The BirdBrain Team
Bambi Brewer, Ph.D.
Director of Engineering
Bambi works from the beginning to the end of the development process to design new products, ensure software is reliable and easy to use, and create curriculum pathways to help take robotics projects to the next level. Bambi has B.S. degrees in math and physics from Rhodes College, and a Ph.D. in robotics from Carnegie Mellon University. She has experience in education at all levels and has been designing robotics curricula since 2013. In her free time, she raises a teenager and knits obsessively.
Aparna Brown, Ph.D.
Director of Operations
Aparna ensures that all BirdBrain projects run smoothly and efficiently. She also manages BirdBrain’s philanthropic efforts, including the Finch Robot loan program whose goal is to catalyze computational thinking experiences for students who might not ordinarily have the opportunity to program a robot. Before BirdBrain Aparna worked at McKinsey & Company, Google, and several startup companies. Aparna holds a Ph.D. in Developmental Neuroscience from Stanford University.
Learning Media Producer
Matt is responsible for producing video tutorials and performing online professional development for BirdBrain Technologies. Working with organizations like the Jim Henson Company, The Lawrence Hall of Science, and Sesame Workshop, Matt has found his niche directly between the worlds of entertainment and education. A craftsman, a filmmaker, and a teacher, Matt has spent the last 20 years looking for new ways to engage young minds through storytelling and technology.
Professional Development Coordinator
Kelsey works with organizations and educators to ensure success in starting and scaling robotics with their curricula. She has been an educator for over 15 years, working as a classroom English teacher and an after-school STEM teacher. Kelsey specializes in creating hands-on STEM learning experiences that are both fun and relevant to real classrooms. In her free time, Kelsey is also an avid writer and musician.
Erica is responsible for many of the day to day operations at BirdBrain. She processes and creates orders, provides quotes, and also helps out with the Finch Loan and Demo Programs. She has a background in Secondary English Education and a Masters degree in Library and Information Science. Erica is an avid reader and in her free time she enjoys baking, playing D&D, and crafting.
Raghu is responsible for firmware related to the Finch Robot and Hummingbird Robotics Kit, and also provides technical support in resolving firmware issues. He received his masters degree in Embedded Systems from University of Colorado, Boulder. He is very passionate about electronics and has fun writing code into them! He enjoys doing yoga and playing soccer.
Junior Software Engineer
Skye works to develop BirdBrain software so that it runs correctly for all end users. Most of her work revolves around app development for our NSF funded project, though she also has worked on and supports the Finch and Hummingbird Duo connection apps on ChromeOS. She is a passionate Linux user and has been attempting to write a compiler in her free time.
Jenna is your go-to team member for sales and business services, and, unofficially, cooking tips! Earlier in her career, Jenna led the design of museum curricula and exhibits, and participated in research projects funded by the National Science Foundation. Along with elementary teaching licensure and a Masters of Education degree in curriculum and instruction, Jenna offers experience in design for students with disabilities and philanthropic relations.
Allison coordinates all of the design and marketing efforts for BirdBrain Technologies. With a music performance degree and an MBA, Allison has been involved in education with various organizations, from the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra to a music academy in South Africa. Allison is also the official “fun czar” for BirdBrain, where she forces her teammates to enjoy themselves at work.
Tom Lauwers, Ph.D.
Founder & CEO
Tom founded BirdBrain Technologies in 2010 after receiving his doctorate in robotics from Carnegie Mellon University. His research was founded on engaging all students, regardless of background, in robotics and engineering. Tom seeks to design educational tools that catalyze positive making, coding, and engineering learning experiences in the classroom. Tom resides in Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood with his wife, two kids, cat, and a small army of robots. He would be an invaluable ally in the event of a robot uprising.