Webcor Joins Genentech, Meta, & NASA at SJSU Science Extravaganza 2023

Alan Luna, James Bicamumpaka, Kathleen Lassle, and Toby Bender represented Webcor at SJSU's 2023 Science Extravaganza.

March 1, 2023


By James Bicamumpaka, Webcor Sr. Project Engineer

Assistant Project Engineer Alan Luna, Sr. Project Engineer James Bicamumpaka, Sr. Compliance Manager Kathleen Lassle, and Sr. Superintendent Toby Bender represented Webcor at the all-day Science Extravaganza held at San Jose State University on Saturday, Feb. 11. The event was organized by MAES Latinos in Engineering and Science, an organization focused on expanding opportunities for Latinx students and professionals in the fields of science and engineering. Each year, MAES organizes the Science Extravaganza, an event that exposes middle school students from the South Bay to career possibilities in the world of science and engineering.

More than 300 students from various South Bay middle schools and 10 companies including Webcor, Meta, NASA, Intuitive, and Genentech attended this year’s Science Extravaganza. SJSU Dean of Engineering Sheryl Ehrman kicked off the day with a keynote speech discussing AI, its benefits, and how people can help chatbots improve the breadth of information they share by contributing to knowledge systems, especially areas about which little is known. After her speech, the students rotated between the workshop/activity stations hosted by participating companies.

SJSU Dean of Engineering Sheryl Ehrman gives an opening keynote speech to start off the day.

Webcor’s workshop featured a ladder toss game, an activity that was unanimously approved by Webcor’s San Jose Community Engagement Committee during the event’s planning process, which started in Q4 of 2022. For this fun and engaging workshop, teams of 4-5 students were required to:

  1. Procure the correct materials required to construct the 1” diameter ladder toss frame made from PVC pipe.
  2. Construct the 1” diameter ladder toss frame at the assembly area.
  3. Compete in the ladder toss game with the next team that finished constructing their frame.

Detail sheet provided to each team

This workshop required participating students to communicate clearly, pay attention to detail, follow a plan correctly, collaborate effectively with their teammates, and aim well when playing the game. The boxes contained not only the material necessary to construct the 1” diameter ladder toss game but also 1.5” diameter pieces and connection angles to complicate the activity a bit. If a team realized at the assembly area that they did not have the correct materials, they had to return all their material to the material sourcing area and start procuring a new set of materials before moving to the assembly area to construct the ladder toss frame.

Middle schoolers procure material needed to build ladder toss frame.

Each student team greatly enjoyed the game and demonstrated excellent collaboration—first when reading the plans in detail, then when sourcing the correct material needed to build the frames. Students’ laughter filled the room during the ladder toss game as their aim and throwing strategies were tested when trying to get the balls hanging on the horizontal frame members. (It was not easy when tossing the balls from 25 feet away.)

Students construct ladder toss frame under the supervision of Sr. Compliance Manager Kathleen Lassle and Sr. Superintendent Toby Bender
Students toss balls to a ladder toss frame 25 feet across the room while Assistant Project Engineer Alan Luna and I cheer them on.

Before beginning the workshop activity, students learned about the Webcor team and the work each Webcor volunteer does on a regular basis. At the end of each workshop, the students also asked us any questions they had and shared their key lessons learned from the workshop, which many students mentioned were “working together” and “the importance of following a plan”.

One of the day’s highlights took place when Toby gave wholesome fatherly advice to a group of middle schoolers on pursuing their aspirations and staying focused on all that they put their hearts and minds to.

Toby provides fatherly advice to a group of middle school students.