Introducing Make48 City Series Emcee & STEM Ambassador Jay Flores
We are thrilled to have Jay Flores on board at Make48! He totally gets what we’re doing!
Meet our Make48 emcee Jay Flores. Jay will emcee Make48’s events as we go on our City Series tour later this year. He will passionately present our mission by co hosting at our 48-hour competitions and help deliver innovative and STEM content.
Jay is most looking forward to connecting with makers around the country and helping bring their passions to life at Make48. “One thing I’m looking forward to is seeing what fuels them and to see their energy. I can’t wait to be a part of this. Amazing things can happen in 48 hours and it’s an honor to work with an organization like this,” Jay explained.
Prior to taking on this current role, Jay led the STEM team at Rockwell Automation as their Global STEM Ambassador. Focused on further diversifying and strengthening the technical talent pipeline through STEM education and outreach, Jay engaged with Rockwell Automation employees through volunteerism in STEM advocacy; and developing continuity in the STEM talent pipeline from elementary school to post-secondary education to early career.
His job led him to work with the global nonprofit FIRST full-time and has connected Jay with a network of like-minded individuals. “I first connected with them in 2012, and began volunteering in 2013. My role at Rockwell led me to projects with FIRST full-time in 2015. I led the multi-year sponsorships and in-kind donations including materials needed to automate the FIRST Robotics Competition playing field. This year’s theme is Game Changers, a sports-related approach to inspiring innovation, and I’m really happy to be a part of it this year.”
Jay has spread the word through his energizing presentations and outreach to schools, community groups and industry experts. His educational, kid-friendly YouTube channel, It’s Not Magic, It’s Science, encourages big fun with science experiments that are great for the whole family. The series was created during Covid, and was designed with equity in mind. The projects can be done at home, using materials around the house or low-cost priced items (ie: Amazon). “This has been one of my most rewarding experiences. I receive messages from parents and get to see their reactions, which is always a pleasure. It gives kids a way to experiment and explore.”
I spoke to Jay about STEM learning and asked his opinion about the best way to promote diversity in STEM education and workforce. “It’s good to start very young. Companies often focus only on existing talent and college outreach. They need to look at inclusivity and plant the seeds of curiosity early. When kids begin asking questions, that's the beginning stages of STEM learning, and they shouldn’t be shut down.”
He stressed that there needs to be global and community involvement throughout the STEM pipeline. “This is one of the reasons why I’m so excited about the City Series from Make48. We’re coming together with a community to make an impact and create solutions for their community. This is what is needed to get inspired and motivated. Issues that hit close to home, where a group of makers can invent, or create an awareness, to the problem(s) around us.”
In 2019, Jay brought STEM to the mainstream media as a star on Telemundo’s athletic competition show Exatlon Estados Unidos. His leadership and passion for inspiring young people to overcome obstacles and excel in STEM earned him the nickname “Corazón de Oro” (Heart of Gold).
Jay grew up in Wisconsin and holds a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. He’s been recognized by the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE), who elected Jay when he was 19 years old as the youngest voting national board member in SHPE history. He served 5 years on the SHPE national board and has contributed to a wide variety of state, national and global STEM advisory boards.
Currently, Jay lives in Miami/Ft. Lauderdale area. When I asked him what project he’s most proud of he told me that in 2020 he built a Ninja Warrior training rig in the backyard, completely interchangeable to change workouts! He’ll need the strength, because Jay will be traveling frequently to emcee Make48 events around the country, to share his inspiring story with young minds to keep doing cool things with STEM.
As a keynote speaker, Jay is masterful in connecting STEM to everyday life and motivating students to become tomorrow’s innovators. To contact him visit his website at www.jayfloresinspires.com and learn more about Jay’s devotion to STEM by watching “WHY Everyone is Born an Engineer: Jay Flores at TEDx UW Madison” on YouTube. The power of STEM, Jay advocates, can help young girls and boys become super heroes, solve big (and little) problems and contribute their best ideas to improve our planet.