Summer of Science Campers Meet a STEM Professional

Kamentha, PE Operations Director Making Connections

I met Hanny earlier this year, in the building cafeteria where she worked.  It was sunny and unseasonably warm, and we chatted about Project Exploration’s work and mission, as she showed me the line of bags NeatPack offers.  I had been with Project Exploration for a little over a month and mentioned to my husband that I was in the market for a work backpack.  He and Hanny worked together, he knew about her business and connected us. As a result, Hanny, and her company, NeatPack, have donated over one hundred backpacks to Project Exploration, for both students and staff alike.

Meet STEM Professional Hanny Sunarto

Hanny is a chemical engineer by degree, who works in project management.  She has her name on a microphone patent, and one trademark (NeatPack), and has traveled the world for both business and adventure.  Hanny grew up in Jakarta, Indonesia, and as a child was inquisitive and fascinated with the invention. She loved science and math but wasn’t very good at social studies.  During high school, her counselor’s pushed her to think about a career in engineering, and so Hanny moved to the United States to become a Chemical Engineer, graduating from Iowa State University.

It wasn’t until several years into her career that her childhood passion for inventing came into play, while she and her sister, Yuli, were hiking in Bali on vacation in 2015.  Yuli’s backpack broke, the contents spilling everywhere, which sparked the question, can we make a better backpack? From that experience, using Hanny’s drive to design a functional, lightweight, and practical bag, and using Yuli’s background in fashion design, NeatPack was born.  They have put a lot of thought into all of their bags, from form to function, and it shows. The donated NeatPack laptop bags our team received are top notch, with all the compartments you need, RFID protection, and space to charge your phone – they have thought of everything.

Summer of Science Campers Manufacturing

Hanny visited the West Side STEM Learning Center (SLC) during our first week of summer camp, and led an activity with the students, a coin purse made from Capri Sun pouches, while explaining to them how she came up with the bag design, how she sourced the manufacturing in China and the logistics on getting them shipped to her warehouse here in Illinois.  Earlier that day, the students had been on a field trip to Manufacture Renaissance and had learned all about assembly lines, as they formed their own to make sandwiches. This was a perfect tie-in to Hanny’s activity and her work as a STEM Professional. She was so impressed with the students, their level of curiosity, and she got a kick out of how fascinated they were with the secret pouch at the bottom of the foldable backpack’s she donated and distributed.

We are so grateful for Hanny’s contributions to our students – it was such a fantastic learning opportunity, and they now have a real appreciation of the manufacturing process.  The students continue to bring their bags to camp every day, and their coin purses on field trip days. Thank you, Hanny!

We look forward to many wonderful years of partnership ahead!

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