Fall 2016 Astra S.T.E.A.M Summit

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Astra S.T.E.A.M. Overview

Astra S.T.E.A.M. Program started in 2014 by Diane McClelland and Suzanne Lackman, the Co-founders of Astra Women’s Business Alliance, with a mission to equip young women with the confidence, skills, and the network to successfully pursue S.T.E.A.M. education and careers. Astra S.T.E.A.M. Program believes that the young women today are the future leaders, visionaries, and CEOs of tomorrow. The Astra S.T.E.A.M. Program takes a holistic, pathways approach to S.T.E.A.M. Education. Following a pathways approach, encourages a shift in focus from numbers of people in S.T.E.A.M. jobs and people with S.T.E.A.M. degrees to focusing on equipping individuals, specifically girls, with the skills needed to thrive and grow in the workforce.

“Astra S.T.E.A.M. Program believes the young women today are the future leaders, visionaries, and CEOs of tomorrow.”

The main event for Astra S.T.E.A.M. Program is its annual Astra S.T.E.A.M. Summit. So far, Astra S.T.E.A.M. Program has organized four successful Astra S.T.E.A.M. Summits and served a total of 75 STEAMers plus their parents. These STEAMers are from all over the U.S. including the following eight states: California, Oregon, Washington, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Virginia, Montana, and Connecticut.

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Fall 2016 Astra S.T.E.A.M. Summit

The Fall 2016 Astra S.T.E.A.M. Summit is our fourth Astra STEAM Summit since 2014, it was also the first time for Astra to host two summits in one year. The Fall Astra S.T.E.A.M Summit was hosted at Microsoft Redmond Headquarter on November 2-3, 2016.

This fall, Astra partnered with Growing Leaders for our Fall 2016 Astra STEAM Summit. We welcomed Holly Moore,  Vice President at Growing Leaders, and Mary Steves, Program Coordinator at Growing Leaders, for interactive presentations to both our STEAMers and parents on Habitude and Artificial Maturity. Founded in 2003 by Dr. Tim Elmore, Growing Leaders is a global nonprofit that encourages and equips young adults to take on real-life opportunities and challenges in the classroom, in their careers, and in the community. Growing Leaders partners with organizations to teach practical life and leadership skills using real stories, intriguing images, and engaging experiences that are relatable and memorable.


Early interest in S.T.E.A.M. is positively related to students’ desire to major in S.T.E.A.M. fields in college. Each summit, Astra brings a panel of representatives from major corporations to speak to STEAMers about different career possibilities within STEAM industries. This year we welcomed Kate Edwards, Executive Director of International Game Developers Association; Madhavi Gosalia, Senior Category Manager at Microsoft; Annie Forrester, Director of Business Development of Ampcus, Inc; Rachel Pereira, Technology Architect at Hewlett Packard Enterprise.


Access and exposure to role models is important because visualizing or seeing people who achieve positive can raise one’s self-efficacy, the belief that he or she too can achieve those outcomes. Astra invites successful women entrepreneurs to teach STEAMers important entrepreneurial traits through their own experience. This Fall, we welcomed Pamela Kan, president of Bishop-Wisecarver Group, and Marti Hoffer, CEO of Lumenomics.

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Hands-on learning approach improves retention of information and critical thinking skills and increase persistence of students in S.T.E.A.M. majors, with our new venture competition, STEAMers gain first-hand knowledge on how to start a business and develop an app. Twenty STEAMers are divided into four teams of five, and these teams are assigned with the task to come up with a pitch for their new innovative business and app idea. Astra invited James T Evans from University of Washington, Lynn Reddrick from Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco and Fernando Hernandez from Microsoft as Judges for the Pitch Perfectly Competition. These judges participate in Q&A after each pitch, rank STEAMer teams base on their ideas and performance, and provide candid feedbacks for all STEAMer teams.

Astra would like to thank our sponsors: Microsoft, Ampcus Inc, CB-Technologies, and Bishop-Wisecarver Group for making this summit possible. We’d also like to thank Diversity in STEAM Magazine for being our Media sponsor. We thank all the mentors, STEAMers, and parents for joining us for the two-day summit, and we welcome you all to your Astra Family!


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