Fab Foundation SCOPES-DF Staff

David Cavallo

David Cavallo is a consultant with the Fab Foundation and serving as the Learning Architect for the SCOPES-DF project. David is a Research Scientist and former Director of the Future of Learning Group at the MIT Media Laboratory. He completed his Ph.D. under the direction of Professor Seymour Papert. His thesis work describes an educational intervention in Thailand, named Project Lighthouse, and points towards the importance of emergent design in the reform of large-scale, complex, dynamic environments. His work focuses on the design and implementation of reforms of learning environments and educational systems, and the role technology can play in this change process. He also works on the design of new technologies for learning through design, expression, and construction. His other work includes projects for large-scale educational reform in Brasil, including a project where children design their city of the future. Prior to MIT, Cavallo led the design and implementation of medical informatics as part of a reform of health care delivery and management at the Harvard University Health Services. Prior to that he was a principal and consulting software engineer at Digital Equipment Corporation’s Artificial Intelligence Technology Center. He led enterprise architecture and implementation efforts for using technology to produce change in the processes and operations of major companies by focusing on learning. He designed and built numerous knowledge-based systems for industry. He also holds a Master of Science degree from the MIT Media Laboratory and a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Computer Science from Rutgers University. He has advised numerous heads of state and ministries of education on the adoption of advanced technologies for learning and the reform of educational institutions.

Nettrice Gaskins

Dr. Nettrice Gaskins has worked for several years in K-12 and post-secondary education, community media and technology before receiving a doctorate in Digital Media from Georgia Institute of Technology in 2014. Nettrice has focused on the application of cultural art and technologies in STEAM learning for underrepresented ethnic groups in public schools in the United States and around the world. She has worked as a teaching artist for the Boston 100K Artscience Innovation Prize; and was a youth media/technology trainer for Adobe Youth Voices. She served as Board President of the National Alliance for Media Arts and Culture and was on the board of the Community Technology Centers Network (CTCNet). Dr. Gaskins has also received funding from the National Science Foundation for Advancing STEM Through Culturally Situated Arts-Based Learning. Nettrice provides expert advice on how to include people from underrepresented communities.

Melvin LaPrade

Melvin LaPrade founded the National Urban Research Group (NURG) when he was a Ph.D. Candidate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Department of Urban Studies and Planning. In the beginning, NURG conducted research and policy analysis on mortgage lending discrimination and the origins of the subprime financial crisis. The vision of NURG has extended to advance data-driven research through multiple perspectives, with particular concentration to the impact of public policy on social justice and educational equity across P-20 educational platforms.

Sherry Lassiter

Sherry Lassiter is one of the architects of the MIT global initiative for field on-site technology development, the Fab Lab program. A Fab Lab, or as users like to call it, fabulous laboratory, is a rapid prototyping platform for technical education, innovation and personal expression. The Fab Lab network includes over 1200 digital fabrication facilities in 100 countries. Lassiter is Director of the Fab Foundation, a non-profit organization committed to building technical capacity in a locality, improving individuals’ abilities to develop themselves and their communities and bringing access to tools and knowledge that cultivate and support innovating practices.

Sonya Pryor-Jones

Sonya Pryor-Jones is the Chief Implementation Officer for the Fab Foundation. In partnership with Sherry Lassiter, Sonya is charged with supporting the next iteration of Dr. Neil Gershenfeld’s work, and the strategic endeavors of the organization.

Sonya manages signature projects for the Fab Foundation including the Brilliant Career Labs, SCOPES-DF, and partnerships with Chevron, The GE Foundation, Adam Savage and Tested.com, The Boston Celtics, and DARPA.

Sonya received a B.A. in International Studies and History from Kenyon College, and a M.Ed. in Education from Cleveland State University. She also holds Certificates in Executive Education and Appreciative Inquiry from The Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University.

Daniel Smithwick

Dr. Daniel Smithwick serves as the SCOPES-DF Master Fabricator. He works collaboratively with experts in STEM education to build and share new fabrication knowledge and inspire the next generation of digital fabricators.

Dan is a scholar in design, computation, and cognitive sciences having published on these topics and more in both academic journals and popular press. He has taught classes on digital design and fabrication at MIT, Rhode Island School of Design, and the Boston Architectural College.;

Dan was trained as an architect at the University of Minnesota (BS Architecture) and completed research degrees at MIT (MS Design Computation, PhD Design Computation). Dan and his family live in Somerville, Massachusetts and for fun Dan plays drums in an 80’s cover band.