We're building a future with creativity and
access to technology
for youth of all ages.
WELCOME TO THE CLASSROOM
Welcome to Code & Circuit, a place where kids can learn about technology, use it to create, and have fun in the process! Come experience our unique, hands-on, interactive approach to STEAM-inspired explorations. Our programs are designed to inspire and encourage creativity, collaboration and critical thinking.
Our classes get young people comfortable with computer science, and help them discover, code, create, and engineer as tools for problem solving. Using Big Picture thinking, we guide students in thinking about their future, sustainability, and how to serve as agents for change.
Code & Circuit is a 501c3 non-profit organization, governed by a Board of Directors.
Our mission is simple: inspire the next generation of computer scientists and engineers.
We want all youth to be able to attend Code & Circuit. Schools may use Title I-IV funding of the ESSA and SSAE to access our resources. For families in need of financial assistance for individual classes, or for school programs, please contact the Executive Director, Dr. Lori Towle: email@example.com.
Everyone knows that robots are cool, and that computer games are fun. Now imagine creating your own robot or your own game! Unleash your creativity!
We're building a community of students and instructors. At Code & Circuit, everyone has a sense of belonging; Students can be themselves and have their voices valued.
By providing knowledge and guidance to students who want to learn, we're helping them make their ideas a reality. The right mentor can be transformative.
Access to the latest technology and newest innovation creates a feeling of excitement that inspires. We're always experimenting with the next big thing.
Meet Our Team
Lori Towle, Ed.D.
Dr. Towle serves as the Executive Director of Code & Circuit. She also serves as the founder of Full Circle Classrooms (FCC). FCC provides consulting, facilitation of workshops, and national/international conference presentations from which educators and school leaders gain tools to create effective, learner-centered landscapes using project-based learning as the modality. This, in conjunction with Code & Circuit, has led to school visits with Spot the robotic dog, whereby Lori actively engages students in brain-based learning and Spot demonstrations. Lori completed her doctoral degree in Educational Leadership, served as a team leader for the XQ Super School initiative, and was a research lab member of the MIT Gabrieli Lab. Outside of work, Lori is an avid pickleball player and lover of fishing.
Founder, Board, Instructor
After receiving a degree in computer science from Wheaton College in 2000, Ken co-founded software company Ecamm Network. Recognizing the need for mentoring and inspiration in the field of computer science, Ken founded Code & Circuit in 2014. Ken creates, teaches and co-teaches many of the Code & Circuit classes and programs. In addition to teaching computer science, he is passionate about nature, and supports local land conservation efforts.
Gail Ramsay is a K-12 Massachusetts certified Instructional Technology Specialist who coordinates and leads our K-2 level classes at Code & Circuit. With a Masters of Science in Educational Technology and 20 years’ experience as an educator, her enthusiasm is evident in her classes. Prior to her work in the schools, Gail earned the "Publishers Award" from the New York Times as well as the "Unsung Hero Award" for her work in the Northeast Region, deploying laptops to reps in the field and providing computer training. Currently, Gail works as a consultant delivering software training, and she is on adjunct faculty at the North Shore Community College, where she enjoys teaching computer classes.
Nan Cook worked as a technical writer at Draper Laboratory, and then pivoted to public education in Information Technology. She happily dragged cables under tiny desks at the Kelley Elementary School, and went on to build and manage large databases in several school systems on the North Shore. Nan’s first computer was the family's "Gateway’’, a giant hulk of a thing that had its own piece of furniture and regularly stalled in the same spot when playing the Oregon Trail. This is probably where Nan's troubleshooting career began!
Stephanie Gottwald, Ph.D.
Stephanie Gottwald, Ph.D. is the Co-Founder and Director of Content at Curious Learning, a non-profit that has created an open source platform solution to deliver and monitor education apps in communities with limited resources. At Curious Learning, she oversees the creation and deployment of literacy and cognitive assessment and learning apps. Stephanie also served as the Assistant Director of the Center for Reading and Language Research at Tufts University where she directs research into the identification and intervention of dyslexia. Her research interests include the interaction between the acquisition of spoken and written languages and technological tools for language and literacy instruction. Stephanie is the co-author with Dr. Maryanne Wolf of the newly released Tales of Literacy for the 21st Century: The Literary Agenda. She holds an M.A. from Boston College and a Ph.D. from Tufts University in Linguistics and Literacy.
Mark is an MIT engineer with extensive hardware, software, and firmware design and development experience. With this background, he’s implemented numerous products, devices, and real time embedded systems over his career, with some of them shot into space. He’s a member of the MIT Educational Council, and brought the FIRST Robotics program to Amesbury and Sparhawk high school several years ago, where he continues with his mentorship.
Kurt holds degrees in Computer Engineering and Finance from the University of Maryland. He started his career at Deloitte Consulting, where he built eligibility systems for states. Driven by a passion for teaching, Kurt later co-founded First Step Coding which offered introductory coding courses for career changers. He subsequently became the Chief Technology Officer for the Boston Public Library, where he led numerous high-priority, cross-functional initiatives, including leading the recovery from a ransomware attack and rolling out new systems and processes to support the transition to remote work during COVID-19.
Born in Xi'an, China, Cindy received her B.S. degree in Space Physics from Peking University, and her M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Computer Science from University of California, Los Angeles. Her research interests include Spatio-Temporal Databases, Data Mining, Social Networks, Cloud Computing and Big Data.
William Messner Ph.D.
An Amesbury resident, Bill has an undergraduate degree in Math from MIT, and a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from University of California, Berkeley.
He has over 30 years of experience teaching STEM topics starting in graduate school. For 26 years he was professor of mechanical engineering at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) and at Tufts University. He also had a courtesy appointment at the Robotic Institute at CMU. He still does adjunct teaching in mechanical engineering at CMU.
He is currently the president of the Amesbury Educational Foundation.
With a passion for charting new programs to benefit our youth, Alicia developed the annual Newburyport Elementary STEM Expo, a day-long hands-on learning experience for curious young minds, uniting Science, Technology, Engineering and Math organizations throughout New England with local youth. Having a zeal for project management and relationship building, Alicia leads our program planning and development at Code & Circuit.
Having received a masters degree from the Harvard School of Public Health after earning an undergraduate degree in Psychology/Biology from Mount Holyoke, Alicia brings years of experience working in various capacities for a non-profit to support families of children with special needs.
For extracurricular interests, Alicia enjoys stained glass making and learning coding for the creative expression it allows.
George S. Haight IV
Now residing in Amesbury with his family, Kurt enjoys contributing to the community as an Amesbury School Committee member and by teaching and mentoring at Code and Circuit. Kurt also enjoys biking, cooking, woodworking, and tennis.
Instructor / Esports Coach
Steve Sanborn, Ed. D.
Steve is the PreK-12 Science Program Coordinator for Andover Public Schools. Over his 30 year career in science education, he has taught biology and life sciences at the middle and high school levels in private, public, and charter schools. He has an interest in international education and has taught as Fulbright Teacher in both Hungary and India. Steve is a National Board Certified Biology Teacher and holds a doctoral degree in science education from UMass-Lowell.
Will is a student at WPI, where he continues to embrace his passion for computer science. As a high school student, Will was part of our Spot Team, developing the first web server and interface of its kind to enable students to code Spot in Scratch. We are fortunate to have his continued involvement at Code & Circuit.
Jolyn first discovered Code & Circuit as a parent, but now volunteers teaching after school classes with a focus on LEGO EV3 Mindstorms.She works as a Senior Consultant at CGI, bringing experience from previous roles at CALYX, Parexel and PAREXEL. Jolyn holds a Bachelor of Applied Science (B.A.Sc.) in Electrical and Computer Engineering from West Virginia University. With a robust skill set that includes R&d, Medical Devices, Cross Functional Team Leadership, Agile Methodologies, Product Launch and more, Jolyn Rutledge contributes valuable insights to the industry.
Dane Fawkes volunteers at Code & Circuit teaching 3D printing and design. He has degrees in Mechanical Engineering, business, and management.
Bruce McBrien is a retired educator with over 20 years with the Amesbury School District as an Instructional Technologist, technology coach, and technology integration specialist. Bruce has been coding with elementary students for over two decades, and helping students discover that computers are not mysterious, just doing what they are told. Through Logo and Microworlds, Bruce used the software with students to explore geometry and encourage critical thinking. With the advent of block programming like Scratch, he saw a world of opportunity open up and quickly realized that even his Kindergarteners could code. Bruce is an enthusiastic advocate of coding for students because he feels it is the best venue out there for encouraging critical thinking, promoting problem solving and perhaps most importantly, developing perseverance. He looks forward to introducing many more students to programming, coding and exploring all things digital in the years ahead.
Mike Martell, Ph.D.
Mike received his degrees in mechanical engineering and mathematics, with a focus on fluid dynamics and computational physics. After working for the DoD he shifted to private industry, focusing on cloud infrastructure & security. Mike has experience with programming, having spent years writing C++ and more recently Python and his favorite, Go. He's even written more than a few lines of FORTRAN (95)! Mike learned of FIRST Robotics in high school and became a mentor and founding member of Team 885 in Vermont, where he focused on chassis & drivetrain design. When he isn't fixing or debugging something, he's usually outside hiking. In 2022, Mike finished hiking the 48 4000+ mountains in New Hampshire and is working on the New England Highest 100 mountains now.
Mateo McDermott is a graduate of Virginia Tech with a degree in Biomedical Engineering. At Virginia Tech, he was the president of eNABLE, which is a multidisciplinary engineering-based club that uses additive manufacturing and low-cost materials to make assistive devices for children from the local community. This include 3D printed prosthetics. Mateo was raised in Newburyport, MA. Outside of engineering, he enjoys soccer and playing the piano.
Like any good dog, ‘He brought smiles in a year that’s been a struggle for everybody’ — Boston Globe, June 4, 2021
Ken Aspeslagh ‘00 starts computer lab for kids — Wheaton Magazine Fall 2018
Amesbury program aims to close tech gender gap — Newburyport Daily News, January 16, 2018
Students team up to measure time, tides of Powow River — Eagle-Tribune, April 17, 2017
For Computer Whiz Kids, the Sky's the Limit — Boston Globe, December 16th, 2016