Faculty and Staff

Director: Heather Christy-Robinson


Currently an English Teaching Assistant instructor at SUNY New Paltz and formerly an instructor of English at SUNY Orange and of English and Education at Mount Saint Mary College, I am a mother of three children and am married to Doug Robinson, a professor of Biology at MSMC.  I have taught at all levels in both public and private schools.  I am certified as an elementary and special educator in New York, and have been since 2003.  I am a board member of the Balmville Grange and formerly of the Balmville PTA.  With regard to education, I am a constructivist.  That is, I believe all children create their own knowledge through genuine experiences to learn.  Our program mostly follows an epistemological approach in which children explore systems of knowledge.  With the ScienceThroughART Program, I hope to offer opportunities for my children and yours to enjoy learning for the sake of learning! I am so excited to be able to run our program again for the ninth year.  It’s awesome to ‘plant a seed and watch it grow and blossom’!  I am proud of this program because kids enjoy themselves while learning. Yo hablo español. Por favor llámeme si tiene algunas preguntas.

Lead Teacher: Megan Bell

Megan Bell image

I have been attending S.T.ART since it’s first year in 2013, and I’m excited to be returning as a lead teacher. I graduated from Newburgh Free Academy and am a junior at SUNY Oswego. I am majoring in elementary education. I enjoy helping set up, and making sure our materials are organized and available. I also enjoy connecting with the younger children in the program. I love playing games, creating art and doing science projects with them too.

Lead Teacher: Mariah Jimenez

Hi! My name is Mariah Jimenez. I am a certified teacher for grades 1-6. I have a Masters in Education from SUNY New Paltz. I spent this past year teaching fourth grade, and I taught summer school for first grade. I have spent my life working with and taking care of children, starting with my three younger sisters, babysitting, and various jobs or internships in educational settings. I love hiking, aerial yoga, the color green, drawing, and spending time with my little cousins. I am so excited to be working with the S.T.ART Program!

Lead Teacher: “Game Master” Danny Barbuto

Greetings, all! My name’s Danny Barbuto. I’m a member of the class Mammalia who enjoys the use of his​​ opposable thumbs. If you attended the Wappingers or Poughkeepsie school districts any time over the past decade, there’s good chance you know me, as I’ve been employed there as a substitute teacher. I hold a New York State Public School Teaching Certification as well as a Master’s degree in Childhood Education with a focus in Math, Science, and Technology. (Well, technically they’re on my wall, but you get the idea). I believe that both science and art should be messy, interactive, and fun, and I have only once before accidentally blown something up. This is my fourth year at the S.T.ART Program, and I love playing games with everyone as we learn about science and art. See you this summer!

Lead Teacher: Keara Neilsen

Hello! My name is Keara Neilsen. I am currently a junior at SUNY New Paltz, pursuing a BA in Art History. I believe that being involved in art can completely reshape your way of thinking and understanding the world. The Balmville Grange has really introduced and brought me closer to the community in the time I have lived in the Hudson Valley thus far. I have worked teaching and assisting in both children’s and adult’s Art History and Studio courses, and look forward to continuing this passion of spreading knowledge and inspiring others. Outside of work and school, I am a nature enjoyer, music listener, and cat lover (I will happily show you photos of my two furry babies, please ask). See you all in August to end the summer by getting artsy with science!

Lead Teacher: Sarina Graziano

Hey all! My name is Sarina Graziano, and I am graduate from SUNY Oneonta where I earned my B.S. in Biology, primarily focusing on ecology and conservation. This fall I will be attending graduate school for a M.A.T. in Adolescent Education: Biology, grades 7-12. At SUNY Oneonta, I was the 2023-2024 President of Beta Beta Beta- National Biological Honor Society. I was also a peer tutor for college level biological and natural science courses from 2022-2024. Additionally, I worked at the Brookwood School from 2023-2024 working with children ages 1 to 4 years old. Some fun facts about me are I lived in Madagascar for 2 months studying insects and lemurs, I love hiking and camping, and I enjoy creating all sorts of art. I can’t wait to meet
everyone this summer!

Assistant Teacher: Vivian Gage

Hello! This will be my third year helping at S.T.ART, and I am thrilled to be taking on a more active role this time around. I am currently finishing my senior year at NFA Main and plan on majoring in journalism and environmental conservation in the future. I love spending time with kids and look forward to learning side by side with them during this year’s program, as well as helping them to connect with the nature that surrounds them.

Assistant Teacher: Ashley Gage

This will be my second year at ScienceThroughART. I will be graduating Newburgh Free Academy. I love art, nature, and anything that involves creativity. I also love outdoor activities, including hiking, swimming, and playing tennis. I enjoy working with kids and plan to pursue child developmental studies with a focus on children with disabilities. 


Interested in teaching? Contact Heather to inquire: 845-787-4248, 607-765-6590, or email sciencethroughart@gmail.com