Kim Mesa, MBA, President of the Alum Rock Educational Foundation and Program Director
Kim is a former Alum Rock School District Board Trustee and has been on the Alum Rock Educational Foundation Board since 2002. She is excited about expanding the breadth of this summer’s Art & Design Thinking Camp. The camp will have multiple Artists/Arts Educators leading each week’s instruction in order to expand the themes and projects presented each week. “We continue to be excited about providing students with the opportunity to experience art in a very engaging, dynamic, and innovative way. The camp introduces technology tools that further expand the creativity of students, while also providing exposure to hardware and software that are necessary for the future employees of Silicon Valley. This camp helps students see and understand the foundations of math, science, geography, and communication, allowing us to engage youth in projects that highlight the synergy between art, technology and the core curriculum. The foundation is proud to bring this innovative art and technology driven program to the Alum Rock community.”
Corinne Takara , Program Coordinator and Lead Instructor
Corinne is a Bay Area artist and arts education specialist. Her technology infused youth and public art projects engage students as makers and designers. She has collaborated with Alum Rock youth on art projects since 2006, (both in the classroom and in informal learning spaces). A collection of these projects have received state and national recognition for community impact and innovation. Takara designed and brought this camp to life three years ago in collaboration with the AREF. She is excited to broaden the teaching cohort the summer and will be adding lesson plan content to this site. Corinne received her B.A. in Design from Stanford University. She is currently on the instructional team for the Krause Center for Innovation at Foothill College. She has been both an instructor (Advanced Design Sketching) and a guest speaker in the Mechanical Engineering and History Departments at Stanford.
Alyssa Winans, Instructor/ Illustrator and Game Designer
Alyssa is a freelance illustrator working out of the SF bay area. She earned her BFA in Illustration from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2012. She specializes in imaginative illustration, and has also worked as a visual developer, concept, and background artist. In her free time, she attempts to garden and make unusual ice cream flavors. Alyssa has been a guest speaker in the camp since its pilot program in the summer of 2013. She also has attended every end of week showcase critique and contributed valued feedback to the campers.
Dennis Chan, Instructor/Toy Industry Model Maker
Dennis Chan studied sculpture at the Rhode Island School of Design, earning his BFA in Illustration in 2012. He currently is employed as a freelance sculptor, most regularly with Rhode-Island based toy company Hasbro. His work includes both traditional and digital sculpture. In his spare time, Dennis also coaches the wrestling team at his alma mater, Gunn High School. Dennis works out of his home in Sunnyvale, California. He has also been a guest speaker in the camp and a vital part of the end of week showcase critiques.
Vince Bjorge, Instructor/Industrial Design
Vincent Bjorge is a student of Industrial Design at San Jose State University. He currently works at Octave Systems Inc. as a 3D printer technician and product designer. He has recently teamed up with Team Tierra, an urban agriculture and landscape design company, where he will be working towards the expansion of Team Tierra's product line of home farming products.
His long time love affair with anything metal has lead him to experiment in welding, ornamental iron work, jewelry making, and metal sculpture casting. His childhood years of LEGOs and Erector sets helped fuel his curiosity for The Way Things Work, which by the way also happens to be the title of a favored book by Vince from when he was growing up. Vince was a guest speaker on multiple occasions in the 2014 summer camp and was a key participant in the end of week showcase critiques.
Cyndi MacDonald, Instructor/ ARUSD 5th grade teacher and Lego Robotics Coach
Cyndi MacDonald is a recipient of the California teacher of the year award, 2009, from the VFW and currently teaches fourth-grade at Painter Elementary School in the Alum Rock School District in East San Jose. Last year she coached the Eagle Bots, a 5th grade Lego Robotics Team and brought home the judges award from Leland High School First Lego League, northern California. She has 11 years of teaching experience as well as many years in the hi-tech industry.
Ms. Illa is a 26-year veteran teacher and currently in her 27th year teaching at Cureton Elementary School. She has mentored new teachers for 17 years, been a master teacher, and grade level chairperson for about 10 years. She currently teaches 5 Grade Math. She believes that it is her responsibility to help students become more well-rounded individuals and that the arts give them an avenue to express who they are and their dreams. She has collaborated with Okada Design since 2007 to incorporate art projects into her classroom.
Alba Cardenas, Lead Teacher Assistant
My name is Alba Cardenas and I am a student at San Jose State University. I am excited to be working with a great group of children in very exciting projects in the summer camp. I work with children at the Science and Technology workshop at Joseph George Middle School. At the workshop we do hands-on science and it is great. The children respond greatly to working with their hands and learning new concepts. I am excited to guide the children in their learning in the summer camp for the second year.
Stephanie Esparza, Program Assistant
Stephanie grew up in East San Jose and attended Meyer Elementary, Renaissance Academy middle school, and graduated from KIPP San Jose Collegiate high school. She is a junior at UC Merced majoring in Sociology. She is fascinated with systems and thrives on organizing them. As Program Assistant she will insure that all materials & supplies are organized and available, as well as maintaining all paperwork associated with the camp. She is very excited about the journey she will be taking with the students attending camp.