TRC 20th Annual Meeting

Celebrating Excellence with the TRC: Past, Present, Future

June 17 – 19, 2014 | Renaissance Austin Hotel


Susan Empson

Professor, STEM Education

The University of Texas at Austin

Susan EmpsonSusan Empson studies the teaching and learning of mathematics in elementary and middle-school classrooms. Her current work focuses on the role of professional development in teacher learning and the development of responsive decision making in the domain of rational numbers. Her research has been supported by the National Science Foundation and the Spencer Foundation, and published in such journals as Cognition and Instruction, Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, Teaching Children Mathematics, and Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education. She earned her PhD in Mathematics Education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and has worked on the Cognitively Guided Instruction project. Before going back to graduate school, she was a high school mathematics teacher in New York City at A. Philip Randolph High School, and in the Peace Corps, in Morocco.


Gail Laubenthal

Gail LaubenthalGail Laubenthal has worked in education for over 40 years as both teacher and administrator.  She was a teacher-researcher in the NSF funded BLOCKS project directed by UT’s Center for STEM Education.  She recently retired from Austin Independent School District where she helped teach, train, and support teachers in the areas of technology and science. She has written and received many grants to fund environmental education projects, written articles for professional journals, and presented at local, state and national educational conferences.  Her hobbies include nature photography and poetry.



Robin Painovich, CAE

Executive Director

Career & Technology Association of Texas

Robin PainovichRobin manages the staff and has oversight of association programs including member services, conferences, communications, financials, awards and student scholarship programs. She leads advocacy efforts related to career and technical education, provides guidance to the Board of Directors and Committees and serves as a liaison to state agencies and organizations with related interests. Robin was appointed by the Commissioner of Education to serve on the CTE Review Panel established an HB 3485 by the 80th Texas Legislature. Robin joined CTAT in 2005 as its first executive director after four years experience in planning the professional development offerings for CTAT. Prior to joining the CTAT team, she planned international events for IBM Tivoli Division, managed the customer briefing center for VTEL and worked in the semiconductor industry for Millipore Corporation, Span and Tylan General. Robin holds a Bachelor’s of Journalism from the University of Texas at Austin. She attended Sharpstown High School in Houston where she served as an officer in the local chapter of Business Professionals of America, participated in competitive events, won first place in state and national competitions and earned the Torch Award.



Bernard K. Skoch

CyberPatriot Commissioner

Air Force Association

Bernar SkochBrigadier General Bernie Skoch (USAF, Ret.) was named the Commissioner of CyberPatriot, the Air Force Association’s national high school cyber defense competition, in 2010. Skoch graduated from the University of Arkansas in 1974 with a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering and upon graduation was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Air Force. His 29-year Air Force career took him throughout the United States and on permanent and temporary duty in Europe, Asia, the Pacific and the Middle East, retiring at the rank of brigadier general.

Skoch has more than 20 years of experience in leadership positions developing, managing, and implementing communications and information systems for the United States Air Force and the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA). He has served as the Principal Director for Customer Advocacy at DISA, as well as the Principal Director for Network Services. Within the USAF he served as Director of Mission Systems, Director of Communications Operations, and Director of Chief Information Officer Support where he was responsible for aligning information technology systems with business process improvements. He has developed policies for global telephone, video, radio, voice, data, and satellite systems.  Before joining CyberPatriot, Skoch was a consultant in the cyber and IT industry.

As Commissioner, Skoch oversees the planning and implementation of CyberPatriot and provides leadership and support for the program’s development. In this role, Skoch is able to further student interests in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education and increase their awareness of cybersecurity threats.



Johannes Strobel

Director, Educational Outreach Programs, Associate Professor

Texas A&M University

Johannes StrobelJohannes Strobel is currently an Associate Professor (joint) in the Engineering Technology & Industrial Distribution (ETID), College of Engineering and the Teaching, Learning and Culture Department (TLAC), College of Education at Texas A&M. He is also Director, Educational Outreach Programs at the Dwight Look College of Engineering, Texas A&M University and for the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station (TEES). Johannes Strobel is affiliated with the Institute of Engineering Education and Innovation.

Johannes Strobel’s research is largely grounded in social and embodied forms of cognition; the complexity of the p-12 education system; and the jointly facilitated learning of engineering (and STEM) of teachers and students. He bring an humanistic perspective to engineering and study Engineering as an Empathetic and Caring Discipline; Engineering Worldviews and Beliefs; and Indigenous Engineering.



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