Who Are We?

Karen Giacopuzzi – Instructor, Owner of Gadget Lab

That’s me teaching at KID Museum

My name is Karen Giacopuzzi and I live in Silver Spring, MD near Blair High School. I have a long history with computers and software, mainly through building my own PCs and working in the software field doing Process Development, Quality Assurance and Usability. I’ve also done database programming and have studied a number of computer languages including Visual Basic, C++, COBOL, HTML/CSS/Javascript and C#.

I’ve taught basic computer skills to adults through a local community center and for the past 3 years have taught WordPress and other web skills in an after school program on behalf of Passion For Learning, a local non-profit. In the Summer of 2013 I taught a Web Skills day camp at Montgomery College and in 2014 started Gadget Lab here in Silver Spring.

I grew up in Los Angeles and  have a BA in Liberal Arts from University of California, Santa Barbara and a Masters in International Affairs from George Washington University.  I love to write and worked as a journalist before making a career change to software. Gadget Lab is the logical result of my passion for writing, gadgets, software and teaching.

GadgetLab now offers workshop for students from age eight to adults.  The world of electricity and gadgets is fascinating and we’re never too old to have fun or too young to learn.


Rustom Meyer, Instructor


Rustom Meyer is an engineer, an entrepreneur, an educator, a craftsperson, an inventor, and a relentless optimizer. He graduated from Cornell University with a Bachelor of Science Cum Laude, and a Masters of Engineering in Biological and Environmental Engineering (also from Cornell). He holds a Professional Engineer’s license in Environmental Engineering.  For his whole life, Rustom has had a deep and abiding need to work with his hands, a need he has satisfied over the years by making toys, ceramics, jewelry, lamps, solar power systems, and flashlights (among other things). His ‘hands-on’ skills include soldering, welding, laser cutting, 3D printing, circuit diagnostics, screen printing, bicycle maintenance, powder coating, construction, plumbing, and wild plant identification/foraging.

He taught craft and technology to students of all ages at Techshop DC-Arlington for nearly four years. Additionally he has taught the same subjects to a younger audience at many summer camps, Maker Faires, and after school programs.


Mary Amato

mary library portrait nj emailMary Amato is a local award-winning author, singer-songwriter, poet, playwright, and theater artist. Her chapter books and novels for children and young adults have been optioned for television and the Scholastic Book Clubs and Fairs and have been translated into numerous foreign languages. Her songs have been featured on MPT, WAMU, and in many of her books. She is also a cut-paper puppeteer and the co-founder of Firefly Shadow Theater, now based in MA.

Monica Tinker

Monica Tinker  I thought I had the world’s best last name until I met Monica Tinker. While she wasn’t born with the name, she has been an artist and tinkerer all her life.  She was born in South Africa to first generation Dutch parents who made self learning, discovery, and connection to the larger community a family affair. Monica continued those pursuits with a degree in fine arts and years of teaching in Montessori schools and in her own summer camps.  She is always looking to learn and explore something new.  Her passions for creating include jewelry making, 2 and 3 dimensional art, installation art and even tearing down and rebuilding her own house.  Every time I talk to Monica I see the world in a different light. I’m thrilled to have her at the Lab and look forward to more collaboration with her and with other local artists and makers.