Planet3’s team is comprised of leaders and innovators who are passionate about building a better world by using the latest technology to bring STEAM learning to lifE.
Rob Roy is CEO and Founder of Switch, developer of the world-renowned SUPERNAP data centers. SUPERNAP data centers are the recognized world leaders in data center ecosystem design, development and mission critical operations.
In the year 2000, with a background in business leadership, engineering, commercial development and technology, Rob Roy converged his areas of expertise to create Switch in Las Vegas, Nevada. His vision was to offer advanced technology ecosystems and the combined services and solutions inherent to those environments. Switch’s clients range from sophisticated startups to innovative Fortune 100 companies.
Tim Kelly is an Ed Tech executive, Emmy Award-winning producer, and conservationist. As Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Planet3, Tim leads the strategic direction of the organization.
Most recently, Tim was President of the National Geographic Society, where he transitioned the primarily print-based organization to a global multimedia force and engineered the launch of the National Geographic Channel, National Geographic Films, and a wide array of digital media products.
In addition to serving as the CEO of Planet3, Tim serves as an advisor to the Clinton Global Initiative, on the Board of the Great Plains Conservation Trust, and on the Board of the American Prairie Reserve. An avid explorer and conservationist, Tim is passionate about connecting the next generation to the challenges and solutions affecting our rapidly changing planet.
ALBERT yu-min LIN, PH.D.
Albert Lin is an internationally renowned scientist, innovator, technologist, entrepreneur, and National Geographic Explorer. As Chief Science Officer of Planet3, Albert leads the scientific research efforts of the company. Albert also serves as a research scientist for the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology at the University of California, San Diego.
Albert is recognized for his research in the Valley of the Khans Project and as a Co-founder of Tomnod, which uses crowdsourcing to identify objects and places in satellite images. Albert is passionate about the combination of exploration and citizen science to raise awareness and solutions for global issues. Albert is also the youngest recipient of the Nevada and Lowell Thomas Medals for Achievements in Science and Exploration.
Albert Lin is a graduate of the University of California, San Diego, where he earned his doctorate in Material Science and Engineering.
Kelly McGrath is a veteran science and mathematics educator with a design engineering background. As Chief Operating Officer of Planet3, she leads the development of curriculum and content. Most recently, Kelly was the Vice President of Science Product Development at Pearson. She is driven by her passion to improve K-12 education, specifically within STEAM subjects, through the use of highly interactive and immersive technology.
Kelly is a graduate of the Massachusetts Maritime Academy, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Marine Engineering.
Royal O'Brien is a software and hardware engineering veteran with more than 30 years of experience in the corporate enterprise and video game industries, having founded multiple companies from software development to service solutions.
As Chief Technology Officer of Planet3, Royal heads and architects the technical product development for the company. Royal has invented and holds multiple issued patents in the video, VOIP, game, and digital distribution technology industries and has successfully commercialized multiple products in the marketplace from theory to final release. Most recently, Royal founded BitRaider, a technology licensing company whose digital distribution improves players' gaming experience with best of breed deployment technology.
Esther Wojcicki is a world-renowned educator, award-winning journalist, edtech pioneer, and vice chair of the Creative Commons board of directors. With a background in education and technology, Esther founded the journalism program at Palo Alto High School in 1984 and grew it to one of the largest journalism programs in the nation.
Esther has been intimately involved with Google and GoogleEdu since its inception, where she was one of the leaders in setting up the Google Teacher Academy and remains a guiding force.
As Chief Learning Officer at Planet3, Wojcicki is contributing her vast experience to review and refine Planet3's instructional approach to embed her project-based learning tenets. She will also help build Planet3's strategic alliances with technology providers and educational thought leaders. (Photo by Joi Ito)
senior game designer
Washington, DC | Todd is a game designer with over 8 years of development experience across multiple game genres and platforms. His most recent experience comes from casual mobile games, where he worked on the chart topping hit Bingo Bash. Todd brings a wealth non-gaming experience to his game designs, from his service overseas in the US Air Force, to his role as an actor in the popular live show Star Trek the Experience in Las Vegas. Todd loves games, whether they have controllers, cards, or dice. He is a huge movie, television, and music fan of all types.
He comes to the Planet3 team ready to rock the party.
MONICA BIRNBAUM, PH.D.
development & research coordinator
San Diego, CA | Monica earned a Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology with a concentration in Cognitive Neuroscience from the University of California, Los Angeles. Her research focused on the cognitive processes and study methods that optimize learning, memory, and skill transfer. Monica is a San Diego native but also has a place in her heart for Los Angeles having lived there for 15 years.
When she is not at Planet3, you can find her hiking, skateboarding at the beach, or playing the drums.
Washington, DC | Madeleine’s 30-year career in documentary and non-fiction production most recently includes ten+ years as Executive Producer at the National Geographic Channel. She has managed thousands of hours of non-fiction, documentary, and alternative programming for output on multimedia, social, digital, cable, and satellite platforms. Madeleine’s long-time interest in science media began with an internship at NOVA at WGBH-TV while she was a student at Harvard. She has traveled in 39 countries, with repeated extensive stays - cumulatively two years - in India and Nepal, following her interests in other cultures and in climbing.
Denver, CO | Elgn brings over a decade of software experience to Planet3. Specializing process, project management and QA, he helps bring order where there is chaos. From process establishment and improvement to QA automation and testing, his wide range of experience within the software industry allows him to build a clear repeatable process with outstanding results.
In his spare time he plays golf as often as possible and enjoys downtime with his family biking, hiking, and camping in the mountains.
operations & administration manager
Washington, DC | From a small town in Delaware, Amanda’s spirit of adventure has led her to places near and far. She has a passion for global communities and has been involved with development projects locally and around the world. In addition to holding the title of Planet3’s first official employee, Amanda serves as Chief Academic Officer for The $100 Solution™, an education-focused non-profit.
Amanda is an explorer at heart and has a goal to visit all seven continents (five down and two to go!). When Amanda’s not keeping Planet3 in shape or trotting across the globe, she spends her time kite flying, backpacking, flea marketing, and giggling at tubby squirrels in parks.
market research analyst
Washington, DC | Luke comes to the Planet3 team after three years of teaching, first in Baltimore City Public Schools and then in DC Public Schools. He spent his summers at TIC “Technology is Cool” camp in DC and training new teachers for TNTP in Baltimore. As an avid gamer himself, Luke is excited about the opportunity to combine education and technology to make learning and the classroom experience overall more enjoyable for everyone.
Luke graduated from Wesleyan University in 2012 with a degree in Studio Arts. He was a two-time captain of the Varsity Wrestling team, and started two local programs through Beat the Streets - Baltimore as a wrestling coach.
Web Applications Developer
Washington, DC | Aaron is a recent graduate of the George Washington University, where he earned a B.A. in Japanese Language and Literature. He has spent time as an educator and translator in a rural Japanese farming town known for their delectable persimmons. Aaron has been interested in software development since his teenage years when he figured out he could program text-based games on his TI-84.
In his spare time, Aaron enjoys computer building and general tinkering.
Washington, DC | Kevin got his degree in Computer Science from American University and works as a Unity Programmer for Planet3. When he's not taking care of his new puppy, he enjoys crocheting and tending to his avocado collection.
Washington, DC | Mike Gibson has over 25 years of overseeing and participating in the creative process of making interactive stories, games, and learning products. In that time, he's helped make awesome content for games, apps, and other interactive projects with good folks at Disney, National Geographic, Firaxis Games, and now Planet3. In his free time.... actually, Mike doesn't have free time because he has a new puppy.
Washington, DC | Pat is a seasoned software engineer with a focus on user experience. He has been in the DC area for the past eight years working primarily on geospatial and data visualization.
He also does overly ambitious game development in his spare time.
RACHAEL HARMS Mahlandt
Washington, DC | Rachael serves as Planet3’s Communications Coordinator, combining her background in science, communications, and digital media. Rachael received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in neuroscience and psychology and has worked in vision research at UC Santa Cruz, UC San Diego, and the Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute. She is also an avid photographer and graphic designer, and most recently served as the digital media and programs coordinator for the National Women’s History Museum. When she’s not at Planet3, you can find Rachael crafting and listening to 90s music.
Jacksonville, FL | Bill is a dedicated father, a techie, an engineer, a nature lover and most of all: an all around great guy.
Bill brings an extensive range of experiences in multiple technological and scientific fields to the team.
Being an ex-naval nuclear reactor plant operator, a radiological controls supervisor, an electrician, an electronics technician, an automotive technician, an IT manager and more, Bill brings a vast amount of experience and real world knowledge to the team.
educational curriculum writer
Washington, DC | Joe is a ten year veteran of the classroom, having taught high school Biology, Forensic Science, and Biotechnology. Afterwards, he served two years as an Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellow at the National Science Foundation. Joe is currently a graduate student pursuing a PhD in Curriculum and Instruction in Science Education from Texas Tech University's Global PRisE program.
Washington, DC | One of the legendary programmers of the game industry, Julian is credited among other accomplishments with creating the first first-person-shooter with full 3D characters in Terminator: Future Shock and its multi-player sequel Terminator: SkyNET. In addition to working on more than 30 game titles, Julian has held positions outside the game industry conducting research and development specializing in the fields of computational linguistics and information retrieval.
educational curriculum writer
Washington, DC | Joshua began his teaching career with Teach for America and has taught middle school science in DC for the past five years. Joshua began consulting this past year, in order to develop content model frameworks utilizing the Next Generation Science Standards. He won the Harris Wofford Award for National Young Educator of the Year from Youth Service America and the Teacher-Leader of the year award from the DC Association of Chartered Public Schools. Joshua currently sits on the Mayor’s Serve DC commissioners board for National and Community Service.
Joshua has a vast bowtie collection and eclectic shirts featuring vegetables, octopi and ice cream cones.
Washington, DC | During his 25+ year career in the game industry, F.J. has been instrumental in the creation of several companies and the development of over fifty interactive games, educational titles, and entertainment properties for companies including Disney, Mattel, Sesame Street, and Marvel Comics.
He is also a published novelist and screenwriter.
Integration QA Developer
Washington, DC | Crystal Logan has worked in the areas of software development for 7-8 years in consultation and have recently started working in automation testing and deployment. She started her career as an Intern for NASA working on satellites simulations and ended up working on web application development for local consultant companies in the DC region including a big consultant company called Accenture.
Washington, DC | Vince Loiacono is a finance and business leader with more than 30 years of diverse industry experience including Big Four public accounting, technology industry serving wireless, broadband and satellite telecommunication. His experience includes start-up operations, ERP implementations, and SEC filings and Initial Public Offering events.
He is a family man and enjoys time with his sons. He loves the water and enjoys sailing, and hopes to fulfill his dream of owning and operating a vineyard preferably by a lake with a dock and a boat.
Washington, DC | Jeff is a recent graduate of George Mason University for Computer Game Design. He is a 3D artist, Unity3D programmer, and game designer with a drive to make the player question everything. He has worked on a few serious games and mobile apps over the past few years.
You can tell he’s deep into a project when his beard gets rowdy. He is NOT from Belmar, NJ.
senior ux designer
Austin, TX | Patrice is a UX/UI Designer as well as contemporary Building Designer. He believes that the most interesting thing about designing in both disciplines is the similarities between them. His passion for User Experience Design lies in creating simple, elegant, and intuitive interfaces derived from complex problems. By carefully listening to user requirements and goals, he enjoy creating a personalized brand experience that meets every user’s needs by designing engaging web and mobile interfaces.
nevada school and partnership coordinator
Henderson, NV | Elizabeth joins the Planet3 team with fifteen years of experience as a science teacher, regional professional development provider, and curriculum developer. She led the development of the curriculum aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards for the Clark County School District and designed professional learning experiences to prepare teachers for the transition to the new standards. As the Nevada School and Partnership Coordinator, she continues to support educators across the state and helps them implement quality curriculum aligned to the NGSS with the Planet3 products.
In her spare time, Elizabeth enjoys exploring parks with her children, attending local festivals, and traveling to watch baseball games.
web application engineer
Washington, DC | Danny is a proud graduate of the University of Maryland. Since his recent graduation, he has gotten to work for some of the oldest companies on the internet and some of the youngest developing web applications. After working in the classroom in college, he is excited to be building something for students.
lead experience developer
Lansing, MI | Trent went to the University of Michigan and majored in English. Then followed that up by being a gameplay, graphics, and engine programmer at Stardock Entertainment on Sins of a Solar Empire, Demigod, and Galactic Civilizations 2. Then followed that up with five years at LightBox Interactive as a Jr-Sr. Designer on Starhawk. That was proceeded by two years as a Creative Director/Executive Producer for Team Chaos. Now with 9-10 games under his belt, he hopes to help change the world with Planet3.
When not working, Trent works on making games on the side. He doesn’t have a great tan.
Washington, DC | John is a multidisciplinary developer who uses his talents in art, design, and technology to deliver full spectrum game development. He got started as a teenager, making community skins and maps for Half-Life and Quake 3. He contributed to the indie title Pirates, Vikings, and Knights II, which was made while attending college at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh. He then joined Netdevil to make art for Jumpgate Evolution before joining Breakaway Games as a technical artist. There, he worked on serious games and simulations in the fields of education, healthcare, and defense. When not making games, he enjoys long walks on the beach, 80’s new wave, and old-school computer games.
Washington, DC | Matt is an avid web developer who takes pride in bringing polished designs to life while focusing on effectively enhancing user experience. He also enjoys exploring cloud-based solutions and has provided cloud migration services for various companies in the past. In his spare time outside of Planet3 you may find Matt DJing with friends, listening to his favorite house artists perform in DC, or playing real-time strategy games.
learning systems architect
Austin, TX | Rebecca is an instructional designer and content manager with eight years of experience pushing boundaries to improve learning outcomes for a range of clients, including US and foreign governments, educational publishers, training and development organizations, higher ed institutions, and more. Rebecca is passionate about identifying nuanced learning needs and creating systems to address those needs effectively, engagingly, and at scale. She’s thrilled to flex her skills at Planet3, where saving the world is not some lofty pursuit but an action item on most meeting agendas.
educational curriculum writer
Washington, DC | Logan began her career in education as teen volunteer at a science museum. While passing around Madagascar hissing cockroaches to visitors, Logan realized that the only thing she liked more than science was educating people about science. Over the next 19 years, Logan developed her science education skills in museums, aquariums, penguin colonies, publishing companies, and the classroom. In her role at Planet3, Logan hopes to pass on her enthusiasm to students through engaging digital activities.
In her free time, Logan likes to catch bluegill on her fly rod, teach children at the Museum of Natural History, and develop new Panini press recipes with her co-chef at Lo-Jo’s Café, Joshua Johnson.
director of implementation and teacher experience
Sarasota, FL | William joined Planet3 with 19 years of experience in the education world, both in the classroom as a high school biology teacher and in sales of science instructional resources with Accelerate Learning and Pearson.
Driven by the desire to ensure that all students have the chance to actively engage in authentic science practices and apply those practices to their everyday lives, William uses his expertise to lead the effort to implement Planet3's product into classrooms and ensure maximum benefit to students and teachers.
In his spare time William loves to explore the Florida environment and is an amusement park enthusiast. He is also a big Kentucky Wildcats fan!
educational curriculum writer
Washington, DC | Jacob brings a passion for earth science and education, along with six years of high school science teaching experience, to Planet3. He taught Earth Science, Chemistry and Physical Science in both Illinois and Washington, DC. He received a Bachelor’s in Geoscience at The University of Iowa and a Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction at Northern Illinois University. His professional goal aims to bring excitement and enthusiasm back into the science classroom and he believes Planet3 is the perfect solution.
In his spare time, Jacob likes to watch, play and talk about sports. He also enjoys nature walks and time with friends.
chief canine officer
Washington, DC | The leader of the DC pack, Jordan is a frequent visitor to Planet3 HQ. When she isn’t out swimming in the river or running alongside her human friends, she can be found lounging in the Planet3 office, migrating from room to room in search of the best sun spots. Her hobbies include beach lounging and catching snowballs.
co-founder & senior creative advisor
Washington, DC | Vijay Lakshman is an interactive software developer and creative IP expert with more than 25 years of experience in the interactive media industry. As Senior Creative Advisor of Planet3, Vijay advises on the creative direction for the immersive environments in the platform. During his career, Vijay has published over 85 software titles, including mega franchises such as The Elder Scrolls: Arena, The Lord of the Rings, Crash Bandicoot, Spyro the Dragon, and Animal Jam.
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