Meet the ESCAPE Leadership Team

Brad Hughes, Ph.D., Director and PI

Brad Hughes, Ph.D., is the UCI Biological Sciences Director of Science Education and Media, Senate Faculty SOE, Principle Investigator directing the UCI NSF ESCAPE program, and Director of Strategic Media Productions. Dealing with an array of innovative media production, research, and teaching, Dr. Hughes fills an interdisciplinary role on campus. While a tenured senate faculty member in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, he is also an affiliated faculty member of the Claire Trevor School of the Arts Drama Department, the School of Education, and Associate Researcher with the California Institute of Telecommunications and Information Technology. Some of Dr. Hughes’ courses include: Communicating Research Through Video,  Documenting Research Through Cinematic Production, Research Methods, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Physiology, Complex Pedagogical Design,  Experimental Evolution, Teaching Science Through the Arts, Stage to Screen Cinema and Multimedia Production. Some of Dr. Hughes’ interests include: Development of innovative media production techniques & technologies; Interdisciplinary STEM and Arts integration (STEAM) spanning K-12, university, and private sectors; Motion picture and new media producing and directing for entertainment, education and research connecting to the public; Increasing performance in corporate and educational organizations through integrating strategic training, human resource development, communications, advertising and events; Next generation online training & educational production and research.


Sage O'Toole Andersen, M.S., Assistant Director of Online Courses

Sage O'Toole Andersen, M.S., is the Assistant Director of the UCI ESCAPE Online Program and the Instructional Designer of the ESCAPE Online Courses. Sage also serves as an instructional designer of online teacher professional development and as an instructional coach for Teach For America high school biology teachers, where she specializes in topics including inquiry-based learning, project-based learning, problem-based learning, implementation of Next Generation Science Standards, (NGSS), using acting and art in the science classroom, and developing student process skills in science. Previously, Sage served as a Texas credentialed middle school science teacher, teaching topics including earth, life, physical, and space science. Sage holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Integrative Biology from the University of California, Berkeley and a Master of Science degree in Biological Sciences and Educational Media Design from the University of California, Irvine.




Maureen Burns, Ed.D., Project Coordinator

Maureen Burns, Ed.D., is the Project Coordinator for the UCI ESCAPE Program. Maureen has been involved in ESCAPE since its inception and in previous research focused on arts integration in K-12 Education. She holds a Doctorate in Education from the University of California, Irvine and Los Angeles. Maureen helped create the ESCAPE curriculum, has been implementing the program for the last three years, and assisted with the development of the online course. She has worked with university academic preparation programs partnering with K-12 schools since the late 1990s and is one of the editors of the electronic Journal for Learning through the Arts and Sciences. Mostly focusing her activities on professional development and assessment, she also researches and teaches on the topics of visual literacy, information resources, and technological tools.

Meet the ESCAPE Media Team

Joseph Wong, B.S., Cinematographer for Science Education Media Production

Joseph Wong, B.S., is the Sr. Cinematographer for Science Education Media and the UCI ESCAPE Program. Joseph has been working with the ESCAPE program for over 3 years, specializing in 4K Ultra HD pre-production, production, and post-production media workflows. As a researcher, Joseph has produced science educational media for higher education students studying the effects of scientific visualization as triggers to reduce cognitive load and promote affective learning environments in large lectures. Previously, Joseph worked at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco with the visualization team in the Morrison Planetarium recording, editing, and producing original fulldome and portable dome productions for both museum guest and Title I middle school students. Joseph holds a Bachelor of Sciences degree in Public Health Sciences and and minor in Digital Information Systems from the University of California, Irvine.


Kenny Yu, B.S., Assistant Data Imaging Technician (DIT) and
Post-Production Coordinator

Kenny Yu, B.A., is the Data Imaging Technician (DIT) and Cinematographer for the UCI ESCAPE Program. Kenny has been working with the ESCAPE program for over 3 years, specializing in 4K Ultra HD production, post-production, and data managemement workflows. Kenny now handles all of ESCAPE’s data management and archival processing of video footage for cataloging and video file maintenance through physical and cloud storage network solutions for long-term sustainability. Previously, Kenny worked as ESCAPE’s undergraduate lab manager, overseeing all post-production workflows, coordinating student projects, and assisting with pre-to-post production training. Kenny holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Economics and a minor in Management from the University of California, Irvine.

Meet the ESCAPE Research Team

  • Brad Hughes, UCI Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, Principal Investigator
  • Phil Collins, UCI Physics & Astronomy, Co-PI STEM & Advisory Board
  • Penelope Collins, UCI Education, Co-PI
  • Christine Olmstead, OCDE Assistant Superintendent, Instructional Services, Co-PI
  • Talena Mara, Vice President Education & Community, Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Co-PI
  • Kathie Nielsen, Chief Academic Officer, Tustin Unified School District, Co-PI
  • Doug Grove, Multi-Dimensional Education Inc., Co-PI & External Evaluator
  • Drew Bailey, UCI Education, Researcher
  • Christa Mulker Greenfader, UCI Education, Researcher
  • Sage O'Toole Andersen M.S., UCI ESCAPE, Researcher
  • Robert Kalinowski, UCI Education, Researcher
  • Doron Zinger, UCI Education, Researcher
  • Joseph Wong, UCI ESCAPE, Researcher


ESCAPE Contacts


ESCAPE Partners

University of California Irvine Click image to access website

Segerstrom Center for the Arts Click image to access website

Orange County Department of Education Click image to access website