Leonid Tunik, Founder & CEO
a.k.a. “Cosmic Leonid”
Leonid founded Empow Studios out of a love of education, technology, and entrepreneurship, and a stubborn desire to build a fun place for his two kids to hang out at. He has worked with leading educational publishers to develop award-winning math tools and tutorials for high school and college students, as well as testing and monitoring tools for K-12 teachers working with struggling students. Aside from being credited with spectacular meteor-shower events, his proudest achievements include driving his Honda CB750 coast-to-coast across the United States (and back), skiing down Mt. Elbrus, and establishing Empow Studios.
Matt Silverstein, Program Director
a.k.a “Mechanical 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 Program Director, 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.
Constantine Frost, Program Manager
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.
David Gutierrez, Marketing Manager
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 legendary 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, analytics, and social media. In his spare time, Dave enjoys writing music, supporting the Everton Football Club, and hiking the white mountains with his dog.
Ed Kunakemakorn, Senior Teacher & Curriculum Coordinator
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 Learning, Eddy does freelance work in sound engineering and teaches video game design 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.
Valerie Donovan, Event Coordinator
a.k.a. “Party Pal Val”
Val makes things happen! She hosts our fun-tastic birthday parties and special events. Originally from the Boston area, she moved to Florida and worked in retail at Bestbuy, where she came to realize that what she really loved was teaching people about technology. She had also worked with children as a nanny and caregiver before hatching a plan to move back to Boston to pursue a career in Education. When not planning super fun birthday parties at Empow, you can find Val practicing yoga, driving her yellow VW bug to different attractions, and dreaming of her next travel adventure.
Martin McDonald, Teacher
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.
Michelle Meyer, Teacher
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.
Kevin Ferreira, Teacher
a.k.a. “Keyframe Kevin”
Kevin has spent over a decade working with aerospace testing technologies and even longer developing his talent as an artist in the field of animation. He recently joined Empow Studios in order to share with others his passion for technology and art. After completing his studies at the New York Film Academy he joined the armed services as a special forces recruit and finished his military career honorably as an infantry airborne paratrooper. He’s currently studying illustration and animation at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts and last summer was an animation intern for the Boston non-profit, Next Mile Project. Recently, Kevin was interviewed on gique.me for his latest work, “The Scarab Experiment”, which is a community project that combines art with decentralized blockchain technology. This coming year, he’ll be a featured guest Polly Thayer Starr artist at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, where the community can come participate and learn about his creative art processes. Kevin’s skilled with an array of technologies and mediums including 2D animation, game/graphic design, materials testing, painting, illustration and programming.
Mike Bowen, Teacher
a.k.a. “Mike Gravity”
Since early childhood, Michael has been an artist and self-professed technology geek; finishing his school work early to get a hall pass to the art room or computer lab to work on his creations, and building computers powerful enough to play the latest video games at home. As an adult Michael fell in love with film and music production, graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Communications and Film Studies from The University of Massachusetts at Amherst and a Master’s degree in Music Production and Technology from Berklee College of Music. In 2009 Michael moved from his home in Western Massachusetts to Boston where he became a proud father and worked as a Learning Technology Innovation Specialist, Multimedia Presentation Designer, Music Producer and Audio and Lighting engineer. In 2015 Michael found a new family who shared his passion for art, technology and education in the team at Empow and hasn’t looked back since!
Lenny Young, Teacher
a.k.a. “Light-year 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 learned about Mechanical Engineering, Industrial Design, 3D printing, and Architecture. With his curiosity and interest in science, he also learned about astronomy and physics. After school, he began as the Technology Supervisor at a local Staples, which pushed his passion for technology 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.
Bernardo Feliciano, Teacher
Bernardo has always been interested in learning and teaching all sorts of “useful” skills and ideas, whether it has to do with sports (all except hockey and other slippery sports), arts (fine and not-so-fine), science, culture (pop and not-pop), games, theories of cognitive and behavioral development, gardening, organizations, teaching, learning or technology. He’s a geek of all trades, continually working on mastering them. In the 11 years after graduating from Harvard University with an AB in English, he worked at two New Jersey/New York area independent schools, taught English, history, drama and science, and coached wrestling and lacrosse. During that time, the World Wide Web was born, rapidly grew, and started to spread its tendrils everywhere. As any proper geek would, Bernardo found himself managing a school computer network, teaching computer classes, and being amazed by a new tool called Google. In 2000, Bernardo moved to Maine and over the next 15 years, he earned an Ed.M in School Leadership from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, worked in the nonprofit sector as an IT professional, evaluator, and organizational developer, played a lot of squash and video games, and became the father of two daughters. When his wife Ann joined UMass Lowell faculty in 2015, Bernardo and his family moved to Massachusetts, where they are making home in Lowell, and he is geeking out at Empow Studios.
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.
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.