Author: Lumity

This spring, I had the opportunity to attend a Lumity STEM Career Readiness event at Instituto del Progresso Latino. Long-time Lumity partner and volunteer, Miguel Guerra, met with 10 students who previously expressed interest in learning more about technology. Guerra is a Senior IT Network Engineer at Microsoft and spent the afternoon teaching the students about Wi-Fi mapping. Not only did Guerra teach the students about cutting edge technology, he also shared the struggles he faced earlier in life and how he learned to overcome obstacles. He allowed students to ask anything about his life and Guerra provided guidance on socio-emotional development and personal awareness. Because of Guerra’s STEM Talk training from Lumity, his message was direct, well-received and relevant for many of the students. Guerra’s advice: when you see someone doing something you like or are interested in, ask them how they got there. [caption id="attachment_429" align="alignnone" width="2128"]Miguel Guerra teaches Wi-Fi mapping to students Miguel Guerra shares his personal and professional story with students and teaches Wi-Fi mapping at Instituto del Progresso Latino.[/caption]

Bluetooth beacon technology has started to grow in large businesses and stores. Beacon tech is a small sensor device, one that senses when you (or your phone) is within a certain range. Then it sends a signal to communicate with you in real-time about products, offers, etc. Beacons are used for targeted marketing and sales, such as:
  • User analytics
  • Indoor navigation
  • Contactless payments
  • Proximity marketing
This is great! But now you're asking, "how can nonprofit organizations, which do not usually have a physical shop or products to sell, benefit from beacon technology?" I see two main uses for beacons, depending on the type of nonprofit organization: events and fundraising through geo-targeting. There are (at least) six uses for beacons during nonprofit events, seminars, workshops and conferences.

It may be hard to believe Lumity found a group of 30 high school students who are willing to trade their free Saturdays for the next 12 weeks. They are taking advantage of an opportunity to gain career skills, improve their communities and compete for thousands of dollars in scholarships. On Saturday, March 14, Lumity launched its STEM Saturdays program. Sponsored by Accenture and supported by volunteers from Allstate, Accenture and GE Capital, this program runs for 12 weeks on Saturdays, from 10am to 2pm. Students from local schools are teaming up to select a nonprofit or small business in their community that could use their help. Over the course of the 12 weeks, teams will assess the organization’s web presence, make a plan for improvement and implement that plan.

Students visit downtown Chicago officeAt the end of the 2013-2014 school year, a team of professionals from Slalom Consulting held a kickoff event at Amundsen High school for the Slalom Innovation Challenge. When the students returned in the fall, the team was ready to begin the first of four modules that would bring the students from the initial planning stage of a project to prototype and pitching stage by the end of the spring. Module 1 began in the fall when the students returned to school. This module served as a workshop and research stage to explore different customer needs in relation to the problem established. Participating teams conducted customer interviews, studied innovation topics and brainstormed product concepts often in the form of mobile apps. Slalom hosted the students in October where they pitched their product concepts based on the market research and interviews conducted in Module 1. Kristi Eilers, Assistant Principal at Amundsen, noted that for some students, this was their first experience visiting an office in downtown Chicago. While many were nervous at first, they left excited, motivated and ready to work hard to one day obtain a career like the ones they just observed. 

By Michelle Peterson and originally posted on Diversity Divide Panel High school junior Shannon Watkins didn’t have a career path in mind when she started at Sarah E. Goode STEM Academy in Chicago, but her skills-based learning experience at one of Chicago’s five Early College STEM Schools (ECSS) — plus exposure to real IT workplaces like IBM and Razorfish — opened her eyes to some wild possibilities. “It was interesting being able to see different jobs people were doing that weren’t just teachers and police and firefighters,” said Watkins, now with a clear idea of her future. “I want to go into programming, because I’ve done it and I’ve seen how easy it is to code a website.” During “The State of IT: The Diversity Divide,” a panel hosted by CompTIA, the Creating IT Futures Foundation and Lumity, she and classmate Saul Sahagun shared their experiences attending a school that focuses on skills needed in the modern workplace — an educational initiative created to build a pipeline for talent and solve the IT industry’s skills gap.

Last Friday, January 23rd, three Chicago companies graciously opened their doors to more than 60 students to demonstrate technology’s role in vastly different industries. STEM United groupAt United, students learned how technology is used to schedule flight attendants’ shifts, track airplane safety and maintenance work, and predict and communicate weather conditions to keep flights safe and on schedule. The students even tried their hand at the last part, working in groups to offer solutions to a potential flight delay due to a storm covering the southwest.