About Us Original – bitcubs

About Us Original

bitcubs coding classAmber Manry, Founder

I saw my first computer program at age 5, while I watched my older brothers write a simple BASIC program to print out their name.  I wasn't re-introduced to programming until I went to college at UVA, where I learned COBOL, C++, and Java. 

After graduating from UVA with a BS in Systems Engineering, I spent 20 years as a professional software developer.  I worked for several small businesses, owned my own company as an independent contractor, and also worked as an architect working with up to 100 developers.  I spent 10 years working for various government agencies including DHS, DoD, CIS, DOJ, and the Department of Education.  I also worked as a consultant to the private industries working for Goldman Sachs, Citibank, and Fannie Mae.  Due to my love of programming, I remained very hands-on and never strayed from the technical path.  I am proficient in Java, javascript, UNIX scripting and my specialties include modern Javascript frameworks, mobile (hybrid apps), and GIS (Geographic Information Systems).   I've also done game programming using Unity and worked with cool technologies such as beacons, voice recognition, no-sql databases, NodeJs, and Serverless architectures.

My most important, difficult, and rewarding role came later in life when I became the mother of two daughters, Logan and Morgan. Until that point, I didn't fully appreciate the importance of encouraging women to pursue careers in technology.  So I set out on a mission: get my hands on every tech education toy I can and teach my daughters.  I've enjoyed exposing them as much as possible to programming, and am thankful to have that bonding experience with them.  I've learned a great deal about how children learn and methods that resonate with them.  

Like most working moms, I've dealt with my fair share of guilt, especially when I had to work long hours and not be there for my family.  I knew it was time for a change, but also knew that I couldn't let go of the personal fulfillment I get from working.  Founding bitcubs has allowed me the best of both worlds; I'm able to spend more time with my children (involving them in all my R & D activities), and I still get to do what I love: work with technology.

female entreprenuerApril Taylor Abad


I am a proud wife and mother of 3 to Camden, Abbey and Luca.  I have a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Virginia Commonwealth University, and have 15+ years experience in Early Childhood Education as a Preschool Teacher.  My number one passion is to inspire and create a love for learning in the preschool setting, while ultimately setting them up for success further down the road.   My goal is to get children excited about the importance of Technology, while also developing a strong foundation for learning. I look forward to creating a new spark and interest among children, while they learn the basics of Technology in a play-like setting!

female entrepreneurShannon Derricott

Summer Teacher

I am currently enrolled as a Health Sciences major at VCU.  I plan to study nursing after getting her Bachelor of Science degree.  I have worked as a camp counselor and after-school instructor at the YMCA.  I have experience running the summer camp at Bright Horizons in Short Pump and was also the Kindergarten Prep Teacher there.

female entrepreneur Kat Manalo

Summer Teacher 

I am currently enrolled at James Madison University as a Computer Information System major.   Since 2015, I have been working at George Mason Game and Technology Academy as an instructor.  I teach kids ages 5-17 about the basics of modding and Java in Minecraft.  I'm proficient in Java and HTML and in my spare time I like to sing and play the piano.

computer science major Wylie Shiffert

Assistant Teacher

I have been interested in computers almost all of my life, I am planning on studying computer engineering in college. 

Every summer since 6th grade I have attended a mission trip with Shady Grove United Methodist Church. We travel out of state to another state with a community that hasn't been doing well. Our goal is to clean, interact, and grow bonds with the people there. I have been lucky enough to meet the youth within these communities and grow relationships with them. I have experience with a variety of children of all ages and have been able to bond with them. I play soccer for the Richmond Kickers and the Deep Run High School varsity team.  I also occasionally work as a lifeguard and a referee in youth sports.

black female software engineer Salwa Balla

Assistant Teacher

Hello!  I am a junior at Deep Run High School and enrolled in the Center for Information Technology (CIT) program.  

Through the CIT program, I have able to learn Java, Python, Javascript, and SQL. I have a huge extended family, and I'm a huge hit with rebellious toddlers and elementary school children who love to play for hours on end.  I'm involved in Model United Nations, Computer Science Honor Society, Quill and Scroll Honor Society for Journalism, and the Literary Magazine club.  In my limited spare time, I like to paint, write poetry, and help host events for the Sudanese Community in Richmond.

black software engineerCaleb Reeves

Assistant Teacher

I am a junior in the CIT program at Deep Run High School where I've taken AP Computer Science and Web Design and Development.  I hope to study either Computer Science or Information Systems along with Cyber Security.  I have worked with kids from ages 1 to 11-years-old for 3 years now. 

I participate in two different community service clubs, Model UN, and I hope to become a certified Spanish speaker in the next year or two.

future entrepreneurRiley Dolan

Assistant Teacher

I am a senior at Deep Run High School and I plan on studying Business at college.  I have 3 brothers and have worked with many children as a soccer coach. I'm involved in the Key club, Medical club, and DECA.  I also enjoy studying the stock market.

black computer scientistMaxwell Lane

Assistant Teacher

I am a junior enrolled in the CIT program at Deep Run High School.  I plan on studying Mechanical Engineering, more specifically Automotive Engineering. I have been coding since my freshman year of high school.  I have 2 brothers, play sports, and am involved in several clubs. In my spare time, I enjoy hanging out with friends and family.