The Amazing QuantumCamp Team
Quantum Campus is a team of teachers who are passionate about changing education. We aren't satisfied with status quo and we believe that the best way to change education is to step forward and do it. We believe in working together to solve problems and that research is the best way to solve big problems. Much like a Silicon Valley company we know that process is the way to ensure repeatable outcome. Each of us understands that teaching is a combination of preparation and emotional intelligence. We are at Quantum Campus because we want to participate in creating the future of education and help children the world over.
Co-Founder and CEO
Ryan is a credentialed mathematics and physics teacher and co-founded QuantumCamp in 2008. His breadth of educational background has taught him that the earlier a child learns math and science the more richly connected they will become to those topics. He firmly believes that through amazing curriculum students of all socio-economic and learning backgrounds can learn far more than what our current educational system is designed to deliver. He has been teaching for 20 years and has worked in a wide variety of educational venues. Ryan began tutoring students in Latin and mathematics at the age of 15 and continued tutoring on into college. While lecturing physics at San Francisco State University, Ryan recognized a lifelong passion to teach science and mathematics to new generations of students. After working at the university level, Ryan realized that many of his students were ill-prepared and poorly trained in both mathematics and science. This realization led Ryan to become a public school mathematics teacher first in Oakland then in Richmond with the goal of helping a new generation of students into scientific careers.
Director of Operations
LeAnne joined QuantumCamp as the Business Manger. She has a degree in Marketing from the University of Colorado and is currently working on her second degree in Accounting. With her previous work experience and her extensive training in the Professional Golfers Association, LeAnne brings a unique set of skills and abilities to the QuantumCamp team. LeAnne has worked as a Senior Golf Professional at the Country Club of Colorado in Colorado Springs, CO, the Operations Manager at Vienna Skin Clinic in San Jose, CA, and pursues being a lifelong scholar with a passion for seeking new knowledge and education. LeAnne is a deeply motivated and driven woman that seeks excellence in everything she does. When LeAnne isn’t working, you can find her either on the golf course, reading a good book, or traveling.
Sharon Woodburn, M.A.
Lead Curriculum Designer
Sharon's interest in math and science began at an early age. Her earliest academic memory is of her grandfather teaching her the multiplication tables when she was in kindergarten (and then of course quizzing her older sister on these math facts). She continued to enjoy math and science throughout her school years, and when she got to college, she found it was time to narrow her interests. Sharon’s main interest was in the life sciences, and in her sophomore year of college, she began the Human Biology core classes at Stanford. These courses were unique in that they studied the human being from various perspectives, including biological, behavioral, and cultural. For example, during a unit on child development, Sharon was interning at an on-campus preschool. In her classes, she was learning about the physical and neurological changes that are happening as a child grows. She was also learning about linguistics and language development, and the development of gross and fine motor skills, which made the learning more practical and applicable to her experiences. It was during these courses that Sharon realized two things: that she wanted to become an educator, and that she wanted to engage her students in learning that is relevant to their lives. After earning her B.A. in Human Biology at Stanford, Sharon attended the Stanford Teacher Education Program, STEP, to earn her M.A. in Elementary Education, as well as her teaching credential. After spending four years teaching preschool and kindergarten, Sharon was eager to combine her passion for science with her love of teaching. She joins QuantumCamp excited about creating hands-on learning experiences, as well as meaningful connections between classroom learning and students’ real life experiences.
Resident Curriculum Designer
Heather’s love and enthusiasm for tinkering and building started at a young age, and when her second grade teacher gave the assignment to make a “thinking cap” she immediately decided that it needed to have blinking lights that would run around your skull, with a knob to speed them up or slow them down. Heather succeeded at creating her vision, learning the basics of circuit design, drilling and soldering from her father, an EECS professor (who would wear the cap trick-or-treating for years). Heather spent high school taking as many science classes as she could squeeze into her schedule and spent a lot of her time helping explain math and science to her peers. It seemed only natural that she should pursue something that mixed her love of tinkering, science and helping people learn. So Heather went to MIT and got her B.S. in Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Biomedical Engineering, and went through the MIT-Wellesley Teacher Education Program. While at MIT Heather ran the freshman physics lab, helping students trouble-shoot electro-magnetic devices, and she worked at Biogen-IDEC, a biopharmaceutical company in Cambridge, MA, developing and running summer programs for high school students to come play in real labs and learn molecular genetics. Upon graduating from MIT Heather worked for Johnson & Johnson’s medical device company Cordis as a process engineer for several years, but found herself missing teaching. Her alma mater (Head-Royce) needed a physics teacher for a year and so she moved back to the SF Bay Area and taught first Physics, and the following year added AP Bio, and then a Product Design class that she developed. For the past three years, Heather taught integrated laboratory science, physics, and honors biology at the College Preparatory School in Oakland. Heather loved teaching but dreamed of having classes that were more student-driven and experiment-focused that would help students connect what happens in science class to the world around them and see how science is used in different jobs. Heather is delighted to be pursuing this dream at Quantum Camp, getting to develop curriculum and engage with students.
Yasamin Salari, M.A.
Resident Curriculum Designer
Yasamin Salari holds an MA in Rhetoric from San Diego State University, and a BA in Religious Studies from University of California, Santa Barbara. While it might seem unusual that this educational path brought her to a passion for teaching the sciences, she feels that science holds the same explanatory power for knowledge seekers and world explorers as either of her fields. Furthermore, she feels that an innovative sciences curriculum is one of, if not the single most focal pedagogical shift occurring in the American education system. Her desire to create innovative ways to approach scientific literacy, the focus of her Rhetoric degree, drew her to Quantum Camp and she is excited to be a part of this dynamic educational movement. When she is not channeling wisdom to kids, she is a yogi, swimmer, tree climber and aspiring master chef.
Michael Finnegan, Ph.D.
Co-Founder and COO
Michael's interest in science education began with a simple observation made way back in high school. He loved science but noticed he did not love his science courses! This small disconnect resurfaced years later, after earning a degree in Materials Science from Penn State University and a Ph.D. in Materials Science from the University of Wisconsin. His doctoral research focused on the synthesis and peculiar properties of titanium dioxide nanoparticles. He found that when particles are only hundreds of atoms big, they behave in very different ways. For instance, they can switch crystal forms with very little input of energy. In addition to laboratory research, Michael was a floor engineer at Evergreen Solar silicon solar cell manufacturing company where he correlated specific manufacturing steps with impact on silicon crystal quality and overall cell efficiency. Through a volunteer position teaching math to Oakland public school students, he saw other young students make the same observation he did back in high school. The students were naturally curious about the world but not about class! He proceeded to earn a California Teaching Credential and taught in public and private high schools middle schools in California for 4 years. He decided to directly tap into the innate curiosity of all humans and founded, with Ryan, a company called QuantumCamp. Michael and Ryan are developing courses in an environment where the curiosity of the student is the guiding force. Michael is also the co-founder of leaf education, a software company bringing the same spirit to digital education.
Lisa Bishop, Ph.D.
Lead Curriculum Designer
Lisa’s love of mathematics has always been tied to her love of its applications in everything from art to science. After being unable to give up the study of either subject, Lisa got a degree in both math and music at Occidental College. She went on to get a Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics from the University of Washington doing research in math biology, and did a postdoctoral fellowship at the Gladstone Institute at UCSF working alongside experimentalists to develop mathematical models of HIV. During her graduate career Lisa spent two years as an NSF GK-12 fellow working in public elementary schools in the Seattle area to develop and teach exploratory math lessons. She enjoyed finding applications of math that would engage students, but also allow them creativity in problem solving and was astounded by the deep mathematical capabilities of her students. During her time in the classroom Lisa was disheartened to see how the current culture around mathematics limits students from seeing its role in science, art, and everyday life. To address this she co-founded a math outreach program, run entirely by graduate students, to present young students with examples of the applications being studied by mathematicians and engineers. Lisa is dedicated to using her own interdisciplinary background to create an environment where students can engage with mathematics in a meaningful way and be inspired by its applications.
Michael Stokes, M.A.
Resident Curriculum Designer
Michael has possessed a deep passion for history since his early childhood. Born just outside of Boston, he was inspired by the rich and vibrant historical culture of New England. At only the age of six, Michael took part in the reenactment of the clash at Lexington and Concord that ignited the American Revolution. Since that young age he has been an active participant in living history demonstrations. Michael began his formal studies at Hamilton College where he earned a B.A. with a double major in History and Government. After that, he undertook advanced historical training at Seton Hall University where he completed a M.A. degree with a focus on European History. While at Seton Hall, Michael helped to organize and promote the National History Day competition. Michael believes that History can be brought to life in the classroom in a way that allows students to imagine themselves in the shoes of those people who lived in the past. Michael long ago became frustrated by the standard historical instruction which seems to focus solely on dates and events. He firmly believes that answering the why is far more important than answering the what. An effective implementation of this core belief will help students develop strong writing and researching skills, understand people and society, learn moral empathy and good citizenship, and assess evidence and conflicting interpretations. Michael now wants to pass on his enthusiasm for history by helping a new generation of students embrace the subject the way he once did.
Samantha Kowalski, M.Ed.
Resident Curriculum Designer
Born and raised in Los Angeles, California, Samantha Kowalski has been an avid reader and lover of the English language since she was a small child. A product of public schools, she attended the University of California, Irvine for her B.A. in English and Creative Writing, with a minor in Spanish language. While at UCI, she also won the Bret Baldwin Award in Poetry and discovered her love of education. After taking a short break from school (during which she learned to dance folklorico and published a poetry chapbook), she attended UCLA and obtained her Master’s in Education (M.Ed) from UCLA, along with a credential in secondary English. Shortly after graduating, she taught poetry to elementary school students in the Los Angeles area for two years. Always up for an adventure and ever the traveler, Samantha has decided to bring her love of English to the Bay Area. In her spare time, she enjoys exercising, live music, writing, museums, trying to cook, and exploring.
Angela Sia, Ph.D.
Resident Curriculum Designer
Angela's passion for science sparked in AP Biology class her junior year of high school. She clearly remembers being fascinated that all the complexity of life could stem from a simple yet elegant molecule, DNA. She went on to major in biology at the University of Tampa, not knowing where the road would lead from there. One afternoon in between classes, she was flipping through television channels when she stopped to watch an interview with Michael J. Fox on Oprah. A beloved fan of the Back to the Future trilogy, she was socked to see the effects of Parkinson's disease on such a young and vibrant person. From that moment on, her heart was set on studying health and human disease. Although she was compelled to follow in the footsteps of her parents and study medicine, she felt a call to research, an avenue for discovering the basis of disease in order to develop better clinical treatments. In 2012, Angela graduated from UCSF with a Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences. Her research focused on the cellular basis of amyloid-beta toxicity in Alzheimer's disease. Throughout graduate school Angela grew a passion for teaching and sharing her love of science with others, and has worked with the UCSF Science and Health Education outreach program to bring scientists into classrooms in the SF Unified School District. In addition, she has taught numerous biology courses at the University of San Francisco. She hopes to ignite a passion for science in students of all ages, and cultivate the minds of future scientists and clinicians who will continue to tackle some of our most devastating diseases.