CTE S.T.E.(A).M Careers Explorer

A Monthly Webinar Series from ESC Region 13

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The Distance and Digital Learning Team is excited to announce the premiere of the CTE S.T.E.(A).M Careers Explorer Monthly Webinar Series. Join us each month to connect your students with S.T.E.(A).M and CTE-related career professionals. Hear from the experts how what students are learning in school today translates into career opportunities tomorrow.

Each webinar comes packaged with everything you need to make the most of your time with our career experts. The package includes:

  • Pre-Interview Activities

  • TEKS Connections

  • Literature Connections

  • Social Emotional Resources

  • Featured Classroom Activities

  • Follow up Activities

  • Expansion Activities

Upcoming Guests

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Chad Dolezal: Executive Chef and Restaurateur

Born and raised in Dallas, TX, Chad Dolezal moved to Portland, OR in 2005 and began working in kitchens while attending the Western Culinary Institute. After graduation, Dolezal moved to Nuits-Saint-Georges, France, where he worked as a stage under Chef Rene Pianetti at La Gentilhommiere. After returning to Austin, Chad worked as sous chef in Sandra Bullock's Bess Bistro. In the role of Executive Chef, he was part of the opening team behind El Arbol serving South American cuisine in Austin. In February of 2011, El Arbol was named one of the top ten new restaurants by Texas Monthly. Since 2013 Dolezal has been co-owner/Executive Chef of The Hightower in Austin, Texas. Currently he is splitting his time between Austin and Dallas working on two upcoming projects.

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Randy Hammelman: Software Developer/Business founder

After graduating from Michigan Tech in 1997 with a degree in Electrical Engineering, Randy moved to Texas to explore Austin's growing technology sector where he held myriad roles for a variety of local tech companies. Randy's lifelong dream of starting a company became a reality in 2006 when he founded Conducive Consulting to address the need for excellence in technology consulting services. After establishing a stellar reputation and solid relationships with several Fortune 500 companies, Randy grew Conducive to become a premier Splunk partner, professional service provider and license reseller. Along the way, Randy built a partnership with IBM and created long term relationships with several large healthcare organizations, such as MD Anderson and Oregon Health and Sciences University. Randy is also co-founder of BuzzStream and briefly owned a flooring retailer. Randy resides in Austin with his wife, Karen, and their two children. Randy is a cancer survivor whose outside interests include mountain biking, boating, socializing with friends and supporting Conducive Cares, Conducive's internal non-profit that supports local families

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Ed Stapleton: Children's book author/illustrator

EJ Stapleton, the second of five children, was born in Boston, Massachusetts. There is a story of a babysitter walking in to find him, at two years old, standing in his crib, drawing all over his bedroom wall. Not much has changed since then. He still writes or draws on anything that doesn’t move.

EJ was educated through the Boston Public School system and spent most of his time there searching for whatever information he could gather about Art and the artists who generate it. In 1971, he left for a two-week trip to Italy. He returned in 1973. This began what continues today to be a lifetime of searching. A lifetime of learning, handshake by handshake, the true heart of the human tribe.

In the mid-1970’s EJ was lucky enough to find himself in the company of Joseph Solman, one of the founders of the American Expressionist movement, in New York City. Until his death in 2008 at age ninety-nine, Mr. Solman was one of the most active and powerful influences in the New York art scene.

For the bulk of the 1980s, EJ’s work was primarily under the umbrella of Kiro Kopulos and Ariel Weymouth Payne’s “Intersect Dance Theatre”, a performance company, based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, with deep roots in the traditions of Noh and Butoh. EJ still considers his time with Intersect to be the period in which his tastes were honed, the benchmark development period by which he measures every subsequent arts experience.

In 2012, EJ, along with Grammy-award winning composer, Peter Stopschinski and NY director, Craig J. George, began work on an adaptation of The Calico Buffalo for musical theater. The Calico Buffalo Musical was first presented in New York at the 2015 New York Musical Theatre Festival (NYMF) where the show enjoyed full houses, an extended run and took home the coveted Audience Award, ‘BEST of FEST’. Their work on the musical continues.

In both 2017 & 2018, EJ Stapleton was named a finalist by The American Theatre Wing for the Jonathan Larson Grant.

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Peter Stopschinski: Composer

Peter Stopschinski (Composer) has composed music/lyrics for New York Musicals Festival’s 2015 Winner Best in Show: The Calico Buffalo, string arrangements for Grupo Fantasma’s 2011 Grammy Award winning album El Existential, music for Madeleine George’s Off-Broadway play which was a finalist for the 2013 Pulitzer Prize in Drama: The Curious Case of the Watson Intelligence, and the 2016 film score for two-time Academy Award winning director Al Reinert’s film for PBS Rara Avis: The Life of John Audubon. His operas and musicals have been performed across the country from Arena Stage (DC) to Playwrights Horizons (NYC) to Center Theatre Group’s Kirk Douglas Theater (LA) to Gertrude Opera in Melbourne, AUS to La Mama (NYC). Peter is currently working on a new opera based on Terry Galloway’s one woman show Lardo Weeping that was commissioned by LOLA Opera and will be premiered in Austin, TX in Fall 2020. Peter has just finished a new experimental rock version of Verdi’s MacBeth for Gertrude Opera in Melbourne Australia which premiered in Ngambie Lakes Fall 2016 and will tour in the U.S. in 2019. In 2018 he produced and co-wrote several tracks on Basura, the album by the revolutionary transgender artist CHRISTEENE. In 2017 he released 50 albums (totaling 496 songs or more than 1.2 days) of his own music for free on his website. peterstopschinski.com

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Jenna Seymore: Data Analyst and Director Marketing-Demand Planning at Dell Technologies

Jenna began her drive for achievement as early as primary school competing across the country and becoming a member of the US Shooting Team eventually winning the World Cup Gold Medal for the US in Milan Italy 1994. After High School she attended college at UT San Antonio earning a degree in Human Resource Management in only 3 years. During her first internship at Mooney Aircraft she found a love of manufacturing and quickly went back to school for a Masters in Management of Technology. This path led her to building a career in supply chain and demand planning. Now with 19 years of Supply Chain experience in the technology industry she has built a long term career at Dell Technologies. Today she leads the Dell Latin America Demand Planning team across both Consumer (Inspiron/XPS/Alienware) and Commercial (Latitude/OptiPlex/Workstations) products predicting future demand for sales executives to identify risk to meeting goals as well as supply chain to drive parts, capacity and logistics.

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Liz Cass: Professional Opera Singer and Arts Entrepreneur

Liz Cass is a producer, educator, arts leader, and active operatic performer. Ms. Cass is the originator of the mezzo role in Graham Reynold’s opera, "Pancho Villa; From a Safe Distance" for which she garnered an Austin Critic’s Table Award for Best Singer. Other recent performance highlights: Mrs. Lowe and Dora in "The Manchurian Candidate" by Kevin Puts with Austin Opera, The Brahms Alto Rhapsody with Chorus Austin, mezzo soloist in Handel’s Messiah at the Teatro Nationale and Casa Santo Domingo in Guatemala and "Pancho Villa; From a Safe Distance" with PuSh Festival in Vancouver and the Prototype Festival in NYC.

Ms. Cass is a founder and the Executive Producer of the award-winning LOLA, Local Opera Local Artists and serves as the Executive Director of the Armstrong Community Music School. Ms. Cass is originating the role of Dinah LeFarge in LOLA’s "Lardo Weeping", by Peter Stopschinski and Terry Galloway.

Liz Cass is a graduate of the University of Missouri at Kansas City Conservatory of Music. She began studying with Inci Bashar at UMKC in 1997, and continues studying with her to this day.

Past Guests

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Kurt Nellis: Video Game Animator & Movie CGI Artist

Kurt Nellis is a CGI artist and video game animator who has worked on blockbuster Hollywood movies from the Star Wars, Matrix and XXX franchises. Currently working for the video game company Bungie, he has lent his vision and talents to the creation of massively popular video games like Destiny, Destiny 2 and Halo 3. Currently based in the Seattle, WA area, Kurt’s exciting career has taken him to locations like New Zealand, where he spent almost a year working on the Peter Jackson directed version of King Kong.


Matrix: Revolutions – Background animator/layout

Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge of the Sith – Layout/Matchmove

XXX 2: State of the Union – Layout/Matchmove

Beowulf – Previsualization (Previz)

King Kong (Peter Jackson version) – Layout/Matchmove

Clone Wars TV show – Previz/Layout

Halo 3 – Cinematic Artist (Layout/animation)

Halo 3: ODST – Cinematic Artist (Layout)

Halo 3: Reach – Cinematic Artist (Layout/animation)

Destiny + DLC – Cinematic Artist (Layout/animation)

Destiny 2 + DLC – Cinematic Artist (Layout/animation)

Distance and Digital Learning Team

Tim Brown

Distance Learning Systems Specialist

Nikki D Robertson, M. Ed.

Digital Learning Project Coordinator