Cofounder and CEO, Michael Finnegan, Ph.D., tells the story of QC
Science at my school was unteachable so researched how real scientists do science
Hey! I'm Michael, founder of QuantumCamp.
It wasn’t too long ago that I was a public school science teacher, frustrated with my own teaching - not a good place to be for a middle school science teacher!
The school board and my principal were breathing down my neck telling me to teach science to the standardized tests. Yet, I couldn’t see myself delivering boring check-box-based lists of dry content, to be memorized, to these beautiful young minds, in my classroom.
But I knew of no better way. So I dove into both eduction theory AND I studied the history of science and math, curious to really understand how the profound and grand ideas in math and science actually came to be.
I chose an abstract topic (you know, just to keep things interesting) and researched how Niels Bohr, Albert Einstein, and others overturned centuries of establish physics, and sparked the quantum physics revolution in the early 1900's.
I discovered that the foundations of the quantum physics revolution originated from a simple set of experiments conducted throughout the 1800s.
Bohr and Einstein simply pieced the data together and followed the logic. In 1913, Bohr proclaimed to the world that electrons, inside atoms, don't move smoothly through space, but rather mysteriously disappear and reappear with no trace.
Inspired by my findings, I ran an experiment with 12 middle schoolers in the summer of 2012. Could they learn quantum physics just like Bohr and Einstein?
This was, I surmised, what good science looks like: Doing experiments, looking at data, and making meaning. Radical, eh!
If these students conducted the same labs that Bohr knew about (AND if I prompted them with the right questions at the right time), could they rediscover quantum physics on their own?
On Friday of the weeklong summer camp, students approached saying, “Michael, does this mean the electron can be here and here, but not in between. It just jumps magically from spot to spot?”
They came to the same conclusions! A group of middle schoolers rediscovered quantum physics, for themselves.
Since then, QuantumCamp has served thousands of students across the world and in all learning environments.
Monumental scientific discoveries are now accessible to all students, without boring lectures and thick textbooks.
A renewed confidence, a greater appreciation for learning, and a love of our fantastic universe all come out of doing QC Courses!
QuantumCamp has been running amazing classes for 10 years in every venue imaginable - low income schools, the most elite schools in the world, camps, internationally, and homeschool centers). We know what hard-working teachers need!
We’ve got your back!
Our team is ready to support you.
As a child, I appreciated school and had fun, but I could have done better and achieved more. Before becoming a parent, I had an interest in giving back to the community and got much personal enjoyment from volunteering with Junior Achievement (in Washington DC) and Big Brothers Big Sisters (in Denver). Once I became a parent, my love for seeing children learn - my own as well as others - really took off, and I also became more aware of shortcomings with traditional education. My involvement with QuantumCamp stems from wanting to continue to make a difference in kids’ lives by providing math and science curriculum that gives them the confidence and ability to reach for the stars and work hard to improve the world as they grow up.
I am honored to be part of an amazing team that includes so many fun, talented, caring, and intelligent teachers and curriculum designers. They give me hope for the future and make me wish that QuantumCamp was around when I was a kid!
Cofounder and Advisor
I wholeheartedly believe that if you are thinking, you are doing math. Math is the art of symbolic logic, at the end of the day!
That’s why I believe that EVERYONE is good at math, even if they don’t know it yet!
I want students to feel comfortable with challenges, and I encourage them to make guesses, even if they think they might be wrong. Most of the time, they surprise themselves with how powerful a solving tool their minds are!
The wonderful thing about math is that there is no single correct way to solve a problem. In fact, there are an infinite number of ways we can solve a single problem!
My goal is to help each and every student find the solution that makes sense to them.
Math Instructor and Curriculum Developer
Spend time with any baby and you’ll be met with an undeniable brightness. Letting that light grow is the delight in the work of an educator, perhaps more personally than for anyone else who might know the kid, because of the intention of how we spend our time together. We are there to discover, guide, and expand a kid’s knowledge and skills, making adjustments at a safe distance, so as not to slow or stifle the kid’s brightness, same as one guards and tends a small flame.
For me, I’ve been blessed by the presence of several amazing educators, some who’ve known me and watched and shaped my development across several years. Somewhere that value spoke with my soul, and I began approaching this work more and more nearly.
Remember your favorite educator and you’ll agree that who they were was aligned deeply with their being. And you’ll likely remember how well they listened to you, maybe more attentively than anyone else, and you felt really known, seen, and wanted. And if this educator was actually your own soul, you’ll understand why it’s so important to keep that alive in a kid.
You likely have the skills to find out who I am, and what my background is, but I am more interested in finding out who your kid is, and helping them to grow. It is my honor and delight to do this work. ;)
Science Instructor and Curriculum Developer
As a business student in college, I worked as a math tutor for elementary and middle school kids. This is when I realized I loved to watch kids learn and make connections. It is exciting to see them light up when they learn how to master a new math concept.
After I earned my degree in Business Administration, I began working in marketing. When I came in contact with QuantumCamp it made sense to join the team! I love working behind the scenes of the amazing instructors knowing that kids are learning in an exciting way.
Administration and Marketing Coordinator
I started peer-tutoring in high school and continued to tutor through college. My favorite subject to tutor was math. I noticed that students really needed that hands-on learning and started implementing it in my tutoring sessions. It was exciting to help students who were previously struggling with math excel and become “good at math”. The best part about working for QC is watching our amazing instructors help students succeed through hands-on project-based learning. I strongly admire QC’s innovative curriculum because it uses advanced scientific equipment for elementary and middle schoolers that I did not see until I took a Chemistry Lab course at UC Berkeley.
Supply and Logistics Coordinator
Under the commonplace of everyday, the world still seethes with enough mystery and wonder to excite me with something new every week (thanks educational youtube!). And there’s no greater joy than sharing that wonder with kids!
Growing up, I explored science as a way to ground my world in something ‘real’. I filled myself with facts and phenomena and built a personna around being a ‘true scientist’ (I was that kid who made flashcards to memorize the periodic table in 6th grade… nerd). And because adolescence is like that, I boxed myself out of everything I thought wasn’t science.
QuantumCamp’s Periodic Table course was my first experience that told me that science isn’t a single reality. It’s a living history that evolves - and when we participate in science we are contributing to the life and spirit of science (that too often crumbles into a dogmatism of its own).
Today my passion lies in how we can use the fruits of science to create and connect. The world needs creative people willing to communicate honestly, question why, and who believe they can change the world. Which sounds a lot like… Kids!
Kids today are my colleagues tomorrow and I’m honored to have a chance to work with them as they’re first charting out how they’ll change the world. To show them they can be a scientist and an artist and a humanitarian and anything that gives them inspiration.