5761/STEM Class

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STEM Class
Date of Scene: 28 March 2021
Location: Columbia SS for Math, Science, & Engineering
Synopsis: Pepper and Jacqueline meet at a city-wide Secondary School STEM Club gathering, each supporting different aspects of the program. Together, they plan further encouragement for the budding young scientists and engineers of NYC.
Cast of Characters: Jacqueline Falsworth, Pepper Potts

Jacqueline Falsworth has posed:
It's not often Jacqueline gets out of the office for something that's not Spitfire-related. However, the STEM club Science-palooza at Columbia Secondary is a city-wide exhibit of what various secondary school level STEM clubs are doing. It's part contest, part expo, and part intern scouting grounds. Falsworth Industries has fronted one of prizes in the architecture and design category -- which is an all-expenses-paid week-long trip to Thailand to stay at a boarding school where the buildings are all made of bamboo and the campus has been designed to be as low-impact and eco-friendly as possible. They're building a new dorm there, and the students will be invited to both help with that and spend time getting acquainted with some of the STEM projects the students over there are working on. Call it... a cultural exchange.

In any case, she now moves slowly through the gym that's been converted into an exhibition hall, looking at the various projects that have been put up on display. She's dressed a little more casually than she might be at the office, just because of the environment, though still in a pair of nice slacks and a button-down blouse beneath a light jacket. It's nice that Spring has finally come. The heavy coats were starting to wear on her.

Pepper Potts has posed:
The robotic car race is also finished, and what a finish that was! Students in the STEM programs across the city were given parts, all the same parts, with which to build a robotic car. The obvious part missing, however, was the power source. For that, the kids had to think 'outside the box' and come up with their own power supply. Some powered out little two-stroke engines, some with 9-volt batteries, and some were a touch more creative than that. So, the race wasn't always won by the fastest car, once the panel of judges sat.

A representative of one of those judges is present in the big Science-palooza, in hand, a Stark tablet that is constantly feeding her information across subjects.

Like the powerhouse female CEO, Ms Pepper Potts is thankful the weather is finally turning to a warmer and slightly drier spring, and her business suit reflects the change. It's a subtle pink and green with highlights of tan, set off by a pair of sensible tan pumps. Red hair is up in a bun, hints of tendrils of untamed wisps escaping as a testament of how long it's been held in tether. Currently, she's speaking to what appears to be a couple of school administrators, her manner and mien attentive, nodding in all the appropriate spots, her expression tinged with a smile.

In the middle of one conversation, however, something (or someone) seems to catch her eye, and Pepper reaches out to touch the gentleman before her on the forearm, following it up with, "One moment, please. Hold that thought. There's someone I need to speak with."

With that, she's able to disengage easily, and turning on her heel, the *click* of her heel preceeds her, drowned out though it may be in the roomful of people.

"Ms Falsworth," is called out in her approach.

Jacqueline Falsworth has posed:
Jacqueline turns as she hears her name. Her head cants to one side, but then she recognizes Pepper's approch. "Ms Potts," she says, straightening and giving the other woman a smile. "Those races were quite something, weren't they? It's amazing the imaginations these kids have when you give them half a chance, eh?" Her British accent is crisp, but warm.

She steps to one side, away from a booth and out of the way of traffic, figuring that will be better for the sake of speaking.

Pepper Potts has posed:
For the business press, this would be a photo opportunity; two tech giants meeting in such a humble place. As it is, Pepper specifically requested that ONLY student journalists should have unfettered access, and that the business columns will have to wait. This obviously was done deliberately; Pepper's no fool when it comes to PR. The more 'mystery' that surrounds an event where Stark Industries is concerned, the more buzz it generates. And in this case?

It's all good.

That's not why Pepper is making the cross in the room to speak with Jacqueline, however. Her smile shifts slightly to hold more genuine warmth; something the other woman would immediately recognize. Her hand extends for the greeting, slightly down where it'd be more a squeeze than a 'shake'.

"I wanted to make sure I thanked you for the trip for the kids who won. That is an amazing opportunity for them, and something I hope will really encourage them when they return. Perhaps we could try and set a symposium up for them later, so they can share?"

Jacqueline Falsworth has posed:
Jacqueline accepts the hand in kind, brows rising. "I spent a lot of my youth travelling the globe," she says, releasing Pepper's hand only a moment or two later. "It was eye-opening and foundational for me. If it can do the same for these kids, it's money well spent." Still, she nods to the suggestion. "I think a symposium, however, could be fantastic. I know I'd be interested to hear what they think when it's all done."

She chuckles dryly, looking around the room with a fond smile. "I'm not much of an inventor, myself. My skills are more in coordination that research and design. I'm always in awe of what truly gifted minds can do. And the next generation is going to keep us on our toes, I think."

Pepper Potts has posed:
Pepper nods as she listens to the woman's quick background; she'd read as much in her bio. It's a story of globetrotting successes, a life that perhaps would never play out on the screen because it was 'too fantastical' and 'who would believe it?'. She retrieves her hand as the greeting finishes, and she adds, "I agree. It really does build a different sort of mindset. These kids need that; to figure out that New York isn't the only city and other countries have done some pretty amazing things that simply aren't recognized."

Like Wakanda.

The admission on the part of Jacqueline brings a sympathetic smile, holding a touch of bemusement. "I'm not either, really. And while I really don't need more things to keep me on my toes," Pepper's nose wrinkles in humor as she continues, "I'll let the kids do that. They're easier, I think."

Pepper swings around to look at the crowd, and a student moves forward with a cell phone, a badge declaring himself a journalist from PS-10. It's a quick picture, and he's there and gone, off to the next. After all, he may not know who he took a picture of, but they look important, right?

Jacqueline Falsworth has posed:
Jacqueline laughs lightly. "Well you do work for quite a challenging man, I'm given to understand." Rarely has she met him, and ususally only in passing. She knew his father, years ago. But that's not really something she can speak about. Not given everyone thinks she's her own granddaughter.

She pauses as the student takes his picture, smiling for him. As he retreats, she chuckles. "I know journalists who would kill to get that shot," she says softly. "I wonder how up he is on the business columns." But she doesn't mind the kids, as long as the adults aren't stomping in all over them.

"Still, I do like the symposium idea. We should find some time to set something up."

Pepper Potts has posed:
"He certainly has his moments," Pepper breathes, though it's hardly a complaint. He has actually been mostly quiet on the business scene, other than getting mention in the business reports; stocks are up, the initial release of Q1 looks good, and things are stable. Of course, there are always whispers and rumors of takeovers, merges and such, but nothing has hit the fore for Stark Industries.

It's like a sleeping giant.

As the young man retreats, and Jac quips, Pepper laughs softly and nods, a shoulder lifting in a light shrug. "If he plays it right, he could get a lot of money selling it to the papers." And that's the way the PA wants it! Truly give the kids their day to shine.

Turning back to face Jac once more, Pepper's back into something of a business mode, though the intensity is dialed way down in this venue. It's easy conversation as opposed to having to push, bulldoze plans through an unwilling wall. "I think a series of symposiums might work. Something that might get them excited for next year's run.." and immediately, the wheels are beginning to turn. "Keeping with the energy theme, I think. Bahrain is doing some interesting work too. I'll look into that."

Jacqueline Falsworth has posed:
Oh, Jacqueline's well aware the kid is sitting on a good payout, if he's smart enough to realize it. They'll know soon enough.

She nods, however, to the rest of what the woman says. "They are," she agrees. "But the region is exceptionally unstable, right now, given the SHIELD mess in Saudi Arabia."

Of course, her money says the SecDef is full of crap with that pronouncement about SHIELD the other night, but there's no way to know for sure. Her contacts at MI-13 have advised her to lay low for now. Stay in the country, but keep away from SHIELD.

None of that, however, is anything she can say. So, she leaves the comment stand as-is.

"But, yes. A series of symposiums could work. Especially if we could get some of the bigger science names out to play, along with a few demonstrations oriented to the age group. That usually works quite well."

Pepper Potts has posed:
Pepper 'hmmms' in acknowledgment with pressed lips, her expression a touch guarded, though she does nod. "I've been reading about that, yes," is admitted. She, too, isn't all that sure that things are quite what they seem, of course, "We're keeping a close eye on developments." Isn't that what she'd tell the press, too? Of course, it's true; she is keeping a close eye, given SI used to deal with weapons, and government contracts //are// lucrative. But those words should be telling for someone like Jac. Nothing escapes notice, particularly when the CEO is Iron Man.

Still, it'd be interesting to see who approaches Tony. If they do.

Warming back to the symposium ideas, Pepper's features have that warmth returned, and she ducks her head slightly, "I've spoken to Mr Queen a few months ago, approached him regarding Queen Consolidated taking part in the next Stark Expo. He may be receptive to the idea. And Starling could use the help."

Jacqueline Falsworth has posed:
Iron Man *and* an Avenger. The Avengers' links to SHIELD are well-known -- moreso in some circles than others. Still, the look Jac gives Pepper is a knowing one. She recognizes a cautious, corporate line when she hears it. And has good reason to suspect they share an opinion here. And good sense enough not to press it any further.

She nods as Pepper continues the non-controversial part of their conversation, following that lead willingly. "I've never been to Starling," she admits. "But QC's a solid company. I'm looking forward to the Expo, really. I haven't been to one in years. Now that I'm in New York more or less full time, it seems appropriate to clear my schedule some for it, I think."

Pepper Potts has posed:
Still, she isn't about to shut down a supply line because of the nonsense; not until she absolutely has to. And even then?

Still, the other line is far safer, and all's been said that had been appropriate to say. An understanding has been reached, and the lining up of potential other corporations is in the mix.

Pepper smiles, her cheeks brightening, showing off the freckles under the light touch of foundation. "Mr Queen is quite charming," read: handsome, "And when we spoke, he was getting a hold of day to day business matters." Some CEOs never do, so it's not a castigation, at all! "I'm sure he's the perfect contact for Starling. I've only been there to visit QC, really."

Pepper had to mention the Stark Expo, right? Right? It's a lot of work, and it's taking more and more of her time in the meetings with the planning team and such that she's almost ready to beg her friend to take on the project; with commensurate pay. "It should be a good one," she nods, "Not that any are bad, mind. I think there'll be a few things in there that should interest you." She'll let that linger there for the moment before she picks up the fact the other woman is now in the City more and more.

"If you're around, and you need a break, Wednesdays are when a friend of mine and I take time in the morning to go to yoga, then a brunch before going back to the office. Love to have you come. It's only Janet Van Dyne and myself at the moment."

Jacqueline Falsworth has posed:
Jacqueline raises her brows at the invitation. Then, she smiles. "I may take you up on that," she says, her tone a sincere one that suggests she's not just saying it. "I don't know Ms Van Dyne personally, but I do like her designs." Her eyes sparkle some as she says it. So, chances are she's not at all brushing Pepper off with a polite comment.

"And I'll make a point to have my assistant clear me some time to attend some of the key sessions of the Expo. It should be fun." She chuckles, then. "The last thing I was at that was remotely similar was a government sponsored thing in the UK." She shakes her head ruefully. "Not remote the same level at all."

Pepper Potts has posed:
The best ideas don't come out of a boardroom; they come from that 'ah ha' moment when one is not forced to perform, when one can relax around those few trusted people. So, the response that rises from the other woman gains that genuinely pleased smile in return. "It really is a good time, as well as relaxing. Janet is already working on her fall line, and there are still seats available to her spring show in Milan." Most of Pepper's clothes, in fact, are JVD as Janet would see it as an affront to their friendship if she seriously wore any other designer.

The promise, however, for her schedule to be cleared for the Expo gains a quick, understanding nod. "I'll be sure the program is emailed to you. Just let me know what you're interested in and I'll be sure you have a seat." Pepper only does this for a few people; others can take their chances! This is networking. A knowing smirk replaces that warm smile, or more melds with it as she nods, "There really isn't anything like the Expo, and I expect it'll be the same this year." After all, the UK doesn't have //quite// the personality of anyone like Tony.

With the business of the day mostly discussed, the ladies are approached by the Superintendent of Schools, a woman with whom both have made her acquaintance. The step is assured; this is, after all, her turf, and the business of the STEM projects are once again addressed, for the benefit of both the students and the largest school district in the country.