Artificial Intelligence, Cloud Computing, Education, Innovation, STEM

Your “Cloudy” Future: Let’s get it started

Ok, you have decided that your future may be “cloudy” and you want to start your journey on learning cloud skills and knowledge to pursue a career in cloud computing. What do you do next? You need to discover your “learning superpower”, start your cloud journey from the right location, and then choose your prompt.

Discover Your Learning Superpower

What’s your learning superpower? My favorite superhero, who happens to be African American, is “Meteor Man”, who is played by Richard Townsend. The movie was very corny, so to speak, but his message was actually outstanding. In the movie, Meteor Man was battling his enemy in a street fight. Meteor Man hadn’t yet discovered all of his superpowers but when pressed in the fight he learned he had a special power. As they were fighting, a pile of books was knocked over and he grabbed one. It was a book on how to do martial arts written by Bruce Lee. He instantaneously knew how to do martial arts and was able to battle his enemy. The superpower he discovered he has was: Any book that he put in his hand, he instantaneously was able to know and apply what was in the book! Your superpower is related, any book (or paper, video, article) that you read and apply, you will have that knowledge! When I received my Ph.D., it was because I used my superpower of reading to learn new concepts, even without having a teacher to teach them. Now, not only can you read about cloud computing, or any subject for that matter, but you have countless free videos and online websites you can refer to. The lack of learning material is not a problem. It’s the lack of you taking the time to read itself is the roadblock you have. But you can overcome that! I’ll show you how in the “Find Your Prompt” section of this blog post! Note: if you can’t understand something the first time you read it, read it at least two more times. I find that often I need to see something that seems complicated at least three times before I can understand it.

Start Your Journey from the Right Location

Have you ever went hiking through a forest or mountain? Neither have I (Well maybe I have). How about, have you ever went shopping for a computer? In the “Before Time”, you used to have to go out to the store and look for a computer. But if you went to “Forever 21” to find a computer, you would never find one there. So if you want to start your Cloudy Future journey, you should start with those who are offering the Cloud as a service to others. Go “shop” for free learning material from Amazon, Microsoft, Google, or IBM. (If any of you companies are reading this and want me to point others to where they should start, please message me on LinkedIn.).

Since I’m most familiar with Amazon Web Service, or AWS, I would say, start here and here. And take a map with you (click here) to see where you are headed and how to get there. Here is the AWS Map for becoming a Cloud Practitioner, Solutions Architect Associate, or Solutions Architect Professional. Completing most of this material in sections 1 or 2 of this “map” will be enough to prepare you for the Cloud Practitioner exam. Hey, I was just reading that tuition at Bowdoin College is now only $70,000 per year. The path I’m pointing you towards can be mostly free and will cost $100 bucks to take the Cloud Practitioner exam virtually and have jobs that will pay in the $100K’s (see my first blog here.)

Find Your Prompt

In “Tiny Habits: The Small Changes That Change Everything,” BJ Fogg outlines the steps for Behavior Design. Clarify what are your aspirations: do you want a cloud certification? Which one? Solutions Architect Associate? Explore behavior options: You can sit around complaining that you lost your job, watch another 20 hours of a Netflix series, or you can start and finish your Cloudy Future journey towards certification. Start tiny: Read one web page on cloud computing. Find a good prompt: Next time you find yourself getting ready to watch Netflix, or whatever prompt you find that’s good for you, decide to read one webpage or one 3 minute video on cloud computing. Before you know it, you will be developing and extending new behaviors that you designed yourself!

Let’s get it started

Step 1. Do you know your learning superpower? Hint: it’s reading.

Step 2. Do you know where to start and how to get there? Hint: Start with a 10-minute introduction here and then take some free 6-hour digital training here. Don’t forget your map.

Step 3. Have you found your prompt? Hint: Every time you think or see “<your prompt>”, read a webpage or video of cloud computing from Step 2. Now cue up the Will.i.am and the Black Eye Peas song and “Let’s get it started! Ha!”

Andrew B. Williams, Ph.D., M.B.A., is an AWS Certified Cloud Professional that has decided to help others learn skills for the cloud. He teaches computer science, computer engineering, and does research in artificial intelligence and human-robot interaction at the University of Kansas and wants to see technology democratized and accessible to everyone who wants to pursue a career in cloud computing.

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Ai, Cloud Computing, Computer Science, diversity, Education, Engineering, STEM

Is Your Future “Cloudy”?: Consider Pursuing a Cloud-Related Career Through #Google, #Microsoft, or #Amazon Cloud Certifications

What do you do if you have lost your job or have the threat of losing a job due to the coronavirus pandemic? I have had several friends and relatives that are contemplating the dire situations that this pandemic has caused with their careers. Also, there are many who have jobs that require being in “close contact” with others.

Yet there are other positions that have allowed people to work from home. We hear about the big tech companies that have mandated that most people work from home. What about those who don’t have those jobs and are forced to work near people? There is nothing wrong with those jobs and we are happy that we have doctors, nurses, grocery store clerks and others who continue to serve our communities. I personally have felt a burdened to at least let others know that there may be another way. That other way is to learn skills related to the “cloud” and gaining certifications for the cloud. First, let me say what those cloud skills are and why certifications may be the path to choose. I’m sure you are curious why I would promote this particularly since I’m a college professor who helps people get college degrees, not certifications.

What is the Cloud?

Before I tell you what the cloud is, let me tell you how you use it every day? The cloud lets you watch Netflix, shop on Amazon, take an Uber, get your health insurance payments processed, deliver educational content, and the list goes on and on. The Cloud is all of the software services and information technology infrastructure for companies that move all or most of their computing, storage, network, and other web services to huge data centers managed by companies such as Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and IBM across not only the U.S. but around the globe.

Why should I become certified in the cloud?

Since the cloud is prevalent in most companies, persons that are skilled in the cloud can take advantage of opportunities for employment at companies that utilize the cloud. But how does a company know you can help them with their cloud infrastructure and services. Companies such as Amazon, Google, and Microsoft offer training and certifications for cloud computing. A certification is a type of “degree” that states that you have been tested on the knowledge and skills that someone needs for a particular role. Amazon, for example, has a cloud practitioner certification, a solutions architect associate certification, and then a solutions architect professional certification along with “tons” of free training online. Google’s certification is called an Associate Cloud Engineer and a Professional Cloud Architect.

How much is a cloud certification worth?

What are those certifications worth? According to Forbes, a person with the Google Professional Cloud Architect makes an average salary of $175,000 a year and a person with an Amazon AWS Solutions Architect Associate certification makes an average of $149,000. People with Microsoft Certified Azure Fundamentals are, according to the Forbes article, are making an average of $129,000. So is it worth the time and effort to get certified? I think so. What about you?

What will you do next?

I hope to write more about your “Cloudy Future” because I want to provoke you to consider applying your time and effort to getting cloud skills. It’s not going to be easy, but is anything worth it ever easy? My hypothesis is that anyone can learn these skills if they apply themselves and get some coaching. Maybe my blog posts can serve to provide insight and tips to make your cloudy future into a Cloud Future.

Andrew B. Williams, Ph.D., M.B.A., is an AWS Certified Cloud Professional that has decided to help others learn skills for the cloud. He teaches computer science, computer engineering, and does research in artificial intelligence and human-robot interaction at the University of Kansas and wants to see technology democratized and accessible to everyone who wants to pursue a career in cloud computing.

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My Grandfather’s Freedom from Slavery: A Personal Reflection on #Juneteenth

Considering how “young” I am, it may be a surprise to some, that my grandfather, not my great grandfather, was born into a slave family in America. On this Juneteenth, I pause to reflect on personally being only separated from slavery by my Dad’s generation and being grateful to my ancestors for never giving up trying to make things better for the next generation. My Grandfather, George Albany Williams, was born in 1864 into slavery in Virginia, a year before the 13th amendment and the Juneteenth date. On my Dad’s birth certificate, it states his and my Grandmother’s race as Negro. At some point in his life, George Albany migrated to Ansonia, a town outside New Haven, Connecticut, a city famous for Yale University.

My Grandfather, George Albany Williams, born into slavery in 1864

My Grandfather’s occupation on my Dad’s birth certificate was listed as a plumber. According to my Dad, they lived in a house with immigrants, such as Polish and Jewish families. My Grandmother, Mary Morgan, looked white but was probably mixed. Family legend has it that she was born out of wedlock from a very well-known and affluent white man. She never shared in any of that wealth and was raised as an orphaned child.

When I think of my Grandfather being declared no longer a slave as a baby, I am saddened that he still did not have the opportunity to pursue some of the things a white person at the time could when he grew up. I’m sure going to a nearby college such as Yale University was not an option he could consider. His Son, my Dad, John Morgan Williams, grew up during the Great Depression and recalled working in FDR’s Civilian Conservation Corps. He said it was the first time he got to drink milk regularly and had fond memories of eating sandwiches and not having to go hungry as he did sometimes growing up.

My Dad, John Morgan Williams, served in WWII and Korean War

I always looked up to my Dad and am convinced I am who I am because he was a role model, provider, and protector for me. My Dad served our country in World War II and the Korean War. He was part of the Big Red One Infantry Division in Fort Riley, Kansas, highlighted by Spike Lee with co-writer and Junction City, Kansas native Kevin Wilmott in Netflix’s Da 5 Bloods. Later, my Dad faithfully provided for my siblings and I while working as a garbage collector and then worked at a recreational vehicle manufacturer as a “plumber” of sorts. I remember my Dad being mechanically gifted to work on cars of all types. My Dad liked to read. He regularly read Popular Science and Popular Mechanics, which helped further my interest in science and engineering. I’m sure he would have been successful had the GI Bill been given to him to go to college or to buy more than the two bed-room trailer we lived in with my five siblings and Mom.

The Spelman College SpelBots Robotics and AI Team I started in 2004

I wonder if Grandpa George would have dreamed that his grandson would go to college and become the first African American to graduate with a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the University of Kansas, start a robotics and AI team at Spelman College, called the SpelBots that competed internationally, become a Distinguished Chair, and later an Associate Dean tasked with helping black students and other minorities become engineers at the flagship university for the state I live in. I wonder if Grandpa George would know three of his grandsons from his son John would earn PhD’s, one would attend graduate school at M.I.T., and his grandaughters would earn master’s degrees. Or that one of his great granddaughters from my siblings and I would become a surgeon, two of his great grandsons would become computer scientists, and another great grandson would end up going to Yale University.

This Juneteenth, I am grateful that whether in slavery or in freedom, my ancestors did not give up in the fight for freedom and equity. They taught their children and next generation how to live with dignity and respect always wanting and working for a better world for their children. They never gave up. Nor will I.

About the Author: Dr. Andrew B. Williams is the Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusive and Spahr Professor of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science at the University of Kansas. Dr. Williams began and now directs the IHAWKe (Indigenous, Hispanic, African American, Women, KU Engineering) program and building on the 45+ year old Diversity and Women’s program at KU Engineering that first gave him an introduction to engineering and computing several years ago as a first-generation, low-income African American college student. He is the author of the book, Out of the Box: Building Robots, Transforming Lives.

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Ai, Artificial Intelligence, Computer Science, Design Thinking, diversity, Education, Engineering, Innovation, STEM, Uncategorized

Safe and Engaged Learning: The Power of Student Ingenuity in the Pandemic

This summer, I have heard from students who had internships planned but because of the economic crisis that followed the pandemic, their companies had to rescind the offers. To give these students something productive to do this summer and provide potential supplemental financial support, I decided that we are going to have a Summer 2020 IHAWKe-A-Thon, or hackathon, a student engineering design team competition. The IHAWKe-a-Thon may provide additional scholarship support from company donations to some of the winning student teams. The Summer 2020 IHAWKe-A-Thon may also provide students the opportunity to work on projects for a weekend and possibly the rest of the summer that can help “change the world” to improve learning in the fall. Who better than the students to interview each other and instructors to empathize and discover the needs that should be addressed for optimal and fun hybrid (online and in-person) learning during the pandemic? The following are some of the possible topics the students may address.

Topics Students will Tackle with Engineering

  • Comfortable personal protection while learning in-person
  • Making hybrid (in-person and online) learning fun and effective
  • Building community and friendships safely
  • Effective and virus free classrooms
  • Collaborating on projects and homework
  • A better way to work together virtually other than Zoom or Microsoft Teams
  • Keeping students and faculty safe
  • Caring for the ill
  • Universal design for coursework
  • Keeping up with classes

Potential Prototype Technology that May Be Used

  • Cardboard mockups and models
  • Building designs
  • Virtual reality
  • Augment reality
  • Voice recognition (Alexa – Echo Dot)
  • Machine Learning, AI, and Data Science
  • Robotics and drones
  • Embedded smart technology in classroom
  • Chemistry, chemical engineering, bioinformatics

The Pandemic Learning Crisis

During the second half of the Spring 2020 semester, around 20,000+ of our KU students had to quickly shift to learning online because of the pandemic. Students and faculty had to rapidly adjust to not having in-person classes, labs, or discussions often with limited internet bandwidth and equipment. You can imagine how many challenges students had in staying engaged in the learning process without being able to closely interact with their instructors and classmates in person.

Involving the Students in the “Learning” Solution

Now that the Fall semester is quickly approaching, universities across the nation and globe are wondering how to best approach re-opening the classroom to in-person learning. From my personal observations, college-age students have no problem playing video games like Animal Crossing virtually and collaboratively but often lack the same engagement and fun while learning school material online. But another issue that will weigh heavily on many students and parents is how will students interact in class safely while being protected from the coronavirus. Why not involve the students themselves in designing the best, safe, and engaging learning solutions?

Letting Students Change the World Together

Our IHAWKe (Indigenous, Hispanic, African-American, Asian, Women, KU engineering) mission is to develop culturally competent technical leaders that change the world, connect with others, and conquer their classes through engineering and computing. Not only will students be able to apply engineering and computing to “change the world” but also “connect with others” as they compete and collaborate in virtual teams using Microsoft Teams.

Unleashing Student Creativity to Defeat Covid-19

During the IHAWKe-a-Thon, students will learn to use design thinking and lean startup methods as they address the Covid-19 pandemic with creative and innovative prototypes and business ideas. We plan to have faculty and industry representatives to judge the winning designs and business models. If you or your company want to help be a judge or support this effort, please let me know. Who knows, the learning and safety product solutions these students dream up may soon be coming to an institution or organization near you!

About the Author: Dr. Andrew B. Williams is the Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusive and Spahr Professor of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science at the University of Kansas. Dr. Williams began and now directs the IHAWKe (Indigenous, Hispanic, African American, Women, KU Engineering) program and building on the 45+ year old Diversity and Women’s program at KU Engineering that first gave him an introduction to engineering and computing several years ago as a first-generation, low-income African American college student.

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diversity, Education, Engineering, STEM

KU Engineering Reaffirms Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

In the wake of recent events, I wrote a letter to our students, faculty, and staff that was co-signed by our Dean for the School of Engineering:

Dear School of Engineering Students, Faculty, and Staff,

With the death of George Floyd in police custody in Minnesota, as well as continued racial injustice throughout the country and the ongoing protests around the nation, the KU School of Engineering is reaffirming its support for members of our community that believe in and peacefully stand for the dignity, value, and respect of African Americans and other marginalized groups. We also acknowledge and respect those in law enforcement that share our values.

The KU School of Engineering began supporting African American students almost fifty years ago through a student-led organization called SCoRMEBE (Student Council for Recruiting, Motivating, and Educating Black Engineers). That same spirit of support and value for African Americans and others continues through the IHAWKe (Indigenous, Hispanic, African American, Asian, Women KU Engineering) Diversity and Women’s Programs. IHAWKe exists for our students, staff, faculty, and broader marginalized communities in Kansas and beyond.

Our IHAWKe Diversity Task Force came together last year to develop our One Jayhawk: KU School of Engineering Community Beliefs. As One Jayhawk, we are united by and seek to adhere to our KU School of Engineering Community Beliefs as we pursue our mission of excellence in engineering education, research, and service:

1.    We believe everyone is a unique and valued member of our community, deserving of respect and kindness.

2. We believe everyone belongs here and should feel welcomed, appreciated, and safe.

3.    We believe everyone should be treated fairly and respectfully as an equal in our humanity. 

Please know that we, along with the Chancellor, Provost, and other KU Diversity and Equity offices, are here to support you and stand ready to assist when needed. If you have any questions or would like to join our School of Engineering Diversity Task Force, please contact Associate Dean Andrew Williams.

Sincerely,

Andrew B. Williams, Associate Dean, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Arvin Agah, Dean

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The Need to Expand Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Covid-19 Era

In the Short Term, A New “Minority”

As college students and their families are contemplating heading back to their campuses in the “pre-vaccine” Covid-19 Era, there is an emerging new population requiring the application of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). Those who would have never considered themselves “low-income”, being differently-abled, or not having access to in-person education before the pandemic may find themselves in related situations. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, over 20 million people lost their jobs to raise unemployment to 14.7 percent. There are additional families who own small businesses that are suffering from the loss of revenue due to the pandemic lockdown. These families may not be low-income but they are at least temporary may be “lower-income”. These students may not be differently-abled but live under the threat of losing their ability to study if they contract the contagious virus. And though many families can still afford to go to college, access to in-person learning has been shut off at least temporarily. These situations have plagued low-income, minority families, and persons with disabilities for generations.

DEI Needed for the New Minority

This pandemic highlights the necessity of having DEI leaders, policies, and programs. Universities’ focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion programs and policies need to broaden their support and services for families that are newly affected by the pandemic as well as those that were affected prior to Covid-19. These DEI services, programs, and policies should not just be expanded for these students and their families, but also take into consideration the needs of college staff, faculty, and their families as well.

Facing What Minorities Have Faced

It is apparent from the news reports that the coronavirus has magnified not only the health disparities that minorities, low-income, and less-educated workers and families have but also the lack of privilege that comes from having jobs that allow for working from home. As a leader and faculty in higher education and DEI, my goal is to help as many students in these categories receive a STEM college education that will give them this privilege of being able to work from the shelter of the home as the coronavirus ravages families and communities without a vaccine in sight. But those who do not come from minority, low-income, or less educated families are sometimes finding themselves in similar shoes because of the loss of their parents’ jobs or businesses or because of sickness caused by the coronavirus. Resiliency and resourcefulness is the blessing in disguise that those from less privileged backgrounds have often relied on to achieve in education but are not limited to just these communities.

Temporary Loss of Privilege of Safe, In-Person Learning

Even the most elite colleges and universities are facing the fiscal challenge that privileged families may not want to send their children to campus. In some cases, the universities themselves may not fully re-open for on-campus learning in the near future. Families that have a long line of college-educated members are not used to not having the ability to go to a college campus to learn in-person. They are having to navigate a new situation similar to how first-generation college students who have to navigate the unknown because they don’t have a family member that went to college before them.

Innovating for Inclusion, Equity, and Diversity for All

New ways of safely engaging students through learning online need to be created, regardless of the students’ family background and privilege. All students who face lower-income, barriers to in-person learning, and the threat of disability need our universities’ support during this pandemic. Let’s not cut these programs and initiatives but rather broaden their focus and increase their support. In the end, we will all benefit from these learning and inclusion innovations and the broadening and expansion of diversity, equity, and inclusion for all.

About the Author: Dr. Andrew B. Williams is the Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusive and Spahr Professor of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science at the University of Kansas. Dr. Williams began and now directs the IHAWKe (Indigenous, Hispanic, African American, Women, KU Engineering) program and building on the 40+ year old Diversity and Women’s program at KU Engineering that first gave him an introduction to engineering and computing several years ago as a first-generation, low-income college student.

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Artificial Intelligence, Design Thinking, diversity, Education, Engineering, Innovation, STEM, Sustainability, Technology

Diverse Students with Passion Can Change the World for the Better

What happens when you give 50+ KU engineering students from SHPE, NSBE, SWE, AISES, and Women in Computing the opportunity to come together to use design thinking and lean startup skills to change the world?  They begin to believe that they can.  Recently Kiewit and Amazon (AWS Educate) sponsored IHAWKe in our third year of having IHAWKe-a-Thons that launch our Change the World projects.

Another 50 of our KU students attended Amazon workshops led by Raj C. to learn how to use machine learning, AI, computer vision, and speech tools.  What is amazing is that all of the teams that competed, most of whom had never written an AI program, all had low-fidelity prototypes that integrated high fidelity Alexa speech and AI capabilities.

The students touched on topics from the National Academy of Engineering’s Grand Challenges and the UN Sustainable Development Goals including Equitable Access for Education and Healthcare, Sustainable Transportation and Waste Reduction.  Some ideas were creative, radical, or practical but all were imaginative, hopeful and inspiring.  Each solution shared how empathy, personas, ideation, prototypes, and feedback were involved.  Something new to this year’s IHAWKe-a-Thon included students providing their business models to pitch the economic viability of their solutions, particularly in developing countries.

Thanks to Kiewit (Jay, Charles, John) for providing funding for the prizes, scholarships, supplies, and food.  We appreciate also AWS Education (Raj, Brooke, Bill, and Tiffany) for the time planning, teaching, and donations of their amazing technology and platform.  Thanks also to Burns and McDonnell (Cesar), Cerner (John), C2FO (Adam), KCKPS (Anita), and KU faculty (Annette, Garrett, Cuncong, Michael) that helped provide feedback and judging.


“Those people who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world are the ones that do.” – Steve Jobs

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Education, Entrepreneurship, Sustainability, Uncategorized

Lifelong Learning: Watch Netflix or Earn an MBA?

Our Rockhurst MBA Capstone Team for Sprint Sustainability (Instructor: Dr. Randy Schwering, Lakshmi Komatreddy, Jordan Griffin, Keven Thomas, Devin Blazek, Brooke Wade)

Would you rather watch the last three seasons of Stranger Things on Netflix or use the time to get an MBA?  When I decided to start my MBA this was the type of question I asked myself. We can sit in a movie theatre to watch the latest Terminator movie for three hours.  But that same three hours could be spent learning how to use logistic regression to predict the outcome of an important business decision.

Last night my Rockhurst University MBA Capstone team presented our final analysis and recommendations for Sprint to help them improve their sustainability efforts and strategy.  It was a pleasure working with Amy Bond and Mary Lewis, both from Sprint Corporation, and the rest of our team (listed above in our team picture) on this project.  Dr. Randy Schwering gave us the tools and guidance to see our project to completion.  In our capstone class, we put together the knowledge we learned about marketing, financial analysis and strategy, design thinking, competitive analysis, business analytics, data science, accounting, force field analysis, and other business topics to apply to a real-world problem that Sprint, headquartered in Kansas City, is facing.

This summer, I also decided to learn about how to foster inclusion and diversity.  I was able to learn with executives around the world through the Yale School of Management executive education program.  We were able to work on real-world problems around diversity while receiving coaching from global peers and excellent instructors, including Professors Heidi Brooks and Amy Wrzesniewski.

Does this mean I’m suggesting everyone should earn an MBA or a new certification from an Ivy League school?  No.  I did it because I want to continue to learn and grow personally and that I can use my knowledge to help others grow and learn.  I want to learn the languages of innovation, engineering, and business to be able to create and lead efforts that will solve problems we have in organizations and communities.  I could have spent the time watching lots of Netflix, playing video games, or even playing golf.  There’s nothing wrong with that.  But I was able to spend the time investing in my personal growth and development.  There’s nothing wrong with that either.  What about you?  What would you rather do?

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Noche De Ciencias with KU SHPE Chapter Reaches Students and Families

Above: KU SHPE chapter students at Noche De Ciencias

Recently one of our IHAWKe student groups, KU SHPE (Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers), teamed up with the KC SHPE Chapter, including Cesar Cea and Daniel Sierra, and Olathe Public Schools, Kat Girod, to host our 3rd Noche De Ciencias, or Night of Science since Dr. Williams has been back at KU. This year public K-12 schools have become majority-minority nationally and represent an opportunity to grow the diversity of the engineering and computing profession as these students are recruited to attend college and study STEM.

Our SHPE students worked with students from LatinX families on building solar car kits to get them excited about Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. We also had workshops and a panel discussion, in English and Spanish, for the parents and families of the high school and middle school students. Thanks to KU SHPE, KC SHPE, and Olathe Public Schools for working with IHAWKe to put on this fantastic event!

Below: Kat Girod providing coordination for Noche de Ciencias

About the Author: Dr. Andrew B. Williams is the Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusive and Spahr Professor of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science at the University of Kansas. Dr. Williams began and now directs the IHAWKe (Indigenous, Hispanic, African American, Women, KU Engineering) program and building on the 40+ year old Diversity and Women’s program at KU Engineering that first gave him an introduction to engineering several years ago as a first-generation, low-income college student

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diversity, Education, STEM

Noche De Ciencias with KU SHPE Chapter Reaches Students and Families


Above: KU SHPE chapter students at Noche De Ciencias

Recently one of our IHAWKe student groups, KU SHPE (Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers), teamed up with the KC SHPE Chapter, including Cesar Cea and Daniel Sierra, and Olathe Public Schools, Kat Girod, to host our 3rd Noche De Ciencias, or Night of Science since Dr. Williams has been back at KU.  This year public K-12 schools have become majority-minority nationally and represent an opportunity to grow the diversity of the engineering and computing profession as these students are recruited to attend college and study STEM.

Our SHPE students worked with students from LatinX families on building solar car kits to get them excited about Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.  We also had workshops and a panel discussion, in English and Spanish, for the parents and families of the high school and middle school students.   Thanks to KU SHPE, KC SHPE, and Olathe Public Schools for working with IHAWKe to put on this fantastic event!

About the Author: Dr. Andrew B. Williams is the Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusive and Spahr Professor of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science at the University of Kansas. Dr. Williams began and now directs the IHAWKe (Indigenous, Hispanic, African American, Women, KU Engineering) program and building on the 40+ year old Diversity and Women’s program at KU Engineering that first gave him an introduction to engineering several years ago as a first-generation, low-income college student. 

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