wonder. think. be inspired.

board of directors

Members of the board at our 2023 Science of Spirits (left to right): Connie Hemphill, Phil Lukianuk, Merredith Christos (Executive Director), Dr. Aaron Coopersmith, Lisa Yu, Jack Thatcher, Dr. Jennifer Hoag, Daniell Martinez, Robin Lynch, and Brian Fagan. Not present: David Mason

robin lynch

Board Chair

Robin is the Manager, Quality, Risk & Patient Safety at Med-IQ. Robin was awarded her Master of Science in Nursing Education from the State University of New York Institute of Technology and her baccalaureate of science in nursing from the University of Texas in Austin. Prior to accepting her current position at Med-IQ, she was a Risk Manager at Stamford Health and the manager of simulation centers at both NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center & the College of Health Professions Clinical Education Labs at Pace University in NYC.

aaron coopersmith

Board Fundraising Chair

Born and raised in Newtown, Aaron Coopersmith is the Co-Director of Newtown Chiropractic Health Center. He obtained his undergraduate degree in Biology from Northeastern University and his Doctor of Chiropractic Degree from New York Chiropractic College. Aaron enjoys working with young athletes in the field of injury prevention and optimizing health and performance through maintaining a positive attitude, exercise and nutrition. Aaron brings with him years of experience of being a Director of the Newtown Earth Day Commission and has served as a past President of the Newtown Forest Association.

phil lukianuk

Board Vice Chair

Phil is the Newtown Market Manager for Newtown Savings Bank, where his primary responsibilities include sales, business development and retention, and community support and engagement.  He is a graduate of Duke University (B.A., Economics) and UConn (Executive M.B.A.), and enthusiastically roots for both the Blue Devils and Huskies.  He lives in Trumbull with his beautiful bride Dorie and enjoys sports, outdoor activities, and a wide range of musical genres.  Phil is excited to join the EverWonder board because he knows that knowledge, creativity, and an appreciation for the wonder around us each day are lifelong pursuits that should be cultivated from the earliest of ages.

connie hemphill

Board Treasurer

Connie earned her B.S. with honors in Accounting at the University of Connecticut and has many years experience in both public (C.P.A.) and private (C.M.A.) accounting. She is currently retired and lives in Bethel with her husband, daughter and son. She has been active in the Boy Scouts of America for many years and is currently serving in many roles at both the troop and district level. Connie has also served in several roles at St. Thomas’ Episcopal Church in Bethel where she currently holds the position of Clerk and helps with Sunday school when needed. Connie is very excited to join this energetic and passionate team!

daniell martinez

Board Secretary

Daniell has a BA in English Literature, MSED in English Education, and MSED Educational Leadership. She’s been a Middle School and High School teacher, and currently serves as an Assistant Principal in Dutchess County. Her commitment to literacy and learning through play is at the center of her work and consequently, what brings her to EverWonder. Daniell has two young daughters who love EverWonder and all of its wonderful exhibits. She looks forward to bringing her background in education to support EverWonder’s mission. 

brian fagan

Board Member

Brian brings nearly 50 years of experience in public education as a teacher, building principal, and central office administrator in several Fairfield County school districts to his role on the EverWonder Board.  He is strongly committed to advancing educational opportunities for all children by providing engaging experiences to enhance and extend their learning.  He is a student of the characteristics of successful organizations and the organizational behaviors and processes that underpin their success. Brian and his wife Pam have enjoyed living in Sandy Hook for more than 40 years.

lisa yu

Board Member

Lisa Yu is a certified teacher who taught kindergarten and first grade in Fairfield County before making the transition to stay home. She currently keeps busy writing children’s books (My Daddy is a Firefighter & My Mommy is a Firefighter) and is a sales consultant for Usborne Books and More. She lives in Newtown with her husband and three young children, who frequent the museum as a favorite family activity. She is passionate about EverWonder’s mission and it’s role in fulfilling meaningful and engaging opportunities for the local community and surrounding areas, where children can explore the world around them and immerse themselves in hands-on learning. EverWonder is an essential piece in growing life-long learners and she is excited to be part of the process to help it grow.

jack thatcher

Board Member

Jack Thatcher is a naturalist and a lifelong learner.  He holds a Master’s of Science in Environmental Education with an emphasis in ecological philosophy and ecological resilience from Southern CT State University.  Previously, he was an educator at CT’s Beardsley Zoo.  Jack and his wife, Bethany, moved to Sandy Hook in December 2015.  Jack soon became a member of the Newtown Environmental Action Team (NEAT).  NEAT was a nonpartisan grassroots group of Newtown, CT residents who worked together on smart solutions to environmental challenges.  Jack is very excited to be a part of the board of directors of EverWonder.  He hopes to share his love of nature and his knowledge of the environment.

don forstrom

Board Member

Don was born and raised in central Connecticut before earning his undergraduate and graduate degrees from Ithaca College. In 2020, Don retired from a 35+ year career in human resources management. Don and his wife, Becky, have lived in Danbury for 30+ years and have 2 adult children – Carolyn & Christopher. Don loves all sports (especially football, lacrosse, golf, and fishing) and in his spare time, he’s made over 300 pieces of Adirondack furniture.

Don grew up with a great children’s museum nearby so, as a child, he personally experienced the ‘positivity’ that an organization like EverWonder can provide a community…he’s excited to be part of EverWonder’s positivity, success, and growth!

tushar amin

Board Member

Tushar is a technology and finance executive with experience spanning Fortune 500 companies and venture-backed start-ups. Most recently, he served as the CEO and Board Director of Hazeltree Fund Services, a fintech company headquartered in NYC with offices in London and Hong Kong. Prior to this role, Tushar enjoyed an 18-year career at IBM, culminating as the COO of its $28 billion Global Technology Services business. Before joining IBM, he worked as a management consultant for PricewaterhouseCoopers in Washington, DC.

Currently residing in Newtown, Connecticut, with his wife Margaret, Tushar has been an active member of the community for the past 13 years while raising their two children, Naiya and Dhilan. Tushar holds an MBA from the NYU Stern School of Business and a BS from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. He maintains a passion for STEM both professionally and personally and remains a loyal fan of the metro area sports teams, including the Yankees, Giants, and Rangers.

jennifer kelly

Board Member

Jennifer (Jenn) Kelly is a recent transplant to Newtown after living in NYC from 2007-2022. Jenn received her undergraduate degree from Boston University in 2004, graduating in just 3 years and double majoring in Latin and Psychology. Jenn later obtained her Juris Doctor from St. John’s University in Queens, NY. Immediately after taking the New York State Bar exam, Jenn stepped into a prosecutorial role in the Child Abuse & Sex Crimes Unit at the Bronx County District Attorney’s Office. There, Jenn spent over 4 years prosecuting cases involving some of the most serious child physical and/or sexual abuse and adult rape cases received by the unit. Within that role, Jenn also spent one year assigned to a co-located Child Advocacy Center in the Bronx, where she worked with forensically trained medical staff, NYPD, and case workers from the Administration for Children’s Services to conduct complex, pre-arrest investigations into allegations of infant homicide and pattern sexual abuse of children. Jenn later moved into Title IX work, spending several years investigating allegations of on-campus sexual assault, stalking, and intimate partner violence at Columbia University in New York City.

In 2019, Jenn segwayed into the technology space, bringing her skills and background to the workplace investigations space. Jenn currently works as a Senior Manager of Employee Relations at ServiceNow (a global technology company based in San Jose, CA), investigating concerns of workplace discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. On a personal note, Jenn lives in Newtown with her husband, two daughters (5 and 7 years old), and mother. She and her family remark every single day about how lucky they were to have chosen the most beautiful, friendly, and welcoming town on the planet.