Tahlee Baynard, research science manager at Lockheed Martin Space Systems, used a Rubik’s Cube last week to illustrate life to a class of teenagers at Los Altos High School.
“Your life is like the Rubik’s Cube, it’s up to you to figure it out,” he said. “You have opportunities every single day. Chase the ones that are important to you.”
Baynard was one of many professionals who discussed careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) during Los Altos High School’s eighth annual Science and Technology Week Oct. 21-23.
Speakers demonstrated the long-term value of a math and science education to encourage students to take more math and science classes, raise awareness of the variety of related career opportunities, highlight the diverse backgrounds of current professionals and inspire students to think creatively and join the ranks of innovative thinkers for the next generation.
Students attended lectures on an array of STEM-related tools or careers. Several included hands-on participation, such as using robotic surgical equipment and learning how to administer CPR to a victim.
“We are right here in Silicon Valley,” said Sarah Malcuso, a long-time Science and Tech Week volunteer. “We have all this amazing stuff going on and we want to share that with the kids.”
Intuitive Surgical Inc. provided a hands-on demonstration of the da Vinci Surgical System to explain how the technology enables surgeons to perform delicate and complex operations. Students had the opportunity to sit at the console and manipulate the instruments, while other students observed the operators’ actions on a video monitor.
“I’ve been telling the kids we have 3,000 jobs and they aren’t all surgeons,” said Nicky Espinosa, engineer at Intuitive Surgical. “There are jobs that run the gamut of skill sets.”
Officials from Foothill College’s Certified Medical Technician (CMT) program demonstrated ways they handled first-response situations and touted the benefits of their 9-month evening program.
Digital building blocks, 3D printing, how to make a Pixar movie, using an iPhone for musical creation and Facebook mobile apps are just a few of the presentations students could attend during the three-day event.
Speakers shared information on their current projects and described how fundamental science affects their day-to-day work. They explained the preparation needed for the careers and how their own high school experiences influenced them to pursue science and technology beyond graduation.
Eighth Annual Science and Technology Week - Photos by Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier