Meet the People Behind Kansas Corn STEM!

The Kansas Corn STEM team works for Kansas corn farmers who support our program, providing Kansas Corn STEM curriculum, materials and workshops to Kansas K-12 teachers. From developing lessons and labs with the help of our teacher advisory board—to ordering, assembling and delivering materials to teachers across the state, our Kansas Corn STEM staff is dedicated to supporting STEM learning through the lens of corn and agriculture! See our listing below showing the Kansas Corn staff that make up the Education Department.


Kansas Corn STEM Staff

Our Kansas Corn STEM works hard to bring free ag-based lessons to Kansas classrooms. Click on a staff member to see their bio.

  • ThielenWEB2

    Sharon Thielen Ph.D. is the Director of Education. Previously, she was Assistant Dean for K-State’s College of Agriculture for seven years and has over 14 years of experience in higher education focused on agriculture and education. She received three degrees from K-State: Bachelor’s Degree in Agribusiness and Master’s and Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction. As a Kansas farmer and rancher, she is passionate about agriculture and the opportunities it provides to youth as well as helping educators add agriculture lessons in the classroom.

  • Rios2

    Erin Rios serves as Education Programs Manager. Prior to joining the Kansas Corn staff, she worked for American Eagle Outfitters DC as a Human Resources Generalist for seven years where she managed event planning and leave management. She received a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication from Emporia State University in 2006. Erin loves being “Santa” to teachers. Erin manages the Kansas Corn STEM program from the Garnett office, coordinates workshops and the ordering and distribution of classroom supplies to educators around the state.

  • Kylie Lieber HeadshotWEB2

    Kylie Lieber is the Education Coordinator. Prior to joining Kansas Corn, she was a Bakery Technologist for Corbion in Lenexa where she developed and improved baking ingredients for sweet goods.  She grew up on a family farm and attended Kansas State University where she received a Bachelor of Science in Bakery Science and Management.  She loves helping students learn about the many applications of agriculture and through her role providing supplies to schools she hopes students are more likely to pursue agriculture careers.

  • Johnna Rios HeadshotWEB2
    Johnna Rios Education Assistant

    Johnna Rios is the Education Assistant.  In this role she prepares totes for workshops, puts together printed materials, fills elementary kits and helps with distribution of supplies. In addition to working for Kansas Corn part-time, she serves as a manager for a local restaurant.  She has an associate degree of Social Sciences from Allen County Community College and a bachelor’s degree of Integrated Studies from Emporia State University.  Johnna enjoys knowing she is part of a growing education program that is a making a difference in today’s Kansas schools.