Who is the Little Shop of Physics? We are dedicated group of teachers, students and volunteers. Here are some of the faces of LSOP.

Heather Michalak

Heather received her BS in Physics from Colorado State University and got her start in Little Shop of Physics working as an intern! After graduation, she spent 10 years working in the technology industry and owned a coffee shop along the way. She decided to return to her tie dye roots to inspire the next generation of scientists. Heather has been a part of the LSOP family for a long time, and remembers what we were like before we wore tie dye.

Adam Pearlstein
Assistant Director and Physics Instructor

Adam received his MS in Physics from Colorado State University and is currently pursuing his PhD in plasma physics. He has been awarded the CSU College of Natural Sciences Award for Teaching Excellence, the AAPT Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award, and CSU Administrative Professional Star Award. Adam taught high school for 5 years, and currently teaches in the CSU Physics Department. He has been with LSOP as a volunteer or professional since 2006.

Cherie Bornhorst
Teacher In Residence

Cherie graduated with her BS in Physics Education from Colorado State University. She was an undergraduate intern with Little Shop in 2005. After graduation, she went on to teach high school science for many years in Minnesota and Colorado. Now she’s back and excited to be working with her tie dye family as the Teacher in Residence!

Olivia Santiago
STEM Engagement Coordinator

Olivia received her MS in Forest Sciences from Colorado State University. She researched ecosystems in Colorado, Florida, and Costa Rica. She loves learning about physics through the hands-on experiments at LSOP and is passionate about making science communities welcome to all. She loves dogs, mangoes, and mangroves.

Patrick Lindsell
Director of Video Production

Patrick is originally from Zimbabwe, and is a graduate of the London International Film School. He has worked as a professional videographer for over 25 years. Patrick is responsible for filming and editing all of our videos and podcasts.

Mad-e de Vries
Intern and Future Chemistry Teacher

Mad-e is a second-year student at CSU studying to become a chemistry teacher. She first experienced LSOP on a high school field trip to the 2020 Open House. Mad-e’s favorite part about LSOP is getting kids excited about science. It’s cool to have the opportunity to foster curiosity with the experiments that we built from scratch which focus on concepts we are passionate about.

Daniel Berning

Daniel is a second-year Mechanical Engineering student at CSU. He is interested in understanding how to design and build machines and mechanical systems that will help make communities safer. His favorite part of LSOP is bringing science to life for students, kids, and even adults! Daniel participated in LSOP as a kid and is excited to be part of this program.

Cecilia Dauer
Intern and Future Physics Teacher

Cecilia is a second-year student at CSU studying to become a physics teacher. Cecilia’s favorite part of Little Shop is getting to see students excited and happy when they figure out how something works, especially when students grab their friends and show them how to do the experiment.

Michael “Tripp” Pientka III

Trip joined Little Shop to build experiments and explain the amazing physics behind them, cherishing it too for the incredible family and welcoming environment LSOP has built. He is currently majoring in Physics, exploring the various paths it may lead.

Mason McClellan

Mason is studying Biological Science at CSU and is looking to 3D print some awesome hands-on projects at the interface of the biological and life sciences.

Kyros Kasner

Kyros Kasner is a senior studying Geology-Geophysics at CSU. They started working at Little Shop Summer of 2022, and enjoys designing and building sturdy experiments, as well as getting to share the wonders of science with kids of all ages. Outside of school, Kyros enjoys tabletop role playing games and baseball (Go Padres).

Shay Pence

Shay is a first-generation college student studying physics at Colorado State University. Little Shop gives Shay the opportunity to build experiments and explain physics to anyone who wants to learn. Once they graduation, they are interested in pursuing a career involving science policy.

Izzy Dossett

Izzy is a sophomore studying chemistry at CSU with an interest in the medical field. She started with Little Shop fall of 2023 and loves most things about science. Her favorite part of Little Shop is working with kids and how excited they get learning how experiments work. Outside of school she loves all the outdoor adventures Colorado has to offer like hiking and skiing.

Summer Turner

I am studying Zoology with a Pre-Veterinary concentration, and minoring in Global Environmental Sustainability, and Wildlife Conservation Biology. I love being involved with the kids and having the ability to influence future scientists, as well as having the creative freedom to explore and build anything I think of! I grew up in Turkey and Germany, and have traveled all over Europe with my family before attending Colorado State University.

Grace Balle

Grace is a fourth year Zoology student at CSU. She first heard about LSOP when given an opportunity to volunteer during her time in PH 121. She has been working with children for years, so she is very excited to be able to share science experiments with kids and teach them on the way!

Angel Ejuwa

Angel is studying Health and Exercise Science at CSU.

Guin Sailors

Guin studies biological anthropology at CSU. “I love working with elementary students, seeing them get excited about science and sharing it with other kids when they find something cool or figure out how it works.”

Luis Aceves Plascenia

Luis is a senior studying computer science and an aspiring standup comedian.

Erika Monrreal-Garcia

Erika is taking a gap year between high school and college. She hopes to come to CSU to study physics and learn how to be a fermion.

Kayla Hallbeck

Kayla is a freshman studying mechanical engineering. She is especially interested in developing new hands-on science projects where children are less likely to hit themselves in the face.

Jafar Pikul

As a graduate student in the Department of Physics at Colorado State University, I find immense value in participating in the LSOP program. It offers an exceptional opportunity to gain new experiences and engage with young and inquisitive minds. Conducting hands-on experiments and guiding these future scientists energizes me and enhances my understanding of physics.

Volunteers and Alumni

Sheila Ferguson
Director of Hugs and Puppies

Sheila has a Masters of Education from the University of Northern Colorado, plus 90 hours of additional study in science and education. She is highly qualified for secondary science instruction and spent 20 years as an elementary teacher in Poudre School District, before coming to work for Little Shop of Physics.

Kalila Garrison

Kalila is a CSU student majoring in anthropology with a minor in biomedical sciences. She enjoys the intersection of art and science.

Gaby Perlera

Gaby is a freshman at Colorado State University where she is majoring in zoology.

Connor Leftwich
Intern and Future Science Teacher

Connor is a junior at Colorado State University where he studies engineering and teacher education.

Angel Tejawijaya

Angel is a first-year student at CSU studying psychology. Her favorite part of Little shop is seeing kids interact with the science experiments and get excited to learn about science. After graduation, Angel will be pursuing the profession of child psychology.

Nika Linn
Spring Science Extravaganza 

Nika is a dynamic part of the team, bringing in experience from the Seed Lab and her own house plant business! We appreciate their organization, creativity, and handiness! They are part flower and a professional gene.

Allie Dolan

Allie is physics major and learning assistant for PH122.

Jack Nielsen

Jack is a 3rd year student studying neuroscience at CSU. He is interested in studying dentistry after graduating and apply the same principles of kindness and fun from the shop to his future career. His favorite part of LSOP has been making experiments and helping explain them to younger students.

Rachel Jones
Volunteer Coordinator and Botanist-in-residence

Rachel received her B.S. in Biological Science with a Botany concentration from Colorado State University. Rachel loves that LSOP is a welcoming community focused on doing good things. “It is a place to be yourself and to use your particular strengths to make the world a little bit better.” Rachel is a future science teacher.
“Science provides many sets of lenses through which we can understand, appreciate, and connect with the natural world. It both is driven by and provides a source of wonder.”

Brenna Sydow
Intern and Future Science Teacher

Brenna joined the LSOP team in 2019, but it feels like she immediately fit right in to our kooky family. She’s studying Biology Education at CSU and plans to be a high school biology teacher. “My favorite part of being an intern at LSOP is getting to interact with kids! I love watching kids learn science, and I also enjoy getting to create things that I think kids will want to play with and will get to learn something from. It is very fulfilling to watch a kid play with and explore something that I created!”

Denny Heyrman
Volunteer and Former HS Teacher

Denny graduated from CSU with a degree in Geology and has returned many times including to get his education as a teacher. Denny taught for many years at Loveland High School. He is truly a jack of all trades, and his skills around LSOP along with his mentorship make him an invaluable part of the team.

Reagan Guerrero

Reagan is a junior at Colorado State University where she studies psychology.

Hunter Ridgeway
Intern and Future Science Teacher

Hunter is studying to be a secondary school biology teacher and is passionate about special education and diversity awareness. They have been with Little Shop since 2019 and their favorite part is the smile on kids’ faces when they discover something awesome!

Maude Pointet

Maude is majoring in Neuroscience and Chemistry, and plans to be a trauma surgeon and life-long LSOP volunteer. “I love being able help people of all ages learn a little bit more about science and the world around them and in turn learn a lot myself. “

Conor Strizich

Conor’s goal is to earn his degree in civil engineering, and to continue on to pursue structural engineering. Conor loves science and realizes the importance of getting kids involved in science at a young age. He says that the Little Shop makes science fun for everyone, which is the way science should be!

Destiny Goldman
LSOP Alum 

Destiny graduated CSU with a degree in zoology.

Oliver Homan

Oliver is a graduate of the Aims Community College TV Broadcast program in Greeley, Colorado and the Colorado State University Journalism Media and Communications B.A. program. He has been volunteering with Little Shop since he was in elementary school and enjoys sharing science with future generations. Using his photography and video skills to document and tell the story of Little Shop is something he enjoys doing.

Joe Chiavini
LSOP Alum and Middle School Teacher

Mr. Joe graduated CSU with a degree in Natural Science Chemistry Education. He currently teaches middle school science in Denver.

Katie Wybenga
LSOP Alum and High School Teacher

Katie studied Chemistry Education at Colorado State University and currently teaches chemistry in Hamburg, Germany!

Bryan Stanley
LSOP Alum and Physics Graduate Student

Bryan graduated with a BS in physics, and is currently working on his PhD in Physics Education Research. He is currently an Outreach Coordinator for Women and Minorities in the Physical Sciences (WaMPS) at Michigan State University. He is also the creator of the 90 Hardworking Intern Cards hidden around LSOP.

Alex Smith

Alex is graduated with a degree in geologic studies major and wants to be a researcher in one of the many US National Parks. She loves that LSOP has given her the opportunity for some real hands-on experience.

Jacob Nixon

Jacob is graduated CSU with a major in mathematics. He is most proud of inventing Sand Dune Lagoon and enjoys listening to Christmas music sung by goats.

Eric Paricio
Intern and Future Science/Music Teacher

Eric graduated with his B.A. in Vocal Music (’20) with minors in Physics and Math, and M.Ed. in Secondary Science Education (’21). He now teaches Physics and Chemistry at Cherokee Trail High School in Aurora, CO. “I love showing kids amazing physics and watching their faces when they see things from their everyday life, like slinkies, nails, radios, and light, behave in ways they would never expect. They learn to understand the world through more than their intuition, and are curious about everything around them in a new way.”

Alyssa Heber

Alyssa is a senior majoring in Biomedical Sciences. She enjoys being able to combine her love of helping others with her passion for science through her involvement in the Little Shop of Physics. After graduation, Alyssa wants to enter the world of medicine by becoming a Physician’s Assistant. In her free time, she loves photography, exploring the mountains, and spending time with friends and family.


Spice graduated from Colorado State University. Growing up, Spice’s favorite TV show was MacGyver, and always enjoyed building experiments and working with children with Little Shop of Physics. Spice is a PADI divemaster and currently works as an EMT/SES Officer.

Mayon Hight

Mayon graduated from CSU with a degree in Mechanical Engineering.

Kayla Foster

Kayla graduated Colorado State University with a degree Health and Exercise Science. She loves working with kids, and enjoys watching them learn about science!

Jansson Tuneberg

Jansson was an intern at LSOP and enjoys working in the shop as well as going on the road. He is currently a major in digital and public history and works as a historical tour guide at the Stanley hotel. In his free time, Jansson enjoys all things about A Song of Ice and Fire.

Dr. Roger Culver
Volunteer and Professor Emeritus

Roger has been a volunteer with Little Shop of Physics since the beginning. He is an Emeritus Professor of Astronomy at Colorado State University, having retired after 50 years! Roger is famous for having socks that match his shirts. If you see him wearing tie dye, ask to see the socks!

Zäq Dickerson

Zäq graduated from CSU with a degree in Biochemistry and went on to get a Masters of Science in Law. While he isn’t waiting for the USPTO to open patent examiner spots he can be found contributing to his community as an Emergency Dispatch Specialist on the western slope. The critical thinking skills honed with LSOP has been highly valued by his team. Fond memory: a tape ball named Clarence.

Nicole Rue

Nicole graduated with a Biochemistry major from Colorado State University. She loves working with kids and making science fun.

Miles Blaisus

Miles is a Freshman at Colorado State University and is majoring in Computer Science. He first came across Little Shop of Physics at Freshman Orientation, where he spent a solid hour playing with our hands-on science experiments. He like the creative atmosphere of LSOP and enjoys building and repairing experiments.

The 2020 LSOP Annual Open House crew