The Dallas STEAM Explorers’ October 6 kick-off meeting was a superb success, with more than 75 students, parents, and teachers in attendance.
Dr. Jey Veerasamy, Director of the Center for Computer Science Education and Outreach at UT Dallas, opened the meeting with an overview of the computer science industry. He gave a brief account of its history, what it looked like 25 years ago and what it looks like today. He also made it clear how it important it is to start teaching students how to program and code at a young age. Dr. Veerasamy also explained common myths about programming, exhibited current salary ranges, clarified the difference between a computer programmer and a computer scientist, and gave a fresh and positive outlook on future focus areas in the computer industry.
Next, Eliot Paek, a homeschooled high school freshman who also takes classes at THEO in Plano, discussed what the Dallas STEAM Explorers group is and where it plans to go in the future. He emphasized the importance of checking the website for pertinent meeting information, and asked for ideas and suggestions for future topics, speakers, and workshops. He closed by announcing there would be officer elections at the November meeting, and stressed the need for anyone wishing to run for the offices of president, vice president, or secretary, to be ready to give a speech telling why they want to be elected and how their contribution can benefit the group.
Finally, Carter Haines, a Ph.D. student at UT Dallas’ Alan G. MacDiarmid NanoTech Institute, opened up the exciting world of nanotechnology by giving demonstrations and showing video clips of current projects and research. Mr. Haines first explained what a carbon nanotube is, its amazing characteristics, and UT Dallas’ cutting edge research into its applications. He also told of the Institute’s recent discovery that ordinary fishing line and sewing thread can be inexpensively adapted to create powerful artificial muscles. After a brief history of his educational journey, Carter closed by answering questions from his captivated audience. (Click here to watch Mr. Haines give a carbon nanotube demonstration and here to watch Dr. Ray Baughman, Director of the UT Dallas NanoTech Institute.)