WonderWorks in Pigeon Forge Unveils New Origami Exhibit with STEM Focus

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Young girl proudly holding an origami that she made

WonderWorks, located in Pigeon Forge, is adding more fun and educational opportunities. The new feature will have an origami exhibit that has an education focus on math (STEM).

The STEM exhibit will introduce people to how math is related to the art of origami. The new exhibit is available to the public that began on August 25, 2019, and is included with the regular admission price.

“The origami exhibit just adds another element to help us achieve our core objectives as a company,” says Ed Shaffer, general manager for WonderWorks in Pigeon Forge. “We always strive to make sure our guests have fun and make memories to cherish, but we also hope they learn a little something along the way.”

The origami exhibit is education-focused, providing science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) learning opportunities. Origami, which originated in Japan, is the art of folding paper in a sequence to get a particular shape. What many people don’t realize is that origami has a strong connection with math and can help kids understand math concepts better. This is because origami designs contain complex geometric patterns, angles, and shapes. Origami is believed to help improve student’s skills, by strengthening their understanding of geometry, fractions, and improving problem solving skills.

The origami exhibit will be a new addition to the Gallery of Wonders, which currently also offers a series of optical illusion artwork pieces that will adorn the attractions  second floor. The artwork pieces contain hidden objects, riddles, and will challenge people. Optical illusions trick the eye and give people a chance to explore different perspectives.

“Educational value is a big part of our attraction. With a constant stream of school groups and field trips of all kinds, we are always looking for ways to engage the students and assist our teachers in making the most out of their visit with us, ”added Shaffer.

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

About WonderWorks

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

Calling Native American Student Artists! American Indian College Fund, Pendleton Host Design Contest

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Pendleton Design Contest Promo

Pendleton Woolen Mills, the acclaimed lifestyle brand headquartered in Portland, Oregon, creates dazzling blankets as part of Pendleton’s American Indian College Fund collection, of which a portion of the proceeds provides scholarships for Native American students.

To give voice to rising Native artists while honoring the richness of Native arts and cultures, the American Indian College Fund and Pendleton are announcing the Tribal College Blanket Design Contest. Open to tribal college students, the contest challenges students to express their culture and identity through original artistic designs to be incorporated into the next tribal college student designed blanket to be featured and sold in the blanket collection to give back to the Native community by helping to support American Indian College Fund scholarships.

Contest participants must be currently enrolled in one of the 35 American Indian Higher Education Consortium tribal colleges and universities (TCUs). Textile design experience is not necessary to enter. Only current TCU students are eligible to participate. Students cannot submit more than two designs. All submissions must be received by 11:59pm MST on February 15, 2020.

A committee comprised of Native American artists and College Fund and Pendleton staff will select the winning blanket designs. Prizes include the following:

  • Grand Prize winners: $2,000 cash, a $5,000 scholarship, and six of the winning blankets.
  • Second Place winners: $500 cash and a $2,500 scholarship.
  • Third Place winners: $250 cash and a $1,500 scholarship.

For submission guidelines and applications, please visit the American Indian College Fund’s web site at https://collegefund.org/pendletoncontest.

About the American Indian College Fund—Founded in 1989, the American Indian College Fund has been the nation’s largest charity supporting Native higher education for 30 years. The College Fund believes “Education is the answer” and provided $7.72 million in scholarships to 3,900 American Indian students in 2018-19, with nearly 137,000 scholarships and community support totaling over $208 million since its inception. The College Fund also supports a variety of academic and support programs at the nation’s 35 accredited tribal colleges and universities, which are located on or near Indian reservations, ensuring students have the tools to graduate and succeed in their careers. The College Fund consistently receives top ratings from independent charity evaluators and is one of the nation’s top 100 charities named to the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance. For more information about the American Indian College Fund, please visit collegefund.org.

NASA’s ‘hidden figures’ to be awarded Congressional Gold Medals

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Four of Nasa's "Hidden Figures" are pictured in a collage

Four of NASA’s “hidden figures,” together with all of the women who contributed to the agency’s success in the space race to the moon, will be honored with the Congressional Gold Medal, one of the highest civilian awards in the United States.

President Trump recently (Nov. 8) signed into law the “Hidden Figures Congressional Gold Medal Act,” which provides for the award to mathematician Katherine Johnson and engineer Christine Darden, as well as the posthumous award to engineer Mary Jackson and computer programmer Dorothy Vaughan.

The act also calls for a fifth gold medal recognizing “all women who served as computers, mathematicians and engineers at the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration between the 1930s and the 1970s.”

“This is an exciting opportunity to honor the pioneering generation of female mathematicians for their commitment and service to NASA and to our country,” said Margot Lee Shetterly, author of “Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race,” in a statement issued by the House after the act passed in September. “The women who did this work came from across our country and each of their hometowns should embrace them as heroes.”

Shetterly’s book served as the basis for the 2016 feature film “Hidden Figures,” which dramatized the experiences of Johnson, Vaughan and Jackson.

Johnson calculated trajectories for NASA’s early human spaceflights, including the suborbital launch of the first American astronaut, Alan Shepard on his 1961 Mercury mission, and the first flight of a U.S. astronaut into Earth orbit, John Glenn on his 1962 Friendship 7 mission. Working with the Space Task Group, Johnson became the first woman in NASA’s flight research division to receive credit as an author of a research report. She is today 101.

Vaughan led the West Area Computing unit at what is now the Langley Research Center in Virginia, becoming the first African American supervisor at the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), the predecessor agency to NASA. She later became a leading computer programmer as a part of the space agency’s analysis and computation division. Vaughan died in 2008 at the age of 98.

Jackson was the first African American woman engineer at NASA. Later in her career, she worked to improve the prospects of NASA’s female mathematicians, engineers and scientists as Langley’s Federal Women’s Program manager. She died in 2005 at the age of 83.

Darden, who became an engineer at NASA 16 years after Jackson, wrote over 50 articles on aeronautics design and was the first African American of any gender to be promoted into the Senior Executive Service at Langley. She is 77 today.

The Hidden Figures Congressional Gold Medal Act directs that Vaughan’s medal be provided to the Smithsonian for display at the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Jackson’s is to be presented to her granddaughter, Wanda Jackson.

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

From the Smithsonian to the Kitchen: African American Art is Transforming the Home Decor Business

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Collage of Black Art

Just a few decades ago, Black art was hard to come by in mainstream markets. Artists were largely only viewed at African American museums and at niche galleries.

In 1995, two young African American males in South Los Angeles set out to bridge the gap between Black art collectors and the everyday consumer. Shades of Color fuses Black art into its product line to celebrate one of America’s most influential cultures on household products including home décor, shower curtains, floor mats and kitchen aprons.

As of 2017, the home decor industry was worth $582 billion, and is projected to increase to $741 billion by 2023, according to PR Newswire. There has been an increase in home ownership which has tremendously impacted the home décor market, as stated on the Allied Market Research website.

While the home décor market is constantly expanding, there are still seldom companies that honor African American art on their products. Shades of Color’s partnership with African American artists is proving to be a solution that brings art into the homes of the consumers that truly appreciate it.

“We work with artists to mass produce their art on products which exponentially increases exposure to their craft,” says President, Adrian Woods. “Our artists are an extension of our family and are relatable from the girlfriends of Cidne Wallace to the strong Black fathers by Frank Morrison to the more contemporary styles of Larry Poncho Brown. Our goal is to highlight these artists and be a driving force in ethnic home décor.”

Black art is a reflection of American culture, and Shades of Color’s community is making that art more accessible. All types of consumers have essentially become art collectors without even knowing it. The company’s direct to consumer website features African American artists, a vast catalog of products and global conversations around culture and current affairs. With its ties to community involvement the company is also supporting its greater network. Schools, churches and community groups have earned well over $2 million through the company’s fifteen year fundraising program that is open to everyone.

What began in the mid-90’s as strictly a calendar company is now a leader in an ethnic niche market selling through mass retailers, organizations, main street gift shops and quaint Afrocentric stores across the country. The flagship calendar line preserves history and brings facts, accomplishments and current milestones to light in a time when typical classrooms across the country are still neglecting to include Black history. The entire product line is infused with positive aspirations and imagery that embody this very important aspect of Americana.

“It is touching to hear the reactions,” says Production Manager and Marketing Director, Janine Robinson. “Across social media followers comment on what it feels like to walk into their bathroom, for example, and see a reflection of themselves on a 70” x 70” panel that fills the room. It’s not rare to get several comments saying, ‘That’s me!’ Not only does the product fill the room literally, the art and statements fill and ignite the spirit too. That is the part that makes it all worth it.” #UpliftandInspire

About Shades of Color
Founded in 1995, Shades of Color, LLC is a small Black-owned business producing high quality calendars, stationery, kitchenware, home décor, bags and gifts. It licenses and commissions Black art from renowned African American artists. The company manufactures and distributes its own collections to a global audience. Learn more about their products at www.ShadesGifts.com. Learn more about their Home Décor Collection at www.shadescalendars.com/product-category/homedecor

Continue on to Black News to read the complete article.

An All-Female Flight Crew Took 120 Girls to NASA in an Initiative to Close Aviation’s Gender Gap

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Delta flight crew pose with students in cabin of plane

Delta Air Lines recently flew 120 girls from Salt Lake City, Utah, to NASA in Houston as part of an initiative to close the gender gap in aviation.

“We’re taking ownership to improve gender diversity by exposing girls at a young age and providing a pipeline so that 10 years from now, they will be the pilots in the Delta cockpit inspiring generations of women who follow,” said Beth Poole, general manager of pilot development at Delta, who helped begin the initiative in 2015.

FAA data from 2017 shows that women make up just over 7 percent of 609,306 pilots in the U.S., according to Women in Aviation, a nonprofit dedicated to the advancement of women in the industry.

Everyone involved in the plane’s takeoff, flight and landing — from pilots to ramp agents working on the ground — was a woman, the airline said.

The initiative first began in 2015 and has since brought 600 female students on its journey, according to Delta. The company’s goal is to “diversify a male-dominated industry and expose girls to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) careers at a young age.”

The girls also met Jeanette Epps, NASA astronaut and aerospace engineer, Delta said.

Delta’s initiative speaks to a broader problem in the aviation industry — one that’s been recognized by The International Civil Aviation Organization, a specialized UN Agency that provides a global forum for member states to adopt and implement international aviation standards.

At a keynote address at a Global Aviation Gender Summit in August 2018, ICAO secretary general Dr. Fang Liu had said that “air transport must address head-on why women are still underrepresented in the majority of the technical and executive positions in aviation.”

Continue on to Time to read the complete article.

Teen girl invents simple, yet innovative way to remove blind spots in cars

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blind spot on car

By Sasha Lekach

I’ll admit it: I’ve had a pedestrian enter the crosswalk without me immediately noticing because they were blocked by the right side of my car. But what if your car frame didn’t block your line of sight while driving?

That’s what 14-year-old Alaina Gassler looked into for her invention at the Broadcom MASTERS (Math, Applied Science, Technology, and Engineering for Rising Stars) competition for middle schoolers from the Society for Science and the Public this week. She came up with a project called, “Improving Automobile Safety by Removing Blind Spots.”

She built a prototype system with a webcam, projector, and 3D-printed materials to fill in the space the car frame blocks from drivers. No more missing information. Simple, yet elegant.

The idea earned the West Grove, Pennsylvania, teen the top place in the nationwide competition with the $25,000 Samueli Foundation Prize in honor of overall STEM excellence.

She mounted the webcam outside the passenger side A-pillar on a car and then displayed the live video on the inside pillar from a projector attached to the sunroof above the driver’s seat. She even had to print a special part to help focus the projector at such close range. She then faced issues with projecting the image on the interior frame. So she resurfaced it with retro reflective fabric.

As she explained it in an email, the material “only reflects light back to the light source, which is the projector in this case. Since the driver’s eyes are next to the projector, the driver can see a crisp, clear image, and the passengers only see a black piece of fabric.”

She said she noticed the problem with her solution when sitting in seats other than the driver side. The image was just blurred, moving lights for everyone but the driver. “During testing when I sat in the passenger seat of the car and the moving light from the projector gave me a headache,” she said. The new material solved that.

Continue on to Mashable to read the complete article.

This 13-year-old scientist may have designed a better version of Hyperloop

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Caroline Crouchley giving hyperloop presentation

Several rival companies may be hard at work trying to get Elon Musk’s Hyperloop concept off the ground, but hurtling across country — maybe even across continents — at 600 miles per hour in a low-pressure steel tube still feels far from reality.

But 13-year-old New York student Caroline Crouchley may have invented a more economically viable and eco-friendly Hyperloop solution.

Crouchley’s idea, which just won second place in the annual 3M Young Scientist Challenge, is to build pneumatic tubes next to existing train tracks.

Magnetic shuttles would travel through these vacuum tubes, connected via magnetic arm to trains traveling on the existing tracks.

This system would utilize current train tracks, thereby cutting infrastructure costs and, Crouchley says, eradicating the potential safety risk posed by propelling passengers in a vacuum.

There’d be no need for trains to use diesel or electric motors, making the trains lighter and more fuel-efficient

This is important to Crouchley, who aims to devise active solutions to the climate crisis.

Continue on to CNN to read the complete article.

NOGLSTP is accepting nominations for its 2020 Scientist of the Year, Engineer of the Year, and Educator of the Year

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NOGLSTP logo

Nominate your colleague, mentor, or hero before November 30! The National Organization of Gay and Lesbian Scientists and Technical Professionals (NOGLSTP) Recognition Awards were established as a means of identifying, honoring, and documenting the contributions of outstanding LGBTQ+ science, engineering and technology professionals, as well as corporations, academic institutions, and businesses that support LGBTQ+ professionals in the fields of science and technology.

The 2020 award recipients will be honored at NOGLSTP’s Out to Innovate Career Summit for LGBTQ+ People in STEM, during the oSTEM National Conference (November 2020, Anaheim CA).

The deadline for 2020 nomination package submissions will be November 30, 2019.

See details here:
noglstp.org/programs-projects/recognition-awards/

Ace Your Next Performance Review!

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Man in suit with co-workers behind standing looking confident

By Jillian Hamilton

Dreading a performance review is normal. Truthfully, your manager might be dreading your performance review, too.

Something about the performance review process has led employees to feel threatened and vulnerable instead of as an opportunity for growth. In a fast-paced work environment, many managers consider performance reviews as an uncomfortable requirement to complete or as a way to document poor performers for a potential employment termination.

While some companies are bad at growing their employees, you can do some of your own work to show up to the review table prepared. Your preparation may save your job, but ultimately, it will help you take control of your career and progress with your organization.

Here are three ways to prepare for your next review.

Get your mind ready. While sometimes money is directly linked to a performance, it’s helpful if you don’t link them in your own mind. When it comes to performance reviews, you have to take the long view of your career and not the short view of your bank account. Yes, paying the bills or taking a vacation is important, but using this opportunity to set your overall career in the right direction will have a long-term payoff with higher yields. So, don’t be short sighted and feel emotionally tied to a raise with your review. Feedback can be helpful to growth, so make that your mindset. When you’re focused on growing as an individual, you might even find that the money will follow sooner rather than later.

Spend 12 months planning for your review – not 12 minutes. Prepare throughout the year for your performance review. Spending time compiling your lists of goals or accomplishments will give you a leg up when you walk into your manager’s office. If you are unsure of what to prepare, here are a few ways you can prepare before the review:

Review your job description. It is helpful to understand where you are meeting and exceeding the documented expectations. If your description does not match your current position, it may be time to help craft a new description. Be sure to outline the additional job requirements for your manager. Bring the solution to the problem with you – especially at a performance review.

  • Review your old goals and identify new ones for the next year. Showcase your drive. You want to identify how you have been achieving goals and how you are driven to keep working hard and growing within the organization. Often, when others are driven, it can be motivating for others.
  • List out any learning initiatives you took on over the year – formal and informal. Lifelong learners are motivating to be around – even when they report to you. Showing the initiatives that you have taken on company or your time can highlight your value.
  • Look through your old appraisals, if you have them handy. See what goals you’ve met since then or habits you’ve adjusted. You may not need to communicate this information, but if you’re reviewing with a new manager in the organization, it could be helpful to refresh your memory on what other managers have done in the past. If the review takes a sharp left turn in an unexpected direction, you will be better prepared with this information fresh in your mind.
  • Prepare some questions for your manager. But do not ask questions about raises or promotions. That is similar to starting an interview process with a request for salary amount. Take that time to ask your manager about their career path or the history of the organization. An attitude of curiosity or learning can help you and your manager both walk away from the review encouraged.
  • List out your accomplishments. It’s helpful to track these items throughout the year, but even spending 30–60 minutes doing this before the review will help you remember your work accurately when you feel like you are in the hot seat during the review. Also, an added bonus is that identifying your accomplishments will help you keep your resume current.

Ask someone for help. Just like interviewing is a learned skillset for most, so is the performance review conversation. Find a trusted peer and have them ask you some hard questions. Practice communicating your accomplishments and growth to another human being before you try it on your boss. If your organization has a poor track record with performance reviews, this last step is especially important. All of your preparation is useless if you don’t take a little time to give your brain and emotions some practice.

You might still dread your performance review, but at least show up to the table prepared. You owe it to yourself and your career.

Source: ClearanceJobs.com

Preliminary Salaries Show STEM Majors Lead Class of 2019

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young woman working with a microscope in a science laboratory

Although it is early in the Class of 2019 salary reporting cycle, preliminary results show graduates in several STEM disciplines are expected to be the top paid, according to a new report from the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE).

Results of NACE’s Fall 2019 Salary Survey indicate that, at this early juncture, graduates in the computer and information sciences ($81,292), engineering ($69,180), mathematics and statistics ($68,785), and engineering technologies ($60,473) disciplines are leading the Class of 2019 in terms of average starting salary. (See Figure 1.)

This year’s overall fall average stands at $55,280, which is 10.6 percent higher than last year’s reported fall average of $50,004 for Class of 2018 graduates. However, it is extremely important to view these results with caution as these are preliminary salaries that are based on a small number of reporting institutions. In fact, year-end reports typically show significantly more-modest increases. (Note: The year-end report for the Class of 2019 will be released in summer 2020.)

Analysis of the broad categories of majors shows how the limited data are producing results that are not consistent with those collected in the last several years. In fact, the yearly comparisons of the individual disciplines show exactly which areas are driving the overall increase.

Of the top-paid categories, computer and information sciences show one of the highest increases. In addition, the other top-paid categories are showing increases across the board, creating a perfect scenario for a large increase in reported salaries.

Figure 1: CHANGES IN PRELIMINARY REPORTED AVERAGE STARTING SALARIES, 2019 & 2018

 

2018

Average Salary

Percent

Change

Broad

Category

2019

Average Salary

Computer & Information Sciences $81,292 $73,768 10.2%
Engineering $69,180 $65,455 5.7%
Mathematics & Statistics $68,785 $65,349 5.3%
Engineering Technologies $60,473 $57,267 5.6%
Health Professions & Related Programs $54,175 $52,711 2.8%
Business $53,912 $51,872 3.9%
Social Sciences $53,729 $44,047 22.0%
Multi/Interdisciplinary Studies $50,302 $48,966 2.7%

Source: Fall 2019 Salary Survey report, National Association

About Salary Survey: The Fall 2019 Salary Survey report provides actual starting salaries (not projections) for the college Class of 2019. Data were collected from July 10, 2019, through September 27, 2019, and were provided by 89 colleges and universities nationwide, who are participants in NACE’s national First-Destination Survey. The data are preliminary salaries for Class of 2019 graduates in the date range from July 1, 2018, through June 30, 2019. An executive summary of the Fall 2019 Salary Survey report is available on the NACE website.

About NACE: Since 1956, the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) has been the leading source of information about the employment of college graduates. For more information, visit www.naceweb.org.

Enter the San Diego Latino Film Festival International Poster Competition today!

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San Diego Latino Film Festival Poster Design Contest

The San Diego Latino Film Festival (SDLFF) invites *design professionals, artists, and students* from all over the world to produce a commemorative poster design that will represent the history and legacy of the SDLFF.

SDLFF was born out of a desire to take a stand against the status-quo of cinema, to challenge the reigning and ever-present stereotypes about the Latino experience in movies, and to give Latino filmmakers the power of telling and sharing their stories, first-hand, about what it means to be Latino.

We invite you and all other visionary designers to be a part of our history by submitting your project to consideration. The commemorative poster design shall celebrate our core values and our passion for the Latino culture.

Your design will receive national and international exposure, including but not limited to: the cover of the Official SDLFF 2020 Program book, print ads, TV commercials, social media posts, ads, and web banners. Better yet, the winning artwork will receive a prize of $1,000.00 dollars! 

Continue here for the submission details and guidelines.