Session: Highlighting the Hidden ‘A’... STEM to STEAM?
With my talk, I will bring a perspective from the student-side on STEAM. From a young age, I’ve looked to and delved into elements of my Indian culture to learn and implement essential computer science concepts such as recursion and fractal designs. This blend of culture and artistic design that my culture involved was essential to my journey with CS and STEM. Perhaps I don’t do justice to my journey by calling it my journey with STEM. Perhaps I need to—and we need to—highlight the hidden ‘A’. It’s my STEAM journey, as I imagine it is and should be for a plethora of others.
I believe that today this hidden letter that represents this aspect of interdisciplinary collaboration of STEM with the arts isn’t being properly highlighted to students like me—that’s why I had forgone calling my journey a STEAM journey for some time. Emphasizing this interdisciplinary nature is the key to involving more people, especially young students, in STEAM and keeping those already involved stay engaged. Some say STEM already alludes to the element of innovation, which yes, I do agree to some extent. But this needs to not only be made clearer but also broadened. The ‘A’ fulfills this purpose, staunchly tying in the facets of for example, the humanities, creativity, and curiosity. From the intersection of computer science and culture to animation, there are so many STEAM fields that are underrated in a student’s perspective and need to be brought to light. STEAM will also provide the highly-applicable skills of creativity that is essential for everyone in facing the possible dominance of automation. Such skills are what will set individuals apart and apart from possible automation. The skills that 'A' emphasize will also mold individuals into the responsible leaders of tomorrow through opening up fields such as HCI and approaching ethics in technology, overall laying the foundation for a responsible future.
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Bio: Riteka Murugesh
Riteka Murugesh, a high school senior at Saint Francis High School, Mountain View, CA, is a blossoming young woman in tech who also inspires those around her. She is a 2020 NCWIT National Honorable Mention (among the top 10 percent of all applicants nationwide), a 2020 NCWIT CA Bay Area Regional Affiliate Winner, one of only three finalists for Reinvented Magazine's "Reinvented Woman of the Year," and was also in fact, a Women Tech Network Special Recognition Awardee!
She founded and is the president of CodELEVATE, an initiative to eliminate disparities in tech training, mainly GitHub and HTML, after witnessing how most guides online are intended more towards professionals not students her age when she taught herself GitHub.
Riteka has also had the honor of organizing three all-female 12-hour hackathons along with the rest of the board members of her school’s Girls Who Code Club. Namely, they were AnitaHacks with Netflix, AdaHacks II with Google, and HopperHacks@Home with Facebook. Each of these hackathons had over 100 participants.
As already mentioned, Riteka is a board member of her school’s Girls Who Code club where she teaches students lessons in computer science. She is also a board member of her school’s FIRST Robotics Competition Team (Team 2367), one of the largest clubs at her school, while she specializes in code and electronics.