About the Academy

The WhizGirls Academy is a STEM-focused learning workshop for students focused on healthy balanced lifestyles. Special agents engage in exciting projects that help them acquire skills in the areas of coding, fitness, healthy eating, meditation, entrepreneurship, and more, while building confidence and growing as members of the community.

About the Founder

Shirin Laor-Raz Salemnia is the Founder and CEO of PlayWerks, an independent interactive media company that creates high quality innovative multi-platform immersive experiences that engage children and adults. Also, She is the Founder of WhizGirls Academy where students engage in exciting projects that help them acquire skills in the areas of coding, entrepreneurship, healthy balanced lifestyles (fitness and eating) and more, while building confidence and growing as members of the community. She previously worked at MGA Entertainment on Bratz and Mattel on Barbie, where she performed ongoing research and analysis of industry trends, consumer motivations and competitor activity. At MGA, she was responsible for designing the Play Lab, where children would gather for in-house research. While she was the Brand Manager for the billion dollar Bratz brand. She is actively involved in Women in Gaming, an Advisor to the LA Film School Video Game Dept, The Boys and Girls Clubs, Girls in Tech, Girl Scouts, and the White House Council of Women and Girls. She hosted the first Hackathon for Women and Girls in 2013 in collaboration with the White House Council of Women and Girls. And she recently hosted the Kids Hack for LA in collaboration with Mayor Garcetti, the White House, and will.i.am's i.am.angel Foundation. Also, she is teaching Tech for Social Impact/Entrepreneurship at USC School of Engineering/Viterbi Fall 2014.

Check our her website!

Fitness Experts

Dion Jackson

Chief WhizGirls Academy Trainer

Dion Jackson, Mega Celebrity Trainer to some of Hollywoods TOP celebrities, Business Executives, and future stars in the Hollywood Community for years. Stars including: JLo, Jim Carrey, Al Pacino, Kate Hudson, Alicia Silverstone, and many more. Also, he's the first lady Michelle Obama's fitness ambassador to LETS MOVE! Campaign against childhood obesity in Hollywood. In addition, he works with various charity foundations: The Brad Kaminsky Foundation, Partnership LA, Special Needs Network, UNCF. He loves inspiring and encouraging kids to be the best they can be.

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Kit Rich

Kit is an LA-based Pilates/fitness trainer with endless exercise and nutritional know-how. She has been deemed the “Rachael Ray of Health” because of her infectious, relatable, funny and honest approach to health and fitness. Hollywood’s hottest stars and entertainment industry insiders are addicted to Kit’s unique fusion technique that combines her extensive Pilates training with calorie-burning cardio, yoga and weight training. Kit has been featured on television shows such asFITSUGAR, Access Hollywood LIVE!, Access Hollywood, E! News, E!Online, EXTRA , and The Today Show and in print publications such as Vogue, SHAPE, SELF, Women’s Health,Real Simple, US Weekly and Pilates Style magazines. Kit made it to the top 20 of Oprah’s OWN Show casting for “Be the Next TV Star.” In 2012, she was voted LA's #1 Pilates Instructor by Vital Juice. In February 2013, Kit debuted her first 2000 word personal essay in SELF magazine. Recently she was chosen as one of five finalists in Women's Health Magazine's Next Fitness Star search. She has toured internationally with Ke$ha , a major pop artist, overseeing her fitness and health regimen, and drawing positive media attention for her body transformation. After graduating cum laude from the University of San Francisco, Kit became certified in all 5 levels of classical New York style Pilates. She is an NASM certified personal trainer and also holds numerous other Pilates certifications. Kit has served as a healthy lifestyle consultant for Phillips, Kelloggs, W Hotels, Hotel Bel Air and the Beverly Hills Hotel. She also serves as a fitness/health expert and writer for the popular online magazine Beautylish with her series "OutFit with Kit." When she’s not training clients, Kit is either writing, going out with friends, or volunteering her time as a reading tutor with Reading Partners.

Find her site here!

Christine Kwok

Founder of Balanced Strength

In her youth, Christine Kwok was not a natural athlete. However, she was (and still is) an overachiever. She worked hard at work and at play, while participating in high school sports. She found herself injured in her senior year of high school, which led her to explore a potential career in physical therapy. This is when she became fascinated with strength training as a mode of helping athletes become injury resistant.Entering college she was compelled to study exercise physiology and enter apprenticeships with fitness industry leaders and educators. She draws upon that education and her broad professional experience that she is able to elicit successful results from her clients.She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Exercise Physiology from the University of California at Davis and an MBA in Health Care Management from University of Phoenix. She is also a Certified Personal Trainer by the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), and educator of other fitness professionals as a Master Trainer for the International Sports Conditioning Association (ISCA). In addition, Christine’s ongoing studies of the latest developments in health and fitness enable her to provide clients and the fitness training community with the most up-to-date fitness programming and education.

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Jona Genova

Meditation Expert & Founder of Samadhi for Peace

Jona has practiced meditations of natural compassion and wisdom from Tibetan traditions for over fifteen years. A gifted healer, Reiki Master and Founder of Samadhi for Peace, she is developing new ways of integrating these practices with pain management, creative development, and peak performance- all while finding compassion for Self and spreading peace to others.

Find her here!

Get Involved

Are you a developer, designer, scientist, or academic with an interest in contributing time or content to the WhizGirls program? Send a note to Shirin, and let's talk!

Shoot us a message for any questions or concerns, or contact Shirin!

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