Alumni Spotlight is where you get to meet our wonderful STEAM Summit Alumni. In the past three years, we were lucky to have influenced over 60 young girls who are aspired to become young entrepreneurs in the STEAM fields. Each year, these young girls would work in teams to come up with New Venture App ideas during a two-day STEAM Summit. At the end of the Summit, they would present their ideas in front of a panel of judges.
Through this experience, we want to encourage young girls to develop their interests in STEAM subjects as well as entrepreneurship, and to empower them to become the next generation of female scientists and women entrepreneurs.
In today’s Alumni Spotlight, we’d like to introduce you to our 2015 STEAMer, and 2016 STEAM Mentor – Alyssa Schimm.
Tell us a little more about yourself:
My name is Alyssa Schimm. I am 16 years old, and loving having my license, and I was born and raised in the beautiful Sonoma, California. I’m a small town girl that lives in the middle of vineyards and has a view of a gorgeous barn. I have two brothers and a sister, all of which are older than me. My parents, Alice and Mike, have blessed me with an unforgettable family life and a strong support system. I play basketball, volleyball, and water polo throughout the school year. I have many aspirations for my life and these exciting upcoming years, and I cannot wait to see where life takes me on its exciting journey!
What was your team’s App idea in the 2015 Astra S.T.E.A.M. Summit?
My teams app idea was titled “Ready, Set, Reduce!” With our app, consumers could easily track their carbon footprint and impact on their environment. Because of partnerships with PG&E and other large companies, we tied gas bills, electricity bills, water bills, etc, into our app so it was clear to see the environmental impact. Additionally, consumers could compete with one another to become the most “green.” Large corporations and companies such as Apple, Salesforce, and Oracle could use our app to also advertise themselves as environmentally friendly, based on their numbers on our app.
What was your best memory from the Astra S.T.E.A.M. Summit?
My best memory from the Astra S.T.E.A.M. Summit was winning the grand prize in 2015 with a group of amazing ladies. All of my team was so incredible and inspiring. We came from so many diverse backgrounds and were able to collaborate to produce something incredible. It’s truly amazing to see what a team can accomplish in such a short amount of time.
What was your biggest take away?
My biggest take away from the summit was learning that stepping out of your comfort zone and networking is well worth it. If you are able to put yourself in a position to be successful, then you become susceptible great things. Often times, it is yourself holding you back from incredible opportunities, and once you are able to break that barrier and expand past your horizons, so many doors open right in front of you.
What did you learn from Astra S.T.E.A.M. Summit that later affected or changed you?
The Astra S.T.E.A.M. Summit taught me to delegate work and collaborate as a team. This has later affected me because I am now much better at working in a group environment and I understand the importance of “divide and conquer.” One person is never enough and it’s important to recognizes everyone’s individual strengths and combine them to create an environment filled with diverse strength and success.
What’s your dream career look like? And how are you achieving your goal?
My dream career is to be the CEO of a successful and flourishing business. I would love the business to be engineering or computer science based. I am working to achieve this goal by keeping up good grades in school and getting involved with clubs and organizations that give me exposure to other successful business owners, so I can learn from them. Eventually I would like to double major at the University of Southern California or Stanford in business and either computer science or engineering.
Have you been criticized or stereotyped for choosing STEAM as fields of interest as a girl?
I feel that I have actually received a lot of support for being a woman in STEAM. My school is very supportive and encourages women in these fields. Also, I have grown up in an environment and community where it was never looked down upon for me as a woman to go into a male-dominated field. I feel that I have always been pushed to do anything I want and prove people wrong who have a bias against woman in STEAM fields.
What’s your aspiration?
My biggest aspiration is to live a life that I love. Coming up on my junior year, I am finding that my schedule is incredible busy and jam packed with action 24/7. Often times, it is difficult for me to step back and ask myself if I am really doing what I love to create a life that I love. It’s easy to get lost in all the material things and repetitive motions. I strive everyday to make changes and improvements to my life so that I can enjoy every moment of it.
What’s your biggest obstacle?
My biggest obstacle is only having 24 hours in a day. However, I am learning to adapt to this as I understand there is not much I can do to change time. I really struggle to balance school, sports, extra curriculums, my social life, and time with my family. These are all things that I love, but it is difficult to prioritize and not procrastinate. One of my goals for this upcoming school year is to manage my time and prioritize my responsibilities in a way that feels fun and enjoyable rather than a nuisance and boring.
Who’s your role model?
My role models would have to be my whole family. Everyone is so different and successful in their lives. It is inspiring to watch my sister, Jessica (25) grow on her adventure in New York City, and my brothers, Bobby (23), and Max (20), achieving their goals and dreams. My dad, Mike, is an incredible business owner and I strive to have the work ethic and respect he embodies. My mom, Alice, is so hardworking and supportive of all of us. She is extraordinarily kindhearted and motivated. All of my siblings and my parents embody diverse characteristics, all that I hope to have someday.
If you have one advice for other girls in S.T.E.A.M. what would it be?
My biggest advice for girls in S.T.E.A.M. is to stay focused on your goal and overall achievement. So many distractions present themselves along the way, and the most challenging part of reaching goals is staying focused. Some may call it selfish to focus on yourself and your own goal, but more than that, it is self respect and determination. You are worthy of your own time and you should spend time doing things you love and reaching goals that you set.