Team Commitment to Community
For over 15 years, York, The Red Lion, Software Engineer, has been judging science fairs and encouraging colleagues to join him in Fort Collins, Colorado.
“I am an Eagle Scout, and we teach ‘to be a leader, you must contribute to your community,’” said York. “Science fair teaches that there is a bigger world out there, and to use what you are passionate about to make an impact.”
In the 2022 post-pandemic world, judging is needed more than ever. Five Broadcom Inc. employees joined York to inspire young people to stick with STEM. They were both Category Judges, and Special Award Judges for Broadcom Coding with Commitment that recognizes students in grades 5-8 who combine STEM learning with coding to solve a community problem they care about that aligns with the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations.
“It is the most rewarding for me to see young people excited about science. When I retire, I hope to see the next generation using technology to solve problems in the world,” said York.
Matthew Linnebur, Instructional Designer, began judging this year, and had been looking for a way to volunteer since joining Broadcom in September 2021.
“I immediately jumped at the opportunity and was blown away by the caliber of projects considered for the Broadcom award,” said Matthew. “I assumed students would be nervous at presenting but was pleasantly surprised by how they overcame their fears and presented their findings.”
Lorenzo Dominguez, Software Engineer, was also a judge last year and has learned how to boost confidence in young people so they feel comfortable sharing their projects.
“My experience is one of appreciation, and a way to give back to my community through volunteering. I also very much enjoy the amazing talent in these kids. I like the opportunities and challenges that they tackle in devising solutions to various problems or issues that they are passionate about,” said Lorenzo.
Brian St. John, ASIC Design Engineer, was interested in programming from a young age and taught himself to write software, but also spent many hours outside riding bikes and fishing.
“These young engineers reflect the technology available today, and its influence in their lives. It’s heartening to see how excited they are when they describe their idea and project,” said Brian. “I’ve never seen so many young adults eager to talk to me about their ideas!”
Elizabeth Royal, Instructional Designer, is a former teacher who exclaims, “one of the biggest joys is seeing that “aha” moments in students!”
Elizabeth grew up participating in science fairs with her siblings and was inspired by her older brother. He taught her that failure is a natural part of any leap forward and to enjoy the process of untangling questions and making things work.
As a judge this year, she marveled at this generation of students who never knew life before a computer or handheld device. They naturally use technology to solve problems.
“I was really impressed by how elegantly integrated technology is into students’ thinking and methodology,” said Elizabeth. “Technology is a natural extension of their problem-solving toolset instead of a frustration or something to be managed.”
She also saw a “huge and very evident disparity in the level of resources” from the projects she judged, based on poster production and materials used in experiments.
“A brilliant mind will stand out regardless of resources,” said Elizabeth. “It was clear who was thinking like a scientist and who had that curiosity factor that makes a good researcher even if the poster board wasn’t professionally printed or they couldn’t afford additional technology or access to a lab.”
“It really impresses the importance of developing STEM programs in under resourced schools,” said Elizabeth.
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