STEM Giants Highlight IWiT Summit

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Mae Jemison served as the keynote speaker of the IWiT Summit. Mae Jemison served as the keynote speaker of the IWiT Summit.

The first African American woman in space is in Indianapolis today, touting early STEM education. Mae Jemison was the keynote speaker at today's IWiT Summit, part of the LPGA's Indy Women in Tech Championship week. In addition to reaching kids early, Jemison says STEM education "always has to be hands have to do something." Speakers at today's event also included High Alpha Managing Partner Scott Dorsey and Bridgestone Motorsports Chief Engineer Cara Adams.

Adams says her position as the first and only INDYCAR chief engineer creates a "pretty fantastic" opportunity to serve as an example for STEM students. She says the series does a good job in having kids come to race tracks and meet people behind the scenes that make the cars work. Adams says she hopes her work with the IWiT event can help create awareness of the issues women face in STEM professions and help educators spark interest in students and get them involved at a younger age.

The Indy Women in Tech Championship Presented by Guggenheim is set for September 7-9 at the Pete Dye-designed Brickyard Crossing Golf Course. More than 140 players will compete for a share of the $2 million purse, with $300,000 going to the winner.

Former Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard is one of the driving forces behind bringing the tournament to Indianapolis. Ballard, who now works with Indy Women in Tech Inc., says the event will help shine a spotlight on the program and the city's growing tech industry. The deal to bring the event to Indianapolis is for three years.

Today's summit is one of multiple events this week surrounding this weekend's IWiT Championship. From Wednesday-Friday, Indianapolis Motor Speedway will host The Eureka! Exchange, involving hands-on STEM activities for about 1,000 fifth and sixth graders. They include coding-centered games, stop-motion animation activities and writing commands for a "PBJ Robot."

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