4 Tips to Consider When Comparing Financial Aid Packages

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According to the U.S. Department of Education, 20 percent of undergraduate students did not apply for financial aid in 2011-12.

Across all types of institutions, students’ top reasons for not applying for financial aid, and thus leaving financial aid on the table, were that they thought they were ineligible for such support and they thought they could afford college without financial aid.

Students who apply for financial aid receive their financial aid letters in late March and early April. Most students will have until the May 1 National Candidates Reply Date to decide whether to accept the college’s admissions offer and financial aid.

Here are four things for families to consider when comparing financial aid packages:

  1. What are my total costs to pay for college? What other costs such as textbooks, room and board, commuting to campus, personal expenses do I need to be prepared for?
  2. How much will I need to repay after college and how long will it take to pay back my loans?
  3. Are there factors such as significant changes in family income and grade point average that might cause my financial aid to change after the first year?
  4. How do each school’s financial aid offers differ? This will help determine which school is the most affordable.

Need extra money to help pay for college? TFS Scholarships has been helping students for over 30 years and offers more than 7 million individual scholarships and more than $41 billion in aid. Visit tuitionfundingsources.com to learn more.

30-year-old Mareena Robinson Snowden is the first black woman to earn a PhD in nuclear engineering from MIT

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When Mareena Robinson Snowden walked across the commencement stage at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.) on June 8th, she became the first black woman to earn a Ph.D. in nuclear engineering from the storied university.

For her, there was one particular word that the experience brought to mind: grateful.

“Grateful for every part of this experience — highs and lows,” she wrote on Instagram. “Every person who supported me and those who didn’t. Grateful for a praying family, a husband who took on this challenge as his own, sisters who reminded me at every stage how powerful I am, friends who inspired me to fight harder. Grateful for the professors who fought for and against me. Every experience on this journey was necessary, and I’m better for it.”

Snowden’s Ph.D. was the culmination of 11 years of post-secondary study. But the 30-year-old tells CNBC Make It that a career in STEM wasn’t something she dreamed of as a child.

“Engineering definitely was not something I had a passion for at a young age,” she says. “I was quite the opposite. I think my earliest memories of math and science were definitely one of like nervousness and anxiety and just kind of an overall fear of the subject.”

She credits her high school math and physics teachers with helping to expand her interests beyond English and history, subjects she loved.

“I had this idea that I wasn’t good at math and they kind of helped to peel away that mindset,” she explains. “They showed me that it’s more of a growth situation, that you can develop an aptitude for this and you can develop a skill. It’s just like a muscle, and you have to work for it.”

When Snowden, who grew up in Miami, was in the 12th grade and studying physics, she and her dad were introduced to a friend of a friend who worked in the physics department at Florida A&M University. At the time, she says, she was considering colleges and decided to make a visit to the campus.

“We drove up there and it was amazing,” says Snowden. “They treated me like a football player who was getting recruited. They took me to the scholarship office, and they didn’t know anything about me at the time. All they knew was that I was a student who was open to the possibility of majoring in physics.”

Continue onto CNBC News to read the complete article.

Closing the Tech Diversity Gap

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The Align Master’s Program: a direct path to a master’s in computer science for non-computer science majors

By 2020, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates there will be more than one million job openings in technology fields that won’t be filled by the current pipeline of students.

America faces a serious shortage of high-tech workers, in part because today’s universities are not attracting enough women and underrepresented minority students into tech—or those undergraduates are self-selecting out of trying computer science. That’s where Northeastern University’s Align Master’s Program comes in.

Align focuses on closing the diversity gap in tech by providing students from any academic background a direct path to a master’s degree in computer science (CS). And now Northeastern has received philanthropic and corporate funding to expand the Align program. The funding will pay for the first semester of study for women and underrepresented minorities—a critical step toward removing economic barriers and ensuring degree completion.

“First-semester scholarships are an incredibly effective way to recruit people who might not otherwise try computer science,” said Carla Brodley, dean of Northeastern’s College of Computer and Information Science. “For students who choose to go on to the second semester, the completion rate is 95 percent to date.”

Align is designed for non-CS majors and people without programming experience, and it has a unique structure that is more similar to a medical or law degree than a traditional CS master’s program. The program starts with rigorous academic bridge courses to prepare students for graduate-level study in computer science. Students also gain real world work experience through a paid co-op or internship that lasts six to eight months. Northeastern has a global network of more than 3,000 employer partners, including more than 500 technology companies.

Amber WatsonPiloted at Northeastern’s Seattle campus, Align is also available at the university’s Boston, Charlotte, and Silicon Valley campuses. The program is typically completed in two and a half years, with classes offered in the evenings year-round. This flexibility is key for many Align students who are working professionals.

“I work full time, and my job is really more than 40 hours per week. I also have a child and commute to Boston every day—yet Align is still possible,” says current student to get a second bachelor’s degree, but now I can get a master’s-level education.”

By 2022, Northeastern’s goal is to graduate 1,000 students annually from the Align program—50 percent women and 25 percent underrepresented minority students. Recent program graduates include a student who studied chemistry as an undergrad, and after earning her master’s in computer science, now works for a major pharmaceutical company. Another majored in English and was offered a technical writing job at a top technology firm upon program completion. Another studied philosophy before enrolling in Align—she now works at a nonprofit institute conducting research on artificial intelligence.

“We’ve proven that the model makes sense, that it works, and now we’re ready to scale it to solve a workforce development problem—but more importantly, a problem of social equity and inclusion,” explains Brodley.

The Align Master’s Program is built for people with diverse perspectives and experience who are looking to break into technology, equipping those students with the knowledge and practical skills needed to succeed. Students like Andrew Dickens, who earned both a bachelor’s and an MBA degree in business, spent several years in the U.S. Air Force, and graduated with his master’s in computer science in 2017. Dickens now works at Amazon as a Software Development Engineer and also teaches one of the program’s introductory courses at the Seattle campus.

“When I started, I couldn’t write a line of code. I’d never heard of Python, seen Java, or even opened a terminal on my laptop,” he says. “Align allowed me to bridge that gap in knowledge—to learn and grow at my pace—and come out with a master’s in computer science.”

Learn more about Northeastern University’s Align Master’s Program: align.ccis.northeastern.edu

Northeastern

Dollar General Literacy Foundation Awards More Than $8.3 Million to More than 1,000 Schools, Nonprofits and Literacy Organizations

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Diverse students

Dollar General Literacy Foundation recently awarded more than $8.3 million to more than 1,000 nonprofit organizations, libraries and schools.  The grants seek to support the Foundation’s commitment to advancing adult, family and summer literacy programs throughout the communities that Dollar General (NYSE: DG) serves.

“We are honored to fund literacy and education initiatives, which support our mission of Serving Others,” said Todd Vasos, Dollar General’s CEO.  “The Dollar General Literacy Foundation is celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2018 and a legacy of helping people improve their lives through literacy and education. Including the grants announced today, the Dollar General Literacy Foundation has provided more than $154 million in funding to help more than 10 million people. We believe these programs can have a positive impact on the communities we serve and we look forward to continuing to partner with organizations dedicated to making a difference in the lives of millions of Americans.”

Grant recipients plan to use the awarded funds to promote literacy and learning across a variety of programs including: promoting childhood summer reading, helping adults learn to read and prepare for the high school equivalency exam, and helping individuals to learn English. With more than 35 million American adults reading at the lowest level of literacy and 63 percent of fourth graders reading below a proficient level, the Dollar General Literacy Foundation believes that these targeted programs can deliver immediate and long-term impact.

The Dollar General Literacy Foundation is currently accepting applications for youth literacy grants through Thursday, May 17, 2018. Youth literacy grants support schools, public libraries and nonprofit organizations in implementing new literacy efforts or expanding existing ones. Funding can be used to purchase new technology, equipment, books, materials or software to enhance literacy programs.

A complete list of today’s grant recipients and applications for youth literacy grants are available online at www.dgliteracy.org.

Each year, the Dollar General Literacy Foundation awards funds to nonprofit organizations, schools and libraries within a 20-mile radius of a Dollar General store or distribution center to support adult, family, summer and youth literacy programs.  Through partnerships with national literacy organizations like the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy, XPRIZE Foundation and the American Libraries Association, the Dollar General Literacy Foundation supports organizations that increase access to educational programming, stimulate and enable innovation in the delivery of educational instruction and inspire a love of reading.

The Dollar General Literacy Foundation also offers a student referral program for individuals interested in learning how to read, speak English or prepare for the high school equivalency exam.  Referrals to a local organization that provides free literacy services are available online here or through referral cards found in the Learn to Read brochures that are available at the cash register of every Dollar General store.

About the Dollar General Literacy Foundation
The Dollar General Literacy Foundation is proud to support initiatives that help others improve their lives through literacy and education. Since 1993, the Foundation has awarded more than $154 million in grants to nonprofit organizations, helping more than 10 million individuals take their first steps toward literacy, a general education diploma or English proficiency. To learn more about the Dollar General Literacy Foundation, visit www.dgliteracy.org.

About Dollar General Corporation
Dollar General Corporation has been delivering value to shoppers for more than 75 years. Dollar General helps shoppers Save time. Save money. Every day!® by offering products that are frequently used and replenished, such as food, snacks, health and beauty aids, cleaning supplies, basic apparel, housewares and seasonal items at everyday low prices in convenient neighborhood locations. Dollar General operated 14,609 stores in 44 states as of March 2, 2018. In addition to high-quality, private brands, Dollar General sells products from America’s most-trusted brands such as Clorox, Energizer, Procter & Gamble, Hanes, Coca-Cola, Mars, Unilever, Nestle, Kimberly-Clark, Kellogg’s, General Mills, and PepsiCo.

About Dollar General Corporation
Dollar General Corporation has been delivering value to shoppers for over 75 years. Dollar General helps shoppers Save time. Save money. Every day!® by offering products that are frequently used and replenished, such as food, snacks, health and beauty aids, cleaning supplies, basic apparel, housewares and seasonal items at everyday low prices in convenient neighborhood locations. Dollar General operated 14,609 stores in 44 states as of March 2, 2018. In addition to high quality private brands, Dollar General sells products from America’s most-trusted manufacturers such as Clorox, Energizer, Procter & Gamble, Hanes, Coca-Cola, Mars, Unilever, Nestle, Kimberly-Clark, Kellogg’s, General Mills, and PepsiCo.

Project-Based Learning Can Fuel a STEM-Ready Economy

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u.s. news & world report stem conference

The newest members of the U.S. News STEM Leadership Hall of Fame discuss what led them to careers in science.

Ira Flatow, host and executive producer of the radio show “Science Friday,” almost burned down his mother’s bathroom trying to recreate a biology class experiment in eighth grade.

When France Córdova, director of the National Science Foundation, first saw a diagram of an atom, she thought she’d never seen anything more beautiful and so she did her middle school science fair project on just that.

Meanwhile, Henry Samueli, cofounder and chief technical officer of Broadcom, convinced his science teacher to let him build a radio in seventh grade — a project intended for much-older students.

This year’s crop of U.S. News STEM Leadership Hall of Fame recipients all began a life-long love affair with science, technology, engineering and math quite unintentionally through hands-on experiences.

Today, those hands-on experiences have a pedagogical name: project-based learning. And for years now it’s been a principal strategy for how educators woo students into the STEM field.

“Project-based learning leads to great STEM careers,” said Samueli. “I was so amazed by [the radio] that it really became my life’s passion. I became an engineer. I’m still doing it. That’s my career, that’s what I do.”

Now, as the U.S. economy braces for dramatic change in workforce realities due in part to the proliferation of artificial intelligence — a shift that will require an increased understanding of STEM concepts — getting young people excited about STEM has never been more important.

Educators have tackled at least one major hurdle to doing so, the finalists agreed: STEM is no longer thought of as a subject area reserved for the smartest kids in the class.

“When I was growing up STEM was for the nerdy kids, but I think we’re reaching the point today where STEM is for everyone,” said Samueli. “The fact that we’ve crossed the tipping point, where it’s accessible and fun for everyone, is huge.”

Continue onto U.S. News & World Report to read the complete article.

To receive STEM news and conference updates from U.S. News & World Report, please visit: http://usnewsstemsolutions.com/updates/

“OUT TO INNOVATE” Scholarships for LGBTQ STEM Students

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lgbt in stem

National Organization of Gay and Lesbian Scientists and Technical Professionals Seeking Out to Innovate™ Scholarship Applicants

National Organization of Gay and Lesbian Scientists and Technical Professionals (NOGLSTP) is now accepting applications for the 2018 NOGLSTP Out To Innovate Scholarships made possible by an Innovation Generation grant from Motorola Solutions Foundation.

The Scholarships were established following NOGLSTP’s inaugural Out to Innovate Career Summit (www.outtoinnovate.org). The scholarships are intended for undergraduate and graduate students pursuing degrees in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) programs who are either lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ) or an active ally of the LGBTQ community. These scholarships are designed to promote academic excellence and increased visibility of talented LGBTQ students in STEM careers.

The scholarships, funded at a minimum of $5,000 each, will be awarded for the Fall, 2018 academic year. Students currently enrolled at any U.S.-based college or university are eligible to apply.

Student applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Successful completion of a minimum of two years of post-high school education at an accredited college or
  • Maintenance of a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 for the entirety of college/university
  • A declared major in an accredited STEM or STEM-related teaching
  • Be an active supporter of and participant in programs or organizations that promote LGBTQ inclusion and

Online scholarship applications will be available through the NOGLSTP website (http://www.noglstp.org/programs-projects/scholarships/) on March 31, 2018. Applications must be submitted with supporting documentation no later than June 3, 2018. Scholarship recipients will be notified on August 1.

About NOGLSTP

NOGLSTP was established in 1980, incorporated in the State of California in 1991, and was granted IRS 501 (c) 3 non-profit status in 1992. NOGLSTP’s mission is to educate the scientific and general communities about the presence and accomplishments of LGBT individuals in STEM professions. NOGLSTP presents educational symposia and workshops nationwide. NOGLSTP fosters dialog with other professional societies, academia, and industry to facilitate diversity and inclusion in the workplace. NOGLSTP is an affiliate of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, is a participating professional society member of MentorNet®, a sustaining member of the National Postdoctoral Association, a partner with the Higher Education Recruitment Consortium (HERC) and a founding member of the E-Week Diversity Council. For more information, visit the website at www.noglstp.org or contact scholarships at noglstp dot org.

About MOTOROLA SOLUTIONS FOUNDATION

The Motorola Solutions Foundation is the charitable and philanthropic arm of Motorola Solutions. With employees located around the globe, Motorola Solutions seeks to benefit the communities where it operates. The company achieves this by making strategic grants, forging strong community partnerships and fostering innovation. The Motorola Solutions Foundation focuses its funding on public safety, disaster relief, employee programs and education, especially science, technology, engineering and math programming. For more information on Motorola Solutions corporate and foundation giving, visit www.motorolasolutions.com/giving

5 Tips For Winning Scholarship Applications

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TFS Scholarships

Scholarships are a great way to pay for college, and unlike loans they don’t need to be repaid. But winning scholarships takes time, dedication, intensive research, and hard work—especially for essays. It’s deadline time for college applications, so it’s important to start the search for free money now!

The Internet has made the search easy and free, and scholarship databases like Tuition Funding Sources (TFS) offers access to 7 million scholarships and $41 billion in financial aid. Start by filling in the registration; then with a click, the site searches to find any scholarships for which you might qualify. The more information you provide about yourself, the more matches TFS can make.

Undergraduate and graduate students can search for scholarships that fit their interests. The majority of scholarship opportunities featured on TFS Scholarships come directly from colleges and universities, rather than solely from competitive national pools – thereby increasing the chances of finding scholarships that are the best match for students. Each month TFS adds more than 5,000 new scholarships to its database, maximizing the number of opportunities students have to earn funding for their education.

Richard Sorensen, President of TFS, suggests these tips when applying for scholarships:

  1. Apply for smaller scholarships

Many students look for scholarships that offer big awards but those are also the most competitive. Scholarships with smaller awards are easier to obtain because fewer students are competing for them. These scholarships can help with college costs such as books and living expenses.

  1. Customize your essay

Scholarship judges can tell if you’ve adapted a previously written essay to meet their criteria. Customize your application and use the beginning of your essay to showcase your personality and set yourself apart. Remember, the time you are spending to tailor your essay can be rewarded with a college debt free future.

  1. Submit scholarship applications early

Meet the deadlines and don’t wait until the due date. If the organization asks you to mail the application, don’t try to email it and if there is a maximum word count limit, don’t go over it. Most scholarship providers receive more qualified applications than available funds, so reduce your chances of being disqualified because you didn’t follow their requirements.

  1. Follow your passion

Apply for scholarships that fit your passion and interest. TFS has scholarships for everyone. The more personal the scholarship the higher your chances of winning!

  1. Increase your submission rate

The more applications you submit, the greater your chances are of winning scholarships. Treat applying for scholarships as a part-time job. Organize your free time and try to work on submitting one scholarship application every week and more during weekends. Remember if you spend 100 hours on submitting applications and win scholarships for $10,000 that is a really good part-time job!

TFS has been helping students for over 30 years and offers more than 7 million individual scholarships and more than $41 billion in aid. Visit tuitionfundingsources.com to learn more.

Karlie Kloss and Teach for America team up to help 1,000 girls learn to code

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Karlie Kloss’ passion for coding hasn’t faded. And to prove it, the 25-year-old model and entrepreneur is taking her nonprofit coding program to the next level.

After taking a coding class herself, Kloss launched Kode With Klossy in 2015 in the hopes of making coding lessons more accessible to young girls and inspiring them to pursue careers in the tech industry. Now, the program is expanding its reach by launching 50 coding summer camps in 25 cities across America.

As a result, Kode With Klossy will be able to serve 1,000 girls this year between the ages of 13 and 18. The nonprofit is also partnering with Teach For America in a new initiative to train educators, so they can bring coding curricula back to their own communities.

“I initially took a coding class because I wanted to understand what this language I kept hearing about was,” Kloss said, explaining that she didn’t originally set out to start a nonprofit.

But after realizing what a powerful role coding plays in creating technologies that can transform society, she knew it was something she wanted to expose others to.

“I realized coding is amazing and thought, ‘How did I not have access to these skills sooner?'” she said.

“I wanted to offer that experience and that kind of learning to other girls who also might not have access to it,” she added, “because it’s going to continue to be relevant in the world that we live in.”

A day in the life of a Koder

The 1,000 girls that will get the opportunity to attend Karlie’s coding camps this summer will ultimately learn how to build a mobile app or website by the end of the two-week program.

Kode With Klossy currently teaches different “tracks,” including back-end and front-end development, allowing kids to learn the fundamentals of programming languages such as HTML, CSS, Ruby, and Javascript.

“This year we’ve also got a really exciting new track on Swift, so the girls at our camps not only learn the ABCs of code, but real-world examples of tech that touches our lives today,” Kloss said. “They’re learning what a loop is or how to interpolate using concepts or ideas that touch their lives, like Instagram, Twitter, or Postmates.”

Continue onto Mashable to read the complete article.

Why Parents Should Help Kids Focus On Turning Their Dreams Into Reality

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Toymakerz

REIDSVILLE, NC –  Each year there are kids who hang up what they love and walk away. They leave the sports behind, stop playing their favorite games, quit drawing, building, and more. They are led to believe that unless what they are doing is seen as constructive and fits into the boxes that have been set for them that they are simply wasting their time. Many of those kids are walking away from what they are passionate about, rather than being taught to follow their dreams. One celebrity, David Ankin, who followed his passion and dreams has set out on a mission to inspire kids to do the same.

“There is a reason why we all have things we are passionate about. Those are your calling and you should do anything but turn your back on them,” says David Ankin, inventor and star of the hit show ToyMakerz. “I’ve met with many kids around the nation and I try to inspire them to follow those passions. I want them to turn their dreams into a reality. The rest of the world is waiting for what it is that they have to offer. Only when they embrace it will they be able to bring it to the forefront for everyone else to enjoy.”

Ankin doesn’t just talk the talk. He’s a living example of turning a dream into a reality and the importance of following one’s passion. Having a passion for creating one-of-a-kind custom hot rods and cars, considered to be adult toys that are built for fun or speed, he took his love for these machines and built an empire. That dream turned into a reality when he started a company called ToyMakerz, where the adult toys are made, and has also been turned into a hit television show, where people can tune in and see him work his magic.

Committed to giving back, Ankin routinely gives talks to kids and their parents, with the theme focused on inspiring them to follow their dreams. Whether giving these talks at city events or at schools, his mission remains the same. He wants to let kids and their parents know that it’s OK to have a passion and that they don’t have to give it up simply because they become adults. Rather, they should embrace it and see where it will take them.

Here are 6 reasons why Ankin believes that parents should help kids focus on turning their dreams into reality:

  • Happiness. We are happiest when we are following our passion and doing things that excite us. By getting kids to follow their passion, they will have more joy in their life.
  • Creativity. Those who follow their passion will find their own way in the world. They can’t be told that what they want to do isn’t possible. They will use their creativity to navigate the way, even if it means clearing a new path.
  • Support. The world has a way of trying to hold people back from reaching their dreams. Parents who support their kids in pursuing theirs will help to create confident kids who won’t be held back by limitations.
  • Work ethic. No matter what a child’s passion may be, it will take hard work to turn it into a career. Teaching kids to work hard for what they want is a great way to build a strong work ethic.
  • Adventure. Many adults find themselves at a standstill and wish there was something more. Kids who are taught to follow their dreams will feel as though they have been given a ticket to adventure. They are more likely to grow up to be adults who have passion for what they do.
  • Exploration. By letting kids follow their dreams they will dive into exploring a topic they are interested in. Giving them the ability to learn more about whatever field it is they are interested in can go a long way toward sparking their creativity and expanding their education. Places like WonderWorks (a science focused indoor amusement park) is a great place for exploring STEM education and letting the imagination run wild.

“If I hadn’t followed my passion and turned my dream into a reality, I’d not be where I am today,” added Ankin. “I know the importance of following your dreams and it feels so good to do so. I’m committed to helping parents see the importance of supporting their child’s dreams and encouraging them to dream big. This is what I teach my son and hope that I’m able to inspire others.”

ToyMakerz was founded by David Ankin, who is a former stuntman WonderWorks_ToyMakerzwho used to do stunts with motorcycles, racecars, and also at Universal Studios for their Batman and Water World shows. Watching his father use metal to build things when he was growing up inspired him to go on to do the same. Today, he has earned praise for the eccentric one-of-kind street machines that he’s built. There is nothing idle about his work. Ankin has surrounded himself with a top-notch team, starting with David Young, who is his business partner. Young manages the business side of ToyMakerz and serves as its President and CFO.

ToyMakerz partnered with Source Digital to develop an app, which is helping fans connect with the show. Enhancing the viewer experience with new digital brand integrations, the ToyMakerz app lets fans connect with the cast, score exclusive deals on anything they see on the screen while they are watching the show live, and share pictures of their own rides!

The ToyMakerz TV show is currently re-airing episodes from season 2 On Demand on Velocity. ToyMakerz season one is also available on iTunes and Amazon. ToyMakerz is produced by Los Angeles based production company, Lucky13Cinematic. For more information about ToyMakerz, visit the site at: http://toymakerz.com.

# # #

About ToyMakerz

ToyMakerz is a company that makes adult toys built for fun and speed. Some of their creations can be seen on the ToyMakerz hit television show focusing on the life and creations of Dave Ankin, a former stuntman who now makes toys for big boys. The show features the one-of-a-kind street machines that he builds. ToyMakerz is currently being aired weekly on Velocity. For more information about ToyMakerz, visit the site at: http://toymakerz.com.

About Source Digital
Source Digital (www.sourcedigital.net) specializes in content monetization strategies letting viewers dive deeper into their favorite programs. Industry-leading experts developed the Source Digital platform, offering a data driven, cloud-based engagement platform connecting a new generation of content viewers. The platform allows content owners to design and fulfill personalization and monetization strategies against their broadcast or streamed programs directly connecting to viewers, allowing them to instantly access and discover related experiences from their favorite device – smart phone, tablet, computer and TV.

How to Avoid Scholarship Scams

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University

It’s no secret that scholarships are a great way to find free money for college. While it’s now easier than ever to search for scholarship opportunities online, easier navigation on the internet also makes it easier for online scammers.

Unfortunately, many families have fallen victim to scholarship scammers who are stealing millions of dollars from families every year. Your goal is to get money for college, and it shouldn’t cost you anything to apply for scholarships.

The good news is that there are red flags to look out for to avoid becoming the victim of a scholarship scam. A general rule of thumb – if it sounds too good to be true, it is. Learn the signs to protect yourself against being defrauded and find scholarships that are right for you. Here are 3 tips to avoid scholarship scams:

  1. Be cautious of fees: Applying for scholarships should not cost money. Be cautions of scholarships with application fees and never pay to get scholarship information. Scholarship databases are free and readily available online. Be on the lookout for phrases like “Guaranteed or your money back.” Scholarship websites can’t guarantee that you will win a scholarship because they’re not deciding on the winner. Legitimate scholarships won’t require an upfront fee when you submit the application.

TFS Scholarships

  1. Protect your data: Never reveal financial information such as your social security number, credit card numbers, checking information or bank account numbers to apply for scholarships. Scholarship scammers could use this information to commit identity theft.
  1. Get a second opinion: If you’re still unsure, talk with trusted organizations about which websites they recommend. School counselors, librarians, financial aid offices, and local community organizations have knowledge and tools to guide you in the right direction.

To help cut through the clutter, TFS Scholarships provides free educational resources to ease the academic journeys of students and families around the country. Sponsored by Wells Fargo, TFS Scholarships has been helping students for over 30 years and offers more than 7 million individual scholarships and more than $41 billion in aid. Visit tuitionfundingsources.com to learn more.

Make Music Count

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Make Music Count

Make Music Count is a mathematics curriculum that teaches each lesson through learning how to play a song on the piano. Marcus Blackwell, Jr., the founder and CEO of the program, was influenced by both music and math, which contributed to him creating Make Music Count.

“I began my musical journey when I was five, at the Artist Collective, a musical conservatory in Hartford, Connecticut; this is where I first received classical piano training. I then added a jazz piano repertoire, which I would continue all throughout high school,” Blackwell said.

In addition to his formal training, Blackwell was inspired by church. “Attending church and participating in music ministry was central to my musical development. Through these experiences, I developed the ability to play gospel music on the piano from only listening to it and also learned how to play the organ.”

At the young age of 16, Blackwell was chosen as the youth Choir Director at Archer Memorial A.M.E.

Additionally, as a child, Blackwell showcased a strong proficiency in mathematics. He would eventually parlay this love for math into a mathematics major at Morehouse College. However, this did come with hesitation.

“My hesitation came from a personal intimidation of the subject. It was always implied that math was a subject to be feared and not embraced. However, during my first year, I read The Eight by Katherine Neville that described a pianist composing a musical piece from math movements of a chess game. This was interesting to me, and I believed that I could make a similar connection between math and music, but I would need the math background to do it. So, I decided to go for it and major in math.”

Make Music CountBlackwell graduated from Morehouse College with a B.S. in Mathematics and worked for GE Energy as a Lead Modeling Analyst, while serving as the Music Director and pianist at Elizabeth Baptist Church. However, after three years with GE Energy and EBC, he knew he was ready to transition and begin fulfilling his dream of creating the Make Music Count program.

“Make Music Count was created after I realized how exactly I learned to play the piano. As a pianist and organist who plays music by ear, I realized that I built my music chords by applying mathematics versus simply listening and playing what I heard. I learn different notes and progressions to play by using numerical structuring and then match what I derived with what I hear in songs. I then realized that not only was this a way to teach aspiring musicians with no musical background how to play the piano, but also it would definitely get students who are intimidated and struggle in math interested in learning again.”

Today, the Make Music Count program is being used in more than 20+ schools and is a method that can break down the barrier that prevents students from learning math.

“In my curriculum, math is immediately seen as fun because the end result after solving a math equation is playing music.”

Source: makemusiccount.com