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.

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Stephanie Haughton

Stephanie 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 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.


Litashka Hamadi

Litashka is currently a student at Stony Brook University, majoring in electrical engineering, and manages STEM Kids NYC's Social Media Communications and Website Design & Maintenance.  

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 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. 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. 


Tidiane Cisse

Tidiane 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 naturally 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.

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Jorge Gabitto

Jorge 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 at the Texas Medical Center, he realized that he desired to do something new and began his journey of 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 in 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.


Amanda Grutza

Amanda 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!

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Theo Coulson

Theo is a student at Oberlin College studying a physics major and computer science and visual arts minors. He’s been programming since sixth grade and is interested in computer science, economics, and physics. He started working at STEM Kids NYC in the summer of 2018 and has also helped run middle school classes and activities at D-E Shaw & Co, in the STEM Kids NYC facilitated Take Your Children to Work Day. He is an avid fan of Dungeons and Dragons, and spends his free time computer programming, and playing video games. Some of his other interests include drawing, military history, and aerospace.

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Uzoamaka Meremetoh

Uzoamaka 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.

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Salman Ali

Salman 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.

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Eliyakol Djokoto

Eliyakol is a college graduate from the City College of New York. She majored in Political Science with a minor in Legal Studies. She became interested in STEM in High school when she joined an after-school program called the Einstein Enrichment Program. The Einstein Enrichment Program helped her to develop various skills within the STEM field. Before joining STEM Kids NYC, Eliyakol taught elementary and middle school students various science concepts using fun experiments. Although Eliyakol is an aspiring lawyer, Eliyakol hopes to expose more children to STEM through after-school programs like STEM Kids NYC because she recognizes how the Einstein Enrichment Program helped her to develop more skills and explore different fields.

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Adrian Harris

Adrian has a Bachelor's of Business Administration in Statistics and Quantitative Modeling from Baruch College. He also is a second-year master's student at NYU in the Applied Statistics for Social Research Program. He is interested in topics such as psychology, health care policy, artificial intelligence, machine learning ethics, data storytelling, option hedging, and arbitrage.

Adrian has had experience working as a graduate research fellow at NYU researching COVID-19 at a socioeconomic level between NYC and London with statistical and machine learning methods. He has also interned at companies such as eBay and American Family Insurance in data science and other data-related roles. He has a passion for wanting to help people and educating the world on topics such as STEM. He discovered STEM later in life after switching majors and now wants to spread the knowledge to kids at a younger age. 


Ravan Wynn

Ravan is a K-2 stem teacher specializing in science and engineering. Raven works for Thurgood Marshall Academy Lower School’s Sobro program and she brings her enthusiasm into the classroom every time to teach STEM! She enjoyed working in our team with our partnership with Thurgood Marshall Academy Lower School because she enjoyed learning something new every day, along with the students! This is her first year working with solo classes in our program and she has been exceptional in teaching our STEM kids both science and engineering. 

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Bejamin Shapiro

Meet Benjamin, he’s working on becoming a science teacher, but in the meantime, he is receiving my Master’s in Education from Hofstra University.  He holds an additional Master’s degree in Urban Sustainability from CUNY City College. It is a mission of his to inspire the next generation of young thinkers in order to best prepare them for the challenges ahead. Climate change, global pandemics, job insecurity, and the widening wealth gap are all issues this next generation will face. By empowering young people to take initiative in their lives, specifically by cultivating the interest in STEM-related topics, it's the hope that he can influence the change needed to see youth develop into successful educated adults.

Youth activism and the environment have always been a passion of his. In the words of the lovely Greta Thornburg on youth impact. "I have learned you are never too small to make a difference." STEM KIDS NYC is a place for young people to not only be empowered but to gain foundational skills in STEM learning, so the team works to make that happen.

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Alp Berrak

Alp is currently a Computer Science major at Bergen County Technical Highschool in Teterboro, New Jersey. He has been coding since he was 10, and he is interested in Computer Science, Psychology, and Econometrics. He began working at STEM Kids NYC in the spring of 2020. A couple of fun facts about him: He is a huge star wars fan, he is intrigued by military history and strategies, and he recently began competing in the CyberPatriots competition.  He also has a black belt in taekwondo.

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Lin Jing Liu

Lin Jing is a freshman at Cornell University who is intending to major in Computer Science at the College of Engineering. Her first exposure to Computer Science was through the AP CSP course in high school, where she built simple programs using a blocked-based programming language called SNAP! From there, she went on to learn more programming languages by taking courses in her high school. Before she came to STEM Kids NYC, she was a high school student who was curious and excited about coding and learning more about it, until she started to assist in STEM Kids NYC’s virtual classrooms as an intern. Aside from working with STEM Kids NYC, Lin also seeks for opportunities to work more directly with computer programs, by being part of the Cornell Robotics Cup Project Team. Aside from CS, Lin enjoys books, music, and sudoku puzzles in her free time.

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Amro Halwah

Amro has a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Stony Brook University. He is currently pursuing a Master’s of Science in Mechanical Engineering at Stony Brook University and seeks to pursue a Ph.D. in the same engineering field at Stony Brook after. He has an interest in robotics and programming. He first developed this interest as a senior in high school when he joined a group of students to build a prototype of a vacuum robot that can be installed on MTA subway trains to clean the tracks and solve the problem of excessive litter on train tracks. He presented the prototype to President Obama at the 2016 White House Science Fair, along with two other group members. He currently does research in soft robotics and motion design theory.