Yakima Valley/Tri-Cities MESA

MESA Board Members

Amy Carrasco

Amy Carrasco

Amy Carrasco is the Director of Education, Academic Services, and Volunteer Services at Kadlec Health System and a Desert Storm Veteran. She chairs the Volunteer Sub-Committee for the advisory board.

Judy Connell

Judith D. Connell

Judith D. Connell is the Senior Director of Communications for Fluor Government Group’s Richland Project Office. Fluor delivers engineering, procurement, construction, maintenance and project management to governments and clients in diverse industries around the world. “I joined the MESA Advisory Board not only because of Fluor’s support for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) based education, but because of my own science and math background and expertise in melding communications with these disciplines.”

Adam Davis

Adam J. Davis

Adam J. Davis is an environmental scientist in the Radiological Science and Engineering Group with Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL). “As a high school student in Aurora, CO, I participated in a program similar to MESA that was instrumental in preparing me for college and a science career. I believe MESA is an important influence in education and careers of underrepresented students in our area.”

David Denton

David Denton

David Denton is the Project Manager with Mission Support Alliance (MSA). “I serve as a board member as I enjoy being around these highly motivated younger members of our community. Being able to observe the student’s passion and engagement shown both at the competitions and in the classroom is very rewarding. I have experienced the rewards of pursuing a technical discipline and hope to encourage students down this path.”

Charlie Diaz

Charlie Diaz is the Assistant Principal of Sierra Vista Middle School in Sunnyside, WA.

Geneva Ellis-Balone

Geneva Ellis-Balone is the Assistant Manager of the U.S. Department of Energy/River Corridor Project.


Marisela Garza

Marisela Garza is the Development Coordinator of the Development Office at Washington State University Tri-Cities.

Kathy Hayden

Kathy Hayden

Kathy Hayden is the Executive Director of Curriculum and Professional Development with the Pasco School District. “It is my pleasure to serve on this board as many of our Pasco students have benefited from the programs and the opportunities that MESA provides. With a worldwide focus in the areas of mathematics and the sciences, it is vitally important that we work together to ensure all students have learning opportunities in those areas in order for them to compete in a global economy.”

Elaine King

Elaine King

MESA Advisory Board Chair

Elaine King works at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) as a Science and Engineering Education Consultant. “I serve on the MESA Board because it gives me the opportunity to work with students. Seeing hope and joy on their faces is instant gratification and knowing that I have the opportunity to help make their dreams a reality when they graduate with degrees in STEM fields is an awesome feeling.”

Margarita Lopez

Margarita Lopez is the Superintendent of the Granger School District in Granger, WA.

Wayne MartinNelson_Megan

Wayne J. Martin

Wayne J. Martin is an Environmental Scientist at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) operated by Battelle for the U.S. Department of Energy. His PNNL career spans 33 years and currently he is the Project Management Office Director of the Chemical, Biological, and Nuclear Surety and Signatures. Throughout his career, he has nurtured and influenced young people to take on scientific and technological endeavors. “MESA is one of the most productive programs in capturing unrepresented students at an early age to direct them toward a STEM field. It has an extensive record and support structure for getting things done.”

Megan Nelson

Megan Nelson is a Director of STEM Initiatives with the Pasco School District.




Elizabeth Stephens

Elizabeth Stephens is a Scientist with Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL).

Keith Thomsen

Keith Thomsen

Keith Thomsen is the Assistant Director for the Center for Bioproducts and Bioenergy at Washington State University Tri-Cities. “I serve on the MESA Board because I believe that one of my responsibilities, as a scientist and engineer, is to help young people see the potential a career in one of the STEM disciplines can hold for them, and then help open the door so they can see what they can achieve if they believe in themselves and put forth the effort to achieve and succeed. Serving on the MESA Board allows me the opportunity to help, if only in a small way, to make a difference in the lives of young people and to give something back to the community.”

Ben Volk

Ben W. Volk, PE

Ben W. Volk is an Area Manager for J-U-B Engineers, Inc. in Kennewick. “The MESA program ensures that all schools have access to a STEM based education. I’m excited to be a part of the MESA outreach program.”

Gabriella Whitemarsh

Gabriella Whitemarsh

Gabriella Whitemarsh is the Director for MESA and Tutor and Math Success Center at Columbia Basin College. She chairs the Fundraising Sub-Committee for the advisory board.