TOPS of Santa Clara Valley is located in what is commonly called “Silicon Valley,” home to many of the world's largest high-tech corporations and a leading hub for high-tech innovation and development, accounting for one-third of all of the venture capital investment in the United States. As a result, our volunteers have strong educational backgrounds in science and engineering; most have advanced university degrees and many have doctorates.
Most of our volunteers are retired technical people living in Silicon Valley. Volunteers are screened and receive orientation in classroom activities, serving a period of “on the job training” under the supervision of an experienced volunteer before they are assigned to work in a classroom.
All of our volunteers have spent significant portions of their careers working in the development of new products, systems and technologies. Their scientific knowledge and experience makes them ideally suited to help teachers promote Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education in primary and secondary schools.
Below are brief biographies of some of the volunteers who have participated in the TOPS program.
Chemist/Environmental Scientist with a long career in atmospheric science and a broad range of laboratory and large-scale field research in environmental protection studies. He has worked in academic, government and corporate organizations. His work was key to the removal of tetraethyl lead motor vehicle fuel additives as well as establishing air quality criteria for particles, ozone, and nitrogen oxides. He also managed an international public-private consortium evaluating climate change simulations and has published or presented 150 papers.
Physicist who worked as a rocket scientist for 35 years at Lockheed Martin. He has been a TOPS volunteer helping to teach science in both middle school and high school over the past 10 years.
Chemist who performed basic scientific research, technology development, market research, and corporate management in a career spanning nearly 50 years. His early work involved the development of rocket fuels, surfactants, photochemistry and polymers. He was also a member of the team that developed the world’s first practical liquid crystal display (LCD) device. During his career, he authored or co-authored more than 60 scientific/technical papers as well as books, patents and government contract reports.
Electrical Engineer with over 30 years of experience in the semiconductor industry, including marketing, product planning, and new business development positions. He worked on the development of the HD-CD recording and playback process. He also has a California Teaching Credential and once ran the computer lab at Oak Knoll elementary school in Menlo Park.
Chemist who worked at Imperial Chemical Industries, Shell Development Company, the Mellon Institute and SRI International. He preformed research in organometallic chemistry, catalysis, polymer process and product development, as well as technology assessment. Since his retirement, he was worked as a volunteer at the San Jose Tech Museum and at Lucille M. Nixon Elementary School.
Electrical Engineer who spent many years providing electrical engineering consulting services for new commercial and industrial facilities. He was also the plant engineer for a very large industrial manufacturing plant and Director of Project Management for a Pharmaceutical Company responsible for engineering and project management for new and existing facilities worldwide.
Chemist/Materials Scientist with 40 years experience in semiconductors, photovoltaics, semiconductor equipment and aerospace technology. He worked at Applied materials, Mobil Solar Energy, Intel, Motorola and Texas Instruments. He is the author of over 100 technical publications in the fields of metals, semiconductors, photovoltaics and CVD diamond technology and holds over 40 issued patents.
Electrical Engineer who had a long career electronic system development, digital video technology and visual communications research at Apple and AT &T Bell Laboratories.
Physicist with a 35 year career at IBM’s Research Division in San Jose where he performed research on the optical properties and electronic structure of magnetic insulators and semiconductors as well as conducting organic and polymer materials. He also participated in the discovery of superconductivity in polysulfur nitride, the first superconducting polymer, and he published over 50 papers on organic conductors and superconductors. He also spent 10 years at the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) in development of advanced materials.
Electrical Engineer who worked on circuit and systems design engineering for commercial, military, and space pilot training equipment for the Link Flight Simulation Division of Singer as well as engineering program management positions on radar countermeasures systems for airborne platforms at Raytheon Electromagnetic Systems. His work experience in engineering and technology spanned more than 40 years.
Applied Physicist & Electrical Engineer with graduate degrees in both electrical engineering and applied physics. He spent many years as a specialist in electronic instrument and optical measurement instrument design as well as in engineering consulting and small business management. He also has 20 years experience in middle and high school volunteer science classroom programs like TOPS and designed and constructed hardware for numerous classroom science programs.
TOPS of Santa Clara Valley
Teaching Opportunities for Partners in Science