On-Demand Speakers 2022

The On-Demand Speaker Videos below were part of the celebrations for the 2022 San Diego Engineers Week Festival. For more speaker videos or to submit a future video, please visit our SanDiegoEngineers.org/STEM/speakers page

Technology & Innovation

The Coming Revolution: Batteries & the Scientific Method

In this talk, Dr. Kevin Wood explores the history and future of batteries as energy-storing devices. In addition, he uses his own research to explain problems with the industry and present possible solutions. Speaker: Dr. Kevin Wood is an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at San Diego State University (SDSU).

Convergent Systems Engineering: Ethical Sustainability

Imagine a world in which everyone is able to easily access information: to make decisions on their well-being and positively impact social, environmental and economic sustainability. Imagine that these capabilities are provided by co-learning between human and machine and that the privacy and security of each individual could be protected. This presentation describes the Sustainable Convergent Systems program at UCSD for important, complex societal problems to foster collective learning through iterative rapid integration and testing in real world scenarios. Speaker: Jon Wade, Ph.D., is the Director of Convergent Systems Engineering at the Jacobs School of Engineering at the UC San Diego.

The San Diego Earthquake Planning Scenario

To evaluate the consequences and better understand the earthquake risk in our San Diego community, the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI) San Diego Regional Chapter has developed a scenario event for a magnitude 6.9 earthquake on the Rose Canyon fault that runs through downtown San Diego. These findings are a planning tool for risk reduction and improved seismic resilience. They have helped to identify the geologic hazards, and resulting impacts to infrastructure and the built environment. Speakers: Kristen Chang, PE, is an Associate Engineer with Group Delta Consultants and an EERI SD board member. Alvaro Celestino, licensed CA Structural Engineer, is an Associate Principal with Degenkolb Engineers in San Diego.

Introduction to Anaerobic Digestion

Biogas, a renewable fuel source, is generated through Anaerobic Digestion (AD). Anaerobic digestion is a process through which bacteria break down organic matter, in the absence of oxygen. This presentation is an introduction to how anaerobic digestion facilities work to produce biogas. It also walks through some of the engineering considerations that go into designing and building these types of facilities. This presentation is hosted by Bioenergy Development Company (BDC), a global leader in the finance, design, build, own, and operation of Anaerobic Digesters. Speaker: Lily Reynolds is a Development Engineer with Bioenergy DevCo. She has a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering and spent the last 5 years working as a design-build consultant at various pharmaceutical and environmental processing facilities.

False First Principles: The Origin of Innovation

First principle techniques have been used for millennia by philosophers like Aristotle and engineers like Henry Ford and Elon Musk. In this presentation, Nicholas Usher defines first principle thinking and demonstrates how it has been used to discover our world and improve it. He then coins the term “false first principle” and explains how it can be used within a broader framework to power innovation. This concept and process can be used by engineers, academics, and students to help society solve its most challenging problems. Speaker: Nicholas Usher, a sophomore at Classical Academy High School, is passionate about robotics, science, and innovation. His project on the application of superconductors in transportation won the Grand Award for physical sciences at the Greater San Diego Science and Engineering Fair.

An Engineer's Obligation to Society

As we go from trying to put a computer in every home, to a computer in every pocket, to potentially a computer in every body, we need to ensure that those building the technologies of the future are aware of, informed about, and responsible for delivering ethical products that will ensure the wellbeing of humanity. Not only will our well being rely on it, but our very survival as a species may depend upon it as well. Speaker: Alexander Usher is a senior at Classical Academy High School and is  passionate about sustainability, robotics, learning, art and fencing. He is the Co-founder and Captain of an internationally competitive robotics team and the Founder and Organizer of the TEDxClassicalAcademyHS. 

Professional Development

Lead Like an Engineer

Engineers who experience success based on technical merits often struggle as they transition into management roles. This can happen because leadership requires you to develop a different skill set than the one you've spent years honing as a professional. In this presentation, you will learn how to leverage your existing engineering skills to become an effective leader.  Speaker: Candace L. Gray is a manufacturing leader and engineer with over 18 years' experience. She serves on the executive boards of the local Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) professional chapters. 

The Leader In You

Being a great leader is so valuable to the world around us. In this presentation I am going to help you discover what traits and qualities make the great leader and show you how you can take the lead in your life right where you are. Speaker: Dr. Justina Sanchez is a leader in every atmosphere. She is a Quality Engineer, a wife, mom and co-leads a media ministry. She loves people and most desserts. Justina takes every opportunity and develops that into something for others. She isn’t afraid to take risks and step into the unknown.

Should I Work in Cyber Security

We know cybersecurity is still a male-dominated industry, it’s an industry that needs more women to bring more gender equality and create more diversity. We need people with disparate backgrounds because the people we are pursuing, (threat actors, hackers, ‘bad guys’) also have a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences.  This report highlights the gap that exists in the cybersecurity landscape with an estimated number of 1.8 million unfilled infosec jobs globally by 2022.  Speaker: Viraj Gandhi is an advocate for equity in the workplace and is currently volunteering with Women in Cyber Security, a community promoting the advancement of women in the cybersecurity workforce.

Security Collaboration, Nurturing Right Partnerships

Security culture has not kept pace with changes in the threat landscape brought about by rapid digital transformation. Investing in Security culture is MUST for every organization to maintain a heightened line of defense. Security awareness needs to take place through training and building security champions who are passionate about security. This talk will provide number of practices that are used to achieve a frictionless tradeoff between mitigating software vulnerabilities and managing risk versus achieving greater usability and performance. Speaker: Viraj Gandhi is a Senior Staff Product Security Engineer at SailPoint, holding Master's and Bachelor's degree in Computer Science. 


Engineering for Sustainability and Health

How can we educate engineers towards a future which is sustainable and healthy? Bringing value-driven children from all corners of the world into engineering, and educating them through inspiring, trans-disciplinary programs, will help us create a better world together. Join us as we delve into three exciting programs hosted by the Shiley Marcos School of Engineering at USD: a Harry Potter STEAM forest school for elementary kids in Tecolote canyon; undergraduate engineers working with the Viejas band of Kumeyaay Nation to keep the Tijuana Estuary free of trash, and a new Masters of Science program launching in May, which will bring together professionals of all kinds to create solutions for the health of our planet and its people. Speaker: Caroline Baillie is a Professor in the Integrated Engineering Dept at USD.

Using Engineering Stories to Inspire Future Engineers 

What do engineers really do? For young students there is often limited information and exposure to engineering. Research demonstrates early exposure to STEM learning increases interest in pursuing STEM careers. How do we interest students in becoming engineers if they don’t know what they truly do? Learn how today’s social media can help lift the veil of secrecy that surrounds the engineering field through community partnerships and STEM story time with the emphasis on E-Engineering!  Speaker: Reed Ganzer is a sophomore at Poway High School and Outreach Lead for FIRST Robotics TECH Challenge Team 10092 Green Griffins. He enjoys mentoring students in robotics and inspiring youth interest in STEM through outreach events.

RoboSub Sim: A Dive into Underwater Autonomy

Team Inspiration has developed a realistic simulation of RoboSub’s underwater competition environment. The functioning platform has simulated sensors and underwater navigation and a comprehensive user guide making it viable for any K-college student to learn the basics of autonomy. Through this presentation, Team Inspiration will discuss their development process and share how they spread the opportunity to dive into STEM with students around the world. Speakers: Ashiria Goel is in her 4th year participating in RoboSub, having previously been the captain of Team Inspiration.  Pratham Saxena is currently a senior at Scripps Ranch High School and is participating in the robotics competitions RoboSub and RobotX.

How SWENext Can Support an Aspiring Engineer

SWENext is a way for girls under 18 years old to engage in the Society of Women Engineers (SWE). As a SWENext Global Innovator, Madalyn shares her experiences in starting a successful SWENext Club and leveraging SWENext’s resources and opportunities to learn and network with peers, role models, and engineering professionals. SWENext can empower girls to prepare for careers in engineering and technology. Adult STEM advocates can also actively participate as SWE Counselors. Speaker: Madalyn Nguyen, a Northrop Grumman intern and aspiring Computer Scientist from Poway High School (PHS), is the Founder and former President of Poway High School SWENext Club and past robotics Co-President. 

Women In Engineering 

Speaker: Samantha Eskharia is a Second grader at Anza Elementary School. She speaks with a passion for engineering, describing how boys and girls can work together on robotics teams to learn technology starting at a young age. She also illustrates how girls benefit from female role models to impact their future. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. TEDxKids@ElCajon


Being Black in Aerospace Engineering: Then and Now

How has the experience of being a Black woman in aerospace engineering changed over the last four decades? LeFlore, a 2015 graduate of the University of Michigan Aerospace Engineering, interviews the first black woman to graduate from the same program in 1977, Barbara Richardson. Together they explore early life experiences from the segregated south to their aerospace experiences and navigating the workplace today. Speaker: Jasmine LeFlore is a Collins Aerospace Engineer, Co-Founder of Greater Than Tech and DEI Leader. Jasmine also has a MSE in Interdisciplinary Engineering (with a Systems Engineering Concentration) at Purdue University and her MBA at Indiana University.

Normalizing Diversity and Equality in Engineering

Why are there so few females in the most prominent engineering field? What about people of color? Learn what you can do to teach the next generation about the importance of equity, inclusion, and diversity. Speaker: Laksita Nandakumar, a student at Mira Mesa High School. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. 

Being a Successful Minority Engineer

Mr. Richard Easley participates in an interview with a USC Professor about the challenges of being a minority engineer in America today. Hear his candid discussion and how it interrelates with engineering solutions for today’s design issues. Speaker: Mr. Richard Easley, President of E-Squared Consulting Corporation, based in Ashburn, Virginia, has more than 34 years of experience in Civil Engineering in the areas of program management, design, planning, feasibility studies, materials inspection and testing. He is a leader in the planning and deployment of Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) technology on an international scale. Mr. Easley earned a M.S. Engineering and a B.S. Civil Engineering from the University Of Texas at Austin.

Not Just For Boys!

Marileen identifies the four main issues that perpetuate the under representation of women entering STEM fields.  She then introduces the American Association of University Women's "Tech Trek" and Better Education for Women in Science and Engineering (BE WISE) as programs that can inspire and motivate women to pursue a STEM education. Speaker:  Marileen Meamari is an 8th grader at Hillsdale Middle School This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. TEDxKids@ElCajon

Student Competition Winner Videos

Jacobs Teen Innovation Challenge

Congratulations to the 2021 San Diego based team, "Poverty Preventers" from the 9th grader Mount Everest Academy. They won first place in the 2021 Jacobs Teen Innovation Challenge (JTIC21). Their winning project was "The Space Umbrella". Please enjoy this winning video. Read more about Eric Nielson, advisor, and the team's accomplishments here.

MathCounts Video Challenge Winner

Congratulations to the San Diego based Mathletes team, "Du Sum Math" from the Elite Academic Academy Middle School. They won first place in the 2021 MathCounts. The Math Video Challenge is an innovative program under "MathCounts" involving team of students using cutting-edge technology to create videos about math problems and their associated concepts.

FIRST Robotics FRC Chairman's Award

Congratulations to the San Diego based Westview High School Robotics FIRST Robotics Competition 2021 Chairman's Award Winner FRC 3341 Team Option 16. This video is from their competition entry. To find out more: http://www.westviewrobotics.com/media.html

FIRST Robotics FRC Chairman's Award

Congratulations to the San Diego based Poway High School FIRST Robotics Competition 2021 Chairman's Award Winner FRC 1622 Team Spyder. This video demonstrates their competition entry. 

FIRST Global Innovation Winner

Congratulations to the San Diego based FTC 16884 Team Mechanical Advantage. They won the FIRST Global Innovation Challenge Impact Award. This video demonstrates their mission to expand STEM education and how FIRST robotics can bridge the educational divide.

STEM Book Authors

Stop by the Book Authors Engineers Week Festival Display Table on Feb 20th and get your own signed copy of your STEM book!!

What Do You Know About ... STEM! STEM inspired ABCs (ages 3-6). Author: Taylor J. Brown,  an Industrial and Systems Engineering student at USD and officer in NSBE-USD

The Secret Code Menace An adventure story where the reader (ages 9-11) picks up concepts of wireless communications. Author: Dr. Pamela Cosman, professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at UC San Diego.  

Turning On The Lights! Using Learning Culture to Increase Student Success. Author: Rafael D. Alvarez,  director of the San Diego City College Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) program