About Us

Tech Em Studios is an after-school and homeschool technology program started in 2013 that offers classes, camps and training focused on applied computer science and computer-aided design. With courses in coding, 3D printing, software design and device building, Tech Em's instructors teach students at all levels the critical STEM-related skills required in the 21st century. By emphasizing art in technology (STEAM), Tech Em helps students understand the exciting and evolving relationship of technology and art. Furthermore, Tech Em offers practical classes and training for adults and the entire family to ensure everyone can efficiently leverage the current device-laden environment.



Owners

Ashley Sigrest Ph.D., Systems Engineer

  • Mother of three
  • 19 years IT industry experience, security programmer to Director at Fortune 200 company
  • Technology standards and governance
  • Academic research and presentations
  • Systems Engineering, Probability and statistics (UVA)





Wray Mills, Director of Instruction and Software Engineer

  • Father of three
  • 19 years IT industry experience, programmer to CTO
  • 11 years small business executive/owner experience
  • Research and development/mentoring (UVA)
  • Technology mentoring, training, and instruction
  • Technology startup experience



Staff

Gabby DeFilippo – Intern

  • Gabby is a Junior at Douglas Freeman High School, where she founded a Technology Club for Girls. She is in the specialty center for leadership, government, and global economics. She plays tennis year round and loves teaching and learning about technology.


Reid Jesselson - Intern and Technology Instructor

  • Reid Jesselson is a junior at Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School taking an advanced curriculum including VCU Dual Enrollment courses such as Math Modeling, Math Reasoning and Programming. He has attended the ID Tech Programming Academy at MIT (C++ Gaming); the ID Tech JAVA & Minecraft Modding programs at William & Mary; and the Summer Regional Governor’s School Lego NXT Robotics Program. He was also an Intern/Instructor at Engineering for Kids as well as a youth soccer coach and camp counselor. At Maggie Walker, Reid competes on the Chess Team and was a counselor at the Summer Chess Camp. He is also a member of the Physics Club and the Cross Country Team. His hobbies include video games, reading and sports.


Chris Kefalas - Technology Instructor

  • Chris is a student at VCU who is currently studying Information Systems, with a focus on networking, and the Internet. After college, Chris wants to work with computers, and networks. He thinks it would be awesome to do something with security also. His hobbies include the outdoors especially when it's warm, technology, skiing, and of course video games. He is excited about the intersection of technology and education starting at a younger age. And finds the enthusiasm children have for it incredibly motivating.

Forest Kim - Intern

  • Currently a rising senior, Forest is a student enrolled at Center for Information Technology at the local Deep Run High School. Taking classes such as Discrete Math, AP Calculus, Computer Science, and various other tough courses, Forest has an interest in a future with Information Technology or Engineering. Heavily involved with his youth group and church band, Forest also has tons of experience with music and instruments (Ex: Bass Guitar for 7 years now!) and loves to play and even create his own music. Of course, as a young man, he also loves playing sports such as basketball, soccer, and tennis. And now with Tech Em as an intern, he hopes to share his knowledge about technology and music to others in the future!

Ryan Lucia - Intern and Technology Instructor

  • Ryan is a Junior at Maggie L. Walker Governor's School, and is interested in mathematics and computer science. He has experience in a variety of different programming languages, and also on a number of different systems. He's extremely passionate about teaching others to program, as he considers it essential to functioning in the modern world. He's an active participant in his school's FRC team, as its head programmer.

Asa Macomber – Intern

  • Facts about Asa:
    • He is 17 years old.
    • He likes messing with hardware, and can solder rather well.
    • He doesn't like messing with software, but he knows a bit about some.
    • He can't really code (at all), but that's part of why he's at Tech Em.
    • He recently built his first computer. It's really good.



Davis Mohar - Intern and Technology Instructor

  • Davis is a sophomore at the Steward School and is very interested in computer science and chemistry. He has been working with Tech Em since 2013. His hobbies are video games and playing lacrosse. He is the goalie for the varsity lacrosse team at Steward.

Katie Morgan, M.Ed. – Operations Assistant and Tiny Tech Instructor

  • My personal education and career have been focused on students achieving success in their education. I earned a BA in Psychology at UVa and a MEd in Educational Counseling at VCU. For seven years, I worked as a school counselor with Henrico County schools. I left that position to start a family and to start my own business as an Independent Educational Consultant helping students through the college application process. As my family’s schedule shifted, I started looking for another opportunity to affect the educational development of students, and I found Wray and Tech Em Studios. Wray shares a passion for developing the minds of our youth and has found a unique way to enhance their logic and reasoning abilities in addition to giving them applicable computer skills for the future. As the parent of three kids in preschool, elementary, and middle school, I know how pervasive technology is in our lives, so I appreciate that Tech Em Studios is promoting kids from casual users to masters of that technology.

Vineet Polam – Intern

  • Vineet is a sophomore at Deep Run High School and a member of the Blue Cheese robotics team. He is passionate about robots and is interested in mechanical engineering. He is taking challenging courses like AP Calculus BC, AP Physics II, and AP Physics C. He is the Assembly Captain in his robotics team, which won the robotics world championship in 2016.

Joe Seiler - Technology Instructor

  • Joe is a senior at VCU studying Biology. Previous coursework has included Computer Science, Architecture, Engineering and others. He is all about concepts-based teaching and realizes the long term benefits of teaching computer science and technology at a young age. Joe’s passion for technology is from playing Windows 95 computer games as a child, previous engaging technology courses, VCU biology research courses, as well as prior work with the VA Institute of Marine Science, where the incorporation of technology greatly aids in research. Most of all, his passion comes from the students he teaches. Through his experience with Tech Em instruction, he says the students teach him back. From what they create during these computer science-related classes, they make it very clear that almost anything is possible!

Ian Switzer - Intern

  • Ian is currently a sophomore at Maggie Walker. His favorite subjects are math and chemistry. His hobbies include programming, reading, tennis, and ping pong. He has joined the Tennis Team, Ping Pong Club, and Programming Club at school. His favorite programming language is Scratch, but he also likes Python and Java.

Michelle Tieman - Technology Instructor

  • Michelle Tieman is a Senior at Glen Allen High School in the Center for Education and Human Development. She is Drum Major in her marching band, actively involved in her youth group, enjoys spending time with friends, and loves working with others. She has taken a class on Technology and Communication in the 21st Century and has attended the Society of Women Engineers' Overnight High School Visitation event at UVA. Next year, Michelle hopes to pursue Engineering at either Virginia Tech or UVA.





Advisors

Della Sigrest

  • Della Sigrest is a senior studying illustration at VCUarts.

Janet Gallagher

  • Head of West End Montessori School in Richmond.

Beth Hutchins

  • VP, Business Management, IT & Accounting for Flippo Lumber Corp. in Doswell.

Ed Im

  • Richmond area Entrepeneur and voice of Richmond Good Life.

Professor Roman Krzysztofowicz, Ph.D.

  • Professor of Systems Engineering and Professor of Statistics at the University of Virginia.

Alexandra Migoya

  • Co-Founder and Co-Director of Isabella and Ferdinand Spanish Immersion School in DC and Miami.

Bob and Kerin Morgan

  • Owners of Richmond Aqua-Tots (Morgan Swim School).



Partners

  • Endorphin Fitness
  • Mindsensors.com

Richmond Java Users Group

  • RvaCoderDojo
  • CodeVA