Experimentory People

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experimentory_emc2_800x800Experimentory teaching faculty members and teaching fellows are smart and curious–just like you! They will guide you through a process of discovery, while allowing you to follow your own unique interests–wherever they may take you. Our proctors are essential to the functioning of the program. They live in the dorms, plan activities, and have fun alongside our students. The office staff works year-round to provide an exceptional program each summer. They are your go-to resources as you learn about the program, apply, and make your way to campus.

The listings below reflect our 2018 program as it is being formed. Keep visiting in the coming months for updates as we solidify our plans.

Course: “Designing Where We Live: Architecture and Urban Planning”

David Payne, Faculty

David PayneMr. Payne has a passion for architecture and understanding its context within culture. It started young: he grew up in a quintessential New England small town full of beautiful 18th and 19th century buildings. Today, blueprints adorn the walls of his home and he travels abroad with students to study buildings and people together. His classes place strong value on practical spaces and architecture as a tactile craft–for example, designing a new Academy dorm and learning to draw plans and build models by hand. And with a third son born in mid-November he is no stranger to change and adventure.


TBD, Teaching Fellow

Course: “Ethics: What Would You Do?”

Rebecca Melvoin, Faculty

Becca MelvoinMs. Melvoin is a pro at inventing creative ways to teach history. She has transformed her classroom into a museum where students acted as the curators, presenting ancient artifacts to each other. And for a U.S. History lesson, her students put slavery on trial, serving as lawyers, witnesses, and judges. Outside of the classroom, Ms. Melvoin enjoys cross stitching and spending time with her young sons.


Hannah Insuik, Teaching Fellow

Hannah Insuik“Cue scene: I boil henchmen honorably, Chip.” That is a good introduction to Hannah Insuik – not because she has ever created a film about boiling henchmen. Ms. Insuik has a Bachelors Degree in biology from Colby College with minors in chemistry and philosophy. Her interests are hockey, volleyball, softball, bioinformatics, neuroscience and rollerblading. And she has been avid word-game enthusiast for most of her life. When she was in middle school, she attended the National Scrabble Tournament and she still does word searches almost daily. Wondering about the poor henchmen? That’s an anagram of “Hannah bio chem phil Colby neuroscience.”

Course: “Ooh La La! French Culture Through Cinema and Comics”

Jaime Correa, Faculty

Jaime CorreaMr. Correa fell under the spell of cowboys of the silver screen at a young age: lonely heroes wandering large expanses of land. In time his interest expanded from the particular stories to the way they were told–through a moving camera. He’s been an enthusiastic student of language, literature and visual culture ever since. Mr. Correa studied Film and Television in his native Colombia and then Film Studies and Cultural Studies in Paris.  He has also written a screenplay in the Road Movie genre–the Western genre’s descendant. In the classroom, he equips students with tools and skills needed to master visual, digital, and media literacy–the literacies of our current age.

TBD, Teaching Fellow

Course: “Sustainability: A Fixer-Upper of a Planet”

Ben Bakker, Faculty

Ben BakkerMr. Bakker’s life in science and technology started in Elementary School when he played the role of “Mr. Electricity” at a summer science program. He taught physics and math in Tanzania with the Peace Corp. He worked for a time in MIT’s tandem mass spectrometry lab, programing, creating hardware, and analyzing protein fragments. Visit his office here at DA and you’re likely to find robot scraps left behind by the teams he coaches. Visit his home in town and you’ll see his experiments in “green walls” of vertically growing plants for his AP research design course. He is a STEM teacher and tinkerer, to the core. Besides his studies and students, he loves his family (a wife and two grown sons), baseball, time outdoors, and his Norwegian Elkhound, Banner.

TBD, Teaching Fellow


TBD, Proctor

TBD, Proctor

TBD, Proctor

TBD, Proctor

TBD, Proctor

TBD, Program Proctor

Experimentory Staff

TBD, Head of Community Life

Christian Austin, Head of Residential Life

Check back soon for more information about Mr. Austin!

Jill Schaffer, Director

Jill SchafferMs. Schaffer was drawn to the field of computer science by a love of problem-solving, logical thinking, and knowing “how things work.” One of her main research interests is human-computer interaction (HCI). Ms. Schaffer came to The Experimentory after working in the “tech world” on the West Coast and in admissions at Cornell University. Ms. Schaffer loves helping her students realize their potential, as well as encouraging them to pursue engineering and other hi-tech fields. Ms. Schaffer has many creative outlets: playing the violin, programming computer software, solving puzzle games, and watching science fiction dramas–Firefly and Battlestar Galactica are among her favorites.

Tim Schaffer, Program Coordinator

Tim SchafferMr. Schaffer is a hat rack: he dons so many different rolls here at Deerfield Academy–Experimentory Program Coordinator, Medical Chaperone,  Store Clerk, Test Proctor, and Greeter–that you never know where you might bump into him on campus. Before Deerfield, he could be found working for an insurance company, destroying things people don’t want any more, or helping college students ponder the mysteries of life. On the creative side he writes: he contributes to his family’s storybook, keeps a personal blog, and works on a speculative fiction novel. He also reads, doodles, daydreams, teases, tells stories, and cuddles with his cat.

Caryn Gardner, Assistant Director of Nursing

Caryn GardnerMrs. Gardner is the Assistant Director of Nursing at Deerfield Academy where she has worked for 14 years. She lives in Deerfield with her husband, two children and two dogs. She can be found frequently walking her dogs around the fields and by the river. When not working at the school, she can be found attending sporting and other activities of her kids.

Christine O’Neil, Staff Nurse

Christine O'NeilMrs. O’Neil has been a staff nurse at Deerfield Academy since 2007 where, among other things, she manages the Travel Medicine Clinic.  She lives in Deerfield with her husband and 3 children.  In her spare time she enjoys running.