Design Team & Instructors

Ben Lavender, Camp Director

Ben was born and raised in Oakland and spent many school field trips as a youth at the old Chabot site. Ben grew up at summer camps throughout California and has over 10 years experience as a camp counselor and program director. After many years working in summer camp, Ben spent seven years as a science and math teacher at several high schools throughout the Bay Area. For the past five years, he has supported science teachers all across California. Ben is very happy to be at Chabot, supporting the best science camp in the Bay Area.

Alejandra Frias, Core Instructor

Alejandra Frias graduated from UC Davis with a B.S. in Environmental and Agricultural Education, and has worked in education for the past five years. Her mission is to further the accessibility and inclusion of women and children in the sciences. Working at Chabot has sparked a deeper interest in Astronomy, expanded Alejandra’s views on the potential of science to inspire, and has given her first hand experience on how diverse ways of teaching science can make an impact on her community. She leads the 1st and 2nd grade Mars Adventure program.

Caleb Cheung, Director of Education

Before joining Chabot, Caleb worked for 21 years as a science teacher and administrator for the Oakland Unified School District. He has led numerous science curriculum projects and teacher development initiatives. He's been Oakland's Teacher of the Year and also met President Bush as the recipient of the Presidential Award for Science Teaching. Caleb is excited to bring his experience and passion for science education to camp. He loves magic and you just might catch him performing a few tricks during camp!

Dan Stanton, Volunteer Manager

Science educator, musician, and naturalist. Dan has a passion for combining science and art into engaging education programs for students of all ages. Dan has been involved in the non-profit education sector for more than two decades. For the last four years, Dan has specialized in youth development as a science instructor and staff mentor for middle and high school students at Chabot Space & Science Center. Dan looks forward to offering creative ways of combining his childhood love of board games, Legos, music, and nature into the Operation Moon Base program.

Eric Havel, Senior Education Manager

Eric serves as Chabot’s Senior Manager of Education and has been with Chabot for the past 20 years. He has a B.S. in Environmental Sciences from UC Berkeley, serves as a NASA Earth Ambassador, and is a certified Master Composter. Eric is passionate about his teaching, especially on topics related to the Earth, ecology, recycling, redwoods, climate change, and renewable energy. Eric is looking forward to exploring these topics and creating some snazzy stop motion eco-animations with Chabot’s campers this summer!

Julia DeMarines, Core Instructor

Julia is an Astrobiologist and science presenter. In addition to working at Chabot, Julia is a visiting scientist at the Berkeley SETI Research Center and writes for Astrobiology Magazine. She holds a B.S. degree in Astronomy from the University of Colorado and a M.S. in Space Studies from the International Space University. Julia is the 5th and 6th grade lead for the Mars Adventure program and is excited to bring her passion for Astrobiology to camp this summer.

Karen Fong, Core Instructor

Karen, an Oakland native, has been an educator for her entire career. She has worked as an interpretive ranger for the National Park Service, a classroom teacher with the Oakland Unified School District and Alameda County, and now brings her many talents to Chabot as a core instructor. Inspired by the many trips to National Parks growing up, she developed a love and appreciation for anything nature! Karen is looking forward to sharing her love for science and the great outdoors with campers!

Meg Martin, Core Instructor

Over her 30 year career in science education, Meg has maintained constant enthusiasm and love for working with kids of all ages. After teaching and developing curricula for several Bay Area schools and districts, she earned a M.S. in Science Education Research and Evaluation.Then went on to write innovative hands-on, minds-on curricula for over 20 states! Returning to her first love of teaching at Chabot has been a constant joy for Meg. She looks forward to bringing fun and a sense of play to camp this year.

Megan Bumpus, Instructor

Megan is an elementary science teacher with ten years of teaching experience in the Oakland Unified School District. During the school year, she facilitates hands-on science experiences for over 400 students each week ranging from kindergarten through fifth grade. Megan is all about the messy, loud, stinky, and “weird” activities that allow her students to open up to new concepts and learn how to think, act, and communicate like scientists. Megan is heading up the 3rd and 4th grade Mars Adventure program. She had a blast as a Chabot Instructor last summer and can't wait to bring the same high energy to camp this year!

Sam Bell, Project Create Manager

Sam fell in love with museums and teaching youth during an internship at the Maritime Museum of Tasmania while researching her master’s in Archaeology. She started her career at Chabot running our space simulation program where she took hundreds of our visitors to Mars. Over the past year, Sam has used her amazing energy to develop our exciting Project Create tinkering exhibit, and is an advocate for project-based learning. She looks forward to bringing her experience and excitement for hands-on workshops to Camp Create this summer.


Phone: 510-336-7450

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