The Executive Board of Directors searched the country for a driven individual to lead the Homewood Science Center project from concept to completion. In early March, they found the right fit just one zip code over in Flossmoor, IL. Edie Dobrez is a longtime member of the Homewood-Flossmoor community. Her passion for education led her to serve as chair for both the South Suburban Education Funding Coalition and Districts 161 & 233 school referendum campaigns. She is also a founding member of the Healing Racism Chicago Southland and served as president of Flossmoor Service League. Edie has led a number of large-scale projects for scholars at the University of Chicago. She served as the executive director and project leader for the Science of Philanthropy Initiative (SPI), Chicago Heights Early Childhood Center (CHECC), Summer Institute on Field Experiments and the Parent Academy (UK Based). Edie earned her BS from the University of Illinois–Champaign and her MEd from Loyola University Chicago.

Contact Edie at edobrez@homewoodsciencecenter.org


As Program Manager for Homewood Science Center and the Chicago Southland STEM Network, Holly’s focus on establishing community partnerships from across industry and education sectors helps her develop, assess, and innovate equitable STEM programming in Chicago’s diverse south suburbs. Since 2016 as Homewood Science Center first opened its doors, Holly’s involvement with marketing, program development, event coordination, and fundraising has shaped impactful programs including the family learning series PopUp SCIENCE and the annual Girls STEAM Ahead luncheon which connects female students and leaders in STEAM education and career paths. She earned her BA in Applied Psychology with College Honors from the University of Illinois at Chicago and upon graduation served as a Domestic Violence Counselor at Connections for Abused Women and their Children (CAWC). She continued her career in family services as a Family Support and Mental Health Monitor for Chicago Commons Community Partner Head Start Program until she started a family and a freelance marketing career before landing at Homewood Science Center.

Contact Holly at hkelsven@homewoodsciencecenter.org


Kimberly has supported and partnered with Homewood Science Center long before her official position was established. She has donated her photography services to Homewood Science Center since 2016. After graduating from Homewood-Flossmoor High School, she earned her BA in Psychology with Honors from Spelman College and her J.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. As an attorney and the owner of her own photography business, Kimberly brings to Homewood Science Center her experience and expertise with project management, client communication, and resource management. Her interest in STEM based programs emanates from her children’s affinity for science and math. Kimberly has a passion for creatively serving her community and is currently a Flossmoor Library Trustee.

Contact Kim at kmitchell@homewoodsciencecenter.org


Amy is a writer and video content developer who started with Homewood Science Center by volunteering to help create promotional videos; Studio 604, where she’s a partner, was inducted into the HSC Founders’ Club in 2017. She holds a BA in English from Southern Illinois University Carbondale and an MFA in Writing from Washington University in St. Louis, where she studied poetry. Amy has worked in academic libraries at SIU-C, WashU, and Emory University, Atlanta, and she’s been a regular contributor to publications of the American Hospital Association, the Chicago Tribune, and Chicago Parent, among others. She has served on the Homewood Library Board of Trustees and she’s a lifetime member of the Friends of the Homewood Library. She loves a good story and is excited to help bring the story of Homewood Science Center to the broader community.

Contact Amy at aeagle@homewoodsciencecenter.org

The Executive Board of Directors are responsible for directing the affairs of the Homewood Science Center in accordance with its mission.

Established in 2016, the Homewood Science Center is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that creates interactive opportunities to explore and connect with Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math (STEAM) through strong community partnerships.  
Directors steer the organization towards a sustainable future by adopting sound, ethical, and legal governance and financial management policies, and ensuring Homewood Science Center has adequate resources to advance its mission.

Directors are expected to volunteer during events and programs and actively participate in fundraising efforts.  
Board meetings are held at 7:00 pm on the second Monday of every month. Directors serve on a voluntary basis without compensation.



Jay serves as Trustee for the Village of Homewood (since 2011). He is CEO of AAA RENTAL System, a supplier of equipment for signature events throughout the Chicago region. He served on the project team that guided the Village's effort to establish a science center. Jay has a Bachelor of Business Administration / Finance degree from the University of Iowa.


Phil is the owner of Spin Artist, a full service production and post-production company that creates branded content for advertising agencies.  He is an expert at leveraging art and creativity to form a genuine bond between consumers and brands. Whether it’s on-line, on air, or on-premise, his goal is to stir your emotions. Phil has a Bachelors Degree in Communications from the University of Iowa with an emphasis in Film and Television.

JIM MARINO (past Vice President)

Jim has worked in public sector management for 26 years. For the last 17 years, Jim has held the positions of Assistant Village Manager and now Village Manager for Homewood. Jim managed the Village's effort to establish a science center, including developing the concept and business plans and forming the Board of Directors. Jim has a Masters Degree in Public Administration from the University of Pittsburgh.

AIMEE MATTHYS  (Vice President, past President)

Aimee earned a Master of Science Degree in Civil / Environmental Engineering from the University of Iowa. She is a professionally licensed engineer with over 15 years of experience in engineering consulting and research.  She has leveraged this expertise to foster STEM career connections, bringing science-based activities and events to local schools. Ms. Matthys serves as the President and Chairperson of the Organization and serves on the Organizations Board of Directors.

JEFF MCCLAIN (President)

As Director of Operations – Midwest for Schneider Electric Buildings Americas-  Jeff is responsible for facility automation solutions for buildings of all types.  With 30 years of experience focused on operational efficiency, energy efficiency, energy management, and sustainability, Jeff recognizes the importance of STEAM education and the growing need for engineering and technology skills in the current and future workplace.  Jeff studied Forestry at Michigan State University, HVAC/R and Business at PSC and holds Certified Energy Manager (CEM) certification from the Association of Energy Engineers and certification as a LEED Accredited Professional by US Green Building Council.


Patty is a Senior Educator at the Museum of Science and Industry for a program that trains teachers in effective methods to bring Next Generational Science Standards to school districts throughout the region. She has developed and written curriculum since 1986. Patricia has a Bachelors Degree in Environmental Biology and Developmental Psychology from Luther College in Iowa.


Fredric Mitchell is the V.P. of Product at Better Weekdays, a company dedicated to connecting college students with careers. Their flagship product, the Whether, is a personalized career guide used by schools and organizations around the country.
He is an expert at user experience design, technology, and public speaking. 
Fredric has a Bachelors Degree in Electrical Engineering from the Washington University in St. Louis.

MICHELLE SVETLIC NELSON (Secretary & Treasurer)

Michelle has a Bachelors Degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Illinois with a specialty in structures and construction management. She is co-founder of H-F Robotics, a nonprofit organization that prepares youth for international robotics design competitions. She currently uses  Homewood Science Center site to run FIRST robotics programs.


Stephanie earned a Bachelor of Science and Medical Degree from the University of Maryland. She completed her Residency in Atomic and Clinical Pathology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago. Stephanie is a Fellow of the College of American Pathologists and The American Society for Clinical Pathology.  She has practiced medicine as a pathologist in the south suburbs for over 25 years. Stephanie has volunteered at the Homewood Science Center since 2016 working on Pop Up Science, Walk Walton and other projects. As a physician she appreciates the importance of STEAM education and mentorship, particularly focused on healthcare education and career development.


John R. Sowa, Ph.D. is Professor of Chemistry at Governors State University (GSU) in University Park, Illinois. His B.S. in Chemistry is from Manhattan College (1985) and Ph.D. is from Iowa State University in (1991). His first academic appointment was at Seton Hall University (1994 – 2014). In 2015, he joined Governors State University where he initially served as chair of chemistry and biology (2015 – 2017). In 2017, he became a full-time faculty member and teaches courses in organic chemistry, spectroscopy, and general-organic-biochemistry for students in the applied health sciences. Prof. Sowa’s research topics are organic chemistry, environmental testing of heavy metals, and polyol induced extractions. He has 35 peer-reviewed publications and 5 US patents. He is a member of the American Chemical Society, Sigma Xi Scientific Research Honor Society and the Chicago Catalysis Club. His personal hobbies are swimming, film photography, bird watching. He is also a member of the Melody Mart Adult Jam Band where he plays guitar, tambourine, and cowbell. John lives in Flossmoor.


Ilene serves as a Wealth Management Officer and Assistant Vice President at First Midwest Bank, providing wealth management and fiduciary services to individuals and families. Working closely with the courts, attorneys and other professionals, Ilene brings years of experience and skills to complex probate matters involving non-contested and contested guardianship and estate matters,  and trust administration. Ilene earned her a Bachelor of Arts Degree, Economics and Political Science from DePaul University; post Baccalaureate ABA approved Paralegal Studies Certification from Roosevelt University; Master’s Degree in Education from St. Xavier University and Genealogical Research Certification from Boston University. In her leisure time, Ilene enjoys spending time with her family, friends and her ruby colored Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, appropriately named “Ivan the Red.”  Ilene has been involved in many community and charitable organizations throughout her career and currently is a member of the Village of Frankfort’s Land Use and Policy Committee, Suburban Service League and a volunteer at Homewood Science Center. She has offered significant support for Girls STEAM Ahead and has volunteered at PopUp SCIENCE events.


Dr. Kong is a licensed clinical psychologist and an educator. She received her BA in chemistry from Cornell University and her PhD in clinical child and adolescent psychology from DePaul University. She has more than twenty years of experience working with children, adolescents and their families in various roles and context. In addition to providing direct clinical services, she has developed, implemented and acquired funding for a school-based mental health program for underserved populations, as well as developed and implemented a mental health program for homeless teens. Dr. Kong has served as an expert consultant and as a researcher for various projects involving adolescents, community health and mental health issues. Currently she is an associate professor at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology and a research fellow at New Knowledge Organization (newknowledge.org). She also provides mental health services to children, adolescents, and their families in her private practice.

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18022 Dixie Highway    Homewood, IL 60430    (708) 206-3369

© 2016 Homewood Science Center