Dayton, Ohio - On September 24, Parallax Advanced Research hosted an OhioX Tech Day STEM event for 25 Mad River Local Schools’ Stebbins High School students. The event was sponsored by Launch Dayton and Parallax Advanced Research Programs’ the Ohio Federal Research Network and the Academic Partnership Engagement Experiment. The event took place at The Hub at the Arcade in Downtown Dayton. It celebrated the people, companies, and ideas that make Ohio technology possible and inspired Ohio high school students who are the next generation of leaders in technology and innovation.
The day started with a tour of The Hub at The Arcade, which included networking and visiting with small business representatives from Parallax Advanced Research, Mile Two, Inphlu, STEM Whisperers, Sinclair National UAS Center, Parcell, and CommuterAds.
Jim Prater, engineering instructor and STEM adviser at Stebbins High School, attended the event with his students and said, “the event was an excellent experience for the students to see different STEM businesses and careers. The backgrounds and credentials of the speakers were very impressive. The students enjoyed hearing the college students talk about the reasons they chose a STEM career. I appreciate my class being included in this valuable experience.”
The students then gathered in The Hub’s Arcade Square where Scott Koorndyk, president of the Entrepreneurs' Center, kicked off the event and introduced the keynote speaker, Dr. Viktoria Greanya, chief scientist at Parallax Advanced Research. Dr. Greanya spoke about her STEM career and relayed advice for navigating the STEM career field.
“STEM careers are not “one size fits all”. Often, we don’t know what jobs are possible, and I don’t think you can predict where your career will go. Events like OhioX expose students to some of the variety of what a STEM career could be. Students can start to learn what their personal strengths are and about STEM jobs that leverage those strengths. Careers are built one opportunity at a time. So, I encourage students to be open to the varying opportunities that might come their way as they build their STEM careers,” said Dr. Greanya.
Next, Rebecca Gilligan and Sharon Macumber, University of Cincinnati students who are studying for their bachelors’ and masters’ degrees, gave advice about pursuing STEM in academia, from credit hours to choosing classes to identifying the multiple career paths to which STEM education could lead.
Gilligan and Macumber said it was a STEM event like Parallax’s OhioX Tech Day that inspired them while in high school to commit to a STEM career path. Gilligan said she never thought she would become an engineer because she had limited understanding of the field. Then she attended a STEM career day at her high school which prompted her to take an engineering class and helped her realize that engineering was exactly how she could apply her love for learning to make a difference.
“From there, I took more engineering and robotics classes, started going to tech events and then used those experiences to choose mechanical engineering as my major. My piece of advice to high school students is, if you aren't sure what you want to do, try something outside of your comfort zone. The sooner you explore, the sooner you can figure out what you like or don't like. Students can apply this by trying something new for an elective credit, student organizations, or even internships/co-ops. Events like tech days are another great way to learn more about different fields and connect with college students and professionals,” said Gilligan.
Following the speaker engagement, the students participated in an Innovation Strengths Preference Indicator® (ISPI) activity, which entailed the students answering a series of questions about their innovation style. Parallax Advanced Research and its program collaborate with Idea Connection Systems® (ICS) to create high performing teams within organizations, and they utilize the ISPI to form high performing teams to promote technology innovation. Parallax provided a modified version of the ISPI to the students to show them how they might best work on innovative teams and/or on solo innovation projects.
“This activity was very popular among students because it was ‘hands on’ and gave them insight into themselves,” said Mary Margaret Evans, vice present and division manager of Innovation and Talent Management at Parallax Advanced Research. “The students learned that innovation lives along a continuum that runs from Evolutionary (Continuous Improvement) to Revolutionary (Breakthrough), and where they fell on that continuum – their innovative strength or preference. Perhaps, the greatest outcome of this exercise was that it showed students that everyone is innovative but that folks approach things differently – and that’s good!”
All those from Parallax Advanced Research look forward to hosting more K-12 STEM events in the future, as well as events in collaboration with OhioX through its membership with the organization. To learn more about Parallax’s Innovation and Talent Management services, including workforce development capabilities, visit https://parallaxresearch.org/services/innovation-talent-management.
About Parallax Advanced Research
Parallax is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that tackles global challenges by accelerating innovation and developing technology and solutions through strategic partnerships with government, industry and academia across Ohio and the Nation. Together with academia, Parallax accelerates innovation that leads to new breakthroughs. Together with government, Parallax tackles critical global challenges and delivers new solutions. Together with industry, Parallax develops groundbreaking ideas and speeds them to market.