President & Executive Director
Currently, Ms. Santiago is a Candidate for her Master’s in Public Health. Throughout her education Ms. Santiago’s focus has been research and program development, with a focus on topics related to Cardiovascular Disease, health and wellness concerns within the LGBT population. In addition, She has extensive knowledge of preventative strategies for providing access to health and wellness resources to high-risk and disenfranchised populations. Ms. Santiago hopes to use her education to improve population health outcomes in our community.
Roberto Gonzalez is the Executive Director and Founder of STEAM Box. STEAM Box develops Scientific and Technology- based programming around the passions and interests of the STEAM Box student body. The youth at STEAM Box have developed aerial drones, arcade machines, websites, apps, special effects videos, and sent cameras to space. It has become common for youth to leave STEAM Box with excellent college placement, scholarships, and careers at Technological juggernauts like PLEX, GOOGLE, and NASA.
After graduating from Emerson College with a degree in Sound Engineering, Roberto returned to Providence education as an adviser with the RI College Crusade. He was writing and facilitating Adventure education programs like Colin Powell’s program, America’s Promise. He transitioned Exchange City to suit the workforce development needs of RI youth and educators. He also consulted as a teacher-coach nationwide, and designed a technology center for RI nonprofit, Inspiring Minds.
During his time at Inspiring Minds, Roberto had the vision for STEAM Box. He designed STEAM Box to be a portable installation where youth can collaborate with the community and learn science through projects based around their own passions. He is not only the founder of STEAM Box, but continues to actively facilitate every day with the youth. STEAM Box holds the #3 Education Podcast in the world, is a RI Tech 10 Winner, National Samsung Solve For Tomorrow Winner, Apple Distinguished Educator, and PBS Digital Innovator, Henry Ford’s Innovation Nation Teacher, and Metcalf Community Justice Award winner. His TED Talk can be seen here.
Karina Valencia, Esq.
Director of Strategic Initiatives
Karina N. Valencia is a U.S. ARMY Reserve Veteran and attorney who believes that access to legal representation should not be limited to those with financial means. Her legal practice has included representation of criminal defendants as well as advocacy for victims of crime and immigrants facing deportation. Ms. Valencia is a graduate of B.M.C. Durfee High School in Fall River. She received her law degree from Roger Williams University School of Law in Bristol, Rhode Island.
While in law school, Ms. Valencia held internships with the Federal Public Defender’s Office in Providence, Rhode Island, as well as the Public Prosecutor’s Office, Department of Victims Access in Buenos Aires, Argentina. As a student attorney, she represented indigent clients in Providence and Fall River District courts. Ms. Valencia has also worked as a research assistant on two textbooks: Climate Change Impacts on Ocean and Coastal Law, and What Can Animal Law Learn From Environmental Law?. She is fluent in Portuguese and Spanish.