The Dallas STEAM Explorers are a group of middle school, high school, and college students interested in occupations associated with science, technology, engineering, technology-related art, and mathematics. We meet monthly with industry professionals to explore related careers. Speakers present a variety of topics.
The Dallas STEAM Explorers group was born from one mom’s desire to expose her teenage son to various technology and engineering occupation possibilities. She knew there were similar groups in the DFW area for students interested in other careers, but found nothing relating to STEM.For example, her daughter participated in UT Southwestern’s STARS Exploring Post Program. At STARS meetings, students interested in medical careers meet monthly to engage with medical students and professionals. She figured there must be something like this for students interested in STEM careers.After several years of research and talking to people, in late September 2014 her search led to Dr. Jey Veerasamy at UT Dallas. Dr. Veerasamy is the Director for UTD’s K-12 outreach program (see www.utdallas.edu/k12/), also known as the Center for Computer Science Education and Outreach. Her son had participated in several of Dr. Veerasamy’s computer programming camps and workshops.Dr. Veerasamy quickly and enthusiastically responded, not with the name of an existing group, but with the suggestion that we start one of our own! He offered to provide facilities for meetings and help get the word out via his contact base. Within two weeks time, we had decided on a name, designed a flyer, created a website, lined up speakers, reserved a meeting room, and held the first gathering.WHY STEAM INSTEAD OF STEM?
More and more, the line between technology and art is becoming blurred, especially in the field of web design and graphic design. Of course, not all artwork and graphics are created on the computer, but for careers where technology and art do intertwine, an understanding of basic coding and programming skills are helpful, if not necessary. Adding “digital art” to STEM, making it STEAM, seems like the logical next step.
WHEN AND WHERE ARE THE MEETINGS?
Participation is free and open to all, and there are no membership dues. All speaking and coordination is done on a volunteer basis.