Matthew Wakeham

Immediate Past Executive Director

With 30 years experience as an electrical engineer, Matthew is presently a consulting engineer for ABB engaged in infrastructure projects in power distribution, data centers and smart grid networks. Matthew holds 7 design patents. He received his BSEE in Electrical Engineering from Pratt Institute and went on to work as a project engineer at Underwriters Laboratories. Matthew is also a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and in that role has served as chair of several technical committees including lightning protection standards development. Matt also holds a MA in Historical Archaeology. His hobbies include supporting childrens' participation in soccer, baseball, music and national parks.  

Patricia Lynch

Founder/Grants Administrator/Fundraising

Patricia Lynch has over 30 years experience in leadership and management. She has demonstrated expertise in communication, organizational development, executive coaching, business strategy, and community organizing. As a Vice President at National Westminster Bank, Patricia managed the Commercial Bank Training Department while acting as an internal management consultant to senior executives. She is a licensed Clinical Social Worker with a psychotherapy practice in Brooklyn Heights NY. She earned a BA from Hamilton College, MBA from Adelphi University, and MS from Columbia University.

Patricia is the founder of the Garden City Friends of STEM (GCFS).  She has been an active member of community, volunteering in leadership roles: Co-chair Village of Stewart Manor Beautification Committee, CYO Swim Team Coach, St. Anne’s Faith Formation teacher, PTA Site-Based Team parent representative, and Community Fundraiser.  Patricia is passionate about bringing competitive programs and opportunities to the children of Garden City. She resides in Garden City with her husband, James, and two children.

Joseph Colletti


Joseph has over 20 years’ experience in corporate financial management, and is 14 year Garden City resident. He is an active volunteer in the community, having coached youth sports for GCAA, and Garden City Centennials, as well as having served on the Citizens Budget Review and Advisory Committee (CBRAC), where he Chaired the committee from 2015-2017. Joseph holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance from St. John’s University, and an MBA in Finance and International Business from the NYU Stern School of Business.

Joseph resides in Garden City with his wife Lisa and their three children. He enjoys listening to and playing music, as well as watching his kids pursue their various interests.

Darlene Scarangella


Darlene has spent the last 14 years living in Garden City and volunteering in the community and school district. She has served on the Arts in Education Committee, The Welcoming Club, Middle School Publicity Committee and Chess Club program.  Prior to this, Darlene spent over 12 years in Advertising Sales in the Cable/Broadcasting Industry where, as an Account Executive, she oversaw multimillion dollar advertising budgets utilizing her negotiation and consensus building skills. She worked for various networks including The Weather Channel, Lifetime Television and Discovery Communications. Darlene has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Loyola University.  She resides in Garden City with her husband Mike and two children.

Tiffany Wakeham


Tiffany has over 20 years experience as a computer programmer in the financial industry.  Starting out as a mortgage-backed securites analyst, she became interested in technology as the world wide web was taking off in the early 1990’s. She decided to pursue her new-found passion in technology by switching careers to computer programming and joining an internet startup on Wall Street.  Tiffany works for an online brokerage firm today.  She received a BA in economics and political science from Wellesley College, and a masters degree in computer science from New York University.

Kerry Scalere

Programs Director

Kerry has over 20 years of experience as a licensed Interior Designer.  Her early career began working for firms large and small in Wilmington, Philadelphia, and New York City.  After starting a family, she balances her love of design with life, by working for herself.  Her creativity, strong communication skills and extraordinary attention to detail are apparent in every new project.

She has spent the last 8 years in Garden City volunteering in the community and school district.  She has served on various PTA committees such as, Decoration Committee, Pick A Reading Partner, and Class Parent Coordinator. In addition, she has assisted with independent gardening projects with various schools, and has co-coached both JR. FLL and FLL Robotics teams. 


Kerry is passionate about using creativity to inspire and innovate in all aspects of her life. She lives in Garden City with her husband Jordan and their two sons Eli and Nate. Her sense of discovery and optimism keep her growing with her children.  

James Lynch, MD

Community Affairs & Programs

James is an Adult, Adolescent and Forensic Psychiatrist. He runs a private practice and successful consultancy. In addition James is an Elder Care advisor. James is active in numerous school and community organizations. He is former Deputy Mayor of the Village of Stewart Manor, has coached St. Anne's track and volleyball teams as well as Garden City’s baseball and softball team. James coached a parent-lead FIRST Robotics League team for ages 9-14 in 2013, prior to the formation of GCFS and the establishment of school district teams.He lives in GC with his wife and two children.  

Edward Lancevich, PhD

Grant Administrator & STEM Advisor

In his 22 years at Grumman Corp, Ed worked in the areas of Sonar, Space Based Rada, Electronic Warfare and Cyber. The major focus of his work was engineering research and development.  Prior to Northrop, he was engineering manager and system architect at Robotic Vision Systems, applying state of the art, 3-D vision sensors to industrial applications.

Ed has taught Electrical Engineering at Manhattan College and Computer Science and EE at Polytechnic Institute of NYU, CUNY Graduate School and NYIT.  His electrical engineering degrees include a PhD from Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn, a Masters from Columbia, and a Bachelors from CCNY.

Jennifer Schmidt, Ph.D.

Grant Administrator & STEM Advisor

Jennifer Schmidt, Ph.D. is a neuroscientist with over 20 years of research experience in diverse areas of neuroscience and 25 publications in leading research journals.   She received her B.S. (2000) from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and her M.S. (2005) and Ph.D. (2006) from Yale University.  She did her post-doctoral training and led a small research team in the laboratory of Dr. Paul Greengard at the Rockefeller University from 2006-2013.  After a short break from the lab when her second of three sons was born, Jennifer returned to science in 2016, founded “NeuroJenic Consulting, LLC” and began writing, editing, and strategic consulting for companies developing treatments for neurodegenerative and psychiatric diseases.  Currently, Jennifer lives in Garden City with her husband (a fellow neuroscientist) and three boys.  In addition to her career, she is an active member of the PTA, curriculum and STEAM advisory committees and is a strong advocate of STEAM education for all ages.

Michelle C Dionisio, P.E.

STEM Advisor

Michelle Dionisio, P.E. is a structural engineer, with nearly 15 years of experience from high-rise building design to existing building renovation work.  She is currently an Associate at Thornton Tomasetti (TT), an international consulting firm, and has been with TT for the full length of her career.  Michelle holds a BS (2003) and MS (2004) from Villanova University and was a graduate of the Garden City High School (1999).  Currently, she is back living in Garden City with her husband and three young sons.  Michelle has always taken an interest in both STEM education and women in STEM conversations.  Through her career, she has participated in the ACE Mentor Program (­), an organization that educates high school students on architecture, construction, and engineering. She is also a member of “Women at TT”, and internal program that focuses on women’s roles, issues, and advancements within the firm and within the industry.

Maria Arianas


Maria has demonstrated success in delivering value to organizations for over 25 years. As President of MPA Consultants, Founder of and Camp Italia USA, and former SVP of MTV Networks, her broad experience includes launching her own businesses as well as achievement in corporate business strategy, media & advertising financial management, and organizational development. Maria holds a B.S. in  in Accounting and International Business and a Certificate in Learning & Organizational Development both from New York University. She is also a licensed CPA.


She holds leadership positions in a variety of professional, community, & cultural organizations, including National Organization of Italian American Women (NOIAW), Order Sons of Italy (OSIA), founding member of Garden City Robotics League (GCRL), various committee chairmanships in Garden City PTA, and Coordinator and Catechist of St. Anne’s Faith Formation Program. She resides in Garden City with her husband, Peter, and two children.

Jill Debany


Jill is a Teachers Assistant at Lutheran Preschool. Prior to this, she was an Associate Buyer/ Merchandise Planner at  A&S, and a Merchandise Planner at both Linens n Things and Bed Bath & Beyond. Jill earned an Associates Degree in Business Administration and BPS from Laboratory Institute of Merchandising.


Jill is a very active member of her community and serves tirelessly in volunteer leadership positions in various organizations. She holds key roles at St. Joseph’s Vacation Bible School and the Garden City PTA. In addition, Jill has served as a Girl Scout Leader for 7 years and received the Outstanding Leader Award in 2012 in recognition of her leadership. Jill lives in Garden City with her husband and two children.

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Who We Are

© 2020 by Garden City Friends of STEAM.

PO Box 7533

Garden City, NY 11530