Sierra Bonn, a junior majoring in biomedical engineering, was recently recognized as one of the six Wichita State students named as University Innovation Fellows. In this role as an innovation leader at WSU, Sierra wants to focus on science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) education.
Stanford University’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design recognizes students from across the country every year to be a part of this prestigious national program, and this year there are six from WSU. The program seeks to empower these students to be leaders and increase campus engagement, entrepreneurship and innovation.
“I’ve always loved innovation and entrepreneurship, so my career goal is to help bring emerging technologies, new inventions and novel ideas into the market place — specifically medical technologies that help make life better,” she says.
As an Innovation Fellow, Sierra will work to ensure that her peers gain knowledge, skills and attitudes to make a positive impact through her project.
So far, she has started a fundraiser to help raise money to purchase traveling LEGO kits with the intention of donating them to local classrooms and children's hospitals to help expose children to STEAM education. She has also promoted STEAM by working inside local elementary schools such as Colvin Elementary, where each week she facilitates hands-on science, STEAM experiments and activities for K-4th grade girls.
“As the founder of the initiative ‘Let’s Go Full STEAM Ahead,’ I understand the importance of providing role models for young women to look to who are working in STEAM fields. I am currently working to highlight these leaders and choose to be one while gaining experience and networking opportunities,” she says.
Beyond her STEAM initiative, Sierra works in WSU Ventures as an intellectual property analyst where she gets to work with researchers at WSU, industry partners in the community, and people from all over who have brilliant ideas. They help bring emerging technologies to commercialization, which provides real-world experience for entrepreneurs.