Our Staff


elainaElaina Sabatine
Elaina is a fourth year doctoral student in the School of Social Work at UNC Chapel Hill, where her research interests include achievement motivation and academic self-efficacy of underserved youth. After graduating from Penn State University in 2011 with a degree in biological and evolutionary psychology, she worked as a high school science teacher and Teach For America corps member for two years at Northampton County High School. She also served an additional year as a district science instructional coach for Northampton County Schools. Elaina is dedicated to helping teachers create socially and emotionally safe learning spaces for youth. She has been working with ENC STEM since 2012.


graysonGrayson Cooper 
(Volunteer) Co-Director 
Grayson is a senior consultant with Public Impact, an education management and policy consulting firm in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, conducting quantitative research and analysis and assisting schools and districts implementing an Opportunity Culture. Before joining Public Impact, he spent three years as a math teacher and instructional technology facilitator at Northampton County High School in northeastern North Carolina through Teach For America. There, his roles included deploying and managing a one-to-one laptop initiative, facilitating teacher professional development, and leading a district-wide recruitment initiative. While at Northampton County High School, he co-founded ENC STEM. Grayson holds a bachelor’s degree in educational entrepreneurship and mathematics, with a minor in business, from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, from which he graduated with honors after attending as a Morehead-Cain Scholar. He holds a master’s degree in education from East Carolina University, and a master’s degree in library and information science with a concentration in instructional technology from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Grayson is also a graduate of the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics, where he serves on the Five Year Strategic Planning Team and is a member of the Alumni Association Executive Board.


carolineCaroline Harris
Project Officer
Caroline is the Biology and Earth & Environmental Science teacher at North Edgecombe High School. Before that, she taught Biology for two years at Southeast Halifax High School in Halifax County. She graduated from the University of Texas in 2015 with degrees in Biology and History. Although she has only served for a brief time with ENC STEM, she is passionate about its mission to increase STEM exposure for students in the eastern part of North Carolina. Beyond ENC STEM, Caroline plans to continue to teach in the eastern North Carolina region as she works hand-in-hand with high school students to achieve their goals and aspirations.


jessicaJessica Towns 
Project Officer 

Jessica is a senior undergraduate student pursuing a History degree at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Since attending ENC STEM as a student her senior year of high school, She has been a Teaching Assistant since 2015. Jessica serves is a Project Officer for ENC STEM. Along with working for ENC STEM Jessica also works with Student Success Services at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro as a tutor for both Spanish and Human Development and Family Studies. In addition to serving as a tutor she is also working with Dr. Johnathan Tudge on the Development of Gratitude, Materialism and Sustainability research team. Upon graduating, Jessica will return to Eastern North Carolina as a Teach for America Corps member for their 2018 team in Northampton County.


Jonathan Martinez-Ruiz

Project Officer 

Jonathan is a fourth year undergraduate student pursuing a Mathematics major, as well as Education and Astronomy minors at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Since attending ENC STEM as a student his senior year of high school, he has volunteered with ENC STEM in 2014 and has been a Teaching Assistant since 2015. Currently, Jonathan is a Project Officer for ENC STEM where he works on grant seeking and field trip coordination. Jonathan also works with the North Carolina Science Festival where his focus is to deliver informal science education to economically disadvantaged areas. Upon graduating, Jonathan plans dedicate time to teaching in Northampton County, after which he intends to apply for the Masters in Educational Innovation, Technology, and Entrepreneurship program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


melissaMelissa Altemose
Project Officer
Melissa is an 8th Grade Science Teacher at Pattillo Middle School in Edgecombe County, NC. After graduating from the University of Rochester in 2011 with a degree in Cell and Developmental Biology, Melissa taught middle school science in Weldon, North Carolina for 2 years as a Teach for American Corps Member. After finishing the corps, Melissa moved to Washington, DC where she taught 7/8 th grade science for 4 years and obtained her Masters in Curriculum and Instruction with a K-12 Science Concentration from George Mason University. She returned to North Carolina to teach 8 th grade science at Pattillo Middle School at the start of the 2017 school year. Throughout her teaching career, Melissa has served as department chair, grade level lead, softball coach, DCPS Travel Ambassador, TechBridge Teacher, and a mentor teacher. Melissa is passionate about delivering high quality, rigorous science instruction to students in underserved areas. She has been working with ENC STEM since 2016.


tamarTamar Avineri
Project Officer
Tamar Avineri has been teaching mathematics for 15 years and an instructor at the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics (NCSSM) since 2004. She received her bachelor's degree in Applied Mathematics at UC San Diego, master's in Mathematics at UCLA, and Ph.D. in Math Education at NC State University. Tamar feels incredibly fortunate to have the opportunity to teach mathematics to students all over North Carolina through both the residential and distance education programs at NCSSM. Although the rest of her family resides in Southern California, Tamar loves North Carolina too much to return there. She truly appreciates the opportunity to be a part of ENC STEM.