LabX Staff

LabX is managed by an energetic and talented group of staff members who work with scientists, educators, and designers to produce cutting-edge programs. To contact a staff member, please email LabX@nas.edu.

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Ann Merchant, Director

Ann Merchant is the Deputy Executive Director for Communications at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in Washington, DC where she leads the institution’s portfolio of creative engagement activities, focusing on innovative outreach programs that contribute to an increased public understanding of science. In this capacity, she serves as the Director of LabX. Her three decades at the Academies add up to a career characterized by unconventional challenges in service to the institution’s mission-driven goals and objectives. With a special interest in promoting science, engineering, and medicine through non-traditional channels, she was instrumental in launching and now overseeing The Science & Entertainment Exchange, a program of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) that seeks to connect entertainment industry professionals with top scientists and engineers. More recently, she led the NAS initiative called The Science Behind It, a creative campaign consisting of video and web assets aimed at millennial audiences around a variety of science topics. She also has responsibility for the institution’s large-scale outreach events such as TED@NAS, the USA Science & Engineering Festival, and Family Science Day at the NAS. In the now-distant past, Merchant served as marketing director for the Academies’ publishing division where she and her staff promoted and marketed more than 175 new titles every year.

Keri Stoever, Program Officer

Keri is the Program Officer for the project. Keri was the Public Programs Manager of the former Koshland Science Museum and previously spent five years as a Research Associate with the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) working on environmental and toxicological studies. In addition to her time at NAS, Keri has worked to help the public connect with science through museum education positions with the Smithsonian National Zoo and the Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center. Currently, she volunteers as an interpreter at the National Zoo’s Amazonia exhibit. Keri received her B.S. in Marine Biology from Stockton University and her M.A. in Museum Studies from Johns Hopkins University.

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Kate Sutter, Associate Program Officer

Kate is an Associate Program Officer for LabX. She has previously worked at The American Museum of Natural History in Exhibitions, Communications, and Conservation. Her experience there sparked a new inspiration: to create new ways to engage the public with science. Before joining LabX she was at The Ocean Agency where she managed projects alongside the team who produced Google Underwater Street View and the Netflix Documentary, Chasing Coral. She is a member of the Explorers Club and won the Adventure Canada Young Explorer Scholarship which allowed her to study citizen science in the Arctic. An avid scuba dive instructor, she has also been featured on Disney as a ‘shipwreck expert'.

Rick Juggle
Rick Thomas, Associate Program Officer

Rick is an Associate Program Officer for LabX. Prior to joining the team, Rick designed educational exhibits meant to connect urban residents to natural spaces within their community. His exhibits have been featured at botanic gardens, natural history museums, science museums, and zoos across the country. Rick holds a B.S. in Ecology and a B.A in Humanities from UC San Diego, a Master of Environmental Science & Management from the Bren School at UC Santa Barbara and a Master of Science from the University of Washington.

Monique C. McIlwain, Administrative Coordinator

Monique is the Administrative Coordinator for LabX. Monique was previously the Manager of Operations and Technology of the Koshland Science Museum. Prior to joining the National Academy of Sciences, Monique worked in the office of the Prince George's County Planning Director of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission.