Meet Our Team

We’re teachers, scientists, technologists, artists, activists, tinkerers, parents…makers.
We believe the future of learning is in making.

MakerState Administration Team

Stephen Gilman

Founder and Executive Director

Stephen Gilman is the founder and executive director of MakerState. Stephen and his son Ben started MakerState to bring fun STEAM building and learning projects in robotics, coding, game design and more to all kids, schools and communities (STEAM: science, tech, engineering, arts, math). Stephen’s mission is to help transform K-12 education from lecture-based memorization to student-centered, inquiry-based, experiential learning, empowering our kids with life-transforming passions and creative masteries in 21st skills and 21st century technology. Stephen is a founding board member of the Urban Assembly Maker Academy, a founder of the Carnegie Learning Center, a founding teacher and dean of Bronx Collegiate, a public school based in Outward Bound experiential learning, and a founding board member of the volunteer network, UlsterCorps. A veteran 82nd Airborne paratrooper, Stephen is focused on bringing our warriors back into civilian life with a youth-empowering purpose equal to their former missions of national defense. Stephen enjoys historical fiction writing, game design, geocaching, hiking, biking around NYC, and creativity of all kinds, especially if it’s with his son Ben.

Shawna Marie Stewart

MakerState Programs Specialist

Shawna Stewart is a wife and mother to four children with a formal background in early Childhood Education and Psychology. Serving on PTA boards since 2001, when her daughter became a kindergartener, opened her eyes to the absolute need for supporting local schools and the families who fill their corridors. As a programs specialist with MakerState, she is in direct communication with PTAs, after school programs, and parents to promote the benefits of year round STEM education and further expand the opportunity to truly benefit students as it teaches independent thinking, innovation and discovery skills. Having lived on both U.S. coasts, and a couple states in between, Shawna believes the skills of problem-solving, discovery, and exploratory learning, along with collaboration and teamwork, are skills that are essential in our global society and for future generations.

Marie Valencia

Operations Coordinator

Marie is MakerState’s Operations Coordinator. She is a wife and a mother of two. She is proficient in team management and recruitment. She is also experienced in performance coaching. Marie supports the right for children education and believes that learning is a never-ending process. She loves to go to the beach and bask under the sun.

Zach Makowski

Tech Coordinator

Zach is an actor in New York City who recently completed a degree in Mechanical Engineering at Hope College. Zach enjoys playing games on computers, designing with 3D rendering software, and tinkering with in home appliances. He’s been playing guitar since high school and can be found practicing in the park or on his back porch. Zach has been working with kids as a camp counselor or after school assistant on and off over the past five years. His passions include music, acting, designing, and board games. He can be found partaking in any of those passions any night of the week.

MakerState Fellow Instructors

David Gonzalez

David Lebron

David Wong

Derek Cordero

Dibba Roy

Jacquelyn Chetram

Nicholas A Sadnytzky

Karissa Wheeler