Graduating from Washington State University in science education, Janae knew she wanted to work in nontraditional learning. Educated in and practicing while a substitute teacher in the Pullman School District, Janae honed her skills of lesson plans, adaptability, and teaching towards Next Generation Science and other standards. In Janae’s learning, lesson plans need to be well thought-out while also adaptable, identify goals for all learning abilities, and connect external learner knowledge to the content, as in provide space for all voices and input. While a substitute teacher, Janae gained experience in primary aged-abilities and attention spans in addition to extensive experience in self-contained and disability classrooms. 

While working towards her Masters degree in Zoology and Bioinformatics, Janae appreciated the time spent in the lab but her real passion was with the students she worked with while a Teaching Assistant. Janae and her spouse moved to Spokane in 2014, starting her job as Instructional Laboratory Technician at Spokane Falls Community College. Through this position, Janae started and ran SFCC’s “STEM experiences”, where visiting community members and often school groups could explore their scientists skills while also feeling connected to the college. SFCC was also an excellent work environment to explore equity teaching, community voices and trends, and networking with populations of diverse socio-economic, ethnic, racial, and ability backgrounds. Since 2015, Janae has moved through positions at Spokane Falls Community College to the MESA Director. In this position, Janae organized and presented with student and community learners ranging from career exploration, college success, study tips, navigating internships, and being a STEAM member, regardless of upbringing and formal education titles. STEAM teaching and learning skills were honed in organization, planning, creating and communicating clear and specific objectives, and interdisciplinary activities. These skills and passion for inclusive STEAM learning and experiences spreads to Janae’s current STEM Student Services Administrator position at Eastern Washington University. 

Janae spends her free time volunteering in animal care and visitor services at Cat Tales Wildlife Center. Honored with the ability to organize the interest in summer camp offerings in 2023, Janae went to work! From her experiences engaging active learning, community needs, and goals of shared animal care and conservation, the Cat Tales Education Committee, led by Janae, created 9 weeks of curriculum for learners entering grades K – 7th along with their family adult volunteers. With the primary goals of safety, fun, and learning animal care, Janae led 4 of the camps the summer of 2023. Using examples of other zoos and wildlife centers, experience as an educator, and observations in visitor tours and questions, summer camp lessons were created to be active, hands-on, and add zookeeper and carnivore knowledge and appreciation to community members’ experiences. 

Lastly, Janae is a board member of Science Speaks Spokane, a nonprofit with goals and passion in STEAM literacy for all, regardless of background and formal education. Through this program, Janae leads STEAM literacy experiments and research to Native American after school and summer programs, again with engaging and inclusive activities and reflections. An importance of STEAM community literacy is the connection and knowledge that STEAM can be explored and learned in all environments and materials – from the woods to household to community general items and experiences. Fancy equipment is exciting, but not required for STEAM learning.