2019 STEAM Youth and Community Conference

Zombie Bugs

Arietta Fleming-Davies, Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Biology at USD

Rover Bernhardt, summer intern at USD & Biology/Math major at Lewis and Clark University

Megan Martinez, Biology major at USD

Ray Solis, Biology major at USD.

Did you know that bugs get sick too?  Participants will learn about a common local butterfly species, the passionflower plant it eats,  and a deadly 'zombie' disease that infects its caterpillars.  You will then use microscopes to look for virus in insect samples.  Don't worry, this disease is only deadly for caterpillars, and is perfectly safe for humans!  Participants will also find out about opportunities to act as citizen scientists and make observations of these butterflies in their homes or classrooms.  You might even go home with a beautiful (and tasty!) passionflower plant to attract these butterflies in your own yard.


Paul Phillips, Computer Graphic Artist, Developer and Owner

Paul will unveil and demonstrate the MathArt platform, an Angular 5 web app, developed for the USD STEAM Academy 2018 during the workshop. He will challenge those attending to make beautiful patterns and maybe learn some math. MathArt works on both a laptop and IPad using the Google Chrome Browser.

Guitars in the Classroom

Sam Cadwell, Educator

Participants will learn to create lyrics that enrich and reinforce science learning K-5 using big ideas, evidence and familiar melodies.

Aprendiendo Unidos Sobre el Camino a la Universidad

Martha Romero

For the past five years, she has worked tirelessly to further the efforts of Latino parent movement “Parent Odyssey” at High Tech High schools in the Point Loma area. Her volunteer work supporting Latino parents has evolved from teaching others the basics of navigating the American public educational system to more complex issues such as the college admission process. The driving force behind Martha’s work has been a fierce desire to raise awareness among the parents in her Latino community about the importance of their involvement in their children’s education. She hopes that her efforts will empower parents and contribute to their children’s academic success and ability to attend university and complete their professional studies.

Apoyar a nuestros hijos para que logren sus metas personales y profesionales es un reto que nos demanda el informarnos, educarnos, buscar ayuda y prepararnos en varias áreas para lograrlo. Uno de nuestros mayores sueños como padres es que nuestros hijos logren terminar su High School y luego vayan a la universidad.  No obstante lo anterior, nos encontramos con una variedad de factores que nos impiden muchas veces lograrlo porque por ejemplo, no sabemos cómo funciona el sistema educativo en este país.   Igualmente la barrera del idioma nos limita y ésto hace que nos hagamos a un lado sin intentar lo suficiente para darle el empoderamiento que necesitan nuestros estudiantes para  alcanzar sus metas. Igualmente, en ocasiones, dificultades de tipo emocional nos afectan como comunidad, como núcleo familiar y por ende terminan teniendo incidencia en la vida universitaria de nuestros hijos. Estos son parte de los retos que debemos enfrentar, abordar y caminar hombro a hombro con nuestros hijos y es así como en esta sesión hablaremos de los diferentes caminos y recursos con que contamos para hacer de la meta de la Universidad un camino más asequible y que puedan disfrutar tanto el estudiante como su familia y por ende la comunidad.

Polyurethane Foam Monsters

Dulce Gonzalez, Southwestern College

Juan Gonzalez, Southwestern College

Nicole Slade, Southwestern College

Adriana Siordia, Southwestern College

Mixing two liquids mix and results in a special kind of chemical reaction called a polymerization. In a polymerization reaction, individual molecules link up in a ginormous repeating chain, not unlike a really, really, really long necklace. The liquids we react create solid polyurethane, a common material used in furniture, packaging, and even boogie boards. Once the reaction starts, an amorphous foamy solid ( monster) grows. Participants will polymerize the reagent and have an opportunity to decorate their foam monsters with the craft materials we provide.


Tambores Electrónicos Hechos a Mano

Isaac Garcia Muñoz, Senior Research Engineer, Multimedia R&D, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc.

In this session you’ll be able to play two handmade drums of Latin American origin. One is the teponaztli which is an Aztec log drum and the other is the cajón. You will get hands on experience with the fundamentals of sound and electronics as you learn how these musical instruments were built.

STEM Identify--Remote-controlled Robots

Christine Norris, VP Client Services, Clarissa Dieck, Client Services, Rokenbok

Christine has spent 19 years with Rokenbok. She has overseen product management, marketing communications and is currently working with client services and channel management.

Learning About the Science of You - the Science of DNA/Aprendiendo sobre la ciencia de ti - la ciencia del ADN

Robert Navert, R&D Scientist, Thermo Fisher Scientific

Have you ever wanted to know what the science of DNA is all about?  What is the code that tells you to be you and a strawberry to be a strawberry?  In this activity, we will be discussing DNA, or Deoxyribonucleic Acid, and how it is the software to all life. Then, it will be your turn to see for yourself!  We will be extracting and isolating DNA from strawberries with a little help from dish soap, rubbing alcohol, and salt.

Human Variation and the Genetics of Bitter Taste Sensation

Laura Rivard, PhD, Biology Department, University of San Diego

After an introduction to human trait variation, participants will explore whether they can taste the chemical PTC, which is controlled by genetics. They will then investigate the density of taste buds on their tongue and see if there is a relationship to how intensely they taste the bitterness of unsweetened chocolate.

Code Your Own Adventure Games (3rd-6th)

Iliana Douraghi, ThoughtSTEM Instructor

3rd-6th graders will pair program with fellow students and learn how to code their own 2D adventure games.

The “Science of Tortillas” 

Beto Vasquez
Bachelor of Science and a Master's of Science in Biology/Biological Sciences from the University of California, San Diego. 
Jonathan Gonzalez Padilla
UC San Diego Alumni with a Bachelor's of Science in Physiology and Neuroscience and a minor in Chicanx Studies. Current medical student at the Autonomous University of Baja California (UABC) and EMT and First Responder in the state of Baja California, Mexico.  
The “Science of Tortillas” that allows students to explore the chemistry and physics behind the food. We demonstrate chemistry by reacting the ground maize with calcium oxide to give off the starch needed to make the dough or “masa”. Then, using physics principles, we describe how the tortilla obtains its shape using mechanical instruments and different forces and energy. Lastly, both chemistry and physics come together when we elaborate on how the cooking process takes place. This allows students from backgrounds and cultures that eat tortillas to see the science behind their creation. 

Handmade Electronic Drums

Isaac Munoz is a Mexico American audio research engineer who has been working at Qualcomm since 2013. He received his Electrical Engineering B.S. degree from Caltech and is currently in the process of finishing his PhD in Computer Music from UCSD with a focus on building Augmented Reality musical instruments.

In this session you’ll be able to play two handmade drums of Latin American origin. One is the teponaztli which is an Aztec log drum and the other is the cajón. You will get hands on experience with the fundamentals of sound and electronics as you learn how these musical instruments were built.

Mathnasium of San Diego

Mathnasium is your neighborhood math-only learning center that teaches kids math the way that makes sense to them. Our experienced math tutors utilize our proprietary teaching materials and techniques,The Mathnasium Method™, to deliver a customized learning plan designed to address each student's needs, whether they started out far behind or are already ahead in math. Our instruction approach goes beyond traditional math tutoring to develop understanding and build a love for math.  Stop by one of our centers for a free assessment today! Find the nearest location here: https://www.mathnasium.com/maps/maps/search).

Odesma Dalrymple

Fun with Circuits

Odesma Dalrymple, Associate Professor, Industrial and Systems Engineering

Learn the basics about electricity and apply them to the creation of a paper circuit that brings awareness of your commitment to make a difference in the world.

Paper Butterflies

Tanlee Gaspar & Ciara Yegin, STEMWoW Enrichment Facilitators and USD Students

Join us for a paper folding questioning and exploration session. Take home paper-folded models created by YOU based on a butterfly by Michael Lafosse.

Code Your Own Adventure Games (3rd-6th)

Iliana Douraghi, ThoughtSTEM Instructor

3rd-6th graders will pair program with fellow students and learn how to code their own 2D adventure games.

Cybersecurity: What You Don't Know but Should about Credit Card Theft, Emails, Copiers and Computers

Douglas Magedman, Cybersecurity Professor, USD

This session will consist of short discussions on how thieves steal your information and use it from what you would think are safe daily practices.

Paper Fireworks

Daniel Myers, Software Engineer, Fuse Integration

Build a moving structure, Fireworks by Yami Yamaguchi, through paper folding as you pose questions and engage in mathematical explorations.

Theatre for Environmental Justice

Tezeru Teshome, Theatre Professor, USD

Based on Augusto Boal's Theatre of the Oppressed, participants will work together as actors and directors to create real-life practices towards environmental sustainability.