The Team

MEET THE TEAM

Laura Allen is the Founder and President of Vision Education & Media. She has worked with teachers and students and technology for over twenty-six years. An early interest in LOGO programming led Laura to the Harvard Graduate School of Education where she collaborated on projects with the MIT Media Laboratory and the mathematician and educator, Dr. Seymour Papert, the founder of LOGO programming and one of the world’s foremost expert on instructional technologies. Prior to founding Vision Education, Laura directed the Computer Department at The Buckley School in Manhattan for fourteen years and was Director of the Technology Program at the Little Red School House and Elisabeth Irwin High School for two. In recent news, Enterprising Women has named its 2006 Enterprising Women of the Year and Laura Allen was named one of forty.

Augusto Carrizo is the Development Partner at VEM. He is an international business executive with a time-tested record of progressive leadership directing high-growth businesses across United States, Canada and international markets, including Latin America, Asia, and Africa. Augusto attended college in USA at University of Maine, and held multiple senior management and executive positions both in Latin America and USA. He also founded and chaired the Latin American Leadership Initiative, who represented a yearly gathering of influential latin american Family Groups and Business Leaders with the aims of tackling pressing issues for the region. For the last 8 years, based in New York City, he has worked along some of the greatest minds and leaders in Business, Politics, Leadership and Innovation such as Jack Welch, Bill Clinton, Malcom Gladwell, Dan Pink, Richard Branson, Jim Collins, among others.

Fausta Ballesteros is the Development Partner at VEM. She is an international marketing and corporate communications consultant. With more than 15 years of experience in working for and in multinational companies such as Shell, UrbanPR, Unilever, American Express and Globant in the areas of Media Relations, Corporate Communications Sustainable Development, Stakeholders Engagement, Marketing, Brand Management and PR. She holds a BA in Social Communications and a MA in Marketing. She has also experience working in partnership with NGO’s and academics. And as member of the Leadership Board and Parent Teacher Association of Schools in NYC. As a consultant, she is actually in charge of all Marketing and Communication initiatives for Globant in the US.

Lisa Whitmer is the Director of Program Operations. She began her twelve years in the field of education as a high school history teacher.  After six years in the classroom, she worked as a video teaching artist for organizations such as Adobe Youth Voices and the Tribeca Film Institute, and managed the education department at BRIC Arts | Media | Bklyn’s community media center.  Lisa is also an experienced video producer and editor, having been part of the Media Factory, an Emmy award-winning video production company.  Her directorial debut, No Strings Attached, screened at seven film festivals and won four awards, including Best Documentary and an Audience Award.  Lisa holds a BA in Anthropology from Brown University and an MA in Education from San Francisco State University

Eun Jung (EJ) Park is a Multimedia Artist at Vision Education and Media. She develops robotic curriculum for kindergarten through middle school and develops LEGO® Mindstorms® projects for K-8 students. In addition, she designs all graphic materials for Vision such as advertisements, brochures and flyers. EJ holds a BA in Visual Communication design from Ewha Women’s University and a Masters degree from the Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP) at New York University. She builds automata, moving sculptures operated by physical mechanisms such as gears, cams and pulleys. She also designs automaton-type DIY projects and kits for kids.

Aya Takemoto is the Program Manager for Grant-Based Programs.  Her interest in education started as a teacher with the Peace Corps in Madagascar and she also taught for a year in Japan before returning to the States and becoming enthralled with education practices here in New York City.  She earned her MA from Teachers College, Columbia University.  In her spare time, Aya enjoys choral music and performs with the Women’s Young New Yorkers Chorus

Naima McQueen is the Program Manager for On-Site Programs. Prior to joining VEM, Naima taught for a variety of educational organizations and served as the Director of the Cambridge Youth Enrichment program, which seeks to enhance and promote lifelong learning in the most creative ways. She earned her BA in Psychology from Mount Holyoke College in 2011 and is a proud alumna of the Coro Fellows Program in Public Affairs. In addition to her work with VEM, Naima volunteers as the Program Coordinator for Truth in Reality, a media advocacy organization. She also plays softball, indulges in DIY crafts and a lot of cooking, and travels as much as possible.

Julia Koerwer is the Program Manager. Julia spent a year with Citizen Schools, where she taught and refined curricula, before landing at RoboFun as Program Manager. She believes that giving kids hands-on learning opportunities will get them excited about pursuing technology and programming career paths in the future. She graduated from Bard College in 2013 with a BA in playwriting. She spends her spare time playing board games, writing, and hula hooping.

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