✉ st3f@uw.edu ✆ +1 (415) 503-8944 🔗 http://drugastefania.com/

Qualifications summary

  • Research on AI literacy for families.
  • Extensive experience in building programming platforms for children.
  • Teaching classes about creative learning and prototyping with AI.


Active Projects

  • Cognimates : Live at cognimates.me
    • AI education platform for children to train their own machine learning models.
    • Users can also code smart games using their custom models.
  • AI Literacy Playground : Live at http://aiplayground.me/
    • Playground for AI explainability allowing users to classify custom datasets.
    • Users may also identify anchors in images to support algorithms interpretability.
  • TileCode : Live at https://microsoft.github.io/tilecode/
    • TileCode is an app for designing, coding, and playing video games directly on low-cost arcade gaming handhelds.
    • Our starting point are retro video games to be created via a set of visual rules.


Degree Major Institution Graduation Year GPA
Ph.D­ Information School Informatics University of Washington 2023 3.9/4
Master of Science Media Arts and Science Massachusetts Institute of Technology 2018 5/5
Master of Science Instructional Design, Technical University of Lisbon, Poitiers University, UNED Madrid 2008 5/5
Bachelor of Communication Public Relations & Communication Polytechnic University of Timisoara 2005 5/5


Graduate Courses Taken

Professional Experience

  • Creative AI Track Lead, MIT MediaLab Berlin, Berlin, Germany (Jun. 2018 – Jul. 2018)
    • Designed and ran the machine learning for creative AI track, selected 10 participants from 300 applications.
    • Organized a series of lectures, talks, and site­visits to partner organizations.
    • Mentored students on their projects, documented and published final results.
    • http://berlin.media.mit.edu
  • Co-founder, HacKIDemia, Global (Jan. 2012 – Nov. 2020)
    • Overseeing HacKIDemia, a global organization for children STEM education.
    • We are designing a 21st century curriculum by using latest technologies and scientific inventions.
    • We trained local teams i n 40 countries with 600 mentors and 10.000 children involved to date.
    • https://hackidemia.com
  • Computer Science Lead Teacher, Girls Who Code, U.S.A (Jun. 2016 – Sep. 2016)
    • Taught computer science to a group of 30 senior high­school students for 3 months as part of the Girls Who Code Program
    • Managed two teaching assistants and creatived curriculum for the hardware and robotics modules.
    • https://girlswhocode.com/
  • R&D Specialist, Samsung research, U.S.A (Jan. 2016 – Jun. 2016)
    • Proposed new IoT communication protocols for low powered WiFi sensors.
    • Implemented a series of prototypes for detecting water leaks at scale by measuring pipes vibration.
    • This lead to a commercial product (Lotik) which is still being developed by Samsung.
    • https://samsungnext.com/
  • Director, Maker Camp, China, Germany (Jan. 2014 – Jan. 2016)
    • Initiated the first maker camp in Berlin and Shenzhen with 15 global participants.
    • We used only upcycled materials and tools to build the first makerspace in a shipping container in Europe and China.
    • Each camp ran for one month, had 10 tracks, 20 mentors.oposed new IoT communication protocols for low powered WiFi sensors.
    • https://makercampberlin.tumblr.com
  • Founder, Afrimakers, Africa (Jan. 2014 – Jan. 2016)
    • Created Afrimakers in partnership with 8 African tech­hubs in Egypt, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Zambia, Botswana, Ghana, Nigeria.
    • This initiative enables local makers to use digital fabrication for solving local challenges like access to clean water, energy, education.
    • https://afrimakers.org
  • Education Advisor, Singularity University, U.S.A (Apr. 2012 – Sept. 2012)
    • Curated the education track for 80 students from 36 countries and conducted a series of prototyping workshops.
    • Initiated coaching sessions and site­visits to pioneering ed­tech organizations like Khan Academy, Udacity, Gooru.
    • https://singularityu.org
  • Volunteer Teacher, Catholic University of Peru, Cambodia (Jan. 2012 – Apr. 2012)
    • As part of a voluntary mission I was teaching 100 children how to use computers and new technologies.
    • Within 2 months I have acquired 3000 € in donations and created a computer lab for the children.
    • You can find out more here: teachingcambodia.blogspot.com.
    • https://kkev­cambodia.org
  • SQE Associate, Google, Ireland (Sept. 2010 – Jun. 2011)
    • Helped defend Google’s index against web­spam and collected data for search algorithm design.
    • Worked with the internal education team to improve the new hires training.
    • https://google.com
  • ToT Trainer, Catholic University of Peru, Peru (Jan. 2008 – Apr. 2008)
    • Instructed 40 Peruvian primary school teachers in the use of information and communication technology.
    • Conducted a final evaluation which showed that 80% of the teachers were using the new tools.
    • http://www.pucp.edu.pe

Research Experience

  • Summer Intern, Microsoft Research (June 2020 – Sep. 2020)
    • Conducted an longitudinal study with 17 families for 5 weeks evaluating a new programming platform for kids.
    • Analyzed and communicated findings in company wide presentations and public webinars
    • https://cri­paris.org/
  • Research Associate, CRI (Mar. 2011 – Jan. 2012)
    • Participated as a research associate in a project that applied machine learning algorithms for interdisciplinary online educational programs.
    • The proposal was validated by an international committee of researchers and involved collaborating with an international team of data scientists
    • https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/research/project/microsoft-tilecode/
  • ICT Researcher, Open University UNIT (Jan 2009 – May. 200)
    • Conducted a study for the French Ministry of Education on the use of digital resources in 20 universities and engineering schools.
    • The study was published by UNIT and is now an industry standard guide in the participating universities.
    • http://www.unit.eu/

Teaching Experience






  • Research: AI Education * Family teachnology * Smart toys * Interaction Design for children
  • R&D: CAD design * Embedded programming * Digital fabrication
  • Instructional Design: STEAM curriculum * Teacher training * Project-based teaching
  • Programming Languages: R * Ruby * Python * Javascript * HTML
  • Web Frameworks: React * Rails * Bootstrap
  • Databases: MySQL * PostgreSQL
  • Languages: Romanian * English * French * Spanish * Italian