Playing The Long Game: Sustainable Diversity-College Recruiting

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By Jena Burgess, PHR

Organizations are recognizing the benefits of starting diversity recruiting efforts early and often in order to build the numbers to feed their future ranks.Silicon Valley, Wall Street, and Fortune 500’s have been engaging in a college recruiting model that early identifies, but often comes up short in meaningful impact. And while initiatives have been put in place to hold companies accountable and transparent, there are missed fundamentals to consider when building sustainable diversity-college recruiting programs. As CEO of Coach Jena B. LLC, I spend my time coaching both colleges and corporate partners to close the skills gap for Millennials and Gen Z’ers. What I’ve learned? When it comes to diversity-college recruiting, corporate partners need to play the long game for maximum impact on campus and with their recruits.

  1. Walk in as a partner not a recruiter

Before you walk in guns blazing hunting for the best and brightest under-represented talent on campus, have you stopped to ask your colleges how best to partner? The difference in diversity recruiting is your ability to build trusting relationships that meet the needs of your gate-keepers. Especially, when it comes to supporting our HBCU’s. As a recruiter, you may have a plan in place to meet your numbers, even throw dollars to get the job done. But without the proper strategy, your short term play will have you losing the long term gains. Ask your college contacts: 1) How can we best support diverse students? 2) What challenges are preventing placement for un-tapped talent? 3) What do your students/staff need to be successful? If a school doesn’t have what it needs to lift talent through the pipeline, you won’t have what you need either. Find out what partnership means for your key schools and adapt your strategy accordingly, resulting in deeper connections and reach to desired students.

Remember: Your organization has a lot to offer outside of dollars. Knowledge and presence are invaluable. Some may need better administration support for diverse students; others need professionals for mentorship programs. These efforts not only keep your budget intact, but they will go a long way to building your relationship and proving you are a true partner.

  1. Match your brand to your efforts

A quick way to damage your diversity brand on campus is to not walk the walk. It’s great that you brought the CEO to read your diversity statement to the students, but are your actions and student experience matching your sales pitch? In talking with students from across the country for Super Qualified, I was astounded by how savvy students are about company culture. Build sustainable brands by offering students:

  • Exposure to the right executive sponsors (not just diverse leaders, but those with inclusive leadership traits)
  • Bringing diverse professionals to all your campus events, not just the diverse ones (this will also encourage your diverse recruits to attend those events)
  • Transparency to expectations. Yes you are selling, but be realistic and clear on what you need from the student to be a successful match – coach in addition to recruiting

  1. Recruiting doesn’t end at the internship offer

When I speak with colleges, I tell students that the internship is an extended interview. The same goes for your company. Students are still ‘interviewing’ you.  Invest in the intern experience as you much, if not more, than you have invested in the recruiting process. Craft an experience, not just a program. I’ve been working on a curriculum guide to my book Super Qualified that maps out how to create a meaningful intern to career experience. Here’s what I’ve learned…

  • Students need a Sherpa! Let someone on your team (or you!) “own” the diverse student experience. Task this person with checking in on your interns, creating a safe space to discuss company culture/performance issues, or being a central point of contact
  • Give your diverse interns opportunities to connect with the larger company. Your interns know what the company “looks” like. Don’t shield them from it; support them learning it
  • Often and continuous. I hear from many managers at companies that they don’t know how to give feedback to their diverse interns (who later become their diverse professionals). Coach your managers on how to give it. Coach your interns on how to receive it. And if you need resources, the Super Qualified curriculum can help

Do the internship right and you’ve turned your intern into a campus ambassador. Do this wrong, and you’ve turned this student into a walking negative review.

Remember, long term means long term. Your diverse recruits may trickle in slowly, and in this case quality beats quantity. As I tell my clients, this may seem like a lot of initial investment, but you may be recruiting your next CEO. Play the long game by remembering these 3 tips and get to sustainable.

About the Author:

Jena Burgess is the author of Super Qualified: Maximizing Your College Experience To Get The Job You Want and board member of HBCU Career Development Marketplace. She is CEO of Coach Jena B. LLC consulting and focuses on early career success for colleges and companies.

TFS Scholarships Launches Online Toolkit to Provide College Funding Resources

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SALT LAKE CITY— TFS Scholarships (TFS), the most comprehensive online resource for higher education funding, has launched a free online toolkit to provide counselors, families and students with resources to help improve the college scholarship search process. The toolkit, available at tuitionfundingsources.com/resource-toolkit, provides downloadable resources and practical tips on how to find and apply for scholarships.

The launch comes in celebration with Financial Aid Awareness Month when many families are beginning the FAFSA process and researching financial aid options.

“We hope these resources help raise awareness around TFS and the 7 million college scholarships available to undergraduate, graduate and professional students,” said Richard Sorensen, president of TFS Scholarships. “Our goal is to help families discover alternative ways to offset the rising costs of higher education.”

The resource toolkit includes flyers, email templates, newsletter content, digital banners and table toppers which are designed to be shareable content that counselors, students and organizations can use to spread the word about how to find free money for college.

The newly revamped TFS website curates over 7 million scholarship opportunities from across the country – with the majority coming directly from colleges and universities—and matches them to students based on their personal profile, where they want to study, and stage of academic study. By tailoring the search criteria, TFS identifies scholarships that students are uniquely qualified for, thus lowering the application pool and increasing the chances of winning. By creating an online profile, students can find scholarships representing more than $41 billion in aid. About 5,000 new scholarships are added to the database every month and appear in real time.

Thanks to exclusive financial support from Wells Fargo, the TFS website is completely ad-free, and no selling of data, making it a safe and trusted place to search.

For more information about Tuition Funding Sources visit tuitionfundingsources.com.

 

About TFS Scholarships

TFS Scholarships (TFS) is an independent service that provides free access to scholarship opportunities for aspiring and current undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. Founded in 1987, TFS began as a passion project to help students and has grown into the most comprehensive online resource for higher education funding. Today, TFS is a trusted place where students and families enjoy free access to more than 7 million scholarships representing more than $41 billion in college funding. In addition to its vast database that’s refreshed with 5,000 new scholarships every month, TFS also offers information about career planning, financial aid, and federal and private student loan programs as part of its commitment to helping students fund their future. Learn more at tuitionfundingsources.com.

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Apple partners with Malala Fund to help girls receive quality education

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Apple has teamed up with Malala Fund to support girls’ education, becoming Malala Fund’s first Laureate partner. Founded by Yousafzai and her father, Ziauddin, the Malala Fund aims to empower young girls and help them access the quality education they deserve.

With the support of Apple, Malala Fund expects to double the number of grants awarded through its Gulmakai Network and launch its funding programs in India and Latin America, with the goal of extending secondary education to more than 100,000 girls. Apple will also help Malala Fund with technology, curriculum and education policy research.

“We believe that education is a great equalizing force, and we share Malala Fund’s commitment to give every girl an opportunity to go to school,” Apple CEO Tim Cook, who will join Malala Fund leadership council, said in a press release. “Malala is a courageous advocate for equality. She’s one of the most inspiring figures of our time, and we are honored to help her extend the important work she is doing to empower girls around the world.”

Worldwide, there are several threats to girls’ education, like poverty, war and gender discrimination. Malala Fund currently operates in Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, Nigeria and countries where there are Syrian refugees, like Lebanon and Jordan.

“My dream is for every girl to choose her own future,” Yousafzai said in a press release. “Through both their innovations and philanthropy, Apple has helped educate and empower people around the world. I am grateful that Apple knows the value of investing in girls and is joining Malala Fund in the fight to ensure all girls can learn and lead without fear.”

Continue onto TechCrunch to read the complete article.

10 Colleges That Pay You Back Big

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When it comes to a college degree, the idea is to get in as little debt as possible, land a decent paying job and get on with your life. A debt-free degree is always desirable, although rarely accomplished these days.

But few consider the “return on investment” (ROI) that a college offers. Some schools are better than others in this regard because you can measure earnings from graduates over time.

As you can imagine, those earning four-year technical degrees in engineering, science and math (STEM) tend to do better salary-wise than those who don’t. That’s not to say that humanities are not worthwhile. The marketplace has been just tech- focused in recent years.

In addition to the nature of the degree, there’s also the school itself. Some colleges have vastly better ROI. There are a number of reasons for this: They may offer generous financial assistance in addition to technically oriented degrees. That’s proven to be a good combination.

There’s also the name-brand value of colleges. Ivy League schools have a tendency to open up doors in the job market. They are harder to get into and generally accept the highest-caliber students.

Yet not every school that produces high-income graduates is an Ivy or glamour school. Many have little name-brand recognition outside of small circles, but are worth considering.

Harvey Mudd College, which topped PayScale’s most recent list of the colleges with the highest-paid graduates, is an engineering school in California. It’s well known as a top-notch technical college, although it’s far less known than MIT or Stanford.

Here’s a list of the top 10 institutions and what graduates are making (on average) by mid-career:

Colleges That Pay You Back                        Mid-Career Salary

Harvey Mudd                                                           $155,800

Princeton                                                                  $147,800

MIT                                                                            $147,000

SUNY Maritime College                                        $145,100

U.S. Military Academy (West Point)                  $144,300

U.S. Naval Academy                                              $143,800

Cal. Inst. of Tech (CalTech)                                 $142,500

Babson College                                                       $141,700

Harvard                                                                    $140,700

Stanford                                                                   $140,400

Keep in mind that colleges that aren’t making highly publicized lists still offer good programs. You just have to do some more homework to find them. This list is among the most highly selective, so you need to be a superior student to get in the door.

Keep your options open and look deep into what a college offers. Most of the military academies, for example, offer four-year engineering degrees in addition to fee tuition and fees.

Continue onto Forbes to read the complete article.

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

2018 Hot Jobs

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Hot Jobs 2018

Those who concentrate on courses related to math, science, engineering, and technology will probably have the widest array of options upon graduation.

As the nation’s roughly 2 million college freshmen take the first steps on their career paths, the employment experts offered some advice on which areas could offer the most fertile employment landscape over the next decade.

Many freshmen have no idea what career path they want to pursue, relying on a mix of courses in the first year to help point them in the right direction. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that, but it is a good idea to at least be armed with information about where job growth is expected to remain strong to make the best decisions about one’s course selections going forward.

Those who concentrate on courses related to math, science, engineering, and technology will probably have the widest array of options upon graduation. However, it is vital not to overlook critical coursework in writing, public speaking, and courses that sharpen your critical thinking skills. While technical skills are in high demand, employers across the country consistently lament the lack of writing and communication skills that are essential in any profession one might pursue.

Indeed, when human resources executives were asked by the Society of Human Resource Management to identify the skills that 2013 graduates were lacking the most, the largest percentage by far pointed to basic writing skills. Nearly half of the HR professionals said last spring’s graduates lacked grammar, spelling, and other writing skills. Math, which ranked second in the list of skill deficiencies, was selected by 18 percent of respondents.

Even if you pursue a profession that is desperate for workers, a lack of fundamental written and verbal communication skills will significantly reduce the chances of being considered, let alone hired.

Below is a list of fields and professions that are expected to experience strong employment gains in the coming years.

Big Data – Health care, corporations, government agencies, etc., are all collecting massive amounts of information. The demand will be for people who can organize, manage, and make sense of all this data.

R&D – Technological developments are accelerating the pace of change and significant breakthroughs in all types of fields, from renewable energy to health care, from transportation to home construction. Those schooled in biology, chemistry, math, engineering, design, computer technology, etc., are going to be rewarded with ample job opportunities in research and development.

Veterinarians – Pets are more popular than ever, and some of them get medical care that’s practically fit for a human. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the need for vets to rise 36 percent by 2020.

Medical technicians – As medical equipment continues to become more sophisticated, they require highly trained individuals to operate, troubleshoot, and repair them.

Athletic trainers/physical therapists – These represent two sides of the same coin. They share many of the same fundamental skills and training. Several trends are driving the growth in demand for these workers—the most obvious one being the aging baby boomer population, which will require increased physical care. We are also seeing growth in competitive sports, fitness, etc., that is creating demand for those trained in repairing participants.

Sales and Marketing – All of these other growth areas need people to increase demand for their products and services. That’s where sales and marketing pros will benefit. You could have the greatest invention ever, but if you don’t have a team to get it into the marketplace and create demand, that invention will never see the light of day.

Human Factors Engineers and Ergonomists – While these types of jobs need a catchier name, the demand will continue to grow. Where we work, how we work, and when we work have all changed dramatically over the past decade. These will continue to evolve going forward. So, we will need people who specialize in maximizing efficiency, health, cost, quality, etc. We have companies now where more than half of the employees work from home. How do you make sure everyone is on the same page and moving in the right direction? Yahoo couldn’t do it, so the company ended its work-at-home option. Companies need strategies for managing such a workforce, and these are the people who will do it. These workers will have varied education backgrounds, including psychology, engineering and technology, design, sociology, administration and management.

Also: Teachers and education services (as more private learning systems pop up); registered nurses, particularly in specialty areas, such as oncology, pediatrics, and intensive care; finance and accounting; trade crafts, such as electricians and plumbers; information technology and network administration.

Source: challengergray.com

Today’s Google Doodle Honors Bacteriologist Robert Koch

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Today’s Google Doodle celebrates Robert Koch, the father of bacteriology. He received the 1905 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for discovering the bacterium that causes tuberculosis, and he had previously identified the microscopic culprits behind anthrax and cholera. But more importantly, Koch was the scientist who figured out how to study bacteria in the first place.

He first isolated cultures of bacteria on potato slices, then became one of the first to adopt the Petri dish (today’s Google Doodle includes images of both). Koch also pioneered the use of agar, which is still the medium used for most bacterial cultures today, over a century later. Without his work, we couldn’t study how bacteria grow, how to fight them, or what potentially useful chemicals they produce.

Koch also laid the groundwork for modern epidemiology, spelling out four criteria for linking a disease to a pathogen.

  1. The organism must always be present, in every case of the disease.
  2. The organism must be isolated from a host containing the disease and grown in pure culture.
  3. Samples of the organism taken from pure culture must cause the same disease when inoculated into a healthy, susceptible animal in the laboratory.
  4. The organism must be isolated from the inoculated animal and must be identified as the same original organism first isolated from the originally diseased host.

He used those criteria to discover the bacteria that caused of anthrax (in 1876), cholera (in 1884), and tuberculosis (in 1882). Using Koch’s methods — and inspired by his proof that it could be done — other scientists soon found the bacteria responsible for several other diseases, ushering in what has been called a Golden Age of Bacteriology around the turn of the 20th century.

Continue onto Forbes to read the complete article.

7 Strategies To Advance Women In Science

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Despite the progress women have made in science, engineering, and medicine, a glance at most university directories or pharmaceutical executive committees tells a more complex story. Women in science are succeeding in fields that may not even be conscious of the gender imbalances.

In a recent issue of the journal Cell Stem Cell, the Initiative on Women in Science and Engineering Working Group—of more than 30 academic and business leaders organized by the New York Stem Cell Foundation—presented seven strategies to advance women in science, engineering, and medicine in this modern landscape.

“We wanted to think about broad ways to elevate the entire field, because when we looked at diversity programs across our organizations we thought that the results were okay, but they really could be better,” said Susan L. Solomon, co-founder and CEO of the New York Stem Cell Foundation and a member of the working group. “We’ve identified some very straightforward things to do that are inexpensive and could be implemented pretty much immediately.”

  1. Implement flexible family care spending
    Make grants gender-neutral by permitting grantees to use a certain percentage of grant award funds to pay for childcare, eldercare, or family-related expenses. This provides more freedom for grantees to focus on professional development and participate in the scientific community.
  2. Provide “extra hands” awards
    Dedicate funds for newly independent young investigators who are also primary caregivers, and hire technicians, administrative assistants, or postdoctoral fellows.
  3. Recruit gender-balanced review and speaker selection committees
    Adopt policies that ensure that peer review committees are conscious of gender and are made up of a sufficient number of women.
  4. Incorporate implicit bias statements
    For any initiative that undergoes external peer review, include a statement that describes the concept of implicit bias to reviewers and reiterates the organization’s commitment to equality and diversity.
  5. Focus on education as a tool
    Academic institutions and grant makers must educate their constituents and grantees on the issues women face in science and medicine. For example, gender awareness training should be a standard component of orientation programs.
  6. Create an institutional report card for gender equality
    Define quantifiable criteria that can be used to evaluate gender equality in institutions on an annual basis. For instance, these report cards may ask for updates about the male to female ratio of an academic department or the organization’s policy regarding female representation on academic or corporate committees.
  7. Partner to expand upon existing searchable databases
    Create or contribute to databases that identify women scientists for positions and activities that are critical components for career advancement.

“The issues in science, technology, engineering, and medicine are the kinds of challenges that we as a society face, and we need to have 100 percent of the population have an opportunity to participate,” Solomon said. “We need people who care because they’re thinking about their daughters or granddaughters or nieces, sisters or wives, or larger issues like finding cures for disease or climate change and they want to make sure that we’ve got enough horsepower behind us.”

Source: Cell Press

Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) Rewarding & Inspiring Teaching-Nominations are open!

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PAEMST

Awardee Feature Story: Kendra Renae Pullen

For 35 years, the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) have been rewarding and inspiring great teaching.

The award, which honors up to 108 teachers each year, recognizes those teachers who develop and implement a high-quality instructional program that is informed by content knowledge and enhances student learning. Since the program’s inception, more than 4,700 teachers have been recognized for their contributions in the classroom and to their profession.

One of those teachers is Kendra “Renae” Pullen, an educator of 18 years. After returning home from the award recognition events in Washington, D.C., Renae says she found her voice through PAEMST.  Her previous “business as usual” attitude rapidly faded away. Renae became eager to expand her current leadership roles and identify new opportunities, such as becoming a Certified Endorsed Teacher Leader with the Louisiana State Department of Education.  She took on the additional role of Adjunct Professor for Louisiana Technical University in Teacher Leadership.

Since then, Renae has gone on to participate in national Kendra Renae Pullenteacher leadership opportunities, receiving several grants, publishing articles, winning additional awards, and more. Her enthusiasm for ensuring the quality education of all students is apparent in all that she undertakes. In 2011, she participated in the White House Champions of Change Event: Women & Girls in STEM. In 2014, she was a convocation participant in the Exploring Opportunities for STEM Teacher Leadership conference, and began working as a member of the Teacher Advisory Council for the National Academies of Science. Through all of these experiences, one question continues to guide Renae: “Our profession needs a voice, why not mine?”

Renae was not selected as an awardee the first time she applied for PAEMST. It was after her second application submission that she was named the Louisiana science awardee. “After I submitted the application the first time,” she says, “I realized that this was something I could do, something I could win!” Renae says “The second time around, I was prepared and excited to apply.” Her advice for teachers considering applying: “Be really clear in how you communicate. Be reflective. This is your story as a teacher – the wonderful teacher that you are – but be honest in your approach and assessment, and it will come through for you.”

About PAEMST: Established by Congress in 1983, the program is the nation’s highest honors for K-12 teachers of mathematics and science (including computer science) and has since honored more than 4,700 teachers who excel in their fields. The National Science Foundation (NSF) administers PAEMST on behalf of The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

PAEMST is currently accepting nominations and applications for the 2017-2018 cycle. Anyone – principals, teachers, parents, students, and general public – may nominate an exceptional mathematics or science teacher. This year’s program is for K-6th grade teachers. The nomination deadline is April 1, 2018, and the application deadline is May 1, 2018. Awardees receive a certificate signed by the President, a trip to Washington, D.C., and a $10,000 award from NSF.

Qualcomm and University of Michigan partner to open STEM lab for students in the Detroit area that will also support underserved students

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Qualcomm Thinkabit Lab

More than 3,000 middle school students a year will be introduced to careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), thanks to a collaboration between Qualcomm Incorporated and the University of Michigan College of Engineering.

These organizations are bringing the Qualcomm® Thinkabit Lab™, a hands-on engineering and career awareness program, into the Michigan Engineering Zone (MEZ), known for its makerspace and high school robotics program. “The Thinkabit Lab provides us an opportunity to expose younger students to the world of technology, beginning to crystalize in their own minds what role they may play as technologists, scientists, and engineers,” said Julian Pate, director of the MEZ. “The Thinkabit Lab provides several pathways for that kind of thinking. Our perspective is really simple: exposure is success.”

Youth from more than 60 Detroit public middle schools will have access to the one-day workshops at Thinkabit Lab. For many of these students, the experience will mark their first exposure to STEM careers and engineering. The organizers anticipate an even broader reach to students of all ages in the long term.

“Qualcomm is proud to collaborate with such a strong engineering institution as the University of Michigan and its innovative Michigan Engineering Zone,” said Susie Armstrong, senior vice president of Engineering, Qualcomm Incorporated. “Together, we are bringing our unique Thinkabit Lab program to students and teachers in the Detroit area. We’re excited to expose these students to STEM and other careers and hope to inspire them to become the next generation of inventors.”

Students will engage in Thinkabit Lab’s signature Qualcomm® World of Work (QWOW™) career exploration activities to discover their own unique talents and learn about concepts and careers in STEM fields, such as the Internet of Things, 5G, creative robotics, and invention. They will also engage in unique hands-on engineering experiences, learning basic programming and strengthening their problem-solving, teamwork, and critical thinking skills by designing and building their own robotic invention.

“I didn’t know that you could use a computer to make things move,” said Tamia Washington, an eighth-grader at Spain Elementary-Middle School, as she used her laptop to control a circuit that could blink or turn a fan.

Bringing the Thinkabit Lab to the MEZ is part of Qualcomm’s efforts to bring its STEM initiative to diverse communities and regions nationwide, helping to close the STEM skills gap. The collaboration with Michigan Engineering aims to inspire students to become inventors and not just consumers; as well as grow an inclusive, diverse workforce to support business growth and help strengthen the region’s economy.

“We are very focused on first providing the Thinkabit Lab experience to Detroit students. We know that STEM education is gaining interest everywhere, but we also lack ongoing opportunities for STEM in Detroit. So, we think it’s a natural partnership between us and Detroit Public Schools Community District as one option on a menu of opportunities that they can offer to their students,” said Haley Hart, a Thinkabit Lab Coordinator who teaches the workshops.

Organizers are also interested in exposing more girls to STEM fields.

“Coding, robotics and engineering is not the future. It’s the now. So that’s what we need to teach,” said Lakia Wilson, a guidance counselor at Spain Elementary-Middle School. “Engineering is a totally new experience for our students. All of our students need the exposure, the opportunity and the access because if not, then they won’t fully understand what they may have the ability to do in life. We don’t want any of our students to be in that pocket. They are our future.”

Professor Alec D. Gallimore, the Robert J. Vlasic Dean of Engineering at U-M, agrees.

“We are very pleased to be bringing the Thinkabit Lab to Detroit. Forging a partnership between Qualcomm and our Michigan Engineering Zone will benefit our community and touch thousands of young minds every year,” said Gallimore, who is also the Richard F. and Eleanor A. Towner Professor, an Arthur F. Thurnau Professor, and a professor both of aerospace engineering and of applied physics. “With this unique collaboration, we are opening up more opportunities for students in southeast Michigan to gain exposure to STEM disciplines. We hope these experiences will spark a passion for creativity and problem-solving and will ensure an even brighter future for our community.”

About MEZ

Located in the University of Michigan’s Detroit Center, the Michigan Engineering Zone (MEZ) is a safe and supportive innovation space where Detroit students acquire the knowledge and tools they need to propel themselves to higher education and careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) through challenging and exciting hands-on experiences. Last year, the MEZ received a 250K Google Grant.

The FIRST Robotics teams of Detroit high schools stand center stage at the MEZ. The College of Engineering provides the needed space, equipment, training, and mentoring to assist students in the design, build, and test of their robots for competition. Outfitted with computer labs complete with CAD software, a machine shop, robot testing area, and collaborative workstations, Detroit’s professional engineers and University of Michigan faculty, staff, students, and alumni provide technical training and mentoring within this environment of learning, leadership, teamwork, and fun!

About Qualcomm
Since opening at Qualcomm’s headquarters in 2014, Thinkabit Lab has promoted career awareness to more than 13,300 students and 2,300 parents and teachers, hosted more than 370 classes and 16 school districts, and successfully expanded to more than 20 schools, libraries, and businesses across the nation.

Qualcomm created the Thinkabit Lab to provide students with a unique, hands-on STEM experience and to raise awareness of careers they may not know exist. The Thinkabit Lab experience exposes students to STEM concepts and careers that are essential to tomorrow’s workforce, not only at Qualcomm, but in every aspect of building the wireless, Internet of Things (IoT) and 5G ecosystems.

Qualcomm is a trademark of Qualcomm Incorporated, registered in the United States and other countries. Thinkabit Lab and QWOW are trademarks of Qualcomm Incorporated.

Want to Learn How to Mine in Space? There’s A School For You

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HUNTER WILLIAMS USED to be an English teacher. Then, three years into that job, he started reading the book The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress. The 1966 novel by Robert Heinlein takes place in the 2070s, on the moon, which, in this future, hosts a subterranean penal colony. Like all good sci-fi, the plot hinges on a rebellion and a computer that gains self-awareness. But more important to Williams were two basic fictional facts: First, people lived on the moon. Second, they mined the moon. “I thought, ‘This is it. This is what we really could be doing,” he says.

Today, that vision is closer than ever. And Williams is taking steps to make it reality. This year, he enrolled in a class called Space Resources Fundamentals, the pilot course for the first-ever academic program specializing in space mining. It’s a good time for such an education, given that companies like Deep Space Industries and Planetary Resources are planning prospecting missions, NASA’s OSIRIS-REx is on its way to get a sample of an asteroid and bring it back to Earth, and there’s international and commercial talk of long-term living in space.

Williams had grown up with the space-farers on Star Trek, but he found Heinlein’s vision more credible: a colony that dug into and used the resources of their celestial body. That’s the central tenet of the as-yet-unrealized space mining industry: You can’t take everything with you, and, even if you can, it’s a whole lot cheaper not to—to mine water to make fuel, for instance, rather than launching it on overburdened rockets. “I saw a future that wasn’t a hundred or a thousand years away but could be happening now,” says Williams.

So in 2012, he adjusted trajectory and went to school for aerospace engineering. Then he worked at Cape Canaveral in Florida, doing ground support for Lockheed Martin. His building, on that cosmic coast, was right next to one of SpaceX’s spots. “Every day when I came to work, I would see testaments to new technology,” he says. “It was inspiring.”

A few years later, he still hadn’t let go of the idea that humans could work with what they found in space. Like in his book. So he started talking to Christopher Dreyer, a professor at the Colorado School of Mines’ Center for Space Resources, a research and technology development center that’s existed within the school for more than a decade.

It was good timing. Because this summer, Mines announced its intention to found the world’s first graduate program in Space Resources—the science, technology, policy, and politics of prospecting, mining, and using those resources. The multidisciplinary program would offer Post-Baccalaureate certificates and Masters of Science degrees. Although it’s still pending approval for a 2018 start date, the school is running its pilot course, taught by Dreyer, this semester.

Williams has committed fully: He left his Canaveral job this summer and moved to Colorado to do research for Dreyer, and hopefully start the grad program in 2018.

WILLIAMS WASN’T THE only one interested in the future of space mining. People from all over, non-traditional students, wanted to take Space Resources Fundamentals. And so Dreyer and Center for Space Resources director Angel Abbud-Madrid decided to run it remotely, ending up with about 15 enrollees who log in every Tuesday and Thursday night for the whole semester. Dreyer has a special setup in his office for his virtual lectures: a laptop stand, a wall of books behind him, a studio-type light that shines evenly.

In the minutes before Thanskgiving-week class started, students’ heads popped up on Dreyer’s screen as they logged in. Some are full-time students at Mines; some work in industry; some work for the government. There was the employee from the FAA’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation, an office tasked, in part, with making sure the US is obeying international treaties as they explore beyond the planet. Then there’s Justin Cyrus, the CEO of a startup called Lunar Outpost. Cyrus isn’t mining any moons yet, but Lunar Outpost has partnered with Denver’s Department of Environmental Health to deploy real-time air-quality sensors, of the kind it hopes to develop for moony use.

Cyrus was a Mines graduate, with a master’s in electrical and electronics engineering; he sought out Dreyer and Abbud-Madrid when he needed advice for his nascent company. When the professors announced the space resources program, Cyrus decided to get in on this pilot class. He, and the other attendees, seem to see the class not just as an educational opportunity but also as a networking one: Their classmates, they say, are the future leaders of this industry.

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