Tech Savvy Program 2017

Tech Savvy 2017 conference held at Pasadena City College. Event is now over. Come back in early March for our April 14, 2018 program and registration.

Take a peak at last year’s program.

Hands-on STEM Workshops for Girls Savvy Skills Workshops for Girls Workshops for Adults

(9:40 – 10:30 a.m., repeated at 10:40 – 11:30 a.m.)

A Map to What We Need to Know

How do advertisers decide where to spend their advertising dollars? How do doctors decide if a medicine will cure a disease without creating intolerable side effects? How do governments decide where to spend tax dollars?  All of these things – and many more – are figured out with data and statistics. In this workshop students will learn how to use data to turn the unknown into the known.

Build A Telescope: At Last I See the Light

Have you ever looked up at the night sky and wondered what was out there? It’s the job of astronomers to figure that out, and one of their main tools is the telescope. In this workshop, we will build a simple telescope, not unlike the one Galileo used to explore the cosmos 400 years ago. Since that time, there have been a lot of advancements in telescope design. We’ll talk about some of the world’s largest and coolest telescopes, and how we as professional astronomers use them to unlock the secrets of the universe.

Capturing and Studying the Sun, Our Closest Star

The power and majesty of the Sun has been revered since the beginning of time. Together we’ll learn how to “capture” the sun, to gaze at it and understand how astronomers use the light from stars to uncover answers to many questions we have about our wondrous universe.

The Power to Control Electron Lasers at Your Fingertips

Students in this workshop will attempt to identify an unknown mineral based on a variety of tests that incorporate chemistry, physics, and geology. One of the devices that you will be using to determine the composition of the mineral is the scanning electron microscope. You will be remotely accessing this at a research university while controlling its functions from a laptop in the classroom. You will get specific chemical information that you will analyze and use to classify the mineral.

Designing a Spacecraft to Explore the Red Planet

Have you ever wondered why engineers design Mars rovers the way that they do to explore the Red Planet? Essentially, each Mars rover is a robot geologist equipped with the same systems and instruments that a human geologist would need to keep it operating safely in the field. Students in this workshop will learn about the fundamental systems that every Mars rover is equipped with in order to fulfill its mission goals. They will then use this information to design and build their own rover models.

Robogals Caltech: Navigating With Robots

Participants will learn basic programming logic and how to move the Lego Mindstorms robot, with the end goal of completing a simple obstacle course. Then, they will move on to learning about loops and using sensors with the robots to complete tasks.

Tech Gyrls: Imagine It, Make It

Students will learn the basics of 3D printing and design with the YWCA’s Tech Gyrls. We will use TinkerCAD and Microsoft Kinect to explore what it takes to start designing and modeling in three dimensions and how to bring your ideas to life.

The Case of the Contaminated Well

Have you ever wondered how contaminated rivers and land get cleaned up? Geologists and engineers work together to find spilled contamination and remove it from the environment. In this workshop we will solve The Case of the Contaminated Well in an exciting hands-on exercise that illustrates what happens after a spill is discovered. Students will also be introduced to careers in geology and environmental engineering.

Creative Chemistry: A Lovely Lens to Look at the Natural World

Students will explore the chemistry of artistic techniques, such as paper marbling, and they will create beautiful things using chemistry, such as artificial clouds, lava lamps, DNA origami, and flubber. Students will use their imagination and creativity to see how chemistry can be applied to biology and the natural world.

Meet the Swarmies: Robots Designed to Explore Other Worlds

Computer programming may seem daunting at a glance. But you should not be intimidated by it! Once you start learning, you will notice that computer programming is merely a series of “if-then-else” constructs (if I have $1, then I will buy a candy; else, I will not buy a candy) and loops (repetition). With these simple concepts and a few other basic tools anyone can create and control a wide variety of programs. In this workshop, we will be using basic computer programming logic to control the NASA Swarmies (robots)!

C is for Cookie. Cookie Car That is!

Process engineering, lean manufacturing techniques, and quality assurance will be applied to increase the efficiency and throughput of different teams as they compete to build as many cookie cars as possible.

It’s Electrifying!

Modern society is built upon the availability of clean, affordable, and reliable electric power.  This STEM workshop will show you how electricity powers our economy and how the women and men who design power systems are at the leading edge of innovation.  Students will learn about how motors work and they will build a simple motor as a fun hands-on activity.

The Eyes Have It. Or Do They?

This workshop will give an overview of the types of memory and learning in the human brain. Students will get hands-on experience with learning and memory by participating in a group experiment that asks whether the human brain can learn to compensate for visual distortion introduced by prism glasses. The prolonged effects of the prism glasses training will be surprising.

The Chemistry of Hot Ice

Students in this workshop will learn how to make hot ice (sodium acetate) using only baking soda and vinegar. A solution of sodium acetate can be cooled below its melting point, causing it to crystallize as it solidifies. This process releases heat (hence the term hot ice) and it occurs very quickly. This allows the scientist to form sculptures as the experiment proceeds. It is completely safe and can even be done at home!

Caffeine Makes the Heart Race

The heart is the first functional organ to form in a developing embryo. The heart begins as a simple tube that contracts to circulate the first blood cells into newly developed blood vessels. In this workshop, we will look at living chick embryos under a microscope to observe the embryonic heart and how it beats. We will then observe what happens to the heart when we add caffeine, a stimulant found in coffee and soft drinks. Note: We will be dissecting living chick embryos. If you are sensitive to and cannot take the sight of blood, this workshop may not be for you.

How to Make a Mutant fish

The zebrafish is a model organism widely used to answer important questions in developmental biology. Zebrafish produce transparent embryos that develop rapidly outside the mother and mutant fish and embryos can easily be made by the addition of chemicals to their water. These fish can be observed under the microscope to identify what effect the chemicals have on the fish. In this workshop, we will observe under the microscope normal and mutant zebrafish embryos at various stages of development and form hypotheses about which developmental process has been interrupted in the mutants.

Squeezing DNA From Strawberries

DNA is the blueprint for life in all complex organisms. Scientists study DNA to learn more about those organisms and sometimes to engineer genetic information that will make plants, for example, resistant to insects or have a longer shelf-life or more vitamins. When a scientist needs a source of DNA, it must be removed from the organism that is being studied. In this workshop, students will be removing DNA from strawberries. We will use everyday household items to break open the cells of the strawberries and separate the DNA from the rest of the cellular material. Students will actually see the DNA with their own eyes!

Slugs and Snails, Oh My!

The land snails and slugs of Southern California are under-studied and poorly inventoried. The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County has sponsored a citizen science initiative called SLIME (Snails and Slugs Living In Metropolitan Environments) that uses the iNaturalist web platform to collect snail observations from the public throughout Southern California. One of the most interesting structures to study in snails is the radula, which is a ribbon of teeth. The radula is very small but it can be beautifully imaged using a scanning electron microscope (SEM). The teeth of the radula provide information that helps scientists figure out the species of snail or slug collected and important aspects of its natural history. Students in this workshop will use SEM images and species descriptions to identify species of snails and slugs found by Los Angeles residents in a true citizen science collaboration.

(1:00 – 1:30 p.m., repeated at 1:45 – 2:15 p.m.)

Attending College as a STEM Major

Hear from a panel of college students about their journeys as STEM majors and pursuing careers in STEM fields. Panel participants will share their experiences in STEM majors, talk about how their love for STEM first arose and evolved into their current college studies, and how they are molding their college careers and extracurricular activities into their own unique paths towards eventual careers in STEM.

Budgeting Tools; Get Credit-Smart

This workshop will provide the essentials of financial education, real-world skills, and knowledge every student can use, including how to identify “needs” vs. “wants”; plan early for the future; earn more money by learning more skills; build a budget to control money; become an entrepreneur by starting a business venture; control spending with a spending plan; build credit wisely and avoid debt; and invest in higher education and find the money to pay for it.

Finding Good Information in the Information Age

We’ve all experienced it. You’re searching the internet, trying to answer a question or do research for a school assignment, and get confronted with a mound of information, often contradictory. You want to find the “good” information, but it can feel impossible. This workshop will focus on how to find quality sources of information on the internet. After all, you can only make sound decisions and form solid opinions when they are based on good information. Presenter: Jill Sohm

A Guide to Getting into Great STEM Colleges

Each student will learn how to develop herself and her profile to become an irresistible applicant to STEM colleges. The presenter will share a strategy that uses hard work, dedication, creativity, a little bit of bravery and very little money to develop student attributes, documented results, and personal stories that STEM college admissions boards view favorably when considering applicants for admission.

How to Solve Problems by Breaking with Convention

We often assume that the best way to solve a problem is to follow a set of logical steps. This workshop explores what happens when we break with convention to generate creative ideas and embrace the notion that there might be more than one answer. We will look at inspiring examples of divergent thinking – from the invention of computer programming to the making of rockets to Mars – and participate in a fun exercise to see what we discover.

Self-Esteem: The Key to Your Success

How we feel about ourselves has a huge impact on how we treat ourselves and others and how we choose to spend our time.  This interactive discussion will help you appreciate your own uniqueness and help you plan activities that reinforce and utilize your self-esteem.  Come learn how you can use this knowledge as a springboard for success!

Yoga and Self-Awareness

Students will learn basic yoga poses and the value of mind-body wellness.

ADULT WORKSHOPS (Provided in English and Spanish)

Encouraging Your Daughter in STEM
9:40 – 10:30 a.m.

This workshop will focus on how girls learn and perform in science and math courses and how guardians and teachers can help encourage their achievement. Attendees will learn to identify ways in which girls learn differently in math and science. They will learn to recognize maladaptive approaches/situations that can thwart girls’ achievement in STEM and increase their understanding of how adults can be supportive and encourage girls’ performance.

Protect Your Child’s ‘Rep’ – How to manage your daughter’s online profile
10:40 – 11:30 a.m.

It can be challenging to manage your child’s online profile, especially in a world of social media. Come learn key things to look out for and why this matters.

Financial Aid & College Admissions
1:00 – 1:50 p.m.

This workshop will focus on financial aid programs, community college enrollment, concurrent enrollment, general education courses and how to transfer to a 4-year college or university. Presenters: PCC Staff from Counseling, Financial Aid, and Outreach and Transfer

College Culture — Preparing the Entire Family for College (English/Spanish)
2:00 – 2:50 p.m.

This workshop will engage families with practices for creating a college-going home and explain the different college pathways. Supportive services are all around. We will discuss financial aid, scholarships, grants, and special programs available before college.  Last, we will cover why STEM majors are an amazing opportunity for young women, and how families can influence student success.