Ready to be Inspired?

Student Registration is open until late July. 

Student Registration for Full STEAM Ahead is available to rising 6th-rising 9th-grade girls in Virginia. Check out our Workshop Tracks, then go to our registration page and select your favorite. Each student may only register for one track. Each track has limited space and will be scheduled on a first come, first serve basis. Scheduling may be subject to change. Registration is $10 and will include 5 workshops, 2 keynote speeches, a swag package, and other chances to connect over the week. Registration closes July 18. Need-based scholarships are available, for more information please contact

Use the button below to go to our ticket website.

Explorers will meet virtually at 11am August 3-7, 2020.

Artificial Intelligence, also referred to as AI, Is one of the most rapidly evolving subjects within computing and engineering. Whether you are purchasing your groceries with a debit card, receiving direct deposit,  or sending a cash app to your friends, AI is being utilized.  Have you ever wondered how the magic happens?  AI uses robotics and automation to perform human like tasks.  Using real life examples, you’ll learn about what’s happening behind the scenes.

Marjorie Hash and Jessica Bullock are key leaders within Global Technology & Operations at Bank of America.  Marjorie is a Senior Vice President in Core Technology Infrastructure and has over 40 years of experience in various technology roles.  Jessica is an Assistant Vice President in Global Payment Operations where she leads 3 teams in technology and operations.  She is currently overseeing the release of new virtual account management products within the organization.  They both have a passion for employee engagement and diversity & inclusion, leading various initiatives and groups across the Richmond market.

Aim for Mars! workshop will explore many elements of travel to Mars, including: 
 – a creative discussion of the scientific method using slosh in microgravity as the subject
 – developing an experimental design with emphasis on the basic physics of surface energies and hydrophobicity and hydrophilicity using an integrated activity 
 – a demonstration video of an actual experiment in zero-gravity aboard an airplane flying parabolic arcs 
 – discussion of upcoming experiment in space aboard Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket
 – A motivational discussion of how to overcome obstacles using the example of $20K flight services fees

Eleanor Sigrest will be a senior at the Governor School at Innovation Park and Forest Park High School in Prince William County.  She is a STEM advocate and considers herself “right” and “left” brained.  Eleanor is the 2016 Broadcom MASTERS Samueli Foundation Prize winner, the 2017 Virginia Junior Academy of Science (VJAS) Best of Symposium Research Award winner, and a two-time VJAS Joyce K. Peterson Award winner.  Eleanor loves competing with her two-time Virginia State Champion and two-time World’s Design Champion VEX robotics team. She is studying to become a certified ethical hacker and competed on her middle school’s CyberPatriot team. Eleanor loves all forms of art- she enjoys performing violin trios with her two brothers, playing the ukulele with her two sisters, exploring weaving, and creating her own fabrics for quilting.  She is one of 5 siblings and loves spending time with her family playing outside, board games, water sports, and tackle smear. She has attended NASA Summer Residential Governor School and is going through flight training. Eleanor is conducting independent research on slosh in microgravity. She has flown and conducted her experiment in microgravity aboard a parabolic flight. In 2021 she will send her experiment into suborbital flight on Blue Origin’s New Shepard Rocket. Eleanor aspires to be the first person on Mars.

What can artists, architects, and engineers learn from one another? Come explore all three with and discover the basic principles necessary to build various shapes and structures. We will create three-dimensional art and explore how structural components work together to balance, stand, hold weight, and support one another in both nature and the built environment. We will end with a friendly competition to see if your idea cowers or towers. Can your art stand up to the test?

Shannon Dowling is an architect who designs educational environments. She has taught architecture classes for preschool, elementary, and middle school students for the past decade. Shannon loves chalk pastels, watercolors, and making messes. Shannon has three boys, but please don’t hold that against her! Donna Adams is a structural engineer who ensures Shannon’s designs stand up. In her spare time, she is an avid watercolor and acrylic painter. Donna has a middle school-aged daughter.

I’m in a job I love, and I had no idea it was even a job. I’ll share my path and how I set myself up to get there! How saying “I’ll volunteer” developed my skills, experience and portfolio. How my participation in extra-curricular activities like soccer, sorority and volunteer groups got me my job. How I learned what I really enjoyed doing through trial and error at my 1st company. How I set myself up for promotions without realizing it. The top advice I give job seekers/students.

Hi, I’m Erica! I’m currently the Director of Contractor Programs and Philanthropy at Apex Systems, a technology staffing firm. Outside of my “day job,” I am an Author of Career Development articles for an online technology community called MSSQLTips, and I am the Organizer of the Tech4good Meetup group in Tampa. My job is to manage programs, projects and teams that help the Contractors we place have a more positive experience with our company. I also run our philanthropy campaigns/programs!

Learn about how pilots fly and land aircraft. Students will learn about the control surfaces on aircraft and how power and attitude are used to guide aircraft onto the runway. Students will use free flight simulators to test what they have learned and complete landings at local airports. Demonstration of a descent into various airports using the online flight simulator, the vertical speed indicator, ASI and altimeter should also be highlighted to support the experiment.

Barbara Gruber, PhD CETL, is the Assistant Director of Education, School Programs at the National Air and Space Museum. Her programs focus on student and educator experiences with the Museum. Barb holds a PhD in Education with an emphasis in Instructional Technology and Educational Policy and holds a Virginia Postgraduate Professional License in chemistry, administration, and supervision preK-12. She holds a student pilots certificate and flies a 1957 Cessna Skyhawk

Storytellers will meet virtually at 11am August 3-7, 2020.

This writing workshop will teach students about augmented reality and walk them through the basics of making a viable tour. We will start be defining the field of extended reality and then workshop stories they feel can be aided by this technology. We will close by sharing the ideas they’ve come up with.

Lexi Cleveland is the Senior Project Director at ARtGlass, a Richmond-based augmented reality firm. At ARtGlass, she manages a broad range of cultural and tourism focused experiences that tell a wide range of stories. A historian by trade, she loves finding new ways to connect the public with our past.

Have you ever wondered how injured, orphaned, and sick wildlife get back to the wild? Who works here? What do they do every day? In this workshop, you’ll learn about careers within the Center, as well as about the Center and the wildlife we treat to release.

The Wildlife Center of Virginia is a non-profit teaching and research hospital for native Virginia wildlife located in Waynesboro, VA. On average, the Center admits over 3,000 patients every year — accounting for over 200 different species — with the goal to treat to release. Our mission is to teach the world to care for and care about wildlife and the environment.

This workshop will explore how museum professionals use information to document and interpret objects. Learn why museums collect data, what kind of data is captured, the technology used, and how that data can be used to tell many different stories.

Alicia Starliper is the Collections Project Manager/Registrar at The Valentine Museum in Richmond. She is responsible for the intellectual and physical control of the museum collections as a whole and work closely with museum curators in support of exhibitions. She has 7 years experience in various capacities in the museum field such as registration, exhibition management, and conservation. She received her MA in Museum Studies and her BA in Anthropology.

Over the last few years we’re seen beautiful examples of the impact of posters, both digital and homemade. From the Women’s March to COVID Rainbows, everyone can express themselves and their values on a poster board. This workshop will show the power of posters throughout history, and then share the newest tools to create beautiful messages online and IRL.

Meredith Carrington: “The first poster I can remember making was for a lost cat in my neighborhood. Since then, I’ve created posters for the Richmond Times~Dispatch, John Tyler Community College, Camp Alkulana, Worthdays, and most recently the Institute for Contemporary Art at VCU. As a graphic designer and communications professional, I am passionate about using type, color, and creativity to share important messgaes with the world.”

YouTube, Tumblr, Twitter… Have you ever looked at these apps and wondered: Where does the data come from? We explore the hidden places where data lives and how it travels to and from the applications that you use everyday. You’ll learn how to use APIs to get data from apps like Instagram, Fortnite, TikTok, and many others. Then, we’ll make mini websites to fetch data from APIs and display it.

Alison Tinker is a full-stack developer with over 9 years of experience developing web applications. Alison received a degree from RISD and worked as a UI Designer before she switched to web development roles that would allow her to grow her programming skills. She’s worked as a web developer for various local institutions, and in July of 2019 she joined SingleStone as a Software Developer. She lives in Richmond with her partner and 2 cats.

Strategists will meet virtually at 2pm August 3-7, 2020.

In a world where anything is possible, be the person that can walk into a room and see the infinite opportunities. We all have unique skills that only we can bring to the table, hone your skills to see things that others may miss. Experience a possible crime and see if you can figure out what the key details are to solve the crime. Learn how to calm the noise and focus on the key details. Work together as a team to solve the case.

Mindy Cloyes is a project manager at Bank of America, specializing in technology projects. She helps to tame the chaos between teams to get the work completed. When deadlines are fast approaching, she helps the team stay focused on the critical deliverables, while keeping a sense of humor. She is also a mom to three amazing kids that keep her very busy. She is a former math and science teacher and loves opportunities to show how skills transfer from one discipline to another.

Are you considering a major in a technical field? Our workshop would be an open conversation about what it’s like to be a woman in a technical major in college. We will discuss imposter syndrome: what it is, where it exits in school, and how to overcome it. This will be an interactive discussion where both workshop leaders and participants are actively engaging in a conversation.

Tara Laughlin is a full stack software developer at Capital One. She has led many initiatives at Capital One targeted towards early career women in the field of technology. These initiatives are aimed at creating a culture that passionately encourages young women to engage and thrive in their careers. Tara received her Bachelors of Fine Arts and her Bachelors of Science degrees at Virginia Tech in May of 2019. She majored in Computer Science and Creative Technologies with a minor in Art History.

Purnima Ghosh is a software engineer at Capital One. She graduated from Virginia Tech in May 2019 with a degree in Business and Information Technology and a minor in Computer Science. Purnima has organized panels to speak to high school students about a career in STEM and spoken at high school conferences about careers in Computer Science.

In this workshop module, students will study the motion of “wobbling” eggs to decide which are raw, soft-boiled or hard-boiled. They will apply their observations to understand how scientists use basic concepts of physics to determine whether the core of a planet is entirely solid or liquid, or a mixture of solid and liquid layers.

Radhika Barua is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering in the College of Engineering at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, VA. Her core expertise lies in alloy design, functional materials processing and thermodynamic modelling of phase transitions. In service to the scientific community, she serves as the chair of the Richmond Chapter of the IEEE Magnetics Society and the IEEE Women In Engineering Affinity Group.

Do you like figuring out ways to do things as fast and as well as possible? Do you like organizing and understanding how things are connected? If so, you could be an industrial engineer! In this workshop, you’ll learn just what industrial and systems engineering is as well as some of the tools an industrial engineer uses in the field. You’ll then put your knowledge to the test in an escape room.

Sarah Oertel is a two-time graduate of Virginia Tech who’s worked as a process engineer, a French teacher, a manufacturing ergonomist, and a cross country coach. She found her way into each of these roles by following her curiosity and searching for opportunities that provided big learning and the chance to work with uplifting people. She hopes to inspire girls to explore their passions, to seek answers to tough questions, and to search out things that make them want to dive in and learn more.

This workshop will explore the physics of ballistics! We’ll examine how modern-day artillery cannons work, and all the factors that affect where rounds go when you shoot them. This includes: what happens inside the cannon (internal ballistics), and what happens as the round goes through the air (external ballistics). Factors include: the atmosphere, gravity, heat, moisture, and weight. This will further student’s knowledge of physics & the forces that affect any object moving through the air!

Sara Shannon is a Captain and Artillery Officer in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves. She’s worked on the gunline for an M777 Howtizer cannon, and has managed the Fire Direction Center that calculates all the factors covered in her workshop. She is also graduating from the Darden School of Business at UVA this spring, and will be working full-time at Vanguard Investments after graduation. She loves her job in the military, and want to encourage a new generation of women to serve their country!

Challengers will meet virtually at 2pm August 3-7, 2020.

We often take for granted how we get around from home to school or to visit family that live miles and miles away, but do you ever wonder about the impact it has on the world or how we can do better? You’ll hear from leaders in transportation on how they use innovations such as connected and automated vehicles and green technologies to challenge the status quo. We will also try to bust some common “Myths” or urban legends about transportation.

Karen King is a Transportation Safety Engineer for the Federal Highway Administration and works with Transportation Agencies to implement policies to improve safety. She volunteers as the Transportation You coordinator for Central Virginia Chapter of WTS International. This is a mentoring program for young girls age 13-18 to provide an introduction to a variety of transportation careers through hands-on activities, job shadowing and more.

This workshop aims to introduce coding to young girls in a fun and interactive way to open the door in pursuing a career in STEM, while showcasing how fun and empowering playing with code and building things from scratch can be.

Najla Almissalati is an electrical engineer, contract consultant, certified yoga instructor, and founder of the NGO “She Codes” from Benghazi, Libya. She is currently living in Syracuse, NY where she is pursuing a dual master’s degree in Educational Leadership and IT Management. Her NGO “She Codes” is a social enterprise dedicated to teaching women and children coding, thus empowering them with the knowledge and skills needed for financial independence and liberation.

Gotcha! is a simple and beginner friendly introduction to digital forensics. The goal is to expose students to broader high-level concepts, such as what Digital Forensics is, the forensic process, ways that information can be hidden and found, and more. Along with those, we will discuss how I joined the field, my experience so far, and have some interactive demonstrations or activities. This is a fun way for students to learn more about this field and (hopefully) become interested in it!s

Elizabeth McPherson is a recent graduate of George Mason University with a BS in Cyber Security Engineering. Soon, she will be starting her masters part-time in Digital Forensics and Cyber Analysis, and is working as a Digital Forensic examiner full time! She always knew she wanted a career in STEM, and was always interested in computers. Once sbe took an Intro to Digital Forensics class, she knew that this path was for her. She is eager to share her passion and experience with young women, and her experience as a woman in STEM.

Our brains help us understand the world we live in through touch, taste, sound, smell, and, most importantly, vision. But what if what we think we see isn’t really what’s there? This workshop will use optical illusions to illustrate how the brain processes visual information and turns it into what we see around us. It will also serve as an opportunity to learn about the exciting field of neuroscience and to ask questions about the brain and nervous system.

Dr. Maya Sapiurka received her BS in Neuroscience from the College of William and Mary before attending the Neuroscience Graduate Program at the University of California, San Diego. She received her PhD in 2016 in the labs of Drs. Robert E Clark and Larry Squire. Dr. Sapiurka is a Scientific Training and Policy Associate at the Society for Neuroscience where she helps organize courses, conferences, and other scientific learning materials for neuroscientists around the world.

Creativity is all around us! Any time we have a problem, there is a solution waiting to follow. This workshop will help participants understand the initial steps of innovation, design thinking, and technology product ideation. The goal is to empower students to think BIG and remember, some of the coolest technology we use started out as a simple idea.

Amber Kearney is a Product Manager at Capital One, where she focuses on building and maintaining digital products that delight users. Prior to Capital One, Amber started her career as a technology consultant for Federal Government clients, and transitioned into Product Management thereafter. Amber obtained her Bachelors and Masters of Business Administration from Hampton University in Hampton, VA. She is originally from Kernersville, North Carolina, where her family still resides.

Makers will meet virtually at 3pm August 3-7, 2020.

Ready to enhance your storytelling, dazzle your friends, and impress your teachers? Everyone knows how to take a selfie but not always how to tell a story. You will learn the basics about capturing favorite moments and sharing a message or your story through video. Given the 21st century, you will need enhanced video marketing skills to stay current and pivot with ongoing innovation.

Dawn McCoy is a leadership and communications strategist and founder of Flourish Leadership Group. She coordinates technology projects and enterprise-wide initiatives with corporations and in the public sector. Dawn is a gubernatorial appointee, a former nonprofit executive, and was elected to the Sacramento School Board Trustee. She sits on several boards and holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Howard University, a master’s degree in public policy from Georgetown University.

Students engage in learning when they are passionate about the subject. This workshop is designed to help you connect a student’s passion for music and coding. We will explore SonicPi and how it can be used in various ways.

My name is Jessa Campbell and I am a third grade teacher in Albemarle County, Virginia. I have been an educator for 5 years and found my passion for incorporating computational thinking in my classroom. I use an interdisciplinary approach to give students a deeper learning opportunity. During a summer camp of coding, I stumbled upon SonicPi. I now use it in the classroom, in an afterschool program, and volunteering with Girls Geek Day.

In this workshop, participants will be learning about scientific drawing and classification. Participants will explore characteristics of plants found in their home environment and discuss classification and environmental factors.

An engineer is a designer, developer, creator and entrepreneur all in one! An important part of engineering is being able to gather requirements based on the needs of a customer. In this session, you will act as an engineer by gathering requirements and creating a prototype based on a customers needs. This is fun and interactive opportunity to explore the agile methodology and roles.

Caroline Jablonski and Alayna Francis graduated from Virginia Tech in 2019 with degrees in Industrial and Systems Engineering. Caroline works at Bank of America as a Service Delivery Analyst and Scrum Master in the Technology Infrastructure Command Center. Alayna works at Capital One as a Product Associate on a voice technology platform and is pursuing her masters at Virginia Tech in Information Technology.

This will be a writing workshop teaching students about augmented reality and walking them through the basics of making a viable tour. We will start by defining the field of extended reality and then workshop stories they feel can be aided by this technology. We will close by sharing the ideas they’ve come up with.

Lexi Cleveland is the Senior Project Director at ARtGlass, a Richmond-based augmented reality firm. At ARtGlass, she manages a broad range of cultural and tourism focused experiences that tell a wide range of stories. A historian by trade, she loves finding new ways to connect the public with our past.

Connectors will meet virtually at 3pm August 3-7, 2020.

Students will learn about the importance of handwashing and good hygiene through this workshop. Students will perform an activity demonstrating the power of soap and how it relates to our current state of life. Through a second activity students will visually see how viruses and germs are spread. They will also see the importance and effects of social distancing and other preventative measures to slow or stop the spread of illness/viruses. Key topics are hand washing, polarity, and relation to Covid 19.

Alexandra Wright is 16 years old and the Founder and Co-CEO of Cool Kids Science RVA. She is a rising sophomore at Mary Baldwin University in the Program for the Exceptionally Gifted. She plans to major in physics and biology. Alexandra has experience leading workshops for youth over the past 3 years working with local non profits including 4-H, Girls for A Change and several libraries. Alexandra is both a national and state winner with the National Center for Women & Information Technology. When she is not working on her business, Alexandra spends time skating, swimming, and talking with friends.

Heart Dissection: Watch an educator dissect a sheep’s heart while explaining its different parts and functions. How does your heart work? Learn about the cardiovascular system by comparing a sheep heart to a human one.

Laura earned her B.S in Biology from Virginia Commonwealth University. She has worked on the Science Museum of Virginia’s Education team for 15 years educating thousands of Virginians in STEM. She’s done everything from training rats to play basketball to freezing rubber racquetballs with liquid nitrogen. Laura currently serves as the Manager of Gallery Programming, coordinating the daily demonstrations and programs that occur at the museum.

UNOS maintains policies and computer algorithms, developed by members of the transplant community, that match donated organs with transplant candidates to save as many lives with the best possible outcomes as possible. Part of that process involves data summarization and analysis. It’s imperative to understand all levels of the transplant database to strengthen decision making and scientific inquiry, such as how it enters the system, how it’s stored, definitions and purpose, policy, and biology.

Amber Wilk has a PhD in Biostatistics from VCU and has worked at UNOS since 2014; she is currently Assistant Director of Research. Most recently she was research liaison to the OPTN Kidney Committee, providing data analyses and interpretation to help guide and monitor kidney allocation policy, and led UNOS’s analytic efforts in quantifying the impact of the HOPE Act. Amber currently oversees three teams of statisticians who support various research endeavors related to transplantation.

How do you measure success? Every purchase, internet search, and test score creates data. These interactions are used to generate a picture of you. Spend a day in the life of a business analyst and explore the qualities needed for success in the data field.

Ingrid Nelson is a data whisperer that has over 25 years’ experience in the financial services industry with formal training in networking technologies. She is currently a Data Mining/Warehouse Consultant at Bank of America. She is a member of the Richmond chapter of Women in Technology and Operations whose mission is to attract, retain, and promote top female talent at Bank of America and the global community. In her spare time you can find her in the stands cheering for her daughter.

Have you ever been curious about what kind of bird is singing outside your window? This workshop will give a brief introduction to how to easily identify the native wildlife found in our area. We will look at some of the common species we might see while we are out in nature or around our homes. We will discuss some of the techniques and tools you can use to easily identify birds, reptiles and amphibians, and mammals by sight and sound.

Jamila Blake is the professional development manager at The Wildlife Society, a professional society for wildlife biologists. She graduated from the University of Delaware with a Bachelor of Science degree in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation in 2016. Jamila has also worked with organizations, like The Florida Aquarium, Naturalists for the Rehabilitation of Snakes and Birds NGO in India, and American Bird Conservancy. In her spare time she loves exploring state and national parks.

Emily Fernan is a National Park Service Ranger with the National Mall and Memorial Parks in DC. Emily graduated from the University of Delaware in 2016 with a B.S. in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation. She has worked with organizations like the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and Virginia Tech. She enjoys service dog training in her free time.

Trailblazers will meet virtually at 4pm August 3-7, 2020.

Ever wonder where your cat pictures go when you upload them to the internet? Join us as we discuss the power of data centers. We’ll talk about how information flows, what is “the cloud”, how data centers work and what it’s like to work at a Facebook data center facility. You’ll hear from three amazing women who work at the Facebook data center in Richmond.

This interactive workshop engages students to identify their passions and learn how those passions will enable long-term success in the Tech industry. While each Tech company claims to have a company culture, being YOU is always best!

Kimberly Rudolph is an Executive Recruiter at GE Digital where she identifies, hires and coaches Executives in the Digital space everyday. She spent 5 years as a Technical recruiter at Google in NYC before moving to Richmond, VA with her family. She obtained her Bachelors in Arts from the University of Virginia and is from Virginia Beach where her family still resides today.

Students will learn computer science and coding through hands-on activities (algorithms, SCRATCH programming, technological innovations e.g. drones). Activities are designed to encourage computational thinking.

Shaheen Khurana is the Program Director at RESET. RESET is an education non-profit composed of STEM professionals, whose mission is to motivate children to discover and explore the worlds of science, technology and math.

This is an interactive workshop, attendees will create a literacy game using scratch. This workshop will focus on the cross-curriculum instruction of Literacy and Game Design.

Yvette Edwards Brown is a proud technology/engineering teacher, military wife, and mom. She is an experienced educator having taught technology and engineering classes on the secondary level for 8 years and 8 years of program planning within the higher education student affairs division. Yvette received her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree from Virginia State University and was awarded 2016 and 2017 Texas Education Agency T- STEM Teacher of the Year for the Del Valle High school campus. To help expose girls to STEM career fields outside of the classroom, she started Layla’s League, this company is named after her daughter. Yvette Currently Teaches Game Design and Development, Cybersecurity Fundamentals, is a Daisy Girls Scout troop leader and an advocate for preK-12 STEM aligned curriculums with cross-curriculum problem/project based learning opportunities.

Sabrina Hayes graduated from Old Dominion University and started her teaching career in January of 2016. She has experience teaching 6th, 7th, and 8th grade English, and she was honored to be named the 2016-2017 District Rookie Teacher of the Year for Suffolk Public Schools. Since starting her career, Sabrina has committed herself to being a lifelong learner, to being an innovative English teacher, and to being an enthusiastic collaborator. Starting in the 2020-2021 school year, Sabrina is excited to transition into the role of Instructional Technology Resource Teacher (ITRT) for her current district.

Facebook’s Engineer for the Week program aims to demystify the world of tech by empowering teens to build a working tech product while developing their computer science skills. Participants will learn about Scrum, an engineering framework, and how they can build tech products that make a positive impact on a social topic of their choice. You’ll hear from a Facebook engineer who is running this program in schools all over the U.S.