Meet our 2023 crew
Every summer, hundreds of students from all over the world descend on the Cosmosphere— and an amazing team of enthusiastic, caring, amazing individuals guide them along their incredible journeys.
Our 2023 crew consists of 34 camp staff from all over the region. It's going to be a great summer!
Our Counselors attend colleges such as: Oklahoma State University, Wichita State University, University of Kansas, Hutchinson Community College, Fort Hays State University, Kansas State Polytechnic, Bethany College, Kansas State University, Virginia Tech, Johnson County Community College, Florida Polytechnic University
Our Directors work in various industries such as: Special Education Paraprofessional, Spanish Teacher, Music Teacher, All-Ages Teacher, Five-Year Teacher, STEM Educator, Photographer
Abby Goodmon is from Leawood, Kansas. She will be a sophmore at Virginia Tech, majoring in Aerospace Engineering and minoring in Leadership and Service. She will be a counselor for Mars Academy camps this summer and this will be her first summer at Comsosphere Camps. Abby attended camps as a kid where her love for space and science was created. She wanted to come work as a counselor to help inspire the next generation of kids to reach for the stars just like she was as a camper. Abby looks forward to learning new skills with the new simulator and missions. Fun fact about Abby: She is a cadet in Air Force ROTC and the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets, and hopes to commision into the Space Force following her graduation from Virginia Tech. Three things she'd takes to Mars would be her saxophone, a copy of Kurt Vonnegut's "Slaughter House Five", and her running shoes.
Alayanna Markley is from Kansas City, Missouri. She’s currently attending Johnson County Community College, majoring in Education. She will be a counselor on Moonshot and Martian Base. This will be her second summer at the Cosmosphere. She is most excited to run missions, and build rockets! If Alayanna could only bring three things to Mars, it’d be a journal, a bag of chips, and the Renaissance album. #beyhive
Alisia Cox is a dual credit student at Hutchinson Community College pursuing an Associate of Science degree in Nursing. She loves learning in general but is especially passionate about music, history, astronomy and art. She is a classical pianist, a budding flower farmher, an artist, and has a penchant for traveling, exploring, museums, trying new things and meeting new people. Alisia lives out in the boonies of Reno County where Venus, Mars, Ursa Major, Orion and the Milky Way take her breath away on clear, moonless nights. She has a 5 month old Black Lab/Pit named Yona Nokwisi (meaning 'Bear Star' in Cherokee) and a finicky cat named Violitt. This is Alisia's first year as a counselor at the Cosmosphere and she is most looking forward to learning about and helping campers in their exploration of space related topics. She will be a counselor for camps Mission: Moon Shot and Mission: Martian Base. Three things she couldn't live without on a trip to Mars would be her phone with a good music playlist, a flowering plant, and a sketching kit.
Alyssa Harmon is from Kansas City, Missouri. She will be a counselor for Mars Academy, and it will be her first year as a counselor. She is excited to work in an enviroment as fascinating as the cosmosphere and to help young students to cultivate their interest in science and technology. She is looking forward to working on missions for the first time, and contributing to a fun summer experience for everyone. Three things she would take to mars would be her CD collection, her cat, and a lot of iced coffee.
Alyssa Orrison is from Anthony, Kansas. During the school year, she is a Special Education Paraprofessional for Reno County Headstart. This will be her first year working at Cosmosphere Camps. She will be working as a director. She is most looking forward to learning alongside the kids in the camp! She hopes to become a teacher in the future and loves to learn. A fun fact about Alyssa: She absolutely loves to sing! The three things she would take to Mars would be her phone, her daughter, and her husband!
Amanda Allen is from Andale, Kansas. She is an 8th-12th grade Spanish Teacher at Andale High School. She loves talking about space with her students and is so proud that one of her former Spanish students is a new camp counselor this year! This is her first year working at the Cosmosphere too. She will be a director for Lunar Trek and Astro Lab. She attended Cosmosphere Camps during the FATP (Future Astronaut Training Program) era, loving every minute, and is now excited to give back to the camps as a director. She is most looking forward to getting to know the campers and helping them have an awesome experience. Fun facts about Amanda: She speaks both French and Spanish, having studied abroad in Mexico and having taught English to high schoolers in France. She can get easily lost in the deep void of Tik Tok, loves a good laugh, and enjoys spending time with her daughter at the arcade. The three essentials she'd take to Mars would be her daughter, husband, and coffee!
Benjamin Kraus is a counselor this summer for Mission: Moon Shot and Road Scholar camps. He is from Wichita, Kansas, and is a sophomore at Wichita State University studying aerospace engineering and computer science. Ben has been a previous camper for the past three summers, and has enjoyed his experience so much that he wanted to come back as a counselor! As a counselor, he wants to encourage new campers and spark their interest in space and STEM activities. He is also really looking forward to building things at camp this summer! A fun fact about Ben is that his favorite ice cream flavor is chocolate chip cookie dough. The three things that he would take on a journey to Mars would be duct tape, his favorite shoes, and chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream.
Brett Hoover is from Topeka, Kansas. He is a sophomore at the University of Kansas, majoring in Aerospace Engineering. He will be a counselor for Mission: Astro Lab and Mission: Lunar Trek and this will be his 1st summer at Cosmosphere Camps. Brett hopes to provide a fun, unique experience to the campers while teaching them something they can use for their future! He is really looking forward to operating drones with students this summer. One fun fact about Brett is that he played Hacky Sack with the Blue Man Group when they recently performed in Lawrence, Kansas. A growing talent of his is the saxophone, as he has been learning over the last 18 months. The three things he would take on a journey to mars would be his cat Mittens, his saxophone, and a Rubik's Cube.
Cara Hubenett is from McPherson, Kansas. She is pursuing a degree in Mechanical Engineering at Oklahoma State University. She will be a counselor for Mission: Moon Shot and Mission: Martian Base this summer and it will be her 6th year at the Cosmosphere! Cara has attended four summer camps and this is her second year as a counselor. She loves Cosmosphere Camps because it gives her an opportunity to encourage kids to pursue a life in STEM and to help mentor young girls interested in engineering, just like she is! She’s most looking forward to simulating missions in the Astralis capsule and underground in the salt mines! Fun fact about Cara: she hopes to end up working at NASA in the future. The three things she’d take to Mars are her AirPods, a comfy mattress, and her remote control BB8.
Chuck McClary is from Hesston, Kansas and, for the most part, has worked in the Cosmosphere’s education department since 2014. He has a degree in history and an interest in aviation. These two things drew him strongly to the SR-71 in the Cosmosphere’s lobby. Since joining the Cosmosphere staff, he’s become not just an aviation nerd, but a space nerd as well. In his spare time, Chuck enjoys photography, playing the guitar, and fishing. Not all at the same time, though. Chuck will be shooting photo and video for Cosmosphere Camp.
Dakota Brockman is from Concordia, Kansas. He's a freshman at Hutchinson Community College, majoring in Physics. This is his first year on the counselor side of Cosmosphere Camps. Dakota has previously been a camper attending Alien Adventure, Starship Earth, Space 101, 201, 301, Astro Lab, and Lunar Trek. Since visiting the Cosmosphere in 3rd grade, Dakota's love for space was sparked. Dakota wishes he can recreate this spark with students. This summer Dakota hopes he can motivate students and make them passionate about S.T.E.M. A fun fact about Dakota, he likes wearing fun socks and has a pair for every occasion.
David Berkenwald is from Olathe, Kansas. He is a junior at the University of Kansas and is majoring in Mechanical Engineering. He will be a counselor for Mission: Martian Base and Moon Shot this summer and is his 1st year. David is most excited about igniting curiosity of the next generation and to create a positive environment for everyone to explore and learn. He is most looking forward to the simulations this summer. A fun fact about David is that he really enjoys sports and plays a lot of them. Three things he would take to Mars would be his phone, lots of food, and Elon Musk.
Dayne Locke is from Augusta Kansas. He will be a freshman at the University of Kansas majoring in Astronomy and Physics. He will be a counselor for Mars Academy and this is his second summer as a counselor for the camp. He aims provide guidance for campers to follow their passions while promoting interests in STEM related careers. Dayne looks forward to the memories he will make with his coworkers and friends this upcoming summer. A fun fact about Dayne is that a few weeks ago he launched a 7 foot tall rocket that landed in Lake Michigan. Dayne would bring a telescope to Mars.
Eden is from Peculiar, Missouri, and is currently going to Wichita State University to get her Bachelor's of Earth and Space Science Education. She has been a part of Cosmosphere Camps for ten years, having been a camper for seven years before joining the camp staff. After two years as a counselor and working weekend programs during the school year, this summer Eden is now a director for Astro Lab and Lunar Trek. She says that she fell in love with space when she first attended a Cosmosphere camp and is overjoyed at the opportunity to share the wonders of the universe with the campers, scouts, and students who come to the museum. A fun fact about Eden is that she is a talented artist. Painting, drawing, sculpting--whatever the medium, Eden enjoys creating artwork that takes inspiration from the things she loves.
Elizabeth (Ellie) Labes is from right here in Hutchinson, KS, where she lives with her long-time boyfriend, Joe, and her fur baby, Bella. She just finished her seventh year as a music teacher for kindergarten through 6th grade at Hutchinson STEM Magnet School at Allen. She has worked at the Cosmosphere for two years, serving as the camp director for AstroLab and Lunar Trek and working Scout camp weekends throughout the school year. She loves both teaching and the stars, so teaching summer camp at the Cosmosphere was a perfect fit! She looks forward to getting to teach more young people about space and science and all the fun things that come with it. The three things she would take on a journey to Mars would be her Bible, a music player full of all sorts of different music, and pictures of her loved ones.
Emily Green is from Stafford, Kansas. She's a junior at Bethany College, majoring in Health and Physical Education. She will be a camp director for Lunar Base and Solar System day camps, Alien Adventure, Road Scholar, and Starship Earth. This will be Emily's 2nd summer working at the Cosmosphere Camps. She loves working with and encouraging youth students to dream big and reach any goals they set out for themselves. She is most looking forward to all the fun, hands-on activities this summer. A fun fact about Emily is that she can solve a Rubik's Cube in under two minutes. The three things she would take to Mars with her would be a bible, a deck of cards, and Morgan Wallen's, One Thing at a Time album.
Eric Sprecker is from Derby Kansas. He will be a sophomore at Kansas State University and is majoring in Chemical Engineering. He has attended camps for longer than he can remember and will be a counselor for Astro Lab and Lunar Trek. Eric's many years at camps allowed him to explore different interests and he hopes to give this opportunity to campers this summer. He is looking forward to being on the other side of the simulator missions this summer. A fun fact about him, he plays trombone in the K-State Marching Band and is also on the K-State Rocketry team.
Ethan Robinson is from Tampa, Florida. He's a sophomore at Florida Polytechnic University, majoring in Electrical Engineering. He will be a counselor for Mission: Moon Shot and Martian Base camps this summer and this will be his 1st summer at Cosmosphere Camps. He's excited to help grow young students passion for learning. The three things he would take to Mars would be a football, his headphones, and his dog Rusty.
Hillary Barragan is a long term Hutchinson resident. She is currently an all ages teacher at Abundant Life childcare and preschool, where she has been for the last three years. This is Hillary’s first Cosmosphere Camp and she is excited to join us. She will be directing camp Moon Shot. Hillary has worked in Human Services for over a decade and has a passion for helping others. She enjoys teaching children and watching them grow. She’s looking forward to working with kids on communication and journalism. A couple facts about Hillary, she loves visiting waterfalls and historical sites around Kansas. She visits the Rocky Mountains almost every year and enjoys hiking. Hillary is an avid reader in her spare time, a wife and fur mom.
Jackson Proett is from Hutchinson, Kansas. He's a junior at Kansas State Polytechnic, majoring in Commercial Piloting. He will be a counselor for Mission: Astro Lab. This will be Jack's first summer at Cosmosphere Camps. Jack attended Cosmosphere Scout Camps as a child and has decided to share his love of engineering and aviation with others. Jack hopes he can inspire campers to pursue careers in aviation and engineering. He is looking forward to working with students and teaching them new skills or helping them to improve their existing skills. Fun facts about Jack: He loves to travel and has been to 48 of the 50 states. Jack also attended KU's School of Mechanical Engineering before making the switch to commercial piloting.
JoAnna Strecker is the Vice President of Education at the Cosmosphere and is working on their 6th camp season. They have been passionate about science as far back as they can remember and love helping kids find their passion for it. One of their favorite things about camp is how the kids tend to find their people here. The Cosmosphere Camps have several groups of friends that make sure to go to the same camp year after year. A fun fact about JoAnna is they love to create greeting cards for friends and family.
Jocelyn Yates is from Stryker, Ohio, but has lived in Kansas for the majority of her life. She is currently a sophomore at Wichita State University studying to get her teaching license for Elementary Education, and is planning on being a Kindergarten teacher in the future. She will be a counselor for the Lyon’s summer camp, and it will be her first year working at the Cosmosphere Camps! She is looking forward to spending time with kids and making camp a fun experience! Getting to see kids learn and do fun activities is what she is excited for this summer at camp. A fun fact about Jocelyn is that she has been out of the country twice to Mexico, and loves going on cruises to see the ocean!
Joe Schrock is five-year teacher who is currently teaching at Hutchinson Trinity Catholic High School. He is a Hutchinson Kansas native and has recently moved back. This is his first year at the Cosmosphere but carries experience in teaching High School Earth & Space Science and will be helping with Astro Lab and Lunar Trek. He hopes and is looking forward to share his passion and love for science and space with campers. One of Joe's hobbies includes camping and visiting national parks. The three things he would take to Mars would be a nook loaded with books, a telescope and a BBQ grill.
Kathrine Cota is from Hutchinson, KS. She is currently attending Wichita State University and will be teaching 6th grade in the upcoming school year. This is her first year working with this camp, but she is excited to help provide enriching hands-on experiences this summer. She hopes to inspire young explorers to always seek new knowledge, and foster a love of learning in them.
A fun fact about Kathrine: She currently has over 30 sheep, and other farm animals.
Katie Brotton is from Manhattan, KS. She is going to be a freshman at Wichita State and major in aerospace engineering with honors. Katie is a counselor at Lunar Trek and Astro Lab. This is her fifth year participating in Cosmosphere Camps with this being her first year as a counselor. Katie has been going to these camps since middle school and since she has done all the camps she can, the obvious choice was to come back as counselor and provide the same experiences she had to new campers. She wishes to help inspire new campers with the same passion for space she has. Katie was a part of her high school FIRST robotics team and hopes to use those skills to help in the Wichita State Baja team. The three things she would take to Mars are her favorite book, Project Hail Mary, a collection of all her albums and a nice blanket.
Keegan Fischer is from Olathe, Kansas. He will be a junior at Virginia Tech, studying Chemical Engineering. He will be a director for Mars Academy and this will be his second year working at the Cosmosphere. Keegan attempted camps at the Cosmosphere for 5 summers as a child and is very excited to provide the same opportunity to campers this year. He hopes that every camper will have the same great experience he did and will fall in love with space. Fun fact about Keegan: he’s very active and loves to get outdoors whether it be sports, hiking, or exploring.
Lilly is from Hutchinson, Kansas. She's a Full-Time STEM Educator at the Kansas Cosmosphere. She has been a camp counselor since 2019 and will be working with the Astro Lab and Lunar Trek camps this summer. This will be Lilly's fifth summer with the Cosmosphere and has had so much fun. She hopes to inspire new campers and guide those returning. Lilly is most looking forward to missions in our updated simulator, SCUBA with Astro Lab, and Powered Flights with Lunar Trek. If she was to take a journey to Mars, she would take: Dr. Pepper, her cat, and a laptop with all the streaming services for movies.
Lily Cooper lives in McPherson, Kansas but is originally from Birmingham, Alabama. She will be the full time educator for Day Camps this summer and it will be her first summer with the Cosmosphere. Lily has worked for five different camps back in Alabama and is excited to continue her love for camp in Kansas. She hopes to make learning fun during the school break this summer through hands-on activities, games, experiments, crafts, and cool demonstrations. If Lily got the opportunity to travel to Mars she would take her dog Fritz, a few gallons of sweet tea, and a copy of the 2005 Pride and Prejudice with her.
Mary Smith, is from Wichita, KS. She is a full time STEM Educator at the Cosmosphere. She has been at the museum full time since September 2021 however was part of the education team back in 2006-2007. She is looking forward to spending the summer with all the directors, counselors and campers who share the same love for space and science. In her free time, she loves photography, crafts and making things, as well as spending time with her husband and their replica Jurassic Park Explorer. If she could only take 3 things to Mars, it would be her camera, sunflower seeds and endless playlist of music.
Morgan Tobias hails from Clearwater, Kansas. She will be a 2nd year Aerospace Engineering student at the University of Kansas this fall. Alien Adventure, Lyon's Summer Camp, Road Scholar, Solar System/Lunar Base, and Teacher Camp are the camps she will be inhabiting this summer. While this is her first summer as a camp counselor, she has logged seven adventurous years as a Cosmosphere Camp camper. Morgan is excited to share her love of all things space and aviation, as well as a great camp experience with others. Outside of classes and technical theatre work, Morgan loves to fly and travel. Her favorite place to visit is Alaska because of the fireweed, hiking on the tundra, and fresh salmon. The three things she would take to Mars are her big pink teddy bear, her pet chicken, and a year’s worth of Twix bars.
Nick Atanasio spent most of his life in Virginia, but now lives in Hutchinson working full-time for the Cosmosphere. He's loved the Cosmosphere since visiting at a young age and attending four years of camps, followed by three years of camp counseling before joining the staff full-time as the LaunchLearning Project Manager. He says that he especially loves camps because they provide young learners the chance to leave behind the worries of their normal life and come to a place where they can just be kids and have fun. They can learn, not just about space but about life skills, and grow as people. And as a former camper, he remembers how it's the most fun time of your whole summer. Nick writes in his spare time and hopes to one day sell screenplays about space and weird sci-fi concepts, sometimes in the same story!
Sherry Treece was born and raised in Hutchinson Kansas. She is currently a Senior at Fort Hays State University studying Sociology with a minor in grant writing. She is a STEM Educator with the Cosmosphere. This will be her sixth summer doing camps. This summer She will be a Director for Mars Academy .Her love for the summer camp program began when she sent her son to the former 101 and 201 program. Her son enjoyed camp so much that she wanted to be a part of it all. She is most looking forward to the Settlement mission. She hopes to help campers grow not only knowledge of Mars but a love for the complexity of the planet Mars. A fun fact about Sherry is she loves volleyball. When not busy with camps you can find Sherry either on the volleyball court coaching or on the sidelines cheering on her daughters. Three things she'd take to Mars would be her cat Orion, books and my wall of pictures.
Stefan is also the Content Specialist at the Cosmosphere.
Valor "Vee" Oak is originally from Hutchinson, Kansas, but currently lives in Kansas City, Kansas. They will be a junior at the University of Kansas this fall and is majoring in Cultural Anthropology with a minor in English. Vee will be returning for their second summer as a Lead Counselor and a Director of Mars Academy, which they attended as a kid! Valor's favorite part of camp, and what they're looking forward to the most, are the Mission Days, in which Vee gets to be a part of Mission Control and help campers achieve their mission goals. Vee is a lover of international relations, having been the president of JCCC Model United Nations for a year, and considers diplomacy and empathy for all to be one of the most important things in life. They plan to work for the United Nations Office of Outer-Space Affairs (UNOOSA) or the United Nations General Assembly Third Committee (UN GA3). Vee is part of a band with their friends and plays piano, guitar, and cello. The three things they'd take to Mars would be their dog Fig, a guitar, and a good book.
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