Digital Dragon was born when the founders’ nine-year-old son fell in love with technology. After an exciting summer at tech camp, the family went looking for an after school program in the fall, but none existed. The Finns believed they were like many local parents who want their children to pursue their interest in tech thoughtfully, creatively, and with brainpower. So they launched Digital Dragon.
Their son, a budding technologist, is now a college sophomore, teaching part time, and the business has grown too. Technology continues to evolve but the vision that started Digital Dragon remains the same: To provide kids with well-rounded exposure to technology so they can find their own passion. The Finns are UCLA grads who run all aspects of the business and strive to make sure every family has a great experience from start to finish. They look forward to taking this tech adventure with you!
Seth Finn has a background in non-profit having worked in East LA for the Boyle Heights College Institute, as well as a Community Relations Director for the Seattle SuperSonics (now the Oklahoma City Thunder). While working for the Sonics, Seth created and managed a technology program offered to Seattle Public School’s 50,000 students. Seth also served in the enviable role of stay-at-home dad for the better part of his son’s elementary education. During this time he was elected to school site governance in addition to other roles at Roosevelt Elementary School in Santa Monica.
Laurie Kantor Finn
Laurie started her career in the entertainment industry as a segment producer for Entertainment Tonight, followed by creating and producing Access Hollywood. She continued her work with celebrity talent, producing photo shoots and interviews, as West Coast Editor at Stuff Magazine. Most recently she headed up the talent and casting department at cable network, G4TV, which featured a lot of tech and gaming content (in fact it was previously called TechTV). As her son has matriculated through Santa Monica schools, Laurie was and continues to be very active at Roosevelt Elementary, Lincoln Middle School, and Santa Monica High School.
Lead Teacher and Curriculum Manager: Jack
Jack is a computer programmer who has been teaching kids to code and sharing his enthusiasm for computer science for years. Jack is a graduate of the Applied Computer Graphics program at CSU Chico, where he studied 3D modeling and animation in addition to computer science. His passion however is creating games, both recreating classics and designing never before seen experiences. He has shared this love of creating fun and interesting projects with students over the years in all kinds of ways, from programming LEGO machines to creating Minecraft mods.
When Jack isn’t creating new games or teaching programming principles to kids, he can probably be found playing Dungeons and Dragons or the Highland bagpipes — a nerd in every sense of the word.
Dylan has had a passion for video games since he can remember. His joy for the medium led him to pursue a degree in Game Design & Development from the Rochester Institute of Technology. There he tried to learn about every aspect of the game creation process, from programming and level design, to 3D modeling and graphic design.
He has since used his knowledge to teach various game design classes before coming to Digital Dragon. Not only does he love games, but the history behind them too. He is a huge collector of all things gaming, from obscure consoles, to the coolest hidden gems.
His other hobbies include collecting vinyl records, studying Japanese, discovering and cooking new food, and going on road trips.
Having focused on visual and performing arts in grade school, Armando was always interested and engaged in math and science. He decided to study Astrophysics in University and taught middle school for 2 years after graduating from UC Berkeley.
In his spare time, Armando practices with various programs to edit his musical projects and create accompanying art. He likes to keep up with the cutting edge of tech and makes good use of his many devices including his VR headset. Armando is thrilled to be able to pass along all his expertises to his students at Digital Dragon.
Armando is also studying Japanese with the hopes of teaching English in Japan in the future.
Danny is an energetic and resourceful Game Designer specializing in User Interface, Level Design, and product management. He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Game Design and Development from New York Film Academy Los Angeles. There he spent ample amounts of time in almost every role in the creation process including but not limited to software engineer, project lead, and creative director.
He is excited to pass along all his expertise to the next generation at Digital Dragon. In his spare time, he enjoys Esports playing FPS games such as Call of Duty and Counter-Strike.
Nathalie has been passionate about the digital arts since being part of a film program in high school. She received her Bachelors of Fine Art in Animation from California State University, Long Beach — where she learned everything from traditional animation, 2D digital animation, to 3D animation. Her biggest passion is to create backgrounds and layouts for animations.
Nathalie now brings her passion for working with kids to Digital Dragon, where she gets to pass along her love and knowledge of the arts in technology.
In her free time, you can find Nathalie traveling to new places, reading a book, drawing on her iPad, or making arts and crafts with her Cricut.
Mat is a 3D Artist and Animator studying to develop and design video games professionally. He is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Simulation, Animation, and Gaming from Eastern Michigan University.
His goal at Digital Dragon is to cultivate collaboration and exploration with his students in the creation of computer graphics and programming.
In his free time, Mat can be found playing Dungeons & Dragons as well as many other board and video games.
After many years of taking every Digital Dragon class offered, we are lucky that Eli is now part of the teaching staff. Eli has designed and coded apps, created digital designs, shot and edited many media projects, and after endless hours of playing Minecraft – he now passes along all this knowledge and passion to his students.
Eli has been working with Digital Dragon for 3 years as a class and camp instructor, and birthday party host. He has been passionate about technology his whole life and likes to stay up to date on the latest and greatest in tech products and the industry. He is currently working on his Business Entrepreneurship degree at San Jose State University.
In his free time, Eli enjoys tennis, following sports stats, Pickleball with friends, and testing out fast food menu items labeled “spicy.”
Jon has been passionate about technology his whole life. He holds a BS in Computer Science from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and a MLA in Software Engineering from Harvard Extension School.
After many years of developing software professionally, Jon found the opportunity to pass the knowledge on through Digital Dragon. Jon’s classes focus on coding fundamentals, creativity, and collaboration.
In his free time, Jon enjoys motorcycles, skateboarding, creative coding, and nature.
Tech Education Explorer & Consultant: John Balash
John Balash is the Director of Educational Engagement at Carnegie Mellon University’s Entertainment Technology Center. John has worked on educationally focused initiatives with clients ranging from D.A.R.P.A. to Disney. Working from both sides of the desk, you can find John in classrooms and conferences around the world exploring new uses for technologies in learning environments.
John is an alumnus of Notre Dame College, with degrees in education, fine art, and graphic design. After graduating, he taught creative computer applications for over five years at a private academy in Northeast Ohio. Always eager to learn and constantly surrounded by technology, he continues to forge a path between education and entertainment. With a diverse background of education and art, John hopes to develop entertainment that is engaging, meaningful, and progressive. John has a Master’s of Entertainment Technology, from Carnegie Mellon University and a Ph.D, Educational/Instructional Technology, from Ohio University.
John was instrumental in Digital Dragon’s launch in 2013 as its first Curriculum Director and is now consulting on all the latest and greatest in tech education. You can read his blog, “Tech News From the Frontier” on our blog page.