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Machine Science Inc.

 649 Massachusetts Avenue, Suite #4
 Cambridge, MA 02139
[P] (617) 354-7171
[F] (617) 3547172
Samantha Michalka
 Printable Profile (Summary / Full)
EIN 04-3566815

LAST UPDATED: 03/15/2016
Organization DBA --
Former Names --
Organization received a competitive grant from the Boston Foundation in the past five years No



Mission StatementMORE »

To foster critical thinking and technological competency among underserved and underrepresented young people through hands-on robotics, science, and data exploration.

Mission Statement

To foster critical thinking and technological competency among underserved and underrepresented young people through hands-on robotics, science, and data exploration.

FinancialsMORE »

Fiscal Year Jan 01, 2015 to Dec 31, 2015
Projected Income $140,000.00
Projected Expense $130,000.00

ProgramsMORE »

  • Afterschool Engineering and Robotics
  • iSENSE
  • Robot Sumo
  • Water SCIENCE

Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2014 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2013 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2012 (%)

For more details regarding the organization's financial information, select the financial tab and review available comments.


Mission Statement

To foster critical thinking and technological competency among underserved and underrepresented young people through hands-on robotics, science, and data exploration.

Background Statement

Since the organization's inception in 2001, Machine Science has supported hands-on engineering education through the development of an extensive line of kits, curriculum materials, and software resources. Focusing on digital electronics, robotics, and C programming, these materials have been used for formal instruction and academic enrichment by schools, hobbyists, and engineering enthusiasts all over the country. With funding from private foundations and a series of grants from the National Science Foundation, Machine Science has worked closely with Boston-area schools to offer engaging after-school, vacation week, and summer engineering programs for students in grades 6 to 12. The school year programs culminate in our annual Robot Sumo Tournament at the Museum of Science, attracting competitors and spectators from all over the greater Boston area.

In 2014, after successfully leading the organization for more than a decade, co-founders Sam Christy and Ivan Rudnicki transferred leadership of the organization to Samantha Michalka. Michalka previously worked as a part-time Program Coordinator for Machine Science, and afterwards remained engaged as a volunteer while pursuing her Ph.D. at Boston University. Michalka has an academic background in neuroscience and mechanical engineering and a passion for teaching, especially to students who feel apprehensive about mathematics, engineering, or computer programming. The newest member of the Machine Science team, Kia Hall, brings experience teaching diverse student populations in the US and abroad, as well as Spanish language skills and qualitative research experience. Together, Michalka and Hall make a well-rounded leadership team with complementary skill sets. Machine Science continues to benefit from the experience and expertise of Christy and Rudnicki, who both are active members of the Board of Directors.

Impact Statement


  1. Held our tenth annual Robot Sumo competition at Boston's Museum of Science.
  2. Funded and facilitated afterschool robotics and engineering at Horace Mann School for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, which had two students win medals in the "Travelling the Unknown" Boston Public Schools (BPS) Robot Olympics challenge that required their robots to travel autonomously through a mystery course.
  3. Collaborated with TechBoston to facilitate an engineering bootcamp during school vacation.
  4. Collaborated with University of Massachusetts, Lowell and the National Park Service to engage middle school students in Tsongus River data collection, visualization and sharing, using iSENSE.
  5. Over 500 users registered on the iSENSE data visualization and sharing website.


  1. Provide professional development for ten BPS teachers, facilitating their participation in the three-state Water SCIENCE program, coordinated through Concord Consortium and funded by the National Science Foundation.
  2. Recruit, train and support mentors for the above-described Water SCIENCE program.
  3. Continue to fund and facilitate Robot Sumo afterschool support and annual tournament
  4. Continue to fund and facilitate the Horace Mann School for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing engineering and robotics program, preparing students to compete in the BPS Robot Olympics.
  5. Expand the capabilities and use of the iSENSE data visualization platform.

Needs Statement

  1. Capital expenses support to upgrade computer systems and re-launch website: $5,000

  2. Funding to continue and expand existing Robot Sumo program, through the purchase or robotics kits for schools with student bodies that are underserved and underrepresented in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics): $10,000

  3. Funding to continue the Horace Mann robotics and engineering afterschool program: $30,000

  4. Water science (or enthusiast) mentors to provide hands-on support in the classroom for teachers implementing the Water SCIENCE program during the 2015-2016 school year.
  5. Financial support to cover operating expenses including rent, utilities, and increased hours for the part-time Executive Director: $50,000

CEO Statement


Board Chair Statement


Geographic Area Served


Organization Categories

  1. Education - Educational Services
  2. Science & Technology - Engineering & Technology
  3. Youth Development - Youth Development Programs

Independent research has been conducted on this organization's theory of change or on the effectiveness of this organization's program(s)



Afterschool Engineering and Robotics

Afterschool engineering and robotics program at Horace Mann School for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing facilitates hands-on engineering activities with elementary students and hands-on robotics with middle and high school students.
Budget  --
Category  Education, General/Other Afterschool Enrichment
Population Served Children and Youth (0 - 19 years) People/Families with of People with Disabilities
Program Short-Term Success  Program participants will construct Legos and robots for participation in the Boston Public Schools annual Robot Olympics.
Program Long-Term Success  Participants in engineering and robotics afterschool program will be able to use the computing schools after graduation to access improved professional opportunities.
Program Success Monitored By  Machine Science volunteers at the annual BPS Robot Olympics and observes the participation and engagement of Horace Mann students at the event.
Examples of Program Success  At the 2015 BPS Robot Olympics, two Horace Mann students won medals for their robots.


iSENSE is a web system for sharing and visualizing scientific data. It is intended to be a resource for middle school and high school science, math, and engineering instruction, developed in collaboration with University of Massachusetts, Lowell.
Budget  --
Category  Education, General/Other Education & Technology
Population Served Adolescents Only (13-19 years)
Program Short-Term Success  Students will be able to upload data and compare and analyze the data of different groups within and across classes and schools.
Program Long-Term Success  Students will think collaboratively and comparatively about the scientific data they collect, sharing information with others and using others' data points to inform their analysis.
Program Success Monitored By  Machine Science facilitates teacher professional development in how to use iSENSE as a data sharing tool, and provides direct support for hands-on activities that involve scientific data collection and analysis. This allows for the observation of student use of the tool. Also, students are surveyed about their data sharing experience.
Examples of Program Success  Observations of classroom and field trip activities show that students are comfortable sharing scientific data using iSENSE.  

Robot Sumo

Every year, teachers organize afterschool programming for students interested in competing in our end-of-year Robot Sumo Tournament, held at the Museum of Science. We provide support to the students and teachers preparing for the annual competition.
Budget  --
Category  Education, General/Other Afterschool Enrichment
Population Served Adolescents Only (13-19 years)
Program Short-Term Success  Students will work in teams to build a robot that than can compete in the annual tournament.
Program Long-Term Success  Students will be excited about robotics, and consider careers related to computing and engineering.
Program Success Monitored By  Machine Science staff visits the afterschool programs to observe student groups working together to build and program robots.
Examples of Program Success 

Many former Machine Science students have gone on to major in engineering disciplines at area colleges, including: Boston College, Boston University, MIT, Northeastern, Wentworth Institute of Technology, and Worcester Polytechnic Institute.


In Supporting Collaborative Inquiry, Engineering and Career Exploration with Water (Water SCIENCE), middle school students from southern Arizona, southeastern Pennsylvania, and eastern Massachusetts complete hands-on science and engineering activities, receive guidance and instruction from undergraduate and graduate student mentors, interact online with STEM professionals, and learn about careers in environmental conservation and engineering while investigating their community's local water resources. This program is organized by Concord Consortium, with Machine Science managing the Massachusetts teacher and student activities.
Budget  --
Category  Education, General/Other Educational Programs
Population Served Adolescents Only (13-19 years) Poor,Economically Disadvantaged,Indigent
Program Short-Term Success  Students will test local water quality and discuss ways to improve and preserve the quality of their water.
Program Long-Term Success  Students will know more about their local water resources and the professionals that do water science in their area. Engaging these local water scientists will encourage them to consider careers in water science.
Program Success Monitored By  The improved content knowledge of students will be assessed at the end of the program. Also, the impact of water science mentors will be evaluated by assessing the students' impression of their connection to local water science professionals.
Examples of Program Success  Pilot water science activities showed that students were eager to learn about local water sources and were considering related careers.

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments



CEO/Executive Director Ms. Saadia Husain Baloch
CEO Term Start Jan 2016
CEO Email
CEO Experience  Saadia Baloch has worked for many years as a software engineer in embedded systems, designing and writing software for devices as diverse as laser printers, cable set-top boxes, internet-enabled cameras and package scanners, and for the OLPC XO children’s laptop computer. She’s also been keen to help girls get excited about engineering as a Girl Scout Troop Leader for 7 years. Saadia holds a S.B in Computer Engineering from M.I.T and a M.S. in Computer Science from Brown University. She feels it should be a priority to get people of all ages and abilities comfortable with the concepts behind the technology that runs our daily lives, from the “internet of things” to the huge repositories of our data footprints that large companies maintain.
Co-CEO --
Co-CEO Term Start --
Co-CEO Email --
Co-CEO Experience --

Former CEOs and Terms

Name Start End
Samantha Michalka Sept 2014 Jan 2016
Sam Christy Jan 2001 Aug 2014

Senior Staff

Name Title Experience/Biography
Dr. Kia M. Q. Hall Program Manager Kia M. Q. Hall, Program Manager. Kia has studied mathematics (B.A., Sarah Lawrence College), computer science (M.S., Temple University), and international relations (Ph.D., American University). She is a lifelong learner and longtime educator, having taught math, science, and computer science to students of all ages. As an international development scholar, Kia is excited to have the opportunity to participate in education development work in the US, while continuing to collaborate with scholars and activists in Honduras, where she conducted her dissertation research. At Machine Science, Kia manages program development and recruitment for the organization’s portfolio of STEM education initiatives.
Dr. Samanthan Michalka --

Samantha studied mechanical engineering and psychological science at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. She then worked in engineering and operations management at General Electric, covering a variety of products including helicopter engines, wind turbines, and solar panels. In 2009, Sam joined Machine Science as a Program Coordinator before beginning graduate school at Boston University, where she earned an M.A. in Psychology and a Ph.D. in Computational Neuroscience. Sam oversees NSF-funded projects, manages long-term strategy, and and continues to conduct research in neuroscience, education, and technology at Boston University.


Award Awarding Organization Year
-- -- --


Affiliation Year
-- --
Member of state association of nonprofits? No
Name of state association --

External Assessments and Accreditations

External Assessment or Accreditation Year
-- --



CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments


Foundation Comments


Staff Information

Number of Full Time Staff 0
Number of Part Time Staff 3
Number of Volunteers 5
Number of Contract Staff 0
Staff Retention Rate % --

Staff Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 1
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 1
Caucasian: 1
Hispanic/Latino: 0
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): --
Gender Female: 3
Male: 0
Not Specified 0

Plans & Policies

Organization has Fundraising Plan? No
Organization has Strategic Plan? No
Years Strategic Plan Considers --
Management Succession Plan --
Business Continuity of Operations Plan --
Organization Policies And Procedures No
Nondiscrimination Policy No
Whistle Blower Policy No
Document Destruction Policy --
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy --
State Charitable Solicitations Permit --
State Registration --

Risk Management Provisions


Reporting and Evaluations

Management Reports to Board? Yes
CEO Formal Evaluation and Frequency No N/A
Senior Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency N/A N/A
Non Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency N/A N/A


Board Chair Mr. Sam Christy
Board Chair Company Affiliation Medford Vocational Technical High School
Board Chair Term Jan 2001 -
Board Co-Chair --
Board Co-Chair Company Affiliation --
Board Co-Chair Term -

Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Sam Christy Medford Vocational High School --
Ed Hurley-Wales ADP --
Ivan Rudnicki Brooke Charter Schools --
Dr. Natalie Rusk MIT --

Constituent Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Youth Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Advisory Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Board Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 1
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 0
Caucasian: 3
Hispanic/Latino: 0
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): --
Gender Female: 1
Male: 3
Not Specified 0

Board Information

Board Term Lengths --
Board Term Limits --
Board Meeting Attendance % --
Written Board Selection Criteria No
Written Conflict Of Interest Policy No
Percentage of Monetary Contributions 0%
Percentage of In-Kind Contributions --
Constituency Includes Client Representation No

Standing Committees


CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments


Foundation Comments



Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2014 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2013 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2012 (%)

Fiscal Year Jan 01, 2015 to Dec 31, 2015
Projected Income $140,000.00
Projected Expense $130,000.00
Form 990s

2014 990

2013 990

2012 990

2011 990

Audit Documents --
IRS Letter of Exemption

IRS Letter of Determination

Prior Three Years Total Revenue and Expense Totals

Fiscal Year 2014 2013 2012
Total Revenue $113,462 $161,126 $155,751
Total Expenses $160,428 $140,512 $173,834

Prior Three Years Revenue Sources

Fiscal Year 2014 2013 2012
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
-- -- --
Government Contributions $0 $0 $0
    Federal -- -- --
    State -- -- --
    Local -- -- --
    Unspecified -- -- --
Individual Contributions $101,559 $101,654 $72,935
Indirect Public Support -- -- --
Earned Revenue $11,903 $59,472 $82,816
Investment Income, Net of Losses -- -- --
Membership Dues -- -- --
Special Events -- -- --
Revenue In-Kind -- -- --
Other -- -- --

Prior Three Years Expense Allocations

Fiscal Year 2014 2013 2012
Program Expense $133,607 $110,854 $132,995
Administration Expense $22,387 $23,503 $32,695
Fundraising Expense $4,434 $6,155 $8,144
Payments to Affiliates -- -- --
Total Revenue/Total Expenses 0.71 1.15 0.90
Program Expense/Total Expenses 83% 79% 77%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue 4% 6% 11%

Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities

Fiscal Year 2014 2013 2012
Total Assets $85,584 $131,902 $115,902
Current Assets $83,700 $130,018 $114,018
Long-Term Liabilities $0 $0 $0
Current Liabilities $1,039 $391 $5,005
Total Net Assets $84,545 $131,511 $110,897

Prior Three Years Top Three Funding Sources

Fiscal Year 2014 2013 2012
1st (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --
2nd (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --
3rd (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --

Financial Planning

Endowment Value --
Spending Policy --
Percentage(If selected) --
Credit Line No
Reserve Fund No
How many months does reserve cover? --

Capital Campaign

Are you currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Capital Campaign Purpose --
Campaign Goal --
Capital Campaign Dates -
Capital Campaign Raised-to-Date Amount --
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? --

Short Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2014 2013 2012
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities 80.56 332.53 22.78

Long Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2014 2013 2012
Long-term Liabilities/Total Assets 0% 0% 0%

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

In recent years, Machine Science programs have been supported by generous grants from the National Science Foundation, the Amelia Peabody Foundation, and Draper Laboratory.

Foundation Comments

Financial summary data in the charts and graphs above is per the organization's IRS Form 990s. Contributions from foundations and corporations are listed under individuals when the breakout was not available. Please note, further administrative and fundraising expense breakout detail was obtained from the Form PC on file with the state of MA for FY14, FY13 and FY12.


Other Documents

No Other Documents currently available.


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2. What are your strategies for making this happen?


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5. What have and haven’t you accomplished so far?