STEMulating Minds


The members of STEMulating Minds: (from left to right) Joel Goodman, Bill Duncan, Frances Turner, Melvin Smith II, Phil Rogofsky and Jeff Fieldhoffer

STEMulating Minds is composed of an energetic group of professionals who are enthusiatistic in organizing and bringing exciting STEM events to Howard County. Their goal is to stimulate student interest and parental awareness of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math activities and careers.


Bill Duncan is the Executive Director of STEMaction, Inc., a Maryland non-profit that ignites and nurtures a lifelong passion for science, technology, engineering and mathematics through events and activities for youth and their families. STEMaction is a Maryland partner for FIRS
T, one of the world’s leading STEM programs inspiring K-12 students through robotics competitions. Bill was Maryland Regional Director for FIRST from 2010 – 2014. Prior to discovering FIRST as a VISTA (AmeriCorps Volunteer in Service to America), Bill was a marketing and product management professional with more than 20 years of executive experience in the telecommunications industry.


Jeff Friedhoffer has been interested in science as long as he can remember. He received a PhD in Electrical Engineering from the University of Delaware. He is a member of the senior staff at MIT Lincoln Laboratory, having conducted research on topics related to the internet, including protocols and network measurements. Prior to MIT, he worked in an agency of the Department of Defense for 35 years developing communications systems and for two years, was the Techinical Director of the Technology and Systems Directorate of that agency. He is past Secretary of the IEEE Region 2, and past chair of the Baltimore Section and past chair of the Baltimore Chapter of COMSOC. He served as the chair of the Globecom 07 and Globecom 09 Designers and Developers Forum and helped organize the same forum for Globecom 08.


Dr. Joel Goodman is founder of the Celestial Searchers, a children’s astronomy club in Howard County and the Events & Outreach Coordinator of the Howard Astronomical League ( Joel, a retired family dentist, also programs and presents planetarium shows in the NatureSphere at the Robinson Nature Center and mentors middle and high school students participating in the Skynet Junior Scholars program. Building on the enthusiasm displayed by parents and students over the past 20 years, Joel is committed to promoting and supporting astronomy and space education in the area.


Phil Rogofsky is a project manager for the  Office of the Inspector General, Social Security Administration.  My love for STEM began following the space program growing up in the 60’s. I watch every launch, landing and recovery I could. It seemed like space exploration was everywhere in the news and popular culture including television, music and comic books. As a child, I couldn’t believe people were ACTUALLY walking on the moon!. I try to watch with my children as many taking offs and landings of the Space Shuttle and other and spacecrafts as possible. That’s why I included a picture of my family in front Launch Pad 39A where most of the Apollo spacecrafts took off.


Melvin D. Smith II maintains I See Science and is the Founder of SciSense: provider of tutoring, science/inquiry project coaching, and after-school programming. The earliest fascination for science came through watching my Dad review his medical cases using the pictures he had on slides. All through school I loved the fact that aspects of the world around me could be explained through a series of well planed out steps and investigations to be shared with others for validation or discussion. My intense love of science has been strengthened over the years through the natural incorporation of other disciplines into the science classroom and watching students enjoy the PRACTICAL approach to learning.



Frances Turner is an assistant professor of Biology at Howard Community College. As a course coordinator she manages the presentation of all General Biology I courses, facilitates the biology honors seminar, and previews and selects departmental course resources. In addition, she reviews and revises departmental course policies and procedures and hires and supervises adjunct faculty. She serves in several leadership teams and actively participates in STEM initiatives in Howard County. She holds a graduate degree in Molecular Science at Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada and a bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences at the University of Maryland Baltimore County.