Students looking through a microscope

Powerhouse Science Department

The Summit has put a significant number of recent graduates on a fast track to careers as engineers, scientists and doctors through Advanced Placement courses and individually tailored independent studies classes. The Science Research Institute gives motivated students a head-start on college-level scientific research and writing. Students connect with mentors in Cincinnati’s scientific community who provide authentic laboratory research experiences. Summit Science faculty offer real-world career experience in materials-rich laboratories, advanced education and ongoing educational experiences that have turned the department into a powerhouse.


Physics teacher Amy Girkin with studentsPhysics teacher Amy Girkin has completed her master’s degree in physics at Miami University. She is currently enrolled as a doctoral candidate in physics education at U.C., where she teaches Science by Inquiry to teachers during the summer and brings The Summit’s science team an awareness of the latest advances in physics. An early devotee to the Flipped Classroom, she has converted what would have been lecture material into personally narrated short videos that students watch at home through The Summit’s portal. In class, her students discuss the lessons, form theories, practice math and conduct inquiry-based experiments.

Chemistry teacher Ed Kentrup in classChemistry teacher Ed Kentrup is a veteran in the classroom and in industry. He has a bachelor's degree in chemistry from Northern Kentucky University and has done graduate coursework in both education and chemistry at the Mount St. Joseph University, Miami University, Northern Kentucky University and University of Missouri. Mr. Kentrup wants his students to understand the importance that chemistry plays in their everyday lives.

Biology teacher Bret Miller has a bachelor's degree in chemistry, biology and pre-medicine from Urbana University. He has spent the past nine years teaching science at the middle school and high school levels and before coming to The Summit in 2015 to teach biology. Mr. Miller's motivation to become a science teacher stems from his want to inspire the next generation of innovators and thinkers to understand and positively influence the world around them.

Jessica Sakash Replogle, Ph.D. has a passion for helping students pursue scientific research while still in high school. Dr. Replogle received her doctorate in biochemistry from Boston College and bachelor’s degree from University of New Hampshire. She has been published in numerous professional journals through her work as a professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Chester College in New England, Miami University, Harvard Medical School and Boston College. As head of The Summit’s Science Research Institute, she is giving Summit science students a head-start on college-level scientific research writing.

Biology teacher Kat Sickinger graduated Cum Laude from the College of Mount St. Joseph with a degree in Biology. She is taking graduate classes at Miami University. A native Cincinnatian, she is a specialist in personalizing instruction to each student’s individual learning style. Her goal is to ignite passion for learning in each student. Her students get an opportunity to participate in an authentic operating arena at Beacon Orthopedics. When she’s not in the classroom, look for her in Flannery Gym. She’s the girls' varsity volleyball head coach.

Biology teacher Karen Cruse Suder with studentsBiology teacher Karen Cruse Suder's biological anthropology background has landed her in field searches for homicide victims, to the exhumation of a champion show horse, to the excavation and relocation of historic family cemeteries and to the skeletal analysis of graves in an Iron Age Tumulus in Lofkend, Albania and Washington Park in Cincinnati. A recipient of the Toyota International Teacher Award Program and the National Association of Biology Teachers’ Outstanding Biology Teacher Award, and a finalist in the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching, Mrs. Suder has taught classes and studied in the Galapagos Islands, serves as an AP Reader for the College Board, coordinates a Hawaii Marine Biology Seminar, and is a lead author for a new forensic science virtual case and laboratory series. Mrs. Suder was the recipient of the 2012 Schilderink Chair for Distinguished Teaching award.

Physics and Environmental Science Teacher Martin Wells working with studentsPhysics and Environmental Science teacher Martin Wells has a master's degree in science education. He is an associate teacher in University of Cincinnati’s Quarknet particle physics group and has participated in building a cosmic ray detector and a summer research experience in charm quark physics. He also conducted an engineering research project in the Research Experience for Teachers (RET) program at UC. Mr. Wells has a background in engineering and has helped write physics curriculum for NASA. His Summit curriculum has included College Preparatory Physics and Chemistry as well as AP Environmental Science. He traveled to Fermilab in 2012 to further his education in the field of particle physics, and again in 2015.