Announcement of New Board Officers


The Digital Harbor Foundation is pleased to announce the election of officers for new terms on the board. These include:

  • Stephanie Rodriguez – Chair
  • Frank Bonsal III – Vice-Chair
  • Christofer Nelson – Secretary

Tenille Patterson will continue to serve as Treasurer and, while stepping down from role as Interim Chair, David Stone will continue to serve as a board member.

“I’m honored to have been elected board chair for the Digital Harbor Foundation. It’s been beyond inspiring to see first hand the impact DHF has on the Baltimore community and how its leadership is working to disseminate their model and practices nationally. I looked forward to working with the amazing Board of Directors and the entire DHF team to keep the momentum going!” wrote Stephanie Rodriguez.

The entire team at DHF would like to thank David Stone for his role as interim chair and was during an important transition time for the organization as a whole!

Biographies for Board Officers:


Stephanie Rodriguez, Board Chair

Stephanie Rodriguez is the Vice President of Policy & Engagement at the AnitaB.org, an international nonprofit social enterprise committed to increasing the representation of women technologists in the global workforce. Prior to working at AnitaB.org, Stephanie served as the Director of STEM Policy at the Afterschool Alliance supporting afterschool and summer learning across the United States. An immunologist by training, Stephanie found her way to STEM education policy and advocacy through years of STEM-related community outreach, and service as a AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellow at the National Science Foundation (NSF). While at NSF, she worked on efforts to broaden participation in computer science and other STEM fields.


Frank Bonsal III, Board Vice-Chair

Frank Bonsal III is a pioneer in the fields of education innovation, technology, and investment and has demonstrated sustained empathy for the education end user. As Managing Partner of Bonsal Capital, former General Partner of New Markets Venture Partners, and angel investor, his direct investment experience includes over 30 education companies, more than half of which have been realized with tens of millions positively impacted. His efforts to catalyze Towson University’s incubator created the Capital Region’s largest and most dedicated support networks for education entrepreneurs and companies and availed over $150 million in economic impact. Bonsal mentors or advises several education and entrepreneurship organizations and is a frequent panelist and speaker. He previously served as trustee or director of the Center for Education Reform, Garrison Forest School, Gilman School, Holderness School, and the Irvine Nature Center. He began his career as teacher and coach in U.S. middle and high school settings and with summer programs in Japan and the United Kingdom.


Christofer Nelson, Board Secretary

Christofer Nelson serves as the Chief Operating Officer for the Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC). Chris has worked at the intersection of public policy and innovation for many years, including roles as a Scholar on Innovation and Program Manager for Science in the Public Interest and Georgetown University Energy Prize for national community energy efficiency; serving as the Assistant Director for Open Innovation at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) where he focused on scaling the use of open innovation approaches, which include incentive prizes, crowdsourcing, citizen science, and Grand Challenges across U.S. Federal government agencies to address national priorities.


Tenille Patters, Board Treasurer

Tenille Patterson is Vice President at the Pretrial Justice Institute (PJI) where she is responsible for and oversees the activities and processes that provide core mission support to PJI. Tenille’s accounting career began 16 years ago when she worked as an auditor for the global professional services firm PwC. To align her professional aspirations with her spirit of advocacy and social justice, Tenille transitioned into the nonprofit field, working with and for organizations serving the most underserved and disenfranchised. Prior to her position at PJI, Tenille served as chief operating officer of the Center for Urban Families, a human services organization dedicated to supporting fathers and families suffering from the effects of systemic and institutional inequality. Tenille has a bachelor of science degree in accounting from Morgan State University and is a certified public accountant.

Digital Harbor Foundation Announces Multi-Year Commitment by The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation

Grant to support maker and computer science education opportunities for Baltimore youth in the out-of-school time and educator professional development.

BALTIMORE (January 17, 2019) On the 6th Anniversary of opening the Digital Harbor Foundation (DHF) Tech Center in the former South Baltimore Rec Center, the Digital Harbor Foundation announced a multi-year commitment of $450,000.00 to support DHF’s ongoing initiatives and aid in efforts to expand its reach.

“The Weinberg Foundation has been a key partner from the very beginning of our work,” said Andrew Coy, Executive Director of the Digital Harbor Foundation. “This multi-year commitment allows us to act immediately on the core threads outlined in our new strategic plan which are focused on extending opportunities to even more Baltimore youth. Specifically, it will allow us to grow our team, make structural updates to several of our programs, and create new ways for youth to participate in our programs.”

As highlighted in the 2018 Annual Report, DHF’s impact has grown from a single afterschool program to now serving 1,250 youth from 37 Baltimore-area zip codes in a variety of out-of-school-time programs and special events with another 2,678 community members attending our special events. Additionally, DHF’s Center of Excellence for Innovation in Technology Education supports educators from around the country as they incorporate technology education in their learning environments through in-person workshops, online professional development, and individualized consulting. In 2018, 241 educators attended DHF’s in-person workshops (having an indirect impact on 38,505 youth from around the country) with 1,339 educators using Blueprint, DHF’s online educator resources which includes getting started guides, project ideas, online courses, and digital guides.

The announcement was made alongside a number of other public releases including the launch of free field-trip opportunities for Baltimore City Public Schools, shift in summer programs to full-day camps, new educator professional development opportunities, and naming of Darius McCoy to the role of Tech Center Director at Digital Harbor Foundation’s flagship location.

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About the Digital Harbor Foundation
The Digital Harbor Foundation (DHF), a non-profit organization located in Baltimore City, is dedicated to fostering innovation, tech advancement, and entrepreneurship by helping youth develop digital age skills through maker and computer science education. In 2013, DHF reopened the closed South Baltimore Rec Centers as the Digital Harbor Foundation Tech Center, a youth-centric makerspace and in 2016 launched the Center of Excellence for Innovation in Technology Education. Learn more at digitalharbor.org

About The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation
The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, one of the largest private charitable foundations in the United States, is dedicated to meeting the basic needs of vulnerable people and families experiencing poverty. In 2019, the Foundation will provide approximately $125 million in grants to nonprofits that provide direct services in the areas of Housing, Health, Jobs, Education, and Community Services. The Foundation’s priority communities include Baltimore, Chicago, Hawaii, Israel, New York City, Northeastern Pennsylvania, San Francisco, and Rural Communities (primarily surrounding other priority communities). The Foundation’s trustees include Robert T. Kelly, Jr., Board Chair; Ambassador Fay Hartog-Levin (Ret.); Paula B. Pretlow; and Gordon Berlin. Rachel Garbow Monroe continues to serve as President and CEO. For more information, please visit www.hjweinbergfoundation.org.

6th Anniversary Showcase

Six years ago we held the Grand Opening for the launch of the Digital Harbor Foundation Tech Center. Forbes published “Commandeering The Decks: Baltimore’s Digital Harbor Tech Center” wrote at the time:

“Beginning next week, the Digital Harbor Tech Center will offer Baltimore City Public School students what they need to innovate. This will happen through after school digital literacy programs, classes, and clubs where kids can hone their mobile app development, web design, and digital media production skills… The center’s grand opening was a packed house, where excited participants got to show equally excited visitors the fruits of some their early work, providing a taste of what’s to come from the space.”

To celebrate our past year of work and marking the 6th Anniversary milestone, and in addition to our youth showed off their most recent creations, we were excited to

  • announce a major grant from the Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Foundation,
  • release both our 2018 Annual Report and our 2019-2021 Strategic Plan,
  • introduce Darius McCoy as the newly named Tech Center Director,
  • announce the launch of new Tech Center Field Trips opportunities,
  • announce the opportunity for Pop-Up Programs at off-site locations, and
  • announced changes to our summer Maker Camp program.

Special thanks to all of the individuals, companies, organizations and foundations that make our work possible! We wouldn’t be here without your support — you are making a TRANSFORMATIONAL impact on the trajectory of thousands of Baltimore youth!

Major Grant from The Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Foundation

To support the work of the Digital Harbor Foundation, the Weinberg Foundation has made a $450,000.00 commitment over two years. You can read a full press release about this major grant here: https://www.digitalharbor.org/2019/01/digital-harbor-foundation-announces-multi-year-commitment-harry-jeanette-weinberg-foundation/

Digital Harbor Foundation’s 2018 Annual Report

We are pleased to present the Digital Harbor Foundation’s 2018 Annual Report and to reflect on the progress our youth and staff have made during the 2018 calendar year. Some of this progress is easy to see, such as the number of youth who participated in our courses or the launch of DHF’s National Rec-to-Tech Design Challenge. However, just as important are the hundreds of small and individual victories our youth have achieved over the past year. Read the whole report here.

Digital Harbor Foundation Strategic Plan (2019-2021)

Through the support and expertise of An-Me Chung, and with input from hundreds of stakeholders and community members, Digital Harbor Foundation has developed a strategic plan to help guide its work over the course of the next three years. The report outlines our organizational Theory of Change as well as Strategic Priority Actions designed to guide our efforts to continue delivering high-quality programs to even more youth in Baltimore and educators nationally. Read the full plan here.

Darius McCoy, Tech Center Director

As Digital Harbor Foundation has grown, the need for a single Director for all of our youth-serving programs at the Tech Center has become apparent. As we went through the interview process for the position, we realized that the best person to lead that work was one of our very own former youth, Darius McCoy. We could not be more pleased to introduce him to the broader community as the Tech Center Director. Seeing him step into this role is a manifestation of the transformational potential for youth in our programs to directly lead this work.

Field Trips

We are excited to announce new opportunities for 3D Printing Field Trip (FREE for Baltimore City Public Schools). During this high quality, hands-on field trip experience, youth learn how to use 3D design software to design and 3D print a personalized object. Additionally, an interactive presentation is delivered that covers the uses of 3D printers in a variety of industries, how they work, and the design-to-print workflow.

Schools can sign up directly at https://www.digitalharbor.org/whatwedo/youth/field-trips/

Pop-Up Programs

In addition to field trip opportunities to the Tech Center, DHF is excited to announce the launch of Pop-Up Programs where DHF collaborates with organizations and schools to bring hands-on tech experiences to youth in those spaces. To learn more and get invovled, email popup@digitalharbor.org!

All-Day Summer Camp

Based on feedback and requests from families, we are excited to announce changes to our summer Maker Camp schedule that will make our previously two-week half-day camps to now run all day for one week. Sign up for our newsletter to receive the announcement when registration opens: https://eepurl.com/I8aJX

Digital Harbor Foundation’s 5th Anniversary Showcase

More than 200 youth, parents, and community members attended Digital Harbor Foundation’s 5th Anniversary Showcase, one of our highest attended showcases to date. Youth presented projects such as a flashlight made out of recycled materials, an Arduino programmed lamp, and an Arduino-powered cardboard gauntlet. Sam Mitchell, Sorensen Wynn, and Eli Edmondson used Python programming to create a multiplayer game in Minecraft. The object of the game is to destroy bricks under another player in order to increase your own score.

“I walked away for a couple minutes and when I came back, everyone was playing it!” said Sam.

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Jordan Bocklage programmed a headband with wipers for her glasses, a project she had been wanting to make for the past two years since she took the Maker Foundations course. Right before the showcase, she couldn’t find the code to make the wipers move in unison and had to problem solve an alternative way to achieve her desired effect. After she showcased her work, Jordan told her parents and staff that this was only one version of her final work and that more prototypes were to come.

Mayen Nelson used his knowledge of circuitry and digital fabrication he learned in Maker Foundations to create a working laptop using a Raspberry Pi. Mayen worked down to the wire perfecting measurements for his laptop’s frame and finding a screen that worked the way he intended.

rpi laptop

In addition to being a showcase of our youth’s hard work, this showcase was also an opportunity to reflect on the past five years since DHF had the opportunity to reopen an unused recreation center.

“We came to work every day to a mostly empty space,” said Director of Programs, Steph Grimes.

Since then, DHF has expanded to offer courses in digital fabrication and programming to youth from 90 schools in and around Baltimore as well job opportunities and college credit. Several youth have presented projects at the White House and, last year, a DHF project inspired Adam Savage’s SXSL installation. Youth have also championed initiative such as Makerettes, the 3D Print Shop, and Harbor Hacks, the first Baltimore hackathon created by youth for youth.

scratch game

scratch game

Andrew Coy, DHF’s Executive Director, unveiled the new Expanding Tech Education Initiative, a plan to explore expanding informal tech education for underrepresented communities using makerspaces. The initiative will be funded by a research grant from the National Science Foundation EAGER program. Three sites will be selected to participate in the 18-month pilot program. Each site will receive $25K in new equipment and consumable material for curriculum implementation. The intention of this research is to find ways to create sustainable and diverse makerspaces in communities that could benefit from them.

On Thursday, February 1st at 4pm, DHF will host a conference call that will go through the details of the program and the selection process. If you’re interested in learning more information about DHF’s plans and process for the initiative, RSVP for the informational call!

Digital Harbor Foundation and Community College of Baltimore County Announce College Credit for After-school Courses

Digital Harbor Foundation (DHF) announced today a partnership with Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC) to offer college credit to high school youth enrolled in DHF’s after-school program.

The courses offered as part of this program are focused on Digital Fabrication. Upon completion of the after-school courses and accompanying requirements, high school youth enrolled in DHF’s program will be eligible to earn 3 college credits equivalent to the CCBC DFAB101 course, which is part of the Associate of Applied Science degree.

The Executive Director of the Digital Harbor Foundation, Shawn Grimes, said “I feel great pride in my staff for having created such high quality after-school programs that they should receive this distinct recognition by the higher-ed community. CCBC is a leader in recognizing that impactful learning can happen outside the walls of traditional education and providing youth with meaningful on-ramps into college. This is a landmark moment for the movement toward formal support for informal learning.”

Doug Kendzierski, Chair of the Applied Technology Programs at CCBC explains, “This bridge partnership is consistent with CCBC’s commitment to broaden the pipeline for Digital Fabrication, a high-demand and quickly emerging sector of the manufacturing industry. Baltimore City high school students will be mastering college-level content for eventual transfer and college completion, as well as professional industry employment with highly competitive wages. CCBC is excited about our participation in this project, and look forward to expanding the model both within the Baltimore City School System, and beyond”.

“Anytime CCBC can help high school students earn college credit for the enhanced work they perform in their high school program, we are delighted to assist,” notes CCBC President Sandra L. Kurtinitis. “We are proud of the partnership our faculty and theirs have forged to make this opportunity possible.”

The 3-year agreement began in early Fall 2016 and there are currently nearly ten high school students piloting the program and courses at DHF. This first group of students are expected to complete this pilot in May 2017, at which time they will be able to apply for credit through CCBC.

Get on the Map! 3D Mapping Maryland Project

We are excited to be collaborating with the Maryland State Department of Education on a 3D Mapping Maryland Project and are requesting participation from all school systems.

This crowd-sourced 3D printing project will result in a massive puzzle reflecting a Maryland topographical map. In order to develop this puzzle, each school system or public library with a 3D printer will be provided access to their county/city’s online template. The 3D pieces from each county will be collected, then the map will be assembled by students either before or during the presentation at the Governor’s Office on Digital Learning Day, February 23, 2017. More information will be available closer to the start of this project.

map-collage

The kick-off for this event will occur on Saturday, November 5th, during Maryland’s first statewide Maker education conference, the Make. IT. Work. Conference at Eastern Tech High School. Templates will also be released on this date. Additional conference information can be found at https://dhf.io/makeitwork.

For a look at a similar project, check out the We the Builders‘ crowd-sourced 3D printed sculpture of Edgar Allan Poe.

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The We the Builders team created a digital replica of Edgar Allan Poe and shared the spliced files online. Individual Makers and Makerspaces from around the world contributed all the pieces of this sculpture.

PS – The newest We the Builders project, Rosie the Riveter, was sculpted at DHF and is now live! You can also participate in this project, so claim your pieces today. Learn more here: Rosie the Riveter

Meet Mary Reisenwitz, Mid-High Program Specialist

 

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Mary was born and raised in Chester County, Pennsylvania, and moved to Baltimore in 2011 to attend the Maryland Institute College of Art.  She studied painting at MICA, but became more interested in digital media and fabrication during her junior and senior years there.  Right now, her studio practice involves generating moiré patterns digitally and plotting them with ballpoint pens and vinyl cutters.  She also works collaboratively to develop toys and puzzles for education.  In addition to working at DHF, she manages the MCS (Make Cool Stuff) lab at MICA.

 

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Favorite thing about working at DHF (so far):

Honestly, I have really enjoyed working directly with the kids at DHF.  They have an energy and curiosity that is highly contagious.  It has been especially exciting to see them develop projects that utilize 3D printing and the Makey Makeys.  My background involves a lot of 3D printing, but I’ve usually been bound to tight constraints through work or school.  Here, the students are given a lot of creative license and they have really pushed the boundaries in my own mind about what can be done with a simple set up.  At the same time, it’s been really rewarding for me to learn alongside the students, as has been the case with the Makey Makeys.  I don’t have as much experience with electronics, so I had some anxiety about assisting in teaching this unit initially.  Ultimately, I found the setup really intuitive to use, but seeing the kids bring their ideas to life taught me so much more than I could have learned on my own.

 

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What I’m looking forward to working on/doing at DHF:

I am incredibly excited to continue working with the Makerettes. All of the girls I’ve worked with in Maker Foundations are incredibly smart and equally motivated.  One of my goals is to direct that energy towards additional projects that excite them that they wouldn’t have the opportunity to work on in the program.  This might mean using technology outside the boundaries of Maker Foundations, such as the vinyl or laser cutters.  It could also mean working collaboratively for longer periods of time on more advanced projects together.  In the past, the Makerettes have worked on projects that stay at DHF and enhance the visual environment; I want to continue that tradition as well.  Most of all, I want to get to know the girls at DHF a little better and do what I can to create a welcoming space for the girls to make within and keep coming back to.

 

We are very excited to have Mary as part of our team here at DHF as a Program Specialist! She brings enthusiasm and a variety of skills she is anxious to apply to our Makerettes program, which is awesome! We look forward to working more with Mary and seeing her impact grow here at DHF.

Come Celebrate our Anniversary

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Join Us for our 3rd Anniversary Showcase

As the holiday season is in full-swing, we are looking just a bit ahead to our 3rd Anniversary Celebration! January 2016 will mark the 3rd anniversary of the Tech Center Grand Opening, a milestone that is hard to believe is upon us!

To celebrate the occasion we will be hosting our 3rd Anniversary Showcase on Thursday January 14th, 2016. During the event our youth will be sharing their new learning, demonstrating new skills, and showcasing projects from our fall programs including 3D printing, Minecraft, design thinking, prototyping, electronics, and more! This showcase is a great way to meet our youth and see their work in action.

We will also be announcing some new initiatives we have planned for the coming year and highlighting our work over this last year for both the Tech Center and our Center of Excellence. This is a perfect opportunity to check in on us to see what we have been doing and hear, first-hand, what we have up our sleeves!

We invite all of you to join us for this evening of innovation and celebration! Please RSVP here: RSVP for 3rd Anniversary Showcase

Meet Jen Schachter, Special Projects Manager

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Jen is a New York native who came to Baltimore for school nine years ago and fell in love with the city. She graduated from MICA in 2010 with a Fine Arts degree, but found herself building and tinkering more often than painting and drawing. After a number of freelance visual display jobs, and curating gallery shows at Brewer’s Art, Jen moved on to Under Armour, where she wrote visual communication to stores across the country on store layout and merchandise display. Continuing to search for work that fulfilled her passions and desire to work for a better cause, Jen learned of a fellowship program through Baltimore Corps, a new social entrepreneurship start-up in the city. As soon as she found Digital Harbor Foundation, Jen knew this was where she was meant to be.

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What has been your favorite thing about working at DHF so far?

I get to make things every day! It’s been a long time since I had the chance to open a sketchbook at work, and now I use it constantly. When I’m not wielding drills and saws, I’m diagramming the next project and brainstorming with a team who shares the same passions for creating. And it’s so rewarding to know that my design challenges are focused on making the space better for the youth who come here to learn and explore.

Digifab Before + After

What are you looking forward to working on / doing at DHF?

I have so many ideas for the space itself and how we can elevate the functionality and visual appeal. I think we can make the Tech Center even more interactive and showcase student and staff work in new and creative ways. One of the things that excites me most is the idea that our work will be a blueprint for other Makerspaces across the country. The work I did at Under Armour definitely informs that, so I’m excited to see where that project can go.

Cabinet Before + After

We are so happy to have Jen on board here at DHF as our Special Projects Manager! She has been a valuable addition to our team and brings a much needed skill-set and enthusiasm for making and documenting. We look forward to continuing to work with Jen and learn more about her.

 

Thanking our Key Supporters

 

What better way to celebrate Giving Tuesday than by hosting an event to thank all of those who have supported us in some way? On December 1st we hosted our annual Key Supporters event in the form of a breakfast and networking opportunity.  Each year we host a Key Supporters Breakfast to mark the anniversary of the date we first received keys to the South Baltimore Rec Center to begin converting the space into the DHF Tech Center. The purpose of this event is to express gratitude and appreciation to all the people and organizations who have helped to support our mission over the last year and it is always a heartwarming opportunity to take pause and reflect on the work we have done and what we have all accomplished together over the last year.

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This year, one of the things we asked attendees to participate in as part of this event was a discussion about ways that we can continue to serve our community from their point of view. We also asked them to contribute advice, suggestions, and thoughts on how to move this work into part of a national conversation. We received a lot of great ideas and actionable requests as part of this discussion and it was a meaningful opportunity to hear what our key supporters are looking for as we move forward into our 4th year of operations.

key support collage

Each year, we issue a thank you note to each of our supporters in addition to a keepsake keychain that someone on staff has made. In past years, this was a simple 3D printed anchor logo keychain and a more complicated 3D printed key. This year, our staff worked to create these awesome lasercut and laser engraved keychains representing ‘3D Danny’ – a character created by our Community Manager, Melissa Huch, that has been used on much of our program branding this year. We were all really pleased with how these small tokens of appreciation turned out and were excited to give them to our community members!

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We’d like to extend another giant THANK YOU to our 2015 Key Supporters for their guidance, collaboration, time, resources, and overall support!