The 6th Annual Career STEAMposium themed Perseverance Powered by STEAM was held on Saturday, March 19, 2022 as a virtual event due to uptick of COVID cases related to the Omicron virus at that time.

Though not all interested parties were attracted to yet another virtual or onscreen event, this year’s STEAMposium still garnered over 230 registrants.

This event exposed middle school, high school and community college students to professionals in all aspects of STEAM through five workshops and five Virtual Field Trips. Workshop Speakers shared their backgrounds and brought them forward to their current roles so students knew that they could also succeed in STEAM careers. The students enjoyed Virtual Field trips that took them on multiple journeys. Students were made aware that “we” need them to follow STEAM disciplines to solve the greatest problems. Perseverance Powered by STEAM has led us through the many twists and turns of COVID over the last two years. STEAM has taken us to Mars. STEAM makes the perfect guitar. STEAM touches us all in multiple ways every day.

The day was successful as attendees enjoyed the workshops, the keynote speakers and all the virtual field trips. Many students commented on how they enjoyed the sessions and appreciated how knowledgeable each speaker was on their topic. At the end of the day, they were “Likely to Very Likely” to recommend this event to their friends. Some direct quotes in the evaluations were:

  • “Students were able to visit multiple rooms to hear presentations.”
  • “The passion and expertise of the presenters.”
  • “The topics were very well presented.”
  • “I liked learning about different aspects of STEAM. If the presenters are willing, it would be great for them to provide their contact info just in case participants would like to follow up?”
  • “The virtual field trips.”
  • “I liked the visuals.”

We look forward to seeing you at STEAMposium 2023 in person.

The day kicked off with a Motivational Speech by Financial Executive turned Entrepreneur, Ramsey Jay, Jr. Mr. Jay is a distinguished Wall Street trained finance executive and dynamic speaker whose vast experience includes – global investment management in high yield bonds, bank loans, distressed credit, private debt and private equity, organizational leadership and development among other areas of professional acumen. Mr. Jay . got the audience Fired Up and Ready to Go as he challenged the students to ACIPA (Absorb, Challenge, Internalize, Practice and Apply) the information from the speakers throughout the day.

The Keynote Address featured Nicole Leonard, Vice President and Associate Dean of Research and Education for Cedars-Sinai (
Her topic was – A Career Journey from Humble Beginning. Nicole is dedicated to improving human health by catalyzing interdisciplinary initiatives which also drive diverse revenue streams. She thrives in organizations where the best minds, intellectual curiosity, and deep expertise address unique problems and strive for innovative solutions. She brings her diverse experience to weaving connections among disparate pieces and working in new areas of investigation. Thoughtful in approach and collaborative in execution, Nicole is both an idea generator and effective leader in evolving organizations. She is a continuous learner who finds opportunities to move the needle while at the same time staying laser focused on the mission and vision. She describes herself as a “Mission driven servant leader.” In her keynote address, she shared her 3 Key Principals:

1.Learn about everything!
2.Prepare! Prepare! Prepare!
3.Do your best!

She encouraged students to be curious. If you don’t know what you’re interested in, sign-up for everything so you can learn and figure it out. Because the Roles of the Future are unknown today, focus on figurative preparedness today. Develop your soft skills by leading & motivating, navigating politics and persuading & influencing people to follow you. Ultimately, the world is your oyster so learn, do your best and prepare. Build your skills by volunteering, talking to people and getting mentors.
Nicole’s presentation was quite dynamic and highly motivational… she left the audience wanting to hear more.

In the STEAMposium 2022 there were five separate workshops – Science; Technology; Engineering; Arts and Mathematics. The leaders of each workshop shared their journey from their youth to where their careers have brought them at this time. Below is a synopsis of the leaders of each workshop.

Science Workshop
This engaging workshop was led by Tamara Chambers, MD FACS and Keith Cooper

-Dr. Tamara Chambers is the Chief Medical Director of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Speech and Audiology at LAC+USC Medical Center. She also serves several other administrative roles, including the Associate Medical Director for Clinical Efficiency, Associate Director of Perioperative Services, and Assistant Designated Institutional Official for Safety, Fairness, and Equity (SAFE). She is an Associate Professor and the Associate Program Director in the USC Caruso Department of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery.
-Keith Cooper – Founding Principal at Environmental Review Partners, Inc (ERPinc), an environmental planning and consulting firm. Prior to founding ERPinc, Keith was employed as an environmental planning consultant for 23 years where he worked on projects such as the LA Live development in downtown Los Angeles and the Metro Expo Line rail transit project. At ERPinc, Keith evaluates how urban development and infrastructure projects effect air quality, climate, and energy resources using a variety of software applications that include simulation modeling.

Technology Workshop
This innovative workshop was led by Lanny Smoot and Chester Hawkins.

-Lanny Smoot is a Sr. Research Scientist at Walt Disney Imagineering’s Research and Development organization. Lanny has held leadership positions in telecommunications research at Bell Labs, Bellcore, and Telcordia. At Bell, among other things, he designed some of the first fiber optic, and video-on-demand systems. Lanny spent 10 years in Walt Disney Imagineering’s Research and Development organization where he led R&D groups that focused on innovative sensing techniques, human computer interaction, robotics, imaging, and special effects systems for the Disney Parks. At Disney Research, he has helped create new 3D displays, robotic, and ride systems. Lanny has earned more than 100 US Patents for his work.
-Chester Hawkins currently works for NASA JPL where he is a Senior Software Systems Engineer working on the current mission to Mars Project. He loves technology and keeping up with the latest tech news. When Chester’s not at work, you can find him making mobile apps as well as teaching a team of middle school kids how to build and program robots in order to compete in the national Botball competitions.

Engineering Workshop
This inspiring workshop was led by Heather O’Rourke and Ehab Gerges.
-Heather O’Rourke is a Logistics Quality Engineering Supervisor Mazda North America Operations. Her Core Competencies include: Lean Processing, Quality, Operations/Supply Chain, Gemba, leadership. Background: 10 years of Automotive experience in Quality Operations for Parts and Finished Vehicles at Field, Regional, National and Global levels. Passions: Quality, Operations, Business, Education/Students, Women Services, church affiliated leadership; being a helping hand.
-Ehab Gerges – Ehab Gerges is a Senior Vice President with Harris & Associates, a consulting firm that is focused on improving communities and creating better places to live through smart, safe, and sustainable solutions. Ehab has over 30 years of professional consulting experience in helping California government agencies build infrastructure projects.. He is currently leading the firm in delivering the first phase of High-Speed Rail project in California.

Arts Workshop
This creative workshop was led by Kristin Ford and Shannon Baker Davis.
-Kristin Ford is the Co-Founder and Director of Media for Creative Branding Agency– TenX Talent Inc. Kristin has vast experience in entertainment journalism, branding, and partnerships. She attests her achievements to her education and community involvement. Kristin says her motivation for working hard is to break barriers and become a gateway for future leaders no matter what industry they chose.
-Shannon Baker Davis is an award-winning television and film editor, who began her career in New York, editing unscripted shows and documentaries. After 10 years working on many iconic and Emmywinning shows such as Top Chef and Project Runway, Shannon began adding narrative television and feature films to her resume. Her credits include Insecure, from Issa Rae, Grown-ish, a spin-off of the highly acclaimed series, Black-ish, from creator, Kenya Barris and Queen Sugar, from creator Ava DuVernay.

Mathematics Workshop
Math is the foundation for everything. This workshop was led by Ewurabena Mensa-Wood and Sean Dunbar.
-Ewurabena Mensa-Wood Coker Operating Assistant, where she is responsible for the safe and reliable operation of the Coker unit at the Chevron El Segundo refinery. She joined the Chevron Corporation in 2013, and has held various leadership positions in the Operations, Technical and Maintenance & Reliability organizations. She spent 11 years in the Nuclear Industry where she worked in numerous engineering roles at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station. Ewurabena left the students with Why Math is important:

1.Basic skill for every job.
2.Improves your problem-solving skills
3.Good exercise for your brain
4.Helps with financial decisions

-Sean Dunbar – Vice President of Education, Project Management/Construction Management (PMCM) San Diego & Los Angeles and currently employed at Harris & Associates. Sean has held many positions in Management, beginning as a Project Scheduler, Scheduling Manager and eventually as a Project and Construction Manager. Sean was named Director within the Education Division and managed many projects, clients, and direct reports. Most recently, Sean has been named Vice President of Education for PMCM. Sean enjoys building school projects particularly in urban areas, allowing generations of young learners to thrive in state-of-the-art facilities.

Virtual Field Trips
Cal Poly Pomona: Bronco Motorsports CPP Formula SAE is a collegiate design competition providing University students with the challenge to conceive, design, fabricate and compete with a small formulastyle racing car. SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) sanctions FSAE through specific rules and regulations that encourage students to test their knowledge, utilize their creativity, and implement innovation. Cal Poly Pomona has their Formula SAE car on display. They discussed how they have studied the dynamics of multiple Engineering areas to build a Formula Race Car and win competitions!

Cal Poly Pomona: Liquid Rocket Lab Team: The purpose of the Cal Poly Liquid Rocket team is to establish a Liquid Rocket Lab to expose students to the advancement of design and educational practices in both liquid rocket propulsion and structural design. They also provide current and future generations of engineering students consistent and evolving access to a means of designing and testing liquid rocket engines. Their presentation at the Career STEAMposium showed a video and introduced those that attended to Team Rocket. They shared their experience working together to design and build this award-winning Amateur Rocket.

Diamond Bar High School Robotics Team “Team Sprocket” is an aspiring robotics team from Diamond Bar High School in Los Angeles, California. Team Sprocket is a quickly advancing team that is making a difference in the school, community, and broader society. Since their debut in 2011, their team has taken the necessary steps to create unique opportunities for our dedicated members. They also support STEM in the community and form connections with sponsors to spread the reach of FIRST Robotics and the importance of STEM in the modern world. The theme of their video was “How Robotics Works”: They featured what Team Sprocket wanted students to know about Robotics. Not just how to build one but the whole process. They talked on how to keep students engaged, hear from some of the students on how they got into it and what they do, and use the video as a tool to celebrate the entire robotics experience.

Making of a Fender Guitar – Math is Music to Our Ears – Ed Magee brings over 25 years of diverse work and life experience to his current role as Senior Vice President of Operations at Fender Musical Instruments Corporation (FMIC), one of the world’s leading musical instrument manufacturers. Mr. Magee took students on a journey through the making of a Fender guitar using both video and Q&A. Fender decided to bless two enthusiastic and lucky attendees with Fender guitars!

JPL Planetary Protection Center of Excellence – Dr. Alvin Smith, Manager is Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Lead Planetary Protection Engineer for Backwards Contamination for Mars Sample Return and Manager for the JPL Planetary Protection Center of Excellence (CoE). In these roles he provides scientific oversight to several research & development projects to meet stringent engineering requirements for planetary protection, as well as program management for training programs, university outreach, and interagency collaborations. This activity featured a representative from JPL that highlighted the Mars Sample Return Project that is currently in progress. He shared a video and answered questions on this remarkable project where the data that is being collected today won’t be seen for years. If you are a student going into the field of astro-physics, biological engineering today, you will be the ones that will take the information gathered and determine the impacts to life as it will be known at that time.

This event that prepares our workforce of the future for the jobs of the future is presented by Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Pasadena Chapter, Gamma Zeta Boule Foundation and the Pasadena/Altadena Ivy Foundation. The sponsors for this event are Edison International, Harris & Company, The Boeing Company and Northrop Grumman