Hello friend --
Students polish their job interviewing chops
Yesterday, 22 Los Angeles area community college hopefuls vying for several coveted paid internships with social media giant Snapchat readied themselves during mock interviews that we hosted at the L.A. Area Chamber office. Those who pass this round of interviews will be recommended for internship positions in IT, operations and quality assurance engineering. Learn what your company can gain from hosting student interns!
Imagination activated at Riot Games
We facilitated a company visit for 15 students from Santa Monica College’s Gaming, Animation and Special Effects Club to Riot Games’ West Los Angeles headquarters last week as part of our partnership with the LA HI-TECH regional consortium. Upon welcome, students were greeted with screens projecting player art and cosplay – a reminder of the talented community that brings the flagship “League of Legends” to life. In addition, visitors heard from Rioters about experiences that led to their dream jobs, and what career advice they have for those wanting to pursue that familiar path.
California's state of the Internet of Things
From your home’s Nest device, to internet-enabled refrigerators and the most notorious of all, your mobile phone, data collection in today’s age is embedded everywhere. But with these advances come questions in privacy and security.
Join us as the California Legislative Technology and Innovation Caucus’ Assembly Majority Leader Ian Calderon (D-Whittier) and Assemblyman Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica) speak at the Chamber's next Innovation & Technology Council meeting on Oct. 18, on policy surrounding the Internet of Things in California. Reserve your spot!
Now recruiting for Principal for a Day
For the second year in a row, we’re helping recruit tech professionals for Principal for a Day, a Nov. 4 citywide event that pairs business and community leaders with school administrators and teachers to develop partnerships that strengthen both education in our schools and tomorrow’s workforce. Be part of this half-day event by contacting Geraldine Contreras (and mention Bixel Exchange!). Take a look at last year’s event.
An accelerator for health care startups
We’ve officially partnered with the Techstars Healthcare Accelerator -- a partnership with Cedars-Sinai Medical Center -- helping promising startups within the health care vertical market turn their ideas into breakthroughs that can improve the lives of patients around the world. Applications for its winter 2017 class will be accepted through Oct. 15. Get a look at them at their first-ever Cedars-Sinai Startup Showcase on Oct. 11.
Spotlight on …
… Deanne Bell, an engineer, TV host and founder of online education platform Future Engineers, which hosts design challenges for students in grades K-12 to compete to 3-D build their models aboard the International Space Station. Bell shares how she enrolled others in her cause, starting with a cold call to NASA.
For the past 10 years, I have been hosting engineering-related television shows. In between productions, I would teach engineering workshops at local Los Angeles schools and speak about the importance of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education at national events and conferences. But it often felt like there was a disconnect. The large, national organizations were passionate about STEM education and preparing our nation’s future workforce, while many of the amazing local educators I worked with were teaching the “E” with little assistance from the professional sector. I thought that we, as engineers, could do even more, and that I was in a unique position to be a connector to amplify their efforts.
After attending a movie premiere one night (as one does in Los Angeles), an idea of mine that had been simmering began to boil. I had a conversation that inspired me to take a chance, to see if my vision for a new company might actually have legs. My idea: an online platform that pairs K-12 engineering challenges with a movie or a brand - or anything cool and relatable to get kids excited about engineering.
I felt compelled to act, so I researched potential first challenges then cold called NASA.
I knew that NASA was sending a 3D printer to space, and I wanted to create a national challenge where students designed an object to be 3D printed on the International Space Station. I called NASA’s In-Space Manufacturing project manager to pitch my idea, and to my surprise, she loved it. Then, I called the American Society of Mechanical Engineers Foundation, and they loved it as well. I was onto something. Now, I just needed to build a company and deliver. That’s the easy part, right? (Insert long hours and sleepless nights here.)
After four successful challenges and three national awards, I’m proud to share that Future Engineers was recently awarded a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from the U.S. Department of Education to grow the impact of our platform. As a member of Bixel Exchange, Future Engineers has actively engaged with its range of mentors, including assistance with navigating our first SBIR proposal. (Thanks Bixel!)
I was given this opportunity to share Future Engineers’ journey, and I’ll sum it up with two nuggets of information that I find relevant for fellow tech entrepreneurs:
1. The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program offers free research and development money for companies. The government wants us to succeed and innovate, so check it out and take advantage of the resources available.
2. Research shows that we need to engage students, particularly young girls, with STEM by the time they are 12 years old. So, whether you work at a company that has exciting tech stories to share, or whether you have time to teach a kid to code, we all have a voice and a role in educating the next generation. I encourage you to do your part.
If you’re not sure how to plug in, feel free to get in touch. I’ll gladly be your connector.
Learn more about Future Engineers.
Until we sync again,