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  • richardmitnick 12:35 pm on November 29, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Global SPHERE Network, SPHERE-STEM Programs for High-Schoolers Engaging in Research Early", STEM,   

    From UCSC: “Global SPHERE Network promotes research opportunities for high school students” 

    UC Santa Cruz

    UC Santa Cruz

    November 29, 2017
    Tim Stephens

    Coalition of top U.S. educational institutions launches mentor network and online database to increase access to STEM research opportunities for high school students.


    A coalition of U.S. educational institutions has launched an online database of opportunities around the world for high school students to get involved in research in the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). The database is part of a global network of STEM programs and mentors for high school students.

    By promoting “STEM Programs for High-Schoolers Engaging in Research Early” (SPHERE), the Global SPHERE Network aims to increase both the number of mentors (researchers who engage high school students in their research) and the number and diversity of high school students who participate in authentic STEM research.

    Founding partners in the coalition include the University of California, Santa Cruz; the New York Academy of Sciences; the Bay Area Teen Science Program at UC Berkeley; American Museum of Natural History; RockEDU Science Outreach at the Rockefeller University; and the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. Since 2015, the Global SPHERE Network has connected with 120 organizations in 20 countries, said cofounder Puragra (Raja) GuhaThakurta.

    “As a STEM researcher, I feel it is very important to mentor today’s youth and get them deeply immersed in authentic research so they can get a taste of how exciting it is to tackle some of the open-ended problems facing the world today,” said GuhaThakurta, a professor of astronomy and astrophysics at UC Santa Cruz and founder of the UCSC Science Internship Program (SIP). He and SIP partner liaison Emily Entress Clark cofounded the Global SPHERE Network.

    The network’s new online database lists available opportunities across the world for high school students to engage in research. It also serves as a networking space for programs and mentors who are already offering research opportunities or are looking to do so. Member programs are encouraged to use the database on an ongoing basis to network with other programs, share resources, and engage with high school students.

    The database will initially offer a few hundred research projects across a dozen established programs in a wide range of STEM disciplines. The goal is to grow the database to five to 10 times its current size over the next few years, GuhaThakurta said. High school science teachers and students interested in these projects can access the database through the student portal on the Global SPHERE Network web site.

    “Many students on a STEM track at school are keen to do research projects, not only for their school work, but to also enter some of the science competitions that offer college scholarships, but they often don’t know how to get started,” said Celina Morgan-Standard, senior vice president of global business development at the New York Academy of Sciences. “The Global SPHERE Network initiative will help to address this opportunity gap while providing a great resource to teachers who’d like to give their students STEM related research projects.”

    GuhaThakurta noted that most established programs find that they have to turn away many qualified students and generally have no systematic way to redirect them to alternate programs. Meanwhile, parents and students tend to be aware of only a small fraction of the available programs. The Global SPHERE Network provides valuable resources for programs and mentors as well as for students, parents, and teachers.

    The network will host the first in a series of webinars on Wednesday, November 29 (1:30 to 2:30 p.m. PST), to give an overview of the network and answer questions for organizations that are interested in joining. Free registration for this and subsequent webinars is available through the prospective partner questionnaire on the network’s web site. Institutions, professionals, and educational groups are encouraged to register to receive invitations to webinars and find out ways they can benefit from the network.

    Additional information about the Global SPHERE Network is available online at http://www.globalspherenetwork.org.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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    Stem Education Coalition

    UCO Lick Shane Telescope
    UCO Lick Shane Telescope interior
    Shane Telescope at UCO Lick Observatory, UCSC

    Lick Automated Planet Finder telescope, Mount Hamilton, CA, USA

    Lick Automated Planet Finder telescope, Mount Hamilton, CA, USA

    UC Santa Cruz campus
    The University of California, Santa Cruz, opened in 1965 and grew, one college at a time, to its current (2008-09) enrollment of more than 16,000 students. Undergraduates pursue more than 60 majors supervised by divisional deans of humanities, physical & biological sciences, social sciences, and arts. Graduate students work toward graduate certificates, master’s degrees, or doctoral degrees in more than 30 academic fields under the supervision of the divisional and graduate deans. The dean of the Jack Baskin School of Engineering oversees the campus’s undergraduate and graduate engineering programs.

    UCSC is the home base for the Lick Observatory.

    Lick Observatory's Great Lick 91-centimeter (36-inch) telescope housed in the South (large) Dome of main building
    Lick Observatory’s Great Lick 91-centimeter (36-inch) telescope housed in the South (large) Dome of main building

    Search for extraterrestrial intelligence expands at Lick Observatory
    New instrument scans the sky for pulses of infrared light
    March 23, 2015
    By Hilary Lebow
    The NIROSETI instrument saw first light on the Nickel 1-meter Telescope at Lick Observatory on March 15, 2015. (Photo by Laurie Hatch) UCSC Lick Nickel telescope

    Astronomers are expanding the search for extraterrestrial intelligence into a new realm with detectors tuned to infrared light at UC’s Lick Observatory. A new instrument, called NIROSETI, will soon scour the sky for messages from other worlds.

    “Infrared light would be an excellent means of interstellar communication,” said Shelley Wright, an assistant professor of physics at UC San Diego who led the development of the new instrument while at the University of Toronto’s Dunlap Institute for Astronomy & Astrophysics.

    Wright worked on an earlier SETI project at Lick Observatory as a UC Santa Cruz undergraduate, when she built an optical instrument designed by UC Berkeley researchers. The infrared project takes advantage of new technology not available for that first optical search.

    Infrared light would be a good way for extraterrestrials to get our attention here on Earth, since pulses from a powerful infrared laser could outshine a star, if only for a billionth of a second. Interstellar gas and dust is almost transparent to near infrared, so these signals can be seen from great distances. It also takes less energy to send information using infrared signals than with visible light.

    UCSC alumna Shelley Wright, now an assistant professor of physics at UC San Diego, discusses the dichroic filter of the NIROSETI instrument. (Photo by Laurie Hatch)

    Frank Drake, professor emeritus of astronomy and astrophysics at UC Santa Cruz and director emeritus of the SETI Institute, said there are several additional advantages to a search in the infrared realm.

    “The signals are so strong that we only need a small telescope to receive them. Smaller telescopes can offer more observational time, and that is good because we need to search many stars for a chance of success,” said Drake.

    The only downside is that extraterrestrials would need to be transmitting their signals in our direction, Drake said, though he sees this as a positive side to that limitation. “If we get a signal from someone who’s aiming for us, it could mean there’s altruism in the universe. I like that idea. If they want to be friendly, that’s who we will find.”

    Scientists have searched the skies for radio signals for more than 50 years and expanded their search into the optical realm more than a decade ago. The idea of searching in the infrared is not a new one, but instruments capable of capturing pulses of infrared light only recently became available.

    “We had to wait,” Wright said. “I spent eight years waiting and watching as new technology emerged.”

    Now that technology has caught up, the search will extend to stars thousands of light years away, rather than just hundreds. NIROSETI, or Near-Infrared Optical Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, could also uncover new information about the physical universe.

    “This is the first time Earthlings have looked at the universe at infrared wavelengths with nanosecond time scales,” said Dan Werthimer, UC Berkeley SETI Project Director. “The instrument could discover new astrophysical phenomena, or perhaps answer the question of whether we are alone.”

    NIROSETI will also gather more information than previous optical detectors by recording levels of light over time so that patterns can be analyzed for potential signs of other civilizations.

    “Searching for intelligent life in the universe is both thrilling and somewhat unorthodox,” said Claire Max, director of UC Observatories and professor of astronomy and astrophysics at UC Santa Cruz. “Lick Observatory has already been the site of several previous SETI searches, so this is a very exciting addition to the current research taking place.”

    NIROSETI will be fully operational by early summer and will scan the skies several times a week on the Nickel 1-meter telescope at Lick Observatory, located on Mt. Hamilton east of San Jose.

    The NIROSETI team also includes Geoffrey Marcy and Andrew Siemion from UC Berkeley; Patrick Dorval, a Dunlap undergraduate, and Elliot Meyer, a Dunlap graduate student; and Richard Treffers of Starman Systems. Funding for the project comes from the generous support of Bill and Susan Bloomfield.

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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  • richardmitnick 10:02 am on November 6, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , New funding for exciting STEM education projects, STEM, ,   

    From UK Space Agency: “New funding for exciting STEM education projects” 

    UK Space Agency

    UK Space Agency

    6 November 2017
    No writer credit found

    No image caption or credit

    The UK Space Agency has awarded £210,000 of funding for seven new education and outreach activities.

    The projects are designed to inspire interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and provide exciting contexts for the teaching of a range of subjects. This will, in turn, help the growth of the space sector, which is currently hampered by the lack of graduates and technicians with relevant qualifications.

    The seven new projects were selected to support the aims of the Education and Skills Strategy, and build upon the Agency’s investment in a number of areas, in particular:

    Earth Observation
    Satellite Launch Programme (UK spaceports and launchers)
    James Webb Space Telescope

    NASA/ESA/CSA Webb Telescope annotated

    Susan Buckle, Astronaut Flight Education Programme Manager, said:

    “We are delighted to be funding all these projects and to work with a variety of different organisations – from the D&T Association with expertise in design and technology to the Triathlon Trust with expertise in getting children active, as well as the more traditional STEM organisations. Each project will fulfil the objective to inspire the next generation to study STEM and consider a career in the space industry, whilst having a lot of fun along the way.”

    The 7 successful projects to be funded are:

    Glasgow Science Festival: Get me into orbit!
    Triathlon Trust: Space to Earth view
    Mangorolla CIC: Space zones ‘I’m a Scientist’ and ‘I’m an Engineer’
    Institute for Research in Schools: MELT: Monitoring the Environment, Learning for Tomorrow
    The Design and Technology Association: Inspiring the next generation: design and technology in space
    European Space Education Resource Office-UK: James Webb Space Telescope: Design challenge
    Children’s Radio UK (Fun Kids): Deep Space High – UK Spaceports

    The MELT project will allow students to understand and analyse key earth observation data relating to the North and South Pole.

    This work is in collaboration with Robert Swan on his Antarctic expedition, who said:

    “I’m delighted to be working with IRIS on the MELT project. Students looking at Earth observation of the poles will be directly observing our South Pole Energy Challenge and seeing what a crucial role they have in understanding and taking care of their environment.”

    Emma Watson from The Design and Technology Association said:

    “The Design and Technology Association are delighted to be working with the UK Space Agency to develop a series of curriculum based resources which will use the design and technology curriculum as a platform to motivate more young people to consider careers in the space industry.

    “Structured around Earth Observation, Satellite Launch Systems and the James Webb Space Telescope, these innovative resources will inspire young people to imagine new possibilities, drawing on their existing STEM knowledge, and applying it to real-life space contexts.”

    More details on each of the projects will be available as they develop their resources and activities.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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    The UK Space Agency is responsible for all strategic decisions on the UK civil space programme and provides a clear, single voice for UK space ambitions.

    At the heart of UK efforts to explore and benefit from space, we are responsible for ensuring that the UK retains and grows a strategic capability in space-based systems, technologies, science and applications. We lead the UK’s civil space programme in order to win sustainable economic growth, secure new scientific knowledge and provide benefit to all citizens.

    We work to:

    co-ordinate UK civil space activity
    encourage academic research
    support the UK space industry
    raise the profile of UK space activities at home and abroad
    increase understanding of space science and its practical benefits
    inspire our next generation of UK scientists and engineers
    licence the launch and operation of UK spacecraft
    promote co-operation and participation in the European Space programme

    We’re an executive agency of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, made up of about 70 staff based in Swindon, London and the UK Space Gateway in Oxfordshire.

    We are responsible for:

    leading the UK civil space policy and increasing the UK contribution to European initiatives
    building a strong national space capability, including scientific and industrial centres of excellence
    co-ordinating strategic investment across industry and academia
    working to inspire and train a growing, skilled UK workforce of space technologists and scientists
    working on national and international space projects in co-operation with industry and academia
    regulating the UK civil space activities and ensuring we meet international treaty obligations

  • richardmitnick 9:58 am on August 18, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Back to school for Science Week, , , STEM   

    From CSIRO: “Back to school for Science Week” 

    CSIRO bloc

    Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation

    18 Aug 2017
    Ashleigh Fortington
    +61 2 4960 6142

    More than 350 Australian schools are today welcoming Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) professionals into their classrooms – virtually and physically – to promote the importance of STEM to Australia’s future.


    Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, Senator the Hon Arthur Sinodinos AO talks to Gundaroo primary students about all things science during our STEM in Schools event.

    Minister for Education and Training, Senator the Hon Simon Birmingham working with East Adelaide Primary School students as part of STEM in Schools.

    The STEM in Schools event, run by CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, forms part of National Science Week and will see classrooms across the country come alive with science as students participate in a virtual classroom discussion with STEM professionals working in the international space industry.

    Many also have the opportunity to take part in hands-on science activities with CSIRO scientists.

    More than 30 Federal MPs will also head back to school for the day and join students in the activities, underlining the national importance of STEM for Australia’s future.

    With research indicating that 75 per cent of the fastest growing occupations now require STEM skills and knowledge, it is now more important than ever to engage students in science, technology, engineering and maths.

    CSIRO Chief Executive Dr Larry Marshall said the event was about inspiring a curiosity and passion in science that will encourage more students to pursue STEM as a foundation of their future.

    “For Australia to prosper, we need to empower our students to calmly and confidently stare into the face of Australia’s challenges, knowing that science has the power to solve the impossible and turn challenge into opportunity,” Dr Marshall said.

    “STEM in Schools teaches our children how they can reshape the future, inspiring them with the possibilities of science. These students will go on to become our scientists, engineers, business leaders and entrepreneurs of tomorrow.”

    STEM in Schools events are taking place in over 350 schools around Australia, with over 70 CSIRO staff and 30 members of parliament visiting schools across the country to conduct activities and share their passion for STEM.

    Follow the conversation and see all the action from the events across the country with #STEMinSchools on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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    Stem Education Coalition

    CSIRO campus

    CSIRO, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, is Australia’s national science agency and one of the largest and most diverse research agencies in the world.

  • richardmitnick 12:15 pm on August 16, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , In the US they don’t call them nerds — in fact they call some of them billionaires, Nerds and Billionaires: Let scientists out of their boxes, STEM, We need our kids to be empowered to change their world, We need to embrace a more ­diverse model for success if we’re going to be competitive in an exponentially changing world   

    From CSIRO Blog: “Nerds and Billionaires: Let scientists out of their boxes” 

    CSIRO bloc

    CSIRO blog

    16 August 2017
    Dr. Larry Marshall, Chief Executive CSIRO

    Artwork: Tom Jellett.

    When I came home to Australia to head up the CSIRO, I was on a panel and the moderator told me I was “just a scientist”. The implication was: what would you know about business?

    Reviewing some of the television interviews given by my predecessor, Megan Clark, I was shocked to hear her called a “head of the nerds”. She laughed it off, but I don’t think I could have.

    After 26 years in the US I’d forgotten what Australian culture thinks of scientists. Sure, they’re smart, they’re achievers, and they’re important — but don’t ask them about anything other than science.

    Science becomes very specialised very quickly, and so do markets, so you need to be an endlessly curious person who isn’t afraid to ask questions. That’s definitely at the heart of science training and, I think, at the heart of the best business training. But just because you study science doesn’t mean you can’t do business. In fact, it may prepare you to run companies far better than management courses do, especially in the innovation revolution.

    We need to embrace a more ­diverse model for success if we’re going to be competitive in an exponentially changing world. People are so much more than the sum of their qualifications, and it’s one-dimensional thinking to try to label them or confine them to a box. Not only is that absurdly narrow minded, it’s also hugely damaging for the next generation of science, technology, engineering and mathematics specialists, kids in school who see that and think, well, I like science but I don’t want to be called a nerd. We need our kids to be empowered to change their world.

    In the US, they don’t call them nerds — in fact they call some of them billionaires. They drive Ferraris and provide the wisdom and angel funding to the next generation of brilliant minds. They invest in bold, brave, risky new ideas, because they’ve done the maths — and the biology, or chemistry, or physics — to understand how these game-changing benchtop concepts can be turned into world-changing products.

    You don’t change the world by thinking the same as everyone else; diversity of perspectives is the compass to navigate the ambiguity of innovation.

    When I look around the Australian venture capital scene, this same false delineation between scientists and business is tripping us over and stopping us from investing in the genius in our own back yards. According to the Australian Private Equity and Venture Capital Association, we’ve had only two Australian venture-backed start-ups make it to Nasdaq: one in 2000, founded by pioneering internet entrepreneurs (Looksmart); the other last year, founded by scientists and run by a PhD chief executive (Quantenna) based on a CSIRO invention.

    The national sci-tech accelerator, ON, powered by CSIRO, and our new investment fund, Main Sequence Ventures, are just a couple of the ways we’re aiming to break down these barriers and take more great Australian science from benchtop to beta to buyer. You’d be hard-pressed to find a more diverse group than at an ON launch event, and while they certainly don’t conform to “leadership demeanour”, their innovations are game changing, from environment to health, manufacturing, energy, food, agriculture, mining, digital and space.

    This artificial separation of careers and capabilities has to stop if we’re going to navigate the transition into an innovation economy. We can’t think outside of the box if we’re stuck being squares. Most businesses need more science in their strategy, and the future chief executives of Australian companies can’t be from central casting.

    Consider that there is a place in the world where the “nerds” create multi-billion-dollar companies and still take time out to teach at Stanford, and the bankers and lawyers chase them in search of the next unicorn.

    So the next time you meet a mathematician, don’t assume he’s a professor — he might be the chief executive of Qantas. When you meet a computer scientist, don’t assume the screen to which he’s glued is full of numbers — he could be the chief executive of Netflix. Don’t be surprised that a young woman studying maths and science became chief executive of eBay and later Hewlett Packard Enterprise, or that the chief executive of PepsiCo has a degree in maths and chemistry.

    But of all the science disciplines, beware the physicists — because they can work out everything from first principles. And while they could be a teacher or a professor, they also could be the founder of Intel, the seed that grew into Silicon Valley; or Space­X and Solar City and Tesla, powering the next generation of energy and exploration; or even a serial entrepreneur with two initial public offerings under their belt, and a plan to catalyse innovation in their home country.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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    CSIRO campus

    CSIRO, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, is Australia’s national science agency and one of the largest and most diverse research agencies in the world.

    The CSIRO blog is designed to entertain, inform and inspire by generally digging around in the work being done by our terrific scientists, and leaving the techie speak and jargon for the experts.

    We aim to bring you stories from across the vast breadth and depth of our organisation: from the wild sea voyages of our Research Vessel Investigator to the mind-blowing astronomy of our Space teams, right through all the different ways our scientists solve national challenges in areas as diverse as Health, Farming, Tech, Manufacturing, Energy, Oceans, and our Environment.

    If you have any questions about anything you find on our blog, we’d love to hear from you. You can reach us at socialmedia@csiro.au.

    And if you’d like to find out more about us, our science, or how to work with us, head over to CSIRO.au

  • richardmitnick 9:22 am on March 2, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: AAU, STEM, ,   

    From UCLA: Women in STEM -“UCLA to Enhance Undergraduate STEM Education” 

    UCLA bloc


    March 01, 2017

    From the left, Erin Sanders, Gina Poe and Megan McEvoy.UCLA

    UCLA is among 12 universities nationally to be awarded a grant from the Association of American Universities to fund workshops on campus over the next year to assess all programs that support and retain undergraduate students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

    The first workshop, to be held in late spring on campus, will focus on advising, tutoring, career contacts with alumni, research activities and other-curricular student support programs and activities. A second workshop in the fall will examine changes in how courses are taught, how grades are assessed and ways to change the culture in and outside the classroom to better support students in their educational goals. A third workshop,to be held next year, will bring all relevant stakeholders together to discuss a variety of issues on which they can work together and to identify gaps that can be filled.

    These workshops will be organized by life sciences professors Gina Poe and Megan McEvoy, co-directors of UCLA’s new Center for Opportunities to Maximize Participation, Access, and Student Success (COMPASS) and by Erin Sanders of the Center for Education Innovation and Learning in the Sciences. Nearly 200 STEM stakeholders across campus will be invited to attend the workshops.

    Each meeting will be attended by the deans of engineering, life sciences, physical sciences, public health, and the dean and vice provost for undergraduate education,. They will use the findings to plan funding priorities and to create lasting change, Poe said.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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    UC LA Campus

    For nearly 100 years, UCLA has been a pioneer, persevering through impossibility, turning the futile into the attainable.

    We doubt the critics, reject the status quo and see opportunity in dissatisfaction. Our campus, faculty and students are driven by optimism. It is not naïve; it is essential. And it has fueled every accomplishment, allowing us to redefine what’s possible, time after time.

    This can-do perspective has brought us 12 Nobel Prizes, 12 Rhodes Scholarships, more NCAA titles than any university and more Olympic medals than most nations. Our faculty and alumni helped create the Internet and pioneered reverse osmosis. And more than 100 companies have been created based on technology developed at UCLA.

  • richardmitnick 4:16 pm on January 26, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Erika Escalona, Raja GuhaThakurta, STEM, Student Internship Program (SIP), ,   

    From UCSC: Women in Science – “Science Internship Program creates opportunities for high school students” Erika Escalona 

    UC Santa Cruz

    UC Santa Cruz

    January 26, 2017
    Tim Stephens

    Erika Escalona in the laboratory of chemistry professor Shaowei Chen at UCSC, where she did a research project on graphene quantum dots for her summer internship.

    Aptos High School student Erika Escalona liked high school chemistry, but she wasn’t sure how far she wanted to pursue the subject until last summer, when she did a research project in the lab of chemistry professor Shaowei Chen at UC Santa Cruz.

    “Now I totally know I want to do chemistry,” said Escalona, one of 142 high school students (a record number) who did research projects at UC Santa Cruz last summer through the Science Internship Program (SIP). Chemistry graduate student René Mercado was Escalona’s mentor, and they still keep in touch.

    “I had never been to a research lab before,” Escalona said. “The Chen lab was pretty amazing. It was a great environment. I gained skills and learned to have confidence in myself.”

    Escalona plans to major in chemistry at Princeton University, where she will start as a freshman in the fall. When she spoke about her experience in the program at an SIP reunion in December, it was a proud moment for her parents, both Mexican immigrants who had to quit school and start working before they got beyond elementary school.

    “Every one of these stories means a lot to me, because it shows the impact the program can have on students’ lives and the importance of need-based scholarships for students who could not otherwise afford the program,” said Puragra (Raja) GuhaThakurta, a professor of astronomy and astrophysics at UC Santa Cruz who started SIP in 2009.

    Astronomer Raja GuhaThakurta, who founded the Student Internship Program (SIP) in 2009, spoke at the SIP reunion. (Photo by Steve Kurtz)

    Fundraising effort

    GuhaThakurta organized the reunion for SIP alumni and their families to celebrate the program’s success and to launch a fundraising effort to provide continued support. Google has been a generous supporter of the program and hosted the reunion at the Google campus in Mountain View. A dozen families of SIP alumni have already committed $120,000 in matching funds to help establish an SIP Annual Fund.

    Among other things, the fund will help SIP develop additional enrichment activities, provide more training for mentors, recruit qualified students from low-income communities, provide need-based scholarships, and recruit a full-time program director.

    GuhaThakurta said SIP started informally, when he helped a few high school students find computation-based research projects to work on over the summer. He soon discovered that a great many students are interested in such opportunities. The interns work closely with graduate student mentors in faculty research labs, and the program has grown rapidly as GuhaThakurta has gotten more faculty involved.

    “I’m trying to encourage other universities to do this, because there’s a huge demand. We’ve found that not only are the students having good experiences, there are also significant benefits for the graduate students who mentor them,” GuhaThakurta said.

    SIP now involves 15 different departments at UC Santa Cruz, offering students opportunities for summer research projects in areas such as astrophysics, biomolecular engineering, chemistry, linguistics, and environmental science. To date, more than 400 students from 90 different high schools have participated in the 10-week program, which involves a deep dive into a real science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) research project, and also includes workshops, social activities, and field trips.

    One hallmark of the program from the start has been the remarkable success rate of interns who submit their research projects to national and international science competitions, such as the Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology. Last year, SIP interns made up a quarter of the California semifinalists in the Siemens competition. In addition, GuhaThakurta said many of the students who do astrophysics research projects present their findings in poster sessions at American Astronomical Society meetings.

    Increasing diversity

    Increasing the diversity of SIP students and providing scholarships for those with financial needs have been priorities for GuhaThakurta as the program has grown. He noted the program has always had good gender diversity, with about 60 percent girls all along.

    “This alone is a big achievement. We’ve found that many of them go on to pursue computer science degrees in college, and women are strongly underrepresented in that field,” GuhaThakurta said.

    He has been reaching out to regional public schools and partnering with outreach programs such as UCSC’s Educational Partnership Center and Minds Matter of San Francisco to recruit more students from underserved groups. “We’ve had four students from Minds Matter, a great program in San Francisco that focuses on high-achieving low-income students in the public schools. They’re one of seven diversity partners we’re working with to expand our outreach,” GuhaThakurta said.

    He is also working to establish a “bridge program” for students who may need additional support to navigate some of the challenges of the internship program or may feel intimidated by them. “The idea is to give them an opportunity to build their skills and work on projects in a controlled environment where we can give them as much guidance as they need,” GuhaThakurta said. “We will focus on students who are disadvantaged due to socioeconomic status, would be the first in their family to go to college, or are from groups underrepresented in the STEM fields.”

    Escalona said she didn’t apply for SIP in her sophomore year because she didn’t think she was ready, but with hindsight she says she probably would have done fine. “Any high school student should think about it,” she said. “No matter what skill level you think you are, you can do it. What matters is your motivation and the effort you put into it.”

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    UCO Lick Shane Telescope
    UCO Lick Shane Telescope interior
    Shane Telescope at UCO Lick Observatory, UCSC

    Lick Automated Planet Finder telescope, Mount Hamilton, CA, USA
    Lick Automated Planet Finder telescope, Mount Hamilton, CA, USA

    UC Santa Cruz campus
    The University of California, Santa Cruz, opened in 1965 and grew, one college at a time, to its current (2008-09) enrollment of more than 16,000 students. Undergraduates pursue more than 60 majors supervised by divisional deans of humanities, physical & biological sciences, social sciences, and arts. Graduate students work toward graduate certificates, master’s degrees, or doctoral degrees in more than 30 academic fields under the supervision of the divisional and graduate deans. The dean of the Jack Baskin School of Engineering oversees the campus’s undergraduate and graduate engineering programs.

  • richardmitnick 12:19 pm on January 5, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Experts Seek to Boost Knowledge and Allies for Teaching STEM, STEM   

    From AAAS: “Experts Seek to Boost Knowledge and Allies for Teaching STEM” 



    3 January 2017
    Kathleen O’Neil

    Multidisciplinary science organizations are working together to devise a plan for improving undergraduate STEM programs, calling for more collaboration across disciplines.industrieblick/Adobe Stock

    If you ever dropped differently-sized objects to see if one fell faster as part of your physics class, or watched a stalk of celery turn colors when placed in dye instead of listening to a lecture on capillary action, you have benefited from research into how students learn and understand science.

    Educational best practices that apply to all the fields of science recognize common observations, such as knowing that students tend to learn more from hands-on activities than a lecture. Yet, much more research is needed to frame more effective approaches to teaching science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) topics with their complex and sometimes interlocking concepts.

    Discipline-based education research, however, has traditionally stayed in its respective STEM field, with separate journals, conferences and research topics and largely eschewed collaborative approaches that could better integrate teaching in the STEM fields.

    Now, a small group of researchers and organizations including AAAS and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), are trying to help break the knowledge their respective communities have free from such constraints. They aim to increase collaborations across disciplines by organizing a community of discipline-based education research (DBER) practitioners who want to improve undergraduate education across the STEM fields.

    About two dozen leaders in this area of STEM education research met 18-19 November in Washington, D.C. to discuss the potential goals and benefits of a cross-disciplinary community that they are calling the STEM DBER Alliance. It would supplement and enhance existing DBER group activities. The founders are working on a white paper and have plans to share their vision and solicit input more widely at other scientific and education meetings, including at the 2017 AAAS Annual Meeting in Boston in February.

    The nascent effort came about after several researchers, including Scott Franklin, a physics professor and director of a STEM education center at Rochester Institute of Technology, Charles Henderson, a physics professor at Western Michigan University, and Shirley Malcom, head of Education and Human Resources at AAAS, discussed forming a national interdisciplinary group at the public and land-grant universities’ group workshop in June.

    “It was quite clear that we needed an umbrella that was going to help us really understand how we could contribute to each other’s understanding,” Malcom said. “We said ‘Maybe we’re smarter together.’”

    Franklin said he and Henderson have seen the benefits of cross-discipline discussions at their own institutions and been interested in expanding it nationally. “We’ve seen firsthand the discussions that result from the very different experiences and backgrounds, and how these have supported research in unexpected directions,” Franklin said. He said the STEM DBER Alliance will bring him into contact with more researchers who can contribute ideas and opportunities for collaboration, and help the group tackle difficult issues, such as diversity, inclusion and broadening participation.

    Such collaborations could greatly help improve student retention and diversity in STEM fields, Malcom said. If a college student studying engineering is having trouble with the required mathematics, for example, it is not just a problem with how the engineering is taught, but rather how the math is taught, Malcom said. Engineering faculty could benefit greatly from learning how math educators teach those concepts and how students learn mathematical concepts.

    Sciences that deal with some of the same basic concepts could also begin to make those connections to help students better grasp fundamental principles. For example, students learn about energy in physics and biology, and whether the examples deal with colliding cars or sugar stored in plants, “it’s still energy,” said Susan Rundell Singer, lead editor of a 2012 National Academies of Science report on DBER.

    Singer combined biology DBER research with research on the developmental biology of flowering in plants in her 30 years as a professor at Carleton College before recently becoming vice president for academic affairs and provost at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida.

    This kind of interdisciplinary teaching and education research is essential in preparing learners to address global challenges,, Singer said. “We need systems thinkers in engineering, biology, and chemistry to address climate change,” she said. “If we aren’t talking to each other and figuring out how these shared concepts are understood, then our students lose, and ultimately, our nation loses.”

    Efforts to improve science and mathematics education began in the early 1900s, when professors realized that traditional ways of teaching concepts to undergraduates could be improved. DBER had a resurgence in the 1960s post-Sputnik push to increase the number of STEM graduates. However, it was not until the 1990s that discipline-based education began to grow into an active research field in most STEM disciplines, with physics education research taking the lead.. It is now solidly established in each STEM field, with more faculty members being added each year.

    Singer hopes the cross-disciplinary community will “get people out of their STEM silos and talking with fields including economics and cultural anthropology, social psychology — not just to borrow their methodologies, but to think in new ways together.”

    See the full article here .

    The American Association for the Advancement of Science is an international non-profit organization dedicated to advancing science for the benefit of all people.

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.
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    Stem Education Coalition

  • richardmitnick 5:11 pm on October 17, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , San Joaquin Expanding Your Horizons Conference, STEM,   

    From LLNL: “Girls explore STEM careers at conference” 

    Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

    Oct. 17, 2016
    Carenda L Martin

    “She Believed She Could So She Did STEM,” was the theme for the recent San Joaquin Expanding Your Horizons Conference, held at the University of the Pacific

    “She Believed She Could So She Did STEM,” was the theme for the 24th annual San Joaquin Expanding Your Horizons (SJEYH) conference, where nearly 500 young women flocked to the University of the Pacific campus in Stockton, excited to learn more about science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

    The conference, which is co-sponsored by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), Sandia National Laboratories, and the University of the Pacific School of Engineering and Computer Science, sparks girls’ interest in STEM careers in a fun environment. Participants, spanning grades 6-12, came from across San Joaquin and Stanislaus counties, including Stockton, Lodi, Manteca, Modesto and other rural communities, to attend the daylong event.

    Monique Warren, a Stockton native and environmental engineer at LLNL, served as the keynote speaker, kicking off the event with an enthusiastic and inspirational talk exploring the SJEYH theme.

    As a past attendee, Warren was delighted to come full circle as the keynote speaker and credited SJEYH and programs like it for helping her get to where she is today. “When I first heard the theme for this year’s conference, I thought to myself, ‘Wow, what a great idea and what a great thing to teach,'” said Warren. “But the more I thought about this theme, the more I realized that wasn’t how my story began.”

    Warren didn’t always have a clear picture of what she wanted to do in life. “There have been many people in my life who have influenced, taught and helped to shape who I am for the better,” said Warren. “However, there are four special people in particular, that without them, I may not have become an environmental engineer. These four people are a huge part of the reason that I believed ‘I could.'”

    Warren shared that her primary inspiration came from her parents, along with mentors Andrea Hodge, an LLNL scientist, and Darin Gray, her teacher when she attended the USC Discover Engineering program.

    “My dad, a Laboratory employee, opened my eyes to the possibility of science through his determination to connect me with a mentor,” said Warren. Through his network at LLNL, he introduced me to Andrea, who shared with me first-hand what her job entailed. Darin Gray showed me that engineers solve real world problems and by introducing fun hands-on projects, he gave me a feel for what engineering was like. Finally, it was my mom who encouraged me to the point where I believed I could do it.”

    “Our goal today is to provide you with the opportunity to see the endless possibilities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics and to remind you that there is so much you can be and do,” said Warren. “If you want to live life like you intend to win, you need to put in the ‘EFFORT’ (enthusiasm, faith, flexibility, originality, rise [to the challenge] and teachable).”

    Each participant attended three out of 24 hands-on workshops that were offered, including titles such as: Fun With Science, Bristle Bots, DNA Cheek Cell Extraction Experiment, Cyber Defense, Ubiquitous Electronics, Water Treatment in Action, Engineer a Microscope, Computer Repair and Networking, Chemistry Potions and many more.

    After lunch and the final workshop, event organizers showed a slideshow of photos from the day and distributed raffle prizes to participants, including a laptop (grand prize). Many of those present had attended SJEYH before. Sierra Carpenter (Millenium High School), Diana Aguilera (Stockton Early College Academy), Emma Navarra and Hanna Navarra (both from Connecting Waters Charter School) received recognition for having attended the conference for all seven years.

    Jeene Villanueva, a computer scientist at LLNL, served as SJEYH conference chair for the second year in a row. “It is exciting to see the impact this conference has on students,” she said. “Past attendees are now professional women scientists and come back as volunteers to run workshops and chaperone groups. We feel the excitement continue not only in new attendees, but in workshop presenters and volunteers as well.”

    The annual conference is coordinated by a core committee of volunteers with the help of 200 additional volunteers who work at LLNL, Sandia National Laboratory and the University of the Pacific, along with other members of the community. More than 40 LLNL employees were involved in making SJEYH a successful event.

    “This conference runs smoothly due to the hard work of my awesome team that includes Deb Burdick, Martha Campiotti, Marleen Emig, Cary Gellner, Carolyn Hall, Joan Houston, Sharon Langman, Carrie Martin, Kathleen Shoga, Lindsey Whitehurst, Pearline Williams and Teri York,” said Villanueva. “I am always impressed by their selfless dedication to ensuring a successful event each year.”

    Special guests in attendance included: Jenny Kenoyer, City of Modesto council member; Maria Mendez, Stockton Unified School District Board of Education; Chiakis Ornelas, representing Congressman Jerry McNerney, 9th District Office; and Steven Howell, dean of the School of Engineering and Computer Science at the University of the Pacific.

    Various sponsors that contributed giveaways, services and donations included the American Association of University Women (AAUW); Junior League of San Joaquin County; Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Women’s Association; Matthew Simpson (LLNL); NASCO, Modesto; Sandia Women’s Connection; SaveMart S.H.A.R.E.S. Program; Sandia/Lockheed Martin Foundation Gifts and Grants; Simplot J R Company, Lathrop; Society of Women Engineers/UOP; Soroptimist International, Manteca, Tracy; Stockton AAUW and Watermark.

    For more information, see the SJEYH website.

    To view more photos of the event, see the San Joaquin EYH 2016 photo gallery.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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    Stem Education Coalition
    LLNL Campus

    Operated by Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC, for the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security
    DOE Seal

  • richardmitnick 8:09 am on September 22, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , STEM,   

    From U Washington: “UW receives $500,000 from Boeing to enhance STEM training, opportunities for local students” 

    U Washington

    University of Washington

    September 21, 2016
    No writer credit

    Boeing announced Wednesday it is awarding $6 million in grants to more than 50 nonprofit organizations and education institutions across Washington, including $500,000 to the University of Washington.

    The grants are geared toward programs that enhance STEM, workforce training, and educational and career pathway opportunities for students – particularly for underserved students who have not historically pursued these fields. Included in the grants is $1 million to further support students seeking a STEM education and learning opportunities at local universities.

    Junior Ann Margaret Stompro leads a discussion about wildlife ecology as part of the UW’s Alternative Spring Break program.U. of Washington

    The UW will receive $500,000 to help under-represented high school students attend and succeed at the university, including support for the Dream Project, which trains students to mentor first-generation and low-income high school students. The funds will also help support the UW’s Alternative Spring Break program, during which teams of UW undergraduate students spend their spring break in a rural or tribal community of Washington state working with local elementary and middle schools on literacy arts and environmental science projects.

    “This funding will enable UW programs like the Dream Project, Alternative Spring Break and others to dig deeper into their work of connecting UW undergraduates to leadership and mentorship opportunities,” says Ed Taylor, vice provost and dean of Undergraduate Academic Affairs. “As leaders and mentors, UW students support, teach and motivate younger students to pursue higher education. It’s especially inspiring to see many of our students return to the very communities they grew up in — all around Washington. They help others attain higher education, and, in the process, they develop characteristics and leadership skills that future employers would value.”

    Also getting a boost from this grant are the UW’s Multicultural Outreach & Recruitment team and the UW’s Upward Bound and Math Science Upward Bound programs in partnership with Seattle Public Schools.

    Boeing expects a substantial portion of its Washington workforce to retire during the next several years and is working to ensure that students in the state have the education and skills to fill these openings and move with the company into its second century. These grants support Boeing’s long-standing commitment to Washington and will prepare the workforce for these opportunities in the near future.

    “Boeing will be a significant jobs provider in Washington for decades to come. Our hope and goal is that those future jobs will continue to be filled by kids who grow up right here in the state,” said Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Ray Conner. “We are working hard today to give Washington students opportunities for employment within aerospace, manufacturing and other STEM-related fields when they graduate. Despite the always dynamic aerospace industry, Boeing remains consistent in its investment in our future here in Washington.”

    Washington State University and Seattle University are also receiving $250,000 to further support STEM student experiences and retention programs. The additional $5 million in grants, ranging from $25,000 to $550,000, are designed to provide a continuum of learning and education resources for Washington’s younger residents.

    Some of the largest grants will support: Thrive Washington and its focus upon early learning; Washington STEM and its K-12 learning initiatives; and SkillUp Washington and its manufacturing pathways partnership with community and technical colleges.

    This item was adapted from a Boeing news release.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    The University of Washington is one of the world’s preeminent public universities. Our impact on individuals, on our region, and on the world is profound — whether we are launching young people into a boundless future or confronting the grand challenges of our time through undaunted research and scholarship. Ranked number 10 in the world in Shanghai Jiao Tong University rankings and educating more than 54,000 students annually, our students and faculty work together to turn ideas into impact and in the process transform lives and our world. For more about our impact on the world, every day.

    So what defines us — the students, faculty and community members at the University of Washington? Above all, it’s our belief in possibility and our unshakable optimism. It’s a connection to others, both near and far. It’s a hunger that pushes us to tackle challenges and pursue progress. It’s the conviction that together we can create a world of good. Join us on the journey.

  • richardmitnick 7:24 am on September 8, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , STEM   

    From CSIRO: “What is STEM and why is it important?” 

    CSIRO bloc

    Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation

    STEM – it’s a word that’s bandied around a lot lately. But what does it mean? At the very least it’s an acronym that stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (and sometimes you might see STEAM with A for Arts or STEMM when an extra M for Medicine is included).

    But it’s much more than an acronym – it’s potentially your passport for the future. Research has shown that students who study STEM are more creative, flexible and able to take advantage of the changes that are predicted in the workforce and workplaces of the future. Jobs from accounting, construction, nursing, to hair dressing all use STEM skills – let alone what the jobs of the future might be.

    As technology and IT disrupts more and more industries, there’s a real concern that there won’t be enough STEM-qualified people to work in the jobs of the future. But how do we get more people interested in and taking up STEM subjects at school?

    For students it’s difficult to take in information and get excited about what is taught in the classroom if they don’t understand how it can be applied and how it’s relevant to them. How can you consider a career if you don’t know what options there are and what it would be like?

    Evidence from our Scientist and Mathematicians (and ICT professionals) in Schools (SMiS) program shows that bringing the teaching and STEM professionals together in partnerships has profound benefit for students, schools, teachers and STEM professionals. For that reason we think it’s important to get more industry professionals into classrooms to demonstrate the diversity and excitement of STEM careers in the real-world.

    We held an event this week with our SMiS partners to talk about the challenges that educators face when teaching STEM and how government, universities, research organisations and corporate businesses can all play a part in ensuring our kids get the best education possible.

    We’ve called on some of those partners to give you an insight into those discussions.

    Rebecca Smith, Head of Science, Cathedral School Townsville

    “It was my very own biology and chemistry teachers who inspired me to pursue a career in science education. My teaching philosophy is about ensuring we search for ideas and ways to be able to link classroom learning beyond school – to teach students to deal with scientific knowledge in a critical and creative way, and to apply what they learn to everyday real-world problems. That’s why I think the Scientists and Mathematicians in Schools program is so great. I work with Professor Jim Burnell from James Cook University to bring real-world biology and chemistry into my classroom. When one of my students tells me they want to be a scientist or an engineer or work with technology, I know I’m doing a good job.”

    Sae Kwon, Vice President of Technical Services, Cisco Australia

    “Cisco recently partnered with CSIRO’s SMiS program as part of our AUSTEM2020 initiative to tackle the STEM skills shortage and help Australia become more innovative. For me, it’s a real privilege to give back to the students that will be tomorrow’s great innovators through the program. Industry professionals are needed to help bring technology to life and show kids how technology is used to enable businesses, make cities smart, transform countries and provide critical support in disaster recovery situations around the world. The kids are fascinated that I talk to them from other countries like Singapore over video conference. It’s great to be able to talk about the cool jobs available, the great people you get to meet, the many countries you can visit and all the fun you can have working in STEM. I was certainly not aware of the cool jobs that exists in STEM until I started working in the field. These days STEM education has too much competition through the various social networking and games available online. We need to make STEM education fun again.”

    Innes Willox, Chief Executive, Ai Group

    “Participation in STEM subjects is declining but industry can do more to support the Australian economy with a robust skills pipeline. Our relative decline of STEM skills is holding back our national economy and causing real frustration for employers. Demand for STEM graduates is increasing especially as technology is infiltrating more and more industries but at the moment the number of students coming out of university is not keeping up with this demand. That’s why I think it’s so important businesses to invest in the future innovative workforce by getting its member organisations into Australian classrooms through programs like Scientists and Mathematicians in Schools.”

    Dr Roslyn Prinsley, National STEM Adviser, Office of the Chief Scientist

    “I’m constantly inspired by the scientists and students I meet. We have some of the finest problem-solvers in the world and we will need more of them in the future so we are training up the next generation to follow their lead. I am also really excited with the partnership between SMiS and the Ai Group which grew out of a project that the Office of the Chief Scientist funded through Ai Group looking at good practice industry engagement with schools. SMiS was identified as a high-quality program that Ai Group and others could partner with to increase industry participation in, and support for, schools so I’m pleased to see the results of that work playing out now.”

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    CSIRO campus

    CSIRO, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, is Australia’s national science agency and one of the largest and most diverse research agencies in the world.

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