Jean Kaneko, Founder/Chief Tinkerer

Jean Kaneko is sought after program/curriculum developer and speaker in  the world of STEAM education and Making. An early adopter of making as an engagement strategy, she has been teaching STEAM subjects in formal and informal education programs such as after school, in-class, camps to both children and educators since 2011. 

Early days of tinkering in the garage and the dark room with her father led her to a career working in media that combined science, technology and art. She studied psychology and film in college and went on to work at the world’s first HDTV production companies in NY in the 80′s.  Among many firsts, she worked on live HDTV satellite broadcasts from NY to Japan and was part of a team that developed programming that showcased the newest High Definition equipement. NHK, the public broadcast company of Japan then recruited her to manage a new startup – HDCG (High Definition Computer Graphics ) to develop creative programming using its new HD and computer graphics technologies.  As an independent consultant, she  has developed education and entertainment programming for  think tanks, computer graphics production companies  and manufacturers of new technologies. 

Jean’s obsession with creative uses of technologies led her to create The Exploratory as her son entered elementary school and she couldn’t find programs that enabled him to do hands on, inquiry-based learning that accessed both sides of the brain.  The Exploratory was a pioneer in the use of Making as a vehicle for STEAM learning. It has provided after school programming, camps, events to build awareness, and since 2013 has become THE STEAM program for several Los Angeles based public and private schools. It is Maker Education Initiative's  Los Angeles partner in the Maker VISTA Corps program and was a pilot Maker Corps program in 2012/2013. Jean has created curriculum for HeadStart Schools to bring STEAM into early childhood education. She was also the chief architect of the Tinkering and Making toolkit for the Pearson Foundation's Project Mash. Jean has consulted with and provided professional development workshops to thousands of educators and librarians through out the years on Design Thinking, incorporating growth mindset skills, making skills and STEAM subject learning. 

Max Nishimura, Director of Operations/Maker Facilitator

Max Nishimura is a true renaissance maker. He is meticulous in his organization skills, can whip up a making project utilizing new skills he learned 3 hours ago, has a keen design sense and is amazing with children. He graduated from UC Berkeley with a B.A. in Sociology in 2011, holds a second degree black belt in Wado-Ryu Karate and has coached students in international competitions. Prior to his position as the Director of Operations, Max was an AmeriCorps Maker VISTA, chosen by Maker Ed and Maker Guilds to build capacity of the organization to reach low income, under-served communities in Los Angeles through making skill development. 


ALLEN PAN, Electronics and Robotics Specialist

Allen is an engineer, inventor, hitchhiker, secret clearance holder, ordained minister, and all around imagination man. He graduated from USC in 2012 with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and a minor in Cinematic Arts. A lifelong Maker, Allen hopes to help nurture the burgeoning maker movement in Los Angeles and beyond. His interests include democratizing and decentralizing science and tech, as well as using tech and science to create decentralized democracies.  At The Exploratory, Allen brings his expertise in electronics to the Tinker.Make.Innovate. pathways, products, classes and workshops. 




Evan Beachy  is currently the Director of Innovation and Curriculum at The Milken Middle School in Los Angeles. He has taught at the elementary, middle and high school levels at both private and public schools in Los Angeles, Hawaii, Massachusetts, and Costa Rica. Evan earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology (Cum Laude) from Harvard University and completed the Harvard Undergraduate Teaching Education Program as part of this degree. In addition, he holds a doctoral degree from the University of California Los Angeles in Educational Leadership, with an emphasis on the transition from elementary to middle school settings in private independent schools.


For eight years Steve Davee was the Documentation and Technology Specialist and a Math and a Science Teacher at Opal Public Charter School of the Portland Children’s Museum. Prior to Opal, Steve worked in biomedical research for the University of Arizona and for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at the Oregon Health and Sciences University. Steve is the founder of CoLab Tinkering, which provides tinkering camps and workshops. He regularly shares the incredible work and capabilities of children through video, photography and presentations.Steve received a BS in Physics from the University of Oregon, and from Oregon State University a BS in Biochemistry/Biophysics and an MS in Biochemistry. He is currently the Director of Education and Communications at Maker Education Initiative.


Lisa Regalla is currently the National Program Director at Maker Education Initiative . Prior to that, she was responsible for the educational content atTwin Cities Public Television where she presented on television, in person, in print, and on the web as part of the Emmy-Award winning series, SciGirls and DragonflyTV: Nano. As the manager of a national outreach program, she conducted extensive professional development workshops in gender equity and inquiry-based science and engineering for teachers, museum educators, and after-school program leaders, with a commitment to organizations that serve Latino audiences. Prior to joining Twin Cities Public Television, Lisa worked at the Museum of Science, Boston and the Da Vinci Science Center in PA. Lisa received both a BS in Chemistry and a BA in Theater from Lehigh University before pursuing her PhD in Chemistry from the University of Florida.