Meet KC STEM Alliance’s newest team members

You may have noticed some new faces around the KC STEM Alliance! Please meet our newest team members:

Event Specialist James Bridgeford

A group of five professionals smile in a posed photo at a meeting.

James Bridgeford II (far left) at his first KC STEM Alliance event for PLTW teachers.

James Bridgeford II is an experienced educator and event specialist with a passion for travel and international cultures. A native of Kansas City, James graduated from Drake University before embarking on a journey that took him to Latin America for several years, where he acquired fluency in Spanish and Portuguese. He is currently learning Mandarin.

“I am elated to return to my hometown and advocate for STEM,” James says. “My life’s purpose is built around inspiring others to achieve and expand their levels of greatness.”

Pulling from his vast experiences as a teacher, James applies his knowledge to plan events and support educators and students in their work with Project Lead The Way (PLTW). Outside of work, James is an avid photographer who enjoys nature and exploring new places.

Marketing Specialist Victor Meraz

Victor Meraz smiles for the camera while in conversation with Martha McCabe

Victor Meraz checks in with KC STEM Alliance Executive Director Martha McCabe during the Greater KC FIRST LEGO League Championship.

Victor Meraz recently joined the KC STEM Alliance team as a marketing specialist. In his new role, Victor will help spread the word about the KC STEM Alliance and STEM education by sharing stories from around the region through social media and by managing the STEM Connect-KC online information hub.

A graduate of the University of Kansas, Victor was born and raised in Wyandotte County and was part of the selective Kauffman Scholars program. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with friends and meeting new people. Victor is also a huge Marvel fan and loves watching shows like “The Boys” and “Breaking Bad.” Recently, he has been enjoying video games like Elden Ring and Ghost of Tsushima.

“I’ve always been interested in using the power of marketing to grow organizations that benefit the community, and look forward to applying that interest to help students in our region explore STEM,” Victor says.

STEM Outreach Consultant Allison K. Nelson

Allison Nelson is talking into a microphone on a podium, with an orange PLTW banner in the background.

Allison K. Nelson addresses students enrolled in PLTW’s Biomedical Pathway during a KC STEM Alliance workshop.

Allison K. Nelson has joined the KC STEM Alliance team as STEM Outreach Consultant with a focus on supporting the rapidly expanding network of Project Lead The Way (PLTW) students, teachers, building leaders and district administrators in the Kansas City region.

A graduate of Johnson County Community College and Park University with degrees in Communication Studies and Political Science, Allison comes to KC STEM Alliance with a background in nonprofit education. She’s worked with students, teachers, community institutions and school district leaders alike to support innovative project-based learning and Real World Learning initiatives.

As the point person for the PLTW Capstone competitions and scholarships, Allison aims to provide detailed and efficient support to students working on their capstone projects. Allison also is taking an active role in KC STEM Alliance’s commitment to continue create more opportunity for students of color and young women in STEM.

Originally from Gardner, Kan., Allison is now happy to be living just north of the river in Kansas City, Mo. She and her husband, Bret, love to go for long walks in all types of weather and climb at their bouldering gym; and when she’s at home Allison enjoys baking for family and friends.

Outside of her work at KC STEM Alliance, Allison is an active podcaster and digital creator. With multiple ongoing audio projects, storytelling with audio is her favorite medium to work in as an artist. Allison also takes clients in a digital media and marketing capacity, helping small businesses and new non-profits achieve their marketing goals.