I've worked with companies, governments, universities, K-12 schools, and non-profits, in the areas of innovation, entrepreneurship, STEM education, K-12 STEM, and how they combine to drive regional economic development. Learn about some projects I've led below.
SA Smart: The Mayor's K-12 Smart City Challenge
Ongoing, entering its fourth year
SA Smart: The Mayor's K-12 Smart City Challenge began in 2018. In 2020, 325 students participated. The program is a research and pitch deck competition based on topics in SA Tomorrow, San Antonio's vision for 2040. In aligning the program with the city's priorities, SA Smart delivers a great real-world experience to students, teaches them research and presentation skills, furthers important conversations about our city's future, and prepares future leaders. The topics since 2018 have been transportation, sustainability, and digital inclusion. Learn more at www.sa-smart.org.
STEM Non-Profit Development: SASTEMIC and SAMSAT
Ongoing, eight years
In 2012, I helped start SASTEMIC, a STEM advocacy and services non-profit in San Antonio, Texas, U.S. Since 2014, I served three years as Board Chair, two years as Executive Director, and hosted our STEM Connection radio show for two+ years. SASTEMIC worked to connect K-12 to industry and other sectors through mobile STEM programs, school programs, and teacher professional development. With my SASTEMIC colleagues, we served about 70,000 students. In 2016, I joined the Advisory Board of SAMSAT, the San Antonio Museum of Science and Technology, a startup museum and STEM Center. I initiated a partnership between the organizations, and served on a two-member committee that closed a merger with SAMSAT, marrying SASTEMIC's education capacity with SAMSAT's museum artifacts and strategic relationships. Today I am SAMSAT's Chief Learning Officer, and we operate from Port San Antonio, the former Kelly AFB. The combined organizations have now served 115,000 students. Port San Antonio and SAMSAT form a spectacular example of K-12 education aligned with the needs of a city and the immediate high-needs community around SAMSAT.
Financial Services Innovator Certification
On behalf of the IC2 (IC-squared) Institute at The University of Texas at Austin, I served as Principal Investigator and lead instructor for 18 cohorts of the 12-session Financial Services Innovator Certification. The program was project-based, built on inquiry learning principles, with lessons embedded in the pursuit of live innovations that benefited customers and internal operations.
Nexus Startup Hub@American Center, New Delhi
South Asia Connect@Nexus Startup Hub
We all know that entrepreneurs love their ventures! What's less popular to say is that 90%+ fail, and usually its because the market does not want the product they are offering. Between 2017 and 2020, I led one week of training for nine cohorts of the Nexus Startup Hub program at the American Center, U.S. Embassy, New Delhi, India. Based on inquiry learning principles, and always using their ventures as the basis for instruction, I provided tools and techniques for primary market research. More simply stated, we sent entrepreneurs to talk to their customers, end users, partners and more, and gave them methods to gather information, assess what they learned, pick a target, and conquer the market. Visit www.startupnexus.in to learn about the successes of the program.
From late 2017 to early 2019, South Asia Connect brought the program to Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal and Sri Lanka. I served as Co-Principal Investigator and operational lead for the program. 160 entrepreneurs were trained, 40 in-depth, and 11 were mentored by the Nexus staff in New Delhi. In parallel, nine entrepreneurship leaders from all five countries received in-depth training and mentorship and continue to serve entrepreneurs in their countries.
International Conference on Technology Policy and Innovation (ICTPI)
STEM Student Demonstrations
Three events over five years
The International Conference on Technology Policy and Innovation (ICTPI) focused on the relationship between industry, academia and government for the development of knowledge-based economies. During my time at the IC2 (IC-squared) Institute, I often asked: "Where is K-12?" This question is more relevant than ever as we think about equity in our communities, about making sure all corners of our cities and regions ride when development is successful. At ICTPI 2013 in Brno, Czech Republic; ICTPI 2015 in Milton Keynes, UK; and ICTPI 2017 in Taipei, Taiwan, I brought in student robotics teams to demonstrate to attendees the importance of STEM K-12 programs and how they benefit from alignment to city priorities. This work directly contributed to development of the Springer publication STEM in the Technopolis: The Power of STEM Education in Regional Technology Policy.
STEAM-LABS, Medellín, Colombia
Secondary STEAM Education and University Technology Entrepreneurship
I proposed, developed and implemented STEAM-LABS. The program was a partnership among three technical universities, the Parque Explora science museum, and the city's Secretary of Education, the IC2 Institute, and the UT Austin College of Education/Center for STEM Education. The program directly trained 36 educators, and they in turn trained more teachers and students, serving 124 educators and 1,440 students in total. Teachers learned how to implement project-based learning in their classrooms aligned with the city's priority knowledge economy clusters of ICT, energy, and health. Researchers in technical universities received training on how to bring research to market, and they mentored K-11 teachers on the practical elements of the curriculum being developed for their classrooms. Look up "Medellín high tech" online to learn about the city's transformation and global recognition, or read the related case in STEM in the Technopolis.
Whyville: Learning-Based Virtual World for Teens and Tweens
The Bioplex, PlaneWorks, and WhyPower
Integrated Math, Science and Career Education
Four years, and ongoing
In 1999, future colleagues developed Whyville, the learning-based virtual world for teens and tweens. Whyville was ahead of its time, a place where millions of users visited before virtual worlds were in the news. On that platform, I proposed, raised funds, and designed three additions to Whyville, along with school-day curriculum and teacher professional development. In the Bioplex, students searched for vaccines to the WhyPox, a malady already in Whyville making users faces break out :). PlaneWorks introduced airplane flight in the virtual world, and WhyPower introduced energy demand and study of renewable versus traditional sources. Around all three, career exploration was provided. Students were invited to visit the web sites of college programs in their areas of interest. These Whyville activities integrated math, science, career education, and alignment to local priorities, all in an engaging virtual world format that was both school and social center for students. In total, I raised almost $900,000 to fund these programs, including a large grant from Next Generation Learning Challenges, with primary sponsors The Gates Foundation and the Hewlett Foundation.