Eric Byer, Secretary and Acting Executive Director
Eric R. Byer joined NACD in January 2014 as president and is currently CEF’s Secretary and Acting Executive Director. He came to NACD with nearly twenty years of experience in government and public affairs as well as organizational operations. Prior to NACD, Eric was senior vice president at Obadal, Filler, MacLeod & Klein, PLC, (OFMK) where he led strategic communications, marketing, programs, and government affairs as well as policy initiatives for the firm’s largest clients.
Before his tenure at OFMK, Eric was the chief operating officer and vice president of government and industry affairs at the National Air Transportation Association, where he led external affairs and internal operations for the $6.1 million organization.
Earlier in his career, he served as senior government relations coordinator for Smith, Bucklin, and Associates. He was also a legislative assistant to U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Government Reform and Oversight Chairman William F. Clinger, Jr. (R-Pa.). He also served as an intern for the late Rep. Dean Gallo (R-N.J.).
Eric holds a B.A. in Political Science from Gettysburg College in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and an M.A. in Government from Johns Hopkins University.
Suzette Bucher, Director of Strategic Partnerships & Engagement
Suzette Bucher joined CEF in August 2009. As the Director of Strategic Partnerships & Development, she works to plan, execute, and evaluate fundraising initiatives, donor relations, and the overall growth of support for CEF and the YBTC programs. Her favorite CEF event is the National YBTC Challenge, where she is able to meet with students and educators from all over the country to celebrate chemistry and the program’s success!
Suzette graduated from James Madison University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Communication Studies. She enjoys attending sports events and is a huge fan of the Baltimore Ravens and the University of Maryland Basketball Team.
Lisette Gallegos, Senior Manager, STEM Content
Lis Gallegos joined CEF in September 2013. As the STEM Content Senior Manager, she oversees the growth and development of CEF’s programmatic educational content. Prior to joining CEF, Lis worked as a teacher’s assistant and tutor for several chemistry programs at Cornell University. She was also an undergraduate researcher in a laboratory, focusing on chemistry-driven methods in chemical biology.
Lis holds a BS in Chemistry & Chemical Biology from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. Her favorite teacher was her 11th grade chemistry teacher because he let the class make compounds that are used to flavor candy. Lis’s favorite element is Hydrogen – it’s #1!
Emily Belson, Senior Manager, Communications & Marketing
Emily Belson joined CEF in August 2016. As the Senior Manager of Communications & Marketing, she works closely with the development and outreach departments to effectively create and distribute materials to promote awareness and support of CEF, its educational programs, and events.
Emily holds a Bachelor of Science degree in environmental science from the University of Maryland. She grew up raising 4-H market hogs and named her first two pigs after famous figure skaters Tara Lipinski and Michelle Kwan (it was an Olympic year and she was eight years old…). Emily is fascinated by the connections between agriculture, science, and the environment.
Katie Wetstone, Manager, STEM Content
Katie Wetstone joined CEF in June 2015. As STEM Content Manager, she works on the development of CEF’s scientific and educational materials. Prior to joining CEF, she interned on the communications team at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. She also worked as a laboratory research assistant, and helped to start a new project on ozonolysis and carbon nanotubes for water treatment.
Katie holds a BA in Chemistry from Harvard University in Cambridge, MA. Her proudest accomplishment is memorizing the periodic table for an inorganic chemistry class (she still knows it). She loves the outdoors so much that she once camped in -20 oF weather in the White Mountains, NH.
Avery Keese, Manager, Outreach & Events
Avery joined CEF in August 2015. As Outreach & Events Manager, she is involved with event planning, outreach, and volunteer management for the You Be The Chemist® programs, specifically the Challenge. Before joining CEF, Avery interned with Community Foodworks, an organization that operates farmers markets in the Washington, D.C. area. She also served as a college adviser with the Carolina College Advising Corps, a college access program in her home state of North Carolina.
Avery earned a BA in Political Science and a minor in Education from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. While there Avery was also a tutor and teaching assistant, leading review sessions for introductory biology courses. She enjoys cheering on the Tar Heels in any sport, volunteering at the farmers market, and running around Washington!
Ariel Simons, Manager, STEM Education
Ariel joined CEF in October 2015 and focuses on supporting and developing the You Be The Chemist Essential Elements℠ program. Prior to joining CEF, Ariel taught high school math and physical science during her Peace Corps service in Lesotho (the country that looks like a blob inside of South Africa). From there she worked for Peace Corps to do outreach, recruitment, and placement, and volunteered with science education programs in the DC metro area. She is excited to be back in science education and loves meeting all of the inspiring students and educators around the country.
Ariel holds a BS in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and a minor in Chemistry from the University of Rochester. She is currently working on her MSEd in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Kansas. Her favorite activities include art projects, baking, anything outdoors, and going to the park with her dog, Ladybug.
Carolyne Banks, Coordinator, Outreach
Carolyne Banks joined CEF in September 2016. As an Outreach Coordinator, she works on volunteer support, event planning, and outreach for the You Be The Chemist® programs, with a focus on the Challenge. Prior to joining CEF, Carolyne worked as a legal assistant in the intellectual property department of a law firm.
Carolyne holds a BA in Biological Science from Wellesley College. She is an avid, though not always successful, gardener and enjoys watching wasps, butterflies, and hummingbirds forage in her garden.
Ellyn Schuette, Coordinator, Outreach
Ellyn Schuette joined CEF in October 2016 as an Outreach Coordinator. In support of the You Be The Chemist® programs and the Challenge, she is involved in volunteer support, event planning, and outreach. Before joining CEF, Ellyn worked as a forensic scientist for nearly ten years, performing research at a national laboratory and analyzing trace evidence cases at state crime labs. She also spent an inspiring year in informal STEM education at both a science museum and an educational consortium.
Ellyn earned her BS in Chemistry from Penn State University, and her MS in Forensic Science (chemistry concentration) from Michigan State University. She’s looking forward to checking out fun community festivals in the greater-D.C. area. She also enjoys visiting museums and singing – but luckily not at the same time!