Meet the Team
Co-Founder and President
Ripal is a computer scientist and engineer with a passion for technology. He received his Bachelors of Science in EE and CS from MIT, and subsequently attended graduate school at Texas A&M (MS) and Georgia Tech (PhD). As a STEM professional and parent, Ripal believes that education is a community endeavor where each of us has the responsibility to give back and contribute towards the individualized, lifelong learning of those around us. He co-founded STEMed Labs to help ensure students in our communities have access to quality, rigorous educational opportunities that nurture their natural curiosity and prepare them to realize their goals.
Katherine is a human factors psychologist. She received her Ph.D. from Wright State University specializing in health care systems and the effects of cross-cultural differences on human interactions with complex systems. She believes in the importance of learning to learn as a critical skill for managing the rapidly evolving complexities of the modern world. In working with STEMtastics, she hopes to channel children’s innate curiosity and capacity to explore in ways that develop conceptual thinking and lead to a deeper engagement with the world around them.
Elementary Program Coordinator
Amanda is a microbiologist with a degree in Biomedical Science from Texas A&M University. She has a passion for science and endeavors to share her knowledge in order to inspire the future scientists of tomorrow. As a STEMtastics coordinator, it is her hope to take the fear out of STEM subjects for kids, and to encourage an early love for learning.
Knows a little in many areas, dabbled a little in many fields. Yuan’s experience spans from his service in the Marines, to obtaining Aerospace Engineering degree from University of Texas, to a brief involvement with a startup. His experience took him across the globe, he has set foot on Germany, Middle East, India, and China. Obsessed with evolution and psychology, Yuan is passionate about teaching computer programming, helping students navigate their thoughts, and recording and telling the story of STEMed Labs.
Ethan is a project manager with work experience in biochemistry research, healthcare IT, and public health. He received his Bachelors of Science in neuroscience and behavioral biology from Emory University. Ethan believes that early education and critical thinking skills are crucial components of lifelong success. He hopes to help students understand the value of curiosity and creativity, and to assist in the growth of the organization to further extend our services to students throughout the community.
Content Marketing Coordinator
Leslie is a technical marketing professional who focuses on content generation and communications. Her educational background and career experience has helped her develop a passion for promoting STEM for the future generations. Working with STEMed Labs gives her the chance to help nurture young minds interested in pursuing a STEM based career. She relocated to Austin in 2015 after living on both coasts and enjoys spending time outdoors, traveling and cooking.
Meena Matai is a social entrepreneur, electrical engineer, and artist who believes that creativity and curiosity go hand in hand. She identifies that we live in a rapidly changing world and our future leaders need a strong educational background to come up with creative and sustainable solutions to meet our dynamic needs. With the vision of creating this foundation, she has been working towards promoting STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) education for children so they may have the opportunity to innovate driving collective development. Meena values the importance of giving back and has been an active volunteer STEM speaker and proponent. She has also worked with special needs kids using art as a form of expression and communication for technical topics.
Deepika is both a STEM professional and education researcher. She received her PhD in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Purdue University where her dissertation work focused on analyzing undergraduate education in electrical engineering.
Elena is Development Coordinator at Girls Empowerment Network (GEN). She is originally from eastern Pennsylvania and moved to Austin in spring 2012. Before beginning at GEN, Elena worked as Administrative Director at Center for Maximum Potential Building Systems, a green building and sustainable design nonprofit in east Austin. She has also served as Volunteer Coordinator for Movability Austin, Austin’s transportation management association. Elena studied Anthropology and Environmental Policy at the College of William and Mary, where she was awarded a Dintersmith Honors Fellowship and Altshuler Scholarship. Beyond work, Elena volunteers for HeartGift and Austin Bat Cave, along with STEMed Labs. She runs, reads, and creates mixed media cards often.
Dr. Rodolfo Jimenez, Jr. is one of the STEM Coordinators for the Longhorn Center for Academic Excellence. As a STEM Coordinator he is responsible for assisting students in the Life Sciences academically, as well as advising students wanting to attend a health profession programs or graduate school after completion of their undergraduate degree. Dr. Jimenez is a native Texan coming from the Rio Grande Valley area. He obtained a B.S. in biochemistry from Texas State University and his Ph.D. in Cellular and Molecular Biology from the University of Texas at San Antonio. Since his undergraduate career, Dr. Jimenez has been involved in helping underrepresented minorities succeed in STEM, primarily through the Society of Mexican American Engineers and Scientists (MAES) and The Society of Advancement for Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS).
Nati is on a mission to significantly increase education, work opportunities and success for underrepresented groups. As a first-generation college student, she believes education is the path to social and economic mobility. Nati is currently working on FreshSchools, a platform to help parent volunteers communicate and fundraise. She also serves as an education consultant for Progressive Learning, an organization that is redesigning developmental education in post-secondary schools. Nati received her BS and MEd from Stanford University and her MBA from the McCombs School of Business.