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Wednesday, March 12, 2014
ASU event prepares high school students for STEM careers (ASU News)
STEM Career Accelerator Day is a national effort by STEMconnector and its STEM Innovation Task Force to encourage students to pursue STEM careers through an experiential field trip to a major company or university sites. Arizona State University will host two events with corporate partners Honeywell and Tata Consultancy Services from 8:30 a.m.-2:15 p.m., March 18, for educators and students in grades 9-12 on the Polytechnic campus; and from 6:30-8 p.m. for parents at the new ASU Chandler Innovation Center. The goal of the day nationally is to personally engage 500 students in all partner facilities and virtually engage an additional 5,000 students to inspire persistence in STEM coursework and related careers.
Women in STEM
Simona De Silvestro speaks at Million Women Mentors Celebration (Racer)
IndyCar veteran turned Sauber F1 team affiliate driver Simona De Silvestro spoke yesterday at a Senate and Congressional Leaders Celebratory Luncheon in Washington D.C., as part of Million Women Mentors celebration of National Women's History Month. The Swiss driver spoke to a group that included over 15 key women Senate and House leaders and business executives as they gathered to join the Million Women Mentors (MWM) campaign in the Hart Senate Building. The event saluted U.S. Senators and Representatives for their work in advancing the roles of girls and women in [STEM].

LinkedIn and MentorNet: A Partnership To Get More Women in STEM (LinkedIn)
We believe strongly that providing the right support in the form of role models could yield positive results in terms of getting more women in STEM positions, and it could also be an effective measure in balancing out the gender gap. And because we believe further steps need to be taken, today we’re pleased to announce our partnership with MentorNet, a national nonprofit that provides all STEM students with access to high-quality mentoring experiences by connecting them with professionals in their field. Using an online social networking platform, students (called prot�g�s) can build relationships with mentors, connecting across generational, gender, racial, cultural, and socio-economic boundaries.

AAUW receives grant to encourage girls to explore STEM fields (Gaylord Herald Times)
The American Association of University Women (AAUW) Gaylord Area Branch was recently selected to receive one of only 10 grants awarded nationwide to host Tech Savvy, a conference designed to encourage sixth- to ninth-grade girls to explore STEM fields. “Tech Savvy was founded in 2006 by the AAUW Buffalo (N.Y.) Branch under the leadership of then-branch president and Praxair engineer Tamara Brown,” said Mary Fox, AAUW Gaylord Area Branch’s Tech Savvy committee chair “Our local AAUW branch is excited to be able to replicate a proven curriculum and bring this unique opportunity to Gaylord.”
Robotiky Is (Yet) Another Cute Way To Teach Kids Coding Using Robots (TechCrunch)
Say hey to Robotiky: a robot designed to be programmed by kids using a simplified drag-and-drop software interface on their computer. It’s getting hard to keep track of all the startups looking for cute ways to crack a hard problem: teaching kids how to code without boring them to death. Robotiky’s U.K.-based makers describe their brainchild as “Scratch meets the LEGO Mindstorms” — since they’ve mashed up a simplified drag-and-drop programming interface with a programmable robot.

TechStars-Backed Codementor Launches To Provide Programmers With One-On-One Help (TechCrunch)
Codementor, an open marketplace for one-on-one programming help, is now open to the public after finishing a three-month stint at TechStars Seattle. The site connects users with experts in a wide range of programming languages for situations ranging from emergency debugging to more in-depth tutoring. While in TechStars, Liu and other members of Codementors’ founding team spent a lot of time talking to customers and developers in North America, South America, Asia, and Europe, to find out what they wanted from the service.
Higher Education
Denson to chair national STEM council (Business Record)
Des Moines Area Community College President Rob Denson has been chosen to lead a national forum for college and university leaders to address the need for more [STEM] talent. Denson will chair the STEM Higher Education Council, a new initiative announced today by STEMconnector, a national network and website launched in 2011 to identify and connect STEM programs throughout the United States. The Higher Education Council's mission will be to bring focused energy to higher education's leading high-impact practices, increasing the emphasis on STEM pipeline-to-jobs efforts.

Science on Tap to focus on advancing children's understanding of engineering concepts (Purdue)
Purdue University engineering education professors Monica Cardella and Ṣenay Purzer will headline this week's Science on Tap with a talk on efforts and successes in exposing students in younger grades to engineering concepts. The lecture, titled "Engineering at Home, Schools, Museums and Beyond," is at 6 p.m. Thursday (March 13) in the upstairs of Lafayette Brewing Company, 622 Main St., Lafayette. This month's Science on Tap, which is free and open to those 21 and older, is sponsored by the School of Engineering Education, College of Engineering and Discovery Park.
US Sailing
Charleston Race Week to host US Sailing’s STEM Educator Course (Sailing Scuttlebutt)
For the past decade, proceeds from Sperry Top-Sider Charleston Race Week are donated to support nonprofit sailing organizations in the Charleston area, including Veterans on Deck and Charleston Community Sailing. For 2014, the organizers have partnered with US Sailing to support that organization’s STEM education initiative – REACH. Launched in 2012, U.S. Sailing’s REACH program is a combination of sailing and STEM education for middle school students. Using a 10-point curriculum aligned with national school standards, the REACH program offers lessons using wind data, meteorology and more.
Common Core
How to Teach the Standards Without Becoming Standardized (Mind/Shift KQED)
Is it possible for teachers to meet standards without teaching in a standardized way? This question is at the heart of the ambivalence around Common Core State Standards for many educators. Supporters of the Common Core, including the developers and many educators, maintain that the new standards are a move away from No Child Left Behind because they focus on developing students’ skills rather than specific content areas that teachers should cover. But because a standardized test will be used to evaluate how effectively students are learning those skills, the temptation to try and teach to the test still exists.
Pi Day 2014
Five Excellent Ways to Celebrate Pi Day on 3/14 (Dept. of Education Homeroom)
It’s time to celebrate Pi! And if the very thought of the irrational number is making you hungry for knowledge, you’re not alone. Pi Day (3/14) is the unofficial holiday dedicated to pi. Pi is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter, and it’s an irrational number, so it can’t be expressed as a simple fraction of two integers. The number starts out with 3.14, but it goes on for infinity! This special day is also the perfect time to plan STEM-themed activities for your classroom or with your children at home.
What are some common barriers keeping young people from pursuing STEM degrees in college? (Quora)
The number of STEM degrees awarded to American college students has been declining over the last few decades. Why? What are some things that keep students from pursuing a STEM degree? Anecdotes are welcome. No answer is expected to be completely comprehensive, through references to the academic literature on this topic are welcome.
U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly Joins Expert Panel to Address Critical Role of Women in STEM Fields (PRNewswire)
U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly today joined a panel of STEM experts at DeVry University to discuss the critical role women in Illinois can have in filling the expected 348,000 jobs by 2018 in the fields of [STEM]. Less than 10 percent of female high school students in Illinois are interested in science, and only about 2 percent are interested in technology, engineering and math, according to a 2013 report by Kelly was joined at the Women in STEM Education and Careers Roundtable by representatives from the business and nonprofit sectors, as well as educators and students. Panelists discussed their experiences and provided guidance for women pursuing STEM degrees and careers.
Patrick D’Amelio (CEO, Washington STEM): Legislators need to invest in STEM education (Bellevue Reporter)
Washington’s many technology employers are hungry for qualified workers, from the folks who install and maintain the systems that keep buildings running in downtown Spokane, to nuclear physicists at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, to agricultural workers in Yakima Valley, to software engineers at Microsoft’s campus in Redmond. But although we rank first in the nation for creating jobs that require [STEM] skills, we’re not doing a good job of preparing and inspiring the next generation to compete for those good paying jobs, which range from requiring a strong high school education, technical certificate or a wide range of postsecondary degrees.
STEM Food & Ag
Valley ag education backers will fight for grant program (The Modesto Bee)
Busloads of FFA boosters plan to descend on the state Capitol next week in support of a grant program for agricultural education. The campaign, discussed Monday at the Turlock Chamber of Commerce’s Ag Scholarship Luncheon, is aimed at Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposal to divert the $4.1 million for the annual program into general school funding. Louie Brown, chairman of the California FFA Foundation board, said the program is vital to providing technical and leadership skills to high school students planning careers in farming and other fields. More than 300 people turned out at the Turlock Turf Club for the 14th annual event. It has raised $167,800 for scholarships and about $90,000 for other ag education efforts, including the 4-H Farmyard Experience at the Stanislaus County Fair.

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STEMconnector� Launches National STEM Career Accelerator Day Pilot With Seven National Organizations to Excite Students About STEM Career Opportunities
On March 18th STEMconnector� will launch the pilot STEM Career Accelerator Day (#STEMCAD14) program in collaboration with Arizona State University (ASU), Honeywell, NASA, PepsiCo, Tata Consultancy Services, Teach For America, and Spark 101. STEMCAD14 aims to excite high school students about the possibilities of a STEM career through an experiential field trip to a major corporate, government, or higher education facility. The national goal of the pilot program is to personally engage 500 students in all partner facilities and virtually engage an additional 5,000 students to inspire commitment to STEM coursework and related careers. “PepsiCo is committed to promoting STEM education. Each of the STEM disciplines represents a crucial component of our future, both for our company and our country. STEM Career Accelerator Day will help us nurture talent sustainability and fill the jobs of tomorrow,” said Heidi Kleinbach-Sauter, senior vice president, Research and Development, PepsiCo Americas Foods.

‘Flatland’ Filmmakers and Actress-Mathematician Danica McKellar Explore the Math Behind the Hit Movie ‘Sphereland’ at USA Science & Engineering Festival Expo!
Movie fans will remember the hit animated film Flatland: The Movie, and its 2012 sequel, Flatland 2: Sphereland – two productions highly acclaimed for their creative use of math and sci-fi inventiveness. At the Festival Expo in April, get set to meet the filmmakers of these movies – producer Seth Caplan, and writer/director Dano Johnson -- in an amazing stage presentation in which they take you behind-the-scenes of Flatland 2, including explaining the mathematics behind its captivating animations, and how the theme of scientific inquiry drive the movie’s characters. During the presentation, the filmmakers will be joined by mathematician and actress Danica McKellar, who best known for starring roles in TV’s The Wonder Years, and The West Wing, and for her candid, bestselling books that motivate girls in mathematics.

Youth Voices of Change Video Contest
Make a video for Youth Voices of Change! Youth in grades 4-12 are invited to submit a video (maximum 2 minutes long) that shares solution projects or helps raise awareness about climate change issues for a chance to win great prizes, including: money for their project, new video equipment, and gift certificates to local businesses. Ten lucky finalists and their videos will be featured on the big screen at the Youth Voices Film Festival in the evening of August 22, 2014 on the Sustainability Stage at the Eco Experience at the Minnesota State Fair. Awards will be announced at that time. This event is in partnership with the MN Pollution Control Agency.

Freescale Foundation Announces 2013 Grant Recipients
Continuing its commitment to help develop the next generation of innovators, the Freescale Foundation today announced its grant recipients for calendar year 2013. The funding supports STEM-focused  education programs for K-12 students in Central Texas, Arizona and across the U.S. Launched in May 2013, The Freescale Foundation is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organization committed to helping alleviate global talent shortages by inspiring students — especially those from underrepresented groups — to pursue careers in STEM-related fields. “As a company that thrives on innovation, Freescale believes that technology has the power to remove obstacles, grow economies, bring people together and make the world a better place,” said Gregg Lowe, president and CEO, Freescale.