Meet the team

The simulation team at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota includes top-notch leaders in the field. Our simulation specialists have decades of combined experience and have trained at some of the world’s foremost simulation science programs.

But like you, we began our careers on the front lines. We know the challenges you face in providing life-saving care to young patients. We applaud you for your commitment to lifelong learning and look forward to partnering with you.

Karen Mathias, MSN, RN, CNS

Director of the Simulation Center

Karen led the development of the first mobile simulation center in the country dedicated solely to pediatric and neonatal training. Karen was a co-investigator for a Minnesota Job Skills Partnership grant targeting improved emergency department (ED) team performance and was subsequently named a Densford Clinical Scholar to further develop ED crisis resource management simulation curriculum. Karen received her master’s in pediatric critical care nursing from the University of Pennsylvania. Karen has pursued specialized training from Stanford’s Center for Pediatric Education (CAPE) in simulation and debriefing and has completed her Certified Master TeamSTEPPS™ Trainer program at the University of Minnesota. She has presented widely both regionally and nationally.

Aaron Simpson K NREMT-E

Simulation Tech

Aaron received his National Registry Emergency Medical Technician certification from the Academy of Health Sciences in San Antonio TX in 1990. Aaron is also currently serving as a reserve Soldier in the Minnesota Army National Guard as a Medical Treatment Sergeant. Aaron has had various positions in Emergency Medicine since 1991 and has worked as a military medical instructor for the Department of Defense teaching EMS courses and advanced medical skills for Military providers. Aaron has been working in medical simulation since 2012 and is a certified BLS, ACLS, and PHTLS instructor as well as a PALS provider.

Pete Haugen,  EMT, BA

Simulation Tech

Pete Haugen is a graduate of University of Minnesota Duluth where he earned his BA in Environmental Science. Prior to becoming a Simulation Tech at Children’s Minnesota, Pete Haugen served as an EMT as a ski patroller as well as with a hyperbaric chamber at HCMC. Along with his health care experience, Pete has a passion for education and has worked teaching youth in schools as well as working as an outdoor educator instructing leadership building initiatives. As a simulation technician Pete provides technical support where he makes sure simulations are implemented in the most realistic manner as possible.

Kristin McCullough, MS, RN, ACCNS-N

Simulation Specialist

Kristin McCullough is an advanced practice nurse with extensive experience in neonatal critical care. As an educator and clinical nurse specialist, she has expertise in clinical integration, curriculum development and project management, with a specific interest in quality improvement and innovation. Kristin is co-author of several publications and was a member of the AACN Certification Corporation CNNS Neonatal Exam Development Committee. She received her Bachelor’s Degree and Master’s Degree in Nursing from the University of Wisconsin and a Post-Masters Pediatric Clinical Nurse Specialist from the University of Minnesota.

Suzanne Nelson, MSN, RN, PCNS-BC

Simulation Specialist

Suzanne Nelson, MSN, RN, PCNS-BC, Simulation Specialist, an advanced practice nurse with a strong clinical background in pediatric and emergency nursing. Additionally, Suzanne has experience with curriculum development and was an item writer for a CPEN (Certified Pediatric Emergency Nurse) review manual. Suzanne is an instructor for Pediatric Advanced Life Support and Pediatric Early Assessment & Recognition courses. Suzanne received her Pediatric Nurse Specialist degree from the University of Minnesota.

Brittany McArdell, BA

Operations Coordinator

Brittany McArdell received her BA in communications from Hamline University. She has experience and knowledge with lean, process and quality improvement, creating standardization, identifying best practices, leading teams and communication skills. In her role as operations coordinator, Brittany supports the administrative side of the simulation center including all course scheduling, data reporting, committing to SSH Accreditation standards and logistics. Brittany has prior experience and knowledge in provider and nursing recruitment.


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