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Students Meet STEM Professionals

On Monday, the 30 Broadcom MASTERS finalists had a morning filled with hands-on STEM challenges where judges were evaluating not only their knowledge of science, technology, engineering, and math, but also their teamwork and leadership skills. During this, each team also had the opportunity to meet with 11 STEM professionals. These professionals were on hand to discuss their experiences, answer questions, and discuss the students’ projects. In pairs, students rotated between tables where the professionals were seated, allowing them a chance to speak personally to each.

A few highlights from the panel:

Liz Upton, from the Raspberry Pi Foundation, asked finalists about their interests and then told them “by the time you’re 20, there’s going to be a whole new horizon of things to be interested in out there.” In addition, she discussed how she didn’t start out studying for a science career, because in the United Kingdom specialization starts around age 14 and her parents initially wanted her to be a lawyer.

Shane Lansing from Broadcom Corporation brought examples of various products that Broadcom chips had been used in, including a Bluetooth headset, Nintendo Wii remote, modem, and other assorted circuit boards that the finalists could examine and ask questions about.

Craig Saffoe from the Smithsonian National Zoo told finalists that the Smithsonian is involved in a much broader range of activities than the general public may be aware of. One of the things he loves about working for the Smithsonian is that “no matter what kind of questions I have, there are people at my fingertips that can help me search for answers.” He encouraged the finalists to continue asking questions, as the answer to one question frequently leads to others.

The full list of STEM professionals who participated in Monday’s activity are listed below:

Drew Baden, PhD
University of Maryland
Professor & Chair of Physics Department

Phillip DeShong, PhD
University of Maryland
Professor of Chemistry & Biochemistry

Phil Dixon

Dennis Glanzman
National Institutes of Health
Program Chief

Mi Hillfores, PhD
National Institutes of Health
Chief, Experimental Therapeutics Program
Clinical Neuroscience Research Branch

Ike Ikizyan
Mobile Platform Solutions, Associate Technical Director

Shane Lansing
Senior Manager, IC Design Engineering

Claire L. Parkinson, PhD
Cryospheric Sciences Laboratory
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Climate Change Senior Scientist

Craig Saffoe
Smithsonian National Zoo
Great Cats Curator

Dennis Twombly, PhD
National Institutes of Health
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
Extramural Training Director, Deputy Director Office of Extramural Policy

Liz Upton
Raspberry Pi Foundation

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