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One-on-One Online LEGO Robotics Tutoring
Work with The Robot Guy, or with one of our Robot Geniuses!
Ryan is an Applied Engineering Science Major at Michigan State University in his Senior year. He has experience with all three robots: LEGO MINDSTORMS Robot Inventor, LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3, and Robot Academy’s Arduino LEGO Robot. He was in First Lego League since he was a 2nd grader and competed for 8 years with LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3. Ryan loves problem solving and finding new outside the box ways to think. He got into STEM at a very young age and would like to do the same for other kids. He has a passion for helping kids with their education. Ryan also like to spend his free time playing sports, dirt biking through the woods, and programming games and apps.
David is a Mechanical Engineering Junior at George Fox University. All throughout grade school, he participated in First Lego League as both a team leader and later in high school and college as an Assistant Coach. When not working on School work or helping with LEGO robotics, David works as a Lab Technician in the Prototype Lab where he helps train new students how to use the 3D printers and other machines in the lab. David is a huge Star Wars fan with fond memories of building Lego sets with his dad and play Lego Star Wars games for the first time. This love of Star Wars has led to many projects using Arduinos and Lego EV3s based around the franchise (Lego R2D2 was a more recent one). In general, he loves teaching students the fun side of Engineering and how to look at the world through an engineering mindset and is excited to share his experience in Lego robotics and engineering with students at Robot Academy.
Keaton is an Electrical Engineering student at Case Western Reserve University, currently in his Senior year. His love of
LEGOs growing up heavily influenced his choice of major. He enjoys working with Arduinos in
both circuits and robotics labs at CWRU, where he is also a pitcher on the CWRU baseball team.
He loves to mentor younger students and is an assistant coach for The Rawlings Tigers 17U
baseball team in Westerville. A big Star Wars fan, Keaton’s favorite LEGO sets to construct
were the Sandcrawler and the Ewok Village. He enjoys sharing his experience and interest in
robotics and LEGOs with the students participating in the Robotics Summer Camps and online!
Pamela is a Mechanical Engineering masters student studying Human Robot Interaction at Tufts University. She uses LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 in her coursework and if proficient in teaching LEGO MINDSTORMS. Previously, she worked on a combination of neuroscience, robotics, biology, and cognitive science at Vassar College. She enjoys bringing biological inspired designs to the robots she works on. Pam reads lots of philosophy and quantum physics and loves chatting cool, sci-fi tv-shows. A previous actor (Shameless, Gotham, Madam Secretary, Chicago PD) who trained at Second City, she’s obsessed with plays and the theatre.
Michael Vawter (aka “The Robot Guy”) won 1st place out of 10,000 teams from 39 countries at the FIRST LEGO League robotics competition two years in a row, was inducted into the National Gallery for Young Inventors, and has published peer-reviewed vision science.
Michael’s passion for LEGO robotics began at the age of 9 when he got his first LEGO MINDSTORMS set. He built a robot that turned off his bedroom lights automatically, which saved him from getting in trouble for leaving them on. As a middle schooler, Michael was lead programmer, builder, tester, and handler for the MindStorm Troopers FIRST LEGO League (FLL) team. They competed for four years, becoming the first (and only?) team to win 1st place Robot Performance at the FLL World Festival two years in a row. Michael later co-founded the Robot Academy and has taught thousands of students how to master LEGO robotics. He’s been featured in Popular Science Magazine, and was on TV with Bill Nye the Science Guy.
Michael graduated from Denison University in 2014 and went on to earn a master’s degree in entrepreneurship and innovation from Seton Hill. He has continued to contribute to the FLL community by serving as a judge and referee at the state and world level. He has also coached and mentored teams of his own (some of whom have won international titles of their own). In his ongoing career as a robotics teacher, Michael helps students and teachers to analyze and solve technological problems more creatively by integrating their right-brain and left-brain capacities.
Matthew graduated from Lehigh University with an Electrical Engineering and Product Design major. Matthew has been building robots since his sophomore year in high school, when he founded his school’s robotics club and VEX robotics team. Since then, Matthew has developed the “Robotics Crash Course,” a two-week middle school science curriculum about building Arduino robots from scratch. Matthew was also the chair of the STEAM department at the Academy of Creative Education in 2018, and worked as a Product Engineering Co-Op at Crayola in Fall 2019, designing custom 3D models to assist with testing and the product development process. His upcoming book Arduino for Artists explores using programming and electronics to facilitate artistic expression. Matthew is passionate about STEAM and design, and is excited to help students learn to make anything they can dream of!
Gail enjoys mentoring Invention and Robotics competitions. She is the Co-founder and Owner of Robot Academy. She holds degrees in Computer Science and Economics from Denison University, as well as an MBA from Indiana Wesleyan University. She has worked in the Information Technology industry for over 20 years, but her passion is for helping young students to get excited about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). She is a partner of Ohio Girl Scouts and speaks to organizations about Success with Girls and STEM. As a teacher and coach of student science teams, her teams placed first and second place on a National (and International) level numerous times as well as placing National Finalists with various Invention Competitions: US Army’s eCybermission (3 times), FIRST’s Global Innovation Awards (2 times), NSTA/Toshiba ExploraVision, National Inventors Hall of Fame, NASA’s Space Day (2 times) and FIRST Lego League (2 times). Her team’s accomplishments have been recognized by the Ohio Senate and Ohio House of Representatives. We incorporate this knowledge into our curriculum and help kids design brilliant inventions for a fun virtual invention competition or mock shark tank at camps. Robot Academy teaches online and in-person LEGO Robotics for Arduino and LEGO MINDSTORMS. We also sell our curriculum to schools to inspire the young students about STEM. It is a blast.
"Robot Guy" / Tech Director, Robot Academy
Michael Vawter was lead programmer, builder, tester, and handler for the MindStorm Troopers FIRST LEGO League (FLL) team. They competed for four years, becoming the first team to win 1st place Robot Performance at the FLL World Festival two years in a row. Michael co-founded the Robot Academy and has taught thousands of students how to master LEGO robotics. He’s been featured in Popular Science Magazine, was on TV with Bill Nye the Science Guy, and was inducted into the National Gallery for Young Inventors. He published peer-reviewed psychophysics research at Denison University in 2011 and went on to earn a master’s degree in entrepreneurship and innovation.
Michael has continued to contribute to the FLL community by serving as a judge and referee at the state and world level. He has also coached and mentored teams of his own (some of whom have won international titles of their own).
In his ongoing career as a robotics teacher, Michael helps students and teachers to analyze and solve technological problems more creatively by integrating their right-brain and left-brain capacities.