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Our Team

The Citizen Science Lab is a true community collaboration. The collective hard work and involvement of all our staff, interns, partners, advisors, instructors, collaborators, and visitors will help our organization and our community flourish.

Meet our Citizen Scientists

Dr. Andre Samuel

Dr. Andre Samuel

Founder, President & CEO

Andre Samuel, a long-time resident of Washington, DC, graduated from the University of the District of Columbia with a degree in Biology. Following graduate study at the George Washington University in Genomics and Bioinformatics, he received his PhD in Biology from Duquesne University. At Duquesne, his research focused on studying the structure and function of the cold shock related proteins in E. coli.

As a Ph.D. candidate, Dr. Samuel founded the S.I.G.M.A Science Mentorship Initiative, a summer study program designed to introduce diverse ninth graders to the University’s lab with the long-term goal of encouraging the pursuit of careers in scientific research. Dr. Samuel’s research experience includes studying toxicology and carcinogenicity effects of novel drugs, hookworm vaccine development and tuberculosis reactivation in non-human primates.

Dr. Samuel has a passion for STEM education and life science research. He believes that creating fun engaging and hands on lab experiences for people is the best pathway to an interest in STEM.

Carrianne Floss MSEd

Carrianne Floss MSEd

Vice President and Site Manager-Hill District

Carrianne Floss was born and raised in the northern suburbs of Pittsburgh. Having always been interested in the sciences, she knew that her future career would somehow be tied to that field of study. However, it was during her high school education she discovered her love of teaching.

In 2012 she graduated from Duquesne University with a degree in Biology. Upon graduation she continued her education at Duquesne University, where she received a Master’s degree in Secondary Education, with a concentration in Biology.

During her Master’s program she traveled to Ireland to student teach. It is here that she saw how diverse educational standards are and how students gain more understanding through hands-on experimentation. After receiving her teaching certification, she found a career at The Citizen Science Lab.

Ms. Jade Payne

Ms. Jade Payne

Lab Technician

Jade was born in Pittsburgh but lived in both Northern Virginia and North Carolina growing up. Jade is a graduate of City Charter High School in Pittsburgh, PA. She initially joined TCSL as a part-time employee where she enjoyed caring for the animals at the lab.

In her current full-time position Jade prepares the lab and experiments for students and enjoys helping them discover new things and further develop their interest in science. Jade is an ethical vegan, loves animals and her future plans include a career in horticulture.

Dr. Candice Johnson

Dr. Candice Johnson

Site Manager-South Hills

Candice was born in Pittsburgh, PA as a first generation American to Jamaican parents. A consistent international travel itinerary during her childhood lead her to leave Pittsburgh not only for her scholastic endeavors, but also for her appreciation of culture variety and inclusion.

Her admiration of biomedical sciences started as early as middle school and was supported by weekend workshops at Carnegie Mellon University. This continued through high school and upon entering The University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Candice spent each summer back in Pittsburgh conducting research at the Center for Genomic Sciences in Allegheny General Hospital. Candice then attended graduate school at Meharry Medical College and obtained her PhD in Biomedical Sciences with her research interests focused on host-pathogen interactions and vaccine development.

After graduate school she was invited to the US Food and Drug Administration for a postdoctoral fellowship in the Office of Vaccine Research and Review. This started her career as a federal government scientist which came to a close when she realized scientific outreach was her true passion.

Now Candice is the Site Manager and interim STEM Coordinator of The Citizen Science Lab in the South Hills of Pittsburgh, PA. At TCSL, Candice organizes and ensures that all scientific experiences being shared with all citizens in our community will harbor great experiences and sustain a growing love for science and research.

Jasio Santillan MSMtE

Jasio Santillan MSMtE

Lead Enrichment Technician

Jasio Santillan was born and raised in El Paso, Texas before moving to Pittsburgh for school. For his undergraduate education he double majored in Materials Science & Engineering and Biomedical Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University.

He also stayed an extra year to get an M.S. in Materials Science & Engineering and during his time at CMU, was a part of numerous research projects including: snake robots, artificial lungs, nanoparticle drug delivery, synthetic composite marimba keys, and programmable shape changing materials (patent pending).

Apart from research, Jasio has a passion for outreach which led him to develop a Superhero Materials Science themed class and a Science @ Home YouTube series with CMU. Eventually, this brought him to work with The Citizen Science Lab where he continues to share his passion for research and STEM.

Part-time Employees

Hill District

Sophia Bakar, Duquesne University ’20
Biomedical Engineering Major

Antonio Pampena, Duquesne University ’20
B.S. Business Administration

South Hills

Vivek Badu, Drexel University, ’24
Biological Sciences Major

Sujay Banerjee, Upper Saint Clair, ’21

Pratiik Kaushik, Virginia Commonwealth University ’26
Bioinformatics Major

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