The BRAINCHILD Initiative:

The BRAINCHILD Initiative began as a project of Tumblehome, Inc. – a MA non-profit STEM publisher and educational research organization, focused on the use of narrative and associated curriculum to increase student STEM identity. Artificial Intelligence has become the number one fastest growing subject in science fairs, at all levels, and has been one of the most rapidly accelerating fields of engineering, across the globe. As such, it is critical that our young students possess the skills to be able to take on the technology challenges posed by this exciting new world. We at BRAINCHILD, hope to provide students with basic AI literacy, and for those up to the challenge, the advanced skills to excel in the AI future. Our curricula is based on the concept that students learn best when they’re having fun, and as such, we have developed our core lessons around creative themes such as art, music, narrative and dance, with fun, modular lessons for learners of all levels. BRAINCHILD currently operates at both and under the joint initiative organization, the Institute for Intelligent Science & Engineering Education Research (IISEER).

Core Team:

Barnas Monteith, Founder & Curriculum Designer

Barnas Monteith is Chairman of the Massachusetts State Science & Engineering Fair, Inc. — the oldest dedicated inquiry based science education non-profit in MA, and one of the oldest in the U.S., held annually at MIT.. As a young student, Barnas was one of the most successful science fair participants in MSSEF history, with four 1st place MSSEF wins, four 1st place Regional wins, two International (ISEF) 1st place Grand Awards, awards at the European Youth Science Exchange, Nynex Science & Technology Awards, the Edison Award, the Naval Science Research Award, and a number of other scholarships and special first prize awards. His projects focused on the study of dinosaur and bird evolution using biochemistry and custom-design computer programs to track patterns of evolutionary changes. Through college and beyond, he did work at Harvard University’s Museum of Comparative Zoology utilizing his cross disciplinary skills in advanced computing and biology, and was one of the youngest researchers ever to present a Plenary lecture at the Society for Vertebrate Paleontology. Barnas spent a number of years researching machine learning based medical devices with colleagues at MIT Media Lab, winning numerous technology awards. Through this work, he has started several successful derivative technology companies – most recently foraying into semiconductor R&D, specializing in the commercialization of synthetic diamond and other carbon materials for advanced chip manufacturing, as well as the renewable energy and high efficiency lighting markets.

Barnas has won top awards at MIT’s Sloan School 50K and 1K competitions, as well as the Harvard Business School business plan competition, for his work on AI-based wearable computers, as well as in the field of semiconductor/energy materials, for developing novel extensible thermal/mechanical properties.  Barnas additionally has received top placement during MIT Ignite Energy Competition’s inaugural year, and has also received numerous recognitions from Berkeley’s Haas, Columbia and other top universities for related technology business innovations.  More recently, Barnas has been recognized as a top award winner at the Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation / SSP’s SPARK Competition – for innovating science & engineering education kits of the future.

Through his work with various international partners, he has conducted AI classes and research all over the world, with particular research focus on China,. In partnership with the Scitech Association, Barnas has delivered his AI + STEM courses at numerous institutions in China, including the prestigious Tsinghua University, the Chinese Academy of Science, and in the US, at Harvard Medical School, MIT’s Edgerton Center, Princeton and more.

Barnas serves on the MA Department of Education / DESE’s Math & Science Advisory Council, and was appointed by Governor Patrick to serve as a member of the inaugural Governor’s STEM Advisory Council, as Co-Chair of its statewide Public Awareness committee. As a STEM activist, he has served on numerous school task forces, legislative working groups and out of sheer frustration, has even resorted to filing his own STEM legislation as a citizen. He has co-authored several patents, published a number of scientific articles in the areas of semiconductors and materials science and speaks regularly at STEM education and industry events and conferences throughout the world (including at the Association for the Advancement of AI, AAAS, NSTA and more).  Barnas has also published a number of papers about AI and related computing education and has written several award winning education books on STEM subjects, including programming and AI.

Dr. Pendred “Penny” Noyce, Co-Founder

Pendred (Penny) Noyce is a doctor, educator, and writer. She grew up in California, completed a degree in biochemistry at Harvard and a medical degree at Stanford, and did her residency in internal medicine in Minnesota. She then moved to the Boston area, where she practiced at a community health center for several years. In 1991, she helped establish the Noyce Foundation in honor of her father, Robert Noyce, co-inventor of the integrated circuit and founder of Intel. The foundation focuses on improving K-12 education, particularly in mathematics and science. From 1993-2002, Penny helped lead a statewide math and science improvement effort called PALMS in the state of Massachusetts. She gradually withdrew from medical practice to focus on her education work and on raising her five children. She has served on the boards of numerous non-profits, including most recently the Gulf of Maine Research Institute, the Rennie Center for Education Research and Policy, TERC, the Libra Foundation of Maine, the Concord Consortium, and the Consortium for Mathematics and Its Applications.

Penny began writing for middle-grade children over a decade ago. Her first two novels for children, Lost in Lexicon: An Adventure in Words and Numbers, and The Ice Castle: An Adventure in Music are published by Scarletta Press, and have received numerous top reviews and awards.  Penny has won top National Science Teachers Association – Children’s Book Council Outstanding Science Trade Awards for her books, in addition to recognition by Foreword Reviews, the Junior Library Guild, Midwest Book Reviews, and many more top organizations. Penny serves as Chair of the Board of STEM publisher Tumblehome Learning, and serves as the editorial lead for our Galactic Academy of Science series of science mysteries.

Penny also currently Chairs STEM Next (home of the Million Girls Moonshot), an organization which provides curriculum support for all 50 states in the US, in particular for project based learning in informal environments.  STEM Next is a project of the Noyce Foundation, and continues its work.

Penny loves to travel, ski, ride horses, and explore islands.