Internal Staff

Roxana Hadad, Principal Investigator (PI), has an MPS in Interactive Telecommunications. Ms. Hadad is Director of Math, Science, anroxd Technology at NEIU’s Center for College Access and Success (CCAS). She has more than a decade of experience building online teacher, student, and industry expert communities and courses in STEM fields, and she began Adobe Generation UK’s first online game design course. Her research interest is the assessment of CT, and she is a member of the Computer Science Teacher Association’s (CSTA) Computational Thinking Task Force, which informs and advises CSTA about current developments in CT and explores and disseminates teaching and learning resources related to CT. She is also part of the team creating the Computational Making and Design Pathway in Chicago, which supports youth in developing their interests in and gaining access to activities that integrate design, making, and computation. Ms. Hadad will oversee the Leadership Team, the ADT, and the MAT, and will prepare materials for dissemination. She is an illustrator who likes to make interactive drawings.

The Co-PI will be Dr. Yue Yin, PhD, Associate Professor in the Department of Educational Psychology at the Yue Yin July10-14University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). Dr. Yin has conducted research on performance assessment, concept mapping assessment, formative assessment, concept inventory development, and validation. The subject contents in her research have involved physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics, and statistics, ranging from K-12 to higher education. In her research, she used learning theory as a foundation and measurement and statistics as tools to explore and examine ways of using assessments to improve students’ learning. Dr. Yin will oversee the assessment development effort through leadership in the ADT and will prepare materials for dissemination.

Germania Solórzano, MA in Education and MFA in germaniaCreative Writing, is the Maker Activity Specialist for the project. She has10 years of experience writing curriculum and assessments for the Center for College Access and Success teacher professional development and college preparatory initiatives, including last summer’s successful Introduction to Programming and Engineering for Middle School Students with the PI. Ms. Solórzano is currently directing a CCAS pilot with YOUmedia in which teachers receive professional development on curriculum building using maker activities that relate to their content areas and pilot these maker activities with their students in a combined in-class curriculum and workshop at YOUmedia. She will serve on the Leadership Team and the MAT. She likes to make up stories, and make yummy food, fuzzy scarves, snazzy skirts, and messes.

Kate Thomas, MA in Interdisciplinary Arts, is the Assessment kateSpecialist for the project. She is an expert in employing the Studio Thinking Framework, which this project will be using, to develop curriculum and assessments. She is the author of the K-8 sequential curriculum Every Art, Every Child, which is available online as well as in print. She hosts an international online professional learning community for teachers focused on the transfer of learning among domains, and she maintains an active presence on her reflective practice blog. She will serve on the Leadership Team and the ADT.

SONY DSC C. Meghan Hausman, B.S. in Secondary Education, has classroom experience working with a range of students between ages 4-adult, both domestically and internationally, as well as grant writing and management experience. She will act as the Project Director as well as participate on the curriculum and research teams in addition to recruitment of a diverse group of students to participate in the case studies, focus groups, and proof of concept study. Currently, Meghan is working on her Masters of Social Work at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Meghan enjoys cooking, transferring her photos onto objects such as wood, newspaper, or old book pages, and attempts to crochet.

Xiaodan Tang, MA in Educational Studies and is currently a doctoral IMG_5963student in the area of educational assessment and measurement at UIC. She will conduct live observations of the students and make video and audio recordings of the students as well as computer screen captures of student activities.


Screen Shot 2016-02-01 at 11.57.32 AMQiao Lin, MEd in Youth Development and is a graduate student in the Measurement, Evaluation, Statistics and Assessment program at UIC. She will coordinate the assessment development and involved in the live observations of the students. She will conduct the transcript of the video and audio recording of the students.


Jeff Sweeton founded and facilitates CodeCreate Technology Education workshops with many partners including Disney Magnet Schools, The Chicago City of Learning, Jeff-Bio-Pic2Facets Multimedia, the Imagination Foundation and the Civic Lab (among many others) where he was chosen and served as a Making Fellow. At Northwestern University’s Center for Talent Development, Jeff’s taught a variety of media, electronics and engineering courses for about seven years and as the Technology Education Manager at the Lawndale Christian Development Corporation, Jeff redesigned the Community Technology Center to integrate project-based, multimedia and Pop-Up learning. Previously, he led a Computer Clubhouse for seven years while also serving as an international trainer with the Intel Computer Clubhouse Network, also working with MIT’s Media Lab, After School Matters and various filmmaking clients.

Carolina Kaufman understands education technology, but she also understands that Screen Shot 2016-02-22 at 3.00.07 PMour desire for personal expression motivates everything we do- within any technology or medium.  Currently teaching as graduate lecturer at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and CodeCreate facilitator, Carolina brings over a dozen years of experience in establishing creative 21st century learning environments and integrating STEAM education for after-school programs such as the Boys and Girls Clubs of America and The Intel Computer Clubhouse and more recently managing education technology at The Art Institute of Chicago and teaching for Northwestern University’s Center for Talent and Development.  Ms. Kaufman holds M.Ed from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and a BA in Art History and Studio Art.  Honors include serving as a Crescendo Cultural advisor for The National Museum of Mexican Art, Grant reviewer for the Institute of Museum and Library Services,  American Association of Museums Media and Technology Gold Award, and Ideas Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Screen Shot 2016-02-16 at 5.44.21 PMEphran Ramirez Jr. is a STEM specialist and Lead STEM Mentor for YOUmedia at the Chicago Public Libraries. He studied Middle-Level Education and Science/Math Concepts at Northeastern Illinois University, and has been a judge for various science fairs and physics competitions. At YOUmedia, he designs culturally and spatially relevant project-based activities and lessons as part of the informal STEM curriculum at the Humboldt Park branch of the library. He will be involved in researching STEM education methods and facilitating testing in YOUmedia maker spaces in the library. He is involved in several local social justice projects, and in his free time he collects board games and laboratory equipment.

External Evaluators

Dominica headshotDr. Dominica McBride has conducted program development and evaluation projects with many diverse communities, both in the United States and Tanzania. She also conducts training for communities, coalitions, and organizations nationally. She has received awards from the American Evaluation Association, ARK of St. Sabina, and Bright Promises Foundation for her work in evaluation and community development. She has published articles and chapters on various topics, including culturally responsive evaluation, cultural competence, and prevention. She is leading the evaluation of the project.

Dr. Mila Kachovska, PhD, MBA is one of ACTMA’s Project Evaluators working with the Kachovska.jpgBecome, Inc. team. She is an internationally known Change Agent who has been devoting her career in advancing the long-term vision of organizations from clients, to markets, and relationships. Her background encompasses leadership, team building, planning, organizing, and problem solving, all of which have realized significant growth results. Her passion of bringing people together by maximizing human worth and drawing on the talents of diversity emanates in her research focus on evaluating the socio-cultural adaptation of people from diverse backgrounds, cultures and professional levels within new environments.

Advisory Board

Ugochi Acholonu earned her PhD in Learning Sciences and Technology Design at Stanford University in 2012. She received a MS in Computer Science with a specialty in Human Screen Shot 2016-02-15 at 2.33.50 PMComputer Interaction in 2005, and a BS in Electrical Engineering in 2003. Both degrees were also earned at Stanford University. Her research interests include understanding the development of adaptive technical expertise in youth, curricular positioning and its impact on student learning, and digital inequality. She is currently a Research Scientist at Digital Youth Network at DePaul University.  She likes to make Data Visualizations using code.

Dr. Julie Smallfield, PhD in Physics, began her career in corporateIMG_4683 research for a textile company. She has spent the last eight years teaching high school physics, chemistry, physical science, and computer science. She is currently teaching AP Physics and dual-enrollment physics to a diverse student population at Lane Tech College Prep High School. Julie enjoys creating with textiles, decorating cakes, and playing the piano and organ.

Screen Shot 2016-02-16 at 12.54.34 PMMichael K. Thomas, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Educational Psychology at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Thomas’ primary research interest centers on the cultural dimensions of technology implementation in learning contexts and what this means for the design of technology-rich innovations for learning. Three key questions with respect to this are (a) What are the central concerns of teachers, trainers, and other stakeholders regarding the implementation of technology in learning contexts? (b) What do they do to continually resolve these concerns? and (c) In what ways does culture play a role in the design and implementation of technology-rich innovations? He is particularly interested in video games and gameification in learning environments and was a primary contributor to the Quest Atlantis project funded by the National Science Foundation.

MalteseAdam V. Maltese, PhD, is an Associate Professor of Science Education at Indiana University – Bloomington. His work focuses on understanding the experiences that trigger and maintain interest in STEM from youth through adulthood. Currently, this work involves: looking at the role of making in developing interest; how youth participating in robotics competitions and science fairs develop STEM identities, how university students select majors, and the role of failure in STEM persistence for STEM professionals. When not working on research he tries to hold back from getting his young kids engaged in too many science activities.

Teacher Consultants

kara wKara Weisenburger moved to Chicago in 2003 obtained her BS and MEd from Loyola University Chicago. She is currently teaching both Physics and Chemistry at Baker College Prep, a Noble Street Charter School. She has taught science for the past seven years in the city and coaches high school soccer for both boys and girls. Kara enjoys making scarfs with her developing knitting skills!

john mJohn Metzler obtained his B.S. in Physics and Education in 2008 and his M.S. in Science Education in 2010. He currently is pursuing a M.S. in Educational Leadership while also working as a full time Physics teacher at District 219 in Skokie, IL. John has been teaching for 8 years. Currently, he teaches AP Physics 1 and Physics, but has also taught AP Physics C, Conceptual Physics, and Honors Physics. John enjoys spending time with his family, reading, and doing science experiments at home.

Student Consultants

Screen Shot 2016-02-16 at 5.37.43 PMCarlos is currently a junior at Lane Tech High School. He is very passionate about and interested in all aspects of science, specifically physics and anatomy. He is also very interested in product design and development, and hopes to study that in college when he is finished with high school next year. Things Carlos likes to make: he enjoys using 3D modeling and 3D printers to bring his sketches of possible products into real, working prototypes!

Made with Repix ( is a senior at Lane Tech High School and will be attending University of Michigan Ann Arbor for computer science. She is deeply involved in robotics and the computer science department and intends to bring her many experiences with her as a committee member on the project. The possibilities of making with technology excite her and you can find her in the maker lab where she works toward her goal of becoming the Philip Treacy of bow ties.

Screen Shot 2016-02-22 at 2.00.40 PMLakeisha is a freshman at St.Benedict Preparatory School. When she gets older she wants to become a computer engineer scientist. This grant program will help her achieve this goal because that career is full of CT. The things that she likes to build the most are android apps using app inventor.

Ali is currently a junior at Lane Tech High School. He is part of the school’s track team and robotics team (Chairman). This year his 12485935_961781827238632_1113449704441853269_ointerests have been set heavy on the school’s Maker’s Lab, where he enjoys designing and creating using laser cutters, carvers, 3D printers, etc. He also has experience in coding with Java and other programming languages, and plans on taking more computer science classes next year, learning more about how computers work and how to work with them.

Jazlynn is currently a junior at King College Prep. She is very enthusiastic about science and open to learning new things. She’s really interested in medicine and hopes to major in anesthesiology at Howard University when she graduates next year. Things Jazlynn likes to make: she loves making fun creative birthday cards.