Meet the WAEE Team

2020 Board of Directors

Becca Franzen – Chair 


UW-Stevens Point, Stevens Point

As an Associate Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Becca works to inspire undergraduate and graduate students in environmental education. She teaches courses in foundations of environmental education, environmental education methods, environmental issues and investigations and more.  Her research focuses on pre-service teacher education in environmental education and environmental literacy. 

Before, during, and after earning her B.S. from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Becca worked in varied roles at environmental education centers and camps for people with disabilities. Seeing a need to better connect with local communities, Becca went back to school for a Master’s degree in Human and Community Resources. She then completed her doctorate degree in Curriculum and Instruction with a Specialization in Social Studies, Science, and Environmental Education Integration from Northern Illinois University.


Justin Hougham


Upham Woods, Wisconsin Dells

Dr. Justin Hougham is faculty at the University of Wisconsin- Extension where he supports the delivery of a wide range of science education topics to K-12 students, graduate students, and in-service teachers. Justin’s scholarship is in the areas of place-based pedagogies, STEM education, and education for sustainability. Justin has taught 17 different undergraduate and graduate courses as well as instructed over 1000 days in the field.He continues to teach courses, clinics, and trainings that develop pedagogies in experiential education. Justin is currently the Director for Upham Woods Outdoor Learning Center, an environmental education facility 1 hour from Madison, WI.  Justin’s projects and research in the areas of energy literacy as well as in the use of technology in place-based environmental education can be found in journals and in conference presentations throughout the U.S.


Zaynab Baalbaki


Escuela Verde, Milwaukee

Zaynab Baalbaki is extremely passionate about social justice, especially in education. This passion stems from various personal experiences. She attended UW-Madison, where she majored in Elementary Education and Sociology and minored in Educational Policy Studies and Chican@ & Latin@ Studies. She attended graduate school at the University of Pennsylvania and Marquette University in College Student Personnel Administration. She had opportunities to work abroad in England and Kuwait.

Currently, Zaynab is an advisor at Escuela Verde, located in Milwaukee, WI. Escuela Verde is a project-based public school that focuses on social justice, sustainability, and peace. Her four year tenure there has provided many opportunities to take students outside the walls of a school building. She loves going camping with students. Zaynab is involved with local organizations as the education chair for the Milwaukee Urban League Young Professionals. Trying new restaurants and traveling are two of her favorite pastimes.


Jason Dropik – Secretary


Indian Community School, Milwaukee

Jason P. Dropik is the Head of School at the Indian Community School near Milwaukee, WI. A member of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe he serves urban American Indians in the Milwaukee metro area. Jason graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in Elementary Education. Jason received his Master’s degree in Administrative Leadership from Concordia University. While serving in education, Jason has been dedicated to providing opportunity and experience for youth from urban and suburban settings to engage in environmental education. He has had the chance to be on dozens of outdoor education experiences as a part of developing and connecting curriculum to authentic experiences. Whether it is connecting under-water robotics to wild rice on tribal reservations, traveling with students to Costa Rica to explore the rainforest, or exploring the grounds near his school Jason believes in fostering a sense of inquiry and action in students and the staff he serves. Jason’s connection to the environment is grounded in Native Traditional Teachings that the decisions we make should positively impact those to come seven generations from now. This grounded view works in collaboration with current technology and real-world applications to provide students with the opportunities to explore, understand, and creatively solve problems to protect the earth that we are borrowing from those yet to come. 
When Jason is not working, he enjoys spending time with his family, camping, skiing, fishing, hiking, canoeing and playing sports. His wife Jamie is a second-grade teacher at the Indian Community School, and he has three children. 
Deanna Erickson – Chair Elect


Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve, Superior 

I am the education coordinator at the Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve, a NOAA-led partnership with the University of Wisconsin Extension dedicated to research, education and stewardship of Lake Superior estuaries. In my work, I lead the Rivers2Lake education program, which mentors teachers in inquiry and place-based learning, and operate the Lake Superior Estuarium, an interpretive center that tells stories of the St. Louis River Estuary. I hold a Bachelors of Science from UW-Stevens Point in Environmental Education and a MEd from the University of Minnesota Duluth in Environmental Education. I have worked as an educator, field researcher and administrator since 1998. Professionally, I have written for Green Teacher, Childcare Exchange and the Journal of Environmental Education. Previously I served on the board of the National Estuarine Research Reserve Association and was a founding board member of Northland Paddlers Alliance in Duluth, MN where I live.  If you can’t find me, I’m probably out in my kayak on the Lake.


Eve Smallwood


Camp Helen Brachman, Almond

Eve is the Camp Director for COA Camp Helen Brachman, a residential camp program located in central Wisconsin that helps Milwaukee youth and families reach their greatest potential. She is passionate about youth development and believes deeply in the power of the camp experience and the power of spending time in nature to change lives. Eve holds an M.S. in Natural Resources- Environmental Education and Interpretation from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, and a B.S. in Forestry- Outdoor Recreation Resources Management from Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Prior to working for Camp Helen Brachman, she was the Youth Program Manager and Summer Day Camp Director for Cincinnati Nature Center. On her journey for growth as an environmental educator and youth development professional, she has also worked as an Interpreter and Park Ranger at the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska, a Naturalist and Program Coordinator at Glen Helen Outdoor Education Center in Ohio, and a Fellow at Conserve School in northern Wisconsin. Eve has also volunteered and worked at a variety of summer camps since she was in 8th grade, including the position that cemented her love for environmental education as a profession –working at Lincoln Memorial Garden Ecology Camp in central Illinois. Eve loves spending times outdoors (especially canoeing kayaking, and camping!), traveling, knitting, cooking, making pottery, and being with her dog, Zephyr. One of her favorite things to do is build community and relationships with others. She is thrilled about the opportunity to serve as a WAEE Board Member and help further the mission.


Angelica Sanchez Mora


Urban Ecology Center

Angélica’s love for nature and environmental justice started in Guadalajara, Mexico, where she would get to enjoy the city while catching frogs and climbing trees during her summers in green spaces nearby. Angelica’s passion for conservation was reaffirmed when she got her B.A in Conservation and Environmental Science from UW-Milwaukee where she got the opportunity to study abroad in Chile and lead soil-productivity research in Eastern Kenya. Wanting to continue her education in the field, Angélica completed her M.S. Environmental Conservation from the Nelson Institute at UW-Madison where she got to work on various conservation projects, including the International Crane Foundation and Conservation International. Soon after, Angélica joined the Urban Ecology Center (UEC) in Milwaukee as a Bilingual Environmental Educator. She is currently the Community Programs Manager at the UEC where she gets to create a variety of environmental education and outdoor recreation programs for people of all ages, fostering curiosity and excitement for the outdoors.

Heidi Vasel


House in the Wood

I have the privilege to share nature with children as the Outdoor Education Director at House In The Wood part of the Northwestern University Settlement in Chicago. South-side students come for a two-night three-day science experience guided by educators. This is many of these student’s first time out of Chicago and in the woods.  

After completing my B.S. double majoring in Biology and Zoo Science, I started out as a Naturalist in New York. Then I spent three years as an Environment Volunteer in Peace Corps, Africa. Upon my return I earned my Master’s degree in Science Education at the University of Washington while working at Islandwood, an outdoor school serving the Seattle area. Throughout my career I have taught or coordinated at Nature Centers, a YMCA, a University and various non-profits.  


Skylar Primm – Treasurer


High Marq Environmental Charter School, Montello

Once, I was a geologist. As an environmental educator, I now get to indulge my love of science and nature while preparing the next generation of leaders. Born and raised in New Orleans, I earned my BS in Geology there before moving to Madison, where I received my MS in Geology from the University of Wisconsin, followed by teacher certification from Edgewood College. The first time I set foot in a classroom as a student teacher, I knew that I had found my calling. Since that time, I have taught exclusively in project based learning schools, beginning at TAGOS Leadership Academy in Janesville before joining High Marq Environmental Charter School in 2011. In 2017, I was honored with a Herb Kohl Educational Foundation Fellowship in recognition of my teaching, leadership, and service. I have a passion for writing, which is nourished by my ongoing involvement with the Greater Madison Writing Project. As a board member and part of our NAAEE ee360 team, I am excited to help further WAEE’s development as a diverse, resilient organization.


Jessica Kuzniewski – Student Board Member



I have always been passionate about environmental conservation, but I have more recently delved into the field of environmental education. After recently becoming an assistant teacher at Yahara River Learning Center, a nature-based school, I have seen the positive impacts of incorporating the environment into the classroom. I am also interning with Nature Net this summer, which is a leading voice in environmental education. Their engagement in providing resources for environmental educators demonstrates how important it is to make these connections between parents, educators, students, and environmentalists. I believe that these experiences will give me unique insight to both the administrative and scholastic aspects of environmental education, and I would love to further my involvement in this field as a member of this board.


Shannon Colomb – Student Board Member


UW-Stevens Point


Join the Board

Student Board Member Nomination

WAEE Administrator

Lynn Karbowski

Lynn Karbowski has been the WAEE Administrator since 2014.  She enjoys working for the WAEE board and helping with events, Winter Workshop being her favorite. Lynn enjoys spending time with her children and grandchildren, gardening, and reading. She works part time for WAEE and part time for the Aber Suzuki Center on the UWSP campus.

We would like to extend a tremendous thank you to the 2019 outgoing Board members: Betsy Parker- Aldo Leopold Nature Center, Eleva Potter – Conserve School, and Maria Moreno – Earth Partnership.

Join a committee here.

Want to become part of the Board of Directors? Take a look at the elections for board members.

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