Virtual Expo to Engage Underrepresented Students in STEAM Education

Octo will sponsor a Virtual STEAM Expo, a series of live, interactive, on-demand STEAM activities and experiments, to encourage area students underrepresented in STEAM fields.

October 6, 2020, RESTON, Va. – Octo announced today that it will hold a Virtual STEAM Expo later this month to address the needs of underrepresented students in Washington D.C. and the greater metro area. More than 100 students and volunteers are expected to take part.

STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics and is an extension of the popular STEM concept. STEAM focuses on math, science, technology and engineering, but highlights the creative process as an essential skill complementing these disciplines.

Sponsored by Octo’s Employee Engagement and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) committee, the virtual event will offer a series of live, interactive, STEAM activities and experiments to encourage and engage students. Attendees will receive a no-cost custom kit of materials needed to participate. Following the event, video of all activities and experiments will be made available online, allowing anyone access and offering teachers a resource for virtual and in-person learning.

Schools and organizations participating in the event include:

hBARSCI has donated beakers for every kit and is furnishing a raffle prize.

According to Octo Senior Manager Andrea Heithoff, the event’s coordinator, Octo has been involved for many years with D.C. area schools’ robotics programs, serving as employee coaches, team sponsors, and event sponsors. In 2019, for example, Octo sponsored the spring Scramble for the FIRST Lego League teams operating in D.C. public schools and non-profit after-school programs.

“Octo has a robust history of supporting the communities where we work and live,” said Heithoff. “Our support to FIRST programs and STEAM enrichment is our investment in the pipeline of future engineers, developers, designers, and others that will shape everyone’s future. The specific objective to reach students that are underrepresented in STEAM fields aligns with Octo’s commitment to diversity and inclusion in technology-focused professions. Octo has a very diverse workforce at all levels of our company, from entry level to the executive team. The strength we gain from that diversity is amazing, and we want to spread the value of diversity wherever we can.”

Oct’s CSR Manager Vanessa Davis said, “This is a unique opportunity to get elementary and middle school students excited about developing future STEAM-powered solutions. With many audacious challenges awaiting solutions – tackling climate change, engineering better medicines, securing cyberspace, ensuring access to clean water, restoring and improving urban infrastructure, and more – we want to do our part to ensure a diverse range of perspectives and cultures have a proverbial ‘seat at the table’ where future decisions are made and innovations are created.”

About Octo

Octo challenges the status quo, empowering federal agencies to leap IT hurdles by using emerging technologies to create transformative solutions that enable rapid modernization, enhance citizen engagement, and maximize human impact. We continually explore ways to transform IT, producing results vital to national security, intelligence, health care, and more.

Headquartered in Reston, Virginia, Octo is a technology firm dedicated to solving the Federal Government’s most complex challenges with Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, Agile DevSecOps, Cloud Engineering, Open Source, Cybersecurity, and Data Science solutions. Octo enables the government to modernize faster and meet the needs of rapidly changing missions with agility. Our approach is collaborative, and our outcomes are superior. Visit