A recent Montgomery High School graduate, Laura Gouillon, was a featured speaker Monday afternoon at a statewide symposium on science, math, engineering and technology.
The STEM Symposium, in its second year, is focused on improving science and math education in California Schools. Held in San Diego this year, it features speakers like State Superintendent Tom Torlakson, television science personality Bill Nye, and Jamie Hyneman of the television show Mythbusters.
Gouillon, a freshman in computer engineering and computer science at the University of Southern California, has been on a mission since she was little to get others excited about science and engineering.
She recalls going up to her elementary school principal and saying, “I hope people learn that geeks are fashionable.”
This year at the conference, she’ll speak about that personal love affair with science and journey to becoming a scientist.
That same commitment to sharing her love of science with others was evident in high school, her teachers at Montgomery High School say.
“She was just a great student,” said Dorothy Battenfeld, director of the International Baccalaureate program at Montgomery. But Guillon wasn’t just focused on science, Battenfeld said: she also studied film through the International Baccalaureate program.
Gouillon says she wants to combine her interests in art and design with her interests in computers in technology for a career and dreams of working at Pixar or Ikea, among other companies.
At Montgomery, she got involved in an organization called Skills USA, which is for students interested in technology careers. She became a state and then a national officer, and in that capacity was invited to speak at last year’s STEM Symposium.
That year, she spoke about how schools should treat physics as a varsity sport.
“It was a quirky way of saying we should get out of the stereotype nutshell,” she said.
Gouillon said she feels ahead of the curve as science education becomes a greater focus in California. She’s received numerous speaking opportunities and even job offers.
“I’d love to work for Apple or Google one day,” she said.
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