Odyssey STEM Academy

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Staff » Advisors


Liz Baca
Math Studio

Liz Baca is super excited to be a part of the Odyssey team! She graduated from California State University Fullerton, received her teaching credential from California State University, Long Beach, and is currently working on her Master’s Degree in Education. Before coming to Odyssey, Mrs. Baca was teaching in Bellflower, working with middle school and high school students. Outside of the classroom, she enjoys spending time with her three children and her husband, reading, and working on puzzles like Sudoku and PictureCross. 

Marlon Benavente
STEM Studio

Marlon Benavente was born in Mexico and came to the US at the age of twelve. He graduated from UC Irvine with a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry and a minor in Materials Science Engineering. After graduation he worked in the vitamin and supplement industry, excelling in positions such as Production Manager and Flavor Chemist, but felt that it wasn't his calling. He has a deep belief in using one’s abilities for the greater good, so one day he quit his job and enrolled at Cal State Fullerton to obtain his teaching credential. He graduated with a Single-Subject Credential in Chemistry in May of 2018. He currently lives in Santa Ana with his wife and two kids. Some of his favorite foods are Ethiopian and Tacos. He likes to hang out with his family and is active at his church.

Courtney Cain
Humanities Studio

Courtney Cain grew up in Nebraska and attended The University of Nebraska - Lincoln, where she majored in English Education. Before coming to Odyssey, she taught ninth grade English in Richmond, California (think: Northern Bay Area!). She can’t wait to be part of The Odyssey family and is especially looking forward to collaborating with students, families, and educators around a shared vision! She will be joining us as an English Language Arts teacher. In addition to her passion for social justice education, Courtney loves traveling, photography, yoga, and poetry. She also recently adopted a pet turtle named Will Rogers. 

Katie Kilkenny
STEM Studio

Growing up at the beach in Southern California, Katie Kilkenny has always loved being in nature.
She pursued her passion for the sciences at University of California, Berkeley where she majored in Psychology with a minor in Conservation Resource Studies. After graduation, she worked at a biological station in Costa Rica for one year and then traveled to Bermuda to conduct research for the Bermuda Sea Turtle Project. Katie earned her masters degree in marine biology from Northeastern University in Boston and her teaching credential from Cal State University, Long Beach. With ten years of teaching experience, she comes to Odyssey with the desire to make science come alive for her scholars and unlock their love of learning.

Katie and her husband live in Long Beach with their two children and their rescue dog, Stella.
When off campus, she enjoys camping, yoga, reading, and going to the beach with her family.

 Ashley Margo
Art Studio

Ashley Margo is a Florida native who moved across the country a decade ago for school. She holds a Bachelor of Design in Architecture, with minors in Art History and Urban & Regional Planning, from the University of Florida; a Master's degree in Architecture from the University of Southern California; and an Advanced Graphic Communication Design certificate from UCLAx. 


She's lived her love for designing and spatial problem solving at different scales through her work as an art director, production designer, and graphic designer supporting projects and artists both in the entertainment industry and in the architecture, engineering, and construction field. Ashley is thrilled to be joining the team at Odyssey STEM as an art advisor to support scholars in their creative explorations. 


In her free time Ashley enjoys exploring Los Angeles County, visiting museums, creating abstract maps, and collaging. She sits on the board of the Association for Women in Architecture + Design.

Aaron Laniosz
NuVu Studio

Aaron Laniosz was born and raised in Illinois. He attended The University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign where he received his Master of Architecture Degree. After graduation, Aaron worked in Chicago designing tall buildings. Wanting to return to an academic environment, Aaron moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts and began teaching as a design and technology fellow at NuVu Studio, an innovation school for high school students. Last year, Aaron taught in Lakeland, Florida at a NuVuX partner school. He is excited to join the Odyssey team. In addition to teaching and design, Aaron likes to skateboard, snowboard, rock climb, and practice gymnastics. 

Alys Lee
Math Studio

Alys Lee was born and raised in Southern California.  She has wanted to be a teacher her entire life, and she is so excited to continue her dreams at Odyssey.  After graduating from the University of California, San Diego, she got her teaching credential at California State University, Northridge.   Most recently, Alys has been teaching at a high school in Huntington Park, where she has taught every grade from 9th to 12th.  


When she is not working, Alys likes to spend time with her family.  She has been married to her wonderful husband, James, for 9 years and has two very rambunctious boys who are now 6 and 7 years old.  In her spare time, Alys likes to cook and eat (eating more than cooking), read books, play video games. and board games.  

Hunter Simmons
Humanities Studio

A San Diego native, Hunter Simmons has always had a passion for learning and teaching. He studied history and English at the University of California – Santa Barbara, and soon after received his master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of San Diego. Simmons officially began his teaching career in Escondido at Del Lago Academy before moving with his family to the Los Angeles area in 2018. He enjoys working with scholars to help them become global citizens: individuals who are driven to enact positive changes in the community, nation, and world through collaborative and imaginative projects. Simmons believes every scholar has a powerful voice, and he makes it his personal goal to ensure all voices are expressed and heard.


In addition, Simmons colors his environment with the help of his hobbies: music, sports, and film. He is an avid drummer and will play and perform with anyone. He is a diehard San Diego Padres fan and loves all-things Disney. He lives in Fullerton with his wife and two sons, and he his thrilled to be a part of the Odyssey team.