Our Team

Our Founder

Steve Heath is the founder and executive director of FabNewport. He has 25 years experience creating innovative learning environments in public and private schools in Boston, Chicago and Rhode Island. He’s an experienced journalist, community activist and a skilled connector with a passion for nurturing ideas.  Steve is certified League of American Bicyclists instructor, an accomplished athlete and coach. He is involved in several community efforts—Health Equity Zone, Working Cities, Catalyzing Newport–to improve opportunities for Newport’s neediest citizens. 


Steve Heath

Maker Sensei

Jeff received his Master of Fine Arts degree from Rhode Island School of Design where he studied metal smithing and sculpture. After graduation he worked for five years in the design department if the Gorham Silver Company. A native of Iowa, he received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in metalwork, sculpture, ceramics, and fibers from the University of Northern Iowa. Now pursuing a lifelong interest in teaching, Jeff focuses his limited studio time on fine art sculpture. His work has been shown at galleries around the region. Jeff brings broad experiences in product design, manufacturing, the arts, and marketing to his deep passion for helping young people discover and nourish their gifts. At FabNewport we call him Maker Sensei. Coupling time-honored apprenticeship leadership methods with digital-age and traditional making skills he is presenting two sections of 3D Modeling and Digital Manufacturing for high school students.

Jeff Elsbecker

Education Director

 Josie is Director of Instructional Design at FabNewport and has played a key role in shaping the direction of our community based learning. She helps to manage, develop, and instruct local programs such as the Wearables After School Program and in-school STEAM programs at AllSaints Academy. She completed the URI AP CS professional development training and is presently teaching computer science at Providence Technical High School. Concurrently she is working to develop a universal badging and apprenticeship system that will help educators and students alike assess progression and completion of the many disciplines taught at FabNewport.

Josie Michaud

Tech Integration and C.S.

Seiji Abe is a recent graduated last May from the University of Rhode Island with a B.A. in Computer Science. He also previously earned a B.A. in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Colorado at Boulder. He hopes to combine his knowledge of the Social Sciences, STEAM, and Computer Science to build upon the the technologies of the past to make both Tech & Tech Education better, easier, and more accessible to peoples of all cultures and ethnic backgrounds regardless of socioeconomic background.

Seiji Abe

C.S. Instructor/Mentor

Chris is a two-time graduate of the UCONN – Storrs Campus. He first earned a B.S. in Education, followed by a Masters of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction. Following his 2013 matriculation, Chris began a fruitful career as an advisor at the MET School East Bay. There, Chris guided his own ‘advisory of 16 MET high school students; creating individualized curriculum for each student — including Internships. In the summer of 2017, Chris left the MET and became an Instructor at FabNewport & The YMCA. Currently, Chris is a C.S. Instructor/Mentor, teaching three sections of our URI CS 101/106 Class along with fellow Instructors Josie & Seiji. In his personal life, Chris is an animal lover, who raises & trains Service/ Emotional Assistance Dogs for people in need. His personal service dog, “Nollie” can often be seen in class with him, helping to sooth the stress of learning complex Computer Science algorithms.

Chris Gross

Community Specialist

Abigail is a recent graduate of Salve Regina University where she received her BA in Liberal Arts. Before studying psychology and studio art at Salve, she attended the first Newport MET school – the same space that FabNewport is currently located. Since 2010, she has worked in the surrounding areas and throughout Rhode Island to promote creative, sustainable, and accessible learning environments. At FabNewport, Abigail helps run various after school programs, such as Future Lab, Wearables, and Family Friendly Fridays. She also runs an adult training program to help community members develop their skills in various technologies and programs in the lab. Abigail’s favorite creative activities to teach are sewing, vinyl plotting, and laser cutting.

Abby Bianchi

Community Mentor

Francesca is a multimedia artist and designer.  She received a B.A. in Studio Arts from Salve Regina University in 2016.  Francesca was introduced to FabNewport through participating in our Community Outreach program.  During training, she developed skills related to her previous studies in 2-D and 3-D design.  Following the completion of the program, she became the co-teacher for multiple FabNewport programs such as the Future Lab, Open Lab, and Family Friendly Fridays.  At FabNewport, Francesca hopes to connect members of the community & inspire members to express themselves through the process of MAKING.

Francesca Del Prete