About Us

Organizational Chart

Organization Chart for the TIIC

The Trefny Innovative Instruction Center is located on the Colorado School of Mines Campus, in Alderson Hall #468. Alderson Hall is located at 1613 Illinois Street, Golden, Colorado 80401, on the corner of 16th and Illinois Street.
Trefny Innovative Instruction Center
Colorado School of Mines
1613 Illinois St.
468 Alderson Hall
Golden, CO 80401

Rebecca Reese: rmreese@mines.edu
Megan Sanders: sanders@mines.edu
Susannah Simmons:simmons@mines.edu
Sam Spiegel: sspiegel@mines.edu
Jennifer Veloff: jveloff@mines.edu
Caroline Wright: wright1@mines.edu

Office Phone: 303-384-2678



Sam Spiegel, Ph.D – Director

Sam leads the Trefny Innovative Instruction Center in proactively supporting faculty to advance the quality of students’ learning experiences, advance campus discussions on pedagogy and innovative teaching, and advocate for and support faculty in their use of empirically proven innovative teaching approaches.
​Prior to joining Mines, Sam served as Chair of the Disciplinary Literacy in Science Team at the Institute for Learning (IFL) and the Associate Director for the Swanson School of Engineering’s Engineering Education Research Center at the University of Pittsburgh. He previously served as a science educator at Biological Sciences Curriculum Study (BSCS); as Director of Research & Development for a multimedia development company; and as founding Director of the Center for Integrating Research & Learning (CIRL) at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, Florida State University. Under Dr. Spiegel’s leadership, CIRL matured into a thriving Center recognized as one of the leading National Science Foundation Laboratories for activities to promote science, mathematics, and technology (STEM) education. While at Florida State University, Dr. Spiegel also directed an award winning teacher enhancement program for middle grades science teachers entitled Science For Early Adolescence Teachers (Science FEAT).

His extensive background in science education includes experiences as both a middle school and high school science teacher, teaching university-level biology and science education courses, working with high-risk youth in alternative education centers, working in science museums, designing and facilitating online courses, multimedia curriculum development, and leading and researching professional learning for educators. The Association for the Education of Teachers of Science (AETS) honored Dr. Spiegel for his efforts in teacher education with the Innovation in Teaching Science Teachers award (1997). Dr. Spiegel’s current efforts focus on educational reform and in the innovation of teaching and learning resources and practices.

Rebecca M Reese, Ph.D – Online Learning Experience Designer

Rebecca is an Online Learning Experience Designer. She earned her doctorate from the University of South Alabama in Instructional Design and Development. Rebecca’s experience includes teaching graduate courses in educational psychology and instructional design, and designing educational materials for non-profit organizations. She implements emerging technologies in the online environment and uses best practices to enhance and enrich students’ learning experiences. Rebecca enjoys collaborating with faculty to design online and flipped courses.

Megan Sanders, Ph.D – Senior Assessment Associate

Megan is the Senior Assessment Associate. Before coming to Mines, Megan worked at the Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence and Instructional Innovation at Carnegie Mellon University, where her role focused on supporting instructors in conducting research about student outcomes in their courses. Megan’s disciplinary background is in educational psychology. She earned her doctorate from the Ohio State University, and her research focused on the idea of relevance in higher education—how we define it, how students perceive it, and how to measure it—an interest that continues to inform her work.

Susannah Simmons, MA – Online Learning Experience Designer

Susannah is an Online Learning Experience Designer helping to lead campus through the transition to Canvas and in our efforts to develop fully-online programs at Mines. Susannah is passionate about partnering with faculty to determine, develop, and implement pedagogical solutions that engage student learning. Through a collaborative effort, Susannah also co-created an online community, Pedago.me, to facilitate the continued education, support, and education technology tool conversations around exceptional learning experience design. Susannah’s 10+ years of diverse educational experience includes instructional design, corporate training, program administration, and project management.

Jennifer Veloff, PMP, M.ED – Online Program Manager

Jennifer is the Online Program Manager assisting departments in their efforts to provide a strong foundation for the online initiative at Mines. She earned her M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Instructional Technology from the University of South Florida and also has her Project Management Professional (PMP) certification. She has experience in higher education teaching as an adjunct professor and has practical hands-on experience with multiple instructional modalities. During the last 10+ years, she has provided leadership for online and distance education programs as well as managed resources and personnel for several large government contracts and an instructional design team.

Caroline Wright, BFA – Program Assistant

Caroline is supporting the efforts of the Trefny Center along with the TEAM-Up and CarbonTIME projects as a Program Assistant. Caroline moved to Colorado from Florida and has fallen in love with everything that Colorado has to offer. Caroline received her BFA from the University of West Florida. She provides guidance to faculty and staff and coordinates much of the behind the scenes details of the Center’s efforts.



HIVE Manager

Alex Garza – HIVE Manager

Major: Electrical Engineering, 2019
Minor: Computer Science
Specialities: Video Design and Production
About Me: I’m a junior interested in computer systems design and the learning process. I always find the research about how people learn fascinating and I enjoy working beforehand to storyboard and organize ideas to make sure production flows smoothly and the final product is an effective teaching tool. I am well organized and would be happy to work with you on developing any media based project you had in mind.

Lead Instructional Media Developers

Oscar Hathaway

Major: Engineering Physics, 2019
Specialties: Video Design and Editing
About Me: I’m a junior student with a passion for filmmaking, and I’m eager to expand my skills via video editing. My experience is in professional commercials, and I’m more than happy to provide any help to make your videos the best they can be.

Niall Miner

Major: Computer Science, 2018
Specialties: Video Design and Website Development
About Me: I’m a senior here at Mines with a passion for technology and art. I enjoy bridging the gap between engineering and creativity, which is why I like computer science so much. I’ve been educated in cinematography and am currently in my computer science courses, so I’d be happy to help with anything you see fit!

Brian Yoon

Major: Computer Science, 2018,
Specialties: Video Design & Editing, Graphics
About Me: ​​I’m a senior interested in discovering the implications engineering has on society through art, literature, and popular culture. The impact that technology has had on education has been tremendous and
I look forward to helping classes and professors bring about positive changes to the learning process.

Instructional Media Developers

Nick Capra

Major: Computer Science, 2020
Specialties: Video Editing
About Me: I’m a sophomore in the CS Department at Mines. I am interested in all types of technology so I enjoy the opportunity to expand my video editing skills here at the HIVE. I have experience running my own YouTube channel, creating content, creating responsive website for the content, and working through the many aspects with other members.

Dante Ramirez

Major: Metallurgical and Materials Engineering, 2021
Specialties: Video Editing
About Me: I am a sophomore at Mines studying petroleum engineering and have interests in film, music and the outdoors. The Trefny Center allows us to engage our creative sides through multimedia and transform the regime of a Mines education. I am happy to help with anything that comes my way.

ChuFu Xiong

Major: Metallurgical and Materials Engineering, 2020
Specialties: Video Editing
About Me: I am a sophomore at Mines studying petroleum engineering and have interests in film, music and the outdoors. The Trefny Center allows us to engage our creative sides through multimedia and transform the regime of a Mines education. I am happy to help with anything that comes my way.