About us

Our Mission

Summer.org is a pending 501(c)(3) non-profit based in Oakland, California. We are committed to bringing state-of-the-art technology and the requisite curricula to the 21st Century classroom via project-based STEM education. With the help of grants and corporate sponsorship, students will have a chance to learn and experience trend-setting and open source technology developed by today’s technologists and scientists.

Our Goal

Only 18% of high school seniors are rated as science proficient and 33% as math proficient (Digest of Education Statistics, 2009).

National Academies

Technology today is changing rapidly.  New findings, new methodologies and new processes are being discovered and developed everyday. Why not make them available and introduce them to our kids in the classroom? Learning the fundamentals of science and learning to apply fundamentals to today’s successful products is essential to our childrens’ development. The idea is to use today’s products as the basis of experiments. The scientific concepts learned in each project can be aligned with the Common Core standards and Next Generation standards of science curriculum.  The products chosen could be products students’ parents are using now or are just about to purchase. They will feel so empowered and inspired to understand how familiar gadgets work. Imagine that they can talk about how some of the today’s products are created in front of their parents.  That’s awesome!

Our Values

All kids are equal! Whether they live in the inner city or the suburbs, they should be exposed to the same cool STEM courses, giving them more career choices to choose from or the inspiration to invent their own occupation. It is important as parents and professionals to make an effort to groom our kids for a better future. We all contribute differently but this is our way to do good. We don’t have all the answers, but we are wired as problem solvers, we will find a way! Along the way we have found a lot of parents, educators and philanthropists with the same passion, and that fuels us to work harder!

History

With the evident need for next generation science and math experiences for students to learn 21st Century skills, Summer.org Foundation began with the objective of matching students and teachers with their interest in space through STEAM.

Schools from across 3 states were pooled together as a single science and mathematics project through a hands-on space program in order to secure financial support in one, larger program.

Summer.org Foundation solicited and received generous funding through the SanDisk Foundation to explore the Edge of Space. (See below). Schools in the program were awarded grants from Summer.org to fulfill their project scope.

Summer.org Foundation was established in the summer of 2014. The name “Summer.org” comes from the Chairman’s enjoyable informal learning experiences during the long days of summer as a youth. The hope is everyday is as fresh and open as the best days of summer in the pursuit of life-long learning.

Projects

Year One: The Edge of Space (2014-15)

To date, nearly 500 students from Portland Oregon; Berkeley, California; Manteca, California; and Tucson, Arizona have been engaged in the Edge of Space program.

Middle School and High School students built and launched CanSats[1], in high-powered rockets and high-altitude balloons. The CanSat is not a real satellite, but simulates many of the experiences scientists and engineers face with real satellites that orbit the Earth.

University students have worked on extended projects that include an international rover-in-a-rocket program called ARLISS, a drone carrying CanSat, and an exo-biology experience scheduled to fly on the International Space Station in 2016.

In addition to educational engagement, Summer.org Foundation has been able to enlist the help of volunteer students at the University California at Berkeley, and many experienced flyers from local rocket clubs at Tripoli Rocketry Association and the National Association of Rocketry.

If you have an interest in the Edge of Space (and beyond!), you can subscribe to updates here.

Year Two: The Art and Science of Cooking (2015-16)

This year the board has elected to pursue the Art and Science of Cooking. The curricula and goals are still being formed so please contact us if you have an interest in this subject. Areas of interest can include health and wellness, gardening, nutrition, cooking and food preparation. More information will be made available in the coming months. If you have an interest in the Art and Science of Cooking please subscribe for updates.

About

Summer.org Foundation engages in activities and provides support for other organizations and programs that advance the education and life-long learning of students from kindergarten through university in the areas of Science, technology, engineering, the arts, and mathematics, (STEAM) and to carry on other charitable activities associated with this purpose as allowed by law.

Summer.org Foundation is a pending 501(c)(3) non-profit.

 

 

[1] CanSat: “Can Satellites” are simulated satellites that fit in the volume of a soda can. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CanSat

The Team

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Ted Tagami
Executive Director

Having built and sold his first dotcom in the 1990’s, Ted has been building relationships on the Internet since 1994. With leading work at Knight Ridder Digital and global brand experience at digital agency Millions of Us, Ted has most recently invested time in game development and the online payments space. In addition to his role as Co-founder of Magnitude, Ted is principal of internet consultancy, Universus. He lives with his wife and teenage sons in the SF Bay Area.

 

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Tony So
Executive Director

Tony So brings 28 years of advertising, business development, education, and engineering experience to the team. In 2000 Tony cofounded xtronx where he provides leadership in sales and partnership strategies and building scalable solutions and leverage creative to drive conversion, brand awareness and maximize consumer engagement. Tony also helped launch an online-video production and distribution pioneer TurnHere and launch ebook online-publishing and distribution platform, Vook. He was instrumental to the development of the online-MBA course, The 8 Factors. Tony So and his wife, a teacher, are the parents of two young girls who live in the beautiful Oakland hills.

 

Board Members

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Eri Gentry
Board Member

Eri Gentry helps technology find the people who love it. She is a proponent of technology democratization, citizen science, and “hacking” medicine. Her work has been covered by the New York Times, Forbes, Wired, and The Atlantic, and in the books Biopunk, Regenesis, and The Nature of the Future. Recently, Eri was included on Techonomy’s Top Ten list for 2013 list and named a White House Champion of Change.

Eri is a Research Manager at the Palo Alto think tank, the Institute for the Future and co-founder of BioCurious, the first hackerspace for biology. She thinks about the future of being human, behavioral economics, and how to think better.

Eri was previously VP of Open Innovation at Scanadu, a Silicon Valley startup bringing medical tools for the people to the people, Community Manager at Genomera, a startup putting crowdsourced clinical trials online, and CEO, cofounder of Livly, a cancer research company on a mission to end killer diseases.

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Peter Sand
Board Member

Peter has a Ph.D. in Computer Science from MIT. He is the founder of Modular Science, a company working on hardware and software tools for science labs. He also founded Manylabs, a nonprofit focused on teaching science and math using sensors and simulations. Manylabs received an Editor’s Choice and an Educator’s Choice at World Maker Faire 2012.

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Deborah A. Cooksey
Board Member

Deborah A. Cooksey has practiced law in California for thirty years. Her areas of expertise are education and constitutional law. She has worked as the Deputy General Counsel of the Oakland Unified and San Francisco Unified School Districts. Currently, she is the Associate General Counsel for the Mt. Diablo Unified School District and a lecturer in the Masters of Education Program at the University of California Berkeley. Ms. Cooksey is a sought after investigator of workplace disputes. She also is a skilled negotiator and conflict resolution facilitator who has conducted intensive training on these topics for educational institutions, public entities and corporations.

 

 

Advisory Board

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Michael Shiloh
Educator and  Advisor

Michael Shiloh is a builder, educator, and evangelist in the open source, DIY, and Maker movement with an emphasis in electronics, robotics, kinetic sculpture, alternative interface design, electromechanics, and digital fabrication. Michael has been an invited speaker and workshop presenter at conferences around the world, and is a co-founder of Teach Me To Make, a hands-on teaching organization. Michael is an advocate and community manager for Arduino, and teaches at San Francisco State University, San Francisco Art Institute, and the California College of the Arts. Michael is also a Tinkerer in Residence at the Exploratorium in San Francisco.