Hundreds of High Schoolers Board the USS Midway May 20th for the Steam Leadership Series

Hundreds of High Schoolers Board the USS Midway May 20th for the Steam Leadership Series

Hundreds of High Schoolers Board the USS Midway May 20th for the Steam Leadership Series

Local Innovators “From the Skies to the Streets” Will Engage Students in Exciting STEAM Career Opportunities in San Diego


SAN DIEGO, Calif. - May 13, 2016 - The latest STEAM Leadership Series event will take 300 San Diego Unified middle and high school students “From the Skies to the Streets” on Friday, May 20th from 9:00 - 10:00 AM PT on the USS Midway Museum. Students will learn about STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) career experiences from five local innovators and engage with new technologies from their respective companies. Exhibits on the flight deck will include electric vehicles and a stand-up charger, a model of an unmanned jet and quadcopter, an algae-fueled Baja 1000 motorcycle, innovative bicycles as well as a satellite antenna, modem and other next-generation products that enable fast satellite internet.

Event schedule includes:

    8:15 AM PT - Students arrive on the USS Midway
    9:00 AM PT - Speaking program begins
    10:00 AM - 12:45 PM PT - Student tours begin: speaker exhibits and the USS Midway

The speaker program kicks-off with Kristi Jaska, vice president of Strategy and Innovation at ViaSat as the keynote, with emcee David Wagner, science and technology reporter with KPBS to lead a panel on the future of transportation. The discussion will address questions from students in the audience as well as live-streamed classroom interaction from students around San Diego County. The live stream will be accessible at Students will use #steamleadsd to ask questions via Twitter.

Panel speakers include (short bios included below):

  • Benno Baenziger, Co-Founder, The Electra Bicycle Company and Benno Bikes
  • April Bolduc, Electric Vehicle Customer Engagement Manager, SDG&E
  • Kristian Gustavson, Research Team Lead, Field Division for Asymmetric Research Group
  • Kristi Jaska, Vice President of Strategy and Innovation, ViaSat
  • Eric Maglio, Conceptual Design Engineer, Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems

“Our goal is to inspire San Diego students through interactions with the latest technologies and innovative thinkers in our region,” said Steve Chapple, series founder and author of the Intellectual Capital column about game-changing people and ideas.

“This is an important opportunity for our students to interact with professionals in the community and to connect their interests with a real career option,” added Daniel Barone, teacher on special assignment at the San Diego Unified School District. “We match students in Linked Learning career pathway classes based on the theme of each event, so for this one we’ll have students from engineering and automotive pathways.”

The STEAM Leadership Series is a program of Intellectual Capital Chapple and Kids Eco Club in partnership with the San Diego Unified School District and Education Synergy Alliance, with support from The San Diego Foundation, SDG&E, USS Midway Museum, Duane Roth Legacy Fund, Ford Motor, Farrell Family Foundation and others, including producing vendor UCTV.

Now in its second year, the program has reached thousands of students from dozens of schools in San Diego Unified. Across six events, the students have interacted with legendary San Diego high-tech executives, inventors and entrepreneurs from a range of industries including unmanned vehicles/drones, satellite communications, biotech and green tech, to software and sports.


Speaker Bios

Benno Baenziger
Co-Founder of The Electra Bicycle Company and Founder of Benno Bikes

Born and raised in Berlin, Germany, Benno was a skate and snowboard pioneer who dreamed of living in California. After graduating from design school he moved to San Diego where, in 1993, he co-founded the Electra Bicycle Company. Benno left the company in 2010 after its sale three years prior, but his restless desire to design better bikes and inspire people to ride remained, which lead him to create Benno Bikes in 2015.

April Bolduc
Electric Vehicle Customer Engagement Manager, SDG&E

April is the EV Customer Engagement Manager for SDG&E’s Clean Transportation team. She shares the benefits of electric vehicles, and letting future EV owners know that the utility offers special low rates to customers that drive EVs. She is leading the customer efforts for their new Power Your Drive EV charging station program. Prior to her work in electric vehicles April was a media and employee communications manager for SDG&E, and managed the public relations efforts and employee communications for their smart meter, smart grid, microgrid and cybersecurity projects. April is a graduate of UC San Diego with a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication, and a past president of the Public Relations Society of America’s San Diego and Imperial Counties Chapter.

Kristian Gustavson
Research Team Lead, Field Division for Asymmetric Research Group

Kristian is an Oceanography Instructor/Lecturer and the Research Team Lead, Field Division for the Asymmetric Research Group. He is also an Explorers Club Fellow leading a variety of projects aimed at ‘driving innovation’ from the lab to the market for clean water and clean energy projects. He is the current land-speed record holder for an algae-fueled motorcycle that he raced in the Baja 1000. As a consultant, Kristian is also partnering with US State and Federal Agencies to develop a visual online platform for waterway data through a program called the Riverview Project. He earned a Masters degree from Scripps Institution of Oceanography and has been named one of Outside Magazine’s Chief Inspiration Officers, ‘Hero of the Heartland’ from the American Red Cross and ‘Agent of Change’ from Surfer Magazine.

Kristi Jaska
Vice President of Strategy and Innovation, ViaSat

Kristi Jaska is vice president of Strategy and Innovation at ViaSat, a global broadband services and technology company. She joined ViaSat as the sixth employee; since then the Company has grown to more than 3,700 employees worldwide. In her tenure with ViaSat, Kristi has been integral in spurring innovative thinking and driving core strategic satellite system initiatives, which have helped drive ViaSat to be a billion dollar plus company. Her experience spans technical management and strategy as well as software and system design. Most recently Kristi founded ViaSat’s new innovation center. Kristi holds numerous patents in digital communications. She also serves on the selection committee for San Diego’s EvoNexus start-up incubator and on the board of the San Diego Venture Group. Kristi earned her B.S. and M.Eng degrees in Electrical Engineering from Cornell University.

Eric Maglio
Conceptual Design Engineer, Autonomous Systems, Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems

Eric is an aerospace professional specializing in new concept development for the future of autonomous systems. He is involved with several innovative projects that shape how air and surface vehicles interact with each other and their surroundings. Prior to joining Northrop Grumman, Eric was heavily involved in the small unmanned systems (sUAS) community. In 2014, he served as detailed designer, manufacturing lead, and chief pilot on a student team competing on a border patrol sUAS design competition sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security. The team was one of only four collegiate groups to be selected and funded to produce a flying prototype. Eric holds a bachelor’s degree in aeronautical and astronautical engineering from Purdue University. He also holds a private pilot certification, and was among the first individuals or groups to be authorized by the FAA to operate non-recreational unmanned aircraft within the national airspace.

Contact: Kim Richards

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