Meet the terrific mentors who will lead the 2023 event.
Producer: Diann Jeppson
Diann Jeppson is devoted to creating fulfilling learning experiences for students. She is the former program manager for a large online middle and high school. With 25 years’ experience teaching her own children, 16 years’ experience as a family education coach, and having produced 18 annual education conferences, Diann is delighted to put her expertise and experience to work, as the director of Ensign Peak Academy.
Diann’s experience also includes 23 years as producer of an annual youth civics conference called “Simulations Week,” 23 years’ as producer of the Liberty Girls program (history-based experiential learning for children) and five years’ experience teaching and directing American Youth Leadership Institute, a youth civics education organization. Diann has fulfilled numerous speaking engagements at education conferences and seminars in the U.S. and Canada. She has chaired four non-profit educational organizations and has 10+ years’ experience as a parliamentary procedure consultant and trainer. She is a certified tour guide for the State of Utah. She has a BA from a private, classical liberal arts college.
Diann enjoyed performing for eight years in a family bluegrass ensemble called “The Wildflowers” (guitar and vocals). She and her husband Adam live on a 2.5 acre homestead in Mount Pleasant, a small Central-Utah town in a secluded high-mountain desert valley. Adam is the town gunsmith. Adam and Diann have four delightful daughters, handsome sons-in-law and nine terrific little grandchildren. Connect with Diann personally on Facebook. View Diann’s work and service experience profile on LinkedIn.
Assistant Producer: Kim Bingham
Kimberly Bingham is an online educator and homeschooling mother of four. She currently teaches English as a Second Language through an online platform, and has worked as an international relations consultant. Prior to educating her children at home, Kimberly served as a Logistics Officer in the United States Marine Corps, successfully completing deployment missions to Afghanistan and Iraq. She received commendation for providing seamless logistics support to 5 forward-deployed operating bases simultaneously in support of global operations. She enjoys volunteering with the Red Cross, and Kimberly is the Illinois State Ambassador for Home School Legal Defense Association Compassion, which allows her to serve homeschooling families in need. Kimberly believes deeply in integrity, diligence, and service to others. She is a life-long learner with a passion for foreign languages, music, and Brazilian martial arts. Kimberly is excited to be part of the Ensign Peak Academy team!
Assistant Producer: Katie Perry
Katie Perry earned a B.S. degree in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) from Brigham Young University in 2004. After graduating from BYU, she worked as a GIS Specialist for five years, first for a county government in Maryland and then for an environmental engineering firm in Utah and Massachusetts. Katie’s GIS work involved analyzing and processing geographic data and producing maps for a variety of reports and public and private projects.
Katie and her husband have six children, and they currently live in the Syracuse, New York area. For four years, Katie served on the board of a local homeschool cooperative with approximately 150 students, and during that time Katie taught a variety of courses at the co-op, including Math Art, Forensic Science, and more. Katie also teaches English as a second language online, and this year will be her eighth year homeschooling her own children.
Katie loves traveling, especially if the destination involves camping or hiking. She has a passion for cooking and gardening, and enjoys working on family history.
Mentor for the Israelites: Jeff Jensen
Mr. Jensen is a beloved mentor for youth and has taught online history, geography, government and economics course for over seven years. He is a popular speaker and has logged over 3000 public speaking hours, most in classroom settings across the state as a guest lecturer on the Titanic and U.S. history. He was recognized by the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library as a noteworthy Reagan historian and invited to address them in September 2018. He is currently working towards publication of his first book, a history book called “The President’s Pages.” He has published articles in peer reviewed history and academic journals on the RMS Titanic and serves as assistant editor and historical consultant on three BYU publications in the “Saints at War” program. He enjoyed serving a church mission in Korea and Hong Kong, and as a service volunteer in two orphanages in Thailand. He stays politically active and has taken leadership roles in local politics.
Mentor for the Romans: Ben Muhlestein
Benjamin S. Muhlestein resides in Overton, Nevada and is a husband and father of a beautiful wife and six wonderful children. He served a Mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Hawaii Honolulu Mission. He received his Bachelor’s of Paralegal Studies from Utah Valley University in 2002, and earned his Master’s Degree in Classical Liberal Arts from George Wythe University in 2016. He has mentored youth and adults nationally and internationally for many years. He taught Seminary for an entire school year as a student teacher. He is the Founder of Illuminating the Light Within, Restoringthefounders.com, The Quintilian School of Oratory, and The George Washington Character Curricula. Benjamin has a deep passion for learning and teaching principles of liberty and freedom, and has great faith in the rising generation of youth to rise to the full potential of who God needs them to become.
Mentor for the Pirates: Carolyn Marriott
Carolyn Marriott has a passion for learning and teaching. Besides homeschooling her own seven children, she has decades of experience teaching youth in church and academic settings. Valuing community, she and her children participated in homeschool groups in Washington and Utah where she taught a variety of topics from Spanish, to U.S. History, to Economics. She currently thrives on learning with the students at Ensign Peak Academy.
Carolyn has traveled in Chile, Central America, Europe, Canada, Argentina, and the United States, broadening her appreciation for the beautiful world and its people. She served a mission in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and received a BA in Spanish from Brigham Young University.
Currently, Carolyn lives with her husband and mother in Wallsburg, Utah. She loves gardening, reading and discussing classics, sewing aprons, going on long walks, and hosting “poetry teatime” for her grandchildren.
Mentor for the Vikings: Heidi Anderson
Heidi Anderson attended Brigham Young University-Idaho where she earned her bachelor’s degree in English Education. She did her student teaching in Gilbert, Arizona and then taught reading and writing in the public school system in Arizona for four years. After that she focused on teaching private piano lessons out of her home, and has been doing that for the past 11 years.
Heidi has lived in many different places, but currently resides in Raleigh, North Carolina with her husband and three children. They love the climate and seasons in Raleigh as well as escaping to the beach when they want some relaxation.
Some of Heidi’s favorite things are reading, sewing, and playing piano. She also enjoys traveling and has done so extensively. She can’t wait to add more places to her list of where she’s been.
Mentor for the Samurai: Alyssa Jensen
Alyssa Jensen is first and foremost a wife and mother to five amazing children. The Jensen family has been homeschooling for the past seven years and have really enjoyed learning in a gospel centered setting. Alyssa graduated from Brigham Young University with a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education. She has taught off and on in the public school setting as well as teaching English online. Alyssa has also developed and taught curriculum for a variety of homeschool classes and co-ops.
Alyssa grew up in West Valley City, Utah where she met her very own knight in shining armor (sir lancer of Granger High school). Alyssa married her knight in 2001 and have moved their way across the country living in Arizona, New Mexico and the past decade in South Carolina. They now reside in League City, Texas.
Alyssa has a passion for learning and loves to teach because she learns so much. She is often found serving with the youth and children in the church. Her favorite service was when she was able to teach early morning seminary.
Alyssa is a certified personal trainer and behavior change specialist. She loves being active and pushing herself in the gym. One of her favorite things is to see the light of understanding illuminate in someone she is teaching.
Mentor for the Scots: Ryan Ferree
Ryan Ferree was born in Galveston, Texas grew up in Havana, Illinois, and currently resides in the outskirts of Lexington, Virginia with his wife, six daughters, and many farm animals. He served in the U.S. Air Force, living in places like Minot, ND and Guam, and has a Masters in Math Education from Nova Southeastern University. Ryan served his mission in the Utah Salt Lake City South mission.
He has many experiences ranging from engineering in the Air Force to finances as an accountant and, of course, teaching. Not only has he homeschooled his own children but has taught both in the physical classroom and in online environments. In teaching, he strives to help students match their passions with what they are learning in the class.
Speaking of passions, Ryan loves working with his small, but growing homestead. From taking care of his many chickens and honey bees to growing vegetables in his garden, he enjoys it all. Ryan also enjoys reading, studying history, spending time with his family, and playing disc golf.
Mentor for the Nephites: Meredith Beard
Meredith is the mother of three homeschooled children. She has a great love of learning and enjoys studying a wide variety of subjects, including the gospel of Jesus Christ. She is currently living in Utah, after a recent move from Hawaii. She has loved living in many places, including Michigan, California, Nevada, Indiana, Idaho, Hawaii, and Utah. Each place increased her love for the geography of the United States.
Her hobbies are spending time with her family, knitting, and traveling. After nearly finishing a bachelor’s degree as a young woman, she returned to her college studies a few years ago, and completed a BS degree from BYU-Hawaii in Elementary Education with minors in Science and History.
Meredith loves serving in the gospel of Jesus Christ especially among the youth of the
church. She served a mission in California. Her favorite teaching opportunities have included teaching early morning seminary and serving in the Primary.
Mentor for the Aztecs: Quinton Peck
Quin is a 6-time attendee of Simulations Week, and is excited to be returning! Inspired by his attendance at simulations week, he managed a congressional campaign and led lobbying efforts on Utah’s Capitol Hill for family sovereignty and educational integrity while in high school. He has a deep love for debate and problem solving and developed those skills in simulations just like this one.
Quin served a mission in Tokyo Japan (2014-16), and then attended Southern Virginia University on music scholarship where he obtained a bachelors degree in political science with a minor in business management. He is currently preparing to attend medical school and is working as a sales and service technician for Mint Cleaning. He resides in Vineyard with his wife Emily.
Quin loves watching and playing sports, but basketball and football are his favorite. He loves music, camping in the Uintahs, and playing all kinds of games. Most importantly, he loves the restored gospel of Christ and helping others learn and grow.
Scientist: Jennifer Shaw
Jennifer Shaw is a passionate person who loves people and experiencing life!
Jennifer graduated from the University of Utah with a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering and has had various amazing jobs from air quality monitoring (at an air force base where they exploded bombs and tested rocket engines), to making semiconductors and running multi-million dollar projects.
Jennifer “retired” from engineering and started her favorite job, which is being a mom! Her passion and devotion are to her family and to the other kids in her life, whether they are known through 4-H clubs, Boy Scouts, Heroic Youth, mentoring, teaching, or educational travel.
In addition to homeschooling her own kids, Jennifer has taught math, science, chemistry, ballroom dance and sign language in various homeschool co-ops, Benjamin Franklin Academy, Liberty Hills, Paradigm Charter School, Overture Learning and now Ensign Peak Academy. Jennifer loves to inspire scholars as they explore this awesome universe together. She has discovered first hand that it is much more rewarding to watch a person’s face, heart and mind light up when they discover something new than it is to complete million dollar projects.
Jennifer likes all sorts of experiences and adventure. Her favorite hobbies include: scuba diving, riding 4-wheelers, hiking, camping, traveling, cruising, audiobooks, creating things and being with people–especially her husband of 27 years, her three amazing kids, her new son-in-law and her extended family.
Scientist: Kursten Mason
Kursten Mason has served as a mentor for numerous Sim Week events. She has been an educator her entire life, from teaching ‘summer school’ to her siblings at a young age to teaching and mentoring in public, private, and homeschools. She attended the University of Utah, served a church mission in France, Paris and returned to finish her degree in French Teaching with a double minor in Psychology and Special Education from Brigham Young University. Years later, she was homeschooling her three children and helping to found Commonwealth Schools while teaching LEMI projects such as Key of Liberty and Sword of Freedom. She’s been a mentor at Paradigm Schools for the past eight years and is excited to join the staff of Ensign Peak Academy.
Her educational passions are languages and history with a special love for French culture and our Founding Fathers and mothers, especially George Washington, John and Abigail Adams. There is power and inspiration in learning about great men and women. She believes that the most rewarding experience is to share that passion with youth and to watch their eyes light up as they find something that excites and encourages them to learn and do hard things.
She lives in Herriman, Utah with her husband, their youngest son (leaving soon on a mission to Montreal Canada, French speaking), their cat and a flock of chickens. She enjoys time with family, babysitting their grand-puppy, walking, hiking, Yoga, reading, and playing games.