Staff & Contacts

staff member assisting student

The NYCCSSE team provides highly engaging, experimental, hands-on learning experiences for both students and teachers. The team is always available to work with you and your class, ensuring a memorable experience at NYCCSSE. Contact us at

Katherine Brown, Director

Katherine graduated from Dartmouth College with a Bachelors degree in Earth Science. She then worked for the U.S. Geological Survey’s Earthquake Hazards team in Menlo Park, CA. Katherine came to New York City to get her Masters degree in Science Education at Columbia University Teachers College before teaching eighth grade science and math at a public middle school in Manhattan. Katherine has been at NYCCSSE since 2007.
Phone: 212.608.6164x112

Peter Giles, Assistant Director

Peter started his science education career as a park ranger for the National Park Service at several parks including Yellowstone, Kings Canyon and Everglades National Parks. He later acquired his certification as an arborist through the International Society of Arboriculture and worked at the New York Botanical Garden and Rockefeller University. Peter graduated from Hunter College with a Bachelors degree in Environmental Biology and received his Masters degree in Secondary Science Education at Columbia University Teachers College. Before coming to NYCCSSE, Peter taught high school earth science and biology for ten years.
Phone: 212.608.6164x111

Zohar Ris, Flight Director

Zohar graduated from SUNY Stony Brook with a Bachelors degree in Earth and Space Science and worked at the American Museum of Natural History as an astrophysics educator and high school internship coordinator for eight years. Zohar earned a Masters in Space Studies from the University of North Dakota and has worked for the last seven years for CUNY and William Patterson University as an adjunct professor for astronomy. Before joining NYCCSSE, Zohar received a Masters degree in Teaching from Pace University and taught high school earth science and astronomy for five years.
Phone: 212.608.6164x113

Jimmy Christenson, Flight Director

Jimmy has over 15 years of experience working with youth, mainly through Pioneer Village, the outdoor adventure camp for teens. He is a certified High Ropes and Archery instructor, a Red Cross Life Guard and has had Wilderness First Aid training. Jimmy graduated from Hunter College with a Bachelors degree in Fine Art and a minor in Anthropology. His first space-related job was writing trivia for the G4 cable channel’s Star Trek 2.0. Jimmy leads NYCCSSE’s LEGO Robotics After School program. He is also NYCCSSE’s unofficial go-to “handyman.”
Phone: 212.608.6164x115