The Theresa Sondra Jacobs Foundation’s focus is on education, with our new mobile classroom (ECO-CREST) that is currently under construction (completion expected Spring of 2023), this vehicle will be just under 30 feet long and equipped with 7 work stations (5 inside and 2 outside) featuring our unique robotic – animatronic I-ARTS Program (Interactive Astromech Robotic Teaching System). This teaching program will be used in the STEAM programs to teach children the wonders of robotics, animatronics, programming, solar energy, solar energy, fabrication, prop building and art through Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics (STEAM). The TSJ Foundation STEAM I-ARTS mobile classroom delivers a very unique and exciting intergalactic mobile themed experience using animatronics and themed vehicles to excite children into learning. This unique educational program features innovative ways to teach children how the robot from the child’s favorite movies. This program will be used at schools, hospitals, afterschool programs, camps, etc., to teach the children about the different subjects in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM).

STEAM Education combines science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics to learn, explore, and solve problems in new ways.

Many people remember my mother as a teacher, she taught in Northern Virginia for three decades and retired at Lake Braddock. With her background as an educator, the Theresa Sondra Jacobs Foundation is also focusing on Education.

More about our I-ARTS Program

The I-ARTS program will also be used in the STEAM programs and will be used to educate children and adults with special needs, battling cancer, and those who are underprivileged and have financial disadvantages the wonders of  Robotics and prop building, through Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics. In addition to schools, the Theresa Sondra Jacobs Foundation is planning to bring this teaching system into hospitals to help those as well who have these needs. The special design of this system will allow children and adults in wheelchairs to see up close how these robotic systems work.  It is most important for everyone to receive the benefits of the I-ARTS program and share our intergalactic learning experience.

These interactive teaching tools that we build help fuel our mission to create an experience for children and adults who are battling cancer, serious illnesses, have special needs, challenges, and who have financial disadvantage. Our Mobile Classroom is called the Eco Crest, more details can be found here: Click Here. Below is a rendering of the design.

To fulfill this mission, the TSJ Foundation has teamed up with the most talented group of Astromech/droid and prop builders to build the I-ARTS program.  This program is designed to help children of all ages and skill levels understand the amazing world of robotics and building the props that we use to entertain those in need. In addition, the TSJ Foundation has partnered with the Hampton Road Droid Builders Club and their amazing volunteers.  This partnership allows us to complete the I-ARTS program to a level so amazing for children.  For more information, check out the Hampton Road Droid Builders Club! 

Meet Our Builders

Felix Tao

Felix has worked as an electro-mechanical engineer in the aerospace industry for over a decade and a half and has a background in electrical engineering, mechanical design, software engineering, and testing. He has worked on missions such as the Hubble replacement JWST for NASA, HTV4 supply vehicle for JAXA delivering a payload to the international space station, Jason3 a NOAA mission to monitor ocean floor depths for earlier warning of tsunamis, and many more missions in the civilian space arena. Focusing mostly space to ground communication systems in his career, he carries his knowledge into his various hobbies.

When not working in a lab you can find Felix working on building costumes and props used for various conventions or volunteer events including many props for the TSJ Foundation, he designed the Turbo Laser seen in the video below and many other props. His love of Star Wars has also led him to organizations such as the 501st Legion who participate for various events such as charity events or just cheering up children going through a hard time through the use of Star Wars character costumes as well as the Theresa Sondra Jacobs Foundation who build experiences through the uses of props to bring smiles to children and adults of all ages and circumstances. Felix is the Technology Director for the TSJ Foundation and designs many of the STEAM programs.

Turbo Laser

Matthew Hammer

Matt is an experienced Droid builder and founder of the Hampton Roads Droid Builders.  Matt has training as a biomedical equipment technician and grew up building boats and computers with his father. He retired from the army due to wounds sustained in Iraq and found droid building in 2010 and built several r series (R2) and founded the Hampton Roads R2 Builder’s club. For years it was just him and would do events on his own until the release of the force awakens and BB-8.  The renewal of interest had others seek out an join the club and he changed the name to the Hampton Roads Droid Builders to incorporate all the different droids; his main area of expertise is the R series but have been doing a lot of work with BB-8. He help built the Foundation’s fully functional BB-8 unit.  He is currently building the R2 unit for the I-ARTS program. This R2 unit will have an extra new programming station with several different Arduino based systems.  With R2 we can teach not only electrical but mechanical and optical we are planning to use a projection system to teach kids how it works. With so many different control systems including I2c, Bluetooth Wi-Fi the communications between mechanical and electrical are really well refined and for kids, watching somethings start as an electron a command and end as a physical robotic command is amazing.  R2 D2 can be a basic robot or an extremely advanced, something as simple as a 3200 chip to control or to a fully functional desktop computer inside for complex response and all interactive.

David Ferreira

David has been involved in the competitive robotic world since 1996. During that time, David was able to learn and practice the skills of engineering science and technology. The robot was just a tool that brought people together. The true goal of the programs was to inspire the next generation of innovators.

Today David looks to inspire by bridging the gap between all age groups and physical abilities. (We all have a love of Star Wars, so let us show the world how it’s done) This has been the basis for his projects in recent years.

David had designed and created fully functional BB-8 units that can Interact with the public like no other. Seeing the joy and happiness BB-8 brings to the public has driven him to make more exciting droids to inspire the next generation.

Most recently David has contributed to some of the droids on the Boba Fett series and you may have seen his droid on the Star Wars Show, “Gil” RX-91L. David is also one of the TSJ Foundation full time builders and he is designing and building many of the STEAM educational programs.

Jon Haag

Jon has been a lover of all things Star Wars throughout his life. Having been a member of the 501st Legion since 2016, he branched out into droid building in 2017 after attending Star Wars Celebration Orlando and seeing the many the droids on display there. Jon is heavily focused on leveraging 3D printing in the build process, having completed two iterations of his fully 3D-printed C2-B5 (the Imperial R-series droid briefly seen in Rogue One) and completed one of the latest droids in the Star Wars universe: D-0 from Episode IX. He has also built a DO for the TSJ Foundation I-ARTS program.

Jon currently serves as one of the lead members of the Hampton Roads Droid Builders, with a focus on public relations and event coordination.

Tim O’ Sullivan

Tim OSullivan is a retired military officer with 21 years of active-duty service. Tim was medically retired in 2013 for combat wounds sustained in Basra Iraq. Upon retiring from his military service he later found the therapeutic tasks of 3D printing, 3D modeling building Droids and movie related props. Tims award winning cosplay characters have placed in both San Diego Comicon and Star Wars Celebration. His builds and animatronics have since been used to support to STEAM programs, Children Hospitals, Veteran Events and Service Dog organizations. His work had also enabled him to 3D model and develop a special prosthetic that was used for a child in the Paralympics. Over the past 5 years Tims builds include C-3PO, Bistan Moroff, R2D2, BB-8, DO, Chopper, Q9-0, Life size Taun Taun bust, Animatronic Babu Frick, Animatronic Episode 1 C-3PO, Animatronic Rat Catcher bust, Animatronic Grogu and most recently earned 2nd place in 2022 Star Wars Celebration Cosplay competition in Anaheim as Bistan from Rogue One. Tim is currently building animatronic Grogu and Babu Frick for the TSJ Foundation Educational STEAM programs.

Dr. Joshua Montgomery

Dr. Joshua Montgomery is a Computer Science Professor at Southern State Community College & Adjunct Instructor at Southern New Hampshire University. Montgomery has been a professor for over 10 years, and before that was the Technology Director for the Chillicothe City Schools for 13 years. He is the Curriculum Coordinator for the Ohio Coders Project, an initiative that was developed by the state of Ohio to help K-12 schools in the southern region of the state to develop coding programs and skills for students. Montgomery is the cofounder of SOMACC (Southern Ohio Makers Against COVID Coalition). This grassroots group built 4,500 3D-printed face shields for first responders at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. He is the inventor of the Droid Builders Mini-Dome, a teaching tool used to instruct students in electronics and coding by using a 50% scaled 3D printed R2-D2 dome that can be programmed to blink lights, move motors and play sounds. This project is now supported, funded and powered by the Grant Imahara Foundation. The foundation has purchased supplies and materials for 102 students to build 72 domes for the 2021/2022 school year so students can complete the Grant Imahara Coding Challenge. This coding challenge is a supported initiative by the Ohio Coders Project and will help to further those students understanding of both electronics and coding. Montgomery is also an active member of the Star Wars builder communities
One of his most significant accomplishments is building a replica of R2-D2, a droid from the movie Star Wars that took him 2.5 years to complete. Montgomery used that experience of building R2-D2 to change how he teaches classes at his college. He explained how building R2-D2 made him a better teacher in his Ted Talk at Dayton Ohio in 2021. Josh and his wife, Brandy, reside in Southern Ohio with their two children and 4 dogs.

Matt Hobbs

Matt Hobbs is an extremely experienced Droid Builder who’s portfolio ranges from BB-8, BB9e, Mouse Droid, scrubber Droid, R2 D2, Wall-E and many more.

Matt has spent the last 11 years in support of the manufacturing and install of the sunshields onto the James Webb space telescope. He currently has 11 fully functional droids with 2 more in work. Matt Hobbs is now serving as a manufacturing engineer for Northrop Grumman.

Martin Cerame Colón

Martín Cerame Colón
A creative mind that has explored multiple forms of expression, from orchestral composition to digital graphic design, Martin has been an avid fan of science fiction and fantasy ever since he saw Star Wars in 1977. He had the fortune of being able to transfer his drawing skills from paper to screen when his father bought a Macintosh computer back in the 1980’s and allowed Martín to use it and develop his skills as a digital graphic artist as the technology evolved.

Throughout the years, Martín grew professionally as both a graphic designer and a performing and recording musician. His passion for Star Wars drove him to design set maquettes for his 3-3/4” action figures during the 90’s; maquettes that he could not get built at the time because the access to computer-controlled tools like CNC machines and laser cutters was very limited at the time.

It would take 30 years for the necessary technology to become affordable for hobbyists like Martín, who acquired his first desktop laser cutter during early 2022 and began constructing control panels based on those featured in the Star Wars films. With a keen eye for the visual language of Star Wars, Martín’s designs quickly earned the praise and respect of fellow and more experienced builders like Brian Thompson, creator of the Smugglers Room channel on YouTube and the Star Wars Room Builders Group on Facebook, who featured Martín’s work (along with other builders’) in an episode titled “Secrets of Star Wars Design”.

Martín continues to build control panels and props combining laser cut and engraved acrylic with LED elements and display screens, all of which can be seen in his Facebook and Instagram pages under the name Dune Sea Outpost.

Brian Thompson

Talented Builder Check out his YouTube channel The Smugglers Room and Website: Click Here

Douglas A. Bickert

Droid Builder – inventor of the R2’s dome animation system. The Warp Core Dome System. This is the clear acrylic base plate and the circuit boards he created will help R2 launch Light Sabers, etc.

David White

Host of Whitey’s Wicked Workshop

Electrical engineer, youtuber, maker, room builder, props, 3D modeling (novice).

Aedo Morin

Host of FAB Works LIVE, Graphic Artist, Prop maker.

Rhett J. Martin

Currently just beginning my pro career in props, set design and makeup. Have already worked for the NFL, Sony, and Illfonic. In October will be in Maryland helping construct and film with Farragut Films. Also teaching molding and casting classes in Ohio and Maryland.

Mark Borja

Mark Borja is an skilled custom builder with amazing talent and passion for his work. He has built the TSJ Foundation “Executor” and is currently building our Mobile Classroom – the Eco Crest. Mark has decades of experience building custom cars, hydraulic systems has a deep passion for his work and helping the community. He is the TSJ Foundation’s exclusive builder for our mobile classrooms and mobile entertainment vehicles. We are very excited to have him work on all of our projects and he also volunteers at many of our events to help bring joy to all with his work.

Eric Jacobs 

Eric is one of the founders of the TSJ Foundation.  He has a passion for Star Wars and enjoys creating new ideas to add to the Foundation’s props and builds to help entertain and teach children.  He painted most of the interactive props and did the exterior design work on the Turbolaser and Falcon using his mother’s art supplies that he inherited after her passing.

After losing his mother to cancer in 2017, he, his wife, and daughter founded the Theresa Sondra Jacobs Foundation to help positively impact children and adults in need in the local community.  He has been very active in the community, as the founder of the Cars and Coffee Dulles Landing, this weekly event has been an incredible platform to help raise money for other nonprofits and local and international organizations in need. Eric is also an active member of the 501st Legion, you may see him as a Tie Pilot or Darth Vader.

Eric has combined his passion for Star Wars, art design, and prop building and vehicles into the tools the foundation uses to positively impact those in need and create as many smiles across the galaxy as possible.  Going forward with the focus on STEAM education and teaching, we can show young minds behind the scenes up-close look of how we create amazing props, droids, and vehicles.