NOGLSTP Receives Motorola Solutions Foundation Grant

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The National Organization of Gay and Lesbian Scientists and Technical Professionals, a professional society that educates and advocates for LGBTQ people in STEM, today announced it has received a grant for $10,000 USD from the Motorola Solutions Foundation, the charitable arm of Motorola Solutions, Inc. Through the grant, NOGLSTP will provide undergraduate and graduate scholarships to LGBTQ+ students of merit to enable their career aspirations.  This will provide needed funding for 2018 and the 8th consecutive year that the Out to Innovate Scholarships will be offered.

The Motorola Solutions Foundation awards grants each year to organizations, such as NOGLSTP, which support and advance technology & engineering education initiatives and public safety programs. This year, programs that served underrepresented populations, including females, people with disabilities and veterans were prioritized.

“This grant is vital to our scholarship program. We are grateful to Motorola Solutions Foundation for its continuing support of “Motivating for Achievement- Scholarships and Mentoring Opportunities for LGBTQI Students in STEM” which bolsters LGBTQ+ students pursuing STEM careers.  Many of the recipients have gone on to make significant contributions in their fields and in society. This will be the fifth year that Motorola Solutions Foundation has had a positive impact not only on the students who receive these scholarships, but on the students who apply for them as they receive opportunities for mentoring and a free one year NOGLSTP membership.”, said Rochelle Diamond, Chair of the NOGLSTP Board of Directors.

This year, Motorola Solutions Foundation grants will support programs that help over 2 million students, teachers, first responders, and community members across the United States. Each participant will receive an average of 186 programming hours from its partner non-profit organizations and institutions. Programs will support special populations including: females, underrepresented minorities, the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, people with disabilities, and veterans.

“Motorola Solutions Foundation is proud to support the work of NOGLSTP. As a leading technology company that supports the safety of communities worldwide, we know how important it is to educate tomorrow’s technology professionals as well as enlighten civilians and first responders on today’s safety needs,” said Matt Blakely, executive director of the Motorola Solutions Foundation.

For additional information on the Motorola Solutions Foundation grants program, visit: motorolasolutions.com/foundation and for more information on NOGLSTP visit: noglstp.org

NASA’s Real Life ‘Hidden Figure’ On How To Advance Women In STEM

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“There are so many women that are capable, smart, sharp and good at what they do. What they are lacking is the opportunity to sit across the table from the other minds that are coming up with the innovative solutions,” says Dr. Christyl Johnson, NASA’s Deputy Director for Technology and Research Investments.

Dr. Johnson joined NASA in the summer of 1985 and over the years she has dedicated her efforts to support young women in STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.)

Described as a ‘modern figure’ Dr. Johnson is regularly likened to the characters in the movie Hidden Figures. The film portrays the experience of Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughn and Mary Jackson – three talented African-American women – who worked at NASA Langley in 1961.

The movie tackles important issues like institutional racism and sexism.  Dr. Johnson says it highlights the importance of diversity in innovation. “If anyone wants to make leaps and advances in their organization it is paramount that they bring different perspectives to the table,” she says.

In this interview, Dr. Johnson shares the lessons she has learned throughout her career at NASA and how each of us can support the advancement of women in STEM.

Michelle King: Do you see yourself in the movie Hidden Figures?

Dr. Johnson: Although things have significantly improved at NASA since the times represented in Hidden Figures, I too have experienced similar struggles with racism and sexism.  I resonate with the women in the movie because I see them as strong African American women who were determined to succeed despite their circumstances. That determination is what has gotten me to where I am today. NASA has identified me as a ‘modern figure’, so I hope that I and the other ‘modern figures’ continue to inspire our young girls to see themselves in that movie, and in STEM careers.

King: What are some of the challenges that you’ve faced in your career as a woman in STEM?

Dr. Johnson: One of the biggest challenges I have had as a woman in STEM is breaking into the “boys network.” For many years at NASA, and other scientific organizations the makeup has been mostly white males. Even when women bring unique solutions to the table, it can take twice as much work for them to gain the respect of their male counterparts.  I can recall being in meetings and asking a question only to have the male answering the question look at the other males in the room while answering my question.

I am fortunate that NASA has been at the forefront of supporting women in technical fields, as shown in the movie Hidden Figures. With the support of some of my male and female mentors, I have grown and blossomed at NASA. With all of that said, we still have a little way to go for women to have an equal seat at the table.  Not only do the appropriate organizational policies need to be in place, but appropriate, respectful behavior must be the norm – starting with the leadership at the top.

King: How do we ensure that women have an equal seat at the table?

Dr. Johnson: We need to make sure women have high visibility assignments. So many times you hear people say that, ‘We didn’t have any good women candidates.’  Even if we were to have diverse selection panels to ensure fairness in the selection process, you can’t hire women if they have not had those high-profile assignments that show their leadership capability.

Continue onto Forbes to read the complete article.

8 Ways To Make Real Progress On Tech’s Diversity Problem

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diverse cartoon characters standing to represent diversity in tech

Leaders from Snap, Google, and more share their ideas for making 2018 the year that tech finally becomes more inclusive.

On Ayanna Howard’s first day at NASA leading a robotics team, she walked into her office and was greeted by a man who told her, “The secretaries aren’t here. They moved their meeting down the hall.”

Her response? “Hi, I’m Dr. Ayanna Howard. You’re working for me on this project.”

Despite her qualifications, Howard, a black woman, couldn’t help but feel deflated by the assumption that she didn’t belong there.

The tech sector is hampered by unconscious biases that distort perceptions. And it’s a big problem. Tech will continue to lose top talent if we don’t make significant progress in changing the ratios. By several measures, the tech world is stagnating or even moving backwards when it comes to achieving greater equity for women and people of color.

According to LinkedIn’s research, only 28% of software engineers are women, and that number has only gone up 3% over 15 years. Even worse, women in leadership roles has risen a measly 2.3%.

The numbers are even more bleak in the funding world: Between 1999 and 2013, there was a 40% drop in female VCs, according to Babson’s. Furthermore, only 3% of VC funds have black and Latinx people on their teams. In 2017, women-led companies made up 4.4% of all VC deals, a 2% increase in 10 years, according to Pitchbook. For women of color, the numbers are utterly dismal: Only 0.2% of venture capital went to startups founded by black women, according to #ProjectDiane.

The nonprofit I founded, Women Who Tech, aims to change the ratio in tech. Through our Women Startup Challenges and other work, we’ve worked with 1,700-plus women-led ventures, numerous investors, and engineers. One big lesson that’s emerged is that the tech culture has relied on pattern recognition for too long.

Based on our learnings, here are eight ways founders, investors, and engineers can start shaking things up to fix tech’s diversity and inclusion problems in 2018.

FOUNDERS

1. Think of diversity from the start. Sarah Kunst, founder of Proday, recommends using the “mirror rule”: Making sure that people you bring on–employees, service providers, etc.–don’t always look like you. “Empowering your teams with the mirror rule means they can gently and easily ensure that more diverse and inclusive groups are being formed across all company touch points.”

And diversity has to be baked in, says Cindy Gallop, founder of MakeLoveNotPorn. “One key way for startup founders to address diversity and inclusion “is to be diverse and inclusive from ground zero.” And for good reason: “Women challenge the status quo because we are never part of it.” She also advises focusing on finding “the least represented and championed group in tech: black women.”

2. Address unconscious bias in your hiring. Another hiring bias is prioritizing top engineering schools as recruitment pools. Language app Duolingo changed their recruitment process to achieve a 50:50 gender ratio for new software engineer hires. In addition to building partnerships with inclusive organizations, they took a data-driven approach and prioritized recruiting from schools with more than 18% women undergraduate computer science majors.

Lukas Blakk, mobile release manager at Snap, says another way to address your own hiring biases is to create a list to review to remind yourself of your own biases before each interview you conduct.

3. Untap understanding of consumer needs with diverse engineering teams. To ensure products and services have wide appeal, get input from people who reflect the full range of end users. “If we don’t get women and people of color at the table — real technologists doing the real work — we will bias systems,” Fei-Fei Li, Google’s chief artificial intelligence and machine learning scientist, told Wired. Undoing that bias later, she says, may be “close to impossible.” Building for your entire consumer population can also help avoid accusations of bias and embarrassment, as Apple learnedwhen its facial recognition feature struggled with black and Asian faces, sparking charges of racism.

Continue onto Fast Company to read the complete article.

8 Inefficiencies in the Architecture + Design Industry (and possible solutions)

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MRad

LOS ANGELES, California – (February 7, 2018) – Every industry has their fair share of inefficiencies which can stifle production. But once in a while, a leader comes along who can not only identify the problems, but also offer solutions. These thought leaders have the ability to revolutionize an industry. The world of architecture and design is not immune to inefficiencies, but one industry leader has some ideas on how to fix the broken system.

“You never bathe in the same river twice, because things change, which keeps everything fresh and interesting,” explains Matthew Rosenberg, the founder of M-Rad Architecture + Design, located in Los Angeles. “The same goes for the architecture and design field, where for far too long the river was standing idle, becoming stagnant. Our business model and proposed solutions are helping to get it flowing once again.”

As a forward thinker in the field, Rosenberg has identified 8 major inefficiencies in the architecture and design industry, as well as a solution for each of them. They include:

  1. PROBLEM: Brokers. Paying a middleman to find projects takes away revenue for the architect.
    SOLUTION: Cut out the Broker by forming relationships directly with developers and clients.
  2. PROBLEM:Underpaid, overworked designers and architects. The architecture industry is notorious for low wages, heavy workload, stressful deadlines until you “make it” to the top.
    SOLUTION: Allow the designers and architects to take equity in their projects.
  3. PROBLEM:Designing independently from actual community needs.  When architecture firms design a building for a client without considering the needs and wants of the surrounding area, the project may not benefit the community or the client.
    SOLUTION: Use a positioning tactic to understand what the community is lacking and incorporate these ideas into the project.
  4. PROBLEM:The industry is heavily reliant on unpredictable markets. With the real estate marketing and cost of living in constant flux, it’s difficult to predict the stability of the industry, which is reliant on the financial status of the client.
    SOLUTION: Consistency, strategic business moves, and keeping an eye on markets allows architecture and design firms to be proactive and shift their practice to better suit the economy.
  5. PROBLEM:City planning process and restrictions. Sometimes designing or building structures takes many years, as they are stuck in the city planning process. One minor mistake can set a project back months or sometimes even years.
    SOLUTION: It can be difficult to get around or speed up the city planning process, but being involved in the community, town hall meetings, and voting on city measures can help improve the process.
  6. PROBLEM:Politics within the industry. Politics occur in every industry, but when millions of dollars are exchanged, expectations are high, and egos can get in the way of business.  The political elements in Architecture can get sticky.
    SOLUTION: Stay professional and only partner/work with people who have positive reputations.
  7. PROBLEM:The scope of the architect is becoming smaller. Technology advancements cause more complex buildings, which causes increase in liability and legal aggression which prompts architects to hand off elements of the design process to “experts in their field,” ultimately chipping away the responsibility and profits of the architect.
    SOLUTION: Increase the scope of the architect.
  8. PROBLEM:Stealing intellectual property. It’s hard to determine when a design is stolen or original.
    SOLUTION: No real solution. Can try to prevent your design being stolen by trademarking, keeping records, photographing the design progress, certifying the design, and by being careful of releasing designs to public view.

“At our firm, we have gone to great lengths to determine effective solutions to the inefficiencies within the architecture and design field,” added Rosenberg. “By making these changes, we are benefiting those who work in the field, as well as those we build the projects for. It’s a win-win for everyone to create the most efficient field that we can.”

Rosenberg‘s firm is on a mission to create better communities, neighborhoods, and cities. Their system includes a multi-faceted approach that starts with pre-architecture, maintains during the architecture phase, and continues during post-architecture.

Born and raised in Saskatoon, Canada, Rosenberg spent nine years studying architecture and environmental design. Rosenberg has earned bachelor degrees in fine arts and environmental design in architecture, as well as a master degree in architecture. When he was ready to bring his architectural influence back to the West, he headed to Los Angeles to launch M-Rad and start making a difference.

About M-Rad Architecture

M-Rad Architecture + Design, based in Los Angeles, is revolutionizing the industry by revealing inefficiencies and creating solutions to universal problems. Their multi-faceted business model, allows M-Rad to expand the scope of the architect and build resilient communities through enhanced experiences. The M-Rad team is currently working on projects around the world; from apartment buildings in Los Angeles, to a private members club in Philadelphia, to a boutique hotel in Taipei. They have created mixed-use towers, luxury hotels, sports parks, and more. For additional information on the company and to view their unique business model, visit: https://www.m-rad.com.

 

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Ford Pilots New Exoskeleton Technology to Help Lessen Chance of Worker Fatigue, Injury

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ford auto worker

Putting dishes on a high shelf or changing an overhead lightbulb occasionally might not be difficult, but could you imagine performing either of these tasks 4,600 times per day? How about 1 million times a year?

These are the approximate number of times some Ford assembly line workers lift their arms during overhead work tasks. At this rate, the possibility of fatigue or injury on the body increases significantly. But a new upper body exoskeletal tool – the result of a partnership between Ford and California-based Ekso Bionics – helps lessen the chance of injury.

“My job entails working over my head, so when I get home my back, neck and shoulders usually hurt,” said Paul Collins, an assembly line worker at Ford’s Michigan Assembly Plant. “Since I started using the vest, I’m not as sore, and I have more energy to play with my grandsons when I get home.”

Called EksoVest, the wearable technology elevates and supports a worker’s arms while performing overhead tasks. It can be fitted to support workers ranging from 5 feet tall to 6 feet 4 inches tall, and provides adjustable lift assistance of five pounds to 15 pounds per arm. It’s comfortable to wear because it’s lightweight, it isn’t bulky, and it allows workers to move their arms freely.

Designed and built for dynamic, real-world environments like factories, construction sites and distribution centers, the non-powered vest offers protection and support against fatigue and injury by reducing the stress and strain of high-frequency, long-duration activities that can take a toll on the body over time.

“Collaboratively working with Ford enabled us to test and refine early prototypes of the EksoVest based on insights directly from their production line workers,” said Russ Angold, co-founder and chief technology officer of Ekso Bionics. “The end result is a wearable tool that reduces the strain on a worker’s body, reducing the likelihood of injury, and helping them feel better at the end of the day – increasing both productivity and morale.”

With support from the United Automobile Workers and Ford, EksoVest is being piloted in two U.S. plants, with plans to test in other regions, including Europe and South America.

“The health and safety of our membership has always been our highest priority,” said UAW-Ford Vice President Jimmy Settles. “With the proven success at the piloted locations, we look forward to expanding this technology to our other UAW-Ford manufacturing facilities.”

EksoVest is the latest example of advanced technology Ford is using to reduce the physical toll on employees during the vehicle assembly process. Between 2005 and 2016, the most recent full year of data, the company saw an 83 percent decrease in the number of incidents that resulted in days away, work restrictions or job transfers – to an all-time low of 1.55 incidents per 100 full-time North American employees.

“Our goal has always been to keep the work environment safe and productive for the hardworking men and women we rely on across the globe,” said Bruce Hettle, Ford group vice president, Manufacturing and Labor Affairs. “Investing in the latest ergonomics research, assembly improvements and lift-assist technologies has helped us design efficient and safe assembly lines, while maintaining high vehicle quality for our customers.”

Continue onto Ford’s Newsroom to read the complete article.

NewME, A Pioneer in Tech Diversity

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NewME Angela Benton

Founded in 2011 by Angela Benton, NewME has accelerated hundreds of entrepreneurs through their online platform, residential “boot-camp” accelerators and equity portfolio. They pioneered diversity in Silicon Valley by focusing on helping entrepreneurs identify strengths from their non-traditional backgrounds and leveraging them in business. They’ve helped hundreds of entrepreneurs build better businesses some of whom have raised venture capital funding ($25+MM to be exact).

NewME has announced the relocation of its headquarters from Silicon Valley to Miami with $191,000 in support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. The support will also help NewME expand existing programming focused on providing entrepreneurs with the advice, skills and access to resources that will support their success. By expanding its programming, NewME aims to improve the success of black-led startups through mentorship, coaching and community convenings. Through the program, black entrepreneurs and their businesses will further learn from and be exposed to angel and venture capital investors, along with NewME’s professional investor network.

NewME will target both local and global talent through weekly programming and monthly events, and connect them to online resources through the NewME platform. In addition, the accelerator will host quarterly one-week residential boot camps, which bring together a select group of tech entrepreneurs from around the world; industry experts then work with entrepreneurs to help accelerate their businesses. Additionally, NewME will hire a Miami-based program manager who will support the growth and sustainability of local black and other underrepresented minority-owned businesses.

“Relocating NewME to Miami was a natural choice given its diverse makeup,” says Angela Benton, founder of NewME. “Miami is already an international hub for innovation and the local community is rich with talent. I’m excited to continue my work with NewME in our new, inclusive home.”

Source: knightfoundation.org

A 14-Year-Old Made An App To Help Alzheimer’s Patients Recognize Their Loved Ones

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After watching her grandmother struggle to remember her own family members, the young coder Emma Yang decided to figure out how to use AI and facial recognition to help her–and others coping with the illness.

When Emma Yang was 7 or 8 years old, her grandmother became increasingly forgetful. Over the next few years, those memory problems, caused by early Alzheimer’s disease, worsened. Yang, who learned to code at an early age, decided to create an app to help.

“I have personal experience with how the disease can affect not only the patient, but also family and friends. When I was about 11 or 12, I got really interested in using technology for social good to help other people around the world,” says Yang, who is now 14.

In her app under development, called Timeless, Alzheimer’s patients can scroll through photos of friends and family, and the app will tell them who the person is and how they’re related to the patient using facial recognition tech. If a patient doesn’t recognize someone in the same room, they can take a picture and the tech will also try to automatically identify them.

“I saw a lot of things about how AI and facial recognition were really evolving and being applied in more and more areas, especially healthcare,” she says. She partnered with mentors at the tech company Kairos, which makes the facial recognition software that is now used by the app, and learned to code for the iPhone for the first time.

Continue onto Fast Company to read the complete article.

San Diego Festival of Science & Engineering Celebrates 10th Anniversary with Expanded 2018 Expo Footprint and Festival Week Schedule

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San Diego Festival of Science & Engineering

March 3-11, 2018: Join more than 65,000 San Diegans for a week of innovation, creation at STEM-focused events; Expo Day features new Air Force Rapid Strike simulation experience; Festival Week brings ‘STEM in Your Backyard’ throughout San Diego County, and a special event for International Women’s Day

SAN DIEGO – Gather ‘round scientists and engineers, one of the largest STEM festivals in the U.S. is back and ready to “rocket”!

The organizers of the 10th annual San Diego Festival of Science & Engineering, presented by the Illumina Foundation, is preparing for its highly anticipated EXPO DAY before its traditional Festival Week. The festival, hosted by the Biocom Institute, once again begins with the family-favorite EXPO Day on Saturday, March 3, 2018 at PETCO Park. EXPO DAY is the official kick-off celebration for festival week featuring hundreds of exhibitors and gives attendees a major preview of what’s to come to area businesses, schools, libraries and museums throughout the county during Festival Week. EXPO DAY is free and open to the public. In 2017, the San Diego Festival of Science & Engineering’s EXPO DAY broke attendance records, hosting 26,143 children, parents and STEM enthusiasts.

After EXPO DAY the fun continues with Festival Week (March 4-11) – eight days of learning, hands-on activities, innovation, and behind-the-scenes opportunities for students in grades kindergarten through 12th grade, as well as adults and families to ignite their passion for STEM education. Many events are free and open to the public. More than 65,000 are expected to participate throughout the week visiting EXPO DAY and festival week events. Visit www.lovestemsd.org for festival week details.

Not only is the San Diego Festival of Science & Engineering’s EXPO DAY jam-packed with science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) activities, but Festival Week also features interactive demonstrations, hands-on activities and dynamic speakers to engage kids, adults and families in the importance of STEM education.

A program of the Biocom Institute and presented by Illumina Foundation, the San Diego Festival of Science & Engineering aims to encourage and engage kids in STEM, and to increase San Diego County’s reputation of being a leader in the science industry. By hosting events and activities throughout the region, the festival demonstrates how science and engineering opportunities are in our own “backyard,” and are for science lovers of all ages. In fact, the STEM in Your Backyard series will now be accessible in areas all over San Diego County, including Escondido, Chula Vista, Lakeside and Barrio Logan.

Additionally, festival organizers plan to bring back the all crowd-favorite 21 and up series for adult science and engineering enthusiasts to continue, and share their passion for STEM with others. STEM education never stops and adults have the same fascination with science, technology, engineering, and math as kids do. Festival organizers are putting the final touches on the series and more information will be announced in the New Year.

“We’re very excited for the 10th anniversary edition of the San Diego Festival of Science & Engineering, as we celebrate the history that brought us here along with our many long-standing partners and sponsors,” said Sara Pagano, managing director, Biocom Institute. “The week will represent a reflection into our past as well as a peak into the future of the Festival for years to come over the next decade.”

Sponsorships are available for the 2018 EXPO DAY and Festival Week. For more details, visit lovestemsd.org/become-sponsor.

Below is a preliminary list events hosted and organized by the San Diego Festival of Science & Engineering. The entire 2017 Festival Week schedule will be finalized in mid-January 2018 with additional venues hosting more than 60 events throughout the week for budding scientists and their families. Visit the festival website at www.lovestemsd.org for more information. Schedule subject to change.

EXPO DAY

Saturday, March 3, 2018

10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

PETCO Park

100 Park Blvd.

San Diego, CA 92101

Ticket Cost: FREE

Now in its 10th year, the San Diego Festival of Science & Engineering involves hundreds of businesses, corporations, sponsors, and nonprofits in a week-long celebration of STEM education in San Diego County. Presented by Illumina Foundation, EXPO DAY at Petco Park is the Festival’s signature event providing interactive, hands-on science, technology, engineering and math exhibits, and activities to budding K-12 science lovers. In 2017, more than 26,000 children, parents and STEM enthusiasts attended EXPO Day, and more than 65,000 people participated in festival week events. There will be an MVP Luncheon (registration required) at 11:30 a.m. TEDxKids@ElCajon will also be the premier feature all day on the Dugout Stage and for families, the Pre-K Zone is back again!

STEM In Your Backyard: Barrio Logan

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Logan Heights Branch Library

567 S 28th St.

San Diego, CA 92113

Join the San Diego Festival of Science & Engineering as we celebrate STEM in the Barrio Logan community! Bring your family to the Logan Height Branch Library for a FREE and fun filled day featuring over 25 interactive, hands-on exhibits from local businesses, nonprofits, and schools all meant to spark a love for science in your K-12 future innovator.

STEM In Your Backyard: South Bay

Friday, March 9, 2018

10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Castle Park High School

1395 Hilltop Dr.

Chula Vista, CA 91911

Join the San Diego Festival of Science & Engineering as we celebrate STEM in the South Bay community! Bring your family to Castle Park High School for a FREE and fun filled day featuring over 25 interactive, hands-on exhibits from local businesses, nonprofits, and schools all meant to spark a love for science in your K-12 future innovator.

NOTE: Additional STEM In Your Backyard venues in Escondido and Lakeside are in process of being confirmed.

About the San Diego Festival of Science & Engineering, San Diego

The mission of the San Diego Festival of Science and Engineering, San Diego is to engage kids in science and engineering. By doing this, the organization expands the general public’s understanding of the relevancy of science and engineering in everyday lives, illuminates why the United States must maintain its leadership role in science and technology, and work with parents and teachers to inspire today’s students to become tomorrow’s science, technology, engineering, and mathematical (STEM) innovators. For more information, visit http://www.lovestemsd.org or call 858-455-0300 ext. 4152. Connect on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/loveSTEMsd) and Twitter (@LoveSTEMsd).

About the Biocom Institute

The mission of the Biocom Institute is to support life science innovation and success in San Diego by providing our community with K-12 student and teacher STEM outreach, innovative industry-vetted professional development programs and key veteran focused mentorship and internship programs.  In pursuit of this mission, we support: mentorship that ensures diversity; science and technology information that mobilize communities; corporate social responsibility campaigns that strengthen the bottom line and a culture of collaboration that maximize resources. For more information, visit https://www.biocom.org/s/Biocom_Institute.

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Student Recycles to Save Money for College

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Ryan Hickman earning the funds through his business, Ryan’s Recycling

Eight-year-old Ryan Hickman is an entrepreneur with a strong personality and a passion for recycling. He’s got years of experience, too—he’s been in the business since he was just three years old! To date, Hickman has saved more than $33,000 for his college education. Through his business, Ryan’s Recycling, Hickman has recycled an estimated 265,000 bottles and cans.

Every week for years, he and his family have sorted through bags of recyclables. As of mid-December 2016, he had earned $10K by recycling cans and bottles from his customers—friends, family, and neighbors. Once he reached that milestone, the mainstream media began to take notice. After first being mentioned on a website called One Green Planet, the story behind Ryan’s Recycling went viral. Since then, Ryan’s story has been seen by over 140 million people on social media channels.

Hickman has since been featured on just about every major news station in the United States and several around the world. He appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, where he was presented with a check for $10,000, as well as a battery-operated vehicle to use in his work. His story has run in various newspapers, including USA TODAY and the Orange County Register, as well as on ABC World News and other social and mainstream media sites.

His father Damion says Ryan got started recycling when he took him along to a local rePlanet, the largest recycling collection network in the country. At just 3-1/2 years old, Damion says Ryan “really enjoyed going, and I gave him the money from the plastic bottles.” He says it didn’t take long for Ryan to connect the dots: recycled bottles and cans = money. “He asked all our neighbors to start saving for him. He then enlisted people in his grandparents’ neighborhood, and it just grew from there.”

Hickman has regular customers that call every month for a local pickup, and friends and family drop off regularly. Every three weeks, his biggest customer, El Niguel Country Club, fills up the family truck with cans and bottles. Ryan and his dad take it all home and begin sorting the glass, plastic and aluminum cans. “Everything is bagged up, and then we head off to the recycle center,” says Damion. “A typical trip for us takes about an hour, and Ryan usually makes around $200+ each trip.”

Damion reports that Ryan is involved in every step of his business, from collecting the cans and bottles from his customers to picking up the bags and gloves to do the work. “He even handles depositing his money in the bank, where they all know him as Ryan, the president of Ryan’s Recycling.” Early last year, Hickman sold T-shirts to friends, family, and customers and donated the profits to the Pacific Marine Mammal Center in Laguna Beach, California, where he serves as a junior ambassador. Ryan has donated over $5000 to their efforts.

Ryan continues to recycle and educate others through interview appearances. His father reports that he’s recently begun preparing his parents for the day that he’ll need to buy himself a real trash truck.

“I’m not sure where he plans to park it,” says Damion, “but I have a feeling I would lose my spot in the driveway!”

Ryan has received thousands of emails around the world with people that have been inspired to start recycling after seeing his story.

Recently Ryan started a new ten week recycling campaign to try to get everyone around the world involved with recycling 300,000 cans and bottles.  Follow Ryan below to catch weekly videos with updates and announcing new corporate involvement:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ryans_recycling/status/949807967733452800

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fEMYY5SlyV8&feature=share

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ryansrecycling/videos/773804682828029/

Meet Danielle Olson: A ‘Gique’ Advancing the Case for STEAM Education

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Danielle Olson

What is a “Gique”? It’s a cross between “geek” and “chic,” a maker and creative problem-solver whose interdisciplinary interests turn STEM into STEAM. Meet Danielle Olson, researcher and PhD student at MIT and proud founder of Gique, a nonprofit that provides transformational, culturally situated STEAM learning for underserved youth.

Olson says being a Gique is about using your passion to embrace change and create your dream job. Olson offered STEMconnector her insights and experience as an engineer, a dancer, a dreamer, and pioneer in STEAM education, as well as research on how the arts are leveling the educational playing field in STEM.

Interview below courtesy of Stemconnector

STEMconnector: How does using the arts impact the STEM talent gap?

Danielle Olson: Fortunately, a new and exciting field of education is emerging where curricula are designed to expose youth to the applications of science, technology, engineering, art and design, and mathematics (STEAM) in the real world. STEAM, rather than just STEM, education focuses on student cultivation of the critical, creative, and participatory dispositions key to empowered, authentic engagement in both science and art, along with preparing students to think of ways that they can contribute to society as individuals.

The arts have been treated as a “cherry on top” in recent years. But research demonstrates that an arts education offers critical development opportunities for children, which include cognitive and social growth, long-term memory improvement, stress reduction, and promotion of creativity. In fact, research findings show that if arts were included in science classes, STEM would be more appealing to students, and exposure to experts in these fields could affect career decisions. Gique believes that STEAM education affords students opportunities to envision themselves pursuing their “dream careers,” which they may invent for themselves.

There are three categories that aid in representing various perspectives of art integration: (1) learning “through” and “with” the arts, (2) making connections across knowledge domains, and (3) collaborative engagement across disciplines.

Gique piloted a 9-month-long, out-of-school STEAM Program with students at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Dorchester, an inner-city in Boston, Massachusetts, in the areas of science, the arts, and entrepreneurship by putting the theoretical framework, which underpins the necessity for STEAM education, into action.

SC: What kinds of lessons do you offer students?

DO: Gique designs and provides free, hands-on educational programs and mentorship to talented youth from diverse circumstances in the Boston area and in California. We create a safe, positive learning community for our students and cultivate their curiosity and self-esteem through two arms of programming:

  • Gique’s Science Can DANCE! Community Programs—provides youth with a way to explore STEAM through creative movement and dance choreography. By taking an integrated approach to breaking down technical concepts, we provide a unique mentorship opportunity for students interested in both arts and science topics.
  • Gique’s Out-of-School Time (OST) STEAM Program—a 9-month-long, weekly after-school program for middle school students to explore their personal interests in STEAM. This program enables students to receive long-term mentorship from innovators from around the world and participate in hands-on workshops and field trips. By the end of the semester, students gain a better understanding of how they can take an idea from concept to reality through innovation with art + design, science, and technology.

In addition to these two programs, Gique has provided a wide variety of educational opportunities to people of all ages in the Boston area for the past four years. We have collaborated with numerous organizations to provide educational programming, including MIT Museum, Harvard Museum of Science & Culture, Artisan’s Asylum, and General Assembly Boston.

SC: How can corporations that support a vibrant STEM workforce get involved in advancing STEAM education?

DO: First, corporations should stand with teachers and parents to fight back against policies that discourage interdisciplinary education. This may include, but is not limited to, policies that result in art, drama, history, and science class time reduction and policies, which discourage teachers from being innovative due to too much focus on standardized testing.

Second, people in power must use their influence to help give underrepresented groups more access to resources that can level the playing field in education. I had access to programs like FIRST Robotics Competition and MIT’s Minority Introduction to Engineering and Science Program, which changed my life, thanks to the generosity of donors investing directly in people of color by sponsoring these programs. However, I wouldn’t have been able to participate in these programs if I had to pay for them. That’s why Gique leverages the support of its sponsors to deliver life-changing experiences to students that help them pursue career dreams that they may have deemed impossible.

SC: How is Gique measuring its impact?

DO: We have a structured process in place to design, administer, and analyze quantitative and qualitative measurements, including pre- and post- assessments, audio/video interviews, and external feedback (from program staff/volunteers and parents/guardians).

Specifically, for Gique’s OST STEAM Program, a schema was developed to identify, both broadly and specifically, what students learned and in what context it applies to their lives. Prior to each term, the program leadership developed several goals for student impact, with measurable indicators to assess each goal. Assessment questions were adapted from the Museum of Science Boston’s Engineering is Elementary program assessment model. At the end of the semester, students completed the same assessment for the program leadership to understand what deltas occurred and what the development areas were for program improvement.

While the quantitative data collected often helped to inform strategic decisions and content choices, the qualitative data showed how the program impacted students, parents, volunteers and teachers. Gique wholeheartedly believes that learning experiences should be fun, so asking these qualitative questions were critical to the development and success of the pilot OST STEAM program.

Gaining parent/guardian feedback served to be an excellent indicator of how excited students were about the program.

Visit Gique’s community of leaders and makers at gique.me

Source: stemconnector.com

Ford Motor Company Builds STEAM Careers

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FIRST Robotics

Ford Motor Company recognizes that robotics programs are a great way for children to start experiencing STEAM fields in action. For that reason, the company has been supporting FIRST® Robotics for nearly 20 years.

FIRST® – For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology – provides the opportunity for students in grades K–12 to work in teams, bringing STEAM fields to life by building their own robots. For two students in particular, the program was very beneficial to them even after they graduated from college.

Matthew Carpenter and Robert Self – former members of FIRST® – are now full-time employees at Ford through the company’s Ford College Graduate program. The rotational program gives college grads the opportunity to work in several different departments throughout the company over a 32-month period, before committing to an area permanently.

Carpenter became a FIRST® member in high school, after some friends who were heavily involved in the program encouraged him to check it out. “I was one of those kids that always took stuff apart when they were little, so this was right up there with the kind of things I was interested in,” he said.

Carpenter’s team was mentored by Ford employees, which helped him network and, ultimately, get into the Ford College Graduate program. He credits his ability to pick up technical skills like computer aided design and programming to his FIRST® involvement. He said participating in the program made him realize that he liked hands-on problem-solving, which led him to pursue engineering as a career, not just a hobby.

“I learned a lot about communicating with people who have different backgrounds than I do,” Carpenter said. “That’s an essential skill for working in cross-functional teams.”

Self joined the program during his junior year in high school and credits FIRST® with helping guide him toward a definitive career path. He says through the program, he learned core engineering skills that he uses in his position at Ford today.

“At the time, I was really involved in physics and chemistry and the core science and math courses, but I didn’t necessarily know exactly what I wanted to do,” Self said. “Being able to go and work with other high school students and industry mentors, develop my technical skills, and realize how math and science are used outside the classroom really opened up the window for me to realize that I wanted to be an engineer.”

His involvement in FIRST® has come full circle, as he is now on the Ford FIRST® board, working to improve employee involvement with mentoring.

Both Self and Carpenter agree that based on their experience in the Ford College Graduate program so far, it meets its goal – to help millennials build a career with Ford Motor Company.

Source: campaign-social.ford.com