Leonid Tunik

Leonid Tunik

Founder & CEO

a.k.a. “Cosmic Leonid”

Leonid comes to Empow Studios with a unique background that combines education, technology product development, and entrepreneurship. He has worked with leading educational publishers to develop math tools and tutorials for award-winning high school and college programs, as well testing and monitoring tools for K-12 teachers working with struggling students. In 2006, recognizing the need to engage students into technology and engineering early on in their education, he began teaching after-school classes in animation and video game design to kids in elementary grades. In 2013, seeing an ever increasing demand from parents and kids, he took this project to the LearnLaunch startup accelerator, and set up a permanent location for camps, classes, and the after-school program in the historic center of Lexington, MA, where the programs found a very receptive audience.

Matt Silverstein

Director of Program Operations

a.k.a “Mercury Matt”

Originally from Miami, FL, Matt moved to Boston in 2007 to study Music Production and Engineering at Berklee College of Music and was hired by Empow Studios shortly after graduation. Having taught math, reading, and music, he found himself at home with Empow’s diverse curriculum. As the Director of Program Operations, he is responsible for the successful operation of Empow’s several outreach camps and classes as well as the After School Club and other programs at their Lexington studio. His goal is inspire children to develop their creativity, while learning to understand and appreciate the technology that is available in the world today. When he’s not at Empow, Matthew spends his time rock climbing and working as a freelance music producer/engineer.

matthew silverstein

David Gutierrez

Director of Growth & Outreach

a.k.a. “Digital Dave”

A musician with a Bachelors Degree in Music Business, Dave brings marketing and sales experience from his time with the Zildjian cymbal company, and the leader in speech technology with Nuance Communications. Dave realized his passion in working with kids after teaching percussion at various music outlets to individual students and group ensembles. David is responsible for digital marketing, product marketing, branding, public relations, market research, and analytics. In his spare time, Dave enjoys writing music, supporting the Everton Football Club, and hiking the white mountains with his dog.

Victor Kushch

Director of IT & Software Development

A.K.A. “Dev”

Victor has been in the IT industry for over a decade, solving problems in eCommerce, SAAS, blogging, SEO, and networking. In 2016 he joined Empow Studios for a full website redesign, and is continuing to work on more exciting projects that are helping our team deliver high-quality, effective programs. Victor runs an IT support service, Clever IT Systems.

Taylor Tutwiler of Empow Studios

Taylor Tutwiler

Brand Experience Manager

a.k.a. “Tater Tot”

After graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in Media Arts and Design from James Madison University, Taylor moved here from DC and found she fit in among the band of nerds at Empow. As our Brand Experience Manager, Taylor takes on admin, customer service, and marketing tasks. Her main responsibilities include sounding pleasant on the phone and making sure all the kids have left before turning out the lights. She’s also in control of all our social media! In her free time, Taylor enjoys crafting, yoga, running marathons, and playing with her ridiculously cute dog.

Aurelia Godard

Weekend Programs Manager

After graduating with a Bachelors in Graphic Design and Digital Media from Champlain College in Vermont, Aurelia has dabbled in freelance graphic design and large event management. After moving to Boston, she decided to focus on early childhood education and became a certified infant, toddler, and preschool daycare teacher. She is excited to combine these areas into one amazing role! Her favorite things are learning new things, dinosaurs, outer space, and writing things so they look fancy. Aurelia will be handling all birthday parties and workshops around the studio each weekend so be sure to say hi!

Aurelia

Bernardo Feliciano

Learning and Curriculum Development Lead

a.k.a. “Brick” or “Le Brique”

Bernardo has been interested in learning and teaching for a long time. He’s a geek of all trades, so he jumped at the chance to work at Empow Studios. It’s been a chance for him to put to work and play over 25 years (has it been that long?) of experience in classrooms and with various nonprofits. When he’s not playing with kids and robots (his favorite technology), you can find him helping to develop curricula and teaching practices, as well as assessing and learning from other out-of-school programs as a Certified Observer for Boston After School and Beyond.

Bernardo has gotten a lot of mileage out of his AB English and Ed.M in School Leadership from Harvard but has learned even more from his students, friends and family, in gardens and choirs, on the squash court, and at the poker table.

Costas Frost

Assistant After School Club Director, & Assistant Camp Director

a.k.a. “Hologram Frost”

Costas is our in-house 3D expert. He started his career as an animator for 3M Lexington. Since then he has worked in almost every facet of the 3D industry, from building and setting up render farms, to teaching 3D to various age groups. Costas Frost has graduated with a Bachelors of Fine Arts degree from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in 2007 in association with Tufts University. When he’s not teaching or working with Empow partners, Costas is a freelance 3D artist working in games and simulation.

Ed Kunakemakorn

Camp Director & Senior Instructor

a.k.a. “Eddy Spaghetti”

Eddy is an electrical engineer with training in music technology and media production. Eddy is excellent at making the complicated sound simple, which comes in especially handy in explaining music theory and programming. When not teaching or writing curriculum with Empow Studios, Eddy does freelance work in sound engineering and teaches video game design and math at Suffolk University. The greatest feelings of achievement for him come from seeing students turn their ideas into a reality, or when they discover in themselves new levels of creativity or technical understanding.

Michelle Meyer

Camp Director & Senior Instructor

a.k.a. “Qraft Queen”

Michelle comes to Empow Studios with a diverse background of teaching, creative arts, performing arts, arts & crafts and administration. She holds a strong rapport with her students, families, and fellow teammates through caring, knowledge and integrity. Being a “Maker” for her whole life, she is thrilled this is an official designation these days! When not at our studio crafting projects like a two-student ender dragon puppet-costume or at local schools helping future developers build video games, you can find Michelle crafting, coding, and creating throughout the New England area.

Lisa Fox

Lisa Fox

Camp Director

Lisa was born in Seoul, South Korea and was adopted when she was five months old.  She grew up in a small town outside of Boston. With a passion for art, she studied architecture her freshman year at the University of Maryland in College Park.  While architecture was still a passion, she was a camp counselor for 7 years and realized that teaching was her true calling.  She finished her undergraduate degree in Elementary Education and graduated with the highest honors from UMD.  Go Terps!

She has taught fifth and second grades in Title I schools and she is currently obtaining a Master’s in Instructional Technology at the University of Maryland, University College.  During her free time, Lisa enjoys cooking, reading, exercising, and spending time with her husband and dog, Sandy.

AJ Benning

Camp Director

AJ has been teaching for 5 years now which he says is a small accomplishment, but a great feeling. He is interested in almost everything which is great for meeting people or just hanging out with different groups of friends. He is really into hockey (played at URI) and golf, but also likes video games, reading, and even playing Magic! He loves connecting with people so come meet him at our Lexington camps!

AJ

Martin McDonald

Senior Instructor

a.k.a. “Magic Martin”

Martin is a professional digital artist with experience working on video games, TV shows and film. He primarily focuses in character animation in both 2D and 3D. He graduated from Massachusetts College of Art and Design with a degree in Animation and is a Massachusetts Licensed Teacher in Visual Arts. He finds great joy in learning all he can and teaching others all they want to know to help them better turn their dreams into reality. He has an entire library of random bits of interesting information from a wide variety of different subjects, such as History, Science, Math and Linguistics.

Daniel Strauss

Senior Instructor

A.K.A. “Dan the Man”

Dan is an artist who graduated from RIT with a degree in 3D Digital Design. Born and raised in Massachusetts, he enjoys traveling, though his favorite pastimes are games of all kinds. From board games to video games, he plays them all! Dan has a love of teaching and has taught a variety of subjects. After graduating from RIT, he moved to South Korea to teach English. After returning, Dan found a new home at Empow Studios. Here, Dan runs the weekend Minecraft and Game Design clubs, as well as teaching various technology classes across Massachusetts.

Pallavi

Pallavi Naravane

Senior Instructor, Assistant Camp Director, & FLL Lead Coach

A.K.A. “Cuber”

Pallavi is an electrical engineer, crafter and cuber. As an engineer she programmed microcontrollers and designed multi-layer boards for audio-video applications like 3D camera and NVH for automotives. She is an avid crafter, having organized a Summer Craft Camp at a local art gallery. Pallavi has conducted cubing classes, where she teaches kids to solve shape-shifting puzzles broadly known as Rubik’s cubes. She hopes to help kids discover their superpowers by going from learn-to-code to code-to-learn.

Diane Delgado

Lead Instructor

A.K.A. “The Kernel”

Diane Delgado is a software engineer with over 25 years experience in software design and programming.  She holds several patents for algorithms she invented in the operating systems and computer storage space.  She has programmed with C, C++, java, assembly language, and various scripting languages. She has degrees in computer science and applied mathematics. Diane was a Destination Imagination coach for 10 years and loves teaching kids  about technology and computer programming. She hopes to inspire the next generation of engineers so we can colonize Mars.  When not at Empow, Diane is making pottery, doing silversmithing, and training for a long backpacking thru trip in the Sierra Nevada mountains.

Theo Swartz

Lead Instructor

A.K.A. “Techno Theo”

Theo is a graduate of Rochester Institute of Technology with a Bachelors of Science in Game Design and Development.  He has a history of mobile & web programming, software testing, technology education, and music production.  He is passionate about video game design, communication, computer technologies, art, electronic music, and the outdoors.  When he is not teaching or developing curriculum at Empow Studios, Theo can be found playing piano, baking, biking, rock climbing, tinkering in Game Maker, designing levels for puzzle games, or attempting (occasionally successfully) to play games at a competitive level.

Lenny Young

Lead Instructor

A.K.A. “Lightyear Lenny”

Lenny has always had a strong interest in science and technology, starting from when he was very young. In school, he graduated from a Drafting and Design program, where he studied mechanical engineering, industrial design, 3D printing and architecture. With his curiosity and interest in science, he also learned about things like astronomy and physics. After school, he worked with technology at a local retail store, which pushed his passion for it even further. Finally, he arrived at Empow, where he continues to use this passion for science and technology in a different setting. Outside of Empow, Lenny enjoys hobbies such as amateur astronomy and building computers.

teddy

Teddy Murphy

Lead Instructor

 

Teddy is a Board-Certified Music Therapist who specializes in working with children with special needs and disabilities. He enjoys facilitating recording projects with his clients on a variety of digital audio workstations and empowering children to develop meaningful musical experiences. When not teaching at Empow, Teddy enjoys playing with his band, boxing, and being outdoors.

Kristin DeJohn

Marketing Content Writer

a.k.a. “Camera Kristin”

After graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications, Kristin spent 8 years producing television news, followed by 5 years of television documentary work – serving as writer and producer for a variety of shows, including two educational shows about wildlife and kids’ health. In recent years, she has written for Boston-based health publications and MetroWest Boston newspapers on topics ranging from kids’ inventions to genetics and environmental pollution. Kristin is Empow’s go-to blogger, and mother of two young girls who are extremely active in STEAM events such as their school’s FIRST LEGO League Robotics Club, Math Olympics, and a variety of other arts and engineering endeavors.

Kristin DeJohn

You?

Might you be our next “Empowerment Specialist?”

We’re always looking for teachers passionate about the power of technology in the hands of young creative minds. If you would like to teach part-time, or even occasional classes, please visit our Jobs page and apply. We’d love to hear from you.

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