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STEMinar encourages students to never stop learning

The annual College of Engineering and Computer Science’s STEMinar explored emerging trends in the STEM industry last night, when Oklahoma Christian University alumna and CIO of Allegion Tracy Kemp, who has worked in information technology for 27 years, was invited to speak on campus.

“I’m really excited, quite honestly, that it had a year two,” STEMinar organizer Kelly Cox said. “We weren’t sure if it was going to, but we’ve had some really awesome club involvement with different STEM clubs across the college of engineering.”

According to Cox, the speaker motivated her audience, while describing the practical use for the ideas students discuss in the classroom. Cox said she is a huge fan of interdisciplinary approaches and is excited to see how STEM integrates itself with other fields in the future.

“Especially in this topic, with the emerging trends in STEM, it’s not only going to be about STEM,” Cox said. “This year, we reached out to business students. We reached out to pretty much every other discipline, trying to get them to come to this STEMinar and maybe future ones, because the direction of technology is so interdisciplinary. It’s not just about bringing STEM to campus, it’s about bringing all the rest of those disciplines into real life focus for STEM students, because that’s usually missing.”

Shannon Fultz, president of the Society of Woman Engineers on campus, said the STEMinar is not just valuable for STEM majors, but for students of all academic backgrounds.

“I think it’s good to learn about other disciplines,” Fultz said. “I think it’s good to learn about your own, of course, but also others. So I think it’s not just important for STEM, but other majors to learn about each other cause there’s a lot we can learn from each other from interdisciplinary communication. I think it’s important that we understand where other people are coming from, what they’re learning about, that kind of thing.”

Fultz said she is enthusiastic about the advancements the speaker’s company has been making and attended the STEMinar to learn more.

“I’m really excited about her company’s mission to integrate both mechanical, structural stuff with technology, and I’m mechanical so I like that type of thing,” Fultz said. “I also just like the idea of integration and I want to learn about how they integrate those things together.  She’s also talked about upcoming trends and cool things like virtual reality.”

Speaker and Oklahoma Christian alumna Tracy Kemp opened her addressed at STEMinar by quoting Charles H. Duell in saying, “Everything that can be invented has been invented.”

“So of course, he got it wrong,” Kemp said. “We have a futurist at Allegion and he’s also vice president of strategy. He talks a lot about emerging trends. We have an IT innovation group and the leader for that group works on emerging trends. And we also partner with companies like Gartner Research that makes a lot of convictions and I’ll even be sharing some of those with you today.”

Kemp discussed virtual, counterfeit and augmented realities as well as ambient computing and sensors, covering the ideas behind these technologies as well as their applications. Kemp said that one of the soft skills crucial to being successful in STEM is versatility.

“I think you guys are all here to learn,” Kemps said. “I think you’re here to learn to learn and you should keep learning. Versatility is just one of those things that you need to adapt. At my job, we rollout technology all the time. Getting people to use it or to want to use it is very difficult, especially when they didn’t choose the change. The company chose the change; the change was brought onto them. You really need to bring people along technology. Make them part of the idea.”

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