Meet The Team

We are very pleased with the team of talented and dedicated people who will be joining us for our Belize expedition. We are very fortunate to have each and every one of them along with us. They come from a variety of backgrounds and experiences but all of them are adventurous and believe that individuals can and do make a difference. (You can read about us—the Virtual Explorers—on our bio page.)


Krisan Christensen

I am a 17 year-old from the Bay Area in California who loves Fuji apples, plays club and varsity soccer and has a black Labrador Retriever named Max. My favorite school subjects are art and English and I hope to work in the film industry someday.

Instead of starting my senior year with fellow classmates my mom and I will be traveling to Belize to research manatees. I am very excited about this expedition and feel that it will be a great learning experience for me, one greater than I could receive in the classroom. Plus from the little information that I know about manatees they seem like very cute and gentle mammals and I can't wait to be a part of the process that helps protect them. I am also looking forward to being away from the hustle and bustle of California and able to enjoy the great outdoors in a place I’ve never been to before.

Terin Christensen

Life has a magical way of placing unexpected gifts in front of you like this expedition to help researchers study manatees. The moment I heard about this exciting expedition and great opportunity I knew my daughter and I had to be part of it. I work for a nonprofit organization that helps support and educate families, patients, caregivers and health care professional about brain tumor diseases so I understand the precious gift of life.

I am excited to have this opportunity to step out of my comfortable world and embark on this expedition. Plus to give my daughter the chance to see another part of the world while helping others is invaluable. I am looking forward to the hard work I will have to do to assist these researchers to better understand these “giant mermaids”.

Pamela Braley

I teach middle grades English, social studies and science at Glade Creek School in Alleghany County, North Carolina. My students and I use technology to make our learning more enjoyable and relevant. Using the Internet, we have participated in several projects with schools around the world.

I believe that students learn best by doing, and that it is my job to provide students with as many real-life learning experiences as possible. I also am passionately concerned for our environment and seek to make students aware of the issues that will face them today and in the future. I believe this Virtual Explorers expedition will allow my students to experience real science and develop a concern for the environment at the same time.

When I am not in school, I enjoy hiking in the Blue Ridge Mountains, gardening, cooking, singing, and reading. I also enjoy traveling to different countries to learn about other cultures and to see the wonders of creation.

Steve Bronack

I am a professor and an educational researcher interested in exploring the use of learning technologies to make education a better process for both kids and adults. I teach in the Instructional Technology program at Appalachian State University. When I'm not teaching, I often visit schools and help teachers plan through the process of using technology effectively.

This is my first adventure with Virtual Explorers. I am excited to be traveling on this expedition to Belize with the Virtual Explorers group. While I'm there, I will be helping the group capture the experience of this expedition to create online "slice of life" curriculum for teachers in schools. Observing the process firsthand will help me consider ways learning technologies can help us use real-life problems to support more meaningful learning in schools.

Ernest Koe

I was born in 1974 in Malaysia. As a young boy, I loved going to the seaside to play amongst white sands and coconut trees or wade around in padi-fields to catch guppies. As a young boy, I traveled to a lot of strange and exotic places like Thailand and New Jersey. In my travels, I saw many interesting things. I frequently wondered why people did the things they did? For example, I wondered why Americans drove such big cars or how people could like snow? I promised myself that I would study hard in school to discover the answers to these questions one day.

Eventually, my parents moved to Florida, and even though I was sad to leave my dog behind, I thought it would be better idea to stay close to Mom and Dad. Besides, I figured this would be the perfect place to find answers to my questions. And so, I went to school and then college and had many wonderful and interesting experiences living in the United States. After reading a lot of books and having many great conversations about many important questions, I decided I would become a teacher. I taught Chinese Language and History at the Loomis Chaffee School in Connecticut for three years. Soon after I started a company with Kevin McAllister to help schools use technology to make teaching and learning more fun.

Jenny Lytle

I’ve been creating educational online content for the past seven years. For the past three, I’ve worked for bigchalk where several of my most satisfying projects have included collaborating with partners to create exciting, interactive content about places people can visit online, no matter where they live in the world. For one of these projects, I collaborated with the Virtual Explorers to highlight their visit to northern Peru to study Amazon River Dolphins.

I am thrilled to have the opportunity to join the Virtual Explorers in the field this year, leaving my computer and desk in New York City and replacing them with snorkel gear and bug repellents in Belize; being an active participant in the research project will help me consider new ways to present virtual expeditions to an online audience.

Kevin McAllister

I grew up in Los Angeles near the ocean, learned to scuba dive at 16 and went to college to be a marine biologist. I got lured away by a Freshman geology class and went on to major in geology and worked as an exploration geologist. After graduate school I married and left for two years to serve in the Peace Corps in Paraguay.

Back in the states I moved to New England and worked as a science and language teacher for 17 years. During those years I became fascinated with technology and served as Director of Technology for 10 years. In 1999 I left teaching and founded inResonance, a technology consulting company, with Ernest Koe.

I love to travel and have visited all 50 states and most of Canada and Europe with my family. I also spent time in Central America leading peace delegations in the 1980s. I currently live in Western Massachusetts. I have two daughters who are now in college themselves.

Michael Wille

I was an extremely fortunate individual to travel with the Virtual Explorers team to the jungles of Ghana last December, regardless of having to slave over piles of hot coals to prepare meals and scrub buckets of filthy, stinky laundry everyday. Remote traveling requires excessive amounts of hard physical labor, which I have become plenty accustomed to.

In June of '89, I graduated from the Culinary Institute of America and received my AOS, which was soon to become my passport to world travel. After honing my culinary skills at world class hotels such as the Park Hyatt Chicago, the LaCosta Resort and Spa in Carlsbad, and the Claremont Resort and Spa in Berkeley, I decided to travel the world and worked as the Executive Chef for Africa Expeditions, a remote catering and safari outfit based out of Kenya.

I am currently based in San Francisco, and when I am not stirring pots in the kitchen, I'm usually cooking over a campfire somewhere in the outdoors. My passion for running and hiking have taken me across the deserts of Morocco on foot, I've hiked the Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada, and even cooked and crewed on a 37 foot sailboat during a month-long Pacific Ocean crossing. I have never before been to Central America, and although I'm looking forward to swimming with the sea manatees, I am hoping the crew does not ask me to try to cook one.