STEM Forward's 14th
Annual sySTEMnow Conference

Thank you to everyone who attended STEM Forward's 14th Annual sySTEMnow Conference on Oct. 31, 2017.  More than 240 business, K-12, higher education and government representatives joined us to focus on STEM talent development and education.

Click the images below to view a slideshow. 

Click here to view all photos from the event.

2017 Conference Agenda

7:30 - 8:30 a.m.         Registration
8:30 - 8:45 a.m.         Welcome
8:45 - 9:20 a.m.         Keynote Presentation: Menzer Pehlivan, Geotechnical Engineer at CH2M
9:20 - 9:30 a.m.         Break
9:30 - 11:30 a.m.       Generation STEM — See exciting demonstrations by STEM students.
9:35 - 10:25 a.m.       Breakout Sessions — Round 1
                    Follow-up with Menzer Pehlivan
                    Using Social Media to Build Support & Partnerships
                    The Impact of Artificial Intelligence on the STEM Talent Pipeline
                    Coding in the Curriculum

10:30 -11:20 a.m.      Breakout Sessions — Round 2
                    Using the National Girls Collaboration Model to Move the Needle on Equity in STEM
                    Improving Career Readiness with Career Days, Industry Days & Teen Job Fairs
                    Closing the STEM Gap (presented by Northwestern Mutual)
                    STEM for Everyone                   

11:30 -12:05 p.m.       Lunch
12:05 - 12:30 p.m.     2017 Excellence in STEM Awards
12:30 -1:15 p.m.        Keynote Presentation: Donald Bossi, President of FIRST

1:20 - 1:25 p.m.          Break

1:30 - 2:15 p.m.          Breakout Sessions — Round 3
                      Follow-up with Don Bossi
                      It All Starts in Elementary School — STEM Programs for the Primary Classroom
                      Connecting STEM programs to the Regional Talent Pipeline

2:15 - 3:30 p.m.     Reception with Refreshments

The STEMMY Award Winners Revealed!


Find out who received an Excellence in STEM Award this year! Honorees will be awarded at STEM Forward's sySTEMnow Conference on Oct. 31, 2017.

 2017 Keynote Speakers: 

Breakfast Keynote: Menzer Pehlivan, Geotechnical Engineer at CH2M

After experiencing a devastating 7.6 earthquake that stuck Ankara, Turkey in 1999, Menzer Pehlivan became inspired to pursue an engineer career to prevent future tragedies. She was only 13-years-old at the time. 

“That was the seed that planted in my head early on that I would become a civil engineer focusing on seismic safety,” she said. “It had a big impact on my future.”

Despite being told by her teacher that women don’t become engineers, she began preparing for a career focused on earthquake engineering. She received her Ph.D. degree from the University of Texas at Austin in 2013 with a doctoral thesis on the vital subject of assessing seismic hazards in nuclear facilities.

As a geotechnical engineer, Menzer has worked on numerous geotechnical and earthquake projects in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. She has given back as a volunteer in major earthquake reconnaissance efforts, including after the 2015 Nepal Earthquake, where she traveled with the Geotechnical Extreme Events Reconnaissance Association (GEER).

Menzer currently works in the Seattle office of CH2M, a global engineering firm that provides consulting, design, construction services for corporations and government. She was also recently named to the ASCE’s 2016 list of New Faces in Civil Engineering and was featured in Dream Big: Engineering Our World.

For Menzer, defying stereotypes is part of who she remains as a person. The daughter of a dress designer, she loves fashion and style almost as much as engineering and does things her own way.

Lunch Keynote: Donald Bossi, President of FIRST

Donald Bossi is the president of FIRST, a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to inspire young people, ages 6 through 18, to become science and technology leaders and innovators. Bossi joined FIRST in 2013, following more than 25 years of technical leadership and management roles with a variety of high-tech companies.

Bossi began his career as a research scientist at MIT Lincoln Laboratory and United Technologies Research Center, where he was a part of an advanced project that was acquired by JDS Uniphase (JDSU). Bossi subsequently served as president of JDSU’s Active Components and Transmission Products groups. In 2005, he joined Technology Ventures Partners (TVP). In addition to being a General Partner with this venture firm, Bossi was CEO of two portfolio companies, namely, Aegis Lightwave and Inlet Technologies, positioning the latter for a beneficial acquisition by Cisco.

Bossi holds four U.S. patents and is author of numerous technical presentations. Bossi holds B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from MIT, and has completed executive education courses at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business.

Thank you to our 2017 Sponsors!




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What is “sySTEMnow”?

  • sySTEM is an acronym for Strengthening our Youth in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics
  • Now! means now!

Since 2004, the annual sySTEMnow conference has become a cornerstone of STEM-related awareness in our region:

  • Raising awareness of STEM-related issues.
  • Exchanging best practices from existing STEM programs.
  • Developing, promoting and implementing education-workforce partnerships.
  • Providing networking opportunities for STEM stakeholders.


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