Charlotte Hornets’ 2nd Annual Tech/STEM Day Recap

Setting up shop

Technology + sports can be a winning combination. Just ask TechGirlz volunteer Vinessia Hankins, who participated in the Charlotte Hornets’ 2nd Annual Tech/STEM Day.

Tech/STEM Day, which took place on February 1, 2019, offered exciting opportunities for North Carolina and South Carolina STEM students. The event featured a tech fair, a behind-the-scenes tour of the Hornets Broadcast Studio, and a speaker series by Hornets tech executives on how technology plays a role in the sports industry.

Vinessia Hankins represented TechGirlz at the event and offered a demonstration of “What’s Inside a Computer.” She set up a laptop and desktop tower to show the components inside each device and their respective functions.

“My favorite part [of tech events] is always being able to answer the students’ questions and seeing the curiosity and interest on their faces when it comes to technology,” Vinessia says.

Doing a demonstration at the event!

Vinessia was also excited to see a sports organization host a STEM outreach event to benefit the community.

“It is quite evident that the Hornets organization understands the value in exposing our youth to all sorts of technology that is essential and critical in the 21st century,” she says.

Since Tech/STEM Day was open to both boys and girls, Vinessia witnessed the gender gap in tech first-hand. Vinessia’s ten-year-old son DJ, who assisted at her demo table, also noticed the disparity.

“[DJ] said, ‘Mom, there aren’t that many girls here’, which is when I said, ‘That’s right, which is precisely why I do this!’” Vinessia explains.
As a woman in STEM, closing the gender gap is particularly important to Vinessia. She’s an Engineering Manager at Toshiba Global Commerce Solutions, Inc., a company that provides point of sale solutions for retailers. In this role, she manages a department of engineers in various disciplines. She’s been working with technology for over 25 years at companies such as NASA, Lockheed Martin, IBM, and Lenovo.

No matter your level of experience in tech, Vinessia says you have something vital to offer the next generation.

“Regardless of what industry or profession you work in, you have something essential to share with our youth. Use your own personal experiences to highlight the ways in which technology has been important throughout your career,” Vinessia explains.

Want to represent TechGirlz at an event near you? Sign up as a volunteer today!