The Invention Age, where students reimagine the Rube Goldberg machine

I work in tech, but growing up, I was never exposed to STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). You can blame it on my parents for not knowing any better or even the school system that never offered it at my time. Sadly, the truth is that fewer than half of all schools teach computer science (and don’t expect to see changes anytime soon). 

Qualcomm is doing its part to bring innovation, collaboration, and STEM education to students all over the world. With its support of FIRST, a non-profit organization that engages kids in exciting, mentor-based, research and robotics programs that help them become science and technology leaders. The mission of the program is to increase confidence and skills through hands-on learning, interactive experiences, and mentorship.


So what do you get when you combine Qualcomm Snapdragon technology and FIRST robots, a bowling ball, trampolines, and an umbrella? These brilliant and diverse high school students built a Rube Goldberg machine. I had a chance to go down to San Diego to watch the build in action. Not only was it so much fun to watch, but it was truly captivating and an inspiring show of ingenuity.

Qualcomm also worked with domino art influencer Lily Hevesh and chain reaction machine influencer Steve Price to help build out the Snapdragon powered machine. Seeing the mechanical masterpiece in action, was so mesmerizing. It really shows that when collaboration and creativity meets Qualcomm Snapdragon technology, we can accomplish anything. The machine works it’s magic to ultimately spell out “Welcome to the Invention Age,” with dominoes.

I have spent a large part of my career carving a space for women in tech, and I’m used to being the only woman in the room, but it’s comforting to know things are changing. To see the faces on the young girls light up when they talked about building the machine and collaborating with their male counterparts was the best feeling.


So many times I've seen young, bright, girls who don't feel they belong in tech. If we want to see more grown-women in the tech world, we have to make sure that the young girls have the access and the environment, to thrive at a young age. Qualcomm is helping both young boys and girls gain the tools and knowledge needed to excel in all things tech, by creating a space of equality and learning. They are at the forefront of making sure young girls can grow up to be the grown women who rule the world.

I also had a chance to sit down with some of Qualcomm's employees to learn more about why investing in STEM and future inventors is critical in the Invention Age.

“It’s exciting to see what’s possible when the power of Qualcomm’s technology platforms is combined with hands-on, experiential and mentor-based programs of FIRST to inspire students across the globe,” said Angela Baker, director, corporate responsibility, at Qualcomm Incorporated.

Qualcomm and FIRST are working together to expose students early and give them the confidence they need to be successful members of the STEM workforce. Technology is the universal language of the 21st century. Developing critical thinking skills is an important part of growing up. STEM learning helps children to get better at using the technology that powers the world, which is particularly useful for preparing them for their adult lives. 

As a new mother, I know that roots aren’t enough to achieve incremental growth. You also have to plant seeds. Qualcomm is one organization helping to take on this big task. This is a program I know I could have used when I was younger.

Check out the making of the Rube Goldberg Machine, visit:

To learn about how Qualcomm is leading the new Invention Age, visit

To learn more about how Qualcomm is inspiring the next generation of Inventors, visit

To learn more about FIRST and their programs, visit

The blog was in partnership with Qualcomm