Astra S.T.E.A.M. Alumna Donating For “A” Cause


Hamsa Shankar presenting her Astra S.T.E.A.M. certificate and award

Tesla STEM High School recognized an Astra S.T.E.A.M. Alumna for her accomplishments at the Astra S.T.E.A.M. Summit and the generous donation of her $1,000 cash award to help building a stronger connection between the arts and S.T.E.M. programs. “Hamsa is a very talented student who will continue to make a difference by co-creating more tools for innovation using the arts which is a vital part of gaming and digital applications.  Thank you to Hamsa for her generous donation!!” wrote Karen Schaeffer in the school’s eNewsletter.

Hamsa Shankar, an Astra S.T.E.A.M. Aluma who attended the Fall 2016 Astra S.T.E.A.M. Summit, is an outstanding student at Tesla STEM High School with strong passion for computer science and math. Hamsa is both analytical and creative, and her dream career is to combine these two fields of interest. “My dream career is to be an Imagineer for the Walt Disney Company as it combines my passion for art as well as computer science. Currently, I am taking AP Computer Science at my school in order to further my skills in computer science, and I am also a member of my school’s National Art Honor Society.”

The Astra S.T.E.A.M. Summit, which takes place this fall at The Tech Museum of Innovation in August, empowers young women, like Hamsa, to become the leaders and visionaries of the future. During this two-day conference, the Astra S.T.E.A.M. Summit will include hands-on activities which highlight entrepreneurship and S.T.E.A.M. careers. The program is designed to break down the traditional barriers by equipping young women with the confidence, skills, and the network to pursue S.T.E.A.M. careers.  The activities at the 2017 S.T.E.A.M. Summit will include the opportunity to hear and learn from successful female entrepreneurs and leaders in S.T.E.A.M. industries, develop a New Venture App and business model, and chance to present their New Venture to a panel of judges.

Not only will the participants gain experience and understanding of the S.T.E.M. fields, but also will learn about the complementary role that Arts and Humanities, the “A” in S.T.E.A.M., plays in profession success.  The “A” emphasizes the importance of design aesthetics, global understanding, and communication to expand the impact and potential of traditional S.T.E.M. education.

When Hamsa was asked why the “A” in S.T.E.A.M. is important and what inspired her to donate her award to help build a stronger connection between the arts and S.T.E.M. subjects at her school, she replied:

“The arts are a very important part of STEAM because it largely involves right brain thinking while science, technology, engineering, and math are more left brain dependent and require linear thinking. Art encourages creativity which is essential in going forward in a world filled with data and technology. For competing businesses, it is usually the one with a product that visually appeals to customers that accumulates the most sales. With the abundance of technologies, only those with creative minds will thrive in the new visually-inclined world we are coming to live in.”

The emphasis on Humanities is also a significant component of S.T.E.A.M.. The application of technology to the understanding of humanities can enable these young women to help educate and overcome complex issues that face society.  For example, Hamsa and her team, DASHK, won first place in the 2016 Astra S.T.E.A.M. Summit with a business concept and mobile app called “SnapFoodie” that helps users to make educated food choices by allowing them to take a picture of their food and have nutrition and health facts about the meal come up to educate users about the food they’re eating.

We want to thank Hamsa for her brilliant contributions at the Astra S.T.E.A.M. Summit and are excited to follow her success as a continues her pursuit in S.T.E.A.M. If you or someone you know would be interested in sharing creativity, passion and technological skills at the Astra S.T.E.A.M. Summit, apply today!