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 in high school, 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.
Education Programs Manager: Casey
Casey started at Digital Dragon three years ago as Studio Coordinator. Now, Casey is serving in a new role as Education Programs Manager where she oversees all education and enrichment programs, development, and staff. She has greatly enjoyed watching students grow up with Digital Dragon through the years.
In addition to her time with DD, she has spent another eight years teaching and directing programs for kids, technology-based or otherwise, on both the east and west coasts. She loves creating and fostering a culture where fun is inherent in the learning process and environment, and students can pursue their passions.
In her free time, Casey likes to get outside into zoos, aquariums, botanical gardens, and really anywhere that she can enjoy a good walk and the Southern California weather.
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.
Chris grew up on Army Posts all over the United States, took up learning about technology, photography, and music as ways to keep himself occupied during the many moves. By high school in Pittsburgh, PA, he became heavily involved in the school’s television program finding a passion for content creation. He continued this at Wofford College in South Carolina, eventually directing for their sports broadcasting department. From there, he worked in Newport Beach with a small publishing company before pursuing his MFA in Film and Digital Technology in Pittsburgh, with an interest in the proliferation of usable consumer equipment in the realm of filmmaking and its effect on the landscape of independent film.
Chris volunteered teaching filmmaking camps while in school and found the opportunity to spark the same passion for creativity that his teachers did for him extremely rewarding.
Jorge is an avid video game and movie enthusiast. He loves computers and all things tech and is currently pursuing a degree in both General Science and Game Design at Santa Monica College. There he is a board member in the Honor Society Alpha Gamma Sigma, the largest club at Santa Monica College. He is also a mentor in the Brother to Brother program which helps guide and encourage male students attending John Adams Middle School. His dedication to teaching and inspiring kids continues at Digital Dragon, where Jorge enjoys being with and teaching Minecraft, Robotics, and Film Production.
When he is not glued to his computer he is near a body of water swimming, lifeguarding, or teaching kids the fundamentals of swimming and water safety.
Andres was born and raised in Los Angeles and is a Game Designer and Programmer. He loves all things programming, from game design to his current study of iOS development. His greatest strength is in making video games using Unity. His experience has grown from making apps in JAVA and iOS to projects using the Arduino microcontroller. Recently, VR has become a passion for Andres–when he isn’t sharing his passion for programming and robotics with students around Los Angeles, Andres is working on a number of VR and Arduino projects as well as interning for various VR development startups.
When he’s not programming or teaching, Andres can be found carving up the surf with his best friends in Venice beach.
Alfonso was born and raised in San Fernando Valley. He graduated from Cal Poly Pomona with a BS in Mechanical Engineering and currently works for the largest aerospace company in the world.
During the Summer of 2015, Alfonso was introduced to FIRST LEGO League and FIRST Robotics Competition through a mentor program where he works. He became a mentor for his eldest daughter’s robotics team, The St. Euphrasia Incredibots, and also mentored the Bishop Alemany High School Robotics Team the same year. The competitions rekindled fond memories of working on design projects while at Cal Poly and inspired him to pursue teaching engineering principles and concepts to kids, which led him to Digital Dragon.
When Alfonso is not teaching or working he likes to build R/C Airplanes from scratch and spend time with his two daughters, Isabella and Amanda, and his wife Jessica.
Eddie is a passionate filmmaker, visual effects artist, musician, and teacher, whose enthusiasm has found a home at Digital Dragon. Graduating from Emerson College with a B.A. in Visual and Media Arts: Video Production, Eddie has made the trek out to LA to use his talents and to continue teaching those with a thirst to know more.
Eddie has had over 12 years of experience, working with media all the way from local TV stations to filming for ESPN at Harvard. Including film, he has worked extensively as a paraprofessional and substitute teacher for his hometown school district in New Hampshire, and has even played at live concerts with his band Six Man Crew. With a strong interest in everything media oriented, Digital Dragon was a perfect fit allowing him to use his skills and share his knowledge.
In his free time, Eddie enjoys freelancing on film sets, making music, camping and exploring new programs to improve upon his editing techniques and special effects.
Media Designer: Trevor
Trevor is a product of Los Angeles. Born, raised, and never removed from the area, he graduated from UCLA’s Design and Media Arts Department. Trevor loves all things media. He has worked personally and professionally in film, television, game design, music production, and graphic design all of which make him excited to work with Digital Dragon.
Even in his spare time Trevor is never far from a screen. He is an avid explorer, listener, and creator of music as well as a defending fantasy basketball champion, blogger, and enjoyer of animated television.
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 was instrumental in Digital Dragon’s launch in 2013 as it’s 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.