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

Apply For The Reaching Out MBA (ROMBA) Fellowship Sponsored by ADP

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The Reaching Out LGBTQ MBA Fellowship (ROMBA) was created as a joint effort between top business school programs and Reaching Out to demonstrate that business schools are the top destination to develop the out LGBTQ and active ally business leaders of tomorrow.

​The LGBTQ MBA Fellowship recipients each receive a minimum of $10,000 scholarship per academic year or $20,000 total scholarship, and also receive access to exclusive mentorship and leadership development programming through Reaching Out. 55 members of The Class of 2019 will collectively receive over $1,300,000 for each year of their MBA experience!

Click here for full view of flyer

Learn more about the fellowship at reachingoutmba.org

Higher Education Recruitment Consortium appoints new Executive Director, Ian Reynolds, to lead commitment to equitable academic workplaces

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Ian Reynolds headshot

The Higher Education Recruitment Consortium (HERC) is pleased to announce the appointment of Ian Reynolds as Executive Director. HERC is a national, nonprofit coalition consisting of over 700 member institutions, committed to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion in the higher education workforce.

“Ian’s leadership skills, ability to build partnerships, extensive higher education experience, and background in work-life issues will be tremendous assets to HERC as we continue to grow and thrive,” said Eddie Freeman, Chair of HERC’s Board of Directors and Executive Director of Equal Opportunity Services, University of Texas at Arlington.

Prior to joining HERC, Reynolds served as Director of WorkLife and Community Programs in the Office of Work, Life, and Engagement at Johns Hopkins University and Health System from 2011 – 2019. He oversaw the development and delivery of a variety of programs and services designed to assist faculty and staff navigate the competing demands between work and life. From 2014 – 2016, Reynolds was President of the College and University Work-Life-Family Association (CUWFA), a longtime partner of HERC. CUWFA facilitates the integration of work and study with family and personal life at higher learning institutions.

“My career has been dedicated to creating engaging and inclusive workplaces in higher education. In my new role with HERC, that work takes on new meaning, reach, and impact. I look forward to working with HERC’s dedicated community to harness recruitment, selection, and retention challenges as opportunities for inclusive excellence,” said Reynolds of his role as Executive Director.

ABOUT THE HIGHER EDUCATION RECRUITMENT CONSORTIUM: The Higher Education Recruitment Consortium (HERC) catalyzes inclusive excellence in the academic workforce. HERC diversifies the pipeline of faculty, staff, and executives in academia through outreach, advertising, and by sharing over 40,000 job opportunities and expert career advice. HERC also provides over 700 member institutions with resources and networks to bolster equitable, inclusive recruitment and retention practices.

Cmd-It Announces 2019 Richard A. Tapia Award Winner Cristina Villalobos

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Cristina Villalobos poses in a gray blazer and red blouse

CMD-IT recently announced the recipient of The Richard A. Tapia Achievement Award for Scientific Scholarship, Civic Science and Diversifying Computing is Cristina Villalobos, the Myles and Sylvia Aaronson Professor in the School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley and Founding Director of the Center of Excellence in STEM Education.

The Richard A. Tapia Award is given annually to an individual who is a distinguished computational or computer scientist or computer engineer and who is making significant contributions to civic areas such as teaching, mentoring, advising, and building and serving communities. The individual is also one who demonstrates extraordinary leadership in increasing the participation of groups who are underrepresented in the sciences.

“Cristina Villalobos is a leading mathematician in the fields of optimization, optimal control and modelling,” said Valerie Taylor, CMD-IT CEO and President. “Throughout her career she has significantly impacted different applications areas through her research in optimization; impacting areas such as the treatment of eye disease and the design of antennas. In addition, Cristina has focused on strengthening STEM academic programs, providing resources for the academic and professional development of students and faculty, and increasing the number of underrepresented students attaining STEM degrees. She has been a leader in student mentoring, increasing the number of Hispanic students pursuing PhD’s in mathematics.”

The Richard A. Tapia award will be presented at the 2019 ACM Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing Conference. Themed “Diversity: Building a Stronger Future,” the Tapia Conference will be held September 18-21, in San Diego, California. The Tapia Conference is the premier venue to bring together students, faculty, researchers and professionals from all backgrounds and ethnicities in computing to promote and celebrate diversity in computing. The Tapia Conference is sponsored by the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM) and presented by the Center for Minorities and People with Disabilities in IT (CMD-IT).

The Tapia conference sponsors include Diamond Sponsor Qualcomm, Platinum Sponsors Caltech, Cornell Computing and Information Science, Georgia Tech, JP Morgan Chase & Co, MIT Lincoln Laboratory, Rice University, Stanford University Computer Science, STARS Computing Corps, Two Sigma, University of California Berkeley, University of California San Diego Science and Engineering Department, University of Illinois Urbana Champaign, and University of Michigan. Gold Sponsors include Atlassian, Blendoor, Capital One, Cisco, CRA, Georgia Tech Research Institute, Google, Harvey Mudd College, Kennesaw State University, University of Maryland, College Park, University of North Carolina Charlotte and Virginia Tech. Gold Government Supporters include Argonne National Laboratory, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratory.

The early bird pricing for the Tapia Conference ends July 8th. For more information and to register for the Tapia Conference, visit tapiaconference.org.

About CMD-IT

The vision of CMD-IT is to contribute to the national need for an effective workforce in computing and IT through inclusive programs and initiatives focused on minorities and people with disabilities. CMD-IT’s vision is accomplished through its mission to ensure that underrepresented groups are fully engaged in computing and IT, and to promote innovation that enriches, enhances and enables underrepresented communities. For more information, please visit cmd-it.org.

Google announces literary activities to help kids evaluate and analyze media as they browse the Internet

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Mom and dughter looking at a tablet together

Google is pleased to announce the addition of 6 new media literacy activities to the 2019 edition of Be Internet Awesome. Designed to help kids analyze and evaluate media as they navigate the Internet, the new lessons address educators’ growing interest in teaching media literacy.

They were developed in collaboration with Anne Collier, executive director of The Net Safety Collaborative, and Faith Rogow, PhD, co-author of The Teacher’s Guide to Media Literacy and a co-founder of the National Association for Media Literacy Education. Because media literacy is essential to safety and citizenship in the digital age, the news lessons complement Be Internet Awesome ’s digital safety and citizenship topics.

Overview of new activities:
1. Share with Care: That’s not what I meant!
● Overview: Students will learn the importance of asking the question: “How might others interpret what I share?” They’ll learn to read visual cues people use to communicate information about themselves and to draw conclusions about others.

2. Share with Care: Frame it
● Overview: Students will learn to see themselves as media creators. They’ll understand that media makers make choices about what to show and what to keep outside the frame. They’ll apply the concept of framing to understand the difference between what to make visible and public online and what to keep “invisible.”

3. Don’t Fall for Fake: Is that really true?
● Overview: Students will learn how to apply critical thinking to discern between what’s credible and non-credible in the many kinds of media they run into online.

4. Don’t Fall for Fake: Spotting disinformation online
● Overview: Students will learn how to look for and analyze clues to what is and isn’t reliable information online.

5. It’s Cool to Be Kind: How words can change a picture
● Overview: Students will learn to make meaning from the combination of pictures and words and will understand how a caption can change what we think a picture is communicating. They will gain an appreciation for the power of their own words, especially when combined with pictures they post.

6. When in Doubt, Talk It Out: What does it mean to be brave?
● Overview: Students will think about what it means to be brave online and IRL, where they got their ideas about “brave” and how media affect their thinking about it.

Expanding resources to families
YMCA
We teamed up with the YMCA across six cities to host bilingual workshops for parents to help teach families about online safety and digital citizenship with Be Internet Awesome and help families create healthy digital habits with the Family Link app. The workshops, designed for parents, coincide with June’s National Internet Safety Month and come at the start of the school summer holidays.

Continue on here to read more.

The University of Hawai’i Partners with SACNAS Conference to Help Achieve True Diversity in STEM

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The University of Hawaiʻi will be the Presenting Sponsor for 2019 SACNAS-The National Diversity in STEM Conference. UH will support the convening of more than 4,000 STEM professionals, scientists, engineers and college students at the Hawaiʻi Convention Center from October 31–November 2, 2019 for the country’s largest multidisciplinary and multicultural STEM diversity event.

The conference is produced and hosted by the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS), an inclusive organization with over 45 years of experience of fostering the success underrepresented minorities in STEM.

“With the most diverse campuses in the nation, the University of Hawaiʻi is perfectly aligned with the mission and goals of SACNAS,” said UH President David Lassner. “This is also an amazing opportunity to showcase the work of our faculty bringing together Hawaiʻi’s traditional indigenous knowledge and practice with modern science to better understand and address the challenges and opportunities we all face.”

Estimates show the conference’s thousands of attendees from across the nation could have an economic impact of more than $14 million on the state of Hawaiʻi. Through the sponsorship, UH looks forward to highlighting the STEM leadership and expertise, often seen through a unique indigenous lens, that abounds in its 10 campuses across the state. It will be an important opportunity to recruit faculty and students from underrepresented populations as the experience UH’s affordable community colleges committed to open access and student success, regional universities with distinctive hands-on programs, and the flagship UH Mānoa research university one of only a handful of land-, sea-, sun- and space-grant institutions and a global leader in earth and environmental sciences, consistently ranked among the top 15 universities internationally.

“The SACNAS conference is fully aligned with Hawaiʻi for partnering with SACNAS in the essential work of making the scientific enterprise diverse, equitable and inclusive, ” said SACNAS President Sonia Zárate.

“SACNAS is excited to work with the University of Hawaiʻi to develop relevant, meaningful, and culturally inclusive STEM programming that will reflect the values, community, and spirit of Hawaiʻi at this year’s conference. We look forward to welcoming students from across Hawaiʻi and the Pacific Islands. SACNAS is equally excited to develop a year-round partnership with the University of Hawaiʻi that will have a lasting impact well beyond the 2019 conference,” said John D. Winnett, SACNAS executive director.

New Comic Book Series to Spur Student Interest in STEM

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Ella the Engineer comic book picture

Deloitte and The Ella Project, creator of Ella the Engineer, launched a new collaborative comic book series with the goal of exposing girls to STEM in a fun and unique way.

The graphic novel series features comic book character Ella solving various problems using her STEM skill set under the guidance of various Deloitte leaders, including Deloitte Chair and Consulting CEO Janet Foutty and Chief Innovation Officer Nishita Henry.

Geared toward inspiring educational and student groups around the country, Ella the Engineer was created to showcase a young, female role model with a passion for science, technology, engineering, math, and entrepreneurship with whom many students can identify. The series champions problem-solving skills, tech-savviness, collaboration, and various emerging technologies to get to the bottom of hijinks and challenges facing the main characters. In the inaugural issue with Deloitte, Janet Foutty encourages Ella to use analytics to piece together the whereabouts of her stolen class pet. Deloitte’s involvement in this creative project underscores its long-standing commitment to diversity, inclusion and STEM education.

“Deloitte is committed to creating opportunities for women and underrepresented minorities to enter into productive careers in STEM and STEM adjacent fields – and it starts with early education,” said Janet Foutty, chair and CEO, Deloitte Consulting LLP.

Despite ongoing efforts to gain parity, women currently only represent 28 percent of STEM jobs in the United States. The need for STEM workers will permeate every industry, as noted by a recent study by the National Association of Manufacturing and Deloitte. The study revealed a need for 3.5 million STEM jobs by 2025, with more than 2 million going unfilled due to the lack of highly skilled candidates to meet current demand.

Deloitte’s collaboration with The Ella Project is the latest in its efforts to create multiple pathways to STEM and STEM adjacent skills development and career opportunities to help build an inclusive and tech-savvy workforce.

“We are thrilled to have the support of Deloitte for The Ella Project,” said Ella founder Anthony Onesto. “This collaboration allows us the opportunity to highlight real life female role models in STEM; as their stories are woven into edutainment, we know to be invaluable to our future leaders. Ella, our tech savvy hero, is someone who young kids, girls and boys alike, can relate to and encourages the importance of critical-thinking throughout her exciting adventures.”

The series will be four comic books, plus a graphic novel. Other Deloitte leaders to be featured include Catherine Bannister, managing director, Deloitte Consulting LLP and chief talent officer, technology; and Kelly Herod, principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP.

The graphic novel series will be circulated to schools and educational groups around the country in an effort to inspire new generations of tech talent.

Source: Deloitte

Common Name, Uncommon Path

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Common seated at the panel at the Black Caucus

By Jovane Marie

With a career spanning almost three decades, Common’s journey in the spotlight has been anything but.

Along the way, he’s gained an ever-expanding list of titles and credits that run the gamut: rapper, artist, father, actor, activist, model, author, designer, philanthropist, Microsoft ambassador, and Academy Award winner, to name a few.

But if you’re thinking that’s enough to satisfy this modern-day Renaissance Man, you’re wrong. “I revel in the fact that in being all of these things, I don’t have to choose,” said the multi-hyphenate talent. “I want to do and be more…what I’ve accomplished so far is great, but there is always more to achieve.”

Voice of the Future
Common might’ve had his start in the music industry, but he’s no stranger to the world of STEM. In fact, he’s had a long-standing relationship with tech behemoth Microsoft dating all the way back to 2008, when the two partnered to launch Softwear (a play on “software”), a retro clothing line of T-shirts featuring MS-DOS (an operating system) font. Six years later, that partnership was re-birthed as the tech giant searched for a spokesperson to helm its first Super Bowl commercial. Common sent in a tape explaining why he wanted to lend his voice, and the rest—they say—is history. Since the inaugural commercial in 2014, the artist has lent his voice to a multitude of commercials, shorts, and presentations touting the importance of advancing technology and the infinite possibilities created by Microsoft’s artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities.

“Technology is possibility, adaptability, and capability,” he muses in one spot. “It’s not about changing what came before—it’s about creating what comes next. Right now, we have more power at our fingertips than entire generations that came before us…the question is, what will we do with it?”

Actor to Activist
Common’s firm footing in the entertainment industry might sound like a full-time endeavor, but he has consciously created the time and space to enrich and advocate for the causes he believes in. “The truth is, you don’t have to be an actor, or an athlete, or an influencer to make a difference,” he said in a recent interview with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Ernie Suggs. “All you have to do is have a desire the make the world a better place. Every human being can do it, and I have a desire to do my part.”

L to R-Lamar Johnson, Sabrina Carpenter, Russell Hornsby, Amandla Stenberg, Algee Smith and Common attend The Hate U Give New York Screening at Paris Theatre
L to R-Lamar Johnson, Sabrina Carpenter, Russell Hornsby, Amandla Stenberg, Algee Smith and Common attend “The Hate U Give” New York Screening at Paris Theatre.

This desire has manifested into fervent action focused on increasing and championing diversity and mentoring youth in the inner-cities of his home state, among other things.

In January, he delivered the closing keynote at the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion conference, a gathering of more than 250 Chief Human Resource Officers (CHRO) and Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officers (CDO) from an array of Fortune 500 companies on a mission to provide tangible, ready-to-implement strategies to encourage and increase diversity and inclusion both internally and within their local communities.

“My interest in promoting diversity was rooted in my looking in these communities and seeing certain people not having access to the same opportunities,” said the ardent advocator. “The undeniable fact is that we need to see more women and POC [people of color] in positions of power—same for different beliefs and those in the LGBTQ+ community.” “We have to figure out ways to increase the diversity, and that starts with a conversation. For me, I love being in a position where I can be a part of the paradigm shift and contribute to that conversation.”

Common performs onstage during OZY Fest
Common performs onstage during OZY Fest 2018 at Rumsey Playfield, Central Park in New York City.

Speaking to C-suite leaders about diversity isn’t the only way Common is lending his voice to the diversity conversation. In 2018, after African-American business partners Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson were racially profiled in a Starbucks—causing national outrage—the chain subsequently closed 8,000 stores for a day to conduct anti-bias training. The voice they heard in those videos, stressing the importance of anti-discrimination and inclusivity? Take a guess. The art of the give-back has further manifested into the creation of the Common Ground Foundation, an organization dedicated to reach and impact inner-city youth in Chicago through mentorship and college-preparation programs. For more than a decade, the foundation has intimately focused on nutrition, healthy living, financial living, character development, and creative expression—even holding youth leadership conferences and summer camps. With more than $230,000 in scholarships awarded, a 100 percent graduation rate among participants, a 99 percent college attendance rate, and more than 2,500 collective hours of community service provided to the community, the organization has earned the distinction of an impactful labor of love.

Common with classroom full of school children.
Common visits NYC elementary school for Back-To-School fundraising with Burlington Stores and AdoptAClassroom. JAMIE MCCARTHY/GETTY IMAGES

“I started the Common Ground Foundation because I wanted to help,” said the philanthropist. “I think making a difference in the lives of others is life’s greatest purpose, and I always believed that of we started with the youth, we’d be planting the seeds for our future to blossom.”

A Tale of Common Sense
Common, born Lonnie Rashid Lynn to an educator mother and youth counselor father, was raised in the Calumet Heights neighborhood of Chicago, where his foray into the world of music developed and thrived. Talented and precocious, he was writing lyrics by age 12, and at 15, formed a rap trio—C.D.R.—with two high school friends. Far from just an after-school hobby, the group served as an industry incubator, not only building his proficiency in writing, producing and performing, but also aiding in his personal branding as an artist.

“C.D.R. represented so much in my life, and it was the birthplace of a lot of artistic firsts,” remembered Common. “That acronym was a revolving door of different meanings—it mainly stood for Corey, Deon, Rashid [our names], but on other days, it was Compact Disc Recorder, or Recording Def Rhymes. We were learning how to record, making demos, writing songs, performing—just trying to figure ourselves out and do our thing.” Influenced by hip-hop’s titans of the time, including LL Cool J, Run DMC, A Tribe Called Quest, NWA, and Rakim, C.D.R. went on to gain a footing in the industry, having their songs played on the University of Chicago’s local radio station and opening concerts for Big Daddy Kane, Eazy-E, and Too Short.

Upon graduation, Common enrolled at Florida A&M University under a scholarship, where he majored in business administration. His artistic streak remained uninterrupted, however, and in 1991, after being featured in The Source magazine’s Unsigned Hype column, he left A&M to sign with Relativity Records. It was under this label that he released his first album, “Can I Borrow a Dollar?”, using the moniker Common Sense. The album was an underground success, and laid the groundwork (as well as a growing fanbase) for his subsequent albums and collaborations. To date, Common has won more than 20 awards from various distinguished award bodies for his lyrics, albums and performances, including a 2015 Academy Award for his and singer John Legend’s original song “Glory” (from the Selma soundtrack), three Grammys, four BET Awards, a Golden Globe, and an Emmy. He has also garnered over 40 nominations in the music industry.

More than Music
Had Common been content to produce records, pull awards, and perform his hits for dedicated fans around the world, that might’ve been the end of the story. But, true to his character, he always had his sights set for more—much more. He began making his mark in the film and television industry in the early 2000s, often making cameos as himself and later evolving into more complex roles in well-known films, such as American Gangster (starring Denzel Washington), Wanted, Just Wright, Suicide Squad, Selma (as activist James Bevel), and installments of the John Wick franchise, to name a few. His constantly growing acting portfolio, which currently includes more than 40 films, supports a long-term goal to eventually become one of the great actors of our time.

Common standing posing with his childrens book
Common with his children’s book, “I Like You but I Love Me”.

“I’m still working to get to where I want to be, and I’m always working to get to the next level,” he said. “The majority of roles I want, they’re looking at other actors for. But I’m always going to fight to prove myself.” As he works tirelessly to widen his range and nab multifaceted roles, Common is also focused on another goal: helping amplify the creative voices of others through his nearly five-year-old production company, Freedom Road Productions. To date, he has executive produced Showtime’s popular drama The Chi (created by screenwriter Lena Waithe, the first African-American woman to win an Emmy for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series), and last year, signed a deal to develop and produce new television series with Lionsgate TV.

On the Horizon
Common’s career in the spotlight has diverged into many paths during its three-decade journey, and it shows no signs of slowing down. Add to that his impactful work in mentorship, advocacy, and diversity, and a bevy of new projects within all of these fields, and it’s safe to say that he may never stop. Next up is his second book, Let Love Have the Last Word, a personal anthology exploring the core tenets of love to help others give and receive love to live better lives and build stronger communities. Following on the heels of his New York Times best-selling memoir, One Day It’ll All Make Sense, the book is sure to be a page-turner.

On the film front, the actor will feature or star in three upcoming films: The Informer, The Kitchen, and John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum. Several TV series in collaboration with Lionsgate are also in the works. Simply put, Common wants to expand his experience, provide opportunities for others, and inspire.

“I want to live my passions, help others do the same, and make the world a better place, as much as I can,” he said. “This—all of this—inspires me to work harder and do more.”

How Concierge Parenting Services Can Help Prepare Kids for College

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student with exam paper and pencil taking a test

College admissions issues has been stealing the headlines. From the college admission scandal, where wealthy people allegedly paid to help their kids get accepted to high ranking colleges, to the talk of adding diversity scores to help boost some SAT/ACT tests, the news is filled with the challenges that those wanting to go to a good college may face.

Some parents are opting to take an approach that is more tailored to helping the child become prepared to excel and get into the college of their choice. This new approach, called concierge parenting services, aims to provide a customized plan to take the child to the next level, by identifying their fullest potential and capitalizing on it.

“Too often, the approaches taken in schools are failing students. Every child learns differently, so a cookie cutter approach just doesn’t work,” explains Reena B. Patel, a parenting expert, licensed educational psychologist, and author, who offers virtual workshops. “Through concierge parenting services, parents can learn exactly what their child needs to focus on in order to excel. The plan has been tailored to their unique child.”

Recently, Gallup suggested that education in the country takes the opposite approach of standardized tests, which students are being inundated with around the nation. What they suggest is that students need a test that is for them and about them, so that they become better at understanding and developing their own unique talents, which will help them succeed in school and life. This is the goal of concierge parenting, too.

Concierge parenting is service offered by Patel and other professionals in the field, in which they conduct extensive assessment on the child. Here are some of the ways that concierge parenting services can help prepare kids for college:

  • The assessments that are conducted show a child’s strengths, so that they can capitalize on them in order to reach their goals.
  • Parents receive a customized learning profile of their child, which will give insight as to how they best learn and optimize their strengths while developing areas of need. Parents can use that information to ensure that their educational needs are being addressed and how to take their child to the next level of growth.
  • Their learning profile includes such things as the child’s emotional resilience. This is important information, because it sheds light on how well the child will adapt to stressful situations or challenges. They can use the information to help the child learn more coping skills.
  • Parents receive the tools that they need in order to help their child navigate studying, taking tests, and applying for colleges. Rather than guessing how to best go about these things, the information has been tailored to the needs and styles of the individual.
  • Similar to a concierge in a hotel, parents get a tailored approach that is focused on meeting their needs and ensuring their child’s success. By taking advantage of a service like this, parents can learn their child’s strengths then nurture them and focus on excelling those strengths to be the best version of themselves.

“If you want to feel confident about your child’s education and future college acceptance, you can’t go wrong with taking a concierge parenting approach,” added Patel. “The purpose of concierge parenting is to help remove the stress, hurdles, and disappointment that may come later on. It helps your child to set out on their path with a detailed map to help them successfully get there.”

Patel offers several concierge parenting services packages, including being able to tailor a program to meet individual needs and goals. Two of her popular packages are titled Optimal Learning and New Parent. The Optimal Learning package offers a comprehensive assessment, customized report with specific tools to apply, follow up emails to ask questions, comprehensive evaluations to include, but not limited to, intelligence testing, academic testing, social and emotional readiness, and executive functioning testing. The New Parent package focuses on the idea that every baby and child is unique and has a different temperament. It’s ideal for new parents or a parent of a teen. Finding time to address challenges, such as behaviors, or how best to get your baby to sleep is hard. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a service customized just for your family and child? One that is effective and developed by a professional expert.

Each concierge parenting package includes initial consultation to identify concerns and goals, three session observation, modeling, and implementation of expert techniques, and one follow up virtual call after strategies are implemented.

In addition to offering concierge parenting services, Patel is the founder of AutiZm& More. As a licensed educational psychologist and guidance counselor, she helps children and their families with the use of positive behavior support strategies across home, school, and community settings. She does workshops around California, and virtual workshops globally where she provides this information to health professionals, families, and educators. She is also the author of a book that helps children with anxiety coping strategies called “Winnie & Her Worries,” and author of a book about autism awareness and acceptance, called “My Friend Max: A Story about a Friend with Autism.” Both of her books are available on Amazon. To learn more about her services, visit the website at reenabpatel.com.

About Reena B. Patel
Based in the San Diego area, Reena B. Patel (LEP, BCBA) is a renowned parenting expert, guidance counselor, licensed educational psychologist, and board-certified behavior analyst. For more than 20 years, Patel has had the privilege of working with families and children, supporting all aspects of education and positive wellness. She works extensively with developing children as well as children with exceptional needs, supporting their academic, behavioral and social development. She was recently nominated for San Diego Magazine’s “Woman of the Year.” To learn more about her books and services, visit the website at reenabpatel.com, and to get more parenting tips, follow her on Instagram @reenabpatel.

Gallup. It’s time to try the opposite of standardized testing. gallup.com/education/237284

Out to Innovate™ 2019 Summit for LGBTQ People in STEM

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NOGLSTP presented its 5th biannual Out to Innovate™ Summit for LGBTIQ People in STEM on March 16-17 at the location of its first summit, the campus of the University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles, CA. 

These summits are meant to support and encourage the open participation of the LGBTIQ community in STEM activities. With this year’s theme, “Igniting STEM with PRIDE,” over 200 attendees participated in 20 workshops and 4 plenaries, increasing skill sets, broadening their knowledge, and making new friends.

Early arriving attendees attended a tour of the USC Institute for Creative Technologies (ICT) and in the evening NOGLSTP hosted a reception for workshop organizers, panelists, and exhibitors at the ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives at the USC Libraries where the NOGLSTP history and files reside and were on partial display.

The meeting opened with proclamations and greeting from the region, followed by Kei Koizumi, Visiting Scholar in science policy at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), gave an inspiring motivational speech, reminding everyone to pursue their dreams in STEM as LGBTQ people

Over the following day and a half, attendees participated in 4 breakout sessions containing 20 workshops covered a wide range of topics; titles from “Proposal Writing Workshop: Understanding the Federal Money Process,” and “Careers in Government and Policy for LGBTQ STEM people,” to “Out on the Academic Job Search,” “Forming Student Groups: Experiences and Organizing”, “a LGBTQ+ Health Initiatives”, “Queer in STEM Demographic Studies”, ”LGTQ Portrayal in Arts and Media” and “Intersectionality – Bringing All of Your Identities,” provided learning and discussion opportunities over a broad spectrum of issues and ideas.

Plenaries included an “Out and Accomplished panel”, where “out” panel members provided their perspectives on serving in industry, government, and academia. Saturday evening’s Gala Recognition Awards Reception and Dinner was held at the USC Town and Gown hall with keynote speaker David Bohnett, founder of GeoCities who spoke of his journey, from being a closeted undergraduate student at USC, the early days of the World Wide Web and founding GeoCities.  2017 and 1028 Out to Innovate™ Scholarship recipients (funded by Motorola Solutions Foundation), and poster session winners were honored at the dinner as well as 2019 Recognition Awardees: presented the 2019 Recognition Award Winners: Dr Benny Chan, Professor of Chemistry at the College of New Jersey (LGBTQ Educator of the year), Dr Arianna Morales, Staff Research Scientist at General Motors Global research and Development (LGBTQ Engineer of the year), and Dr Jon Freeman, Associate professor of Psychology and Neural Science New York University (LGBTQ Scientist of the Year).  This year’s Walt Westman Award went to Dr. Lauren Esposito, Curator at California Academy of Sciences and creator of 500 Queer Scientists website.

Wendy Okolo Is The First Black Woman To Earn A Doctorate In Aerospace Engineering

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Dr. Wendy Okolo is a Nigerian-born National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) aerospace engineer and the first Black woman to earn a doctorate in the field.

According to her profile on the organization’s website, Okolo works as a special emphasis programs manager at Ames Research Center and is a research engineer in the Discovery and Systems Health Technology (DaSH) Area. Her role includes researching control systems applications, systems health monitoring and creating solutions for issues related to the designing of aircraft and spacecraft.

She earned her B.S. and Ph.D. at the University of Texas at Arlington in 2010 and 2015. Okolo completed her dissertation research with a focus on aircraft fuel-saving methods. Her research was funded by several organizations including the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR), American Institute for Aeronautics & Astronautics (AIAA) and Texas Space Grant Consortium (TSGC).

Per the Philadelphia Tribune, Okolo is the first Black woman to earn a doctorate in aerospace engineering at just 26 years old. Along with accomplishing the prestigious honor, she was the winner of the Black Engineer of the Year Awards (BEYA) Global Competitiveness Conference award for being the most promising engineer in the United States government.

For the complete article, continue on to Blavity.