For immediate release ‐ September 29, 2021
Contact: Jon Pishney, 919.707.8083. Images available upon request
[RALEIGH, N.C.] — The great jobs of today and tomorrow are in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math (STEAM). Yet people with disabilities remain underrepresented in these fields. To help turn that tide, the 9th annual STEAM Career Showcase for Students with Disabilities will be held virtually Tuesday, October 19 from 1 to 3:30 p.m., hosted by the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. This free event, developed in partnership with SAS, is designed for students with disabilities in grades 6-12, and gives attendees a chance to meet and be inspired by role models with disabilities who have thriving careers in STEAM fields.
Event collaborator Ed Summers is a visually impaired software developer and Director of Accessibility at SAS. “I’m living proof that a disability can be an asset rather than a liability,” he says. “People with disabilities must be creative and adaptable. Those qualities are exactly what employers need in today’s ever-changing business environment.”
The STEAM Showcase will include a Keynote Speaker, Panel Discussion and Breakout Sessions, where participants will have an opportunity to directly engage with the speakers and will gain practical knowledge that they can apply to their interests and future career paths. For more information or to register visit naturalsciences.org/steam (registration is free but required). For additional questions, contact Coordinator of Accessibility and Inclusion Jessie Rassau (firstname.lastname@example.org / 919.707.9976).
Keynote Speaker Brandon Winfield grew up playing sports until he found his first true love of motocross, when he traveled the country racing dirt bikes. In 2008, Brandon was injured in a motocross accident that left him with a thoracic spinal cord injury (paralyzed from the chest down). Now he is the founder of iAccess Life, a mobile app that allows people with disabilities to rate, review and research accessible venues, such as restaurants, retail shops, grocery stores and more. Through his start-up, Brandon aims to empower users to “know before they go” and to feel confident making plans with their friends, colleagues and loved ones.
- Myles de Bastion is an artistic director, musician and creative altruist who develops technology and art installations that enable sound to be experienced as light and vibration. His search for ways to bridge his passion for music with his Deaf identity led him to found CymaSpace, a non-profit that facilitates arts and cultural events that are inclusive of the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing. His work has appeared on the Jimmy Kimmel Live! Show and he has built large-scale installations for musical festivals and Grammy-award winning jazz artist Esperanza Spalding.
- Kiara Gomez is a PhD Candidate in the Jackson School of Geosciences at the University of Texas at Austin. She is also a first-generation college student with Colombian roots, and a person who stutters. Kiara’s path as a geoscientist has been multidisciplinary and her love for geology and organic geochemistry has grown from her exposure to its diverse applications across different disciplines. She is passionate about increasing diversity in STEM fields through mentoring and community outreach.
- Bob Moran is a Content Developer for the Global Partner and Technical Enablement team at Red Hat. He has been with the team for eight and a half years working on video editing, image animation and SCORM packaging. Bob is very interested in working with students with disabilities. He shows them that like himself (Bob is visually impaired), with the correct training and use of assisted technology, they will be able to find work in technology or the arts unhindered by their disabilities.
- Laura Feldberg is a technical writer working at SAS. She is passionate about communicating content in a way that is equitable so that everyone has access to the same information. She has a lifetime’s experience in managing anxiety and depression before they manage her (usually). She wears hearing aids (when she wants to hear you). She lives with a few chronic illnesses, her family, and some very demanding pets.
Please note: ASL interpretation and live captions will be provided for the entire program and for each breakout room. This year’s STEAM Showcase is sponsored by SAS Institute, Inc.; Red Hat; Labcorp; SAVVAS Learning Company; and the Vaught Family.