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Memphis Community Outreach

Inspired by a passion for IT, the SIM Memphis Chapter strives to promote the IT profession through various outreach initiatives that provide educational opportunities for young people.



Annually, the Memphis SIM Chapter produces a Strategy Series for Executives. This local event is the primary funding vehicle for community programs sponsored by SIM Memphis.  SIM has been able to expand its reach over the last few years to now include multiple avenues of support in the communities where we live.  There are three annual week-long Teen Tech Camps (TTC); Robotic teams and programs through High School FIRST Robotics, Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Memphis Lego and Shelby County Schools; STEM presentations to grade school and middle school classes; and SIM IT scholarship programs at both The University of Memphis and LeMoyne-Owen College. 


Boys and Girls Club of Greater Memphis Lego Robotics 

A Lego Mindstorm EV3 robot costs $350.  A set of batteries costs $10.  The excitement on a young boy’s or girl’s face as they see the BOT move for the first time under the commands of the program they built, PRICE-LESS!  Working with BGCM – The Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Memphis, SIM has funded two clubs to start a Lego Robotics program.   It started in January of 2015 at the Bernal Smith Club on Ross Road and the Ira Samelson Club near Grahamwood School.  Student ages range from as young as nine years old and up to fifteen years old.  They learn to make the robot move forward, backward, turn, follow a line, recognize colors and follow a programmed path to achieve a goal.  And they do all of this without writing a single line of code.  It is all done by connecting various objects together and setting their parameters.  Our hope is that we can get young students to develop an interest in technology careers by seeing how much fun they can be and discussing how rewarding they can be.

Shelby County Schools Funding for First Lego League

We also give a check to Shelby County Schools to fund some of the schools in the First Lego League Competitions.  Visit the Memphis First Web site for details on their goals and progress:



High School FIRST Robotics Competitions

Since the fall of 2014, SIM has been a sponsor of three high school teams that compete in FIRST ROBTICS competitions in places like Atlanta, Chattanooga, Little rock and Huntsville.  These teams each consist of about twenty students and they have six weeks to build and program robots out of aluminum, steel, plastic and wood using real world professional components like servo motors, gears, pneumatics and programmable controllers.  The programming is so sophisticated that they even use cameras to see objects to target and measure distances.  They also use accelerometers and gyros to determine the direction that the robot faces and the angle of its orientation.


SIM has been a sponsor for White Station High School, Collierville High School and MBA – Memphis Business Academy.  These competitions expose the students to others around the region and to the exciting potential of careers in technology areas.  Check out the robotics pages for each school by clicking on the high school name.

Collierville Dragons

White Station Spartans








SIM Members Ed Charbonnet and Josh Siddon present check to FIRST Robotics 





Teen Tech Camp is an annual week long program produced by SIM Memphis in conjunction with the Memphis Public Library. The purpose of the camp is to help get young people excited about technology while they are still considering their future career opportunities - perhaps they will choose IT as a career path after participating in the camp! The camp is targeted at 12-15 year olds and exposes kids to various careers in IT as well as introduces them to emerging technologies. Attendees who are selected pay nothing to attend. The group is diverse and is comprised mostly of students from public schools.



 "Media Coverage of SIM Teen Tech Camp” 

Click on the box to the left to start the video.  





Gary Lasko Memorial Scholarship 


Gary Lasko

Remembering those who lost their lives in the 9/11/2001 terrorist attacks on the Word Trade Center …

Gary Lasko was Director of Global Technology Services for the insurance company, Marsh & McLennan located in the World Trade Center, created a student internship program at this company, served on the advisory board for the University of Memphis MIS Department, and was a valued member of the Society for Information Management. He lost his life in the 9/11/2001 terrorist attacks.
In 2003, the SIM Memphis Chapter established an endowment in memory of Gary which funds scholarships through the University of Memphis, the University of Memphis Foundation and SIM Memphis Chapter. The purpose of the scholarship is to help develop the next generation of effective information technology leaders while supporting deserving students. Annual scholarships are now awarded in the amount of $2,500.

For more information on the endowment, see this interview held on September 5, 2011 with WMCTV Memphis news Channel 5

Qualified Candidates for the Scholarship Must:

  • Be classified as juniors or seniors at the University of Memphis
  • Have declared MIS as a major
  • Be enrolled in 12 credits or more
  • Possess a minimum and maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0

Candidate Selection

The scholarship selection committee consists of the Chairman of the University of Memphis MIS Department, professors from the MIS Department and/or Fogelman College of Business & Economics, and representatives from the SIM Memphis Chapter. The selection committee reviews applications and selects finalists who will be interviewed.

For an application to apply for the Gary Lasko Memorial Scholarship Application and dates for submission, please contact the MIS Department at the University of Memphis.

Submit Applications to:

Lasko Scholarship Committee, Department of Management Information Systems
Fogelman College of Business and Economics
The University of Memphis
Memphis, TN 38152-3120

Tax deductible gifts to the scholarship fund should be addressed to:

Dr. Judith C. Simon, Professor and Chair
Department of Management Information Systems
Fogelman College of Business and Economics
The University of Memphis
Memphis, TN 38152-3120

Checks should be made payable to "The University of Memphis Foundation” with Lasko
Scholarship referenced in a cover letter or on the check.

For additional information call : 901.678.4613




James Robinson Memorial Endowed Scholarship Fund


Featured from left to right are Christi Daigre, SIM LeMoyne-Owen Scholarship Sub-Committee Chair, Mark Stansbury, Interim Vice President Institutional Advancement LeMoyne-Owen, SIM Scholarship Recipient, Kenneth Ray, and Jana Branham, SIM Community Outreach Chair, at the annual LeMoyne-Owen Annual Scholarship Luncheon held on March 30, 2009

James Earl Robison, Ph.D., received his baccalaureate degree from LeMoyne-Owen College in 1968, his master of science degree in mathematics from Purdue University in 1970 and a Ph.D. in mathematics from Memphis State University in 1980. He joined the faculty of LeMoyne-Owen in 1970, and made significant contributions to the academic life of the institution. He was coordinator of the Mathematics area for many years and during his tenure in that office the College introduced its computer science program, aligned with the College’s goal to increase the number of young people pursuing degrees in the areas of mathematics, technology and the sciences. A creative teacher, he was director of the DuBois Scholars Honors Program. Always anxious to give back to the community, Dr. Robinson directed many youth programs providing enrichment and academic preparation for minority youngsters in the schools. He brought significant funding to the College and youth mathematics programs from the Kaiser Foundation, the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Education and IBM.

In 2004, the Memphis SIM Chapter endowed a scholarship in Dr. Robinson’s memory. Scholarships are generally awarded annually in the amount of $1,500. The Society for Information Management - Memphis Chapter intends to memorialize James Robinson, who created the computer science program at LeMoyne-Owen College, by offering promising students in Information Management and closely related fields, scholarships to support their College education. Annual scholarships are now awarded up to $1,500.

Qualified Candidates for the Scholarship Must:

  • Be classified as juniors or seniors at LeMoyne –Owen College
  • Be full-time majors in Information Management or a closely related field
  • Have completed a minimum of 60 credit hours
  • Cumulative GPA of at least 3.0
  • Submit a resume of relevant business/information technology work experience, if any

Candidate Selection

Applications and essays are reviewed by a scholarship committee of LeMoyne-Owen Collage and representatives from the SIM Memphis Chapter. The LeMoyne-Owen scholarship committee will receive applications for this scholarship and will interview finalists for the Scholarship along with a representative of the SIM Memphis Chapter. SIM Memphis Chapter or its designee may review letters of recommendation, essays, and resumes; interview finalists for the Scholarship; and make a recommendation. The Committee will make awards.

Scholarship Applications

Applications for the James Robinson Memorial Scholarship may be picked up from the offices of Ms. Jean Saulsberry, Director of Scholarships, Ms. June Chinn-Jointer, Freshman Scholarship Committee Chair, or the Admissions Office at LeMoyne-Owen.

Applications should be returned to the offices of Ms. Jean Saulsberry, Director of Scholarships, Ms. June Chinn-Jointer, Freshman Scholarship Committee Chair, by the deadline designated which will be provided by LeMoyne-Owen. 

Tax deductible gifts to fund the SIM James Robinson Memorial Scholarship fund should be addressed to:

SIM James Robinson Memorial Endowed Scholarship
LeMoyne-Owen College
807 Walker Ave.
Memphis, TN 38126



IT Career Day at the University of Memphis

The Memphis Chapter of the Society for Information Management sponsors Career Day at the University of Memphis to stimulate student’s interest in a career in Information Technology. Career Day is open to all higher education institutions in Memphis. The session consists of speakers and interactive discussions about potential careers in the field of Information Technology Management.


                  Memphis SIM Member Kevin Morgan Leads a Discussing During IT Career Day 2008 at The University of Memphis


                              SIM Members Participate in a Panel Discussion at IT Career Day 2008 at The University of Memphis




The Stax Music Academy is one of the major programs of the Soulsville Foundation, a non-profit organization, created to serve the South Memphis neighborhood of Soulsville, USA.  Along with the Soulsville Charter School, the Stax Music Academy's mission is to produce students who will be able to read, communicate effectively and possess high-order thinking skills through the interconnectedness of academics and music.

In 2007, the Memphis Chapter of SIM hosted Simposium ’07 which attracted more than 750 IT leaders and featured a renowned list of speakers that included FedEx CIO Rob Carter and Harrah’s SVP of Innovation and Gaming & CIO Tim Stanley, along with many best-selling authors and industry though leaders.

The event also coincided with Stax Records’ 50th anniversary and provided a great forum for SIM to auction a one-of-a-kind Gibson guitar made in Memphis and autographed by many famous artists, producers, and engineers of the Stax era – Memphis legends. Signatures on the guitar include such greats as "Soul Man” guitarist Steve Cropper, bassist Donald "Duck” Dunn, both founding members of the Stax supergroup Booker T and the MGs, Isaac Hayes, members of the Bar-Kays and a rare autograph of Stax founder Jim Stewart. Immediately after signing, Steve Cropper became the first person to actually play the guitar. He gave it a quick tune-up then strummed a few bars of "Soul Man," the song Steve played in the Aykroyd-Belushi movie Blues Brothers.

The auction along with proceeds from the event allowed the Memphis SIM Chapter to donate $19,376 to benefit the Stax Academy after school program which combines music and technology education and provides an opportunity for disadvantaged students interested in studying the use of technology in music production and management to learn more about the technology of making music. The funds were used to help refurbish and upgrade the recording studio and control room used by the program. 


SIM Memphis donation presented to Marc Willis, Soulsville Foundation CEO, and Kerry Hayes, Development Manager for the Soulsville Foundation, by Memphis Chapter SIM president, Rick Pride, and former SIM president, Susan Caldwell.

Subsequent to the event, SIM Memphis has continued its support of Stax/Soulville, most recently with the Business Speaker program whereby business people visit the school at lunchtime and talk about their job, the education needed for their profession, and what they like about their job.  The business luncheon exposes their students to various career opportunities that they might not have known about or considered for themselves.


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