Equipped with his five senses, man explores the universe around him and calls the adventure Science. Edwin Powell Hubble

photo of STARS to STEM president Diane Swan

Diane Swan


Founding Board of Director and President of the organization, Diane Swan earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Early Childhood Education followed by a Master of Science from Southern Connecticut State University. Her career as an educator began in Kissimmee, Florida Public Schools. Currently she is employed by East Lyme Public Schools, 1996 - present, as an early childhood educator. 

In addition to her teaching responsibilities at Niantic Center School, Diane serves as the building's science coordinator. Her collaboration with the East Lyme town engineer secured a grant for an Outdoor Stormwater Classroom. Since its inception, over 1000 third grade students from East Lyme and Salem have learned about storm water runoff and its impact on the environment. 

Diane taught a science summer camp, “Camp Phenomena,” for several years. Additionally, she worked for LEARN conducting a week-long science camp for the region's students. Diane produced and presented "Simple Science” after school activities for the Niantic Center School PTA. 

Diane is committed to community service and chaired the PTA's assembly, fundraising and beautification committees.  As a volunteer for the Miracle League of Southeastern Connecticut, a non-profit organization that provides opportunities for special needs children to participate in recreational, educational, and cultural activities, Diane assisted with fundraising for the organization's cause.

Linda Raffa


Founding Board of Director and serving as Secretary and Treasurer of the organization, Linda Raffa is an East Lyme resident retired from a long career in education and business.  Her experiences include Kindergarten teacher and Director/Head Teacher of two preschools. 

Her most fulfilling role was that of an educator.  In addition, Linda helped manage several businesses, primarily as bookkeeper. Her volunteer work includes roles as secretary, treasurer, and president of parent/teacher organizations and other various organizations.

More recently she was employed at the Children’s Museum of Southeastern Connecticut, currently known as the Niantic Children's Museum, where she was Director of Operations.  

As a former educator and devoted grandparent, Linda enjoys spending time with young children and looks forward to expanding this interest with STARS To STEM's planetarium project. 

Photo of Dr. Leslie Brown, Education and Programming Officer

Leslie Brown

Education Director

Board of Director Leslie Brown recently retired as Associate Professor of Physics at Connecticut College after thirty years of service, having joined the college's faculty in 1992.

Leslie completed her Physics undergraduate studies at the University of Delaware and earned her Masters and Doctoral degrees from Brandeis University. While on staff at Connecticut College, Leslie shared her wealth of knowledge at regional and national professional meetings, including the New England Section of the American Physical Society, and the American Astronomical Society. She has also presented at numerous local venues on topics ranging from education and public outreach to active galaxies and cosmology. 

Leslie has been a recipient of several grant awards, co-author of several papers, still is teaching part-time and publishing with her students, and is adept at operating various telescopes and related technologies. She has extensive experience in the fields of astrophysics and astronomy and brings her love of the night sky, public outreach in science and education to our team. 

Lucy Schuman


Board of Director Lucy Schuman served the students, their families, and staff as a principal for the East Lyme Public Schools for over thirty years. Believing in the overall mission of our schools, " become lifelong learners", made it easy for her to join STARS to STEM as a member of their Board of Directors. Lucy serves the East Lyme Public Library Foundation on their Board of Directors and is an active volunteer with Care and Share of East Lyme. In addition to these community organizations, Lucy spends a great deal of time designing and providing summer and seasonal activities for the children within her neighborhood community. Her vast knowledge of a variety of subjects in the field of education and her commitment to serving those in East Lyme and the regional community make her an exceptional asset to S2S, Inc. 

Dallas Capozza


Board of Director Dallas Capozza, a former Niantic resident, graduated from Colorado Mountain College with an associate degree in engineering. She transferred to Colorado School of Mines where she completed her bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. In 2018, she was an intern at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, where she worked on advanced exploration life support systems for Gateway. In 2019, As a Brooke Owens Fellow, she worked as an Engineering Operations Intern at Virgin Galactic where she helped human commercial space flight take off. In 2020 she interned at Lockheed Martin where she would stay for her career after graduation. At Lockheed Martin, Dallas works as a Senior Software Engineer on the Artemis Program. The program that will take the first women and men of color to the moon, and eventually send humans to Mars. She works on Orion, the Human Space Capsule. Her main subjects of focus, Environmental and Life Support Systems, as wells as the NASA Docking System. Dallas was initially inspired by the Niantic planetarium after taking classes at East Lyme High School that generated her determination to reach the stars.  

Meera Rangwala

High School Liaison 

Meera Rangwala is in the 9th grade at East Lyme High School. She is fascinated by the mysteries of the cosmos. She is especially keen on the Artemis mission, where we will be going back to the moon! She likes building things and is amazed at how things work, and also by physics - which governs all motion and all the small and big aspects of life itself. In her free time she likes composing songs on the piano, Indian classical dance, and tennis. She works as the high school liaison for Stars to Stem, and enjoys every minute of it!