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Community Outreach Program


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 that started in July of 2005.  In 2015 the program expanded to a second Memphis Library – Whitehaven – and to Horn Lake in Desoto County, MS.  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 twelve to fifteen 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. 


At the camp the students learn to write apps for cell phones and tablets. They also receive a presentation each of the five mornings on the business uses of technology focusing particularly on the classic “Order to Cash” process for a jump rope manufacturing company. They learn about how critical technology is to the ordering, manufacturing, warehousing and delivery processes. During these lectures the students use bar code scanners to simulate each process and then on Thursday they actually do the manufacturing of their jump ropes. Check out the link to the Memphis library page for more information and how SIM was involved.






A team of SIM professional makes periodic presentations to school classrooms at grade school and middle school levels.  The goal is to give the students a chance to meet technology professionals and learn early in their school years about how exciting and rewarding such careers can be.  We also emphasize that such jobs are far more diverse than simply sitting in cubicles writing lines of code.  The presentations consist of a few videos and PowerPoint slides but mostly involves a chance for the students to hear the personal stories of these professionals.  In some of the visits, the team brings some BSO – Bright Shiny Objects – of technology to let the students touch and work with these.  As you can see in these pictures, the students are fascinated by seeing and touching the insides of a desktop computer.





SIM Member Jana Markowitz helps the girls at St. Mary's school





In the fall of 2014, SIM made a $10,000 contribution to the brand new Memphis Public Library technology center for teens.  This innovative center is well equipped with computers, audio and video equipment that gives the students many chances to experience exciting technology that they are not likely to experience at home or school.  Check out what is currently going on with Cloud901!



SIM members David Ulloa, Kevin Morgan, Ed Charbonnet, Jarret Morgan, Jana Markowitz and Danita Macon Present check to the Library Leaders


 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                                              

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