Walmart Labs Volunteers at The Social Engineering Project’s Overnight STEM Camping Conference

Catalog Engineers pause for a photo.

At Walmart Labs, we love to help inspire the next generation of software engineers. That’s why the Catalog team recently volunteered with The Social Engineering Project’s (TSEPs) Overnight STEM Camping Conference. Every year, TSEP takes about 150 high school students to Camp Cazadero to learn about math, science, and engineering. TSEP’s overall goal is to address the lack of diversity in the tech industry by providing programs for underrepresented groups.

Our team was tasked with organizing and teaching an engineering-based workshop with one caveat — they couldn’t use any technology. Ramya, Anthony, Lan, Dip, and Nadar spent hours coming up with an awesome workshop.

They used “Error Codes” on card stock, and randomly generated errors by shuffling the card deck and drawing a card. Students were broken into smaller teams and had to find the corresponding code from a list, and then solve either a math or engineering problem connected to the code within the given SLA.

“They were very motivated, excited, and proactive in all the activities we did,” Dip Shah said of the workshop. “Many of them even said they were inspired to join Walmart Labs.”

The camp takes advantage of the fact that there’s no wi-fi or signal available, which encourages kids to get close to nature, form friendships, and learn without the usual distractions like texting and Instagram.

The program is great for the students, but it’s also significant for the volunteers. Recalling his time there, Dip says, “We went to help students plan their career, but in return we also learned how this generation thinks and acts. It was a very fun and interactive way for ingenious minds to meet experienced minds and exchange numerous great ideas and tactics.”