About Us: MEET OUR TEAM
Jeff Sweeton, Founder and Senior FACILITATOR
Jeff Sweeton has been producing digital video, photography, film, scripts, websites, machines and writing for about twenty years and has been teaching about it for about that long as well. Jeff founded and facilitates CodeCreate Technology Education having served many partners including the National Science Foundation, Disney Magnet Schools, Aerostar, the National Association for Art Educators, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Intel Computer Clubhouse Network, The Chicago City of Learning, the Scratch Foundation at the MIT Media Lab, Maker Media, Facets Multimedia, the Adler Planetarium, the MacArthur Foundation, MOUSE of New York City, Jewish Family Services of Ottawa, Canada, Mut Theatre of Hamburg, Germany, Mozilla of London, England, Common Sense Media, Google, The Imagination Foundation, RUSH University and the Civic Lab 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 eight years. Previously he taught for the NorthEastern Chicagoland Computer Explorers as well as serving as the Technology Education Manager at the Lawndale Christian Development Corporation, where Jeff redesigned the Community Technology Center to integrate project-based, multimedia and Pop-Up learning. Jeff also led two Chicago-area Computer Clubhouses for about eight years while also serving as an international trainer with the Intel Computer Clubhouse Network and also working with MIT's Media Lab. Under his guidance, Jeff’s Clubhouse was granted an international Kudos award in 2007. MIT's Media Lab was also Jeff's first exposure to constructionist learning and the work of Seymour Papert, Mitch Resnik, Sherry Turkle and others, all of whom have had a profound influence on Jeff. Previously, he taught in several Chicago Public Schools, leading original courses developed with After School Matters while also producing freelance video for clients including ComEd, Ciber Enterprise Solutions and the Cleveland Jewish Federation. Before earning his Bachelor in Fine Arts from the Savannah College of Art and Design, Jeff produced his first commissioned videos, produced around the world, while still in high school. Visit an Online Portfolio
Brandon David, Facilitator and cheif IDEA Ambassador
Brandon David has always "dreamed" about video games and began creating his own, coding with MIT's Scratch at the Computer Clubhouse, while in middle school. Developing extraordinary skill within the language, he's branched out to additional programming languages and sciences, however, his love of creation remains with Scratch and "mods" of the program. Visiting MIT at the 2010 ICCN Teen Summit, Brandon met the creators of the program before returning to Chicago and engaging many peers in his love of video games. At Lakeview High School (and now at City Colleges), Brandon brings his vast enthusiasm and analytic eye to all youth. He's been the Master of Ceremonies at the 2014, 2015 and 2016 Cardboard Challenges, was a featured keynote speaker at the 2017 Youth in Motion opening reception, led Cardboard Switching at the Intuit Center for Outsider Art and has assisted at many other CodeCreate workshops, including explorations of programming, music video production and digital 3D design at the Disney Magnet Schools, the Teacher's Lounge at the Art Institute of Chicago, Crafty Coding II, the 2015 Glenwood Avenue Arts Festival and the 2014 and 2015 South Side Maker Faires. In addition to intensively exploring technology, math and science, Brandon also practices martial arts regularly with his older brother, Terrance, a fellow Computer Clubhouse alumnus (and, now, Coordinator). Brandon's enthusiasm, skill and showmanship are obvious benefits to CodeCreate but he also serves as a model for beautifully realized technology, art and design education.
Laura Christman, collaboration manager, EVALUATOR and facilitator*
Laura Christman's recognition of the beauty and design in nature and common materials illustrates her strong perspective and talent as a fibers artist. As a frequent educator throughout Chicago and working with Equator Capital Partners, Laura is adept at appreciating, and learning about new approaches and cultures, and as the founder of Laura Christman FIbers, she offers a range of products on etsy and elsewhere incorporating those perspectives; teaching at Columbia College of Chicago's Community Arts Partnership and Northwestern University's Center for Talent Development, Laura also integrates technology in traditional mediums, exploring eTextiles and simple circuit design. Working with Ingenuity, Chicago's hub of art education advocacy, Laura is evaluating several facets of CodeCreate in relation to both programmatic excellence and an appreciated mission. Laura has been integral in Youth in Motion, CodeCreate's collaboration with Hamburg's Mut Theatre, working with Jeff, Susan and Jerry in the intense international partnership from early planning through the Arts in the Dark parade and within the second year of this project. She also facilitated for CodeCreate at Adler Planetatrium's 2015 Girls Do Hack, co-facilitaed at the 2016 Glenwood Avenue Art Fest, in 3D Design at Disney II Elementary, at Adler Planetarium's Girls Do Hack in 2014 and has assisted at The Global Cardboard Challenge since 2012 as well as hosting private tutoring with her son and facilitating both of her kids paid assistance in the Cardboard Challenge. Laura studied fiber art at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and has traveled the world exploring native representations of art and beauty. Visit an Online Portfolio
Carolina Kaufman, FaciliTation, Design and Consultation*
Carolina Kaufman understands technology, but she also understands that our desire for expression motivates everything we do- within any technology. As a Digital Learning Coordinator at the Feild Museum and, previosuly, as a graduate lecturer at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and, formally serving as the Technology Education Manager at the Art Institute of Chicago, as a Computer Clubhouse Manager (in Boston and Florida), as Group Programs Coordinator at Boston's Computer Museum, as a MEd graduate of Harvard University and Wheaton College's Studio Art and Art History program and as an MIT Ideas Fellow, Carolina is familiar with excellence, however, she values making above all else in all its incarnations. She has helped many artists and educators both young and old, find their voice and brings this wealth of her experience. Indeed, she has worked off and on with Jeff for more than ten years, mentoring at Jeff's Clubhouse as well as volunteering in other ways with the Intel Computer Clubhouse Network (after having worked at some of the first Clubhouses). Carolina was a featured keynote speaker at the 2017 Youth in Motion opening reception, led our Model Hardware Race Car Rally at the MOUSE GameJam, led our presentation at the 2016 North Side Maker Faire, assisted at other Race Car Rallies, coached educators at both Crafty Codings, led our efforts at the 2015 Southside Maker Faire and The Milwaukee Maker Faire, facilitated educator development at the National Art Educator Association at the Art Institute of Chicago, facilitated CodeCreate representation in the study of Cyber Pedagogy at the School of the Art Institute, designed presentations for the 2016 Scratch Conference at the MIT Media Lab and attended the 2014 Global Cardboard Challenge in Chicago with her daughter as well as helping to prepare many other initiatives including a proposed Spanish language computer programming introduction at Instituto Cervantes. Visit an Online Profile
Susan Zielinski, Adviser, Craftswoman and Assistant Facilitator*
Susan Zielinski has helped craft CodeCreate from its inception at the 2013 Global Cardboard Challenge (though she has also crafted many of the cardboard creations seen in our work!) Susan has been making and recognizing beautiful things since she was a child growing up in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, her mediums transforming from found nature to ceramics to cardboard. While she earned her Bachelors of Fine Arts in the Ceramics department at the Western Michigan University, where she first exhibited work, she also studied in Italy and has continued to make art to this day. She studied Art Therapy at the Adler School of Professional Psychology before coordinating the Therapeutic Art program at the National Veterans Art Museum, curating at the museum and traveling with art to a special exhibition in Saint Petersburg, Russia. While Susan welcomes appropriately combined technology with traditional mediums, Susan's love of cardboard is not only an asset to CodeCreate but helps motivate the organization to never forget the importance of quickly accessible, tactile and "uncoded" construction. She has worked on virtually every project of which CodeCreate has been part.
Deirdre Bates, Fiscal MANAGEMENT, support and sponsorship and community education LIAISON*
As the Founder and President of Resilience Partners NFP, Deidre is critical in facilitating legal relationships with other organizations and helping CodeCreate meet a truly diverse audience. She was the Chief Financial Offer and Senior Vice President at Goodcity for nineteen years and has more than thirty years of experience in accounting and financial management for several business and over one hundred non profit organizations. Deirdre has proven experience in driving efficiency and productivity through evaluation of financial management systems and implementation of process improvements, as well as, a demonstrated track record of leading the preparation and analysis of financial report to summarizing and forecasting financial positions. As CFO, she was responsible for directing all financial management and general accounting functions, including account management, financial analysis, forecasting, cash management and budgeting, cost reductions, grant management and regulatory compliance. Deirdre is a strong advocate for students with disabilities and the mother of four wonderful children. She's assisted CodeCreate in acquiring regulatory CPS Vendor ID status as well as envisioning other partnerships. Visit Resilience Partners to find out more.
Turned Team members
With impressive creativity as well as wide ranging skills in computer programming, soldering, drawing, inventing cardboard creations and arranging outfits, Alexis has proven a huge asset to CodeCreate, participating in many workshops and assisting while participating in Youth in Motion, the 2017 Escape Artistry Scratch Day Cardboard Challenge, the 2017 Chicago North Side Maker Faire, the 2016 Global Cardboard Challenge, the 2016 STEAM conference at Northeastern Illinois University, the 2016 Motorola Maker Challenge, Crafty Coding II, the 2015 Milwaukee Maker Faire, the 2015 Southside Maker Faire and the 2015 Glenwood Avenue Arts Festival among other events.
A genuine creative spirit and concern for others' perceptions of projects empowers Ella with a great gift with which she helps CodeCreate. She was a huge asset for us running social media for the 2014 Global Cardboard Challenge, assisting at the Adler Planetarium's Girls Do Hack, running social media and video recording the 2015 Global Cardboard Challenge, the 2016 STEAM conference at Northeastern Illinois University, Movie Magic at Mudlark Theatre, assisted in Youth in Motion, the 2018 Rush University STEM Faire and assisting in the video recording of other events. Ella says, "Working with CodeCreate has given me a lot of opportunities that I would not have had otherwise. This summer, I got to work with CodeCreate at Mudlark which was a lot of fun and gave me skills I will be able to use my whole life. One of my favorite things that CodeCreate does is the Cardboard Challenge. I have been both a participant and a volunteer. I like helping people build things out of cardboard that they didn't think were possible."
As a student at the Disney II Magnet High School, Fritz first worked with CodeCreate creating a short narrative film however his talents and extraordinary dedication were soon apparent and he shared those skills with others, such as facilitating Cardboard Switching at the 2016 Northeastern Illinois University STEAM conference, the 2017 North Side Maker Faire. the 2017 Custer Fair as well as assisting while participating in Youth in Motion.
Active in G.E.M.S. (Girls Engaged in a Mission to Succeed), (having been recommended by the group's leader) Liliane combines a wide array of skills and passions: singing, illustration, soccer, sewing and more with an equally wide-ranging aptitude, speaking fluent Kiswahili as well as some Portuguese, Spanish and English. Liliane eagerly embraces new experiences and techniques, exploring eTextiles and more. Lilianne assisted in outreach at the 2017 Escape Artistry Scratch Day Cardboard Challenge, at the 2017 Custer Fair and and the 2017 10000 Villages Youth in Motion fundraiser.
"I have worked in many shows and performances, both onstage and backstage," writes Emily, "however, the most important shows or performances that I have been in [allowed me] to tell my story about how I am able to communicate and show my emotions through art." Disparate experiences with disability advocacy, illness in her family, anti-Semitism, hosting exchange students and explorations through her own illustration and "Zen" tangles have given Emily a wide-ranging enthusiasm that serves CodeCreate and Youth in Motion well. Emily assisted in outreach at the 2017 Escape Artistry Scratch Day Cardboard Challenge, at the 2017 Custer Fair, the 2017 10000 Villages Youth in Motion fundraiser and assisted while participating in Youth in Motion.
Getting to know Traviana, one of the first things one notices is her unique approach to others: sincere and inquisitive but, as she describes it, "sweet-" she's both told us that and shown that in our workshops where she has merged the ideas of others into practical, but innovative, projects integrating multiple ideas. From playing a lawyer to wondering about others, Traviana says, "I'm so happy to travel to Germany [because] I want to see how they speak, how the food is as well as different places and sites there." Traviana assisted in outreach at the 2017 Custer Fair and assisted while participating in Youth in Motion.
Inspired by Wasily Kandinsky and Fydor Dostoyeyevsky, Silas has attended many CodeCreate events and has recently taken a larger, leadership role at those events. Silas brings experience crafting and building in electronics and with other materials. He views immigration holistically, explaining "the immigration [I see] is moving from one mindset and set of values to another. Throughout my life the way I think about understand, experience and interpret the world has changed; each time it has changed, I am greeted with a new set of emotions, interactions, people, thoughts, ideas and convictions." Silas assisted with two Cardboard Challenges (also attending two), assisted outreach at the 2017 Custer Fair and often assisted while participating in Youth in Motion.
Ta'la came to CodeCreate through Kenwood Academy High School and Communities in Schools. Her interests and hobbies include both poetry and playing the saxophone as well as mathematics and dance. "Coding," she writes, "is a process of identifying things or subjects... As an African-American, with my heritage, [our immigration is] African-Americans brought illegally to the United States. Tala assisted in outreach at the 2017 Custer Fair and assisted while participating in Youth in Motion.
Dontrell came to CodeCreate through Nicolson STEM and Communities in Schools where he is active in both the robotics team as well as the drill team. Extremely inquisitive, Dontrell is always eager to question others and incorporate his knowledge and skills into a larger plan. Dontrell assisted in outreach at the 2017 Custer Fair and assisted while participating in Youth in Motion.
Project Facilitators and volunteers...
Jerry Nwosuocha, Facilitator
Jerry Nwosuocha is an actor, comedian, former broadcaster, entrepreneur and educator. As he says, "he coaches aspiring child actors to access their imagination to be better performers." He is a former Market Manager at Fizz Marketing, the co-founder of the VR Innovator's Network and the Chicago VR Club as well as co-host of Secret Formula Productions, performing in several venues throughout Chicago. Previously, he was Artistic Director for Beta Theatre in Houston, Texas and a Program Director at Clear Channel Radio. He is leading and assisting in integral aspects of Youth in Motion, assisted with Rush University's Science and Math Excellence, the Jefferson Elementary STEM Fair and consulted and an interactive presentations on flu prevention presented with Quidel Diagnostics as well as working with the CodeCreate collective for the "game boards" for his unique Password game shows.
George Berlin, Facilitator
George Berlin offers "a veritable cornucopia of production skills [as an] animator extraordinaire, projection mapping artist and illustrator." "I LOVE," says George, "to delight people with motion and light." Skilled in traditional and digital animation, prop fabrication, 3D modeling, video production and editing, painting, illustration and education, George has won wide acclaim for his many great works. His clients have included The National Gallery of Art, Harley Davidson, Toyota, Pepsico, ROI Ventures, zipcar, Centrax, The Ravenswood Art Walk, The Chicago History Museum, The Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra, Facets Multimedia and many more. He led explorations of Digital 3D Design at the Disney Magnet Schools as well as presenting interactive video mixing at Youth In Motion and assisting in instruction of STEM Scripts at Facets Multimedia and during 2017's Youth in Motion. Visit an Online Portfolio
Noah Coleman, Facilitator
Noah Coleman is an artist, tinkerer, and maker who works mostly with kinetic sculpture and technology. He currently serves as the Technology Coordinator in the Art and Technology Department at the Art Institute of Chicago where he has also earned a degree, worked and studied for over two years. Previously he worked with Brigham Young University and the Provo, Utah School District. He instructed at the Disney II Magnet Schools as well as STEM Scripts at Facets Multimedia. Visit an Online Portfolio
Sarah Monroe, Assistant Facilitation
Sarah Monroe is an IT consultant at various venues in Chicago including with The Talution Group, where she creates UX Mock-Ups using balsamic, Microsoft and Oracle aps. She is a graduate of IC Stars, where she intensely worked on networking, computer programming, management and public speaking as well as having studied at the City Colleges of Chicago and Interlochen Arts Academy. She assisted at the 2014, 2015 and 2016 Global Cardboard Challenges as well as at the Chicago City of Learning Winter 2015 Maker Party, the Fall 2015 Back to School Jam and the 2015 Girls Do Hack at the Adler Planetarium.
Reginald Dyson, Assistant Facilitation
Reginald Dyson is a young, but impressively accomplished digital artist and filmmaker having worked on over fifty productions as a camera operator, gaffer, production assistant or project director with clients including the PGA, Unleashed, NBC (with whom he worked on both America's Got Talent and Chicago Fire among many other programs), FOX, The Chicago Architecture Foundation, the Wilmette Public Library and The Intel Computer Clubhouse Network. He is a graduate of Loyola University's World Cinema. He's assisted CodeCreate on numerous occasions including at the 2015 Media Mashup and Crafty Coding II.
Alefiyah Master, voiceover recording and consultation
Alefiyah Master is a two-time Emmy nominated Operations Supervisor working at Tribune Media. Her current projects include CW's "The Robert Irvine Show" as well as various programming efforts for Antenna TV, ThisTV and WGN. She also documents her world travels on Leafingatrail.com. Alefiyah recorded the narration for the 2016 Global Cardboard Challenge video and has consulted with CodeCreate for about a year.
AlMETRIS STANLEY-SNULLIGAN, PROJECT LEADERSHIP and consultation
In the late 1990s, Almetris founded the West side Youth Technical Entrepreneur Center, a partner with the Intel Computer Clubhouse Network for over a decade and a force on Chicago's west side for nearly two decades. Through work with Ella Flagg Young Elementary School, Beyond the Bell and many other partners Almetris has consistently served as an inspiration, coach and guide to youth within Chicago and abroad. Almetris has been a part of many CodeCreate workshops, hosted CodeCreate at Ella Flagg Young for an entire summer, was a featured keynote speaker at the 2017 Youth in Motion opening reception, and, in addition to supporting our first Cardboard Challenge ideas in 2012, she has consulted with CodeCreate's Youth in Motion years later.
David Sweeton, PROJECT consultation
David Sweeton writes high-end computer code for industrial communications but also designs, builds and teaches about electrical engineering. Prior to working with LiveData, a software provider in Cambridge, Massachusetts, David ran his own firm, Commsoft for about ten years as well as working for Allen Bradley. Previously, he taught at Cleveland State University and while earning his Ph.D. at Buffalo State University. He has designed circuits for the CodeCreate Collective as well as supporting many of the projects of CodeCreate Technology Education including Youth in Motion for which he made a large contribution. He is the father of the founder.
David MacWilliams, Assistant Facilitation
David MacWilliams truely has many skills and many experiences, however he counts his nearly thirty years as a Classroom Teacher in Chicago Public Schools as an accomplishment equal to his art and building. He assisted with the 2014 Art Educator Opening at Intuit as well as 2017's Youth in Motion, delivering food to Douglass Park, grilling at a group barbecue, cheering the group on at both the Opening Reception and final Chicago performance as well as hosting a group workshop at his home.
Steven Fischer, Assistant Facilitator
Steven Fischer is a two time Emmy Award nominated writer, producer and cartoonist as well as an educator versed in sharing that passion with others. He is the author of There's a Blue Dog Under My Bed and has produced animated and live action stories for a wide range of patrons including PBS, TV Asia and Nextel. His cinema work includes the critically acclaimed animated documentary Freedom Dance (2007) and Old School New School (2010), a personal study on creativity. He has taught with many organizations in Chicago including Northwestern University, The Second City and Facets Multimedia. He is a Fulbright recipient, and sought internationally to speak on creative self-development. Steven co-led Movie Magic at Mudlark Theare, assisted at the Disney Magnet Schools as well as consulting on production of Technology, Tolerance and Trust, a documentary on Youth in Motion, presented at the second Crafty Coding, is assisting in collaborative production with Germany's Mut Theatre and has planned other tentative workshops. Visit an Online Profile
DANA Holdman EL, Assistant Facilitator
Dana Holdman El has studied and explored international relations first hand through two tenures teaching English as a Second Language in both Germany and Austria and her Social Studies classroom at Nicholson STEM (where she integrated social studies into scientific explorations). Dana has been instrumental in on-boarding several youth from Chicago's South and West Side in Youth in Motion as well as assisting with various workshops.
Kevin Michael Wesson, Assistant Facilitator
Kevin Michael Wesson is a Chicago-based Puppeteer/Performer. He received his Theatre Arts B.A. from the University of South Florida with a minor in creative writing. He recently ended his tenure in Tampa, FL as an educational puppeteer with Kids On The Block but continues to puppeteer in Chicago with Rough House Theater and freelance while exploring the intersection of animatronics and puppetry. Kevin has assisted at Collaborating for Quality and consulted on other projects including the Arts in the Dark parade (culminating the first year of Youth in Motion) and a planned puppet workshop at Dank Haus.
Brian Murry, Graphic and Digital Design and Assistant Facilitation
Brian Murray is a designer and activist, currently working at The Council for Adult and Experiential Learning. He has worked with groups including Sustain Communications, Genewise, Goodness Greeness, The Exponential, CAN TV and Q4 Radio, where he cohosted Revolution and Beer for several years. He is a graduate of the Graphic Design program at The Savannah College of Art and Design and has designed the original logo for The Cardboard Challenge in Chicago, consulted on subsequent marketing, assisted at the implementation of multiple events and brought his son to the first three Cardboard Challenges and was a featured keynote speaker at the 2017 Youth in Motion opening reception.
Larry Dixon, Fundraising and Project Consultation
Larry Dixon inspired some of the very first workshops of CodeCreate as a program manager at the Lawndale Christian Development Corporation but through the years he has offered his considerable experience in social services to other projects as well. As the program manager at Resilience Partners, he has been instrumental in forming this successful relationship however has also gone above and beyond to promote CodeCreate's mission, consulting on the second year of Youth in Motion.
Edgar Baeza Gonzalez, Assistant Facilitation
Edgar Baeza Gonzalez is a teaching artist with as strong a passion for others as for his own work, having taught at the National Museum of Mexican Art, The Univesity of Illinois and at many Chicago Public Schools, where he works daily. He has also spoken and exhibited at the National Veterans Art Museum regarding both his sculpture and service for the US Military in Afghanistan. He assisted with the first four Cardboard Challenges in Chicago as well as at the 2014 Southside Maker Faire and the 2017 Youth in Motion Opening Reception.
*Denotes a member of our Advisory Board
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