Digimarc and Greenway Elementary go all in for STEM Connect

Ashleigh Fortune, Senior Product Manager at Digimarc, leads the “Mobile Magic” exercise showing students how mobile phones are used to scan packages and media.

Ashleigh Fortune, Senior Product Manager at Digimarc, leads the “Mobile Magic” exercise showing students how mobile phones are used to scan packages and media.

Digimarc takes great pride in pioneering new technologies and employs a talented team of engineers, color scientists, application developers, product managers, creative professionals and other team members who bring the ‘Barcode of Everything’ to life. To keep that talent pool vibrant, we have teamed with In4All to give students a glimpse of future possibilities.

Digimarc has been participating in the In4All STEM Connect program for two years partnering with Greenway Elementary less than a mile away from our offices in Beaverton. More than 25 company volunteers have had the opportunity to go into the classrooms and demonstrate to fourth and fifth grade kids what STEM has to offer. Each visit is carefully crafted by the In4All team enabling the students and volunteers a hands-on education experience including water filtration testing, bridge design prototyping and energy and motion experiments.

On May 16th, we welcomed more than 110 fourth and fifth grade students and teachers from Greenway as they celebrated their last visit together for the school year. It was a memorable day as a parade of students walked a mile from the school to the Digimarc office where they were greeted by our employees at the front doors. Once inside, volunteers had an action-packed agenda breaking into six groups with interactive experiences demonstrating Digimarc Barcode in action.

Students had the chance to compete and practice scanning on Digimarc’s Shopacazam, an interactive, virtual grocery store checkout station in a fun and speedy game format. They also had a chance to meet with our design experts, who walked the students through the process of enhancing artwork using design software. Students had the opportunity to find the barcode on Digimarc-enhanced packaging artwork using loupes and Digimarc’s Mobile Verify application on iPhones. Our expert color scientists taught a short lesson on what “color science” is and used a variety of images where color created optical illusions. In addition, students were given the opportunity to damage fresh product labels with Digimarc Barcode. They could rip, tear, bend, fold, and color on the labels in order to stress test the labels and see if they were still scannable after being damaged.

It was a fun, fast pace and energetic hour with the students. Based upon their reactions and many high fives when departing, the Greenway visit was a success. The Digimarc team was exhausted at the end, but motivated to brainstorm new ideas for next year’s visit.

One of our volunteers, Becky Kiiche-Gross, is a senior product manager for retail solutions at the company and is the mom of a Greenway student that participated in the STEM Connect program this year. Becky also served on the Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) for the last seven years.

Becky shared her view of the program, “I am passionate about teaching STEM to young students. The 5th graders we worked with were eager to learn and it’s exciting that there is not a stigma or gender bias at that age; they were all interested and love to learn about science and technology. I am lucky to be at a company that shares this passion and glad I got to work with the students at Greenway to teach them some concepts in science, and introduce to them the technology we have at Digimarc.”

Thanks to In4All and programs like STEM Connect, Digimarc has an opportunity to make a positive connection with students and teachers to play a role shaping the future generation of talent. We are looking forward to the new school year working with Greenway and In4All.

Heidi Dethloff is the Vice President of Marketing at Digimarc and an In4All board member.

Heidi Dethloff