Do You Have What It Takes to be a Formula 1 Engineer?

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Left to right: Daniel Ricciardo (Renault Formula One™driver), Matthew Kemp (2019 INFINITI Engineering Academy Canadian winner), Adam Paterson (Managing Director, INFINITI

By Peter Placey

Want to be an engineer for the INFINITI and Renault F1Team? The INFINITI Engineering Academy is a grueling global search for motivated and talented engineers to work across automotive and Formula One.

Seven global regions participate with the top 70 engineering students (the 10 best applications from each region) going through to one of the seven regional finals.

The INFINITI Engineering Academy is said to be the most successful technical recruitment initiative, having launched the careers of previous winners. The seven winners not only get access to technology between both INFINITI road car and Renault F1 Team race car projects but are also offered a 12 month paid placement that includes travel, salary, accommodation, access to an INFINITI company car and the opportunity to work alongside the world’s leading engineers in the automotive and motorsport industries.

“We want to create openings for these young engineers,” said Tommaso Volpe, director of Motorsport & Performance Projects, INFINITI Global. “Thanks to our technical partnership with the Renault F1® Team, the Academy can provide these opportunities for our winners.

“As a result, interest in the program has grown exponentially,” Volpe continued. “Almost 30,000 people have registered since the first edition in 2014, and we believe it will keep growing in the future.”

Mathew Kemp, an engineering student from Calgary, was crowned the winner of the INFINITI Engineering Academy 2019 Canadian Final. To win, Kemp had to tackle an intensive program that evaluated both his technical and soft skills, including an engineering exam, one-on-one interviews, a decision-making challenge, a Formula 1 technical challenge and construction of a dragster model vehicle. The final challenge tested Kemps’ communication skills with a Q&A session in the form of a press conference with Canadian journalists.

Source: INFINITI

Pictured left to right: Daniel Ricciardo (Renault Formula One™driver), Matthew Kemp (2019 INFINITI
Engineering Academy Canadian winner), Adam Paterson (Managing Director, INFINITI)

Job seekers, these are the 10 best jobs in America right now

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Diverse business team looking over online security

If you’re not actively looking for a job, there’s a good chance you will be before the month is out. January is the most popular month for job searches, with a 22% increase over any other month, according to Glassdoor.

With that in mind, Glassdoor just released its annual ranking of the 50 best jobs in America. And while it’s no surprise that nearly half are tech jobs, there are a few surprises among the mix.

When scored for salary, number of openings, and job satisfaction ratings from members of the platform, these were the top 10 jobs:

1. Front End Engineer
Job Satisfaction Rating: 3.9
Number of Job Openings: 13,122
Median Base Salary: $105,240

2. Java Developer
Job Satisfaction Rating: 3.9
Number of Job Openings: 16,136
Median Base Salary: $83,589

3. Data Scientist
Job Satisfaction Rating: 4.0
Number of Job Openings: 6,542
Median Base Salary: $107,801

4. Product Manager
Job Satisfaction Rating: 3.8
Number of Job Openings: 12,173
Median Base Salary: $117,713

5. DevOps Engineer
Job Satisfaction Rating: 3.9
Number of Job Openings: 6,603
Median Base Salary: $107,310

6. Data Engineer
Job Satisfaction Rating: 3.9
Number of Job Openings: 6,941
Median Base Salary: $102,472

7. Software Engineer
Job Satisfaction Rating: 3.6
Number of Job Openings: 50,438
Median Base Salary: $105,563
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8. Speech Language Pathologist
Job Satisfaction Rating: 3.8
Number of Job Openings: 29,167
Median Base Salary: $71,867

9. Strategy Manager
Job Satisfaction Rating: 4.3
Number of Job Openings: 3,515
Median Base Salary: $133,067

10. Business Development Manager
Job Satisfaction Rating: 4.0
Number of Job Openings: 6,560
Median Base Salary: $78,480

This is the first time in four years that data scientist didn’t top the list. “While data scientist remains a thriving role, we’re seeing high demand for front end engineers with over 13,000 open roles, nearly double the number of data scientist open jobs,” Amanda Stansell, Glassdoor’s senior economic research analyst, wrote in the report. “In addition to numerous open jobs, front end engineers report competitive salaries and high job satisfaction.”

Continue on to Fast Company to read the complete article.

Meet the 20-Year Old Entrepreneur Behind the Most Innovative Drone Technology

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David Opateyibo pictured in front of his drones on the floor

David Opateyibo is only 20-years old, but is already making international headlines for his ability to create and develop his very own drones.

Born and raised in Nigeria, as a young person, David was always passionate about technology and more specifically aircrafts. He started out creating airplanes from paper, cardboard, and other readily available materials. This led him to enroll in the International College of Aeronautics, Lagos Nigeria for aircraft building technology (ABT) in the year 2015.

He was so advanced that he was invited to also become an instructor while still studying.

In the year 2017, David was recognized for building a drone from scratch and presenting it to the State governor at that time.

Later, he obtained his remote pilot license (RPL) at the age of 19 in the United States of America under the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and became an active member of the Nigeria Unmanned Systems and Robotics Association (NUSA).

In 2018, after completing a 2 year diploma in Applied Aviation Science, he led a team of 5 students of the International College of Aeronautics in building an all metal 2 seat airplane: the Zenith CH 750 Short Takeoff and Landing (STOL) at the Zenith Aircraft Building Company in Missouri.

A real entrepreneur.

Nowadays, David is works as a freelancer for various organizations to provide top notch drone services and products.

He believes that drone technology is where the future lies because drones are being used to carry out tasks that previously only manned aircrafts where known to do – ranging from military to civilian uses.

He comments, “We are in the era of data science, artificial intelligence (AI) and the internet of things (IOT), and with these, we cannot but fathom what the future will bring drones are not going anywhere any time soon.”

Continue on to Black Business to read the complete article.

The BEYA STEM Conference is coming to Washington, D.C.

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group of people arriving at diversity hiring fair

Each year, the BEYA STEM Conference brings professionals and students together for three days to share their experiences and career information.

This year’s event will be held in Washington, D.C., February 13-15 at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park Hotel.

Did you know that science, technology, engineering and mathematics career opportunities, referred to as “STEM” industries, are growing rapidly? Employers cannot fill job postings quickly enough, and there are a wide variety of openings for diverse candidates with the STEM skills necessary to succeed.

You can network with attendees from around the country while participating in seminars and workshops that explore every facet of STEM career paths.

The goal of the BEYA Conference is to create connections between students, educators and STEM professionals while facilitating partnerships with individuals and their local STEM resources.

Make the most of the free career fair! Plan your visit before your arrival and get the most out of your experience. Easily search exhibitors by name. You can create a list of exhibitors your must see.

Watch video from the BEYA STEM 2017 Conference:

Standard registration is by January 31, 2020. Late Registration is by February 1, 2020.

Get all the details about the three-day conference here.

Want a career in tech? Start here.

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group od diverse co-workers gathered around conference table with their laptops

Technological advancements continue to transform the media industry, rapidly changing how media is created, distributed and consumed. This transformation requires new ways of thinking and doing. The Emma Bowen Foundation (EBF) is uniquely suited to provide a pipeline of talent to those companies at the forefront of digital innovation and connectivity.

For example, Njuguna Thande, a Princeton grad who majored in electrical engineering, took an internship at Discovery, Inc., learning software and hardware design at the media company. Here, Njuguna shares what he learned during his four summers immersed at Discovery.

EBF: You interned at Discovery for four summers. How did your role change over time there?

Njuguna Thande: Discovery was open to me shifting departments, so my role changed to fill in gaps in my general engineering knowledge. First, I worked in system design with media engineering for two years, then software design with the IT department, and finally hardware design with facilities engineering. My diverse roles gave me a fuller understanding of an industry-level engineering operation.

EBF: Tell us about a particular challenge or key takeaway.

headshot of Njuguna Thande
Njuguna Thande

NT: The biggest thing I took away from working at Discovery was a much more thorough understanding of engineering as a whole. It gave me a much better picture of how all these teams had some connection to what I was studying. One of the biggest moments was when the company completed the “Cloud Playout” project. This was a multi-year project that involved nearly every engineering team during its various phases. As an EBF intern, I was able to contribute to it from multiple angles through different teams. So, I felt a real sense of camaraderie when the company finally brought it to its conclusion.

EBF: How did EBF prepare you for a career in media?

NT: Joining EBF has been the best decision I’ve made. I wouldn’t have understood so many aspects of media and media technology if I hadn’t decided to become a fellow. Knowing I can lean on them has kept me on track and stopped me from losing focus when things got tough. I couldn’t be more grateful to be a part of EBF. Career-wise, EBF allowed me to take a deep dive into how a media company works. Working at Discovery year after year helped me nail down what I liked about engineering. It created a feedback loop that helped me chart out my path forward.

EBF: What advice do you have for students working toward a career in media?

NT: Your first internship isn’t your last internship. Your first job isn’t your last job. Don’t give up and try to get the most you can out of it. The work you do is meaningful, but it’s more important to understand the people that you work with and how they work with you. With support from more than 75 corporate and nonprofit partners, the Emma Bowen Foundation recruits promising students of color and places them in multi-year paid internships at some of the nation’s leading media and technology companies.

Learn more at emmabowenfoundation.com.

How Black Girls Code transformed from basement experiment to international movement

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Kimberly Bryant stands behind a podium wearing a shirt that read Phenomenal Woman

By Halley Bondy

Throughout her biotech engineering career, Kimberly Bryant was the only black female in the room most of the time. And as Bryant rose the ranks to become manager at companies like DuPont, Phillip Morris and Genentech, she yearned for a more inclusive world for her daughter Kai.

Kai had developed a knack for gaming and coding, which is a very male, white and Asian-dominated business.

“It happened that I stumbled into this issue of diversity of inclusion and tech,” said Bryant in an interview with Know Your Value. “My daughter was about to go to middle school and was interested in tech and video gaming and gaming in general…I found that there wasn’t a strong program that would focus on girls of color and getting them prepared in the skills they’d need to move into this career field.”

Women of color earn less than 10 percent of bachelor’s degrees in computing, according to the Kapor Center. And black women make up less than 0.5 percent of leadership roles in tech. Even in women-led small tech businesses, women of color only comprise 4 percent of the workforce.

With Kai’s help, Bryant called upon colleagues at Genentech to put together a six-week coding curriculum for girls of color in 2011. She conducted the first educational series in a basement of a college prep institution in San Francisco, which was loaned to Bryant for free. Bryant expected about six students, but the class attracted about a dozen girls, including of course, Kai.

Bryant’s small community effort attracted the attention of ThoughtWorks, a global tech consultancy company. ThoughtWorks invested in Bryant in January 2012 and gave her access to space and resources across the country, as well as in Johannesburg, South Africa. In a few years, the operation transformed from a basement experiment into a global non-profit with 15 chapters. They called themselves Black Girls Code.

The more mature chapters might boast up to 1,000 students a year, according to Bryant, who runs the organization full-time.

“I didn’t know it would be a nonprofit,” said Bryant. “This was us just trying to test the waters and make something locally where I could bring my daughter, so she could find a tribe of girls interested in the same thing, but it took off from humble beginnings.”

The Black Girls Code curriculum teaches everything from web development to robotics to Artificial Intelligence. Many of the first-year students are now in college, including Kai, who is in her sophomore year studying computer science.

Bryant wants to expand Black Girls Code into a life-long support network to help retention rates in tech.

“One of the things that I’m really excited about is building out this alumni network that we’ve grown over the last eight years,” said Bryant. “Many of the girls…are about to go to college, and they have a need for support as they continue their career and collegiate journeys.”

Bryant said she was never interested in coding — that was all her daughter. Instead, Bryant studied engineering at Vanderbilt University. She said she met only one other African American female engineering student in her four years there, and that none of her professors were even female, let alone black.

“I didn’t have any role models,” said Bryant.

Still, she excelled. Bryant was only 25 when she became a manager at DuPont in Tennessee. She said her manager there—whom she otherwise adored—jokingly introduced her to the team as a “twofer,” because she was black and a woman.

The Black Girls Code curriculum teaches everything from web development to robotics to Artificial IntelligenceCourtesy of Black Girls Code.

“I’m positive those men had never worked for a black woman as their manager,” she said. “It was a learning experience. I spent most of my career in these types of positions. There were always these implicit and explicit biases that I had to deal with as I tried to establish authority as a black woman.”

Continue on to NBC News read the complete article.

Miss America Is Now a Scientist! Camille Schrier of Virginia Wins Crown After On-Stage Experiment

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Camille Schrier conducts science experiment on stage during the Miss America pageant

There she is, Miss America!

Miss Virginia Camille Schrier earned the title of Miss America 2020 on Thursday night, beating out 50 other contestants for the prestigious crown after performing the show’s first-ever science demonstration in the talent portion.

Schrier, 24, showed the audience the catalytic decomposition of hydrogen peroxide, and earned high praise from the judges — Kelly Rowland, Queer Eye‘s Karamo Brown and Superstore actress Lauren Ash — when she told them, “Miss America is someone who needs to educate.”

Prior to her win, Schrier — a PharmD student at Virginia Commonwealth University School of Pharmacy — thanked the pageant for “taking the focus off our bodies” and giving her a chance to be recognized for her smarts, personality and mission.

Schrier said her goal as Miss America was to promote drug safety and abuse prevention while also championing STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education.

She was presented with the crown, which comes with more than $300,000 scholarships and a year of representing the organization, by her predecessor, Miss America 2019 Nia Franklin, 26.

Continue on to People to read the complete article.

Women Knocking it Out of the Park in STEM

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Miranda Cosgrove is featured on posted for Mission Unstoppable series

New CBS Series Mission Unstoppable Showcases Leading Women in STEM

A new series called Mission Unstoppable has joined the seventh season of CBS’s three-hour Saturday morning block, CBS Dream Team….It’s Epic!

In Mission Unstoppable, celebrity host and co-executive producer Miranda Cosgrove highlights the fascinating female innovators who are on the cutting edge of science–including zoologists, engineers, astronauts, codebreakers and oceanographers. Each week, viewers will be inspired by female STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) superstars in the fields of social media, entertainment, animals, design and the internet–all categories key to the teen experience.

Academy Award-winning actress Geena Davis serves as executive producer, bringing her passion for creating change in the portrayal of strong female characters in entertainment and media that positively influence young viewers.

“Strong female role models are essential to breaking down barriers and educating the next generation of leaders about gender equality,” said Geena Davis, executive producer, Mission Unstoppable. “Girls need to see themselves on and off the screen as STEM professionals, and as I always say, ‘If they can see it, they can be it.’ This new series strives to empower young women and showcase the many ways they can impact the world through careers in STEM.”

Source: Litton Entertainment, IF/THEN, Lyda Hill Philanthropies, Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media

Purdue’s Computer Science Department Graduates First African-Purdue’s Computer Science Department Graduates First African-American Woman PhD Amber Johnson pictured leaning on a tre outside smilingAmerican Woman PhD

Amber Johnson made history as the first African-American woman PhD graduate from Purdue University’s Department of Computer Science this past summer. Johnson sees Purdue’s Computer Science Department having an African-American woman PhD graduate as definite progress and would love to see more. It’s the same kind of progress she sees in her mentorship of African-American students in Black Girls Rock Tech, a computational and leadership program for adolescent girls where she serves as an instructor. “I have mentors like Dr. Raquel Hill and Dr. Jamika Burge, who are pioneers in the CS community, and I want to pay it forward,” Johnson said. The graduate, who will be joining Northrup Grumman in Maryland, remains active with the Future Technical Leader program, where she will have an opportunity to work in various locations around the country.

Source: cs.purdue.edu

World Class Skier Lindsey Vonn Inspires Girls in STEM

The greatest female snow skier of all time, Lindsey Vonn is on a mission to help young girls become more involved in STEM education through the Lindsey Vonn Foundation (LVF). This past summer, Vonn surprised 38 scholarship applicants with a personalized congratulations video:

“I want to be the first person to tell you that you have officially received a Lindsey Vonn Scholarship. So proud to have you on the team and I’m US former alpine ski racer Lindsey Vonn attends the world premiere of "Fast & Furious presents Hobbs & Shawreally looking forward to see what you are going to accomplish in the future. We’re very impressed by you so keep it up, keep making an impact and a difference, and most importantly keep having fun.”

The kids’ parents recorded “reaction videos,” of their kids watching the video from Vonn.

Reactions ranged from disbelief to jumping on beds.

Scholarships were awarded for enrichment programs that included dance camps, travel abroad, U.S. Space & Rocket center camp, youth theatre, The School of the New York Times, cycling, The New Charter University Congress of Future Medical Leaders, Rustic Pathways, University of Wyoming Summer Music Camp, Aerospace Engineering Camp at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and Blue Print Summer Program for college prep.

This year marks the inaugural partnership between the LVF and iD Tech Camps—the world leader in STEM education. LVF’s goal for the summer was to award scholarships to 20 girls to attend iD Tech’s renowned summer STEM programs, and iD Tech pledged to match this philanthropic commitment.

In the end, LVF exceeded this goal with 22 girls receiving full scholarships to iD Tech. Recipients have the option of attending either iD Tech’s co-ed camps or its highly successful and innovative all-girls program, called Alexa Cafe.

Recipients can enroll in iD Tech courses such as Game Design and Development, Al Lab: Robotics and Coding, Film Studio Video Production for YouTube, Make Games with Java, 3D Character Design Modeling program, Create Apps with Java, Photo Booth: Pro Photography for Instagram, Roblox Entrepreneur: Imaginative Game Design, 3D Studio: Modeling and Animation, and Python Coding.

Source: Lindsey Vonn Foundation, snewsnet.com

Shake Those Pom-Poms for Science!

Let’s Go STEM!! More than 200 current and former professional cheerleaders for the NBA, NFL and UFL who are also pursuing careers in science and technology have banded together to form the Science Cheerleaders. The organization’s mission is to challenge science and cheerleading stereotypes and inspire the nation’s 3-4 million cheerleaders to consider a career in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). SciStarter.com, Science Cheerleader’s sister site, connects millions of “regular” people to hundreds of opportunities to do real research as Citizen Scientists.

Science Cheerleaders holding up a "Science" banner on a football field“One of our goals at Science Cheerleader is to show kids that they can have fun cheering and dancing and still pursue fulfilling careers in science and technology at the same time,” said Darlene Cavalier, founder of the Science Cheerleaders.

Carvalier says the cheer squad does this by recasting the image of scientists and engineers while giving people the opportunity to explore their personal interests as a gateway to science. They communicate in ways that inspire people using their very real, very personal stories at schools, festivals, malls, on tv, online, at cheer events, games…wherever the people are. The point: science is accessible to ALL!

Source: sciencecheerleader.com

Athletes: The Ideal Candidates for Employment

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Athletic man doing pushups in office on the floor with two large stacks of pater under his hands

By Nadene Hart

Athletes are known for their superior ability to move, react, and perform in their respective areas, but what do athletes bring to the table in day-to-day life? The value of a life-long athletic career transcends far beyond stadium lights and physical ability. Sports in their entirety are a never-ending learning curve. From understanding of the game and individual moves and plays to the ability to work within a team and be a part of a greater whole, sports are an organized microcosm of what it means to function successfully, even exceptionally, in the real world.

A study by the Human Kinetics Journal claims that participating in sports produces the development of “transformational leadership skills” which greatly add to an individual’s strength and marketability as employees. Beyond being energetic and hard-working, the profusion of desirable qualities that athletes possess extends well beyond the capacity of a list.

Concisely, athletes as employees are a preferable choice for employers for numerous reasons:

Athletes are punctual

Before an athlete can touch a ball, take a shot or make a play, they have to be on time. Athletes are consistent and punctual; whether it be for practice or a game, it is the expectation that all players be, not only on time, but early. Punctuality is never a cause for worry when employing athletes.

Athletes are competitive

The innate desire to be competitive works to the employer’s benefit. May it be to meet a sales goal, stay late to finish their work or go above and beyond for a client, athletes have a natural inclination to want to push themselves. According to an article from Business Insider, the competitive streak, while typically seen as an interpersonal quality, actually has most to do with the way an athlete pushes themselves. Always expecting more from their performance, an athlete knows that the only way to get the job done right is to give it their all, every time.

Both single player sports and team sports produce desirable qualities

Athletes from a team sport vs. the single-player athlete: not all athletes have a team sport background, sports like tennis and boxing leave an individual to perform on their own. May it be a team sport or individual, the benefit the employer reaps is equally as effective. A team sport player understands how to be part of a whole. They understand their role and how to interact with others in such a way that it benefits the group, as well as how to work with different personalities and backgrounds to complete a common goal. Athletes from an individual sport have an intrinsic sense of responsibility, and because they have no one to rely on while on the court, are always going to push themselves to get the job done.

Athletes are coachable

Coachability is a skill which combines the value of humility with the initiative and desire to learn. To excel at any sport, athletes have a career-long trial and error process. According to a CNBC article, the ability to not only be critiqued and pushed constantly, but to hear critical information in a receptive, calm and eager way is an invaluable quality that athletes consistently display in their work environments. An athlete in the office will be told what they are doing wrong, ask how to fix it and immediately put the wheels in motion. “Accountability and coachability are two of the most marketable qualities for an employee to exhibit,” said Lisa Strasman of the NCSA, an analytic and data driven recruiting network for athletes.

Athletes are natural multi-taskers

Not only are they able to balance several projects at once, but athletes stay calm under pressure and even thrive in stressful environments. In a game setting, an athlete has to be aware of the clock, the score, their coach’s demands and the players on the floor. Deadlines, quotas and client expectations are the corporate parallel to the components of a game, and an athlete is sure to excel in their careers as they would in a competition. Punctuality, reliability, the desire to compete and excel, the ability to work well with others, coachability and staying calm and focused under pressure are just some of the qualities an athlete brings to their job.

Vincent McCaffrey, CEO of Game Theory Group, claims that for young people entering the workforce out of college, playing a sport serves as a sort of resume to show a prospective employee’s ability to be punctual, reliable, and hard working. “Collegiate athletes make some of the best employees,” said McCaffrey. “Most 22-year-olds have no track record from an employment standpoint, but the experience a student athlete has developed bodes well in the workplace.”

Overall, athletes possess several great qualities that any employer would value. So for your next hire, look to these focused and driven individuals to add to not only your workplace culture but also your bottom line.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Gives Kids a Shot That Can’t be Blocked

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Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on a stage dressed in a suit smiling

By Brady Rhoades

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar — NBA Hall of Famer, best-selling author, renowned columnist, historian, philanthropist— is laser-focused on underprivileged kids.

The key to empowering them?

Education.

Through his Skyhook Foundation and Camp Skyhook, he’s on a mission to give inner city kids a “shot that can’t be blocked” at careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math; many educators have added arts to the concept and use the acronym STEAM).

“The feedback from the kids is always a highlight for me,” he said, in an interview with STEAM Magazine. “They are enthusiastic, grateful, and excited about the experience. Horace Mann once said that ‘a house without books is like a room without windows.’ Before attending Camp Skyhook, many of our students couldn’t see themselves pursuing a STEM-related career. We’re building windows so they can see more possibilities for their future.

“Our students often come from economically disadvantaged neighborhoods,” Abdul-Jabbar continued. “They’re used to running the race of life with weights attached to them. Their shot at equal opportunities — whether in education, jobs, health care, etc. — is blocked by systemic social inequalities. We try to create a path where their shot at life can’t be blocked because of those disadvantages. We’re trying to even the playing field.”

Abdul-Jabbar is so committed to this venture that he’s sold personal memorabilia, such as championship rings and MVP plaques, in order to raise $2.8 million – a portion of which was donated to Camp Skyhook.

“Looking back on what I have done with my life, instead of gazing at the sparkle of jewels or gold plating celebrating something I did a long time ago, I’d rather look into the delighted face of a child holding their first caterpillar and think about what I might be doing for their future,” he said. “That’s a history that has no price.”

Kareem out in community visiting with a young boy in the library
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar out in community visiting with a young boy in the library

So what exactly are the Skyhook Foundation and Camp Skyhook?

The Los Angeles non-profit helps public school students in the city access a free, fun, weeklong STEM education camp in the Angeles National Forest. Every week throughout the year, in cooperation with the Los Angeles Unified School District, groups of fourth and fifth graders attend Camp Skyhook at the Clear Creek Outdoor Education Center. The hands-on science curriculum encourages students to study nature up close. They also get to hike, swim and sing songs around campfires.

Currently, there’s a six-year waiting list for students to get into the camp.

“I’m happy we’re doing what we are, but I’m frustrated because we want to do even more,” said the six-time NBA champion and six-time MVP. “This program gives students STEM-based activities in an environment they rarely experience: the natural world. It also inspires their curiosity and sense of wonder.”

Abdul-Jabbar said it’s paramount to increase opportunities in STEM, especially for minorities.

“African-American men make up only 3 percent of science and engineering occupations versus 49 percent white men,” he said. “Black women have only 2 percent versus 18 percent for white women. Part of the reason is that a STEM education doesn’t seem like a real possibility to many minority children educated in inferior schools. We can turn that around. We have to turn it around.”

One of the iconic photos in UCLA basketball history taken by Norm Levin: Lew Alcindor, the 7-foot-2 big man who would one day wind up as NBA superstar Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, getting all of the ball for a blocked shot against the University of Minnesota on Dec. 27, 1967
One of the iconic photos in UCLA basketball history taken by Norm Levin: Lew Alcindor, the 7-foot-2 big man who would one day wind up as NBA superstar Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, getting all of the ball for a blocked shot against the University of Minnesota on Dec. 27, 1967.

A native of Harlem, Abdul-Jabbar was a three-time NCAA champion and three-time Player of the Year at UCLA, where he played under legendary coach John Wooden.

He played 20 seasons in the NBA for the Milwaukee Bucks and the Los Angeles Lakers. During his career as a center, Abdul-Jabbar was a record 19-time NBA All-Star.

For Lakers fans, he is, perhaps, most beloved for his dominating performance in the 1985 finals against the Boston Celtics. The Lakers broke a decades-long losing streak to the Celtics and Abdul-Jabbar was named finals MVP.

He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1995 and named one of the 50 greatest players in league history in 1996. A statue showing him wielding the greatest weapon in basketball annals – the skyhook – was unveiled outside of Staples Center in 2012.

Since his stellar professional career, he has gone on to become a celebrated New York Times-bestselling author, a filmmaker, and a columnist for The Guardian and the Hollywood Reporter. He writes insightful and in-depth columns about pop culture and social justice.

His curiosity is nothing less than feral.

Did you know he’s huge fan of Sherlock Holmes, and his latest writing project — co-authored by Anna Waterhouse — is a mystery novel? It’s called Mycroft and Sherlock, The Empty Birdcage.

On top of all that, President Barack Obama awarded him the Medal

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar receives the Presidential Medal of Freedom from former President Barack Obama.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar receives the Presidential Medal of Freedom from former President Barack Obama.

of Freedom in 2016.

“I can do more than stuff a ball through a hoop,” he said. “My mind is my greatest asset.”

The same can be said of the children he’s helping, even if they don’t know it yet.

The Skyhook Foundation — the website for information and donations at https://skyhookfoundation.org/ — is demonstrably effective. Did you think for a second Abdul-Jabbar wouldn’t track the results?

“We know it’s effective because our follow-up research shows that students have increased interest in science, engineering and the environment,” he said. “In practical terms, it means they take more science classes and feel more confident in the classroom asking and answering questions. Former participants who are now adults tell us this was their most memorable elementary school experience.”

It’s widely agreed-upon that Abdul-Jabbar’s skyhook was unstoppable—virtually unblockable. He shot thousands upon thousands of them, and tallied 38,387 points in his career. He is the greatest scorer in the history of professional basketball. Nobody’s ever re-created that magnificent hook shot.

Abdul-Jabbar’s message to kids: Develop a shot that can’t be blocked.

The game of life is played on a surface supremely larger than the 94-x-50-foot chunk of wood hoops players play on.

The winning play? Give yourself a shot to be an all-star in science, technology, engineering, arts, and math.

Weld Like A Girl: A Millennial Woman’s Success In A Man’s World

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millenial woman welding

In 2010, women made up just 4% of the welding workforce. Eight years later, that number that had only increased by 1%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But a new generation of women welders is looking to change that statistic—and the face of the industry.

Megan is one such woman who found a career in a man’s profession. As a high school student, she didn’t set out to defy longstanding gender stereotypes. She just wanted to gain a lifelong, marketable skill in the high-demand field of welding. “My dad was very supportive of me learning a skill that most women don’t know and ‘back in the day’ wouldn’t even want to learn,” she says.

Unlike other manufacturing positions that can be sent offshore, welding is most often done on site. As a result, the welding industry in the U.S. is expected to grow 6% by 2026—and there aren’t enough skilled welders to meet demand.

While previous initiatives to attract women to the field focused on career benefits like high wages and job security, newer programs like Women Who Weld provide women-only training programs that make the craft accessible and affordable to an untapped female workforce.

Megan first discovered her affinity for welding at Iowa’s Davenport West High School. “I love working with my hands, especially fabricating fascinating works of art and things people could use,” she says. She now works as a welder at John Deere Davenport Works. “When it comes to production welding, I can look at a Motor Grader passing by my house and proudly say, ‘I built that.’”

Though welding was a skilled and lucrative career, Megan knew it was an unusual choice for a young woman. “When I went to high school, society wasn’t really used to women welders. I’ve had to overcome a lot of obstacles in this industry being a female and I’ve had to prove myself ten times as much as others, but that’s where I get some of my pride.”

I can look at a Motor Grader passing by my house and proudly say, ‘I built that.’

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