AT&T STEM Initiatives Help NJ Students Innovate, Learn About Tech Careers
AT&T has been busy with STEM activities in the Garden State.
On Feb. 24, AT&T’s Bedminster facility held its annual Student Innovation Competition, with about 150 students from Elizabeth, Jersey City, Newark and New Brunswick.
Later that week, the company hosted 120 students from Elizabeth, Lavallette, Matawan, Middletown and Red Bank at its facilities in Bedminster and Middletown, to discuss careers in technology.
The students at the second event also got to see technology in action, when General Motors rolled out a 2015 Chevy Impala featuring state-of-the-art wireless connectivity.
Before the Feb. 24 innovation competition, students from high schools in New Jersey and New York had each submitted a one-page proposal (with pictures of their choice) on an innovation for a product or service from AT&T or another company.
Judges from AT&T selected semifinalists from John E. Dwyer Technology Academy (Elizabeth), Franklin High School (Somerset), William L. Dickinson High School (Jersey City), Newark Prep Charter School, and North Brunswick Township High School.
The semifinalists gave 5-minute presentations of their ideas at the competition, and the grand prize was a new smartphone.
During the event, AT&T volunteers — members of Community NETwork of New Jersey, an AT&T employee resource group — taught the students about critical thinking, problem solving, and communication. The students also toured the Bedminster facility: AT&T’s Global Network Operations Center, which monitors the company’s worldwide network.
The first place winner of the contest was 10th-grader Jaroy Richardson, from John E. Dwyer Technology Academy, for “Late Scanner,” a clever idea for a bar-code scanner that tracks whether students are late or on time for their classes. This device eliminates the need for teachers to interrupt their classes to collect this information. Students could just scan and go to their seats.
Ninth-grader Stephanie Medeiros, also from John E. Dwyer, took second place with her entry, “Drone Your Phone,” which can turn your cell phone into a mini flying drone. If you are stuck in a place with bad reception, and need to make a call, you could fly your drone/cell phone to a place with better reception and complete the call using Bluetooth. Mederios thought the drone/phone could help hikers stuck on a mountain or firefighters searching for people in a burning building. It could also be great for selfies.
The third-place winner was Maithreyi Ravula, a 10th-grader from North Brunswick Township High School. Her entry, “Flexible Batteries,” is a process that allows a battery to stretch to three times its size, making it perfect for wearable products. She noted that, in most wearables today, the battery has to be flat, so there is a limit to the types of items that can be produced.
The second AT&T STEM event took place on Feb 27, when more than 120 students from Elizabeth, Lavallette, Matawan, Red Bank and Union learned about careers in technology from members of AT&T’s Hispanic/Latino Association, “HACEMOS,” which has more than 8,400 employee members in the United States.
HACEMOS works with Hispanic and other minority students, who are currently underrepresented in technology and engineering programs.
“Our goal is to empower young minds so they can become leaders in the career fields of their choice,” said Cinthya Allen, executive vice president operations for HACEMOS.
“We rely on the participation of many local and national groups to make this multi-city event a success every year, and we are extremely proud of our continued growth over the years.”
The students attended this event at either of two AT&T locations. Those from Kean University (Union) and Marquis de Lafayette Elementary School (Elizabeth) worked with AT&T volunteers at the Global Network Operations Center to learn how a wireless network is built and to understand the importance of big data. They also participated in other activities, including a tour of the GNOC.
At AT&T Labs (Middletown), employees met with students from John Marshall School (Elizabeth), Lavallette Elementary School, Matawan-Aberdeen Middle School (Cliffwood) Red Bank Charter School and Red Bank Middle School. These students toured the facility, saw a presentation on Telepresence video-conferencing services, and learned about technical careers.
General Motors brought a 2015 Chevy Impala to both locations so that the students could learn about 4GE wireless connectivity, now available in GM cars. They also heard about advancements in next-generation data speeds, the first-ever in-vehicle Wi-Fi, a stronger network for emergency services and advanced diagnostics.