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TryEngineering Summer Institute

An exciting two-week, on-campus engineering camp for high school students held at three premier universities across the United States in 2019.

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TESI Talks: Speaker Series

This summer, each session at each TESI location features at least one TESI Talk! TESI Talks features presentations (followed by Q+A) by industry-leading professional engineers, entrepreneurs and more who will be providing real-world experience, know-how and guidance to our students!

TESI Talk Speaker Profile: Oscar Pedroso and David Brenner: Thimble.io

Oscar Pedroso is the Chief Executive Officer of Thimble. Oscar graduated from the University of Rochester with a degree in Mathematics and Economics in 2006. He is the first in his family to graduate with a college degree. After graduation, Oscar became a college admissions officer at the University of Rochester, School of Engineering, where he did some independent consulting on behalf of high school students who were interested in attending the college. Oscar noticed that the majority of these students that he helped were working on exciting STEM-related projects outside of school, but found that they really had no way to capture these projects in a way that would make them stand out from the usual GPA and SAT scores.  The projects that they were building and creating were being captured, for the most part, using physical portfolios to discuss their projects and share with others.

Oscar quickly learned that without the right resources, these students would decide to leave their STEM majors during their first two years in college because they either lost interest and pursued other courses (humanities) or just didn’t perceive enough value in completing a STEM degree. It made Oscar ask various questions such as: 1) How do you impress upon these students at the right age that the world is their oyster if only they pursue a STEM major? 2) How do you provide the right resources for these students, especially earlier on in their educational career, where they see the significance of such a degree or major?

In an effort to answer these questions, Oscar started GradFly, a tool that allowed students to build an online portfolio to showcase and explore STEM projects and share them with colleges and companies recruiting top talent. His role at Rochester led him to become a mentor for several FIRST Robotics organizations. He is obsessed with DIY and Maker communities and spends his time trying to understand makers and what makes them tick.

David Brenner serves as Chief Technology Officer and utilizes his technical strengths to design and develop Thimble’s core product: hardware kits, software learning applications, and learning content. He provides guidance for company strategy, hiring decisions, and oversees the planning, scheduling of contract vendors, and product development. David graduated from the Rochester Institute of Technology with a degree in computer engineering, where he also attended graduate school. He has previously worked for Microwave Data Systems, Advanced Micro Devices, Intel, Sun Microsystems, and IBM.

His work experience focused primarily on computer architecture, digital ASIC design, and pre-silicon functional verification. Highlights include: functional verification of a low-power floating point unit for the Bobcat x86 low-power processor, platform architecture guidance through analysis of an interconnect generation tool for Intel’s Atom processor system-on-chip (intended for use in cell phones and tablets), the promotion of MySQL, Solaris, and other open-source technologies created by Sun Microsystems at RIT through an educational lecture series, creation of verification models for IBM’s first 22nm system ASIC, and development of a documentation generation tool that was adopted by all of IBM’s Systems and Technology Group ASIC design teams (resulting in personal recognition from IBM’s BlueGene supercomputer team). David has been interested in electronics, computers, and technology since a very young age. He grew up with the maker movement and has a deep understanding of the market, its values, its needs, and its culture.  

TryEngineering Summer Institute STEM Summer Camp teens get an exclusive tour of the tarmac during a field trip to LaGuardia Airport

These two speakers will be appearing at our Vaughn College location each session this summer and will be live-streamed to our other locations (if possible.) Our UC_Riverside and Texas A+M locations also have confirmed TESI Talks: Speaker Series for each session and we will be doing a future blog post on those soon!

Check back often!


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