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Our Team

BOOST Staff consists of the Admin Team, Coaches, Coordinators, Junior Coaches, and Junior Coaches in Training (JCiTs). Admins are permanent staff, while the rest of the team (collectively known as Scholar Support Staff) rotates and fluctuates each season.


Douglass Coleman

headshot of Douglass Coleman. Doug is smiling and wearing a blue BOOST baseball cap and hoodie. Douglass Coleman has been working with historically marginalized communities since 1988 in and around public schools. His experience attending K-12 in Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), in addition to his time spent working for LAUSD, Compton Unified School District, and Durham Public Schools (DPS), has given Doug great insight into how best to partner with public schools and work with K-12 students. In addition to leading BOOST after the program regained funding, Doug initiated BOOST N Schools, which brought BOOST into DPS to judge science fairs, lead hands-on STEM lessons, and support school and community initiatives. He also co-created the Junior Coach model, a near-peer mentoring mechanism that has become a cornerstone of BOOST and a consistent exemplar for fledgling youth programs.

Doug has held several leadership positions in high school and university-led organizations, as well as community and professional organizations that support youth. He previously served as Program Director of Hayti Youth for Progress and Enrichment and helped coordinate Scientifica, a grant-funded high school program for DPS high schoolers that utilized college tours, STEMM competitions, lab and industry visits, internships, and other opportunities to encourage persistence in STEMM.

As a life-long educator and youth advocate, Doug has developed the skills to build rapport and motivate youth in extremely challenging contexts. As a testament to his aptitude in this realm, for many years every Duke student who tutored DPS students through Duke’s Program in Education attended Doug’s workshop on behavior management. Doug uses his lived experience, skills, and intuition to impart culture-building strategies that foster the nurturing environment for which BOOST is known.

Iris Lopez Hernandes

Iris is pictured standing in front of a snowy path and wearing a light grey jacket over a black jacket. Her curly brown hair is swept to her right side. Irisyunuel Lopez Hernandes is a Durham native who graduated from North Carolina Central University in 2019 with a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Science. During her undergraduate studies, Iris made several efforts to uplift underrepresented minorities in STEMM fields by partnering with several DPS elementary schools to create events that exposed students to the sciences. Shortly after graduating, Iris briefly joined the BOOST team before heading to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) to complete an Intramural Research Training Award (IRTA) research fellowship. Iris’s love for community service brought her back to BOOST in 2022, where she now serves as Program Coordinator and continues the efforts she began building as an undergraduate.