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SITF Members Discuss STEM 2.0 At Global Action Summit in Nashville

On Tuesday morning at the Global Action Summit in Nashville, leaders of STEMconnector’s Innovation Task Force (SITF) discussed STEM 2.0 during a panel moderated by celebrated journalist and author, Fareed Zakaria. The panelists focused on the importance of three foundational STEM 2.0 capabilities: employability skills, innovation excellence, and digital fluency in relation to the evolving landscape and dynamics of today’s globalized economy. Click here to view a recording of the panel.

The panel kicked off with a quick overview of STEM 2.0 (see image below) by SITF-chair, Dr. Heidi Kleinbach-Sauter of PepsiCo, which outlined the need for the STEM 2.0 movement from an employer’s perspective. Heidi also alluded to PepsiCo’s particular interest in innovation excellence, and defined the skill as the ability “to move an idea through an organization and into commercialization.”

The discussion then turned to Balaji Ganapathy of Tata Consultancy Services who highlighted their recent work in promoting digital fluency through computer science education and the GoIT program. Balaji also spoke about the success of STEM Career Accelerator Day 2014, an SITF program focused on exciting students, parents, and teachers about the exiting opportunities of STEM Careers through experiential field trips. Career-focused experiential learning will be integral to all SITF initiatives going forward in 2015. 

As the conversation progressed, the panelists and moderator agreed that STEM 2.0 skills are not only important for high-tech STEM workers, but also relevant for the vast majority of today’s jobs. Michael Norris of Sodexo pointed out that his 400,000+ employees, many of whom aren’t classified as traditional STEM workers, must possess these fundamental skills in order to succeed. Michael also provided an insight into the employability skills topic, saying the key skills missing from today’s workers are confidence, leadership and the ability to communicate effectively. 

Jane Oates of the Apollo Education Group then underlined the critical role educators play in preparing the next generation of STEM employees. Jane specifically emphasized the essential role of teachers, calling for radical change in the way our country views the teaching profession. Jane cited the importance of not only student internships, but also externships, an opportunity for teachers to interface with business leaders to improve career applications in the classroom and the readiness of their students. 

To wrap-up the discussion Fareed Zakaria offered two closing thoughts. Hinting at the Summit’s theme, the moderator stressed the importance of a holistic approach to addressing the STEM shortfall, ruling out siloed approaches as obsolete. As a final thought, Fareed alluded to our unwillingness as a country to admit shortcomings in our education system, and suggested that our ability to move forward with practical solutions is dependent on owning up to failure. 

100 Diverse Corporate Leaders in STEM - William Gipson of Procter & Gamble

The 100 Diverse Corporate Leaders in STEM blog series features a new business executive Monday-Friday and the exemplary work his or her company is doing to support 21st century STEM learning and workforce development- particularly for women, minorities and under-represented groups. Learn more and download the whole copy at Follow the conversation on social media using #100STEMLeaders. Today's Diverse Corporate Leader is William Gipson, chief diversity officer and senior vice president of research and development, global hair care, color, and salon professional at Procter & Gamble.

William Gipson, P&G

William Gipson
Chief Diversity Officer and Senior Vice President of Research and Development, Global Hair Care, Color, and Salon Professional
Procter & Gamble

William Gipson is leading P&G’s global diversity and inclusion strategy to ensure every employee is valued, included and able to perform at their peak. With 29 years at P&G, Gipson has grown his career with increasing levels of responsibility, including assignments in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and Caracas, Venezuela, assuming overall responsibility for Pampers R&D Latin America and led R&D innovation for brands like ThermaCare, Bounty, and Duracell. Most recently, in July 2012, William was named P&G’s new Chief Diversity Officer, reporting directly to A.G. Lafley, Chairman of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer.

A University of Alabama-Tuscaloosa graduate with a degree in Chemical Engineering, prior to joining P&G, Gipson served in the US Air Force. William’s external affiliations include the Board and Executive Committee Member on the Cincinnati Scholarship Foundation, Board Member on the National Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME), Board and Committee Member on the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) and Member of the Executive Leadership Council. He is a native of Montgomery, Alabama, and the husband of Jacqueline and father to Joy, Justin, and Jonathan.

About Procter & Gamble

For more than 175 years, innovation has been P&G’s lifeblood. We have more than 40,000 active granted patents worldwide, and invested more than $2 billion in research and development in 2013. Throughout our Company’s history, we have delivered product innovations like Tide, Crest, Downy, Pampers, Swiffer, Gillette, and Febreze. We’ve also driven social innovations with programs like Children’s Safe Drinking Water, and been a leader in business innovations as the first company to sell direct to retailers and the creator of brand management. The Company has operations in approximately 70 counties worldwide.

William on Diversity and STEM

How has your corporation coordinated investments in education with future workforce needs?

As an innovation company, P&G believes that U.S. Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Education is critical for developing future innovation leaders. Interest by employees is extensive, evident by the wide range of related activities in which many are involved, voluntarily or on P&G’s behalf. Through collaboration internally and externally we can more effectively support programs that reach the underserved as well as benefit the programs P&G volunteers support in their communities. The creation of our STEM Education Core Team enables P&G to implement our “where to play” and “how to execute” strategy by harnessing the talent of our employees, leverage Company resources and improve internal coordination and external collaboration to impact student literacy in fields critical to innovation success.

Where do you see the biggest area of opportunity in advancing STEM jobs careers?

The biggest opportunity will be led through the engagement of the next generation of leaders early in their academic careers. For employers, presenting to students a range of careers available in STEM fields helps break down barriers and stereotypes by showcasing what types of careers are available in math and science in large corporations. At P&G, we integrate this in a variety of ways including a P&G Resident Scholar Program, a summer program to a group of high achieving minority students, INTERalliance Summer Camps for IT, scholarships for minority students seeking STEM carrers, and our “Bounty Experience” which provides hands-on interactive demonstrations that teach the science behind Bounty to local high school students.

How do you translate your work into innovation?

At the heart of P&G’s innovation pipeline are the nearly 8,000 employees in Research & Development. These people are spread out across innovation centers on five continents and span a variety of disciplines. With a culture rooted in learning and productivity, our researchers are technical masters who can apply their skills across multiple categories. They use their expertise in digitization, modeling, simulation, and prototyping to bring world-class innovation to our consumers. Our engineers and scientists view every challenge not just as world-class technologists, but as consumers, too. We believe innovation starts with the consumer. We gain insights into their everyday lives so we can combine “what’s needed” with “what’s possible.” Our goal is to provide consumers with product options at all pricing tiers to drive preference for our products and provide meaningful value. With more than 300 brands, we understand why the world identifies us as a consumer products leader, but at our core, we are a true technology company that thrives on innovation.

How does STEM leadership with a focus on diversity help your company compete?

Diversity & Inclusion as a critical enabler for innovation, connecting seemingly unconnected nodes to create innovative products that delight the consumers we want to serve. We know that fully leveraging our Diversity and Inclusion leads to bigger and better innovations. By creating diverse teams of people we bring together different styles of thinking. And by connecting these diverse nodes we spark innovative ideas. By design, Diversity & Inclusion is top of mind and embedded into our systems and processes, for sustained change.

Seizing the Moment: STEM Education in the Digital Age

The National Coalition for Technology in Education and Training (NCTET) invites you to attend and participate in a frank dialogue focused on STEM education among representatives from the business, policy, scientific, and education communities.  During this conversation, these stakeholders will discuss how technologically well-equipped schools are vital to creating the STEM-savvy students businesses and the economy need. Specifically, panelists will address the following questions:

  • What should be K-12’s STEM goals and what infrastructure do schools need to have in place to realize them?
  • What are the roles of school systems, local governments and businesses in ensuring that the appropriate STEM infrastructure is in place and encouraging students to pursue STEM careers?
  • What STEM skills related to technology must students have as they pursue STEM careers?
Where:            Discovery Communications Global Headquarters, One Discovery Place, Silver Spring, MD 20910
When:             Tuesday, December 9,2014, 2:00-3:30 PM
  • Cindy Moss, Director, Global STEM Initiatives, Discovery Education
  • Steven A. Silverman, Director, Montgomery County Department of Economic Development
  • Theresa H. Peterson, Senior Executive External Affairs and Technology Programs, General Electric
  • Dr. Bruce Borchers, Superintendent, Oak Ridge Schools, Tennessee
  • Phyllis D. Frosst, Ph.D., Director, MCM Policy and Government Affairs, Medical Countermeasures Franchise, Novartis Vaccines

RSVP:              Please RSVP by December 7, 2014 to  


U.S. Treasury Awards $610,000 Contract To Oakland EdTech Startup, MindBlown Labs

The following is a press release from MindBlown Labs.
Revolutionary education technology company, MindBlown Labs (MBL), has been awarded a $610,000 research contract by the United States Department of the Treasury from its new Financial Empowerment Innovation Fund for the company's development of its financial education mobile game, Thrive 'n' Shine, and its innovative framework to teach financial capability to high school students.  For multimedia assets, go to
The purpose of the Innovation Fund is to "develop, test and evaluate new ways to empower Americans with their finances and help them access safe and affordable financial products and services."
"MindBlown Labs has always striven to help people develop strong financial problem-solving and decision-making skills, and we're honored to receive this award," said Jason Young, Mindblown Labs Co-Founder and CEO. "It's encouraging to know that Treasury supports our goal and vision to foster these important life skills."
More than 320 organizations applied, including technology companies, state and local governments, financial institutions (including credit unions and community banks), non-profits, and card providers. MindBlown Labs is the only financial capability company selected to receive this prestigious award.  
This research is tremendously valuable for two main reasons:
It is among the first rigorous, randomized, controlled trial studies on using games to teach financial capability.  
It involves an approach that is adaptable, scalable, and replicable, which can be applied by most schools throughout the nation.
MBL's experiential learning framework is based on financial capability best practices and includes: hands-on financial capability curriculum; access to MBL's mobile game, Thrive 'n' Shine (beta available in App Store and Google Play Store); teacher training; and student access to savings accounts.  MindBlown Labs has partnered with the Economics Center and Cincinnati Police Federal Credit Union to develop and implement some of the study's components.

FACT SHEET: ConnectED to the Future

The following is a press release from the White House.

[November 19, 2014], President Obama hosts school leaders and educators from across the country at the White House for “ConnectED to the Future,” a day-long convening to explore the potential of education technology and the innovations needed to bring America’s schools into the digital age.  At the event, the President will launch his Administration’s effort to assist school leaders in their transition to digital learning, following his plan to connect 99 percent of America’s students high-speed broadband internet in their schools and libraries. The President will applaud superintendents across the country that will collaborate with students, educators, and parents to become “Future Ready.”  
More than 1,200 school superintendents will join the Obama Administration’sFuture Ready District Pledge to set a vision for digital learning across America.  These educational leaders will foster a culture of learning through technology across their schools; assist their students and families in the transition to high-speed connectivity; provide their learners greater access to high-quality digital devices and content; and provide teachers and principals the support needed to use technology in innovative ways.  Together, they will reach approximately 10 million students across more than 16,000 schools across all 50 states and the District of Columbia. 
Preparing America’s students with the skills they need to get good jobs and compete in the global economy demands an interactive, personalized learning experience.  According to the FCC, 68% of school districts report that not a single school in their district can meet high-speed connectivity goals. Too few American schools have the broadband connections necessary to support innovative teaching and learning and most lack the wireless connectivity to individualize instruction for students. 
In June 2013, President Obama visited Mooresville, NC to announce the ConnectED initiative, beginning with a call to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to enable the connectivity and high-speed broadband needed to spur 21st century learning for America’s students within five years.  Since that time, the FCC has taken steps to modernize the E-rate program to support high-speed connectivity for America’s schools and libraries, providing a $2 billion down payment toward the President’s ConnectED goals.  Additionally, private-sector companies have committed more than $2 billion to supplement federal actions and help support cutting-edge technologies across a greater number of schools and homes.
On Monday, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler announced plans to dramatically expand investments in the E-rate program, increasing the program by $1.5 billion annually. This proposal – scheduled for consideration by the FCC in December – constitutes an essential step to provide the resources needed to meet the goals the President outlined last June
[November 19, 2014]'s White House “ConnectED to the Future” convening will feature new commitments from private and non-profit partners and from the U.S. Department of Education to support educators as they transition to digital learning, including:
Support for State and Local Educational Leaders:   In partnership with the Alliance for Excellent Education, the U.S. Department of Education will host 12 regional summits for Future Ready school districts, to assist local educational leaders as they develop and implement action plans to use technology to personalize learning across their school districts. Secretary Duncan will also issue guidance to state and local superintendents, to support technology and digital learning as an allowable use of more than $27 billion in federal funds under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.   
Access to Virtual Learning for Teachers and Students:  EdX has committed to provide free online coursework from top universities, including free course certificates to teachers and high-school students in high-need schools.  All students will have free access to all Advanced Placement-level courses offered through EdX.  In addition, Coursera will provide no-cost online professional development at every school district over the next two years, including opportunities for teachers to earn Coursera’s completion certificates which may be used for continuing education credits. The company is partnering with leading schools of education to further expand its teacher professional learning offerings.
Future Ready Technology Infrastructure Guide: The U.S. Department of Education will issue a new technical assistance guide that outlines specific and tangible examples that will help schools improve their technological infrastructure by getting high-speed broadband Internet connectivity to and throughout schools, choosing devices for learning and establishing policy and procedures for their use.
Future Ready Professional Learning Toolkit:  The U.S. Department of Education will issue a new technical assistance toolkit that provides rubrics, checklists and examples to assist district teams as they develop, refine, and evaluate professional learning plans that align with their capacity, learning goals, and standards of professional learning. In particular, the toolkit focuses on how districts can use technology to connect educators and provide tailored professional learning experiences.

100 Diverse Corporate Leaders in STEM - Kimberly Foster Price of 3M

The 100 Diverse Corporate Leaders in STEM blog series features a new business executive Monday-Friday and the exemplary work his or her company is doing to support 21st century STEM learning and workforce development- particularly for women, minorities and under-represented groups. Learn more and download the whole copy at Follow the conversation on social media using #100STEMLeaders. Today's Diverse Corporate Leader is Kimberly Foster Price, vice president of 3Mgives at 3M.

Kim Price, 3M

Kimberly Foster Price
Vice President, 3Mgives

Kimberly Foster Price serves as Vice President of 3Mgives. In this role, Price leads the development and implementation of 3M’s global strategic philanthropy and community engagement, including oversight of the 3M Foundation. 3Mgives supports the company’s Employee Resource Networks and the Global Women’s Leadership Forum. Committed to her community, Price serves on the Board of several local organizations, including the Greater Twin Cities United Way, the local United Negro College Fund and Generation Next. Price is an active member of the Executive Leadership Council. Price earned her Juris Doctor from Columbia University School of Law, her Master’s degree in Public Affairs from the Woodrow Wilson School of Princeton University and her Bachelor’s degree from Bowdoin College. Price and her husband, Ron, are the parents of three adult children: Darrius, Alison and Julius.

About 3M

3M captures the spark of new ideas and transforms them into thousands of innovative products. Our culture of creative collaboration inspires a never-ending stream of powerful technologies that make life better. 3M is a science-based diversified technology company that never stops inventing. With $31 billion in sales, 3M employs almost 90,000 people around the world – including 8,200 researchers – and has operations in more than 70 countries. Through its philanthropic arm, 3Mgives, the company develops and invests in innovative community programs that make a difference. Since 1953, 3M and the 3M Foundation have invested more than $1.4 billion in cash and products in education and charitable organizations. These donations were bolstered by thousands of employee and retiree volunteers. In 2013, 3M earned the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Best Commitment to Education Award, the Excellence in Mentoring Award for Corporate Leadership and the United Way Spirit of America Award.

Kim on Diversity and STEM

Why do you believe STEM Education and workforce development are critical to our nation’s future?

As a science-based, diversified technology company, 3M has a keen awareness of the importance of fostering the next generation of innovators. Every day, 3M scientists use science and technology to solve problems. So we know firsthand the important role that STEM graduates will have in solving some of the world’s most pressing challenges. That is why we are committed to developing and supporting programs that inspire and support student achievement in STEM.

What is your advice on using private-public partnerships to tackle our most pressing education challenges in STEM?

It is important that public and private entities collaborate to increase student interest and achievement in STEM. 3M always welcomes the opportunity to collaborate, or "co-labor," with community partners like Saint Paul Public Schools or Generation Next, a coalition of civic, business and education leaders focused on closing the achievement and opportunity gaps for students of color in Minneapolis and St. Paul. 3M’s 40 year-plus partnership with the Saint Paul Public Schools is a great example of how we use our company’s expertise to strengthen STEM education. 3M has worked with the school system to provide cash grants, mentoring and skill-based volunteering; this includes funding a volunteer coordinator at two inner city high schools to connect teachers and students with 3M mentors. We have more than 500 employees and retirees serving as mentors. The company also developed the 3M STEP (Science Training Encouragement Program) for students from St. Paul Public Schools. This program connects high school students with 3M scientists as mentors and also gives the students summer jobs in 3M labs.

How is your company using diversity with STEM-initiatives? Is this part of your comprehensive strategy?

3M believes in using all of our resources to find innovative solutions to complex challenges. Recently, 3M implemented a bold new plan to broaden the company’s community outreach and engage the next generation of innovative thinkers by creating a stronger link between our Employee Resource Networks (ERNs) and our philanthropic arm, 3Mgives. To integrate the ERNs into 3Mgives, the company recently appointed Meredith Crosby as Director, 3Mgives Strategic Initiatives. In this role, Meredith is developing the strategy for 3M’s extensive work around STEM education and education equity as well as the engagement of the ERNs. This effort allows us to build on 3M’s heritage of collaboration by further advancing our engagement in diverse communities around STEM education.

Are you a mentor and what is your view of mentorship?

I am a firm believer in mentoring. I have reaped the benefits of having great mentors throughout my career and I have had the privilege of being a mentor. I have found mentoring to be extremely rewarding. At 3M, mentoring has proven to be one of the most effective ways to encourage women and students of color to pursue math and science careers. Mentoring gives students a connection to someone in the field who can help with career-related questions, provide personal support and guidance and expose students to the life-long benefits of a STEM career.

What Employee Resource Groups does your company have in place?

3M has eleven Employee Resource Networks: Global Women’s Leadership Forum, African American Network, China Resource Network, Disability Awareness Network, Latino Resource Network, Military Support Network, Native American Network, New Employee Opportunity Network, GLBT+ Network and South Asia Network. Our ERNs are vital to executing the 3M strategy and are a living embodiment of the company’s strategy of having high performing and diverse global talent. ERNs are also essential to helping us strengthen our engagement with diverse communities around STEM. In addition to the company’s ERNs, 3M also has Business Resource Teams (BRTs), which are designed to leverage the cultural insights and business knowledge of 3Mers located in our headquarter offices across our various businesses. BRTs inform our international giving to leverage our STEM programs in locations including Asia, Africa and Latin America. We partner across the globe to share for success.

100 Diverse Corporate Leaders in STEM - Felicia Fields of Ford Motor Company

The 100 Diverse Corporate Leaders in STEM blog series features a new business executive Monday-Friday and the exemplary work his or her company is doing to support 21st century STEM learning and workforce development- particularly for women, minorities and under-represented groups. Learn more and download the whole copy at Follow the conversation on social media using #100STEMLeaders. Today's Diverse Corporate Leader is Felicia Fields, group vice president, human resources and corporate services at Ford Motor Company.

Felicia Fields, Ford

Felicia Fields
Group Vice President, Human Resources and Corporate Services
Ford Motor Company

Felicia J. Fields, Ford group vice president for Human Resources and Corporate Services since March 25, 2008, leads the global Human Resources and Corporate Services functions for Ford Motor Company. In this position, Fields provides expertise in key HR capabilities including succession planning and talent management, strategic workforce planning, compensation and benefits, organization development, recruiting, and leadership and professional development. She is also responsible for corporate security, travel, and the company’s Dealer Policy Board.

Fields previously was vice president for Human Resources. Since joining Ford in 1986, Fields has held HR leadership positions in Manufacturing, Research, Information Technology, Finance, Product Development and Corporate Development. Fields is a member of the Board of the Inforum Center for Leadership and the Women’s Health Advisory Council at Oakwood Hospital. She was formerly on the Board of Directors for the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME) and also served as Vice Chair of the Governance Committee.

Fields is a proud third-generation Ford employee. She received a bachelor of arts degree in psychology with high distinction from the University of Michigan and a master’s degree in administration from Central Michigan University. She has various certifications in leadership development, personal effectiveness and diversity.

About Ford

Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 183,000 employees and 65 plants worldwide, the company’s automotive brands include Ford and Lincoln. Ford has been a long-time supporter of STEM initiatives relevant to the automotive industry, from high school FIRST robotics teams to university solar car and electric vehicle teams. This year Ford’s High School Science and Technology (HSSTP) program, which gives students the opportunity to spend time on Ford’s Dearborn campus to meet with scientists, researchers, engineers and technicians and learn how science and engineering can have real-world applications, celebrates 30 years. In addition, Ford Next Generation Learning is nationally recognized for engaging school districts, employers, workforce and economic development entities, and local organizations in the development of career-themed academies within existing public high schools.

Felicia on Diversity and STEM

What traits do corporate leaders need to effectively support and advance STEM today?

As corporate leaders, one critical element to supporting and advancing STEM is staying connected. We must continue to work with community and business leaders, educators, and policy makers, to engage in discussions about the state of STEM and ways help close the skills gap. We also must continue to proactively look for ways to collaborate and partner on projects and programs that will engage, inspire and elevate students. In addition, it is important for corporate leadership teams to regularly engage in discussions about the future of the company – in terms of technology, products and talent – in order to be more aware of future business needs. Framing STEM in terms of its future business impact helps engage corporate leaders. At Ford Motor Company, we understand that our success today, tomorrow, and in the future not only depends on being socially and environmentally responsible, but on being a company that’s able to attract the best and brightest talent in all areas.

What is the STEM initiative that your company has supported are you most proud of?

At Ford, we support a number of STEM initiatives, so it’s difficult to select just one. However, before STEM became a popular acronym, Ford recognized the need to have a pipeline of qualified technical talent to innovate and create the products that our customers want and value. Ford’s High School Science and Technology (HSSTP) program will celebrate 30 years in October and is something we are extremely proud of. This program has given students in southeast Michigan the opportunity to spend time on Ford’s Dearborn campus to meet with scientists, researchers, engineers and technicians and learn how science and engineering can have real-world applications. Each year about 150 students attend six Saturday morning sessions at Ford’s Research and Innovation Center with Ford employees who voluntarily teach them various STEM career applications.

Other STEM programs Ford supports include:

  • FIRST Robotics - High school robotics competition. Ford supports Detroit area high school FIRST teams in local, regional, and national robotics competitions. There’s also a FIRST LEGO league, targeted at ages 9-14, and Jr. LEGO leagues for ages 6-9
  • Square One - This high school vehicle team competition focuses on Great Lakes states (MI, OH, IN). Like Formula SAE, students build and race vehicles in various categories
  • Camp Invention - Summer camp for elementary school students to teach them about the process of invention and creativity
  • AMTech - Collaboration of colleges and companies working to strengthen the competency and global competitiveness of the automotive workforce
  • DAPCEP (Detroit Area Pre-College Engineering Program) – Non-profit organization that provides promising K-12 students from underrepresented groups educational programming and exposure to STEM fields through Saturday and summer programs
  • NACME (National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering) – Provides scholarships for underrepresented minority engineers, gathers research on diversity and equity in Engineering, advocates/lobbies for STEM education and provides programs for students throughout the education pipeline

What is your vision for the future of STEM careers, through diversity?

Diversity in the workplace and within all disciplines helps maximize productivity and creativity, and ultimately helps meet the needs of a diverse and global customer base. At Ford Motor Company we are focused on the attraction, development, and retention of a diverse workforce, and believe this is essential to our global success. Making sure varied disciplines, perspectives and talents are part of the workforce results in innovative solutions for the rapidly evolving needs of our diverse society.

STEM Higher Education Council December 3rd Town Hall

STEM Higher Education Council Town Hall Google+ Hangout

Please register now for our upcoming Town Hall Google+ Hangout! The December 3rd Town Hall will allow members to highlight how they are driving meaningful change in higher education. We will also showcase our upcoming book, Advancing a Jobs-Driven Economy: Higher Education and Business Partnerships Lead The Way. It is remarkable the progress we have made in just a few short months! As  of  this  blog post,  there  are  40  SHEC members,  with  another  5  in  the  final  stages  of the decision process.

Register Now! via the STEMconnector® Event Page

Confirmed Speakers:

STEM Higher Education Council Leaders:
  • Rob Denson, Chair of the STEM Higher Education Council and President of Des Moines Area Community College 
  • Martha Kanter, Senior Advisor to the STEM Higher Education Council, Former Under Secretary of Department of Education, and Professor, New York University     

STEM Higher Education Council Members:





Number of High School Graduates Who Plan to Teach STEM Low, Unlikely to Meet Expected Demand

This is a press release from ACT

IOWA CITY, Iowa | Despite high interest in STEM overall, the number of 2014 high school graduates who plan to teach STEM subject areas is small and unlikely to meet future demand, according to The Condition of STEM 2014, a new report released today by ACT.
Among the more than 1.8 million 2014 U.S. high school graduates who took The ACT®, nearly half—close to 900,000 students—were interested in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) overall. Just 4,424 of those students, however, indicated they planned to teach math, while a meager 1,115 said they intended to teach science. 
“The numbers we’re seeing are not likely to meet the expected demand for future STEM teachers,” said Jon Erickson, ACT president. “Highly qualified teachers play an essential role not only in preparing students to succeed but also in raising awareness of and interest in STEM careers, which are vital to our nation’s competitiveness in the global economy.”
In 2010, a report from the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology projected a nationwide demand for approximately 25,000 new STEM teachers per year over the following decade.
“Meeting the growing demand for STEM teachers across the nation is critical to give students the STEM education required to thrive in a fast-changing, knowledge-based economy,” said Iowa Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, co-chair of the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council in Iowa and one of the nation’s strongest advocates for STEM education. “ACT’s finding that few 2014 graduates want to teach math or science tells us we must do more to attract and keep top STEM teachers and target existing resources more strategically. All students deserve an outstanding STEM education.”
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, STEM careers are growing at a fast pace and tend to pay higher-than-average salaries.
While student interest in STEM is high overall, readiness in STEM subject areas continues to lag. Among those ACT-tested graduates interested in STEM, just half met or surpassed the ACT College Readiness Benchmark in math, while fewer than half (43 percent) achieved the benchmark in science. ACT research suggests those who meet the ACT benchmarks are more likely to persist in college and earn a degree than those who don’t.
Other report findings:
Nearly half (49 percent) of STEM-interested students expressed an interest in pursuing a STEM major or occupation but do not appear to have an inherent interest in STEM based on their ACT Interest Inventory results. The report recommends intervention strategies that help those students understand the requirements of specific STEM occupations and create an educational plan to meet their goals.
Another 17 percent of STEM-interested students (9 percent of all ACT-tested graduates) have an inherent interest in STEM but had no plans to pursue a STEM major or occupation, representing an untapped pool of students who could potentially benefit from pursuing a STEM career.  
Interest in STEM was stronger among males than females, but the actual number of STEM-interested females remained high.
Male interest in STEM tended to be driven by engineering and math, while female interest tended to be driven by medicine/health care and the sciences.
The reported gaps between students’ interests and their intentions are of concern, as ACT research has shown that students whose interests are aligned with their chosen college major are more likely than others to remain in their major, persist in college and complete their degree in a timely manner.
The report recommends that more be done to identify and foster STEM interests earlier in students’ educational experiences. It also calls for greater efforts to keep interested students engaged in STEM fields as they move into postsecondary education and transition into the workplace.
The Condition of STEM 2014 reports for the nation and for each state can be accessed for free on ACT’s website at
ACT is a mission-driven, nonprofit organization dedicated to helping people achieve education and workplace success. Headquartered in Iowa City, Iowa, ACT is trusted as the nation’s leader in college and career readiness, providing high-quality achievement assessments grounded in more than 50 years of research and experience. ACT offers a uniquely integrated set of solutions that help people succeed from elementary school through career, providing insights that unlock potential. To learn more about ACT, go to

100 Diverse Corporate Leaders in STEM - Tracy Faulkner of Shell

The 100 Diverse Corporate Leaders in STEM blog series features a new business executive Monday-Friday and the exemplary work his or her company is doing to support 21st century STEM learning and workforce development- particularly for women, minorities and under-represented groups. Learn more and download the whole copy at Follow the conversation on social media using #100STEMLeaders. Today's Diverse Corporate Leader is Tracy Faulkner, vice president of global external affairs, downstream at Shell.

Kari Escobedo, T-Mobile

Tracy Faulkner
Vice President of Global External Affairs, Downstream

Tracy Faulkner is Vice President of Global External Affairs for Shell’s Downstream business. In this role, she oversees external and internal communications and engagement, and provides strategic advice to Shell leaders on a range of reputation issues and opportunities. Nearly every aspect of her work deals with science, technology, engineering or math (STEM), including engagements with external stakeholders on topics such as emerging alternative energies, mobility, fuel pricing, arctic exploration, carbon capture and storage, safety, hydraulic fracturing, and deep water drilling.

Previously, Tracy held management positions in the power generation, agricultural and construction equipment and automotive industries, working for the Tennessee Valley Authority, Fiat Group and General Motors. Tracy earned a bachelor’s degree from Clark-Atlanta University in Atlanta, Georgia. She completed the Center for Creative Leadership - Leadership Development Program and the Harvard Business School Executive Education program. Tracy is a member of The Executive Leadership Council, a Trustee of both the National Urban League and Institute for Public Relations and a Director on the British American Business Board. Currently, she is based in London, England.

About Shell

Shell is an innovation-driven global group of energy and petrochemical companies. We take natural resources and add value in many different ways. We find and extract crude oil, natural gas and bitumen, and transform them into products for sale to retail and commercial customers. We have about 92,000 employees and operate in over 70 countries. We need people who can harness technologies to see through rock, drill wells beneath two miles of water and produce oil and gas from the remains of single-celled creatures that lived millions of years ago. STEM workers balance our books, program our computers and manage our multi-billion dollar drilling projects. They are also the entrepreneurs and suppliers who create the deep-water robots we use, build our ships and offshore platforms, and launch the satellites we use for communications. STEM workers are critical to Shell’s success.

Tracy on Diversity and STEM

Why is STEM Education/workforce development critical to the future of our nation?

STEM is critical to the future of our nation and its economic viability because some of society’s greatest challenges (a cure for cancer, clean drinking water, climate change, renewable energy sources) will only be solved by future scientists, engineers and other STEM workers with great passion for creativity, innovation and competitiveness. Government, industry and academia must join forces to address this pressing issue.

How do we encourage students to continue their study of STEM subjects, particularly women and underrepresented minorities?

I love to spread enthusiasm for my industry and company, with science, technology and engineering being at the core of what we do. I try to make our complex business simple, relevant and meaningful for those young people I engage with. I know I’m biased, but I get pretty excited when talking about the energy industry, the global scale and scope of Shell and the difference we’re making in people’s everyday lives. The U.S. Department of Labor workforce projections for 2018 show that nine of the 10 fastest growing occupations that require at least a bachelor’s degree will require significant STEM related training. I can only imagine the impact we can have on young people, women and minorities by getting them excited about science and math, by spending time with them and sharing our personal experiences. Fortunately, my message seems to have resonated with a number of young people, including my twin nephews who are now pursuing Engineering degrees at schools in Indiana. With 75 nieces and nephews, I have a vested interest and a few more young people to encourage.

What STEM initiative that your company has supported are you most proud of?

I am very proud of the human ingenuity I get to see in action at our Shell Eco-marathon (SEM) events, which challenge student teams from around the world to design, build and test ultra energy-efficient vehicles. While the competition encourages innovation and fuel efficiency, the part I love the most is when I engage with the students and hear their personal stories. I will never forget meeting an all-girls SEM team called ShopGirls. One young lady told me that before her eco-marathon experience she did not like high school, she was not performing well and she lacked confidence. Fortunately, she had a teacher who cared enough to get her involved in the school’s SEM team, which was full of young ladies with big ideas and big hearts. She ended her eco-marathon journey with more confidence and a keen interest in studying science and engineering. Shell later invited the young ladies to appear at the Aspen Ideas Festival, where they held a panel discussion on their SEM experience. One of the young ladies even said she wanted to go to an Ivy League school to study engineering. I smiled from ear to ear when I read her Stanford University acceptance letter, which applauded her eco-marathon experience.

Are you a mentor and what is your view of mentorship?

I mentor young people in STEM and non-technical roles, and I encourage others to do the same. Relationships cannot be legislated, so it is key to ensure there is rapport and the necessary time is taken to establish the mentor-mentee relationship. I view mentorship as a trust based relationship that offers mentees a safe place to discuss issues and explore solutions to challenges – all in the spirit of their development and growth, with the intent of strengthening their performance in the workplace.

How does STEM leadership with a focus on diversity help your company compete?

It helps in our quest to become the world’s most competitive and innovative energy company. Our products, services and overall energy portfolio must be attractive to customers and partners. We will not achieve this without a diverse workforce reflecting the diverse markets in which we operate. Our talent is one of our strongest assets. We recognize the need to harness the innovative ideas and advanced technical skills of a new generation of STEM talent that includes a diverse skilled pipeline. Solving our greatest energy challenges will require the best and brightest from all walks of life, contributing to their full potential. We are committed to building a culture that embraces diversity and fosters inclusion. It makes good business sense and it’s simply the right thing to do.


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