Meet a NASA Astronaut at WonderWorks, As Science & Space Fans Enjoy an Intergalactic Weekend

LinkedIn
NASA Exhibit

WonderWorks in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee has planned a temporary exhibit that is out of this world, and everyone is invited to blast off with it.

The indoor park that combines amusement and educational opportunities is hosting a NASA exhibit from October 5-8, 2017 that will focus on the amazing world of science and the planets. The exhibit will feature scaled models of spacecraft and a virtual reality experience of NASA’s new rocket, the Space Launch System. There will also be artifacts such as a real moon rock that people can touch, and a meet and greet with former space shuttle astronaut Captain Robert “Hoot” Gibson. The fun and educational exhibit is slated to help further interest in STEM education and careers and is ideal for all ages.

“This is such an exciting exhibit for people and we are thrilled to be hosting it,” states Ed Shaffer, General Manager for WonderWorks. “Being able to meet a real astronaut and touch a moon rock is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and one that you don’t want to miss.”

astronaut Captain Robert “Hoot” Gibson
Former Astronaut-Captain Robert “Hoot” Gibson

The NASA exhibit will kick off with Captain Gibson visiting local middle schools to speak to students about his experience being in space. He will be at WonderWorks in Pigeon Forge on Saturday, October 7, 2017. Meet and greet opportunities are from 11 a.m. to noon, 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m., and from 3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m., where he will answer questions, pose for photos, and give autographs. Media interviews will also be available.

The NASA exhibit will feature:
• The Exploration Systems virtual tour allows participants to experience the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion spacecraft up close as they sit on the mobile launcher at Kennedy Space Center. Users will be transported to Launchpad 39B where they will receive a brief overview of the different components that make up the most powerful rocket ever built, the SLS. Once the overview is complete, they will then be placed inside an Orion Spacecraft virtual environment prior to launch.
• Guest will be able to take and print a photo of themselves in a spacesuit with either an SLS, Orion, Mars rover, or International Space Station background. This is a one-of-a-kind keepsake!
• Space Launch System 1:50 scale model on a mobile launcher and a 1:20 scale Orion Spacecraft table top model.
• Touchable moon rock from the Apollo 17 mission.

“We are ready to grow interest in space explorations,” added Shaffer. “There will be plenty of opportunities for pictures, asking questions, and observing, making it an amazing experience for all.”

Capt. Robert “Hoot” Gibson served as a NASA astronaut from 1979 until 1996 and is a veteran of five space shuttle flights. He has logged more than 36 days in space, including having commanded the first docking of the space shuttle to the Russian space station Mir. He is also a graduate of the TOPGUN Navy Fighter Weapons School.

WonderWorks in Pigeon Forge offers 35,000 square feet of “edu-tainment” opportunities, billing itself as an amusement park for the mind. They offer over 100 hands-on exhibits covering natural disasters, space discovery, an imagination lab, a physical challenge zone, a far out art gallery, and a light and sound zone. WonderWorks is open daily from 10 a.m. until 9 p.m. For more information or to register for the event, log onto their site: wonderworksonline.com/pigeon-forge/nasa-journey-mars/.

About WonderWorks
WonderWorks, a science focused indoor amusement park, combines education and entertainment. With over 100 hands-on exhibits – there is something unique and challenging for all ages. Feel the power of 71mph hurricane–force winds in the Hurricane Shack. Make huge, life–sized bubbles in the Bubble Lab. Get the NASA treatment in our Astronaut Training Gyro and experience zero gravity. Nail it by lying on the death–defying Bed of Nails. Conquer your fear of heights on our indoor Glow-In-The-Dark Ropes Course. WonderWorks is also home to Wonders of Magic, starring Terry Evanswood, the award-winning and longest running performer in Pigeon Forge. WonderWorks hosts birthday parties and special events seasonally. Open daily from 9 a.m. until midnight. wonderworksonline.com/pigeon-forge.

Octavia E. Butler, Who Brought Diversity to the World of Science Fiction, Honored With Google Doodle

LinkedIn
Octavia Butler

Octavia E. Butler, a groundbreaking African-American science fiction writer who would have turned 71 on Friday, was honored with a Google Doodle that celebrates her contributions to the literary world.

Butler was one of the first writers in science fiction — traditionally dominated by white male authors — to include diverse protagonists in her stories, and was widely admired for evocatively exploring hierarchies and human flaws in her work.

Butler died in 2006, but her family released a statement to coincide with Friday’s Google Doodle that paid tribute to her legacy.

“Her spirit of generosity and compassion compelled her to support the disenfranchised,” her family said in a statement. “She sought to speak truth to power, challenge prevailing notions and stereotypes, and empower people striving for better lives. Although we miss her, we celebrate the rich life she led and its magnitude in meaning.”

Throughout her life, Butler won various awards and became the first science-fiction author to get the MacArthur Fellowship. Here’s what you need to know about her prestigious career:

Nebula and Hugo awards

Butler won two Nebula awards and two Hugo awards in her career, two of the most prestigious prizes in science fiction. Two of those awards were for the same short story, Bloodchild, in which human refugees are imprisoned on an alien planet by insect-like creatures that protect them while using them as hosts to breed their young. Butler insisted the story was not an allegory for slavery while critics applauded it for reversing gender roles and examining the complex structures of oppression.

MacArthur Fellowship

In 1995, Butler became the first science-fiction author to be awarded the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship. The award came with a prize of $295,000. The foundation said Butler’s “imaginative stories are transcendent fables, which have as much to do with the future as with the present and the past.”

Television adaptation of Butler’s book

Last year, it was announced that Ava DuVernay, who recently directed A Wrinkle In Time, would be adapting Butler’s book, Dawn, into a television series. It is not clear what network will pick up the show just yet.

Read the complete article and more at TIME Magazine.

WonderWorks Syracuse Holds WonderKids Event and School Visits with Astronaut

LinkedIn

SYRACUSE, New York – On June 16, 2018, WonderWorks Syracuse held an out-of-this-world WonderKids event, featuring a special guest and awarding students who had been nominated from area schools for their achievements. The event gave nominees who were picked for the WonderKids award and the public the chance to meet and greet with Dr. Donald Thomas, an astronaut who shared his experiences with the group of having completed four missions to space.

“This was a great event. Everyone who attended had a wonderful time, it was very exciting to meet Dr. Thomas and learn about  his missions to space,” says Nicole Montgomery, director of operations at WonderWorks Destiny. “We also get to recognize students in our area. We are very proud of their accomplishments and happy to honor them.”

Wonder Kids is an event that allows educators to recognize their students’ achievements throughout the year. Teachers were asked to nominate students who show extraordinary characteristics in and outside of the classroom.  All attendees receive prizes and free admissions to WonderWorks the day of the event, and are two grand prize winners selected for each category; the following were the winners of each category:

Academic Excellence:

Grade range 1st – 5th grades – Grace Mclean

Grade range 6th – 12th  – grades – Grace O’Neil

Service to Community:

Grade range 1st – 5th grades – Caitlyn Cook

Grade range 6th – 12th grades – Jose Mateo

Future Scientist:

Grade range 1st – 5th grades – Jacquelyn Gangemi

Grade range 6th – 12th grades – Tristan Ellerbruch

The WonderKids Program is held each year, honoring kids from the WonderWorks Destinycommunity who have been nominated by their teacher for various areas of  student achievement. There are three areas where kids will be honored, including academic excellence, service to community, and future scientist. All students receive a certificate for their achievements and bags of goodies from businesses that partner with WonderWorks. All nominees alsoget  free entrance into the WonderWorks the day of the event. Grand prize winners received large prize packages including items such WonderWorks annual passes, Destiny Day Passes, Comic-Con passes, Bears from Build-a-Bear, Dave & Busters prize packs, and more.

Dr. Thomas, who was the guest speaker at the event, also spent time visiting local schools on Thursday and Friday, June 14-15, 2018. He visited Huntington, Syracuse Academy of Sciences, Bellevue Elementary, Roberts, Delaware, and Syracuse Latin. His mission is to share his out-of-this-world experiences and inspire kids to learn more about STEM-related topics (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). Selected by NASA in January 1990, he became an astronaut in July 1991. During his career there he spent time in the Safety, Operations, and Payloads Branches of the Astronaut Offices. He was also a spacecraft communicator for several shuttle missions, spent time in various other key roles, and went on four space flights.

“Lots of people got to meet Dr. Thomas and get their picture taken with him,” added Montgomery. “We are already looking forward to our  next WonderKids event.”

WonderWorks offers a variety of fun family friendly interactive activities to engage in, including a laser tag arena, 4D XD Motion Theater, Canyon Climb Adventure, and WonderZones – offering a variety of areas to explore, such as natural disasters, physical challenges, light and sound zones, imagination lab, and space discovery. They also offer a Sky Tykes ropes course. WonderWorks’ trademark is “I think, therefore I STEM.” They are focused on providing visitors with a variety of hands-on STEM-related activities.

WonderWorks DestinyAbout WonderWorks WonderWorks, a science-focused indoor amusement park located in Destiny USA, combines education and entertainment with over 100 hands-on exhibits. There is something unique and challenging for all ages. Adventures include: The Hurricane Shack, feel the power of 71 mph hurricane–force winds, The Bubble Lab, make huge, life–sized bubbles, The Astronaut Training Gyro, get the NASA treatment and experience zero gravity, Nail it by lying on the death–defying Bed of Nails. WonderWorks is also home to two indoor ropes courses, Canyon Climb, which is the world’s largest suspended indoor ropes course, and Sky Tykes, which is a confidence booster climb for small children. WonderWorks also hosts birthday parties and special events seasonally. Opens daily at 10 a.m. wonderworksdestiny.com.

# # #

Black Panther: Movie to Movement

LinkedIn
TChalla

By Mackenna Cummings

Last June, the trailer teaser for Marvel’s Black Panther—not even the full trailer—racked up 89 million views in 24 hours. Twitter called it one of the most tweeted-about films of 2017, though it wouldn’t open until February 2018, with hashtags #BlackPantherSoLit and #WelcomeToWakanda. The Boys & Girls Club of Harlem held a fund-raiser to arrange a private screening, others planned viewing parties. It was a sign of things to come.

This year, Black Panther is shattering box office records as the third highest grossing film in the country, bringing in almost $700 million in its first 10 weeks in theaters. Essentially a stand-alone movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it broke the opening weekend record for a non-sequel/prequel, earning $202 million its first week out. That number also gave Black Panther the new record for a solo superhero week one debut, topping the $174 million opening weekend of Iron Man 3.

Marvel Comics’s character Black Panther was originally conceived in 1966 by creators Stan Lee and Jack Kirby as a way to give black readers a character to identify with. The movie Black Panther tells the story of young T’Challa, who, after the death of his father, the king of Wakanda, returns home to the isolated high-tech African nation to succeed to the throne and take his rightful place as king. But when a powerful enemy reappears, T’Challa’s strength and authority as king—and Black Panther—is tested when he’s drawn into a dire conflict that puts the fate of Wakanda and the entire world at risk. T’Challa must release the full power of Black Panther to defeat his foes and secure the safety of his people and their way of life.

“It’s the first time in a very long time that we’re seeing a film with centered black people, where we have a lot of agency,” says Jamie Broadnax, the founder of Black Girl Nerds, a pop-culture site focused on sci-fi and comic-book fandoms, in an interview with the New York Times. These characters, she notes, “are rulers of a kingdom, inventors and creators of advanced technology. We’re not dealing with black pain, and black suffering, and black poverty.”

Marvel Studios’ BLACK PANTHER..Shuri (Letitia Wright)..Ph: Film Frame..©Marvel Studios 2018

Letitia Wright, who plays Shuri in the movie, hopes that it inspires young girls to pursue STEM, especially considering that women of color currently make up less than 10 percent of the working scientists and engineers in the United States.

The impact of the movie is not limited to inspiration. To celebrate the success of the film, Disney donated $1 million to the Boys and Girls Clubs of America for the STEM education programs. Through these programs, children have access to technology like 3D printers, robotics, and high definition film equipment, similar to the tech used to create the movie.

The film is giving minorities a platform to not only be included in STEM but to be STEM leaders. It is building upon a movement that so many others are contributing to and highlighting their work. According to a study done by the National Science Foundation (NSF), a sense of belonging is key to retention for minorities in STEM. Underrepresented groups need to feel that they belong in their STEM courses and workplace to stay in it and Black Panther is getting to the core of that by representing a woman of color as the leader of STEM in a technologically driven nation. Below are ten movements and movers that, like Black Panther, are impacting underrepresented groups in STEM every day.

Individuals and STEM

LOS ANGELES, CA – NOVEMBER 14: CEO Black Girls Code Kimberly Bryant (Photo by Jeff Vespa/Getty Images for Glamour)

Kimberly Bryant, a successful engineer, started a movement in 2011 that has now impacted thousands of young girls. When Bryant started her career as a computer engineer, she was one of few women let alone persons of color in her courses. But, years later, when her own daughter pursued STEM at a summer camp, she was amazed to find the classroom unchanged in representation. Inspired by this revelation, she began teaching her daughter and daughter’s friends to code, which led her to launch Black Girls Code. The nonprofit now has chapters across the nation and outside of the U.S. and continues to impact the lives of young black girls by giving them access to computer science education.

Dr. Mae Jemison, the first African-American woman in space, has paved the way for young women of color to pursue their dream of being an astronaut. But she is not only leading by example. Jemison co-founded, along with her siblings, The Dorothy Jemison Foundation for Excellence, in honor of their late mother. The foundation assists in bettering education for STEM and has several programs that promote scientific literacy for students and teamwork and problem-solving.

Jamie Bracey, the Director of STEM Education, Outreach, and Research for Temple University, is working hard to help foster STEM education not only across the United States but also in her home state of Pennsylvania. She was inspired to start a movement after seeing so many students from local communities struggle because of the lack of education and support. In partnership with programs like the Pennsylvania Mathematics Engineering Science Achievement, she works to foster interest in STEM fields and education in middle and high school students. Recently, Bracey decided she needed to do more. Earlier this year, she helped launch the Center for Inclusive Competitiveness at Temple University. This center will serve as a collaborative STEM outreach program supporting underserved communities.

Dr. Anna Powers is empowering young women in their pursuit of STEM through her Powers Education program. While teaching at a university, Powers saw many women discouraged in STEM because their confidence was diminished—they didn’t believe they could succeed. Because of this, Powers Education revolves around building the confidence of women in science by teaching science through intuition over memorization. Powers also emphasizes that failure is part of the path to success, helping women not be discouraged but empowered by taking risks and trying again.

Corlis Murray is a leading engineer for Abbott, but when she pursued her career the majority of her community did not understand the field she was entering. Now, she is role model for other young women of color hoping to break into a field that is still typically male. Murray believes that one of the best ways for the lack of diversity in STEM to change is for companies to invest in these underrepresented communities to provide access to education and opportunities. With Abbott, Murray launched their high school STEM internship program, because she feels it is her job to care and help where she has the option to. She has created a movement from her success and love of STEM.

Marvel Studios’ BLACK PANTHER..L to R: Okoye (Danai Gurira), T’Challa/Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o) and Ayo (Florence Kasumba)..Photo: Matt Kennedy..©Marvel Studios 2018

Education and STEM

Cal Poly Pomona’s Femineer movement is connecting schools and high school girls to STEM. The program, founded at the university, so far has been able to provide 41 K–12 schools with access to STEM curriculums and female engineer mentors to inspire more women to pursue STEM. This is a movement that makes other movements, because participating schools like Ramona High School in Ramona, California, have not let the Femineer program end with their high school participants. Femineers at Ramona High have taken what they have learned and gone to the kindergarten classes to inspire young woman to pursue STEM.

Companies and STEM

Over the next five years, Verizon will be donating $400 million to 200 middle school STEM programs. Their goal is to give five million students access to free STEM education, technology, and teacher training. Schools will be selected through public nominations on social media using the hashtag #humanability. CEO Lowell McAdam said in a statement, “Our mission, which we call Humanability, is to give people the ability to do more in this world—that’s why it’s paramount we invest to give kids the technology education and resources they need to succeed.” By the year 2020, millions of students across the nation will experience the effects of Verizon’s humanibility.

Ford Motor Companies also believes the way to change is to invest in underrepresented communities. They have invested over $63 million in STEM programs for kids. Their STEAM Experience is one of these programs impacting education. Last year STEAM Experience allowed young women in the Detroit area to show off their quick thinking and innovative scientific skills by creating problem-solving inventions out of recycled materials. They are showing these young women that there is more to the field than meets the eye.

When discussing the impact, Alison Bazil, Ford’s business manager for vehicle components and system engineering, said, “It isn’t just about being good at math and science. If you like to be creative and inventive, solve problems and make things better, that’s really what engineering is all about.” The STEAM Experience Program is not only giving access to education but also opening the girls up to an opportunity they may have never before considered.

Organizations and STEM

The Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) is building the community of Hispanics and Native Americans in STEM through its programs such as Chapter Leadership Institute (CLI) and annual conference. CLI connects local university students and gives them leadership skills that have allowed many to go back into their community and continue the movement. One CLI alum is helping first-generation students pursue a graduate education. The chapters also connect with each other to increase the impact on both schools positively.

Society of Women Engineers (SWE) not only hosts an annual conference to connect women engineers but also hosts an annual event called Invent It. Build It. This event supports girls from 6th to 12th grades, parents, and educators to engage with STEM and connect with resources and opportunities. The event moves locations to allow girls across the nation to access the event and continue to grow in STEM. One of the best aspects of the event is that it not only educates and engages these girls, but they also get to see what real-life opportunities are available for someone in an engineering career.

“Girls often do not associate engineering as a career path that allows them to help people, and they also lack confidence in STEM skills as compared to their male counterparts. Events like Invent it. Build it. are essential to show girls what an engineer looks like and instill the confidence that they, too, can be an engineer.”

Marvel Studios’ BLACK PANTHER..Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman)..Ph: Film Frame..©Marvel Studios 2018

For diversity to continue to grow in STEM, movers and movements such as these are crucial. Women and minorities need representation on and off the screen, as well as access to STEM education for these movements to continue to make strides. The stories above are just a few examples of the incredible things happening in the world of STEM, made possible because these STEM leaders took it upon themselves to make a difference and join the movement.

Ready for one more statistic on director Ryan Coogler’s wildly successful movie? Black Panther’s crushing $202 million first weekend was the biggest opening ever for any movie directed or produced by a person of color. It easily beat out James Wan’s Furious 7, the 2015 action film with a diverse cast that earned $147 million its first weekend. May this victory be a sign of more box office magic to come from filmmakers from all backgrounds.

Tips for Parents to Help their Kids Avoid Summer Brain Drain

LinkedIn
Alcatraz Museum

PIGEON FORGE, Tennessee—Some people call it summer brain drain, others call it the summer learning loss. No matter what you call it, experts tend to agree that most kids tend to lose some of what they have learned over summer break.

In fact, the Brookings Institution reports that a child loses around a month’s worth of school year learning over the course of the summer. When school starts back, the backslide may become a challenge for some kids because their classes haven’t accounted for the loss in learning. The good news is there are things parents can do to help their kids avoid the summer brain drain!

“Keeping kids actively learning over the summer months is important so that their minds stays sharp and they remain in learning mode,” says Janine Vaccarello, chief operating officer for Alcatraz East. “We get many parents who bring their kids into the museum as a way to sneak in some learning in a fun environment during vacation.”

Here are some ways that Alcatraz East helps keep kids learning all summer long:
•  Safety – Being at home over the summer, kids often have more unsupervised time on their hands. The safety stops in the museum are sponsored by the National Crime Prevention Council and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children and help kids learn about Internet safety, cyberbullying, and interacting with strangers on the phone or at home.
•  History – While it may not seem like history, kids and teenagers have little or no memory of the events of 9/11. The 9/11 Gallery at the museum gives parents the opportunity to share their first-hand accounts of this historic and life-changing event. Adults and children alike have been sharing their memories on the museum’s 9/11 remembrance wall, and you can, too.
•  Science – Did you know that the fingerprints of children are chemically different than those of adults which causes them to disappear faster? Kids can explore the world of forensic science and scan their fingerprint to see if they are a loop, arch, or whorl.
•  Careers in Service – The Law Enforcement Gallery covers the different jobs in law enforcement and the tools used to keep our communities safe. Kids can learn about what it takes to join the force and try their hand at driving a police car driving simulator. Displays also include Neighborhood Watch and the origins of 911 call centers.
•  Fun – Don’t forget just straight up fun is important too! Kids and adults alike love The Heist laser maze, where you see who in your family is best able to slip past a security system.
•  Additional learning – Once you visit the museum, take note of the things your child takes an interest in. Then stop off at the local library and find books and movies on those topics. This will help them continue the learning once they get home, by giving them a chance to explore the topics more. You can also give them projects to do based on the things they have chosen to learn more about, that include writing, reading, art, and creating crafts and models. If they’re in the Boy or Girl Scouts, check out the Alcatraz East website for when forensic workshops for badges are offered.

“Kids often thrive when they are exposed to new experiences, which creates great learning opportunities,” added Vaccarello. “This summer, be sure to expose your kids to new things. Bring them into the museum, giving them a chance to have fun as they continue learning, and avoid the summer learning setback.”

At the Alcatraz East Crime Museum, children can learn about pirates, legends of the old west, famous cold cases, what a police lineup is like, how to solve crimes, and what it takes to be a police officer.

The Alcatraz East Crime Museum is located at the entrance to The Island, at 2757 Parkway in Pigeon Forge. They are located near the Margaritaville Hotel and Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen. The museum offers a wide array of crime information, including notorious crimes and criminals, historic artifacts, interactive exhibits, crime scene investigation, crime detection and fighting, and information on how help avoid being a victim of crime. There are also many activities that are kid friendly, such as learning to tie knots and how to crack a safe. Items currently on display include the O.J. Simpson white Bronco from the infamous police chase, and outlaw Jesse James’ holster.

General admission tickets are $14.95 for children, $24.95 for adults. Group ticket sales are available. The museum will be open 365 days per year, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., with the last ticket sold 60 minutes before closing. For more information and to purchase tickets, log online: alcatrazeast.com.

About Alcatraz East
Alcatraz East is the most arresting crime museum in the United States. Guests of all ages can encounter a unique journey into the history of American crime, crime solving, and our justice system. Through interactive exhibits and original artifacts, Alcatraz East is an entertaining and educational experience for all ages – so much fun it’s a crime! This family attraction is located at the entrance of The Island, located at 2757 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN. For more information, visit alcatrazeast.com.

# # #

Source:
Brookings Institution. Summer learning loss. brookings.edu/research/summer-learning-loss-what-is-it-and-what-can-we-do-about-it/

How One Company Landed on Celebrity Radar, Going from Unknown to the A-List

LinkedIn
Harrison Ford-iWALK2.0

LOS ANGELES, Calif. – (June 6, 2018) – If you are a business fortunate enough to have your product used by a celebrity or athlete, there is a good chance it will boost your bottom line. One of the quickest ways to take your business to the next level is to get an A-list endorsement. However, not everyone knows how to go about getting their product in the hands of a celebrity or athlete, and better yet, how to get them to actually be seen using it. The good news is that with some persistence and patience, you can reap the rewards of having celebrities use your product.

“We knew the power that having celebrities use our product would have, so we set out on a mission to help make it happen,” explains Brad Hunter, the innovator of iWALK2.0 and the chief executive officer of the company, iWALKFree, Inc.  “We sought out those celebrities and pro-athletes we felt could benefit from our product, and then we offered it to them. It was a mutually beneficial arrangement.”

The iWALK2.0 is a hands-free crutch that is used instead of conventional crutches or knee scooters.  Essentially a high tech pirate leg, it recruits the user’s leg, instead of their hands and arms.  In addition, to the hands-free benefit, the iWALK2.0 allows for easier and more comfortable movement. Where crutches can be irritating and limit mobility this novel product frees up users to resume normal day to day activities.

Underscoring these benefits was crucial to celebrities taking notice of the iWALK2.0. Among the A-listers who have used the product are Kelly Slater (World Championship surfer), Nick Bonino (NHL Stanley Cup champion), Harrison Ford (Actor), Tyron Woodley (UFC World Champion), Ronald Forbes (Olympic hurdler), Tanner Pearson (NHL player), Romeo Pullum (NFL player), Marcus Mariota (NFL player) and Mike Waufle (NFL coach.) In addition to individual players, there are numerous professional teams that keep the iWALK2.0 in their training rooms, including 28 teams in the NFL alone.

For the average business, it may seem daunting to get their products into the hands of celebrities and pro-athletes, and for them to actually use it. But there are many businesses benefiting from such exposure, giving hope to those who would like to get in on the action. Here are 6 tips to help get your product into the hands of celebrities and athletes, helping to take your business to the next level:

  • Target your market.Not every celebrity is going to be a good fit
    Nick Bonino Stanley Cup
    Nick Bonino Stanley Cup

    for your product. Narrow down which ones you think will be. By narrowing it down to those it makes sense to reach out to, your chances of success will likely increase.

  • Get their contact information.Getting their contact information may seem difficult, but if you search around you should find it online. You may need to go through their PR agent, but you will still be able to get your products to the celebrity through that route.
  • Make it stand out.Once you know where to send or take the product to, do something to make it stand out. Send it via FedEx, wrap it nicely, and always include a handwritten note.
  • Highlight the results or benefits.Be sure to include something that lets them know what the benefits of using the product are, if it’s something that will help them. If it’s a fashion product or one that doesn’t necessarily have benefits, but is just for fun, highlight the fun aspects of it and what’s unique about it. Let them know the inspiration behind the product, that you support a particular charity or cause, or any other fun or interesting detail. Most of all, you must genuinely believe that using your product will significantly benefit the celebrity as much or more than the publicity will benefit you.
  • Be polite, yet persistent.The last thing you want to do is become annoying, because that will likely get your product booted quickly. Be persistent, but always remain nice. You will want especially be nice to the person you need to go through to get to the celebrity, as they are the gatekeeper, and the gate will probably not open without their assistance.
  • Be ready for the influx of business.If you are successful with your quest, you will likely get a big boost in business. Be ready for it, so that you don’t miss out on those sales by not being able to fulfill the orders.

“A lot of positive can come from getting that celebrity endorsement, making it worth the effort to get the product in their hands,” adds Hunter.  “It’s rewarding when you consider what the return on investment can be, and has been for many businesses.”

Brad Hunter-CEO, Innovator of iWALK2.0
Brad Hunter-CEO, Innovator of iWALK2.0

The iWALK2.0 is hands-free, pain-free alternative to using crutches and leg scooters.  It’s easy to learn to use, intuitive, and safe. From the knee up, the leg is doing the same walking motion that comes naturally to it. The device is essentially a temporary lower leg, which gives people their independence and mobility back as they recover from an injury. The device is pain-free, and makes it possible for people to engage in many of their normal routine activities, such as walking the dog, grocery shopping, and walking up or downstairs.

Clinical research, the results of which are on the company website, shows that patients using the iWALK2.0 heal faster, and have a higher sense of satisfaction and a higher rate of compliance. The iWALK2.0 sells for $149 and is available online and through select retailers. Some insurance companies may cover the cost of the device. The device can be used with a cast or boot, and comes with a limited warranty. For more information on the iWALK2.0, visit the site at: iwalk-free.com. To see a video of the iWALK2.0 in action, visit: iWalkFree.

About iWALKFree

The iWALK2.0 is a hands-free knee crutch, made by iWALKFree, Inc.  It’s a mobility device used instead of traditional crutches and knee scooters. It offers more comfort and independence, with the hands and arms remaining free. The device offers people a functional and independent lifestyle as they are recovering from many common lower leg injuries. For more information on the iWALK2.0, visit the site at iwalk-free.com.

 

# # #

 

Finally a good use for drones—hands-free umbrellas

LinkedIn

Umbrellas are so annoying with their whole requiring hands things. On the plus side, there’s a very small chance that an umbrella will accidentally cut your head off. That can all change with the new drone umbrella, which hovers its rapidly spinning propellers over your head while keeping your precious hair dry and your face in the shade. Maybe it can offer haircuts, too?

The new Free Parasol developed by Asahi Power Service promises to be keep you in the shade and out of the rain, hands-free, reports Sora News 24. While the drone-umbrella is currently only in prototype form, according to the Free Parasol website, the company is hard at work on creating its own flying umbrella. Due to all the regulations surrounding flying drones in public places, Asahi Power Service will reportedly first start selling the drones to private ventures, like golf courses. They hope to have it flying over golf courses, rainy day sidewalks, and beaches by 2019 for the low, low cast of $275 (30,000 yen) plus whatever insurance you’ll have to buy for flying a drone six feet off the ground.

Continue onto FastCompany to read the complete article.

The Secrets to Success: Incredible career insights from some of the world’s leading creatives

LinkedIn
Boniface-Mwangi

Learning from experienced artists, designers and photographers to understand how they achieve their goals should be part of every creative’s journey. We have to seek inspiration and ideas from those we admire if we’re ever going to get ahead.

These are the people who have already enjoyed lots of success and continue to be creative today – some who started their first business at aged eight years old while others are well past the typical retirement age. I guess when you choose creativity as a life-long passion, you never really stop working. Why would you, if you’re doing something you love?

So how have these established creatives managed to “make it”? What have been the secrets to their success? And what can we learn from them? We’ve rounded up some of the most inspiring and motivational talks and interviews to share incredible insights from some of the industry’s best.

1. Success, failure and the drive to keep creating – Elizabeth Gilbert

Elizabeth Gilbert

Author Elizabeth Gilbert was once an “unpublished diner waitress”, devastated by rejection letters. And yet, in the wake of the success of her best-selling book Eat, Pray, Love, she found herself identifying strongly with her former self. With beautiful insight, Gilbert reflects on why success can be as disorienting as failure and offers a simple, though hard, way to carry on, regardless of outcomes.

2. How to build your creative confidence – David Kelley

David Kelley

Creativity is not a domain of only a chosen few, according to David Kelley – founder of IDEO. And it shouldn’t be something that’s divided between “creatives” versus “practical” people. Telling stories from his legendary design career and his own life, he offers ways to build confidence to create.

3. Stop searching for your passion – Terri Trespicio

Branding strategist Terri Trespicio says there’s a lot of weight behind the age-old question, what are you passionate about? We’re constantly told these five words hold the key to a successful career and life purpose. Terri ponders, what if it’s the wrong question altogether? This inspiring talk turns the ubiquitous “find your passion” message on its ear.

4. Discoveries in Colour: The art of Carlos Cruz-Diez

Carlos Cruz-Diez

Carlos Cruz-Diez is a world-renowned artist and one of the greatest living figures in kinetic and op art. He creates interactive, immersive works that invite viewers to reconsider how they perceive the world – and at 94 years old, he continues to evolve as an artist, employing the newest digital technology in his Paris atelier, where he works with his children, his grandchildren, and a team of craftspeople who help bring his ideas to life. Watch the film below to understand how he has become one of the most influential modern thinkers in the realm of colour.

5. Maya Penn: Meet a young entrepreneur, cartoonist and activist

Maya Penn

Maya Penn started her first company when she was just eight years old, and thinks deeply about how to be responsible both to her customers and to the planet. She shares her story, and some animations, and some designs, and some infectious energy, in this charming talk. Hopefully, it will inspire you to launch your own business, find a different career path or start a fun side project.

6. A journey through the mind of an artist – Dustin Yellin

Dustin Yellin

Dustin Yellin makes mesmerising artwork that tells complex, myth-inspired stories. How did he develop his style? In this disarming talk, he shares the journey of an artist, starting from age eight, and his idiosyncratic way of thinking and seeing. Follow the path that leads him up to his latest major work, and be inspired by his journey so far.

7. The day I stood up alone – Boniface Mwangi

Boniface Mwangi

Photographer Boniface Mwangi wanted to protest against corruption in his home country of Kenya. So he made a plan: he and some friends would stand up and heckle during a public mass meeting. But when the moment came… he stood alone. What happened next, he says, showed him who he truly was. As he says, “There are two most powerful days in your life. The day you are born, and the day you discover why.” Be warned, there are graphic images in the following talk.

8. The art of creativity – Taika Waititi

Taika Waititi

Taika Waititi is a visual artist, actor, writer and film director hailing from New Zealand. His short film Two Cars, One Night was nominated for an Academy Award in 2005. Taika’s second feature, Boy, appeared at the Sundance and Berlin Film Festivals in 2010 and, more recently, his Hunt for the Wilderpeople enjoyed huge global success. In this classic TED Talk, he discusses how creativity has helped him to express his ideas and led him to where he is today.

“From the art & design magazine, Creative Boom.”

The iGen iEverything Train is Coming, but Are You Ready?

LinkedIn
iGen

Technology is being consumed at an ever increasing rate causing executives, managers, and process improvement experts on the factory floor to re-define the methods of training and dissemination that have become obsolete.

Critical skills and tribal knowledge are being lost as boomers retire and training plans for new employees fall short of preparing workers for the sophistication of the new manufacturing environment.

Move over millennials, here comes the IGen! Born between 1995 and 2005 this group of tech savvy natives is the next cohort and are just now entering the workforce. IGen, or Gen Z as they are often referred, have grown up in a world of social media where Youtube, Instagram, and Twitter reign supreme. These kids are a force to be reckoned with and require access to information in ways that are familiar, immediate, and actionable. Our success depends on them because as the IGen goes, so goes the manufacturing industry, the nation, and the world.

Alliance Resource Group, in partnership with Sify Technologies has pulled together experts from manufacturing, academia and automated methodologies to develop a solution that addresses the manufacturing challenge of this next generation and identifies the key components of a successful framework including content management, dissemination methodology, scalability, and integration with current learning management systems. These components constitute a micro-learning strategy that facilitates current and future state requirements.

Alliance Resource Group (ARG), is a service disabled veteran owned business located in Newport Beach California. With a foundation in resource management, recruiting, and consulting, ARG provides services to small and medium size companies throughout the United States.

View the ARG White Paper here! Better be prepared for total process transformation if you want to remain competitive.

This kit for making medical tests can be put together like Legos

LinkedIn

Ampli’s reusable blocks let scientists quickly and cheaply create diagnostic tests–and they could be especially helpful in the developing world.

Right now, if a technician working in a lab in rural Angola needs to run a test to see if a patient is infected with Zika or Ebola, they’ll likely use a paper test imported from somewhere else–and if that test doesn’t work for the local population, or if it’s too expensive to buy, there may be no other option. But a new Lego-like kit is designed to make it possible for technicians anywhere to make, and tweak, diagnostics themselves.

The tiny kit called Ampli, uses modular blocks that can be connected in different patterns to replicate the function that would typically be built into a manufactured test for pregnancy, glucose, or an infection or other disease. Pregnancy tests made by a medical device company, for example, use an antibody added to a paper strip that reacts to a hormone that women produce when pregnant, and that reaction causes the paper to change color. The new blocks can create the same test without the complexity of embedding elements in paper ahead of time. It can also perform tests that are typically done with test tubes in a lab, such as a test that carefully mixes three chemicals to see if someone has taken medicine for TB. With the kit, no lab is needed, and the test costs $1.

One type of block is designed to collect a sample of blood or urine from a patient. Another type has a tiny channel for samples to flow through; a third type has turns that make multiple reactions possible. After arranging the blocks, someone working in a lab can sandwich a tiny sheet of paper in the kit, run the test with their sample and chemicals they have in the lab (the paper will turn different colors depending on the result), and then sterilize the blocks to reuse them again.

Continue onto Fast Company to read the complete article.

Female CEO Takes on Tech Industry with Edge Music Network

LinkedIn
Elizabeth Vargas

Diversity in STEAM Magazine (DISM) recently had the pleasure to speak with Elizabeth Vargas, founder and CEO of Edge Music Network.

DISM: Let’s start with the obvious question first: What’s your take on the lack of female leaders in the tech space?

EV: I could give a dozen reasons and even more excuses for our gender’s absence in the C-suite—not only in tech but in nearly every industry—but I won’t. The truth is that no one cares about why you haven’t succeeded; they’re only interested in how you’ve succeeded. That’s where I want to go. I want to focus on the future, and prove that with vision, hustle and commitment that you can break through and achieve your dreams. That’s how I think I can help young and mature female entrepreneurs achieve their goals and dreams.

DISM: Okay. Let’s go there… tell us your story.

EV: As a child, I always loved music and theory but wasn’t allowed to watch TV until I was 13. My dad was a preacher and I think he thought that delaying my exposure would protect me from the outside world. So, it’s kind of funny that, of all programs, I got hooked on MTV. I remember thinking I would own it one day! That was my big dream– which eventually evolved into what is now Edge Music Network.

DISM: A lot must have happened between “one day” and now…

EV: In between, I gravitated to all things music, first studying jazz vocals at the Cornish College of the Arts and then creating the Vargas Girls Jazz Cabaret in Seattle–where we played in nightclubs. My experience in the music industry paved the way for Edge Music Network to acquire the content libraries of some of the largest music publishers in the world.

DISM: Has there been anyone who has helped you along the way to achieve your big dream?

EV: I get asked that question often. People assume since I’m a successful female CEO and entrepreneur, I have a powerful man or group backing me. It was the exact opposite. I had everyone around me including those closest to me telling me to quit while I was ahead and it couldn’t be done and to give up on a regular basis. But I can tell you, everything I’ve achieved has been of my own sheer will, passion and desire to work hard– beginning with the Vargas Girls. I had a day job testing software, which came naturally to me. Being tech-savvy helped me launch our first website and later, my own digital channels like YouTube live video, where I live-streamed and interviewed bands and rock legends—all while keeping focus on becoming the next MTV. The only thing that changed for me was the platform. Television wasn’t the only game in town.

DISM: Speaking of the only game in town, explain Edge Music Network and how it diverges from other music video platforms like Spotify and Vevo.

EV: Edge Music Network (EMN) globally streams premium music video content from top-tier distribution partners and independent artists. But it’s more than a free platform for fans to watch their favorite music videos and entertainment programming. EMN offers fans access—from phones, tablets, computers and TVs—to the music and artists they love while providing artists and record labels with the royalties they deserve. We’ve completely flipped the compensation structure of platforms like Spotify and Vevo that give artists 10 percent or less of the profit share. We ensure a 90/10 split in the artists’ favor. On top of that, because EMN believes in the transformative power of music, we dedicate 10 percent of ad revenue to charitable causes such as those that feed the hungry, house the homeless and help victims of natural disasters.

DISM: Sounds like you found a straight path to your dream. Was it really so simple?

EV: It has been anything but simple. I spent years learning how to navigate application development, digital rights agreements, content licensing and distribution and how to acquire the content libraries of some of the largest music publishers in the world to bring EMN to life. But it’s the decades of relationship-building with my partners, advisors, record labels and artists that serve as the foundation of EMN.

DISM: What’s your advice for women today who want to pursue a career or start-up in tech?

EV: Today, every business is tied to technology, whether you work behind a desk, with your hands, your voice or your heart. So, to say there are few women in tech will eventually become a thing of the past. What may remain unchanged is the lack of female LEADERS in tech and that’s a personal choice. It’s up to each one of us to find our passion, find a mentor, find a way to achieve our goals, whatever the odds or the required education. Learn it. Do it. Fail. Get back up and do it again. And again. And that’s never easy. But it’s certainly fulfilling.

About Elizabeth Vargas:
Elizabeth Vargas is the founder and CEO of Edge Music Network, a music video streaming service providing live and on-demand content through a video syndication platform. After studying jazz vocal and music theory at Cornish College of the Arts and attending Bellevue University to study international business and media technology, Vargas combined her passions and pursued a career in the music industry. Over several years, Vargas was able to learn the ins and outs of application development, which allowed her to effectively lead the development and engineering of EMN’s platform. She has decades of experience architecting and brokering digital rights agreements between content creators and publishers to ensure equitable revenue share and royalty distribution and has worked with industry leaders to fight for fair compensation structures to keep the music alive—all of which paved the way for Edge Music Network. With deep working knowledge in content licensing and distribution, application development, as well as strong industry partnerships, Vargas acquired the content libraries of some of the largest music publishers in the world to bring to life the Edge Music Network app that gives artists the royalties and respect they deserve while giving fans access to the music they love—anytime, anywhere, from any device.

With philanthropy at the core of Edge Music Network, Vargas has built one of the most technologically advanced platforms to bring people together with the power of music while providing support to charitable organizations that feed the hungry, aid victims of natural disasters and support homeless veterans. For more information, visit edgemusic.com. Download the app at Apple ITunes Store and Google Play.