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Monday, August 31, 2015
Higher Education
Graduated From An Engineering Bootcamp? Now What? (TechCrunch)
The current quandary is that our education system is inept at preparing students for jobs in the modern, web-related industry. The current liberal arts curriculum, while well-intended, focuses on softer skills. Though better, computer science-oriented degrees are still built on dated client-side syntax that leaves much to be desired when trying to transition to the web. The solution: the rise of the 4-, 8- or 10-week pop-up product and engineering school. These schools promise to take the eager technologist to the forefront of the startup community. As with everything in life, especially in the startup space, there are no shortcuts to getting good jobs — even with the markets being as lopsided as they are.

Lafferre Hall gets $500,000 for renovation (Columbia Missourian)
The MU College of Engineering received a $500,000 gift for the ongoing Lafferre Hall renovation. Burns & McDonnell, an engineering, architecture and consulting firm based in Kansas City, donated $400,000, according to a Friday news release by the College of Engineering. The remaining $100,000 came from Ray Kowalik and his wife, Jill Kowalik, executive vice president and president of global practice at Burns & McDonnell, earned his undergraduate degree in civil engineering at MU. "This gift in support of the college's renovation serves to reinforce the university's commitment to [STEM] in order to provide our students with the tools they need to be successful in today's job market," MU Provost Garnett Stokes said..

Virginia Tech engineering education professors seek to find ways to reduce time spent studying for a degree (Augusta Free Press)
As the costs of a college education continue to soar, and politicians scramble for ways to make the academic experience more economically feasible, two Virginia Tech engineering education professors are investigating helpful strategies for avoiding pitfalls that prolong completion times when pursuing doctoral degrees. The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded $1.28 million to Virginia Tech engineering education faculty members Stephanie Adams and Holly Matusovich to offer a Dissertation Institute to evaluate issues that could lead to shortening a student’s time to earn a doctoral degree. Specifically, Adams and Matusovich, both previous recipients of an NSF CAREER award, will focus on studying a group of 170 underrepresented students pursuing doctoral degrees in engineering through attending a Dissertation Institute.

Cal State L.A. receives more than $1 million in STEM research grants (Civil + Structural Engineer)
Cal State L.A.’s College of Engineering, Computer Science, and Technology has been awarded a $580,000 grant from the Office of Naval Research (ONR) and a $500,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD). The principal investigator of both grants is Cal State L.A.’s Civil Engineering Professor Mark Tufenkjian. The ONR grant will help develop a Naval STEM Program within the College of Engineering, Computer Science, and Technology at Cal State L.A. The goal of the program is to provide a pipeline of high quality graduates in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields who will be prepared for civilian jobs in the Navy. The grant will be funded over a three-year period.
Diversity in STEM
Rowan Engineering Partners on Promoting LGBTQ Equality in STEM (newswise)
Long an innovator in broadening participation in the engineering education of underserved and underrepresented minorities, the Rowan University Henry M. Rowan College of Engineering, Glassboro, New Jersey, now is taking a lead in transforming science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields for the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer) community. Rowan Engineering’s Dr. Stephanie Farrell is heading a national team working under a $299,998 National Science Foundation EAGER (Early-concept Grants for Exploratory Research) award recently presented to the American Society for Engineering Education for the project titled “Promoting LGBTQ Equality in Engineering through Virtual Communities of Practice.”

Rock Valley College, Northern Illinois University to inspire girls and minorities to become engineers [VIDEO] (Rockford Register Star)
Engineering professors, recruiters and alumni from Northern Illinois University will become a more familiar sight in the classrooms of Rockford-area middle and high schools as the university cements a unique education partnership with Rock Valley College. The U.S. produces 56,000 to 60,000 engineers a year, but it's not enough. Higher education leaders know that they must tap the well of female and minority students to keep America economically competitive and at the forefront of engineering technology. Rock Valley and NIU announced this week that they'll build on a credit-transfer relationship. The university will set up shop on the community college's campus next year, allowing students to earn bachelor's and master's degrees in engineering without having to trek to DeKalb.
K-12 Education
Apps to Bring Math and Science Skills Back After Summer’s Slide (New York Times)
After a summer of fun, the shift back into schoolwork can be tough for kids. Feeling out-of-practice when it comes to math facts, logical thinking or even, for younger kids, the alphabet can make the transition even harder. It’s time for a little review, but that review will go over much more sweetly if it seems more like fun than work. The right apps can do that better than almost anything else, but when you’re downloading apps for their educational value, it’s important to be cautious. In far too many apps, the learning is easy to circumvent, either by playing the game only up to a certain point, or (especially for very small kids) by trying random swipes and pokes rather than solving the problems.

Falling in love with STEM (Shreveport Times)
Charles Moser climbed onto a classroom table Friday morning and shouted “eyeballs!” His students turned to find him looking at one of the leaves they’d collected through a magnifying glass. Then it was their turn. Kindergarteners Dillen Robinson and Cameron Brantley shared a magnifying glass and looked at the veins outlined on the leaf. Both students smiled at each other and worked together to identify what they couldn’t see with their naked eyes. “I want to be an animal researcher because of this science class,” said Robinson. And that’s the whole point of Project Lead the Way, a STEM-focused program being implemented at University Elementary School in Caddo.
New Hampshire
NH Scholars program adds pathway in arts, science fields (AP)
A program that encourages New Hampshire high school students to take more rigorous courses is offering new options this fall. The NH Scholars program brings together schools and businesses to offer incentives and recognition to students who commit to completing four years of English and math, three years of laboratory science, three and a half years of social science courses and two years of a foreign language. This year, students also will be encouraged to become NH Scholars through pathways that emphasize the arts or STEM subects: science, technology engineering and math. The new options will require a minimum grade point average as well as classes focused on each specific path.
Ohio's Top 20 colleges for STEM degrees (Dayton Business Journal)
A new report details which Ohio colleges and universities have the highest percentage of STEM degrees awarded. PayScale Inc., a provider of on-demand compensation data and software, has released its 2015-16 College Salary Report. This year PayScale reports on salary data for alumni of a total of 1,519 schools, but also includes a breakdown of degree types awarded. The list ranks 46 Ohio colleges by STEM graduates. We have pulled out the Top 20 Ohio colleges with the highest percentage of degrees awarded in Science, Technology, Engineering or Math subjects. Five Dayton-area colleges made the Top 20.
STEM Innovation
Daniel Pianko (Managing Director, University Ventures): Why Silicon Valley Falls Short When It Comes To Education (TechCrunch)
Despite Silicon Valley billionaires’ remarkable track record of innovation, it appears they have decided to throw in the towel on higher education. Each year, many donate millions to old-line American colleges and universities that, together, graduate the same number of engineers as we did 25 years ago. STEM jobs will grow by more than 17 percent in the next decade, but an aging STEM workforce and small number of students graduating today with STEM degrees means there are more than 2.5 million unfilled STEM jobs in the U.S. Today, only 18 percent of Computer Science graduates are women. The numbers for underrepresented minorities are even worse.

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New Smithsonian Web Series Helps Teachers Get in Back-to-School Spirit
As teachers prepare to greet classrooms full of new faces in the coming weeks, many may turn to professional development opportunities to refresh and strengthen their skills for the year ahead. Recognizing the challenges of traditional professional development tools, which often require significant investments of both time and money, the Smithsonian Science Education Center (SSEC) launched “Good Thinking!: The Science of Teaching Science” in June — a free, engaging and entertaining web series designed to support science educators. The series addresses the need for accessible professional development tools that help teachers break down barriers to understanding scientific principles and enhance their classroom skills. A first-of-its-kind series, Good Thinking! comprises short, animated videos that explore pedagogical ideas across a range of subject-matter topics such as natural selection, energy, and the water cycle as well as cognitive research findings on topics like student motivation, the myths of learning styles and left- and right-brained people. We sat down with Dr. Marjee Chmiel, Associate Director for Curriculum and Communications for Smithsonian Institution, for a Q&A about the Good Thinking! series.

Join the STEMconnector Team! We're Seeking a Business Development & Client Services Intern!
Are you passionate about the future of our country and the future of our workforce? Do you want to join a team of dynamic professionals that share your passion? Do you want to be a part of a group that is helping improve the quality of our STEM workforce? Then apply to join the STEMconnector team! As the “one-stop shop” for all things STEM, we are committed to connecting entities working in the field of STEM and are looking for dynamic, motivated, and intellectually curious interns to join our team. We are currently looking for interns to join our team for Fall 2015 in the areas of: business development, client services, marketing, communications, and research.

ICYMI: STEM Town Hall- Leveraging Game-Based Learning to Increase STEM Engagement
STEMconnector®, in collaboration with MIND Research Institute, hosted a STEM Town Hall on August 25th entitled "Leveraging Game-Based Learning to Increase STEM Engagement." For this event, we looked beyond the achievement gap and into the "experience gap" where too many students are lacking the rich mathematical experiences that lead to deeper mathematical understanding and greater joy in the learning process. In a STEM-focused world, students of all backgrounds need these experiences to see themselves as capable mathematical thinkers and problem solvers. Game-based learning is widely used in classrooms to engage students while fostering deeper learning that meets educational goals. The Town Hall saw an authority on game-based learning, a professional game designer, educators , a corporate supporter, and students discuss their experiences building their own math games and getting hands-on with learning.