Los Altos High School hosts 10th annual STEM Week

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Los Altos High students will hear from professionals in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math careers next week during the school’s annual STEM Week.

More than 25 Bay Area leaders from academia and industry are scheduled to address Los Altos High School students during the school’s 10th annual STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Week Monday through Oct. 21.

The innovators will share their experiences in a wide range of professions, including astronomy, computer graphics, health care, robotics and the environment. Speakers aim to inspire the more than 1,800 students to pursue careers in math and science. Participants volunteer their time during the three-day program to emphasize how math and/or science helped them realize their dreams.

The objectives of STEM Week include demonstrating the value of math and science education to encourage students to take more associated classes during high school; raising awareness of the variety of related career opportunities; highlighting the diverse backgrounds of professionals; and prompting students to think creatively and join the ranks of innovative thinkers for the next generation.

“Our STEM Week program is one of the highlights of the fall at Los Altos High School,” said Los Altos High Principal Wynne Satterwhite. “It’s a rare chance to show the students firsthand, real-world examples of how math and science work to their advantage and where it can lead them.”

Parent volunteers invited speakers to share on a variety of topics: animal mental health, nutrition, bioplastics, satellites, mechanical engineering, designing a medical device, bionic rehabilitation, renewable energy, living on the International Space Station, the science of crime scenes, robots and more.

Keynote address

STEM Week includes an annual evening keynote address that is open to the public.

Andrew Johnstone, an Oakland-based muralist who spotlights the blending of STEM academics with the arts, is scheduled to headline this year’s keynote event 7-8:30 p.m. Monday in Eagle Theater at Los Altos High, 201 Almond Avenue.

Among his accomplishments, Johnstone designs and builds the wooden effigy that is ceremoniously burned each year as part of the Burning Man festival in the Nevada desert.

Following a classical European education in the arts, Johnstone became the apprentice and protégé of William Holgate (1931-2002), the world’s finest master of the decorative arts in the past 150 years. Johnstone has worked on cathedrals, royal palaces and international architectural landmarks. His clients have included the Smithsonian Institution, the Chabot Space and Science Center, Stanford Medical Center and NASA.

A teacher at UC Berkeley, he lectured on and wrote the curriculum for the course “Mural and Decorative Arts” and continues his calling to pass along his knowledge with the Architectural Arts Guild.

In 2009, Johnstone became a Newzonia 500 ambassador, a group of artists, scientists and Nobel laureates working on global and sustainable solutions for world problems.

Since 2005, he worked with architect/artist Rod Garrett on designing of ”The Man,” the centerpiece of the Burning Man festival. He continued after Garrett’s death in 2011 and was awarded the title “Design Steward of the Man” by Burning Man organizers.

Johnstone won the 2011 Alameda County Arts Leadership Award and was subsequently appointed by the board of supervisors to a four-year term on the Alameda County Arts Commission representing District 4. He is also a member of the Alameda County Arts Education Committee.

For more information on STEM Week, visit

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