Staff & Leaders

Camp Team

Rachel Smilanich

Hello! My name is Rachel, and I’ll be leading camps at the Bell Museum Science Discovery Camps this summer! I am currently a student at the U majoring in Youth Studies and minoring in Mathematics. I plan on making a career of making learning fun and exciting for young people, so camps are right up my alley! I love playing games with the campers and helping them learn and discover new scientific ideas. In my free time, I like to spend time with my friends in nature, read good books, and learn new things. I’m looking forward to a fun-filled summer!

CorieCorie Stadick

Hello, my name is Corie Stadick and I'll be leading camps at the Bell Museum Science Discovery Camps! I just completed my second year at the University of Minnesota, and I am in school to be a high school history teacher. Besides being a history lover, I am also a nature lover and love all things that do with Minnesota wildlife, especially snakes! This summer is going to be super awesome at summer camp as we explore various science topics through engaging activities. In my free time, I enjoy watching documentaries, fishing, playing volleyball, and working in my vegetable garden.

Veronica O'ConnorRonnie O'Connor

Hello! My name is Ronnie I am a recent graduate of the University of Minnesota. I earned my Bachelor of Science degree in Biology last May and am currently pursuing my Master degree in Secondary Science Education. This fall I will be teaching sixth grade Science in Saint Paul. In my spare time, I enjoy running, biking, traveling, and cheering on the Golden Gophers. I can’t wait to learn with and from your campers this summer at the Bell Museum. Ski-U-Mah!

KaylaCockrellKayla Cockrell

Hello! I am Kayla Cockrell and I’ll be leading camps at the Bell Museum Science Discovery Camp this summer! I’m going to be a senior here at the University of Minnesota and I am studying Elementary & Early Childhood Education. In my free time, I enjoy reading, hiking, biking, and traveling! I can’t wait to explore new scientific topics and ideas with campers and watch them grow as scientists!

Sophia CherifSophia Cherif

Hello, I'm Sophia, and I'll be your child's leader this week as we learn about weather and climate change! I am a student at the University of Minnesota, studying Political Science with a focus in environmental policy and global warming. I think it's super important to learn about climate change from an early age, so that we can inspire young minds to help our environment! I'm excited to help your campers discover how our weather system works, how the climate is changing, and most importantly, how & why we can help!

AlainaAlaina Friedrich

Hey! I’m Alaina, and I am a leader at the Bell Museum Science Discovery Camps this year. I am a U of M biology and marine biology student, and I love to learn about ecology and the environment and how humans are responsible for caring for the earth. Not only do I love what I study, but I love being able to talk to campers about what parts of science excite them too! In my free time, I do a lot of crossword puzzles, ride my bike, and sing really loudly (alone) in my car. I’m so excited for camp this year and to meet many new explorers and junior scientists.

Tedd UphusTedd Uphus

Hello, my name is Tedd and I’ll be a Camp Leader for your camper this summer as we learn about mammals, birds, science and engineering and invertebrates. I am originally from Sauk Centre, Minnesota. I am an undergraduate studying History at the University of Minnesota. I enjoy backpacking, camping, and nearly all water sports. I look forward to working with the Bell Museum summer campers this year.

Sarah WittSarah Witt

Hi, I'm Sarah and I will be assisting with summer camps at the Bell Museum of Natural History. I will be a senior in the Fall studying Fisheries and Wildlife and love to get kids excited about the outdoors and sustainable food (but also make sure we get a few laughs in on the way.) I love camping, hiking and traveling and can't wait to hang out with your amazing kids!

NoahNoah Zander

Hello, I am Noah and I’ll be an Assistant at the Bell Museum Science Discovery Camp this summer! I am studying Graphic Design and Art History, but I love the physical sciences and being outdoors. I love camping, fishing, hiking, and traveling and I want others to share my joy in those things too. In my free time, I love to make art, watch movies, read comics, and try new things!

Kendra MoranKendra Moran

Hello and happy summer! My name is Kendra and I am incredibly excited to be assisting at Bell Museum Camps this summer. I will be a junior at the U, and I am studying Environmental Science, Policy, and Management with the goal of eventually attending  law school.  I can’t wait to share my passion for science and discovery with campers this summer.  In my free time, I enjoy exploring and trying new restaurants in the city, reading, hiking, and going to gopher sporting events!

LukasWiedmanLukas Wiedman

Hello, my name is Lukas Wiedman, and I'll be assisting with the camps during the Bell Museum Science Discovery Camp this summer. I am an astrophysicist who is fascinated by planets outside our Solar System, though I still know much about the planets and moons within our Solar System as well. I am very excited to have the opportunity to share my knowledge with the campers. In my spare time, I enjoy reading, taking bike rides, and playing games of strategy with my friends.

Adam HartmanAdam Hartman

Hello! My name is Adam Hartman and I will be leading camps at the Bell Museum Science Discovery Camp this summer! I am a fisheries, wildlife and conservation biology major with an emphasis in wildlife. I have always enjoyed observing the behaviors of animals in our ecosystems and their interactions with each other. During the school year I work in both cricket and frog behavior labs on campus. I love to teach people about animals and I am always looking for new interesting facts to share. In my spare time, I enjoy camping, biking, drawing and collecting insects.

Camp directors


Katie Speckman, Co-director

I am the School & Family Programs Coordinator at the Bell Museum and this will be my 8th year directing summer camps. I have a degree in Environmental Education and Interpretation from UW-Stevens Point. I have two children, Jack (7) and Betty (4), and I'm very passionate about helping kids explore the natural world around them and learn new and exciting things.


Heather Cummins, Co-director

I am the K–12 Outreach Educator at the Bell Museum. This is my 3rd year involved with the behind-the-scenes work of Summer Camps. I have a masters degree in Entomology from the U of M and enjoy being able to bring an extra "buggy" spin to some of our summer camps and other programming.


Rebecca McLaughlin, Camp Coordinator,

I am the Camp Coordinator and have worked with the Bell Museum camp for 4 years. I have a bachelors degree in Human Resource Development, Adult Education and Astrophysics from the U of M. I love the physical sciences and enjoy seeing campers excitement when they learn about new scientific topics and ideas!


Nikkita Emberson, Assistant Camp Coordinator,

Hello, I'm Nikkita Emberson and am a recent graduate of the University of Minnesota. I graduated with a degree in Communications. I am the assistant program coordinator for the summer camp. I grew up in the northern woods and have always loved nature. I recently discovered my passion for teaching others about the natural world and look forward to teaching others about it.