Ready to be Inspired?
Student Registration is OPEN! Check out our amazing workshops, choose your favorite, then register here!
Student Registration for Full STEAM Ahead is available to rising 6th-rising 9th-grade girls in the Greater Richmond Metro Area. 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. Early Bird pricing for student registration is $15 and will be available until May 21st. After May 21st, Student Registration is $20. Need-based scholarships are available, for more information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have you ever seen flowers made out of electrical circuits? It not, come to my workshop and we will engineer a garden of electrical flowers! Using chromatography, basic electrical circuitry, LED lights, and an imagination will transform paper into illuminating flowers.
Hi! My name is Brooke and I’m a Ph.D. student in the department of Biomedical Engineering at VCU. My research focuses on cellular biomechanics and the inter-workings of the nucleus. For me, engineering is all about creativity, problem-solving, and thinking in non-traditional ways. I hope to introduce the girls to the colorful side of engineering!
During her early academic years, Elisa Bennett was exposed to Computer Science. As a result, she has been fortunate to see from the onset of her career in teaching how technology can greatly enhance learning. When she’s not at her day job as a Technology Integration Specialist and Spanish Teacher, she’s on the James River trails with her dog or exploring ways to encourage young women to explore Computer Science by supporting organization such as GirlsWhoCode and WomenWhoCode.
You may think that superheroes are confined to the screen and comic book page, but the abilities of animals right here on earth may surprise you! Come learn about how electric eels shock prey, how ants channel super strength, and other fascinating creatures. In this workshop, we’ll be discussing animals with powers similar to those of your favorite characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Julie Vu is a junior at William & Mary. She is majoring in biology and a research student in a marine biology lab. In her spare time she loves volunteering at her local elementary school and sewing sundresses. She is so excited to talk to you all about one of her favorite subjects– weird and wacky animals!
Tarynn Witten is a full professor of computer science & physics and a Junior in the VCU School of Art. Additionally, she is the art & science coordinator at the VCU School of Engineering. She believes that it is important for children to learn about the relationships between these two major areas. Additionally, interdisciplinary learning develops individuals who can think outside of the box.
In this workshop, I’d like to create a link between conservation theory and social change — how we are all responsible for preserving the environment, and one another, and how there are elements (structurally and conceptually) that benefit certain groups, or even populations of organisms. I’d like to discuss parallelisms between conservation theory in the environment, and how it can be applied to the equal distribution of technology. I’d like to discuss technology in education, consultative services, and more.
Aneesha Rao is the CEO of Lantera Labs — a hybrid organization that offers consultative services and technical courses in front-end development, data science, and marketing. Lantera Labs aims to democratize technology for all by splitting their technical courses 50/50 between paying members and non-paying members. Lantera Labs’ content arm seeks to challenge existing structures, unafraid to tackle the big questions of what computer science funding in K-12 education looks like, and feels like.
Can you light a bulb using just a computer simulation? This workshop “sheds light” on the basics of building an electric circuit using a web-based computer simulation program. The first challenge is to design a working light bulb circuit and to avoid setting the circuit on fire! The second challenge is to explore building electric circuits with a variety of materials. Engineers and the design process are key to making electrical devices that are used every day in the world around us.
The Society of Women Engineers (SWE) is a not-for-profit educational and service organization that helps establish engineering as a highly desirable career aspiration for women. SWE’s outreach mission is to create opportunities for young people to experiment with engineering activities and to spark discussion about engineering career fields. SWE RVA has members from a variety of engineering disciplines working in organizations throughout Central Virginia.
This workshop is a woodworking course about what I studied at VCU Arts- Craft. I am a woodworker and have been in several woodworking areas across Richmond, VA. I have been in shops that were very friendly, and others that were not. I love building, but was discouraged to use my favorite tools because they might be dangerous. Building is my favorite thing and I want to share my love of woodworking! Thorough safety instruction will be provided.
My name is Lexus Mackenzie Longbrake; I was born in NC but lived in VA for most of my life. I graduated from VCU Arts with a degree in Craft and Material Studies and a concentration in fiber and woodworking(I also had a minor in Sociology). I love making things in general, but especially if they are small and cute. One of my favorite things is building miniature mock-ups before building the real thing. I have been a woodshop studio monitor in Richmond, VA at VCU Arts and the Visual Arts Center.
You’re at a STEM conference in Ashland, VA with other doctors, engineers, researchers, and the volunteers running the conference. Suddenly the news is everywhere – there’s a worldwide zombie apocalypse and there are zombies everywhere! You’ve got to get to the Science Museum on Broad St. to the safe camp established there. Using the NIST Cybersecurity Framework to understand the risk of each situation on your journey, you have to work together to get to your destination.
Anna Coogan is a Risk Management Coordinator at Snag and is passionate about the intersection between innovation and good risk management practices. She was a pre-veterinary Biology student at the University of Richmond who found her stride post-college working at a local software start-up, which kickstarted her interest in helping teams build/maintain robust risk management and information privacy standards in their SaaS products. Anna enjoys gardening and hiking with her dog.
The Mech Tech Dragons will present on how the engineer design process works and how it applies to robotics. Students will have the chance to engage in different activities and conversations about the design process and will be encouraged to try to design their own robot in teams using what they have learned. To conclude the presentation, there will be a demonstration of the robot where participants are encouraged to drive it themselves.
We are FIRST Robotics Team 422: The MechTech Dragons from Maggie Walker Governor’s School in Richmond, VA. Our mission is to provide students with a real-world STEM experience and promote interest in engineering and mathematics within our school and community.
We all have a tremendous capacity to create, contribute and construct, and we need to act! In this session, we will explore how to foster innovation and turn ideas into reality. We’ll discuss different types of innovation, the power of purpose, and explore what drives innovation.
Bring your ideas, the good, the bad, and the crazy! We’ll work together and nurture those ideas and watch them begin to take on a life of their own.
Katy Thomas is a Richmond, VA based digital solutions leader with 25+ years of experience in technology. She is best known for leveraging technology to drive innovation and business transformation, in early stage and emerging companies, with a focus on enabling and empowering people. She is passionate about partnering with pioneering, thoughtful people who are energized by creating solutions that transform and improve people’s lives.
There are so many paths to artistic creative expression. When we paint a landscape, form clay into a bowl or creating a glass piece of art, you allow yourself to express where you are in that moment. Art can be utilized to express thoughts, feelings, and memories that can lead us to a deeper level of understanding of self-expression and self-discovery. Fundamentally, the drive for exploration and curiosity to get outside your comfort zone can lead to creativity.
Sabrina Cordovana is an artist, art teacher and an advocate for the arts in Virginia. Her career has been captivated and motivated by artistic creative expression because she recognizes that it not only profoundly impacts individuals in a positive way but also plays a vital role in creating a dynamic and energetic community. As the Founder of Inspire Art Center, Sabrina continues to be a catalyst for the arts through art education, installation of art and art projects with groups.
This workshop will feature the Outbreak! exhibit from the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History presented by Reynolds Community College. Participants will learn about virus transmission, history and participate in a virus-hunting simulation experience. Students will be challenged to identify how many students are infected and trace the infection back to patient zero and build a model of a virus to take home with them.
This workshop will be lead by Dr. Janet Adams and Professor Karen Neal from Reynolds Community College. Both Dr. Adams and Prof. Neal have been at Reynolds for over 10 years and teach General Biology and Microbiology. They are both graduates of VCU and have participated in several community activities promoting STEM education.
Highly collaborative teams can lead to the creation of extremely impactful solutions. In this workshop, participants will creatively solve problems through the design and development of a Mobile Application using paper wireframes while filling a specific role with the Mobile App design/dev team. Each role, Project Manager, Strategist, Designer, and Developer has a specific set of superpower skills that will inform their contribution to their Mobile App team.
As an Innovation Strategist, Shannon Eastwood’s work is driven by the need to improve the human condition and the environment in which we live through innovative technology. With over 15 years of industry experience, her professional background includes Product Strategy, Technical Design, Global Sourcing, and Brand Management. Currently she works at Mobelux, a digital products company that builds meaningful experiences through the strategy, design, and development services that they offer.
This is a workshop on how to use experiment design, math, and knowledge of physics to operate an M777 Howitzer cannon, the main artillery weapon used by the US Army and US Marine Corp. I will give an overview of the goal of artillery (to be accurate and timely), and the main factors that affect accuracy. We will see a video of a Howitzer in action and briefly apply some of these principles to shooting toy catapults. We’d pick one factor to change on the catapults and see how changing the factor affects how far the ball goes. We’d try a range of settings, write it down, and then we’d try to hit a specific object at a given distance. The goal is to show how you can use experiment design practically to predict where the ball will go. We will end with a more general discussion of jobs in the military, all of which are now open to women.
Sara Shannon is a Captain in the US Marine Corps Reserve, and a student at UVA’s Darden School of Business. She’s served in the Marine Corps for five years, both in the US and in the Middle East. She is currently the Fire Direction Officer for Golf Battery, 3rd Battalion, 14th Marines–which means she oversee the calculation of firing data for 4 M777 Howitzer cannons. She is one of the first women to serve in a previously closed combat arms role in the Marine Corps.
How does light affect the temperature of differently colored objects? How do the colors of our planet affect climate? In this workshop, we will measure the temperatures of different objects, and relate these to their colors and other characteristics. We will then apply what we have learned and explore how melting ice on our planet will affect Earth’s climate.
Rebecca Michelsen has a PhD in physical chemistry from the University of Minnesota and did a postdoctoral fellowship in atmospheric chemistry at NASA Ames Research Center in California. She teaches physical chemistry and environmental chemistry at Randolph-Macon College where she loves to get students working on ice research in her lab. She also helps run Pathways to Science/Caminos a la Ciencia, a summer program for Latina high school girls interested in STEM fields.
Scientists ask questions, make predictions, and experiment in cool new ways! These are the major parts of scientific investigation. Using items found around just about any kitchen, we will perform colorful acid-base and polarity experiments. Student scientists will learn research methods and have hands-on experience to see just what it takes to become good, unicorn color-loving researchers!
Tenesha Lewis, MPH, is the founder and owner of Abloom Wellness, a public health consulting organization. With a background in public health, as well as biological and medical sciences, she is dedicated to community empowerment and educating others about ways to become healthy. Currently, her focus areas include: chronic disease prevention/intervention, adolescent substance use and suicidality, as well as eradication of racial inequities.
Students will learn about electricity & basic circuitry. Students will then create a light circuit and an on/off switch.
Alexandra Wright is a student at Code RVA Regional High School. She runs a small business Cool Kids Science RVA where she make science kits for students. She also runs a 4H STEM club in Henrico County. Oh yeah- and she’s conducting research at VCU Engineering. Read more about Alexandra here!
For hundreds of years, poster design has played a major role in our country. Posters are a low-fi way to raise your voice in your community and empower activism through design. We will start out using analog materials (old fashion poster board, markers, paper, scissors, etc.), and craft posters based on group-selected topics of interest/importance. After our parade of posters, we will discover how to design software can transform our handmade posters into digital graphics for social or print.
Meredith Carrington is the Senior Graphic Designer at Institute for Contemporary Art at VCU. She brings more than 15 years of experience in design, art direction, and production to the ICA and is responsible for all aspects of the visual identity. Meredith also provides pro bono design services to nonprofit organizations that support underserved youth in Richmond, such as Camp Alkulana and Worthdays. More @ https://icavcu.org/about/team/
Learn about the basics of mobile app development based on Capital One Coders curriculum using MIT App Inventor. See examples of different mobile apps and get hands-on experience building your own mobile application.
Susan Langston has over 20 years experience in the tech field as a software developer, project manager and agile delivery lead. She is currently a Scrum Master at Capital One, coaching teams of software engineers in agile practices. She is the site lead for the Richmond chapter of Capital One Coders which sends volunteers out to teach and mentor students in technology topics to encourage and inspire students to learn more about technology and explore opportunities for their future in the tech fields.
Ever wondered how scientists actually use CRISPR in the lab? Come check out some CRISPR mutants generated in zebrafish and learn about this amazing model organism. Students will get the opportunity to handle live zebrafish and observe embryos under a microscope.
Hi! I’m Ashley! I’m a third year graduate student in VCU’s Integrative Life Sciences Program! When I’m not spending time in the lab or teaching others about science I like to take my 2 dogs, Beau and Fiona on hikes around Richmond. In addition to my graduate studies, I’m actively involved in several science outreach endeavors. I work with Richmond Public Schools to teach the bioEYES educational program to empower students to learn about science and zebrafish as a model organism.
What makes a person excel in life? Are people born smart? Does self-growth or learning stop outside of the classroom? Or, is self-growth a skill that can be cultivated by anyone because of nurture — not nature – controls who we are and wish to be. This workshop focuses on the fundamental principles of learning based on a concept called “process education.” The technique involves two key principles and four steps and is facilitated using a hands-on exercise.
Chaya Jain is a professor at Virginia State University where she teaches public administration and political science. She has published journal articles and presented at several conferences the concept of self-growth and lifelong learning. Jain’s research interests also include inner city at-risk youth.
All living organisms have DNA. Students will explore DNA by extracting it from strawberries! Strawberries have eight genome copies in every cell, which makes it easier to see the DNA when it’s extracted using common household items. This workshop is a fun hands-on science experiment where students will learn about DNA and proper handling of materials during a science experiment.
Mrs. Chelsey Lawson is a Human Factors Engineer for the Navy in Dahlgren, VA. She has a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering and Master of Engineering Management. She currently works on improving the usability of Navy programs. Mrs. Lawson enjoys crocheting, gardening, and STEM outreach in her spare time.
Mrs. Page Wessel is a Mathematician for the Navy in Dahlgren, VA. She has a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and currently conducts data analysis for Navy programs. Mrs. Wessel previously worked as a Middle School Teacher and still has a passion for inspiring students to learn about STEM fields.
In this session, you will work in small teams to simulate a mission to Mars by experimenting with a mix of materials to build water rockets that must reach, and not overshoot, a specified altitude. Teams will calculate their rocket’s height using kinematic equations and trigonometry while keeping track of their rocket configurations and results in an engineering notebook. Be prepared to design, build, launch, miss, rebuild, and launch again to get closer and closer to Mars!
Eleanor Sigrest is a 10th grader at Forest Park High School. She is 16 years old and is both right brained and left brained. Eleanor enjoys competing in VEX, FRC, Zero, and SeaPerch Robotics, and Cyberpatriot. Outside of school, Eleanor enjoys performing violin trios with her two younger brothers and playing the ukulele with her two older sisters. Eleanor is one of 5 siblings and LOVES spending time with her family, board games and water sports. Eleanor aspires to be the first person on Mars!
Ever wonder how cool applications like Instagram are made? In this workshop, you will learn how Modern Web Technology allows developers to build and share an application over the internet, and we’ll teach you how to build your own camera web application that can take pictures and use filters. You’ll walk out of this session with your own Instagram-like application on the web and the tools to start creating! #createwithCarMax
Shradha Kaldate is a lead software developer at CarMax, the nation’s largest retailer of used cars and one of the FORTUNE “100 Best Companies to Work For” for fourteen consecutive years. Shradha is responsible for developing information systems by determining operational feasibility, evaluating analysis, and working towards solution development for enhanced customer experience.
Imagine that you and your friends took a trip to a tropical island. On the second day, you all received the news that a typhoon is heading your way. There is no available help from outside parties for the next two weeks. It is your job to plan out necessary shelter, food, water, safety during the typhoon and after. What will you need to keep everyone safe?
Podium RVA serves youth ages 10 – 19 by providing year-round writing, communication, and leadership opportunities for youth to succeed in school, career, and in life! Community programs, such as this one, are often hosted by previous alumni of Podium programs or current high school interns alongside staff. For more information, please visit us at: www.thepodiumfoundation.org.
This workshop will give participants to observe and participate in taking care of wounds and practice bandaging. Technology has evolved so much with wound care methods and dressings. Participants will get to observe the use of a Pulse Lavage wound care gun. (Basically a water gun with Saline and suction). It will enlighten the audience on what professions perform wound i.e. Doctors, Nurses, Physical Therapists, Occupational Therapists etc.
Dr. Kimberly Powell, earned her Doctor of Physical Therapy Degree from Marymount University of Arlington, VA in 2011. She earned her undergraduate degree from Old Dominion University of Norfolk, VA in Recreation Therapy. She’s been a Physical Therapist for 8 years and counting. She has experience working with pediatric rehabilitation, individuals with Spinal Cord Injuries and Wound Care. She works at the VA Hospital in the outpatient wound care, where she provides wound care for vets.
Every time you touch a surface, you leave behind cells. What do these cells look like and what kind of information can we get out of them? I am a physicist that uses a machine called an Atomic Force Microscope to take images and measurements of these cells. Using a LEGO version of this machine, we will take an image of a large 3D printed cheek cell and you will take one home as a keepsake. May the force be with you!
Anita J. Olsen and Cristina Stanciu are employed in the Forensic and Engineering departments at VCU. Anita received her PhD in Nanoscience and Nanotechnology with a concentration in Physics. She is currently conducting a forensic analysis of “touch” samples to increase the information that can be obtained at a crime scene with limited evidence. Cristina is a Microbiology/Vaccine Scientist currently studying for a Masters in Teaching Biology. They both love cats and the outdoors.
You’ve probably heard someone use the expression, “What are the odds?” at some point in your life. Did you know that you can actually calculate the odds of an event happening using mathematics? In this interactive workshop we’ll act out scenarios that demonstrate the principles of combinatorics, odds, and probability. Get ready to get up, move around, and discover that solving a complicated problem can be as simple as counting!
Colleen and Swara are both Senior Managers at CarMax, the nation’s largest retailer of used cars and one of the FORTUNE “100 Best Companies to Work For” for fifteen consecutive years.
Colleen leads the Consumers Insights team, where she manages research that helps CarMax understand and improve the customer experience. Swara leads the Market Strategy and Site Investments team where she is responsible for the analytics behind new store investment decisions. They each have over 8 years of experience using data to tell stories and drive smart decision-making.
Girls will learn the basics of cryptography. We will learn what qualities a secure and quality code must have. After going through some well known coding examples, we will create our own codes together
I am a STEM Education researcher passionate about encouraging women and other underrepresented groups in STEM. I have roots in Virginia having been a researcher at the University of Virginia School of Medicine and Chemistry departments in the 1990s and living in Northern Virginia afterward.
Have you ever wondered how you got all the traits which make you, you? In this workshop, we will delve into the world of genes: what they are, how they are inherited from our parents, and how they work. Lastly, we will each discover the intricate combination of traits that makes us unique through a game a GENE-GO!
Madison Bates is a former cosmetologist who mixes her art and science background to study biomechanics and biomaterials at Virginia Commonwealth University. She currently has an AS in engineering and is majoring in biomedical engineering. As a first-generation college student, she is especially passionate about helping young women get interested in the sciences. She hopes to continue to inspire as she pursues her dream of becoming a research leader in regenerative medicine after her graduation in December 2020.
This workshop will teach you the basics of how to interview for radio/podcast shows. You will learn recording, sound editing and engineering, field recording (on the street interviews), and final production. Attendees will complete a short interview that will be aired on WRIR-LP 97.3 FM.
Participants will learn about life-saving technology that is used on our roadway systems. We will get them thinking about their ideas of the future of transportation and what it means to them, then we will apply STEAM skills in an interactive activity to create a Dynamic Message Sign (DMS) using a circuit board and programming. They will use their creative ideas to draw/develop an intersection and then use the Makey Makey Circuit Board and Scratch Programming to design a DMS.
Women Transportation Seminar (WTS) has a mentorship program for middle and high school girls called Transportation YOU. This is a hands-on, interactive, mentoring program an introduction to a wide variety of transportation careers. Through the program, WTS chapters work to make a difference in the lives of young girls by offering programs and activities that will spark their interest in all modes of transportation. For more information https://sites.google.com/view/wtscentralva/home?authuser=0
More than 50% of companies started in a garage or basement! As we advance in STEAM innovation and entrepreneurship, what separates the successful from the masses, is being able to MARKET, SOCIALIZE or SELL their products or ideas. That dynamic app idea, that amazing research that needs funding, or that device that will cure eye cancer, how do we make sure we are able to get others excited about our ideas? In this workshop, we will learn why and how to PITCH our ideas to customers and clients.
Da’Shaun Antoinette Joseph currently serves as a BD Advisor for the KeyW Corporation. Her expertise in STEM advocacy, branding, consulting, resume writing, proposal management has allowed her to speak at various conferences and seminars. Ms. Joseph is a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc and has been featured in professional publications a held various honors. She received her MS in Systems Engineering from George Washington and her BS in Computer Engineering from Norfolk State.
What is your “spark”? What are your special talents or character traits that make you shine? Learn the fundamentals of robotics and utilize the “LAUNCH” engineering and design process to design and create a wearable art piece that brings your “spark” to life through robotics!
Akela Silkman is a Learning Design and Instructional Technology Specialist at Saint Bridget School. Akela holds a Master of Science Degree in Learning Design and Technology from Purdue University and has over 10 years of experience in education from rural Alaska to the Pacific Islands. She is passionate about inspiring creativity, resilience, and social change through innovative educational opportunities that empower young girls to dream big and achieve their full potential.
Ever wonder about the technology behind instant messaging? How is it possible a group of friends and family across the world can send messages to each other in a matter of milliseconds? In this workshop, you’ll learn how to create your very own chat website using free tools like Visual Studio Code and NodeJs. You’ll learn the difference between client and server-side code – plus, you’ll learn how to style your chat website to impress all your friends!
Brenda Mudryk is a Front-End Engineer at CarMax. A graduate of Virginia Tech, she began her coding career in 1994 when the internet was becoming popular. Since joining CarMax in 2005, Brenda’s creativity and passion for front-end development helped the team produce an innovative product that won a CIO 100 award in 2017. Recently, Brenda has used her skills to create a completely new CarMax customer experience using ReactJs, and help CarMax choose the right technologies when planning projects.
Polymers are everywhere – shopping bags, water bottles, car parts, even your DNA and hair! Come learn what a polymer is and how scientists and engineers alter their properties for their wide-spread use in our daily lives. You’ll also get the chance to play with polymer by making your own bouncy ball!
I’m Remy Cooper and I’m a PhD student in Biomedical Engineering at VCU. My research uses polymers to deliver drugs more efficiently and safely to different parts of the body. Science sometimes gets a bad rap for being boring or difficult, but that’s not how I see it! I like to make science and engineering fun by using relatable examples and engaging activities.
Let’s go “old-school” with overhead projectors! Using ordinary materials, we will create shadow puppets and scenery. Working together, we will create short skits that reimagine our world and clearly communicate some of the most pressing issues facing our planet.
Heidi is a professional puppeteer, puppet-builder, textile artist, and all-around maker. She is the founder of Barefoot Puppet Theatre and writes, builds, and directs shows that tour throughout the country. Her passion for combining science and puppetry has led her to become an active teaching artist and an advocate for arts integration as an essential part of a healthy learning environment. She resides in Richmond’s Northside with her husband/performing partner, Sam, and two daughters.
Students will create poems across a digital divide. Local poet and author will teach and share about creative poetry writing projects that have transcended time, space, and the digital divide to create an entire work by a collective of poets and artists. Students will be introduced to new ways to infuse and use technology to create poems, poetry collections, and collaborative efforts across digital mediums. Students will be introduced to poetry writing forms and be coauthors a workshop poem.
Latorial Faison is an American poet, author, military spouse and educator who studied at the University of Virginia and VA TECH. Faison has authored eleven poetic titles and has been published in literary magazines, journals, and collaborative efforts across the US and abroad. Faison teaches English and Literature at Virginia State University. She has over twenty years of experience in education, creative writing, and publishing.
Art meets engineering through math. Our eye is trained to see aesthetics and design harmony through calculation, proportion, rhythm, and balance. This workshop, through forms such as the geodesic dome and the hyperbolic paraboloid, will explore the building blocks behind both engineering and art. We will create our own 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.
Shannon Dowling is an architect and interior design professor who designs educational environments. She has taught architecture classes for preschool, elementary, and middle school students for the past decade. Shannon has two middle-school-aged boys.
Donna Adams is a structural engineer who ensures Shannon’s designs stand up for the children that occupy these spaces. In her spare time, she is an avid watercolor and acrylic painter. Donna has a middle school-aged daughter.