Our Team

The STEAM Genius Universe

STEAM Genius is the parent Not-for-Profit organization over a host of programs, scholarship, and services.

Our offerings are the result of evidence based applied research, where we identify specific "cool factor" engagement methods, show up consistently and authentically in underserved spaces, and attract the curiosity of underserved youth and young adults. Sparking their curiosity provides us with an entry point to offer additional STEM and STEAM educational opportunities that allow youth and young adults to witness their own genius and future possibilities.

Meet our team!

Dr. Will Patterson

Dr. Patterson focuses on preparing students of various Hip Hop generations to be civic-minded urban global leaders in cultural innovation, entrepreneurship, engineering, business, art, and technology. He challenges students by contextualizing applied learning methods that encourage students to re-think various forms of traditional scholarship from a variety of disciplines in order to address contemporary issues that impact urban environments around the globe.

Read Dr. P's full bio here.

Lori Gold Patterson

Experienced Chief Executive Officer and Corporate Board Member with a demonstrated history in the information technology industry. Skilled in IT strategy, risk oversight, diversity & inclusion, organizational culture building, start-up advising, and executive coaching. Strong business professional with a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Mechanical Engineering from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and numerous recognitions and awards.

Dr. Sharon Irish

Sharon Irish is a Research Affiliate in the School of Information Sciences at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. A resident of Urbana, IL, since 1985, she has collaborated with a number of local youth-serving organizations, especially on arts-based initiatives. As an historian, she has a particular interest in community cultural development and urban spatial practices. For further information, see https://sharonirish.org/

Joe Bolton

Joe Bolton is a fabrication and maintenance engineer who has been creating and experimenting with machines and materials for decades. He has worked on small and large scales—trucks and trailers to tiny audio speakers. In addition to sound and mechanical engineering, he has been a digital and neon sign fabricator; an events DJ; and music producer. In the latter capacity, he tests different software and computer configurations for their creative potential. Born and raised in Urbana, IL, he has also worked in Louisiana and Georgia.

Allison Wheeler

Allison is a recent graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and former Illini Science Policy Fellow with the Department of Innovation & Technology. She hold a B.A. in Global Studies, a B.A. in German Studies, and an M.A. in European Union Studies. She is passionate about equitable STEAM education programs and workforce development in her home of Central Illinois.

Devon (Wayne) Turner


Ja'Naea Modest (DJ Silkee)


Junior Project Engineers

Miquel Smoot


Christopher Johnson


Antonio Salaam


Anterio Allen


Karabo dunbar


Devon Mcghee