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Youth summit features 8-year-old neuroscientist
Published Tuesday, January 29, 2019
by Brandi Neuwirth, Special To The Tribune

CARY – On Jan. 19, 8-year-old neuroscientist Amoy Antunet delivered the keynote address to over 170 student innovators at the second annual Youth Innovation Summit. The purpose of the event was to introduce students in grades five through 12 to Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math (STEAM) and pathways to careers in STEAM. Held at Cary Academy for the second time, the summit was co-sponsored by the Triangle Uplift Foundation and the Triangle MLK Jr. Committee as part of the official Martin Luther King Jr. weekend activities.

Joseph Lynn, chair of Triangle Uplift Foundation, says the organization created the summit “to help our students get more interested in the STEAM and the STEM programs. It’s designed to be a fun, educational experience."

The Foundation sought to reach underrepresented students by providing an opportunity to increase confidence and inspiration to be a future innovator. The organizers invited Antunet as keynote speaker, describing her as the perfect example of a youthful mind pursuing a future career in STEAM.

Recognized as a neuroscience expert from Atlanta, Antunet discussed cell division, the heart, PH testing, the brain, neurophysiology and a multitude of other scientific subjects. She was recently a featured speaker at the Roadmap Scholars Neural Conference, where she spoke on Alzheimer's disease, and was given the award for outstanding scientist. She is the youngest person ever to present at a neural convention.

Antunet shared her passion for science with PreEminent Charter the day before addressing the Youth Innovation Summit. “If you scratch out the science stuff, I’m actually pretty normal,” Antunet said. Her recommendation to the student innovators: “They should act on their potential, and if there’s something you really like, you should act on it.”

The theme of the summit was culture change through STEAM. Twelve hands-on workshops gave students the opportunity to explore how they could participate in influencing the development of society as “culture changers.” Scholarships of $2,500 were awarded to four students who wrote winning essays.

Professionals at the top of their fields were on hand to lead the students in their exploration of the various aspects of STEAM. NASA engineer Lee Willis taught students to build and race solar cars. Kramden Institute facilitated a hands-on computer build. R.D. Hill Associates oversaw flying drones outside on the lawn. Helping Hands, a partnership between UNC Chapel Hill and N.C. State, taught prosthetics engineering.

CodeSnaps-Curriculum Pathways provided by SAS was a well-received and interactive coding activity. Students were further inspired by other STEAM workshops: Biotechnology with N.C. Central, Forensics by Edwin Davis of Communities in Schools, Robotics by InspireNC, Coding with CodeEdge and Video Production with Too Much TV. Parents also received the benefits of workshops on how to provide guidance to their student in their pursuit of STEAM studies and career pathways.

The Triangle Uplift Foundation is a 501(c)(3) whose mission is to empower youth, families, and communities through strong leadership, education and fostering wholeness. Visit www.triangleupliftfoundation.org.




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