Who We Are

Every summer we assemble a killer team of artists, carpenters, kid ninjas and makers of all types. Read below to learn about our founders and our summer team. Check back to see who else has joined the team.

Chopsaw

JOSHUA ROTHHAAS
FOUNDER AND PROGRAM DIRECTOR

Our founder, Josh Rothhaas

Josh has spent the last 5 years managing and directing Tinkering School in San Francisco. In addition to expanding their flagship overnight camp, he established new day camp programming as well as after-school and weekend workshops, growing Tinkering School from an organization that reached under 100 kids to one that reaches over 1000. Beyond administering camp and building lots of cool things, he earned a reputation for being a child whisperer. Josh has an innate talent for connecting with children on an individual level and helping them to engage with their project from a place of authentic enthusiasm. He's committed to creating a failure-positive environment where ideation and experimentation thrive. Josh loves logic problems, magic tricks, and ukulele sing-alongs, but above all, he loves listening to kids share nice things about each other around the fire.


Compass

KATIE RICHMOND
FOUNDER AND DIRECTOR OF COMMUNITY

Our Founder, Katie Richmond

Katie joins Project Ember with an assemblage of skills harvested from a life of saying yes to strange and wonderful projects. As a graduate from the University of Southern California with a degree in film production, she had early opportunities to manage large casts and crews, collaboratively designing and building imaginative worlds. After a year spent working on farms in New Zealand altered her life ambitions, new adventures led to her training with the National Outdoor Leadership School's (NOLS) outdoor educator program, becoming certified as a Wilderness First Responder, and completing a year-long immersion with the WE Center for Relational Education. She has mentored with Girl Ventures, Deer Hill Expeditions, Rocketship, Vilda, and spent the 2015 summer working at Tinkering School overnight, where her collaboration with Josh began. No matter the task, from farming to face painting, she is happiest when she is working with her hands and with other people. Katie spends much of her downtime at camp painting faces, teaching the staff games intended for the kids, and sweeping up the trail of glitter that always manages to follow her around. 


Jenny Gratton

JENNY GRATTON
lead collaborator

Jenny joins Project Ember from across the pond! Having spent the summer of 2015 collaborating with Josh and Katie at overnight camp, she gained valuable insight into the world of creative summer camps and the progressive educational movement in the San Francisco/Bay area and can’t wait to come back and experience more!

She has significant experience with working with young people back in the UK, teaching Art and Design subjects to students aged 11-18 for the past five years. She is a creative educationalist, teaching through exploration and experimentation. As a kinesthetic learner herself, Jenny loves nothing more than supporting and encouraging young people through the process of learning-through-doing; building their confidence, resourcefulness and resilience. With experience in both traditional and alternative education provision, Jenny has worked with young people with a variety of needs and from a variety of backgrounds. She is extremely passionate about the importance and value of community, engagement and inclusion, which are at the heart of everything she does.


Christopher Pope

Christopher pope
Collaborator

Christopher is coming to the table with over five years experience in both youth education and carpentry. He has worked as an assistant teacher, mentor, art educator, and meditation instructor for youth, all while pursuing his passion for building and creating.  Chris is dedicated to working with the youth to instill within them a radical sense of wonder, collaboration, critical thinking, and the technical skills necessary to actualize the focus of their imaginations. While Chris enjoys working with groups, he also has a special knack at working one on one with children who need extra time and attention. Currently he is working with the Stepping Stones Project and will be mentoring youth and leading them through rites of passage work. When not working Chris can be found playing music, making art, or dreaming up imaginative new ways to be in community.


Roshanda Cummings - Collaborator

ROSHANDA CUMMINGS
COLLABORATOR

Roshanda Cummings is in the discipline of delight.

She's an insightful human-centered designer who deeply understands what people of all ages truly want for themselves: to be recognized, to be appreciated, to create something significant with their two hands. So, she helps people discover that for themselves in a fun way. 

With 7+ years of experience in user research, rapid prototyping, facilitation, building communities of social change, and a lifetime of tinkering, she brings her skill set down to the ground level, working as a partner with youth in their creations to provide support, encouragement, and clear design constraints wherever necessary.

She believes the most powerful thing we could ever do for our children is to ask them simply, "Tell me about what you're thinking here," and then really listen to the answer. Camp is the best and she's absolutely sure you made the right decision.


Sayer on a flying contraption

sayer housel
collaborator

Sayer was raised in a household where creative expression was a requirement. His childhood of building forts, trying to get from A to B without touching the ground, and romping around in the woods has carried into adulthood. His work projects as a carpenter have taken him to diverse environments in the Caribbean, Rocky Mountains, Baja Peninsula, Europe, Hawaii, and Antarctica. 

Coming to Project Ember with a strong skill set in carpentry and structural design, Sayer is excited to continue in his aspirations of teaching young thinkers. He has taught for several summers in technology camps and has led hundreds of volunteers on non-profit construction sites, and through these he regularly enforces the importance of team communication and individual buy-in. His favorite part of camp is the moment where kids ask "how do we do this" and he gets to answer "I don't know. I have never built a set of 8-foot-tall Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots before. But we will figure it out together!"

Sayer will be with us for the Menlo Park sessions.


Juniper Yun - Collaborator

JUNIPER YUN
COLLABORATOR

Juniper Yun is a multidisciplinary artist and maker. She received her BFA at University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee, focusing in sculpture and mixed-media, with a minor in Art History. She's also acquired a welder's certificate and has worked in industrial and architectural fabrication shops. In undergrad, she collaborated with organizations that focus on community-based arts, most notably the Studio Arts and Craft Centre, an open studio with metal-smithing, ceramics, photography, and printmaking facilities. Her time formulating educational initiatives as an instructor and program manager within such a space reflects her passion for nurturing young makers and artists.

New to the Bay Area, she's excited to learn and teach with her newest collaborators. With a background varied and vibrant, she enjoys developing an upbeat and safe learning environment. Juniper’s teaching practice concentrates on working with kids one-on-one and within groups, tying together art-making to an exploration of healthy vulnerability, interpersonal respect, and unabashed self-love.

An avid woolgatherer in her free time, Juniper loves to write stories and poetry and illustrate. You can always find her soaking up sun on her bike or in a garden.


Emily Fuentes Bio Photo

EMILY FUENTES
COLLABORATOR

Emily is a Bay Area native who spent weekends as a child either building at the Berkeley Adventure Playground or getting paid a few bucks to sweep up sawdust at her father’s cabinet shop.  It wasn’t until this past year that she reunited with a wood shop and fell in love all over again with woodworking and building. With fresh sawdust lighting up her olfactory bulb, she was inspired to continuing her education at Laney community college in Oakland, Ca. where she is just one class away from earning a Wood Technology certificate.

Emily has 7 years experience as a garden educator teaching kids in an outdoor classroom and is no stranger to managing large groups of students using lots of sharp tools. She is excited to join Project Ember this summer and trade in the shovel for a hammer and the pruners for a saw. The finished products at Project Ember will be a little different than what Emily is used to in the garden: instead of cooking and eating what the kids make, they will be playing and using their creations!

Let the creativity flow and the building commence!


Malcolm Hecht - Collaborator

Malcolm Hecht
Collaborator

Malcolm is a visual artist and arts educator with a professional background in painting, wood, metal, and ceramic fabrication. He recently moved to the Bay Area from Portland, OR, where he received a BA in Visual Arts from Lewis and Clark College, before co-curating an experimental art gallery in a tool-shed called Fermentation Closet, under the belief that things get better over time. As a visual artist, Malcolm is inspired by a sense of phenomenological wonder that comes from the natural world, outer space, as well as human beings and their inventions.

Malcolm loves and respects power tools, and he feels strongly about teaching safe building practices to young people to empower them to design and build new worlds, while deconstructing old, oppressive ones. He has worked with K-8 students as an Assistant Teacher in Ecuador, and he currently leads after-school art projects at Urban Montessori School in Oakland.


Katie McClung  - Collaborator

Katie McClung
Collaborator

Katie McClung is a multi-media artist, yoga instructor, and musician from Alabama. After finishing her undergraduate studies in painting and printmaking, she soon discovered her love for interactive sculpture and light installations. Since moving to the Bay Area, Katie has completed her own light installations while gaining skills and experience working with several local arts collectives including FLUX foundation, Tensegrity Group, and Black Rock Lighthouse Service.

Katie has a deep appreciation and love for adventure, language, and cultural diversity. She has travelled to over 20 foreign countries and has worked and volunteered at non-profit organizations and schools in India, France, and West Africa. She has nearly 13 years of experience teaching a variety of of subjects including Painting/Drawing, Yoga, French, and English with students ages ranging between 3 and 65 years old. Katie also has several years of experience working at different educational summer programs and after school programs both in the United States and abroad. Currently she works at Ecole Bilingue, the French Bilingual school in Berkeley.

Katie is without a doubt a “people person” and a big kid herself. She loves to collaborate, share ideas, create, and laugh with kids of all ages. She believes that the most effective way to learn is through play-based, kinesthetic, and project-based learning all with an open, mindful, and compassionate attitude towards oneself and others.Katie spends most of her free time playing Brazilian style drums with Maracatu Pacifico, practicing yoga, dancing, or going on long hikes rain or shine.