On September 5th, 2015, LITAS hosted our first annual Technology Showcase! At the half day event, middle school and high school girls from all over the Greater Phoenix Area Presented their Coding Projects to judges and attendees from Intel, Avnet, GoDaddy, the Elks Foundation, and ASU’s Fulton School of Engineering. The event was attended by over forty parents, teachers, professors, and industry representatives. The girls all received Certificates of Accomplishment and Galileo Maker Boards, sponsored by Intel!
Bev Crair, Vice President of Storage at Intel and member of the NCWIT Workforce Alliance, started off the morning with her Keynote on the Butterfly Effect, and how we can do our part to encourage even one more girl to pursue STEM. Bev spoke about how Intel has made a $300 million dollar investment into creating opportunities for women to advance in STEM; Intel invests in programs such as GirlsWhoCode, the Igda scholarships for women in gaming, and Maker Faires to close the gender gap in STEM.
Dr. Yinong Chen, Professor at ASU’s Ira Fulton School of Engineering, and founder of the 7UP/9UP Robotics Camps, demoed the robots developed in his camp. He spoke on his experience using Robotics and fun beginner technologies as an intro to computer science, rather than starting K-12 students off with Java or C++.
Our participants presented throughout the morning, with projects as diverse as homework-helping apps to using bioinformatics to optimize Alzheimer’s drug delivery. After the girls gave a ten minute talk on their projects, they received instant feedback from the judges.
Rachel Hess (10) presented her app on Hands-Free texting. Her app leads to less texting while driving and safer roads by automatically replying to text messages that are received when someone is driving. Bianca Hanly (8) presented her “Go Somewhere Random” App, that can help users find fun activities to do when they have free time on vacation. Bianca’s app is integrated with Google Maps, to provide users directions to somewhere fun they can go in a set amount of time.Vilina Mehta (10) designed a nutrition app that allows users to track their weight. She also completed a bioinformatics project, in which she determined which genetic mutations were correlated to an increased risk of Parkinsons. She plans to combine her two projects, to create an app that determines optimal nutrition for those with a family history of Alzheimer’s.Laura Lu (9) showcased AZ Brain Foods. “We found out that a lot of school age children go to school with an empty stomach in our community,” said Laura.”So we…built a powerful app that will help nonprofit organizations to manage the food inventory, identify the Title 1 schools, map the schools for faster and most efficient delivery of food donation, and avoid waste.”Ally Nahon and Anna Utakis (7) created a Homework Helper App so students can take pictures of worksheets, write on them, organize deadlines, and send homework assignments to their teachers. The app is designed to help students succeed in school through organization.Akshata Rudrapatna (12) researched how to improve nanoparticles for Alzheimer’s drug delivery. Through bioinformatics and molecular simulations, she was able to determine that a type of virus can be a promising tool to deliver medications to the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.
Jaime Wallitschek from Avnet spoke at the end of the conference on overcoming stereotypes of women in STEM and encouraged the girls to pursue what they were passionate about, not what they were expected to do.The event was a lot of fun for all who attended, and we look forward to hosting more Technology Showcases in the upcoming year.