STEM Learning Ecosystems Community of Practice Convening - STEM Talk Videos

Meet the Student Panelists – Future Inventors, Innovators and Entrepreneurs

IDRA helped to coordinate the opening session of the STEM Learning Ecosystems Community of Practice Convening on March 2, 2020. Students kicked off the event with a student panel discussion followed by individual student STEM talks Those interested in following up with a student can contact Stephanie Garcia, IDRA’s STEM and Gender Equity Education Specialist and director of IDRA’s Texas Chief Science Officer program (

Shreya Chaudhary, 10th Grade

 A student at Keystone School, Shreya Chaudhary loves engineering and programming, and she constantly strives to use her skills to better the world around her. As an IDRA Chief Science Officer, she started the FIRST Robotics Club in Keystone and participates in STEM activities, such as the science bowl and science fair. She enjoys working on various projects and loves a challenge. Shreya is a graduate of iStart Valley’s High School Business Internship program, during which she and a team created a startup to provide students with artificial intelligence-enhanced study tools. In addition, she was recently invited to Congress to present an application she and her classmates created to aid Crohn’s disease patients. In her free time, Shreya enjoys absorbing knowledge to learn more about the world around her. 

Emmett D. Decker, 9th Grade

Emmett D. Decker was born in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and is 15 years old. His interest and passion have always been engineering. He attended the Nimitz MS (STEM Academy) and currently attends Lee High School (STEM Academy) in North East ISD. His experience is in engineering concepts, robotics, team building, leading group discussions, and conducting presentations. Academics include Pre-AP classes, advanced concepts in engineering, mathematics, composition; robotics, team building, technical writing; coding and programming. His parents stated that the first word he ever spelled was “electricity” and his favorite toy store was Radio Shack.

There are three things he enjoys the most. His interests and enjoyment activities include statistically analyzing and learning about many things, mostly corporate- and scientifically-related, and engineering anything – whether it is a business model for a fictional company or a more efficient DCDC induction-based electrical converter. He also enjoys writing stories intended to be exchanged into screenplays for the Hollywood industry.

Finally, he wants to accomplish many discoveries that will help his community and humanity to the point that he facilitates a great technological change. He also hopes to become a respected billion-dollar industry leader within the business world and a screenwriter and director for distinguished recognized films.

Fun Fact: Emmett, KG5CXE, obtained his General Class Amateur License in August 2014 by passing the examination for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) license to operate on radio frequencies known as the “Amateur Bands.” These bands are radio frequencies reserved by the FCC for use by ham radio operators. his was just two weeks after passing the Technician Class license, at the age of 9 years old. Emmett’s first contact was with a Ham Radio operator in Brazil.

Alicia Amber De Hoyos, 7th Grade

Alicia Amber De Hoyos is part of the first group of students to attend Dwight Middle School’s STEM Academy in South San Antonio ISD. She is a well-rounded student participating in many sports, clubs and organizations that are offered by her school. She currently serves on the IDRA Chief Science Officer Leadership Council and the Chief Science Officer International Council working to bring CSOs to more schools in her district. She has aspirations of a career in criminology either with the FBI or somewhere in the forensic science field.

Leslie Goodman, 11th Grade

Leslie Goodman is a junior at Brandeis High School in Northside ISD. She is a founding member of She Code Connect, a city-wide girls coding club, and the sole girl representative on its advisory committee. After exploring various coding languages in numerous Youth Code Jams and camps, she worked as a coding camp mentor for Youth Code Jam in the summer of 2019. At Brandeis, she is a member of the Broncode, girls cyber-coding club. She has been active in Girl Scouts since kindergarten and is currently working on her Girl Scout Gold Award by coding game apps with inspirational messages for children in hospitals.

At age nine, Leslie launched her own project to raise $2,400 to create 250 care kits for families with babies in the NICU. A nine-week preemie herself, she wanted to give back to the March of Dimes by helping others. She delivered the kits to University Health System, San Antonio Military Medical Center, and Northeast Baptist Hospital (where she was born) and was interviewed for multiple news stories.

A twice recipient of the Presidential Volunteer Service Award, Leslie has provided community service for the Center for Refugee Services, March of Dimes, San Antonio Humane Society, SAMMinistries homeless shelter, Woodland Baptist Church, and others.

She received an Academic Achievement Award in Chemistry at Brandeis, earned the Girl Scout Bronze and Silver awards and was a regional winner in the Kohl’s Cares Scholarship Program. In middle school, she attended the UTSA Prefreshman Engineering Program. Leslie is certified in CPR/AED/First Aid, Abuse Prevention Systems, and Microsoft software. At Brandeis High School, she plays trumpet in the band and is a member of the girls coding club. She can solve 10 different kinds of Rubik’s and other cubes, and she loves Star Wars. Leslie plans to attend Texas Tech University and major in computer engineering.

Nathanael De Leon, 7th Grade

They say life is just a process of getting to learn about oneself. There is no confusion about who Nathaneal De Leon is. He is a fun-loving, positive-minded seventh-grader at Veterans Middle School in Donna ISD. But his path hasn’t been so easy and void of adversity. At birth, Nathaneal was found fighting immeasurable circumstances: his umbilical cord was tightly wrapped around his right hand, leading to amputation. Nonetheless, he persevered and grew up strong and capable. Aside from a few long stares by classmates, Nathaneal has led a successful, normal life. However, an exciting opportunity awaited. Along with his friend, Rey, and his favorite science teacher, Mr. Gonzalez, Nathaneal embarked on an unlikely quest to build a robotic hand. Fortunately, everything worked out brilliantly. He now proudly walks the middle school hallway with two hands. He later announced his interest in paying it forward, “If I had one wish come true, it would be that I had the means to help others who are less fortunate.”

Rey Vela, 7th Grade

Some kids look for a helping hand when times are tough, Rey Vela offers one. From a young age, Rey discovered a keen passion for science. However, it wasn’t until his arrival at Veterans Middle School in Donna ISD that his passion would take on a more meaningful role. Rey had forged a strong friendship with a very unique boy, Nathanael De Leon, a student living without his right hand. Although Nathaneal was never one to complain about his affliction, Rey was relentless in figuring a way to help improve his friends’ life. Along with his enthusiastic, technically-inclined science teacher, Mr. Gonzalez, and a new 3-D printer, Rey began his journey of designing a robotic hand for his friend. The result was a success. Rey later exclaimed: “I just want to build cool things and help people in the end. It’s a win-win for me. After this experience, I would like to go into a field creating prosthetics for people in need.”

Valerie Ann Trevino, College Freshman 

Valerie Ann Trevino, panel moderator, graduated from the Northside School of Innovation, Technology, and Entrepreneurship (NSITE) in 2019 where she studied computer science, played the cello with the orchestra and participated in JROTC. While at NSITE, she received her Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) certification, the premier credential offered by Microsoft to validate the expertise and skills of advanced users. She was also a member of the National Honor Society and the Cyber Patriots Club. Valerie Ann is now enrolled at Northwest Vista College and is pursuing an engineering degree. She is working on completing her freshman and sophomore engineering, physics, science, math, and core coursework before she transfers to a university program. Her goal is to become a NASA aerospace engineer, with a focus on mission safety and assurance.

When: March 2, 2020
Time: 9:30 am - 11:30 am CST
Location: San Antonio Marriott Riverwalk
889 E Market St.
San Antonio, Texas 78205