Our Travel Journal: Texas

Olivia and Katie here, fresh off a plane from Texas! We just got back from five days of outreach meetings throughout Texas, followed by exhibiting at the HESTEC conference at the University of Texas-Pan American. We traveled to Texas to connect with educators, STEM education enthusiasts, Team Advisors, and students to talk face-to-face and discover ways we can make the eCYBERMISSION competition better. Check out our daily adventures below.

We landed in Dallas Monday morning and drove to Fort Worth to present to the honors 8th grade science class and the 6th grade science class from J.P. Elder Middle School. What a great group of students! They were so enthusiastic. It was wonderful to meet with them and tell them all about eCYBERMISSION.
From there, we headed back to Dallas to meet with the Dallas After School Network. We took this opportunity to discuss ways to make it easier for after school programs to participate in eCYBERMISSION. If you have any ideas, please feel free to leave us a comment! We wished we had more time in Dallas, but did get a few minutes to explore the city before heading back to the airport to fly to Austin.

After several turns around IH 35, 71, and “feeder” roads (or so we heard them called when we stopped at a gas station to get directions) to find our hotel, we settled in for the night, happy with a great first day in Texas and excited for the next city.

Tuesday morning we met with the Austin Boys and Girls Club, where we had a great meeting to investigate more about how Boys and Girls Clubs can utilize eCYBERMISSION. We were thrilled to see how dedicated the clubs were to furthering education for its student members, and hope to continue to work with Boys and Girls clubs in the future.
We rounded out Austin with some great Cuban food, a trip to the famed 6th Street, and a stop at the Science Teachers Association of Texas.
Our first stop in Houston was to the Engineering, Science and Technology Council of Houston, where we discussed our program with the president, Victoria Rockwell. She took time out of our busy schedule to help us research more ways to incorporate professionals in STEM fields into the eCYBERMISSION competition, giving students a chance to interact with mentors working in these industries. Check out council’s website and make sure you read the blurb about eCYBERMISSION at the bottom of the home page.
After a long day of traveling and navigating a new city we decided to call it an early night. After all, we needed to rest for a busy day!

We woke up Thursday, refreshed and ready to hit the road. It would be our busiest day, with back-to-back outreach visits throughout Houston. Our first visit was with one of our great Team Advisors, Kathy Duquesnay at Duchesne Academy. We had a great meeting to talk about the recent updates to eCYBERMISSION and got some insight from her about how she uses the competition with her students. It’s so great to be able to meet with a Team Advisor and strong supporter of eCYBERMISSION in person!
We then navigated the roads of Houston again to meet with Lt. Col. McGhee, the director of the Houston Independent School District JROTC. He is a big supporter of eCYBERMISSION and was happy to discuss more ways in which we can incorporate the program into the JROTC. This includes building out a peer mentoring program and using eCYBERMISSION towards service learning requirements!

Our final visit of the day was with Pin Oak Middle School, home of the 2008-2009 8th grade National winners, The Super Sports Squad. We met with Team Advisors Jamie Scott and Joan Linsely and their students, and we were thrilled to hear each of their teams present their developing eCYBERMISSION projects. We left that meeting feeling very inspired and proud to work for this program.
It was really cool to meet with people face-to-face, especially the students. We’ve heard wonderful feedback about how our program has helped students realize an interest in science, math and technology, forge lasting friendships with fellow students and discover just how incredibly smart they really are. We have also gotten some invaluable insight and personal stories from those who have been involved in eCYBERMISSION, and feel confident that this trip will serve to help us continue to better our competition.

Check out our Flickr site in the next couple of days to see more pictures from our trip and stay tuned for our blog post on HESTEC!


  1. Sounds like an awesome trip to Texas! Where are the important FOOD facts though?? Where did you eat in Austin while on 6th street? Texas Chili Parlor, I hope! :o) Hope you hugged Jamie and Joan from their fan club president in WHITEFACE!

  2. How could I forget the food details? Let's see... where to begin? We ate at a Cuban place called Habana in Austin for lunch where I got a delicious classic cuban sandwich! Next we sampled the guacamole at the Cedar Door downtown and finished up with dinner at the Iron Cactus on 6th street. Have you heard of any of those?

    We did not eat at the Texas Chili Parlor! That sounds delicious though. I'll have to try it out next time - because I definitely want to go back! Should I get the chili?


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