About Us


The Trefny Innovative Instruction Center is the place that supports evidence-based practices for teaching and learning on campus.  We provide a variety of services to ensure that Mines offers a distinct and unique student learning experience.  Contact us today for help designing, delivering, and assessing instruction in your face to face, remote, flipped, hybrid, and online courses.

The Trefny Innovative Instruction Center is located on the Colorado School of Mines Campus, in Green Center building #211. The Green Center is located at 924 16th Street Golden, CO 80401, on the corner of 16th and Arapahoe.
Trefny Innovative Instruction Center
Colorado School of Mines
924 16th Street.
211 Green Center
Golden, CO 80401
Office phone: (303) 384–2678
Trefny Center Organizational Chart

jvelloff@mines.eduJennifer Veloff:
Ana Lopez: aclopez@mines.edu
Amy Hermundstad Nave: ahnave@mines.edu
Rebecca Reese: rmreese@mines.edu
Sarah Bodbyl Roels: bodbyl@mines.edu
Megan Sanders: sanders@mines.edu
Susannah Simmons:simmons@mines.edu
Sam Spiegel: sspiegel@mines.edu
Deb Jordan: djordan@mines.edu
Ariana Vasquez:vasquez@mines.edu
Susan Ciriello:sciriello@mines.edu
Rudy Rico:rrico1@mines.edu
Francisco Garcia:fgarcia@mines.edu
Alicia Hill:ahill1@mines.edu



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.


Susan works collaboratively with Trefny Center staff to provide project management of  multimedia development for instructional courses as well as support for other Center initiatives and efforts. This includes managing the HIVE multimedia student team. She provides guidance and support to faculty, staff, and students, and coordinates much of the fiscal details of the Center’s work. Her background includes teaching as well as academic program management and support. Susan received her B.S. in Education from Boston University and her MBA from Argosy University. Outside of the office, she enjoys cooking, hiking with her dogs, and traveling.

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.

Ariana Vasquez, PH.D – Research Associate

Ariana Vasquez earned her doctorate in Educational Psychology from The University of Texas at Austin. Ariana’s research focuses on motivation, learning, and achievement.  Her research is driven by a desire to find solutions to educational problems in the classrooms. Her work experience while at UT Austin, included time at the Charles A. Dana Center, the Center for Teaching and Learning, and as a project manager for a large scale longitudinal research study in high school science classrooms. Prior to joining Mines Ariana was a Survey Team manager at GLG in Austin, TX. Ariana is excited to conduct in-depth research around teaching and learning at Mines!

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.

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.

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.

Ana Lopez, M.A, M.Ed – Online Learning Experience Designer

Ana will be joining the Trefny Center team in June as an Online Learning Experience Designer (OLED). She is joining us from Pasco-Hernando State College in Florida. Ana brings a strong background in online instructional design and instructional technology.

Rudy Rico, Ph.D. – Online Learning Experience Developer

Rudy earned his doctorate in Learning Design and Technology from Purdue University, where his research focused on facilitating problem-based learning and the use of digital badges for teacher professional development. While at Purdue he also consulted with faculty redesigning face-to-face courses for online delivery and taught the Introduction to Educational Technology course. Rudy also has extensive experience with educational technology integration and media development from his time as Technology Coordinator for Chicago Public Schools.

Alicia Hill, M.A. – Online Learning Experience Designer

Alicia earned her M.A. in eLearning Design and Implementation from University of Colorado Denver. During the last 5 years, Alicia has helped colleges and universities across the nation design and develop their online programs and courses. She has experience teaching online psychology courses to a variety of student populations. She is always exploring new ways to design modern, transformative learning experiences.

Francisco Garcia, Ph.D. – Online Learning Experience Technologist

Francisco, born and raised in Alamosa, is a proud Colorado native and alumni. He has educator experience in the public school system as well as in the private sector. He is a 2003 graduate from Mines with a degree in Mathematical and Computer Sciences. He went on to Adams State University to earn his Master’s in Secondary Education (Mathematics) and eventually his PhD from the University of New Mexico in Organization, Information, and Learning Sciences. Before returning to Mines he served as the Training Coordinator for Vestas Towers America, Inc.. His research interests include knowledge creation, game-based learning, simulations, transformative education and augmented reality. He enjoys spending spare time with family & friends and experiencing anything outdoors.

Amy Hermundstad Nave, PH.D – Faculty Developer

Amy is a faculty developer in the Trefny Center. Originally from Colorado, she earned a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Colorado State before going on to earn her Ph.D. in Engineering Education and MEng in Mechanical Engineering from Virginia Tech. Amy’s research interests include engineering students’ professional development and efforts to support underrepresented students within engineering, primarily using qualitative research methods to investigate a variety of perspectives on these topics. She has also done research on conceptual understanding in engineering courses and studied the variation in cultures between engineering departments and disciplines. In addition, while at Virginia Tech, Amy taught first-year engineering courses, worked in the Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Diversity, and worked with graduate students to incorporate contemporary pedagogical practices in a variety of fields. Amy is excited to work with faculty at Mines to engineer learning. Outside of the office, Amy enjoys spending time outdoors, exploring new places (both locally and internationally), and working on various art projects.

Sarah Bodbyl Roels, PH.D – Faculty Developer

Sarah is a faculty developer, assisting Mines educators with professional learning to achieve classroom learning goals. She earned her Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Kansas where she studied plant mating system evolution. Sarah most recently hails from Michigan State University where she managed a STEM communication and outreach project at the W.K. Kellogg Biological Station (GK-12 BioEnergy SusTainability) and was a senior scientist on two NSF-funded education research and curricula development projects: Carbon TIMETeacher Education Department and ELeVATE Energy—CREATE for STEM InstituteOutside of the office, you might find Sarah bird watching, hiking with her husband and dog, fishing, running, or riding her horse.

Deb Jordan, M.A – Faculty Developer

Deb is a Research Associate working on an NSF-funded grant, Carbon Transformations in Matter and Energy (Carbon TIME) as well as working with the Trefny Center as the lead Faculty Developer. Prior to joining Mines, Deb served as a Senior Fellow on the Disciplinary Literacy in Science Team at the Institute for Learning (IFL) at the University of Pittsburgh. She previously served as a Science Educator at Biological Sciences Curriculum Study (BSCS) and as a Senior Consultant at McREL International. Her extensive background in science education includes K-12 Science Coordinator as well as years as a science teacher.

Dr. John and Mrs. Sharon Trefny, Founders

The Trefny Innovative Instruction (I²) Center was named in honor of Dr. John and Mrs. Sharon Trefny for their many contributions to Mines. Dr. Trefny served as Mines’ 15th President, as well as Vice President for Academic Affairs, Department Head of the Physics Department, and a Professor of Physics.  Mrs. Trefny is a retired systems engineer, and served as the First Lady of Mines during Dr. Trefny’s presidency. The Trefnys remain active members of the local education community and are valued ambassadors for the institution. Listen to the Trefny’s thoughts about Mines and education in the interviews below.

Student Data Assistant - TBA