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. from Stanford University.


Erica Hogan

Operations Coordinator

Erica is responsible for many of the day to day operations at BirdBrain. She processes and creates orders, provides quotes, and manages the 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.


Jenna Kindler

Business Manager

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 teacher licensure and a Masters of Education degree in curriculum and instruction, Jenna offers experience with grants and philanthropic relations.


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. 


Jake Sam

Operations Associate

Jake is responsible for day to day shipping and operations at BirdBrain. He processes orders, handles tech support, and creates and edits videos. He has a background in Film Studies and Economics from the University of Pittsburgh. Jake is a gamer and film buff and in his free time enjoys playing basketball and tracking sports stats.


Matt Chilbert

Professional Development Provider

Matt provides 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. 


Kelsey Derringer

Professional Development Provider

Kelsey provides online professional development for BirdBrain Technologies. 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.