What better way to start off the 2013-14 CJ STEMM Idol Speaker Series -- Chaminade Julienne's popular co-curricular offering that features presentations by doctors, engineers, professors, inventors, and scientists -- than by welcoming a local STEMM entrepreneur and reality TV star?
Tom Johnson is just that, and will interact with students at the school's downtown campus Sept. 23.
The Germantown resident hopes to inspire in young people his passion and excitement for creatively putting engineering techniques to work. Tom, who holds his Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering, is the owner of Johnson Machining Services in Miamisburg.
“I want to talk to students about how if you work hard and to the best of your abilities, you can do all sorts of things," said Johnson, a former race car driver who has built his own airplane.
In the spring, Tom's STEMM skills landed him on The Discovery Channel's new competitive reality television series, The Big Brain Theory: Pure Genius (watch audition tape below). The show, which pitted some of America’s highest IQ engineers against “seemingly impossible” challenges, premiered in late April.
Tom finished in the top four, winning the Judges Award "for consistently sharing his 'very unique skills' with the other contestants on the show," reported the Dayton Daily News on July 31, just weeks after the mayor of West Carrollton proclaimed July 9 "Tom Johnson" Day.
Now, Tom is sharing his award-winning skills and inspirational story with CJ students.
"I just kept at it and things turned out OK for me," he said. "I was born to be nothing more than a strong back or a pair of hands, but I always believed I could be more."
CJ students have the opportunity to meet the STEMM Idol and Miami Valley small screen celebrity in the flesh during all homeroom periods in the library Monday morning.
Last school year, more than 100 Dayton-area professionals, educators and college professors connected to STEMM fields worked directly with CJ students. Eighteen served as CJ STEMM Idol Speakers.
In August, the $3.6 million CJ STEMM Center opened to serve all students and fully facilitate the school’s nationally certified Project Lead The Way biomedical sciences and engineering programs.