Mehdi Salehi had to leave Afghanistan in 2001. He gained admission to the University of Thessaly in Greece in 2003 to study Architecture, graduating in 2011 with an MS. Mehdi has had many different leadership roles, including head of the digital fabrication lab at U of Thessaly. He has won numerous awards and honors, including a current mention for his project HexSense, which was featured in the Italian version of Marie Claire in June 2013. Mehdi's passion for where he came from and perseverance toward his vision of the future lead him to be working constantly on creating interactive environments.
Kristen has a diverse background which includes undergraduate degrees in Anthropology, Fine Arts, and a graduate degree in Neuroscience and Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. For the past five years Kristen has worked in various positions that involve education, technology and design. These positions have included her two years as a Teach for America corps member in Denver, her experience as an Account Executive at Groupon, and more recently as a UX Designer and Curriculum Developer for the PET Lab at Parsons the New School for Design and a Research and Design Lead at LearnerX.
STEAM Punks is a set of kits that allow for children in Kabul to explore technology and design through making. These electronic kits support the development of critical thinking skills, creativity, curiosity, and (most importantly) the drive to ask "What if?". "What if?" allows children to imagine and accomplish what might currently feel impossible.
These kits are a part of a complete ecosystem that aims to train teachers, support inquiry into design and technology, and promote learning through making. All kits have been developed taking into consideration the dominant language, local patterns and colors, as well as respect for ethnic backgrounds and political and religious taboos.