Primis Bank Wraps Up Second Annual STEM Challenge for Local Female Students

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. — The second annual Sheflett Memorial STEM Challenge presented by Primis Bank concluded with a closing awards ceremony, where the participating teams delivered final presentations to be judged. 

The challenge was renamed to honor the life and legacy of Primis’ Chief Information Officer, George “Cody” Sheflett, Jr., who was very passionate about helping the next generation of visionaries pursue their goals in STEM-related fields and sadly passed away in early 2024. 

This year, Primis Bank was proud to welcome more students to the challenge. Female students from Appomattox Regional Governor’s School, Norfolk State University, Virginia State University and the Hampton Family YMCA Leaders Club were split into three teams that were coached by Primis leadership. The teams were tasked to develop an AI-driven solution for a pricing optimization system that analyzes market dynamics, customer behavior and financial data to recommend pricing strategies that balances profit and competitiveness. The students were assessed by a panel of judges on the effectiveness of their AI-driven optimization system, the accuracy of the pricing recommendations, alignment with market dynamics and customer behavior, ethical considerations, and the quality of their presentation. The panel consisted of:  

  • Deborah Diaz, Primis Board of Directors member, former Chief Technology Officer at NASA, and former Chief Information Officer for Science and Technology at the Department of Homeland Security  
  • Al Pearson, Primis Senior Vice President and Director of CRA Compliance  
  • Dennis Zember, Primis Chief Executive Officer 

“After the success of our inaugural STEM Challenge last fall, I thought it would be hard to top,” said Diane Beirne, Primis Director of Corporate Social Responsibility. “I was mistaken. These bright young women really stepped up to the challenge this go-around, and their presentations reflected it. I’d like to thank our team, these programs, and these young ladies for helping put together a truly remarkable event.” 

A few of the focuses of Primis’ overarching community engagement strategy are empowering women and girls, sharpening the minds of all generations and advancing STEM opportunities for women and minorities. The Sheflett Memorial STEM Challenge gave Primis the opportunity to tackle both at the same time, giving these students the support and opportunities to help reach their fullest potential.  

The students on the winning team each received $500 scholarships. The second-place team received $250 each, and the third-place team received $100 scholarships as well for their efforts. Following the judging, Primis was excited to present each program with $1,000 donations as a thank you for participating, and to help further promote STEM opportunities for girls in the future.

For questions about The Sheflett Memorial STEM Challenge presented by Primis Bank, please contact Diane Beirne at [email protected]. To learn more about the bank’s community engagement, visit their website:  

About Primis

Managing more than $3.9 billion in assets, Primis is the first bank to get it right. Primis brings the backing of an FDIC institution with the brains of a tech company — offering both security and ease; a solid foundation that’s future proof; and sophisticated offerings that are super simple to navigate. Primis breaks through all the fine print, wait times, and red tape — bringing to market services that actually serve and solutions that solve real life problems. Some say Primis is doing things different, we say we’re doing things right.

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