Microsoft shares the love with HMNS at new store opening in The Woodlands

What better way to celebrate new beginnings than with the gift of … well, giving!

MSFT_logo_png (1)HMNS is one of several Houston area non-profits to receive a substantial software and hardware grant from Microsoft as it opens a new location in The Woodlands (the eighth such store to open in Texas). In fact, over $1 million in software and hardware will be presented to HMNS, Interfaith of The Woodlands and South Montgomery County YMCA.

We think we’re in some pretty good company, don’t you?

Wanna celebrate this really cool event with us? We invite you to join us in welcoming Microsoft to The Woodlands and thanking the company for its generous gifts — at the ribbon cutting party in The Woodlands Mall this Thursday, June 26 at 9:30 a.m. At this Grand Opening event, HMNS President Joel Bartsch will accept a check on behalf of the Museum from Microsoft for software grants and hardware donations.

We’re very excited, flattered, and honored to be the recipient of such an awesome donation that will help us further our mission for generations to come. Microsoft, we salute you!

STEM & GEMS: BP financial analyst Lyda Marie T. Paragoso tells girls to stay STEM curious

Editor’s Note: As part of our annual GEMS (Girls Exploring Math and Science) program, we conduct interviews with women who have pursued careers in science, technology, engineering, or math. This week, we’re featuring Lyda Marie T. Paragoso, Financial Analyst for BP’s Gulf of Mexico Operations Budgeting & Forecasting.

HMNS: How old were you when you first become interested in science, technology, engineering, and/or math?
Paragoso: I was five years old when I first became interested in science, technology, engineering and math.

HMNS: Was there a specific person or event that inspired you when you were younger?
Paragoso: My parents and PBS inspired me when I was younger. My brother and I had a Popular Science subscription, and we always watched this PBS show called 3-2-1 Contact, which was an American science education show and taught scientific principles and their applications.

HMNS: What was your favorite project when you were in school?
Paragoso: In 5th grade, I made a 3-D model of the kidney organ which won an award and was displayed at the library of my elementary school. I also really enjoyed my sugar crystals science project, and in 8th grade for my Honors Earth Science project, I made a video acting as a weather forecaster using my homemade weather map.

HMNS: What is your current job? How does this relate to science, technology, engineering, and/or math?
Paragoso: 
My current job deals more with math; I interface a great deal with engineering and technology. Specifically, I’m currently a Financial Analyst at BP Gulf of Mexico Operations on the Budgeting & Forecasting team. I deal with a lot of financial data to create performance reports, analyze operations metrics and key performance indicators, and present them to the Operations Leadership Team and to the VP of Operations in order to formulate better financial forecasts and formulate more robust operations budgets.

HMNS: What’s the best part of your job?
Paragoso: The best part of my job is that I get to interface with many engineers, project managers, and other financial folks to better understand the BP oil and gas business in the Gulf of Mexico.

HMNS: What do you like to do in your spare time?
Paragoso: In my spare time, I enjoy traveling, cooking, playing the guitar and piano, people watching, training in Bujinkan Ninjutsu (I’m a first degree black belt), and going to the theater and movies. When time permits, I also like to volunteer for the Empowering Amputees organization, The Ronald McDonald House, and Notre Dame Catholic Church (my local church).

HMNS: What advice would you give to girls interested in pursuing a STEM career?
Paragoso: Stay curious, focused and determined. Be open to opportunities that will get you challenged and involved.

HMNS: Why do you think it’s important for girls to have access to an event like GEMS?
Paragoso: It is very important for girls to have access to an event like GEMS because it is a source of inspiration and a way to feed that curiosity and hunger for knowledge in science, technology, engineering and math.

HMNS: Tell us an interesting fact about yourself.
Paragoso:
I’m an amputee and a cancer survivor (lost my left leg when I was 10 years old due to bone cancer, also known as osteosarcoma).

Biography of Lyda Marie T. Paragoso:
Lyda Marie T. Paragoso is currently a Financial Analyst for Gulf of Mexico (GoM) Operations Finance Budgeting & Forecasting team in support of the Discipline Capability organization, Logistics organization, VP of Operations and overall performance management across the Operations Budgeting & Forecasting teams within Gulf of Mexico Operations.

Lyda’s prior role was Performance Analyst in GoM Logistics where she was responsible for the monthly quarterly performance reports (QPRs) for each of the Gulf of Mexico production assets. She joined BP in 2004 and has held a variety of Financial Analyst roles in both North America Gas and Gulf of Mexico.

Prior to BP, she was an Assistant to the Controller at the University of St. Thomas and Tax Associate/Consultant at Arthur Andersen, LLP. Lyda has a BBA/MBA in Accounting/Finance from the University of St. Thomas in Houston.

 

Ace your after-school activities: Build a robot from scratch with our LEGO Robotics class

Have you ever wondered how to program robots to do even the simplest task? Well,  it takes a lot of background work, to say the least. But in our LEGO Robotics after-school program, we teach students how to build a LEGO Mindstorm NXT robot from scratch — and how to program it to perform certain tasks.

Every Tuesday for 10 weeks, students learn basic programming, and they use that programming to solve weekly challenges. The challenges increase in difficulty as the students become more familiar with the programming and their robots. By week 10, students know how to program their robots to reverse, make turns and maneuver in a square formation.

In addition, students will learn how to work with different types of sensors that can be attached to the robot, including the ultrasonic sensor. When students learn how to program using the ultrasonic sensor, their robot can navigate through a specified course without running into a single obstacle!

lego_roboticsLEGO Robotics is a great way for students to gain experience with technology in a small class environment. One of our parents commented, “Aaron has really enjoyed this class. He is always excited to share what he has learned in class!”

The classes are open to children in grades 4 through 7, and they’re held at both the main HMNS location and the HMNS at Sugar Land. If you are looking for an educational after-school program, look no further than LEGO Robotics!

HMNS at Hermann Park: Tuesdays
March 26 – May 28
4:30 – 6 pm
$240 / $190 Members

HMNS at Sugar Land: Thursdays
March 28 – May 30
4:30 – 6 pm
$240 / $190 Members

Ready to get a piece of the fun? Register here!

 

SySTEMatic change: How HMNS is changing education and making math marvelous

S.T.E.M., which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, has become a popular acronym used amongst educators, and for good reason: S.T.E.M.-field careers are some of the most lucrative and have the greatest job growth potential in the early 21st century.

The S.T.E.M. philosophy is holistic: It seeks to revolutionize how math and science are taught by integrating technology and engineering into the classroom experience. In addition, it attempts to refocus the classroom away from a teacher-centric model toward a student-driven discovery process, where problem-solving and hands-on exploration are the child’s instructors.

LEGO RoboticsInstead of treating math and science separately, they are blended so that students develop real-world problem solving skills. No more asking the teacher, “When am I ever going to use this?” The hope is that students will understand at a basic level how science and math apply to their world.

HMNS embraces the S.T.E.M. philosophy wholeheartedly in our approach to education. Two of our most popular summer camps, LEGO Robotics and Advanced Robotics, are great examples of this approach.

And now, HMNS offers a similar S.T.E.M. experience during the school year! Children gain the educational edge that S.T.E.M. provides and have a blast in the process — without having to wait for summer camp or worry about early registration.

In our after-school program, children collaborate with a partner to construct models using the LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT™ system, then use brand new laptops to program the models to obey commands. They are given specific challenges and engage in friendly competitions to further hone their programming skills.

Don’t let your child miss out on this multidisciplinary, collaborative, and authentic learning opportunity. To learn more about LEGO Robotics at HMNS (Sept. 11 through Nov. 13) and HMNS Sugar Land (Sept. 13 through Nov. 15) and register for class, click here!