Residence: St. Albans City

Degrees and Schools: Bachelors in Business Administration

Current Position: Executive Director Franklin County Industrial Development Corporation

Why You are Serving on the Board: I got involved with the SCI Board as I saw its mission critical to creating a strong local workforce in the years to come. In my position we interact with the schools on multiple levels and I feel the SCI initiative can make a difference in our region

Board Member Since: 2011

Personal Information:I was born and raised in St. Albans and always been involved in business. I have been the FCIDC Executive Director since 2001. I live in St. Albans with my wife Denise and three kids who are very active in a variety of activities.

Cindy Bernier

Current Residence: Saint Albans town, Vermont

Degrees and Schools: Bachelors of Science in Management from the University of Phoenix Associates of Applied Science in Manufacturing Technology from CCV

Current Position: Engineering Project Manager at Superior Technical Ceramics Corporation

Why you are serving on the Board: I joined the board because I believe in STEM and supporting the education of our youth. They are the future for our communities to prosper and grow, and for our business climate to remain strong.

Board Member Since: 2010

Personal Information: I have lived in Vermont for 27 years and worked at Superior Technical Ceramics Corporation since moving to Vermont.  I have two amazing children, David Yvon Bernier and Julia Ann Bernier.  My son is pursuing a degree in Chemistry at the University of Vermont, and my daughter is a Junior at BFA Saint Albans.

Stephen F. McKenzie

Current Residence: Swanton, VT

Degrees and Schools: BS University of Vermont, M Ed University of So. New Hampshire

Current Position: High School Science Teacher Missisquoi Valley Union HS

Why you are serving on the Board: My philosophy of education is that I believe very much in inquiry based learning.  I understand the importance of training a future workforce and preparing them for the rigors of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

Board Member Since: 2010

Personal Information: My expertise is in the field of biological sciences.   After playing baseball at UVM, I went on to coach baseball and weightlifting for 14 years at MVU. I have been married for 40 years and have two grown children who both graduated from MVU. I also have two beautiful granddaughters, one of which is currently a sixth grade student in Swanton and the other is in third grade.

Tariq Quadir

Current Residence: Colchester, Vermont

Degrees and Schools: BS, MS, PhD, The Ohio State University

Current Position: Director of Technology

Why you are serving on the Board: I am serving on the board of CLC since passion is STEM related subjects. All throughout my career I have promoted education in Science and Engineering to younger generation. It is a great cause to make aware to the students in the state, the value of STEM. The organization is aligned with my passion

Board Member Since: 2011

Personal Information: I am married to Linda Nicely and have three children all of them are in their twenties and have a career in their discipline of education. Have a grandson who is 1 year old. I moved to Vermont from Ohio in 2008 to work for Superior Technical Ceramics. The shareholder who I have known for 20+ years invited me to develop technology for this company. My degrees are Materials engineering.

Marilyn Grunewald

Current Residence: St. Albans, VT

Degrees and Schools: Goddard College, Adult Learning Program, English and Special Ed, University of Vermont MEd in Special Education, CAS in Administration and Planning, Snelling Leadership Institute Retired Superintendent of Schools, Franklin Central Supervisory, Educational Consultant and Grant Writer.

Why you are serving on the Board: After 30 years as a Vermont Educator, Marilyn understands the importance of Science, Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education preschool through college to prepare students to live and work in our ever changing world of STEM.

Board Member Since: 2011

Personal Information: Marilyn is married and has three grown children, and five grandchildren. She enjoys kayaking, snowshoeing, swimming and reading. Marilyn also serves on the United Way, Northwest Public Access, St. Albans Historic Museum, and Caring Community Boards. She is member of the Franklin County Business and Professional Women and leads the planning committee for the Women’s “We Can” Expo.

Jeffrey Benay

Current Residence: Fairfax,VT

Degrees and Schools: BS from Union College in Schenectady, NY, Master’s Degree from UVM in Counseling and Foundational Studies and a doctorate from the University of Vermont (UVM)  in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis

Current Position: Director of Indian Education for Franklin County Public Schools

Why you are serving on the Board: As a long-time educator, Benay believes the importance of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) is that it helps to develop critical thinking skills which will support students as they take their place as 21st century learners and citizens.

Board Member Since: 2010

Personal Information: Jeff lives in Fairfax with his wife Julie, Principal at Mallett’s Bay School, and their dog Bali and cat Max. The Benays two children both reside in New York City.  Jeff enjoys long walks, reading, listening to music, and political discourse.

Jacqui Hood

Current Residence:  Georgia, VT

Degrees and Schools:  B.S. & M.P.A. (1977) University of Southern California;  J.D. (1980) Yale Law School

Current Position:  Attorney

Why you are serving on the Board: I believe that STEM programs are vital to the education and retention of our young people in Franklin & Grand Isle Counties and in Vermont.

Board Member Since: 2010

Personal Information: Jacqui has served on the Boards of Franklin-Grand Isle United Way, NCSS, VRI, Franklin County BPW, Vermont BPW and NMC.  She was also President of the Franklin & Grand Isle Counties Bar Association in 2012-2013.  She was selected to carry the Olympic Torch in Montpelier in December 2001 and was the Vermont BPW Woman of the Year in 2013.  She is married with four children and 14 grandchildren.

George Coy

Current Residence:  Swanton, Vermont

Education: Ohio Northern University – BS Electrical Engineering

Current Positions and Appointments:

  • President CAS Ltd — Aircraft Sales and Service
  • Treasurer EAA Chapter 613 Experimental Aircraft Association
  • Member Vermont Aviation Advisory Council — State Advisory Council on Aviation

Why are you interested in serving on the board: I have always viewed aviation as a way to get children interested in the math and sciences. I believe I can help make aviation related activities available to more children and to pass on the aviation torch to the next generations.

Personal Information: I own and operate several aviation related companies. We have always supported aviation activities for children. Through the EAA young Eagles program, we give free introduction rides to children ages 8 to 18.  We provide group tours for children through the after school programs, including week long day camps in the summer as well as after school programs through the local schools. We have supported Boy Scouts aviation badges.  We have organized aviation career days. I am now working on expanding the Vermont ACE Camp, a week long aviation day camp for kids in 6th  through 9th grades. This camp has been ongoing for over 20 years. It has recently been offered only in Springfield, VT. This year we are expanding to a second camp in the North West Vermont area. I hope to add a South West camp and a North East camp in upcoming years.  It is a week long day camp sponsored by the VAAC and jointly with the Vermont Agency of transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration.

Gerald M. Herrera, Ph.D.

Board Member since:  2016

Current Residence:  Saint Albans, Vermont


  • University of New Mexico – B.S. in Biology, Summa cum laude
  • University of Vermont – Ph.D. in Molecular Physiology and Biophysics

Current Positions and Appointments:

  • President – Catamount Research and Development Inc.
  • Vice President of Research and Development – Med Associates Inc.
  • Adjunct Associate Professor of Pharmacology – University of Vermont

Why are you serving on the board: I am pleased to be serving on the Board for the STEM Challenge Initiative Inc.  SCI-VT’s mission is to help create a scientifically literate population that can thrive in a world increasingly driven by information and technology.  I wholeheartedly embrace this mission.  I believe that exposing children to science, technology, engineering, and math topics at an early age will help them to develop their minds, and will be of benefit in their lives regardless of which path they follow.  Incorporating state-of-the-art technologies, tools, and hands-on experiments is an ideal way to involve kids in science, and to promote learning and critical thinking skills.  Educators who benefit from receiving SCI-VT Challenge Grants will be able to incorporate such opportunities into their own STEM programs, and our kids will thrive.

Personal Information: I live in St. Albans, Vermont with my wife and our children.  In my spare time, I enjoy fly fishing, fly tying, boating in Lake Champlain, and playing the guitar and ukulele.  I am a nationally and locally accomplished fly tier, specializing in warm water flies tied with spun and sculpted deer hair.  My company Catamount Research and Development sponsors a children’s science program called Catamount Kids.  In our Catamount Kids program (www.CatamountKids.com), we provide STEM opportunities and enrichment activities for kids in grades 3-8.

Lise MacDonald

Lise MacDonald, MEd has a background in health care management and an interest  supporting critical thinking skills in our communities. She taught grant writing at the University of Vermont , College of Medicine. Her experience with non-profit boards includes  local school boards  and  rural health boards.

Alayna Westcom

Born and raised in Vermont, Alayna attended Bakersfield Elementary school before completing high school
at BFA- St. Albans. A Vermonter through and through she loves spending time outdoors with her dogs, baking and
anything that has to do with maple syrup.

Currently an Autopsy Technician and a Medical Technologist, Alayna graduated from Bay Path
University with a degree in Forensic Science, holds a Post Baccalaureate in Medical Laboratory Science, and ASCP
certified as a Medical Technologist. At the age of twenty-four, Alayna was crowned Miss Vermont 2015 and
embarked on a year of travel across the state and nation advocating for STEM education initiatives and performing
her award winning science experiment talent. Alayna won a national talent award at Miss America 2016
and was the first contestant to ever perform a Scientific Demonstration for the talent portion of the competition.

Alayna is a passionate advocate for STEM education. Speaking topics include but are not limited to:
Women in STEM, STEM education, STEM mentoring, Women in Science, and Paying for College Via
the Miss America Organization. Alayna was the cohost of the “Summer Science” segment on WCAX’s The :30 ,
Vermont’s CBS affiliate and continues to promote her personal program Success Through STEM: Science,
Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. She continues to live out her passion for promoting STEM education to
all ages, focusing on encouraging young women to pursue a STEM career path.

Michael Sturm

Board Member Since: 2016

Stuart Strife

Board Member Since:

Personal Information:
Stuart grew up in central New York, very close to where Herkimer diamonds (quartz) are mined. He has always been fascinated with science, nature, and being outdoors.  As a high school student, he decided to pursue a career in geology, and later earned BS and MS degrees in geology from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.  As a professional geologist, Stuart spent his career exploring for oil and natural gas deposits across the United States.  He retired to Vermont in 2010 so that he could be close to his children and grandchildren.  Stuart loves everything about earth science and, of course, has an extensive collection of minerals, fossils and gems.  He enjoys reading about and studying the geological history of New York and New England.