Board Members

Our goal is to help students discover their true potential by assigning mentors who will work with them on simple yet fascinating science projects.

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Manizheh Zand


Manizheh Zand is Adjunct Professor in the Department of Aviation and Technology at San Jose State University, an Electrical Engineering course instructor at De Anza Community College, and a business owner-partner at the MMS Adult Learning center in Morgan Hill, CA, where she served as Director of Operations. In the past, Ms. Zand was working as a hardware design engineer at National Semiconductor, focused on microcontrollers, such as multi master slave I2C, timers, and other serial peripherals. She has also co-founded and operated a commercial construction business.

She has a gift for helping students find their creative passion particularly as it relates to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). According to one of her college students,

“She does a fantastic job in inspiring future engineers to explore their many options and creativity through the group project. Her guidance along the way helps structure your team project which makes the daunting task of engineering a device much easier.”

In addition to her collegiate teaching activities, Ms. Zand has initiated a uniquely structured engineering program with participation by private technology companies and students from local colleges – all engaged to expose and coach middle school students in basic engineering principles while supporting their individual creativity.

Ms. Zand holds a Masters of Science in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from San Jose State University and has studied Petroleum Engineering at Sharif University of Technology. She is a resident of San Jose, CA, and is an active Rotarian. In her spare time, she likes to hike on local trails, ride her motorcycle through the Santa Cruz Mountains, and continue her training for becoming a single-engine airplane pilot.


Bob Martin

Cheif Innovation Officer

An avid Maker before it was a wide spread term, Bob Martin has been tearing apart things to see how they work for his entire life. After obtaining a B.S.E.E. from the University of Saskatchewan, his early career spanned everything from installing specialized instruments into Arctic weather stations, designing industrial control systems and supporting upper atmospheric research campaigns.

He moved to the Bay Area 20 years ago and has continued to concentrate on embedded systems design since. After a decade at National Semiconductor which also exposed the wonderful world of analog, he ended up in a few startups before landing at the Arduino prime enabler of Atmel where he managed a microcontroller applications team. It was here that he became deeply involved with the Arduino / Maker movement supporting both the 8 and 32 bits based platforms.

With 30 years of embedded system experience, he now serves as the “Wizard of Make” for Microchip continuing his role from Atmel in which he keeps the Maker spirit alive within Microchip, educates aspiring Makers and continues to create, experiment and explore as much as he can. He lives in Sunnyvale CA with his wife, twin daughters and a cat with no teeth. Along with a garage full of surplus wire and boxes of “vintage electronics” that really need to be recycled.


Kathy Giori

Queen Biz Konnect

Kathy Giori is a Senior Product Manager at Mozilla, leading the Mozilla’s “Project Things” effort. Her goal for Mozilla’s open source software contributions is to improve privacy and security in IoT products while lowering costs through better-connected Thing interoperability. As an industry veteran, she loves embracing ideas that “give back” to help the next generation succeed. Prior to Mozilla, she was at Arduino, and at Qualcomm Atheros, where she fostered collaboration between schools and universities, semiconductor companies, and the loT industry, to improve technology learning opportunities and innovation. She is well­ connected and respected for promoting valuable open source software projects, including Snap!, PlatformIO, and the OpenWrt/LEDE embedded Linux distribution. She received her bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Minnesota, and her master’s in EE from Stanford.


Charles Katuri

Program Director

Charles Katuri is currently a Master’s student in Electrical Engineering at San Jose State University, and the Founder of MasterBob, an organization which helps students to achieve their passions and skills. He strongly believes in giving something back to the society. He helps students discover their interests and follow their vocation. He is a man with great vision and finds so much joy in helping people around him. His mission is to change or improve the educational system around the world. Besides that, he is a foodie, fitness freak, music lover and always loves to play a sport.


Dr. Samuel Obi

Professor and Director of Technology

Dr. Samuel Obi is a professor of Manufacturing Systems and the Director of Technology programs in the department of Aviation and Technology, College of Engineering at San Jose State University. Dr. Obi has been teaching at SJSU since 1989. His expertise is in Manufacturing Systems, specifically in general manufacturing which includes manufacturing planning and control, quality control, product prototyping and development, computer-integrated manufacturing, facility planning and design, and general material processing. He also teaches and consults in the areas of productive industrial ethics and international technology transfer. His specific research interests are in the areas of manufacturing systems, technology transfer to developing economies, and ethics and the technologist/industry. He has authored many technical, social and cultural articles and books in these areas. He has also made numerous professional presentations in his field.

Dr. Obi was a regional director and the current trustee of the Rho chapter of the honorary Epsilon Pi Tau, an honorary student organization for professions in technology. He is an advisor to several San Jose State University’s student clubs. He was also the director and co-founder of several community non-profit organizations, including the Nigerian Language and Cultural Institute of San Jose, Nnewi Neighborhood Association of Northern California, and San Jose Igbo Anglican Church. He has served on the boards of these organizations as well as serving as chairman, secretary and trustee. To learn more about Dr. Obi, please visit his web site at

John Sze

John Sze

R&D Engineer

John Sze retired from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) with more than 25 years working as a R&D engineer. John is now an independent engineering consultant and a volunteer for Catholic Charities’ STEM program. He wants to use his diverse engineering experience to help young children from underprivileged family background. He believes it is important for children to develop interest in science and engineering in early age, so they can pursue a technical career path in the future.

John worked on several large scale R&D programs while at LLNL, such as Atomic Vapor Laser Isotope Separation, Underground Nuclear Test and NIF. He was a lead engineer for the design of several modern nuclear weapon systems, including cyber and physical security systems to improve our nation’s nuclear deterrent capability. He was involved in development of laser micro-machining, nano-material fabrication, fabless fabrication, etc. for industrial applications. In addition to working in research environment at the national lab, he worked as an engineer in Silicon Valley for many years designing scientific instruments, photolithography equipment and IC packaging tools for semiconductor manufacturing, and DNA microarrays for biomedical and pharmaceutical applications. Some of John’s industrial designs are still being used today in biotech research. John has a Degree of Engineer in mechanical engineering from Stanford University and is a registered Professional Engineer in California.

Ron Johnson

Ron Johnson

Chief Wagician-WAGIC Corporation

Ron is currently the Chief Wagician of WAGIC (What A Great Idea Company) Inc. As a co-founder of WAGIC, he has spent the last 35 years building what began as a consulting firm (RJ Associates), into one of the leading product innovation companies in Silicon Valley. WAGIC’s client base ranges from Fortune 10 companies (Apple, Walmart, GM and AT&T) to startups and has been involved with the design and development of several hundred products for the medical, telecommunication, computer, consumer and automotive market segments. WAGIC also has worked on digital content for some of the most successful Hollywood films including Transformers and Ironman. In addition to the consulting practice, WAGIC has designed, developed, manufactured and distributed over 150 products into the Big Box retailers including Home Depot, Lowes, Costco and Walmart.

Ron is the holder of over 50 patents, and has helped launch over 15 companies. In addition, he has been a guest lecturer on innovation at several Universities including Stanford, UC Berkeley, Santa Clara and San Jose State. He has also served as a board member for over 10 companies as well as a board member for several Non-Profit organizations.

Prior to starting RJ Associates and WAGIC he was part of the start-up teams of several Silicon Valley companies including Shiva Multisystems, Valid Logic Systems and Fiberstars. Ron began his career at Hewlett Packard where, as a mechanical engineer was part of the design and development team responsible for the plastics design of the HP 11C & 12C calculators.