One thing I have learned through college and my work at Ideaventions is that finding inspiration is like an electric charge. That’s what this week was like when a couple of the rising 7th graders were able to break away from school for a day and attend the symposium. This was our first event as a school, and even though we’re not open yet, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to make it available to the kids. At first, I was worried since all of the hands-on workshop tickets were sold out, and only tickets to speakers were left. Coming from an educational philosophy of hands-on learning, thinking of a day of sitting and listening is scary.
Starting with Irwin Jacobs and Michele Weslander Quaid, followed by a surprise visit from Megan Smith, then talks by Dean Kamen, Seema Kumar, William Pomerantz and Bara Cola, the day was truly inspirational. Each speaker had a different message, they all had different roads that they traveled and each is a leader in STEM. Having the opportunity listen to their stories reminded me of the days before I found out my vision was no longer 20/20 when I, too, wanted to be an astronaut. Looking and talking to kids, who didn’t quite realize how much innovation is happening at Google, that space flight is actually a possibility, that robotics in real life is like a scene Big Hero 6, and what the embodiment of grit and hard work looks like both in and outside the lab, describing it as inspirational only begins to describe the day. I hope that our kids, as well as the other 4000 kids who were there are able to take away a few nuggets from the day that will inspire them as they grow. As for me, it was energizing.
That’s one field trip on the books for next year for the entire school. We’ll register early for next year’s symposium, so we’ll be able to participate in the hands-on workshops, but we’ll also attend a couple of talks for a healthy dose of inspiration.