Conference Strengthens Pacific Island Pipeline Into STEM Careers

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The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo hosted a conference in January for educators from Hawaiʻi and 10 Pacific Island nations who are working towards encouraging students from underrepresented populations to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

At the conference, the Islands of Opportunity Alliance (IOA), led by the UH Hilo chancellor’s office, kicked off their 2019 STEM mentorship programs, which are funded by $600,000 of a continuing $4 million grant from the National Science Foundation.

Topics at the conference included inter-campus programs, curriculum enhancements, student learning communities, peer tutoring, enrichment through research experiences, the promotion of STEM graduate degrees and employment, institutional support and sustainability plans.

UH Hilo serves as the administrative hub for the IOA, including 10 other partner institutions in American Sāmoa, Guam, Hawaiʻi, Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia, the Marshall Islands and the Northern Mariana Islands.

“We share the common goal of increasing underrepresented professionals in STEM fields and I feel inspired by each member of our alliance,” said Marcia Sakai, interim chancellor at UH Hilo and principal investigator of the program.

The main goal of the alliance is to increase the number of underrepresented minority students, with a focus on Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander students who graduate with baccalaureate degrees in STEM disciplines, and go on to pursue graduate degrees or enter a STEM career in their local communities.

“The benefit is not just the STEM degree, but what the students are going to do with their STEM degree,” said Joseph Genz, UH Hilo associate professor and IOA project director. “In the vast majority of cases, that means going back home to their island communities and using their degrees to build up the capacities of their communities, fostering a system of self-empowerment.”

Continue onto Big Island Now to read the complete article.

Geeky Stars: Hollywood Celebrities Who Studied Science

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image of the famous Hollywood sign on the hillside

Do people possessing degrees in science, medicine, or technology always continue working in their own field of study? Absolutely not!

Many students, after graduating from college, end up pursuing other careers out of genuine interest.

Instead of looking for the usual academic, government, or industry jobs, many such science geeks adopted a slightly different path and became well-known celebrities. Let us have a look at what these celebrities were up to before choosing this alternative career.

Mayim Bialik

Celebrities

(Image Credits: iDominick via Wikipedia)

She is best known for her role as neurobiologist, Amy Farrah Fowler on ‘The Big Bang Theory’, Mayim Bialik was also the lead in a famous 90’s sitcom ‘Blossom. In 2000, she completed her BS in Neuroscience and Hebrew & Jewish Studies from UCLA. In 2007, she earned her PhD in Neuroscience from UCLA after completing her doctoral thesis. Her thesis was on ‘Hypothalamic regulation in relation to maladaptive, obsessive-compulsive, affiliative, and satiety behaviors in Prader–Willi syndrome’.

 

Natalie Portman

Celebrities
(Image Credits: Georges Biard via Wikipedia)

Natalie Portman debuted in ‘Léon: The Professional’ in 1994. However, she continued to gain recognition for her performances in movies such as ‘Closer’, ‘Black Swan’, and ‘V for Vendetta’. In 2003, she completed her BA in Psychology from Harvard University. Previously, in 1998, she was a semifinalist in the Intel Science Talent Search and co-authored the following study: ‘Frontal lobe activation during object permanence: data from near-infrared spectroscopy’ (doi:10.1006/nimg.2002.1170). In an interview for the New York Post, she mentioned, ”I’d rather be smart than a movie star.”

 

Ken Jeong

Celebrities

(Image Credits: Nan Palmero via Wikipedia)

Ken Jong is best known for his role as ‘Leslie Chow’ in the ‘Hangover’ trilogy and ‘Ben Chang’ for the sitcom ‘Community’. He is a physician, comedian, and actor. He completed his graduation from Duke University, followed by an MD from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Interestingly, in a sitcom on ABC, he portrays the role of Dr. Ken who is also a physician!

 

Rowan Atkinson

Celebrities

(Image Credits: Eva Rinaldi via Wikipedia)

For many of us, he has immortalized the character of ‘Mr. Bean’ through his perfect comic timing, Rowan Atkinson who has been awarded a CBE has also worked in acclaimed programs such as Blackadder and Not the Nine O’Clock News. He completed his BSc in Electrical Engineering from University of Newcastle and MSc in Electrical Engineering from Queen’s College, Oxford.

 

Lisa Kudrow

Celebrities

(Image Credits: Lan Bui via Wikipedia)

Lisa Kudrow gained global fame for her character ‘Phoebe Buffay’ in the famous sitcom, Friends. Although she played the character of a quirky masseuse, she was possibly more qualified to be the palaentologist instead of Ross! As a student, Lisa earned her BS degree in Biology from Vassar College. She spent some time doing research with her father, Dr. Lee Kudrow, a well-renowned clinician in the field of headache medicine.

 

Eva Longoria

Celebrities

(Image Credits:Georges Biard via Wikipedia)

She is known for her role as ‘Isabella Braña’ on ‘The Young and the Restless’ and as ‘Gabrielle Solis’ in ‘Desperate Housewives’, Eva Longoria received BS degree in Kinesiology at Texas A&M University-Kingsville. She earned her MA degree in Chicano and Chicana Studies from California State University and her thesis was titled ‘Success STEMS From Diversity: The Value of Latinas in STEM Careers’.

Continue on to Enago.com to read the complete article.

 

 

Cyber Security Awareness Training for all Ages in Delaware

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image of a breakout box on a table

Children and adults in Sussex County are now getting hands-on cyber security awareness training at the Selbyville library thanks to Cyber Streets and the library itself.

Cyber Streets is a nonprofit organization that was started in Dover back in 2017. Founder Rob Bentley began spreading the knowledge at the Selbyville Library on June 3rd and he now runs the program there every other Monday. The Sussex County Stem Alliance helped connect Bentley to volunteers and this week they’re using what is called the ‘break out box’ to learn how cyber security is used to break into something.

“They go around looking for clues,” Bentley explains. “They find those clues, put them together, and work together as teams to crack the code on the puzzle that actually unlocks the locks to get into the box.”

Thirteen-year-old Eleni Apostolidis of Millsboro has been homeschooled her entire life. She’s thankful for an after-school opportunity that is available to students like her. “It can teach us coding if we want to maybe look into the community a bit more to find tools to maybe create our own software in the future,” she shares.

Most of the students who’ve been attending in Selbyville are homeschooled students but Cyber Streets is open to anyone. Bentley says he teaches people from six to sixty-years-old. In fact, many parents join their kids in these lessons.

The program is completely free. To sign up in Selbyville, reach out to the library or Cyber Streets. Bentley says those interested in attending can simply show up to the next lesson on July 29.

Continue on to WBOC.com to read the complete article.

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.

Why Aren’t More Women in Computer Science?

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By Suzanne Weston

Until 1984, growth of women entering professions including physical sciences, law, medicine, and computer science was steady, but then something changed. After the introduction of personal computers, the percentage of women in computer science flattened and then plunged, even though the number of professional women kept rising.

Initially, personal computers were toys used for playing simple games, marketed directly to boys and men. While both genders are equally talented in logic and problem solving, boys were given computers more often than girls. And boys were more comfortable when teachers started using computers in the classroom.

Teachers have a significant influence on students’ decisions to study computer science. Students who receive positive reinforcement are three times more likely to go into computer science, and the window for making this impact occurs before age 14. Therefore, children need exposure to computers at a young age.

Is it realistic for both women and men to enter computer science and related fields?

Yes. Harvey Mudd College demonstrated that women are as capable as men in computer science (CS). They introduced CS courses with different names: “Introductory Java” became “Creative Problem-Solving in Science and Engineering Using Computational Approaches,” and changing the course name reduced intimidation due to lack of prior exposure. Classes were structured to become collaborative and team-oriented (which appealed to women who found the stereotypical loner geek programmer unappealing). The percentage of women in CS increased from 10 percent to 50 percent. The solution was to create an environment where women can flourish.

Why aren’t more women in computer science?

Women think differently than men. Because women want to avoid mistakes, they may become frustrated when their code does not work. Because men see learning programming as a trial-and-error process, they don’t see code not running as a reflection of their skills. Adding check-points to affirm success can build women’s confidence.

Since socialization and collaboration are important to women when selecting careers, they may feel isolation until more women enter the field. Women need role models. Programs like Girls Who Code address this gap. They encourage girls to take advanced placement (AP) classes in high school, which positions them to study technical disciplines in college. Seventy percent of students who took the AP exam say they want to work in computer science; this shows the importance of early exposure in framing career aspirations.

Attracting women to technology is the first step toward developing women in CS. The second step is building an inclusive culture that offers career advancement and encourages them to remain in CS. Women leave technology companies at twice the rate of men. Early intervention and education will begin to close the gap between women and men in CS. Female students who have visible, female role models in CS careers and receive encouragement from parents and teachers can increase the likelihood that they pursue additional CS courses and degrees (2017 Gallup poll). To thrive in business, women need a collaborative culture with role models.

ShareSpace Education donates 50 Giant Moon Map™ packages to 50 schools and museums around the world

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Childer are standing on a giant map of the Moon while a teacher explains what they are seeing on the map

The Aldrin Family Foundation (AFF) announced its ShareSpace Education has named 50 global recipients of its new Giant Moon Map™ program.

Launched in honor of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing, this one-of-a-kind educational tool sparks creativity in students while they learn STEAM concepts and celebrate one of humankind’s greatest achievements. The donation is collectively valued at more than $240,500.

“As we move closer to the 50th anniversary of the first Moon landing, there is a renewed fascination with this historic achievement,” said Dr. Andrew Aldrin, president of AFF. “The response to the launch of the Giant Moon Map™ program a few months ago was phenomenal, with more applications than we ever imagined. Everyone clearly sees how it’s the perfect tool to help teach today’s youth about that moment in time, while helping them build a love for STEAM-based concepts. Our goal is that this initial donation of 50 maps will only be the beginning.”

Giant Moon Map™ packages will be distributed to schools and educational institutions in 45 states, including: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin. In addition, packages were awarded to 5 schools and educational institutions in Canada, Germany, India and Mexico. Click here to see the full list of recipients.

Each ShareSpace Education Giant Moon Map™ program package includes either a 25’ x 25’ vinyl map of the Moon or a 15’ x 15’ one. Both sizes also come with 15 Welcome to the Moon books and the Moon Map educational activities package. Through a new partnership with AstroReality, the kit now includes a 120mm 3D model of the Moon. The model features augmented reality technology that enhances interactions on the map through each of the Apollo mission patches, teaching students about the six landing sites where 12 humans have walked on the moon. The package features authentic, fun lessons and activities designed especially for students ages 10 to 14, and access to in-person and online program training from ShareSpace Education.

AFF worked with donors to make the 50 Giant Moon Map™ packages available for distribution. The program launched in April at the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) Convention in St. Louis. Applications from individual schools, school districts and informal education organizations were accepted through May 18, the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 10 launch. All applications were reviewed by an independent team of judges with the aim of distributing the packages to educational institutions where they can do the most good, especially in underserved communities.
 
For more information, visit sharespace.org/giant-moon-map/.

About the Aldrin Family Foundation

The Aldrin Family Foundation (AFF) strives to cultivate the next generation of space leaders, entrepreneurs and explorers who will extend human habitation beyond the Earth to the Moon and Mars. AFF’s STEAM-based educational tools, educational activities and programs span from a child’s first classroom experience through graduate school and professional programs. This vertical pathway unites explorers at all levels to learn from each other’s vision for space, ultimately creating the first generation of Martians.

About ShareSpace Education

ShareSpace Education, one of the key organizations within the Aldrin Family Foundation, is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to cultivating children’s passion for science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) by providing innovative, interactive educational tools to schools, teachers and information educations throughout the United States and abroad. Founded in 2016 by Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin, ShareSpace has reached more than 300,000 children and continues to grow its impact each year.

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.

Virtual Training Tackles Fires

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firefighter putting out fire

When on the scene of a fire and other emergency situations, a firefighter’s work can be dangerous. When not in an emergency, firefighters remain on call at fire stations, where they sleep, eat, and perform other duties during shifts that often last 24 hours. Many firefighters work more than 40 hours per week.

Instead of dangerous, expensive, traditional training that firefighters normally have to go through, however, they can now tackle fires in a safe and realistic way.

FLAIM Trainer® family of solutions are next-generation firefighter training systems, which comprise an immersive virtual reality environment combined with realistic scenarios, patented force feedback system, breathing apparatus, real nozzles, and heated personal protective clothing to provide a unique training and engagement experience.

This safe, low-cost, mobile and distributed solution can simulate a range of fire events and conditions for training firefighters. With virtual reality, firefighters can train more, train better, and train anywhere.

Sources: Darley, Flaim Systems

The Engineers of Formula 1

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Two cars pictured at the F1 Grand Prix of Australia. Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

By Peter Placey

When you’re watching a Formula 1 (F1) race, you don’t see the driver, the medical delegates, stewards, safety car driver or the race director—you see the cars. But who builds these high-speed machines? One word: engineers. What does it take to be a F1 engineer?

Most race engineers need a degree or equivalent in mechanical or automotive engineering. Many mechanical engineering courses last three to four years. Annual salary for race engineers:$84K–$152K

There is no average in F1—you have to be the best. Car engineers are the drivers’ ‘right hands’—they have to be resilient, quick thinkers, able to communicate effectively with each member of the team and most of all, have a passion for racing.

Bernadette Collins, who is breaking barriers for women with the Sahara Force India F1 team as a performance and strategy engineer, said in an interview with The Guardian, “Whether it’s a male or female doing the job, we’ve got some of the best engineers in the business.”