person 1.gif

Bob Cerf


Bob has a BA from Cal Berkeley and an MBA. He took many math and science courses at UC Berkeley. Bob entered the education profession in 2004. Prior to that Bob was a senior merchandising executive for Macy's and J. Crew and co-managed an Angel Fund.

Bob has tutored and mentored students that went on to be graduates of Stanford, Princeton, Colorado College, University of Colorado Boulder Honors Program and many other top schools. Bob was a Division I tennis player (UCLA) and his three sons played lacrosse in college. He walks daily and plays tennis regularly and loves to ski with his family. Bob has a burning passion to create FUN experiential, hands-on, discovery learning opportunities that ignite kids' interest in STEAM.


Laura D.

M.S.E., Computer Engineering and Control Theory, Santa Clara University
M.B.A., General Management, UC Berkeley and Columbia University Business Schools
B.S.M.E., Biomedical Mechanical Engineering, Washington University, St. Louis

Laura is an educator, executive consultant, entrepreneur, and judge for STEM competitions. Laura taught students in 10th through 12th grade in Computer Science at The Bay School of San Francisco for the 2017-2018 school year. In past roles, she has led technology teams in cleantech, software and biotech for 10+ years across multiple functional areas and industries, focused in renewable energy and energy efficiency for 5+ years.

Laura is passionate about all sides of the STEM field. In parallel to her tech roles, she has taught UC Berkeley, secondary, and elementary school computer science for 10 years, tutored math, and has been an advisor to several STEM startups. Laura is also a judge for high school, college, and government funded (DOE solar) grants and competitions in STEM. While teaching at UC Berkeley Extension, Laura developed the UC Berkeley curriculum for Microsoft Windows programming development and published the textbook Windows Programming Under the Hood of MFC, based on her applied approach to teaching students how to develop object-oriented software.


Adrian P.

Adrian is an interactive media designer, developer, and educator. Working primarily through the creation of compelling stories through emergent gameplay and systems oriented design, he is fascinated by the intersection of games and education. While not working at Starfire, he is a freelance designer and developer working with a number of clients, from startups to art galleries. He obtained his Master's of Fine Arts in Digital Arts and New Media at the University of California, Santa Cruz, with an emphasis in Playable Media. He completed his undergraduate education at the University of California, San Diego with a major in Interdisciplinary Computing in the Arts and a minor in Computer Science.


Karen W.

Karen has a B.S. degree from Stanford University in Management Science and Engineering with a focus in Organizations, Technology, and Entrepreneurship. Before joining the Starfire team, she worked as a product manager on mobile applications at a technology company. Growing up, Karen was both an avid babysitter and tutor and she loves the opportunity to share her passion for STEAM with kids of all ages through Starfire's after school programs. Outside the office, Karen loves to read philosophy and psychology books, travel the world, play soccer, and pet as many dogs as possible.


Joe C.

Joe graduated from Princeton University with a B.A. in Philosophy. Joe is an acquisition editor for an academic publisher of graduate-level e-books for researchers at the cutting edge of neuroscience, cell biology, physiology and experimental biomedicine. Previously, Joe worked at the American Association for Cancer Research, a scientific society devoted to promoting and supporting preclinical and translational cancer research. Joe is passionate about training the next generation of scientists and implementing innovation in education. Joe was on the Varsity Fencing team at Princeton and volunteers for SoccerFours, an adult pick-up soccer league in San Francisco.

joe cho headshot.jpg
veenu suri.jpg

Veenu S.

Veenu graduated from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor with a B.S. in Physics and Astrophysics. Veenu’s undergraduate research dealt with astrophysical concepts such as Instrumentation, Exoplanets and Dark Energy, and several of his projects have been published in Astrophysical Journal. Currently, Veenu is involved with a research project at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab (LBNL), studying and undertaking the conceptual design of a photonic propulsion system for Mars and the Moon.

Throughout high school and college, Veenu developed a passion for helping others succeed through mentoring and coaching. He was a Teaching Assistant (TA) for various college level physics courses at Ann Arbor, and volunteered weekly at his high school’s National Honor Society. Veenu joined Starfire Education because he wants to help students become successful and reach their full potential in STEM subjects. During his spare time, Veenu enjoys climbing, playing violin/piano, watching/playing basketball and football, and going to the beach on weekends.

Samina photo.png

Samina P.

I started my career as a software engineer, working at places like Cisco Systems and Oracle doing software development. More recently, I have focused on being a Technical Trainer and Coding Instructor in a variety of settings. I am involved in the Training department of Women In Big Data (read my blog post: My Big Data Journey), and I enjoy taking complex technical information and trying to find ways to present them in ways that are fun, visual and easy to understand. I am also a mom to two teenage boys who share my love of reading, computers and museums. I have enjoyed teaching them and want to share that enjoyment with my students.


Gayle Z.

Gayle recently graduated from University of California, Davis with a Bachelor's of Science in Astrophysics and minors in Computer Science and Music. While at Davis, Gayle participated in multiple research projects, including one that worked on the High Luminosity Upgrade of the Compact Muon Solenoid at CERN, and another that analyzed the stellar objects in the DLT40 Sky Survey. Though physics is her major, she is interested in all aspects and fields of STEAM. In her free time, she enjoys reading, piano, archery, and crafting stained glass.

gayle zheng.jpeg

Fa C.

PhD Student, Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering, University of California, Santa Cruz
MS., Electrical and Computer Engineering, UC Santa Cruz
MS., Electrical Engineering, Washington University, St. Louis

Fa is a doctoral student in the Computer and Electrical Engineering program at UC Santa Cruz. He also holds a Masters of Electrical Engineering degree from Washington University in St. Louis. At UC Santa Cruz, he has served as a graduate teaching assistant for several undergraduate courses, and is involved in several academic research projects, including: “Improving Resilience of the Electricity Distribution System using Anomaly Detection,” “Time Series Analysis of Snow Depth using Bayesian Kalman Filtering and EM Estimation," and “Power Reproduction on Wind Speed Prediction,” in the data science field.

Fa has been teaching undergrads and high school students for various courses in Computer Architecture, Probability and Statistics, and Algebra. He has real world experience in data science, embedded systems, and digital signal processing. He brings these experiences into his teaching to create learning opportunities, and is always encouraging his students to do their best. He has enough experience to know that there is always a lot more to learn. Fa loves to spend time with his wife and nine-year old son, and enjoys taking road trips throughout the USA whenever he gets the chance.


Jennifer Y.

Jennifer traveled across the continent from 2007 to 2013 and met with many exceptional teenagers and their families. She shared a lot of feelings and insights on how to raise a child. Proper empowerment, support, and inspiration are all important to the development of every single child. An adaptive and open learning environment is essential and there is no black/white rule.

Upon graduation with her M.S. in Computer Science from New York University, Jennifer had been working in the startup companies in Silicon Valley. Her deep passion in software development led her through the early days of database internals research and development to Internet infrastructure systems. In addition, she had broad engineering and project/program management experience background, working with large development teams and managing cross-continent software releases.

Jennifer has been teaching the Computer Science and database courses since fall 2015. She introduced various Computer Science concepts and basic programming in Python and SQL to adult students coming from diverse ethnic and cultural background.

As part of Starfire Education, Jennifer spent the last year working with middle school students teaching them Python programming language, Design Thinking and general applications of Computer Science concepts.

Jennifer loves constructing contemporary structures and enjoys listening to the music of Johann Sebastian Bach.

Corey Hanson Photo.jpg

Corey H.

Corey graduated from the Academy of Arts University with a degree in Animation and Visual effects. During his time in school, Corey has had the opportunity to work on several professional-level animation projects, on which he has held various different positions within the animation production pipeline. Animation is a team effort, and Corey enjoys the working in a large group and collaborating with others. He is adaptable to whatever is needed of him on a specific project and strives to be as helpful to those around him as possible. It is this which led to him working for Starfire, so that he can share his knowledge and experience with kids and help inspire them in the same way he was when he was younger, while continuing to advance his own skills. In his spare time Corey enjoys, drawing, volunteering on animation projects, reading and learning new subjects that catch his interest.



Aparna has a Graduate degree in Physics (Electronics) with a Post Graduate degree (M.Phil.) in Physics (first rank holder in her batch) from IIT Roorkee, India. She did her pre-doctoral thesis on measuring the size of atmospheric particles. She is a proud mother of a daughter and a son. She taught her kids through their high school studies. This is her first year in formal teaching. She loves teaching math and science to elementary school kids because this is their age of foundation. Her philosophy is that kids are very creative and they don’t want to stick to one way to solve a problem, but rather, can find solutions to a problem in different ways through trial and error. She became a Starfire teacher because the Starfire philosophy encourages creativity and connects math and science with real life problems. Her hobbies are trying different recipes in the kitchen and painting.