Our Team

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LaVar McCline

Executive Director
Birthed out of a passion for learning and discovery, Adventure STEAM is led and founded by creative and executive director, LaVar McCline, also known as the Design Guy. He is an award-winning, experienced creative director and graphic designer with love for brand development and using design for good to enable lasting change. Being in the fields of education and design for over 18 years, he has worked to engage, increase diversity, and provide educational opportunities for minority students and communities in the Chicago, Pittsburgh and Washington DC areas.
 
He has worked and partnered with companies to enhance their advertising, marketing and promotional campaigns that help build and grow diversity in both the corporate and non-profit space. Some of these relationships include projects for Amazon Kindle, American Bar Association, ASCD, Bayer Foundation, K12, National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, National Parent Teacher Association, National Sleep Foundation, Rosetta Stone, LifeLock, Department of Education, Leadership Pittsburgh and several smaller Pittsburgh and Washington DC area associations. Most recently, he has consulted with Washington & Jefferson College, worked with PNC Bank on their online banking and mobile platforms, taught digital design at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh and mentors middle school scholars with United Way and Higher Achievement.
 
LaVar holds a Bachelors in Graphic Design & Media Arts from Robert Morris University, a Masters in Brand Development & Internet Marketing from Full Sail University, and Executive Certification in Human-Computer Interaction for User Experience Design (HCI) from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
 
His focus is educating those willing to learn and to use his gift of design to empower and create growth in underserved communities, one child at a time.

Maria D. James

Marketing & PR Director
Maria is the Founder and CEO of MDJ Public Relations & Events, a boutique events management and strategic communications firm. She also serves as the first African American managing editor for local community newspaper, The Hyattsville Life & Times. She has published articles in local and national publications, such as Black Enterprise Magazine, Hampton Roads Magazine, Hope for Women Magazine, and The Virginian Pilot.
 
Maria received an academic scholarship to study Mass Communications at Virginia Union University (VUU). Upon graduating from VUU in 2004, she began her journalism career as an editorial administrative assistant for The Daily Advance in Elizabeth City, NC. In 2009, she completed a master’s degree in Strategic Public Relations from Virginia Commonwealth University and relocated to live in Washington, DC for a six-month internship with global research + analytics consultancy, Edelman Intelligence.
 
Her work has received industry-recognized PR awards, which including the PRNews Platinum award, the PRSA Thoth award and the PRSA Bronze Anvil Award of Commendation. In 2007, she was selected by the VUU National Alumni Association as Youth Alumni of the Year for outstanding commitment and distinguished service to the university. Most recently, Maria was honored for her 10 years of dedication to re-instate the band program on campus with the rare designation of honorary membership to Tau Beta Sigma National Band Sorority by VUU’s Eta Psi chapter.
 
Maria is an active member of her community as well. Her professional memberships include the American Marketing Association, Washington Women in PR and ColorComm. Maria has become a rising star politically. In Prince George’s County, Maryland she is often asked to moderate candidate’s forums on both local city and county-government level. She is also a faithful member of the First Baptist Church of Glenarden, MD, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc, the Top Ladies of Distinction, the Prince George’s County Women’s Bureau Toastmasters Club, and she maintains membership in both the VUU National Alumni Association and the VUU Maryland Alumni Chapter.