About Us

Hacker Scouts is a national non profit organization, founded in the Fall of 2012 in Oakland CA, that focuses on STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) education, skill building and community engagement with the aspiration to help our children develop skills in the areas they are truly interested in, abilities that would allow them to dream big and create big.

Our mission:

Hacker Scouts is a non-profit, inclusive organization dedicated to addressing the needs of the global maker community through STEAM education and skill building. The Hacker Scouts model provides knowledge, application, and retention of concepts and skills while supporting independence and interest. Our innovative open source programs promote learning through a variety of developmental and educational methods which prepare our children to adapt to new technology and give them the ability to achieve individual goals. Hacker Scouts encourages the relentless pursuit of knowledge through relevant hands-on activities , mentorship, community and family engagement,  and the development of a strong moral character and leadership skills through our core values.



Our objectives:


  • To prepare the next generation for a complex world through supporting creative innovation, the ability to adapt to new technology, and to value collaboration as well as sustainability.

  • To give kids the opportunity to work with variety of experts and mentors from the community and ensure a well rounded and high level of attention and skill building for all ages through programs that meet the different needs of our young makers.  

  • To reach as many kids as possible and support them in building their own education through programs that are both accessible and affordable.‚Äč


  • To provide open source material and a support program for Hacker Scout programs globally.


Hacker Scouts is program of the School Factory, Inc., a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.


Staff and Board of Directors:

Samantha Matalone Cook -- Executive Director, Founder, Mentor, BODSamantha has an MAt in Education, specializing in  Museum and Non-Profit based learning. She has two decades of experience in educational programming, outreach, and the arts and is a dedicated teacher and learner. In addition to writing and blogging about feminism, parenting, art & technology, education reform, and homeschooling for major publications such as GeekMom, she educates her three children at home. Samantha has started many grassroots groups and is an active member of the hacker/maker and homeschooling communities. Samantha has been a speaker and advocate for Hacker Scouts, Ace Monster Toys and Mothership Hackermoms at the Maker Faire and Mini Maker Faire 2012 and 2013 events.

Chris Cook -- Director of Operations, Founder, Mentor

Chris has several decades of tech and building experience, and describes himself as a Geek and avid DIYer. He also enjoys doing projects with his three children, who already define themselves as Makers.

Garratt Gallagher -- Director of Guild Development and Program Expansion, Guild 001 Leader, BOD

 Garratt is a roboticist. His maker journey started in college, when he built his first robot to follow light.  Since then, Garratt has earned degrees in Physics, Electrical Engineering and Robotics, and built many robots along the way.  He has enabled robots to load dishwashers, sort boxes, and navigate autonomously.  Garratt worked at robotics facilities like iRobot and the MIT robotics lab.  He is currently building educational and commercial robotics platforms out of his garage in Oakland.

Shoshana Abrass -- Director of Program Development, Mentor, BOD Shoshana started making things as a child in her father's workshop and just never stopped.  She attended a technical arts high school in San Francisco (lwhs.org) and has taken arts courses all over the Bay Area.  Over the years she's built furniture, jewelry, welded sculpture, glass, handmade books, clothing, arduino-based toys, wooden boxes, and large-scale compute systems.  Between art projects she acquired a college degree in English and a career in computer engineering. For Hacker Scouts Shoshana likes to plan projects that blend handmade crafts with science or electronics, ideally allowing kids to design and build something they can use in everyday life.  Shoshana has an 11-year-old son who likes math, science, and video games. 

Jarick Cammarato -- Director of Youth Outcomes,   Guild 003 Leader, BOD

 Jarick Cammarato served six years in the United States Navy as a nuclear power plant reactor operator. After separating in 2010 he formed South Carolina's first hacker space, Makelab Charleston, and served as its President until 2013. Beginning in March 2012 Jarick began forming Maker Scouts a STEAM based scouting organization that merged with Hacker Scouts in 2013. Jarick Holds a B.S. in Applied Science from Thomas Edison State College and will complete a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina, in May 2013.

 Tara Harwood, BOD

Tara has over fifteen years experience managing technology, finance, and operations for progressive non-profits.  She is passionate about developing information systems that are both operationally efficient and information-rich; she often tells people that this is much more interesting than it probably sounds.  Past employers include Citizen Engagement Laboratory, Wikimedia Foundation, the Community Clinic Consortium, and the ACLU of Northern California. Tara lives in El Sobrante, CA with her husband, her daughter Zoe (a proud member of Guild 001), and a puppy named Tesla.


 Mariano Ulibarri, BOD and Leader of Guild 005

Mariano, a fourth generation photographer and lifelong maker, spent a good portion of his life traveling and living abroad, including a teaching stint in Tokyo, Japan. Along with his wife Keri and toddler son Mateo, Mariano returned to his hometown of Las Vegas, New Mexico to pursue his MA in Media Arts and Technology at New Mexico Highlands University. In merging his love of photography with interactive multimedia, Mariano was introduced to a new and exciting approach to his craft, one that would define the path of his graduate studies. His newfound passion would lay the foundation for his establishment of the Parachute Factory Makerspace, a prolific outlet for creativity and technology in the community of Las Vegas. Parachute Factory and Hacker Scouts Guild 005 have established “Lil” Las Vegas, New Mexico as a legitimate maker’s community.  He enjoys spending his free time with his wife and son, as well as modifying mopeds, and of course, tinkering with and hacking electronics.


Advisory Board

  Michelle Hlubinka

Binka is the Education Director for Maker Media, overseeing educational publications, outreach, and programming. Before joining the Maker Faire crew, she worked at the Exploratorium’s Center for Museum Partnerships and MIT Media Lab’s Lifelong Kindergarten group (also advised by Mitchel Resnick, and coincidentally occupying the very chair that Amon Millner, below, later took all the way to a doctorate!) Her work at MIT built on previous research at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, as a long-time mentor in the Intel Computer Clubhouse Network, and as a curriculum designer for various publishers and educational researchers. She holds an MS from MIT, an EdM from Harvard and a BA in Art from Yale. When she’s not supporting future makers, including her two young sons, Binka does some making of her own, most often as a visual artist.

I  Amon Millner

Amon Millner is  a Visiting Assistant Professor of Computing Innovation at the Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering in Needham, MA. He directs the EASE Lab, which investigates Empowerment through Art, Science, and Engineering. Amon also holds an appointment as a Visiting Scientist at the MIT Media Lab, where he received his Ph.D. from the Lifelong Kindergarten Research Group and is the Learning Lead at Modkit, a startup he co-founded with Ed Baafi and Collin Reisdorf.


 Jaymes Dec

Jaymes Dec is the Fab Lab Integrator at the Marymount School of New York. He has a Masters degree from the Interactive Telecommunications Program at NYU where he has been an Assistant Adjunct Professor. Jaymes is also a partner in theHTINK technology education co-operative and a founder of the NYC Makery, a pop-up community makerspace for families in New York City. He was named a Teacher of the Future by the National Association of Independent Schools. Jaymes is also the founder of City Hunt, a special events company based in New York City. 

  Tony Wagner

Tony Wagner is the first Innovation Education Fellow at the Technology & Entrepreneurship Center at Harvard. Prior to this, he was the founder and co-director of the Change Leadership Group at the Harvard Graduate School of Education for more than a decade.  His previous work experience includes twelve years as a high school teacher, K-8 principal, university professor in teacher education, and founding executive director of Educators for Social Responsibility. A prominent author, his work includes numerous articles and five books. Tony’s latest, Creating Innovators: The Making of Young People Who Will Change The World, was recently published by Simon & Schuster to rave reviews and has been translated into six languages. His 2008 book, The Global Achievement Gap has been an international best seller and has also been translated into several languages. Tony has also recently collaborated with noted filmmaker Robert Compton to create a 60 minute documentary, “The Finland Phenomenon: Inside The World’s Most Surprising School System.” Tony earned an M.A.T. and an Ed.D. at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education.


Would like to open one of these labs in Huntsville , Al. Since goverment funding has been cut drasticaly for Nasa. It is imperative to have an organaztion like this to keep both parents and kids dream of exploration alive.

I live now in Singapore and see how a goverment who controls all deafens the children. Even the adults have no drive. I have fascilities i can use here. So lets get this started. Looking foward to your replies.

Hi. Also interested in starting a chapter/troop up here in Seattle to be based within a K-8 school. Thanks.

Hi Samantha and Friends!

Any chance more info will be forthcoming on starting local chapters? If there is a list, please put me on it!

Thanks all for the awesome ideas, now lets turn them into reality!


Yes! We are diligently working on a kit for starting local chapters and will announce the details soon! In the meantime, joining our mailing list and "liking" us on Facebook are the best ways to keep in touch. Thanks for your interest!

I would be interested in joining or helping to start a chapter in Long Beach, CA (part of Los Angeles but located between LA and Orange County) I own an art studio for kids that might work as a hub? Regardless - I'm interested in my son joining :)

We were given your info from a friend. How do we sign up or pay to be a part of a guild. For years we have searched for something comprable or better to The Scouts which we do not support. Your organization is like what we do in our own home. My wife is an engineer and works on projects that are mind blowing and so futuristic that you can't believe its real. Seeing as our son has 2 moms, this is why we don't join Boy Scouts. Plus they do not foster the creative and technologic love that we would like supported in our child. We are in San Carlos. I know you are busy but could you please tell me what we can do to be a part of a guild. Thank you!
Melissa and Kandy

Melissa and Kandy, I am so glad you found us. It does sound like we would be a great fit for your family! Right now, we have a waiting list for our Guild, and expect to be starting a new group towards the end of February. I would be more than happy to put your son on the wait list if you email us your details. In the meantime, if you can make it to an Open Lab, you will get to know us and have some fun with our awesome community! We have one tomorrow, 1/6 and another on Sunday 1/20. The details are on the front page of our website. Thanks for your interest! Sam

Hi Chris,
Some people from The Robot Group (in Austin) are spinning off a kid-friendly version that focuses on robotics and mechanicals and computer programming (including Arduino). We're reorganizing (we lost our meeting space in north Austin) and we're tentatively planning our first 2013 meeting in January near Highland Mall (in north central Austin). Hope this helps; please just check the kidbot.org site for updates on this all-volunteer, scrappy group of hardware (and software) geeks of all ages.

Any chapter in Huntington Beach, CA? Any plan to start one? That would be awesome!!!!!
My lids would love it!!!!!
Thank you.

Thank you for your interest in Hacker Scouts! We had an enormous response from our feature on NPR's Weekend Edition! It means so much to us that what we are doing resonates with so many! We are excited at the enthusiasm and interest in starting programs all over the nation, and want to help make that a reality. Currently, we are working out the best way in which we can help you.We are still developing our test case, but building a national program is our goal, and you can be a big part! We'll be starting small, with a simple affiliate program in which you get the support you need and we build the community we would like to see! We are all in this together, wouldn't it be great if we could share our resources and you could benefit from our combined experience?! If this is something you would like to be a part of, please let me know and I will be sending you another email in the next week. If you would rather just have a quick conversation around starting your own program, I can do that too. In any case, we appreciate your kind words and your support of relevant and real STEAM education
Best Wishes for a Happy and Hacker New Year,
Samantha Cook
Founder and Mentor at Hacker Scouts, Oakland

Hi I live north of boston and would very much like to start a chapter of this program for north shore mass. Please contact me to discuss! Thanks so much and congrats on your great work!

I'd like to know if there are units in Arizona. Especially in the area around Tucson. cjs

Just read the article about your organization! I love it! How can I, along with the hacker kids I know, get something like this going up here in Crescent City, CA?

John (JD) Degler

I am a middle school teacher and former electrical engineer. I would love to start a Hacker Scout group in Durham nc.

How about in the Cincinnati, OH area? If there isn't one already, how do we go about starting one?

Any chance of a Hacker Scout troop starting up in Rochester Hills, Mi? My family would be so thrilled to be a part of a group like this!
Thanks so much,
Beth Guest

I am reading, listening, watching and learning. Once I gain a better understanding of what everything is about I hope to recruit some local talent (mentors) to help me get some sort of local affiliate off the ground in the Memphis, TN area. This is great stuff. a new type of "scouting" for a new generation, awesome!

Wow guess I'm not the only one that was thinking it. I am in Chandler, AZ and would love to have a chapter here as well. What this organization does is amazing for the kids and the community. If you could contact me that would be wonderful. Thank you and keep up the awesome work.