Team

YvonneBoard

Yvonne Thevenot, M.Ed. | Founder & Executive Director

Yvonne is an educator-activist who believes that all students are capable of learning and that education can be used as a form of resistance against socio-economic marginalization. She has over 10 years of professional experience in the tech and financial private sectors as a Computer Scientist and Finance & Budget Analyst. She entered the education sector seven years ago and began working in informal STEM learning environments, teaching STEM content, developing curriculum, and supporting schools and community-based centers in the New York and New Jersey area with launching computer science, engineering, robotics, science, and creative technologies afterschool programs. In 2015, she founded STEM Kids NYC, an education nonprofit organization that bridges the gap between the current school curriculum and the immediate need for schools to prepare students for experiential STEM skills, particularly in Science, Computer Science and Engineering & Design, and for jobs that do not yet exist. At STEM Kids NYC, students between the ages of 4-19 learn how to code, engineer, engage in Science in experiential ways, build robots, then program them, and innovate using creative technologies.

She has a Bachelor of Science in Information Systems from the University of Dayton, a Masters of Arts in Teaching from the University of Southern California, and an Ed.M. in Curriculum and Teaching from Teachers College, Columbia University. Yvonne is now pursuing her Ph.D. in Teachers College’s Mathematics, Science, & Technology department, is a Zankel Fellow and is a research assistant with Teachers College’s Center for Technology and School Change.

Yvonne’s research interests lie within the intersectionality of STEM disciplines and using culturally responsive/sustaining curricular methods and social justice education pedagogies to support the whole student in thriving academically in STEM learning spaces. Yvonne is currently a Publishing Editor for the education journals, Voices In Urban Education, and Teachers College’s Current Issues in Comparative Education. She has presented her body of work on culturally responsive STEM curriculum, as well as a new pedagogical construct that she co-founded, which is centered on feminism and critical race theory, called Sisterly Responsive Pedagogy, in numerous education conferences at Teachers College, Columbia University’s Women in Science at Columbia symposiums, and the National Association for Research in Science and Teaching.

She is a hockey mom to her son, Blaise (named after the mathematician), and enjoys fitness boot camp and HIIT classes. She and her son currently reside in North Bergen, New Jersey.

Stephanie Haughton

Stephanie Haughton has a Master of Science in Computer Science from Lehman College, CUNY and a Bachelor of Business Administration in Computer Information Systems from Monroe College. As far as Stephanie can remember, she has always wanted to be an educator and her ability to teach was evident to others as one of her professors recommended her to teach an undergraduate course during the last semester of her Master’s program. Stephanie has four (4) years of experience teaching undergraduate students Computer Information Systems (CIS) courses such as, Network Introduction, Intro to CIS, E-Commerce and programming using Python and Visual Basic programming languages. She also worked as a Junior Database Administrator and was responsible for designing, developing and maintaining databases.

Stephanie joined the STEM Kids NYC team in 2018 and has been teaching STEAM courses to PreK - 9 students. She also teaches CodeSchool, Engineering & Design, and Creative Technologies. She enjoys witnessing the diversity of growth in students, and their joy in learning as well as empowering them with new skills and knowledge.In addition to teaching, Stephanie enjoys singing, cooking and listening to music as well as spending quality time with family and friends.

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Tidiane Cisse

Tidiane Cisse is a current student at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, working on a Criminology Major and a Computer Science Minor. He was born and raised in the Bronx. Being a teacher is something that has always come natural to him, as many, many people have asked for his assistance over the years. For two years, he was a mentor of college students at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. He has been playing around with computers ever since his early days of Elementary school, being affectionately known around as the “tech” guy. At STEM Kids NYC, he teaches Computer Science to K-5 students.

Jorge Gabitto

Jorge Gabitto graduated from the University of Houston with a bachelor of science in Biochemistry with minors in mathematics and chemistry and, most recently, an AAS in computer science. After spending some time conducting biomedical research in the Texas Medical Center, he realized that he desired to do something new and began his journey learning computer science. During this time period, Jorge worked at various charter schools in the Houston, TX area working with children from grades Kindergarten to High School. Jorge realized that he wanted to pair his joy for teaching with his newfound passion for programming. Jorge brings a wealth of coding knowledge along with his teaching enthusiasm as he knows the programming languages C++ and Javascript and programming frameworks such as Bootstrap and ReactJs. Aside from coding and teaching, Jorge’s other passion is soccer. He has played competitively throughout the years and continues to play to this day.

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amanda

Amanda Grutza

Amanda Grutza is a STEM Educator specializing in Robotics, Engineering and Maker Space curriculum. She works with various schools and nonprofits in the New York City area to develop and implement in-house & virtual STEM & Maker programs, as well as coaching award winning robotics teams. She has worked with various institutions to create innovative and inclusive tech programs, such as STEM Kids NYC, NASA, Skanska, the First LEGO League and the Girl Scouts of America.

Her D.I.Y. STEM program was featured in Samsung’s 2018 Education initiative, and she was recently the recipient of STEM Teacher NYC’s Professional Development scholarship. Her goal is to spread her passion for technology and the sciences to students of all ages, and help build up the next generation of engineers, rocket scientists, and robotics masters, with an emphasis on giving students who are traditionally underserved in the STEM fields, especially young women who are often overlooked for these positions. Her dream is to help build a world where all children are free to utilize the innate curiosity and inventiveness they naturally possess. She is a big fan of anything that lights up and can be taken apart!

Atta Boateng

An Engineer and Educator, with a B.A in Mathematics with a minor in Computer Science and Physics from CUNY Hunter College as well as a B.S in Electrical Engineering from SUNY New Paltz, Atta is a renaissance man. An immigrant from Ghana, West Africa, Atta developed a passion for STEM in his youth through his passion for creating. Whether it was going to the junkyard for parts to build model cars or finding parts to build and/or fix bicycles, he always tried to find a way to use the resources available to him to build. Having taught high school mathematics in the city, he tries to share his knowledge as well as his experiences to inspire and engage youths who might not necessarily have sufficient resources to expose themselves to STEM and STEM education. Outside of STEM Kids NYC, Atta engages himself with other interests, such as soccer and running. He also loves music and sound, and so practices guitar and tries to create new sounds through coding and electronic circuits.

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Hello! On behalf of STEM Kids NYC, I wanted to introduce our program that bridges the gap between the current curriculum in schools and the immediate need for schools to prepare students for future STEM opportunities. Founded by Yvonne Thevenot and known as the Culturally Responsive STEM Curriculum, this curriculum recognizes the different kinds of cultures that exist within the classroom and that culture is not just a construct derived from ethnicity or nationalism. Students will spend their day being taught by our outgoing teachers who have bachelors and phD’s in computer science, science, and mathematics. We also provide various programs and activities such as CodeSchool, Engineering & design, Robotics and so much more! All of this is implemented in our virtual learning pods that allow students to actively perform enjoyably in class with the right assistance and materials that help them develop their STEM identity.

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Litashka Hamadi

Litashka Hamadi is currently a Freshman in Stony brook University. She majors in electrical engineering to gain a better understanding of electrical design and infrastructure. 

Litashka’s high school, High School for Construction Trades, Engineering, and Architecture, has a remarkable STEM atmosphere where she was pre-majored in construction trades. Every year beginning from freshman year, she was introduced to a new trade and career where she was able to work on hands-on projects and gain useful, everyday experiences such as designing circuits and constructing both interior and exterior aspects of houses. As Litashka ventured upon electrical trades in sophomore year, she was immediately enthralled by her ability to catch on quickly and keep going. This inspired her to delve deep into electrical careers and eventually desired to work on and research projects that will contribute to the advancements of our technological society at Stony Brook. Before STEM Kids NYC, Litashka grasped every opportunity she could gain in order to understand the idea of real world experience before she herself progresses into it. She tutored young kids, volunteered in various community outreaches, interned with other establishments, and committed to civic engagement. 

Litashka’s most renowned experience was orchestrating an exhibition in the Brooklyn Historical Society with her team and receiving a Community Impact Award from the DA’s office and news recognition, as well as contacting someone from the White House during the research. This experience really opened up Litashka’s inner writer and hobby of simply writing, as she finds it therapeutic. Litashka enjoys working on projects where she can learn and solely concentrate like when she worked on a selection of watercolor and pencil artwork this summer. The most substantial thing she is passionate about is justice and advocacy. She has devoted herself to participating in many movements such as BLM and MeToo while listening to others’ stories. 

Lauren Miller

Lauren Miller is my name. I am 22 years old. I am from Harlem NYC born & raised,I graduated from High School Of Hospitality Management inside of  park west high school. I got into Stem because I was on indeed looking for jobs in my interest and yes before I had got accepted I have heard of the program numerous times but on indeed I seen STEM NYC hiring for multiple positions & seen that they offered training so I thought to myself let me give it a shot, yes I had some experience with teaching kids prior to this but it wasn't major. Before I came to STEM I was working numerous jobs that just didn't fit what I was looking for. I was working at Ihop, Shake Shack, Marshalls but it just wasn't a good fit for me at all. Outside of STEM NYC I have been trying to focus on actually starting to pursue my dream and get my associate's degree in early childhood education. HMM, great question, something great about me is that no matter how much I want to give up I always push myself to keep going cause sometimes you gotta strive for what you want. Something else that I feel that is great about me is since I was 10 years old I have been volunteering with grades pre-k-2nd grade and I would get rewards for it. I love kids who bring out the best in me.

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Uzoamaka Meremetoh

Uzoamaka Meremetoh was born in Nigeria but raised in America. Her parents came to America believing that they could give her a better life. Uzoamaka attended Hudson High School of Learning Technology and started showing interest in STEM in her high school chemistry class. She found thermochemistry and chemical bonding intriguing. From her experience in high school, she knew she wanted to go into a STEM career. 

Uzoamaka is now a sophomore at Lehman College and is a nursing major. She has taken several STEM classes like Chemistry, Anatomy & Physiology, Psychology, Statistics, Nutrient, and Pre-Calculus. She wishes to continue her STEM education because of how essential it is. STEM education creates critical thinkers, forms innovators, and increases science literacy.

Muhammad MuBarak

Muhammad Mubarak is a US Marine veteran, former HVAC technician, and IBEW Local 3 Union electrician with Siemens Electric and later the NYC department of environmental protection. Currently, I'm an SAT math tutor and proctor as well as an NYC Department of Education substitute teacher. I’m also licensed as an engineer and presently studying to acquire an actuary license.

My primary goal of working with STEM Kids NYC is to guide students to use STEM as a skill set to become their best selves while enjoying the process. I also have a secondary goal which is to reintroduce the role of mathematics as both the well spring and bridge which facilitates the many sciences, technology, and engineering applications in stem careers and education. 

Two sentence bio: I believe that in time anyone and everyone can learn anything and everything they choose. This mantra applies to the sciences as well, so as students of the sciences we should all be learning and teaching to best benefit society by promoting knowledge and equity. 

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Salman Ali

Salman Ali has a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics & Philosophy from Lehman College. He has always been profoundly interested in science, mathematics, and philosophy.

Salman has always been passionate about teaching and learning as well, he intensely got involved in the STEM field during his high school years. He started taking college-level courses through his high school programs and participated in several afterschool programs including working directly with the school’s IT department. Salman was given an opportunity to tutor the students through an afterschool program in his high school, where he acquired experience tutoring students for two (2) years in a professional classroom setting. Later he was recommended by one of his professors during his academic journey in college to tutor students, where he tutored for about one year. Salman is currently working as a teacher and tutor in the STEAM field. He hopes to further develop as an educator working with STEM Kids NYC and aims to acquire experience in various fields of STEM.

Two-sentence bio: When it comes down to learning, I believe in understanding over anything, and learning should not feel like a burden but rather a fun and exciting part of a student’s life. Salman has several interests and hobbies including being an avid competitive gamer, being passionate about music, and a continuous desire to learn and grow. Salman is the founder of a gaming community, where he actively engages and socializes with people; he also often coaches players that thrive to excel.