Momentum logo

Momentum logo

Our Staff

Jessica Mitsch Co-Founder/CEO

Jessica began her career in tech at Red Hat’s corporate headquarters in Raleigh where she served in several roles for the company’s “People” team, working in talent acquisition, support, and development. This experience was formative for her understanding of how tech talent training and economic development initiatives intersect. She joined the Durham startup community in 2014, and she held integral leadership roles growing and developing transformative tech education. Since then, she’s been at the forefront of the ed tech industry as an executive, spokesperson, and a founding member of The Iron Yard, one of the first national code schools. Jessica has spoken at SXSW Interactive, appeared on national TV, and worked on White House initiatives to expand access to tech education. She has also contributed to CIO magazine. Locally, Jessica was awarded the Triangle Business Journal’s 40under40 honor. She’s been a panelist for the NC Emerging Issues Forum where she spoke on New Delivery Models for Higher Education and has served as a panelist for the NC Women in Business conference.

Clinton Dreisbach Co-Founder/CTO & Instructor

Clinton has been a professional software developer for twenty years with work at organizations such as the NSA, Boeing, RTI International, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in addition to boutique development shops. He has also been a speaker at conferences such as OSCON, RailsConf, and DjangoConf, and has served on program committees for several conferences. He is a recipient of the 2015 Code for America Technology Award for his work on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s first open-source project. Clinton has worked in the Ed Tech space for several years. He’s built industry-tailored curriculum, taught in immersive code school environments, and has worked with companies to train their teams. He was a founder of ClojureBridge, an initiative to teach the Clojure programming language to women and other under-represented groups in technology. Clinton has been a contributor to many open-source projects, including the Python and Clojure programming languages. He has been awarded "Dad of the Year" 6 years running now by his two kids.

Amy Gori Instructor

Amy’s non-traditional path into the tech industry makes her a great example of the kind of person Momentum was created to serve. With a PhD in English Literature, she began her professional career as an academic, working with undergraduate students. Her own formal tech education began when she took classes with Girl Develop It, a national non-profit whose mission is to provide affordable tech education for those who have traditionally been left out of the industry. When she decided to make the jump into tech full-time, Amy enrolled in Durham’s first immersive code academy. She then worked for a local startup as a full-stack web developer and began teaching for the local chapter of Girl Develop It, which she now helps to lead. She’s returned to the classroom—only this time, she’s teaching coding. With her experience as both a code school student and a teacher, Amy brings enthusiasm, empathy, and expertise to her role as an instructor. Amy’s the proud parent of eight ducks, five cats, one chihuahua, and two small humans, and enjoys finding new and better emojii combinations that will allow her to type fewer characters.

Nicole Benham Campus Manager

Nicole began her career at Red Hat on the People team in Project Management. There she supported projects in Global Total Rewards and Sales Enablement. Her experiences at Red Hat blended her interests in the areas of technology and talent development, which then led her to join the ed tech industry. Nicole has worked in student engagement and recruitment, advising students on capstone projects, and supporting them through career placement. Nicole’s passion for engaging students and supporting their career transitions has brought her to Momentum Learning as Campus Manager. On a personal note, Nicole is active in health and fitness where she strives for new challenges, such as her upcoming Spartan races. She is looking forward to continuing to make an impact in the thriving startup and technology community in Durham and beyond.

Samantha Stolte Student Recruitment Manager

Sam's background is in the IT staffing industry where she supported companies of many sizes and industries. Her responsibilities as both a recruiter and account manager opened her up to the world of technology and connecting professionals to new opportunities. Sam’s experience demonstrates her passion for building relationships and helping to connect people to their dream opportunities. Sam's enthusiasm for relationship building along with her experience in IT recruiting led her to the student recruitment role with Momentum Learning. She loves to share her excitement for lifelong learning and the mission of Momentum with prospective students and others in the community. When she’s not working, Sam is involved with a local foster organization helping to connect shelter pets to their fur-ever homes.

Our Board of Directors

Adam Klein

Adam Klein

Adam Klein is the Director of Strategy for Capitol Broadcasting Company. He previously served as the Chief Strategist for the American Underground. Adam led the American Underground’s growth from 35 companies to 275, forged a world class partnership as a Google for Entrepreneurs Tech Hub and pioneered nationally recognized programs designed to foster diversity and inclusivity. Adam brings a broad perspective of the local tech ecosystem to the board. He also cares deeply about growing a equitable landscape for people of all backgrounds to thrive in the tech industry.

Doug Kaufman

Doug Kaufman

Dr. Doug Kaufman is an experienced leader, entrepreneur, and has served as TransLoc’s CEO since June of 2014. Under Doug’s leadership, TransLoc established itself as a market leader for on-demand microtransit solutions, a position that was noticed by Ford Smart Mobility, who acquired TransLoc in early 2018.

Prior to joining TransLoc, Doug founded several companies, including clearTXT (acquired by Rave Wireless), which provided mobile communications for colleges and universities, and Spring Engage (formerly Spring Metrics), a behavior analytics company. While working on his PhD in Social Psychology, Doug created AlleyDog.com, an educational resource that is currently being used by millions of students as an essential e-learning resource. Doug was also an early team-member at Blackboard where he played an integral role in deploying several key initiatives, which firmly established the company’s flagship e-learning platform.

Doug is also a prolific public speaker and angel investor.

Our Part-Time Instructors

Brad Rubin
With a degree in Computer Engineering from University of Michigan, Brad has worked as a software developer for 8 years, with experience in embedded systems, healthcare analytics, databases, websites, and mobile apps.
Brentice Bush
Before working as a Software Engineer at VitalSource, Brentice comes from a background in Math Education from NC State with experience teaching high school math and web development. He’s excited to be back in the classroom and always looking for an opportunity to learn.
Chance Griffin
With a degree in Business Development and Entrepreneurship, Chance found his way to the American Underground where he’s currently a partner at Sturdy. He has several years of experience as a designer and software developer, and he’s ready to share his knowledge with others in the classroom.
Thomas Fitzpatrick
Thomas’ love of the creative and solving problems coupled with his propensity for pushing buttons found its home in coding. After graduating from an immersive code school, he’s found a love for teaching and sharing his passion with others.

Our Ambassadors

Colin Di Meo
A musician himself, Colin made the switch from being a Tour Manager to tech in 2017. He immersed himself in a code school environment, which guided him to the role he is in today as a Software Engineer for an agency here in Durham.
Ellen Gowdy
While not a coder herself, she was part of developing the first coding school here in Durham. Ellen has worked with many tech professionals in her roles at Smashing Boxes, CRISP, Prometheus Groups, and her current venture, Curious.
Erin Brown
With various experience at the Museum of Life and Science and Whole Foods, Erin took a leap of faith and enrolled in the very first code school in Durham in 2014. This has led her to the stability and ever challenging industry of tech where she continues to learn as a developer.
Hannah Hudson
With a background in teaching high school special education, Hannah’s passion for new ways to learn brought her to learn to code. She currently works as a Front-End Engineer in Chapel Hill, but also volunteers with local groups like Girl Develop It.
Jefferson Neel
After many years in the customer service industry, Jefferson made his way into tech in 2016. With the dedication and passion for code, he continues to inspire as a Software Developer at a local company in Durham.
Kristine Teichmann
After moving from several states prior, Kristine made her way to Durham from Maryland to learn to code. With a background in teaching, she is always ready for new learning opportunities in her current role as a QA Engineer.
Mae Beale
With a background in many fields, including a stint as a professional pool player, Mae immersed herself in a code school environment which led her to become the entrepreneur and business owner that she is today.
Richard Brown
Richard’s eagerness to learn more about data lead him to an immersive environment where he focused on Python, which has prepared him well as he focuses on data analytics for a local company in Chapel Hill.
Samantha Davis
After graduating from UNC with a degree in Marketing, Samantha realized her passion was elsewhere, which brought her to coding. Now, she is excited about her work as a Software Developer here in Morrisville.
Shontae Hogan
After learning about code through her kids, Shontae was ready for a change and a challenge. She graduated from an immersive code school in 2017 and now inspires others through her own initiative, Queen Coders.
Tim Hsieh
After being a high school science teacher in Maryland, Tim was ready for something more, which led him to learn to code here in Durham. While knowing Raleigh-Durham was the place to be for tech, he made the commitment and now works as a Software Developer in RTP.
Tommy Mendez
Always eager for new challenges, Tommy dedicated three months to learning Python, but after graduating he landed a software developer role in Raleigh where he writes more Javascript than anything.