Our Mission and History

The mission of Machine Science is to foster critical thinking and technological competency among underserved and underrepresented young people through hands-on robotics, science, and data exploration.

Since the organization’s inception in 2001, Machine Science has supported hands-on engineering education through the development of an extensive line of kits, curriculum materials, and software resources. Focusing on digital electronics, robotics, and C programming, these materials have been used for formal instruction and academic enrichment by schools, hobbyists, and engineering enthusiasts all over the country. With funding from private foundations and a series of grants from the National Science Foundation, Machine Science has worked closely with Boston-area schools to offer engaging after-school, vacation week, and summer engineering programs for students in grades 6 to 12. The school year programs culminate in our annual Robot Sumo Tournament at the Museum of Science, attracting competitors and spectators from all over the greater Boston area.

In 2014, after successfully leading the organization for more than a decade, co-founders Sam Christy and Ivan Rudnicki transferred leadership of the organization to Samantha Michalka. Michalka has an academic background in neuroscience and mechanical engineering and a passion for teaching, especially to students who feel apprehensive about mathematics, engineering, or computer programming. The newest member of the Machine Science team, Kia Hall, brings experience teaching diverse student populations in the US and abroad, as well as Spanish language skills and qualitative research experience. Machine Science continues to benefit from the experience and expertise of Christy and Rudnicki, who both are active members of the Board of Directors.