Inventors & Leaders to Inspire Youth at X-STEM Symposium
Shawn Wasserman posted on February 27, 2015 |

With Engineering Week well underway, it’s the perfect time to announce the coming X-STEM (Extreme STEM) Symposium. X-STEM is an interactive series of presentations and workshops, led by industry leaders and aimed at getting kids excited about Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM).

The Symposium will include presentations covering topics from space exploration to robotics to green transportation. Some of the speakers will include:

FIRST Founder & Medical Device/Segway Inventor: Mr. Dean Kamen:

If you have heard, seen, ridden or smirked at a Segway then you have Mr. Kamen to thank for that. However, his prolific list of inventions have saved and changed many lives, helping to reshape the medical field.

Some of the technologies created by Mr. Kamen include wearable insulin dispensers, portable dialysis machines, prosthetics and even a low-power/zero-pollution water-purification unit.

Mr. Kamen has also committed himself to mentoring young STEM students as the founder of FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology). The program fostered over 367,000 students, 34,275 teams and over 30,000 robots in the last season alone. As far as competitions go for getting youth interested in STEM, FIRST seems to be working.

"The mission of FIRST," says Dean, "is to show students of every age that science, technology, and problem-solving are not only fun and rewarding, but are proven paths to successful careers and a bright future."

Virgin Galactic CEO and Former NASA Chief of Staff: Mr. George Whitesides:

If you haven’t heard of the private space vacationing company Virgin Galactic, then you’ve likely been hiding under rock. The sub-orbital space ferry company aims to be the first to take the average traveler into space.

CEO George Whitesides hopes to one day bring hundreds of thousands of people to the final frontier. This would mark a significant shift in the way we think about space travel, and as a former Chief of Staff of NASA he is certainly the guy to pull it off.

"Sub-orbital commercial spaceflight will recast our relationship with the universe," explains George. "This will significantly change how the average person lives and travels."

Based on the X-Prize-winning SpaceShipOne, the company has created two space tourist vehicles named SpaceShipTwo and WhiteKnightTwo. The company is also working on a satellite-launching vehicle named–you guessed it—LauncherOne.

"While space organizations have done some incredible things in the last 50 years to explore space," says George, "increased efforts need to be focused on making space available to vastly more people."

Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering: Dr. Reginald Brothers

Thanks to Dr. Brothers’ oversight and policies at the Department of Defense (DoD), the US continues to develop some of the leading technologies that keep the country safe from attack. Dr. Brothers also works to inspire the next generation of STEM leaders.

Before the DOD, Dr. Brothers worked as a Project Manager with DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency). Some of his research there included RADAR, LADAR, wireless communications and precision targeting/navigation. He is also a specialist in Optical and RF communications.

If you want to know about the latest in military engineering and tech, Dr. Brothers is the man to ask.

Astronaut in Training: Ms. Alyssa Carson

When you hear the phrase Astronaut in Training, you probably wouldn’t think of 13 year old Alyssa Carson. Though the title is honorary, at the moment, her goal to be one of the first people to step foot on Mars is more than inspirational.

Since the ripe old age of 3, Carson has been telling her parents that the destination in her life long journey is the red planet. As a result, Carson has been studying Mars, space faring technology, and attending space camps ever since.

That’s not all, the STEM-enthused youth is covering her bases by learning French, Spanish and Chinese to ensure that whoever runs the mission, she will be prepared. In fact, she has attended various Space Camps, including those in the US, Turkey, UK, Belgium and Canada. She has earned the camp’s highest award “The Right Stuff” and is one of seven Mars One ambassadors.

"It's a planet that no one has been before," exclaims Alyssa enthusiastically. "It's about the same size as the Earth and there are ice caps at the top and bottom of Mars. That means there is water on Mars. This could possibly be our next Earth … I am the Mars generation!"

The X-STEM Symposium will take place on Tuesday April 28th, 2015 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. To register, click here.

For a chance to win up to 7 free tickets, email me at

With notes from X-STEM1, X-STEM2, X-STEM3, & X-STEM4

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