About Us

About Us


Jump to: Meet Our Team | Meet Our Counselors | Leadership

Our mission is to build a global online community where kids build, code, play, and learn from one another. We tap the power of youth tech experts to teach and mentor, and have served thousands of kids through our online and community-based programs.

Connected Camps is a not-for profit organization providing connected learning experiences that foster creativity, problem solving, collaboration and interest-driven learning. It was catalyzed by three girl geeks with a passion for education and the positive potential of technology. Mimi is an educational researcher and advocate for connected learning, on a decades-long hunt to bridge education and entertainment. Katie is a game designer, educator and force behind the creation of Institute of Play and its partner school Quest to Learn. Tara is a technologist and entrepreneur who founded LA Makerspace so kids can make and learn in her local community.

Our approach is backed by lots of research and testing in practice, and is part of the Connected Learning Alliance, dedicated to mobilizing new technology in the service of equity, access and opportunity for all young people. By leveraging the power of open networks and partnering with community-based organizations, Connected Camps is committed to delivering the highest quality online learning experiences to young people in all walks of life.

Team

Andeanna Mata
Ande is the Special Programs Coordinator. However, she originally joined the team as a counselor! She has a BA in Applied Psychology and a Master's in Educational and Clinical Counseling. As a gamer, Ande has always seen a lot of potential and value for learning and growth through video games on an educational, emotional and social level. Working with Connected Camps has helped her advocate for the importance of gaming as a connective platform, and develop skills she has been able to apply as a substitute teacher and graduate student.
Bethany Pyles
Bethany Pyles is the Esports Program Manager at Connected Camps. Bethany oversees the program development and strategic planning of our esports programs and serves on the North America Scholastic Esports Federation leadership team. She has previous professional experience as a case worker for refugees and survivors of intimate partner violence. Bethany is a graduate of Indiana University of Pennsylvania and holds a B.A in anthropology. In her free time, you can find her playing games with friends or traveling to new places.
Briana Antinarelli
Briana is a Customer Support Specialist at Connected Camps. She helps review and respond to customer inquiries while taking the appropriate actions to resolve each issue. She has obtained her Associates from Eastern Florida State College and has customer service experience from previous support roles. Briana is excited to be apart of the Connected Camps team to help serve the large and growing community of kids and parents.
Cara Geho
Cara Geho is the Esports Wellness Lead. Currently a graduate student at The George Washington University in D.C., her professional experience has centered around working with high school students in competitive and educational contexts. Cara has been a personal trainer for years, but most recently became an educator for high schoolers on comprehensive sexual health and adulthood preparation education. Cara is truly excited to work with an organization that cares so much about improving the lives of young people through video games.
Chloe Uhls
Chloe is a Customer Support Specialist at Connected Camps. She helps answer messages from learners and parents on Outschool as well as schedule requests along with her team. Chloe loves working with people and in teams to solve problems and actively tries to bridge the camp between counselors and customers. She is a rising junior at Tulane University whose home city is Los Angeles, where she was born and raised. She is majoring in Communications and Computer Science and has worked for a technology camp in the past.
Cindy Hau
Cindy is the Design and Marketing Specialist. As a lifelong artist with interests in both design and customer satisfaction, her professional background includes many years of Customer Service and Graphic Design. When it comes to video games and entertainment, her adoration for excellent storytelling, characters, and designs is a constant inspiration for her. In joining Connected Camps, she is happy to find a space in which others are able to exercise their passion in video games – from the people she work with to the product and consumers.
Diego De La Peza
As People Director, Diego works to recruit, support, and develop Connected Camps’ incredible talent. With an MBA in Design Strategy, Diego loves challenging convention in order to create human-centered business solutions. Outside of work, you’ll find Diego studying foreign languages and playing all things Nintendo.
Drake Everlove
Drake is the Esports Program Supervisor at Connected Camps, which means he helps with the management of the coaching staff and the esports program generally. Drake graduated from UCLA in 2018 with a Bachelor's in History. He joined Connected Camps because he loves Connected Camps' mission to bring esports/video games to kids in a way that can impact their lives positively through building skills of all kinds.
Greg Rageth
Greg joins the Connected Camps team as a People Generalist. With a BA in Communications, he enjoys finding common ground in communication styles and behaviors with each individual employee. Greg happily brings experience in recruitment and performance management to the Connected Camps team. He is excited to join a team that is growing and creating an exciting future for the youth of tomorrow.
Jake Lui
Jake is the Program Media Assistant at Connected Camps. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music from the University of Southern California and was previously a longtime Connected Camps counselor. He is eager to spread the word about Connected Camps' programs because he recognizes the importance of fostering education, social etiquette, and digital citizenship with the next generation.
Joseph Rodriguez
Joseph is a Customer Support Specialist. He is pursuing a degree in Information Technology at California State University Channel Islands. While attending college, Joseph had the opportunity to mentor middle school children through the Boys & Girls Club. This opportunity helped Joseph learn that he truly enjoyed helping people and seeing positive interactions earn results. The passion for technology, video games, and helping people all came together to bring him to Connected Camps where he can continue to learn and help others solve problems.
Kelsey Higgins
Kelsey joins Connected Camps as a Customer Support Specialist. Kelsey has a BA in Marketing. Kelsey brings experience from Amazon and also works as an independent artist. Kelsey likes to draw and hopes to become an artist for comics or video games one day. Her favorite games include: Persona 5, Splatoon, Planet Zoo/Coaster, The Sims, Assassin's Creed, and Hitman.
Megan Timmermann
Megan is the Assistant System Administrator for Connected Camps. Previously a Connected Camps counselor, she now works on the upkeep and configuration of the computer systems used in the programs at Connected Camps. Megan has a passion for technology and gaming, and wants to use that passion to positively impact the youth of today.
Namir Salvant
Namir Salvant is the Customer Support Coordinator for Connected Camps. He has 6 years of Customer Support experience and has another 20 years in video game experience. Namir is able to show how great tech is with everyone. He also gets to share his love and passion for video games while working for Connected Camps.
Nicolette Garcia
Nicolette is the Customer Support Supervisor. She graduated with a degree in Business Administration/Human Resources because of her love for people. She has a passion for learning and children; therefore, the combination of education for kids with games is a mission she strongly believes in and what brought her to Connected Camps. Connecting students with people who have a passion and knowledge for gaming and learning like herself is exciting.
Matthew Kreutter
Matthew joined Connected Camps as a Product Manager, overseeing the development of current and new programs. He earned a B.S. in computer science from Washington University in St. Louis and an M.Ed. from UMSL. Prior to joining Connected Camps, Matthew served as a middle school math teacher through TFA. Alongside teaching, Matthew led elective courses in video game design and introductory programming, which is what initially drew him to Connected Camps' model.
Rae Nelson
Rae is a Customer Support Specialist for Connected Camps. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Video Game Art and has worked for two years in the tech support industry. Rae is passionate about helping people, and honored to be a part of the Connected Camps Team where she is able to do just that.
Raelyn Guerrero
Raelyn is the Counselor Manager at Connected Camps. She works closely with the Lead Counselors to increase their success running our programs and molding their personal/ professional goals. Raelyn has a bachelor's degree in English from UC Irvine where she became interested in education. Raelyn's professional history consists of various educational environments that brought her to Connected Camps, where she can be part of creating an enriching experience for kids.
Sima Patel
Sima is the Administrative Director for Connected Camps. She holds an MPA degree from CSUF. Within her role she manages the operational infrastructure to achieve productivity, legal, financial, and mission goals. She also manages new and existing b2b relationships. Her love for mission driven work has brought her to Connected Camps and keeps her engaged and excited about each work day. In her free time she enjoys traveling with her family.
Tyler Houston
Tyler is the Scheduling Assistant at Connected Camps. He recently graduated from DePaul University with a Bachelor of Science in Game Design. A friend of his and fellow employee, Josh Eckhart, introduced him to the company late last year, and it has been an incredibly rewarding experience ever since!
Victor Lazo
Victor is the Technical and Communications Director for Connected Camps. He holds a Bachelors in Computer Science and a Masters in Business Administration from California State University, Northridge. Victor manages all the technical needs for the camp servers.
Meet Our Counselors

Leadership

Mimi Ito

Mimi Ito, Co-Founder and Executive Director
Mimi is the Executive Director of Connected Camps and Director of the Connected Learning Lab at UC Irvine. She is a cultural anthropologist and learning scientist by training, whose work has focused on how online communities can support learning. Connected Camps has been an effort that has grown out of this research, and collaborations with the Connected Learning Research Network which Mimi helped lead for over a decade.

Katie Salen

Katie Salen, Co-Founder and Chief Designer
Katie is the co-founder and Chief Designer of Connected Camps and also a Professor in the Informatics Department at UCI. Katie’s background mixes expertise in game design, learning, play, and youth development. Katie loves working with teams to design programs that have positive impacts on kids, preferably using games to do so!

Barak Berkowitz

Barak Berkowitz, Board Member
Currently Director of Operations and Strategy at the MIT Media Lab, Executive Chairman of Digital Garage, and the CEO of MarketCentrix, a strategic consultancy. Barak previously served as CEO of Evi, a virtual personal assistant. Prior to Evi, Barak was Managing Director of Wolfram|Alpha, the award winning “Computational Knowledge Engine.”

Joichi Ito

Joichi Ito, Board Member
Joichi currently runs Neoteny and is the co-founder and a board member of Digital Garage. Previous boards he served include The New York Times Company, Sony Corporation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. He served as director of the MIT Media Lab from 2011 to 2019.

Program Partners

Richmond Collaborative
Committee for Children
Orange County High School Esports League
MindFoundry
Seattle Public Library

Connected Camps thanks Reid Hoffman & Michelle Yee, Kaoru Hayashi, Joi Ito, Microsoft Research, the Samueli Foundation, and Siegel Family Endowment for their generous support.