Della Sigrest, Program Conductor
Della is a meticulous artist, an enthusiastic gardener, and a macgyver in general. She is the eldest of five siblings, who all keep her on her toes. Growing up in a family of engineers, Della discovered the power of STEAM at a young age. She was encouraged to learn by creating, experimenting, and exploring. Della moved to Richmond for her undergraduate at VCU, and the city hasn’t been able to rid itself of her since. She graduated in three years with a degree in Communication Arts. In school, Della concentrated in illustration, graphic design, and art as an educational tool. During her senior year, Della’s academic work converged with her personal interest in women’s studies when she started Full STEAM Ahead. She loves road trips, complicated board games, tinkering, and all things outdoors.
Vida Williams, VCU Faculty Sponsor
An innovation advocate who is determined that innovation cannot leave humanity behind, Vida utilizes her experience as a data scientist to drive social and economic change in communities. After graduating from Duke University with degrees in History and English and certificates in Women’s Studies and African American Studies, Vida Williams entered the workforce as a technical writer and quickly found her calling in technology and data. Her professional background and experience is a heady mix of core IT skills, including data architecture and engineering, software design, programming and implementation, as well as Program Management, and Executive Engagement and Consulting. In 2013, she co-founded a small social enterprise consulting firm, Axis Partners, Inc. where they serve mission-driven organizations in the areas of data architecture, process engineering and data sciences. Recently her endeavors as an adjunct professor at VCU’s da Vinci center has led her to be named as the school’s first ever “Innovator in Residence”. Vida remains active in her community through board memberships with Code VA, Podium and Virginia Union University’s (VUU) Center for Undergraduate Research.
Maggie Smith, Mentor Extraordinaire
Maggie Smith is an art educator with an interest in child-centered education and play-based curriculum. Her is background in gallery and museum education. The classrooms at CodeVA’s Eureka Workshop have proven to be the perfect environment for Maggie to combine the arts, computer science, and play into curriculum.
Sam Deur, Assistant Program Manager
Sam is from Northern Virginia, but considers Richmond a second home after graduating from Virginia Commonwealth University with a degree in Sociology. While working for Opportunity Alliance Reentry and the Richmond Juvenile Detention Center, Sam has learned that every person has unique skills and capabilities that can be cultivated through mentorship, encouragement, and education. Helping individuals reach their full potential is Sam’s passion: she believes that at no time in life should anyone stop learning; expanding your knowledge is the key to understanding those around you! Sam recently volunteered at Give Kids The World through VCU’s Alternative Spring Break, where she realized the importance of empathy as a skill for a meaningful life. Sam is a firm believer in the power of altruism and cooperation, and her favorite quote is: “Whatever you are, be a good one.” – Abraham Lincoln