Dream STEAM Team
Our team is entirely made up of STEAM students from across the United States who are passionate about bringing STEAM accessibility and affordability to kids worldwide. We are all minorities and volunteers.
Founder & President
Danielle Boyer is a young award-winning Indigenous (Ojibwe) robotics inventor, author, environmental activist, and tireless advocate for underserved youth who has been teaching kids since she was ten years old. Danielle creates innovative learning solutions utilizing robots that she invents and gives to kids for free to make technical education accessible. Armed with a desire to make the technical space an equitable one, she created The STEAM Connection, a nonprofit that has helped her reach hundreds of thousands of children worldwide with life-changing education. Danielle’s affordable tools champion the educational space and cost less than 20 USD to manufacture. By empowering underserved youth with technical skills, Danielle is helping them take back power in their lives, paving the way for a more sustainable, diverse, and innovative future. She has been named one of PEOPLE Magazine’s Girls Changing the World and a L’Oréal Paris Woman of Worth and currently mentors 35 youth robotics teams.
Congrats to Danielle Boyer (Founder) and Shawn Ray (Board Member) for entering the 2021 class of the Clinton Global Initiative University to further the mission of The STEAM Connection, increase the impact of Every Kid Gets a Robot, and to serve Native youth and communities like their own. We are proud of the steps they are taking to further our work and commitments in their everyday lives.
Board of Directors
Hi! My name is Shawn Ray and I'm currently a senior in Electrical Engineering. I've worked on research projects ranging from tools for NASA to artificial muscles, and now I'm working to expand STEAM based Indigenous groups on my college campus through organizations such as AISES (American Indian Science and Engineering Society).
Chief Financial Officer
I am a 4th year Electrical Engineering student at the University of Washington - Seattle concentrating in controls and embedded systems. My favorite robot I've created is an autonomous STEAM robot that had varied movement and display responses to different levels of ambient lighting. Some of my passions include STEAM outreach, interdisciplinary collaboration, and empowering others.
Chief Operating Officer, Secretary
I am a student microbiologist at the University of Washington - Seattle who is studying quorum sensing, a form of bacterial communication that controls gene expression. I am an advocate for STEAM education, having mentored FIRST Robotics Team 4384 Benzene Bots. I am a frequent STEAM instructor, having taught many microbiology and environmental educational classes.
STEAM Girls Ambassadors - Leads
Vinaya Gunasekar, 12
Since Vinaya Gunasekar was a young child, she has worked to bring science and technology educational resources to other kids like her. She got started with helping start the science wing at her elementary school through her initiative, Project R.O.O.T in 5th grade. Now at age 13, Vinaya is an environmental activist and STEAM changemaker who is passionate about recycling and using technology and robotics to benefit our Earth in innovative ways. She is a member of all-girls FIRST Robotics Team Infinity & Beyond and is an ambassador of The STEAM Connection. She is currently working on making STEAM accessible to hospitalized children and is co-hosting the Hands-On Techie Talks podcast with Danielle Boyer to introduce kids to STEAM education during the pandemic. In her free time, you’ll find her working on a robot named Auto Oscar to clean recyclables off of school floors.
Teen STEAM Changemaker
Aishwarya Arvind, 16
I am currently a senior at International Academy East in Troy, MI. I first was introduced to STEAM through FIRST Robotics Team 4384 Benzene Bots. I was inspired by FIRST and the members on my team, so I began to start my own programs like STEAM Sisters to bring girls into STEAM.
Varun Sridhar (Board Member) will be joining the University of California Berkeley to pursue his PhD in their Plant and Microbial Biology department in the fall! We are so proud of all of his hard work and for all of the good in the world that will come as a result of his research.
Dakshesh Daruri, 17
I am currently a freshman at the University of Michigan - Ann Arbor in Electrical Engineering. I have been with our organization since day one, seeing Danielle Boyer found the organization and soon stepping in to help with online communications and social media. I am an avid supporter of STEAM education, giving frequent lectures and teaching classes for The STEAM Connection.