Academy Staff

“Our faculty and staff are very knowledgeable, caring, and skilled at mentoring young students. Starting your college career at SKC is an excellent start on the path to success for graduating from SKC or another college or university.” – Dr. Regina Sievert


Mary Larson

(STEM Academy Director)

Mary Larson earned a Bachelor Degree in Science Elementary Education from Brigham Young University and has taught in Idaho and on the Flathead Indian Reservation for almost four decades. She received a Master of Science Education degree from Montana State University, in 2012 with an emphasis on reading and writing in science. Mary has taken advantage of many opportunities afforded by grants through Salish Kootenai College to extend her knowledge in science leadership skills and Native cultural traditions. She also mentored a group of young Native girls for many years, with the encouragement to pursue STEM careers in college. In 2004-2005 she received Salish Kootenai Tribal Teacher of the Year award and again in 2005-2006, she was the recipient of the Chamber of Commerce Tribal District Teacher of the Year.


Libby Rutledge

(Co-Investigator/Research Coordinator/Science Instructor)

Dr. Libby Rutledge earned a M.S. and Ph.D. at The University of Texas at Dallas in Molecular and Cellular Biology.  She completed post-doctoral fellowships at the Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland, OR, in the field of cell biology and at University of Washington in Seattle in the field of gene therapy.  She is an inventor on a patent for a new strain of a virus, adeno-associated virus 6, that she cloned.  Libby was director of a core facility for Molecular Genetics for the Diabetes Endocrinology Research Center at the University of Washington in Seattle before moving to Montana.  She has authored 25 peer-reviewed research publications.  She has worked at Salish Kootenai College since 2007, mentoring students in research techniques in the Cellular and Molecular Biology Laboratory, teaching courses in the Life Sciences Department, and serving as department head.  She has also started her own business, a mobile molecular biology laboratory, housed in a motor home.

Andrea Panagakis

(Program Coordinator/Student Advisor/Science Instructor)

Andrea is the STEM Academy Program Coordinator at Salish Kootenai College, and began working for the college as a biology instructor in the fall of 2016. Raised in upstate New York, she received her Bachelor of Science degree in biology with a concentration in genetics from Cornell University. Following the completion of her undergraduate degree, she lived abroad in France then returned to the U.S. to complete a Master’s degree in secondary science education at Columbia University. She taught high school biology for over twenty years in Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey before embarking on a second Master’s degree at Université Laval in Québec, researching the life history of mountain goats, for which she earned an MSc in biology. She has conducted fieldwork in the alpine regions of Montana and Alberta and chaperoned high school students to Honduras and Mexico to conduct biodiversity surveys and study reef ecology. She is a member of the Center for Northern Studies and The Wildlife Society, a recipient of the Université Laval Leadership and Sustainable Development scholarship, and a past University of Pennsylvania Center for Bioethics Fellow as well as a Woodrow Wilson Fellow in Genetics, Genomics, and Genethics.