Happy January! Can you believe it’s 2019 already?
Even though we’re a summer camp company, at iD Tech, we work hard (and play hard!) year-round. When summer ends, Accounting is wrapping up finances. Marketing is revamping design and voice. The Ops team is nailing down our next season’s locations. Our Camp Specialists are handling your questions and comments.
And, in the Education Department (EDU), of which I am an honored member, we are overhauling our curriculum so your student has fresh, exciting classes in coding and more with which to engage next summer.
But who are the spunky, nerdy, knowledgeable folk behind the scenes designing the next Roblox, Java, video production, and Sphero courses? Who’s responsible for the educational materials our summer staff utilizes to inspire your child?
I’m glad you asked.
Complete with our camp nicknames (a time-honored iD Tech tradition; most members of EDU also began their iD life at camp) here’s your guide to EDU.
Kevin "Improv" Stevenson
Kevin's abilities in education stem from his background in Game Design. When you give a player a tool, and then give them a chance to master it and heighten the experience, that maps exceptionally well to teaching, learning, and improving skills over time.
From that starting point, Kevin began instructing students at each of iD Tech's programs; he couldn't get enough. After seeing the amazing projects his students made week after week, he wanted to help more of them have an experience that would have been instrumental in his own youth and development. He wanted to help as many students as possible unlock their potential.
He began writing courses for the Education Department to reach more students every year, and has progressed to coaching his fellow Developers on how to improve their writing and content to in turn, improve students' experiences at camp.
Now, he's head of the Education Department where he helps his team create courses that inspire, drive, and teach within the atmosphere of fun and passionate summer camps.
John "Blam" Mathison
John developed a love of programming the first time a math class required a TI-83 calculator. He spent hours creating programs to automate solving the equations he was supposed to be memorizing, and far more hours fumbling together RPG games in the calculator's Basic language.
He first developed a love of teaching while volunteering as a computer science tutor at De Anza College; then, a friend from school suggested he apply as an instructor at iD Tech. He loved it immediately, and after three years of instructing, he joined iD's Education Department so he could spread game development and programming education farther than ever before.
In addition to programming and teaching, he's passionate about board games (both playing and creating them) followed closely by video games and film. Thanks to his Pacific Northwest upbringing, he even goes outside sometimes to enjoy sailing, rock climbing, hiking, skiing, and camping.
Aurora "Ginger Snap" Smith
Aurora grew up writing stories, so a path studying the English language was a natural course for her. She attended San Jose State University, where she was a Dean’s Scholar and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English, with Honors, including a concentration in creative writing.
She first discovered iD Tech via the Client Services department, and when an editing post opened in EDU, she jumped at the chance to utilize her degree (and remains endlessly grateful to do so)! Playing with words, clarifying complex STEM sentences, and ensuring that curriculum reaches students in as polished a form as possible is both a privilege and a joy to her.
She adores Halloween and all things spooky, horror books and movies, tattoos, writing poetry, strength training, baking allergy-friendly treats, and singing loudly to herself in her car.
Max "Ghosts" O'Hare
Education Project Coordinator
Max’s first love was the written word; it carried them all the way to iD in 2011, where they copy edited online content before transitioning into a dual role of quality assurance and copy editing, before finally winding up in project management.
On any given day you can find them glued to anything that can have words put on it: a phone, a keyboard, even a piece of paper will do in a pinch. They firmly believe in all things spooky, the power of song, and that cooking is one of life’s most flexible creativities.
Don "Inverse" Squires
Education Project Coordinator
Don holds a Bachelor of Science in Digital Entertainment and Game Design, specializing in level design. One day, while browsing the Gamasutra job boards, Don saw an ad looking for instructors for the iD Game Dev Academy (then just called the iD Gaming Academy) and thought, “Huh, that might be interesting.”
That was way back in 2011 and since then, Don’s come back to iD year after year to teach, until joining the EDU department as a temp in 2014 and proceeding to full time in 2015.
When he’s not at work, Don can usually be found diving deep into a game, working on building and painting wargaming miniatures, or designing board games. If you want to talk games, Don’s usually the person to hit up. If you want to talk movies or TV though, maybe snag someone else. (EDU currently maintains a list of “required” movies Don hasn’t seen in hopes of solving the problem one day. Don wishes them luck.)
Alycia "Gadget" Meier
Education Hardware Coordinator
Alycia loves being a maker, always creating something new and finding value in both successes and failures. She specializes in both electrical engineering and early childhood education, and has a BFA in Computer Animation.
In addition to teaching kindergarten and after-school programs, Alycia has over 10 years' experience creating special effects and producing commercials.
EJ "Trogdor" Fernald
Support Specialist and Content Developer
EJ is a veteran of iD Tech Camps. He started at the age of 13, attending an iD Tech program at UCLA. He loved it so much he returned for the next five summers.
Once he aged out of our programs, he decided to continue his studies in game design. He attended CSU Chico for five years, getting a double major in Game Design and Computer Science. Every summer during college, he returned to iD Tech’s UCLA location to instruct campers, giving them an amazing camp experience, just as he had received so many years before.
Over time, EJ branched out to create brand new camps at CSU Long Beach and Biola. Now, he works full time developing curriculum for the new amazing courses iD has to offer and supporting staff and parents during the summer.
In his free time, Trogdor likes to play video games and hang out with his two cats, Appa and Momo. (No, Trogdor is not a master of the four elements).
Vivian "Spoopy" Allum
Vivian attended New York University where she got a degree in Computer Science and a minor in Game Design. She found that game development was a perfect way to combine her interests in coding and games!
After remembering how much fun she had at summer camp, she one day googled “camp coding summer” and discovered iD Tech. Since then, she’s worked as a Lead Instructor and Teaching Director for five years all over the world with iD. From these summers she’s discovered a passion for teaching and making tech cool for students.
Vivian spends her free time listening to podcasts, fiddling with Unity, and doing the New York Times crossword during long subway rides.
Michelle "Eevee" Rakar
Eevee (also sometimes known as Michelle by those outside of iD Tech) is a Curriculum Developer who grew up in Cleveland, Ohio and went to college at the Columbus College of Art & Design (CCAD). She graduated in 2015 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2D Animation, studying character design, project management, and game design while in school.
Eevee has worked at iD Tech for the past five summers, starting back in 2014 when her brother Steve (aka "Cheese Beard") initially referred her. She started as an instructor at iD Tech's Ohio State University location, then the next two years saw her at UW - Seattle and Spring Break Camp in California.
She continued as a Lead Instructor at UCLA in 2016 and started her first season as a temporary Curriculum Developer with EDU. After another Spring Break Camp, a stint at Stanford, another season as a temporary Curriculum Developer (all in 2017!), and then all the way to Assistant Director back at UW, Eevee finally settled as a full-time, year-round Curriculum Developer in 2018!
When Eevee's not working, she's making video games or drawing characters. (It's honestly hard to spot her WITHOUT her sketchbook in hand.) She's been working on a story with her brother for years, where she's designed characters, wrote lots of arcs in the story, drawn comics, and more! She also loves project management and makes schedules and to-do lists—for fun. Additionally, Eevee adores bubble tea and eating out at Asian Buffets for special occasions.
Excited for summer and our 2019 course lineup?
Us too! Fortunately, you can already register and secure your child's spot in their next favorite course.
Not sure what your summer looks like? Never fear. You can change your registration with no fees up to 21 days prior to your child's session.