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There is still time to register for the 2015 USA Biology Olympiad

This is a guest post from the Center for Excellence in Education

You and your students are invited to participate in the 2015 USA Biology Olympiad (USABO). Registration is open now for teachers and students! To register, please visit the USABO website https://www.usabo-trc.org/. Be sure to check out the Biology Story of the day and to friend the USABO on Facebook. Students should check the Student Corner for study resources and how to form a USABO Club. Registration closes January 16, 2015. The final four students on Team USA will compete at the International Biology Olympiad in Arhaus, Denmark, July 12 to 19 (http://ibo2015.org/). Contact Kathy Frame, USABO Director, at kframe@cee.org if you have any questions. We look forward to your students participating!

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100 Diverse Corporate Leaders in STEM - Wanyonyi Kendrick of JEA

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 STEMConnector.org/100Diverse. Follow the conversation on social media using #100STEMLeaders. Today's Diverse Corporate Leader is Wanyonyi Kendrick, chief information officer at JEA.

Wanyonyi Kendrick, JEA

Wanyonyi Kendrick
Chief Information Officer
JEA

Ms. Kendrick has been at JEA for over 16 years and been appointed separately by 3 CEOs as Chief Information Officer. Before she joined JEA's management team, Ms. Kendrick was the Vice President of Corporate Reporting at Citibank Card Services (formally AT&T Universal Card Services). Ms. Kendrick believes a STEM education is truly the great career equalizer. She has committed her community activities to supporting STEM education through numerous organizations including the Executive Leadership Council, University of North Florida's Board of Trustees, American Association of Blacks in Energy (board member), Edward Waters College's Presidential Advisory Council and Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens (board member). Ms. Kendrick holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting and Master of Accountancy degree from the University of North Florida. Ms. Kendrick holds active licenses as a Certified Public Accountant, Certified Management Accountant and Certified Information Systems Security Professional. Ms. Kendrick has won several national and international awards for system integration and innovation.

About JEA

JEA is Northeast Florida's Not-For-Profit, Community-Owned Utility. Located in Jacksonville, Florida, JEA proudly serves an estimated 420,000 electric, 305,000 water and 230,000 sewer customers. JEA was created by the City of Jacksonville to serve those who live here and in the surrounding communities. Our goal is to provide reliable services at a good value to our customers while ensuring our areas' precious natural resources are protected. JEA owns and operates an electric system with over 730 miles of transmission lines, and more than 6,500 miles of distribution lines. JEA's total generating capacity is approximately 3,757 megawatts. JEA's water system consists of 135 artesian wells tapping the Floridan aquifer, which is one of the world's most productive aquifers. Water is distributed through 36 water treatment plants and over 4,200 miles of water lines. More than 3,700 miles of collection lines and seven regional and seven non-regional sewer treatment plants comprise the JEA sewer system.

Wanyonyi on Diversity and STEM

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

The unemployment rate among youth and minorities remains high in the United States. However there continues to be a shortage of qualified computer science engineers in the US. This mismatch has resulted in the need to ship significant amounts of talent into the US. This gap wouldn't be sustainable at a company level and can not be sustainable at a national and economic level. The US needs to develop our youth and minorities to meet the demands of our nation.

How do you believe STEM education can improve a nation's competitiveness?

A STEM education is truly the great equalizer. A STEM career doesn't rely on your family history, your connections or your strength. A STEM education allows an individual's hard work to pay off with a great career. Hard work is what built American into a great nation. A STEM education (followed in turn by a career) will continue to build the nation's competitive edge for many generations.

Beyond standards, what are the first steps that we should take to curb the STEM education crisis?

A STEM education is achievable. American youth must believe they can become an engineer. A STEM education must be demystified by presenting it in less complex terms: for example I represent technology is just a series of ones and zeros. The American education system must provide great STEM role models for our youth to model. STEM education should be represented as a viable option that's as exciting as becoming an NBA player.

What principles do you apply to your professional and personal life to advance STEM education?

Support the STEM pipeline as I have been supported in my career. Spend time as a mentor as my mentors has spent time with me. Demystify STEM education wherever possible. Continue to learn and grow in STEM. Never stop asking why.

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

For nearly four decades, INROADS has helped businesses gain greater access to diverse talent. INROADs' unique leadership development process assists companies with anticipating business needs and identifying quality future employees. I brought the INROADs program to JEA in the early 2000. Since then JEA has hired many INROADs graduates as engineers. Annually JEA proudly hosts over 100 high school and college students in a wide variety of internship and mentoring programs. These programs provide hands-on experience for students already enrolled in degree and technical programs in their chosen field. JEAs interns, co-ops and mentoring students work directly with JEA employees trained to guide them through the work environment, while also teaching them about the utility industry. Students often get the chance to help complete special projects while working side-by-side with our employees. At the end of the program interns are provided an opportunity to present the summer activities to the JEA management team. Many JEA employees start their JEA careers through JEA internships. JEA internship and co-op opportunities include work in these JEA departments: Engineering, Informational System, Biology & Chemistry and Health.

Cisco Continues Partnering with CyberPatriot for the Advancement of STEM

This is a press release from The Air Force Association

ARLINGTON, Va., Dec. 18, 2014 (PRNewswire) | The Air Force Association today announced that Cisco renewed their support for CyberPatriot, the National Youth Cyber Education Program, as a Cyber Diamond Sponsor. Cisco is a longtime contributor to CyberPatriot, providing equipment, employee mentors for participants, and hosts the Cisco Networking Challenge during the CyberPatriot National Finals Competition.
 
Cisco is a leading manufacturer of Internet protocol (IP)-based networking products and services. Their partnership with CyberPatriot began in 2012.
 
In 2013, more than 50 Cisco employees volunteered to mentor CyberPatriot participants, teaching students about networking security skills and offered their technical skills during CyberPatriot Finals. Cisco's Matching Gift program contributed dollars/hour for volunteer hours recorded in support of this effort.
 
Building on its commitment to CyberPatriot in 2014, Cisco has established a unique Virtual Networking Academy specifically tailored to support the Cisco Networking Challenge curriculum. Cisco's NetSpace portal, a robust learning management system that supports its well-established Networking Academy program, was easily customized for CyberPatriot student competitors, and allows Cisco to administer the event remotely and onsite. Coinciding with the start of the CyberPatriot VII competition year, all CyberPatriot coaches, mentors and competitors have access to this customized curriculum, as well as other Networking Academy training materials.
 
"CyberPatriot and its participants have a valued relationship with Cisco. Cisco and its employees have dedicated many volunteer hours to support CyberPatriot's mission, and have done so with genuine purpose to help students learn about cyber security and the important role network defense plays," said Bernie Skoch, CyberPatriot National Commissioner.
 
Cindy DeCarlo, Cisco's Executive Sponsor for CyberPatriot activities said, "Cisco is committed to inspiring more people to pursue STEM education and careers. Through mentoring, IT training, and support for schools and nonprofits, we are working to increase the pipeline of STEM talent around the world. CyberPatriot is one of the nation's best examples of driving enthusiasm and commitment for STEM within our schools. Cisco is proud to be supporting CyberPatriot."
 
The 2014-2015 CyberPatriot competition registered more than 2,175 teams from all 50 states, Canada and DoD Dependent Schools in Europe and the Pacific. CyberPatriot is beginning its 7th competition season with a 40 percent increase in total registrations from last year, reaching thousands of students in the United States and beyond.
 
CyberPatriot, the nation's largest and fastest growing youth cyber education program, is AFA's flagship STEM initiative dedicated to strengthening cyber skills among American youth. Students in the program gain valuable knowledge from the expertise of CyberPatriot's many supporters, including the Northrop Grumman Foundation, CyberPatriot's presenting sponsor. Other program sponsors include Cyber Diamond sponsors AT&T Federal and the AT&T Foundation, Cisco, Microsoft, USA Today, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and the Office of the Secretary of Defense; Cyber Gold sponsors Facebook, URS, Riverside Research, Splunk, and Symantec; and Cyber Silver sponsors Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Leidos, MIT Lincoln Laboratory, and University of Maryland University College.
 
The Air Force Association is a non-profit, independent, professional military and aerospace education association. Our mission is to promote a dominant United States Air Force and a strong national defense, and to honor Airmen and our Air Force Heritage.
 
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Fluor Foundation Grant Brings Proven Blended Learning Program to California and Texas Schools

This is a press release from MIND Research Institute

Gift to MIND Research Institute Expands ST Math to 3,804 More Students

Irvine, Calif., December 17, 2014 | The MIND Research Institute today announced a $150,000 grant from Fluor Corporation’s giving arm, the Fluor Foundation, to bring an innovative blended learning math program to 2,286 students at four schools in Irvine, Calif., and 1,518 students at three schools in Dallas and Houston, Texas.
 
Fluor, an engineering and construction company, which has a 102–year legacy operating in Orange County, has made gifts to support MIND’s ST Math® program in local schools since 2007. This grant marks a ten-fold increase in giving from Fluor’s previous gift, expanding Fluor’s support of ST Math to include Texas, where Fluor is now headquartered, and elevates Fluor’s partnership with MIND to the national level.
 
“MIND Research Institute’s ST Math program provides meaningful, measurable impact on educational outcomes for students, making MIND an ideal partner for Fluor,” said Torrence Robinson, president of the Fluor Foundation. “We want to make a difference in children’s lives today and help build an innovative workforce for tomorrow. ST Math helps us do that.”
 
Last year, the Business Roundtable, a group of CEOs of leading U.S. companies including Fluor, reviewed more than 100 educational programs seeking those with the greatest potential to prepare students for college and the workplace. BRT named five proven and scalable programs that its members could help scale up, and that list included ST Math.
 
Developed by neuroscientists, MIND’s ST Math instructional software provides visual, computer-based math games that support deep understanding of concepts covered by state math standards at each grade level. The self-paced games are designed to be as accessible for children struggling in math as they are challenging for gifted children. A recent study of students across California using the program found that when an entire grade level fully implemented ST Math, they increased the percentage of students scoring proficient and the percentage scoring advanced on the California Standards Test. The program also includes teacher training on how to connect the games to their classroom math curriculum, and year-round educational support.
 
“We’re grateful for Fluor’s longtime support of MIND Research Institute, and particularly for this new gift that solidifies their commitment to solving the nation’s math crisis,” said Matthew Peterson, Ph.D., CEO, co-founder and senior scientist at MIND Research. “Fluor is impacting a socially, economically, and geographically diverse group of students and teachers, and all of them will benefit from deeper, more conceptual learning thanks to this grant.”
 
Fluor is among several donors providing funding to help the Irvine Unified School District roll out ST Math to all 30 of its elementary schools. Fluor’s grant specifically benefits four Irvine elementary schools: Culverdale, Northpark, Springbrook and University Park. In Texas, the grant benefits KIPP Legacy, KIPP Sharp in Houston and Uplift Heights Preparatory in Dallas.
 
The grant provides the schools with access to ST Math, as well as training to prepare teachers to successfully incorporate the computer-based games into their existing math curriculum as part of a blended learning environment. Additionally, schools receive year-round support from MIND’s team.
 
About Fluor Corporation
Fluor Corporation (NYSE: FLR) is a global engineering and construction firm that designs and builds some of the world's most complex projects. The company creates and delivers innovative solutions for its clients in engineering, procurement, fabrication, construction, maintenance and project management on a global basis. For more than a century, Fluor has served clients in the energy, chemicals, government, industrial, infrastructure, mining and power market sectors. Headquartered in Irving, Texas, Fluor ranks 109 on the FORTUNE 500 list. With more than 40,000 employees worldwide, the company's revenue for 2013 was $27.4 billion. Visit Fluor at www.fluor.com and follow on Twitter @FluorCorp.
 
MIND Research Institute
MIND Research Institute is a neuroscience and education social benefit organization, dedicated to ensuring that all students are mathematically equipped to solve the world’s most challenging problems. MIND's distinctive visual approach to math and problem-solving is the basis of its innovative, research-proven ST Math® programs for elementary and secondary schools. MIND's programs currently reach over 800,000 students and 31,000 teachers in 2,500 schools in 40 states. For more information, visit www.mindresearch.org.
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100 Diverse Corporate Leaders in STEM - Nikki Katz of Disney Interactive

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 STEMConnector.org/100Diverse. Follow the conversation on social media using #100STEMLeaders. Today's Diverse Corporate Leader is Nikki Katz, vice president of product management and the mobile network at Disney Interactive.

Nikki Katz, Disney Interactive

Nikki Katz
Vice President of Product Management and the Mobile Network
Disney Interactive

As Vice President of Product Management and the Mobile Network at Disney Interactive, Disney’s mobile, gaming, and interactive media division, Nikki is responsible for designing, developing, and operating the technology that powers Disney Digital experiences. Since she joined the company in 2011, she has led and shaped the platform services organization at Disney Interactive and delivered large-scale technology solutions that are leveraged across The Walt Disney Company, including: the mobile ad network, social network, open graph service, kids’ safe chat, personalization, and content management systems.

Prior to Disney Interactive, Nikki served as VP of Product Management at the Apollo Group where she led product strategy and development of Apollo’s global proprietary online education platform. She launched her corporate career at Yahoo as a software engineer and progressed through multiple technology roles across engineering, operations, product management, and engineering management. Nikki is a graduate of Stanford University where she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Symbolic Systems with a concentration in Human-Computer Interaction. She currently resides in Los Altos with her family.

About Disney Interactive

Disney Interactive is the digital entertainment part of The Walt Disney Company. As one of the world’s largest creators of high-quality digital experiences, Disney Interactive produces interactive entertainment for the whole family including multi-platform video games, online short form video, mobile and social games and digital destinations across all current and emerging media platforms. Entertaining guests of all ages, Disney Interactive’s key products include the video game platform Disney Infinity, top virtual world for kids Club Penguin, popular online destinations for kids, parents and fans including Disney.com, Oh My Disney, and Babble.com and the Disney social network reaching more than 1 billion guests on Facebook. To encourage and foster STEM education in its workforce and the community, Disney Interactive offers regular enrichment programs including monthly Tech Talks, leadership symposiums and volunteer opportunities to inspire local children to learn computer science through its partnership with Code.org and other non-profits.

Nikki on Diversity and STEM

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

I fell in love with programming as an 11 year old toying with DOS and QBasic. I wrote command line games, signed up for every Computer Science class I could find, and begged my parents for a Borland Pascal compiler for my Bat Mitzvah. I declared as a Computer Science major within weeks of starting my freshman year of college but by the end of that first year I changed majors. I had learned that software engineers didn’t look like me, that I didn’t fit the stereotype – I mean, I didn’t even play video games. The stereotype has evolved and changed over time, but stereotypes of who STEM professionals are remain a big deterrent for women and minorities as they progress in their career. To encourage diversity in STEM fields, we have to highlight the diversity that already exists in those fields. We have to help women and minorities see themselves in STEM role models and find challenges to tackle with their STEM education that matter to them.

Leaders are in great demand as business builders and role models. What advice do you have for minorities and women coming “up” in the system?

My advice to anyone "coming up” in the system is to take ownership of and accountability for your own career. There are many ways to attain professional goals, but failure to set them for yourself or to gauge progress towards them is a sure fire way to miss. This needs to be an active and ongoing process. Know where you want to be and assess opportunities in terms of whether they get you closer to that target. Seek out projects that will expand your skill sets and fill gaps in your organization that highlight your strengths. Be appropriately and constructively critical of yourself – essentially apply the principles of continuous improvement to your own skill sets and knowledge base. Good leaders exhibit both confidence and humility – the confidence to trust themselves and to take risks and the humility to always push to be better and evolve.

How do you translate your work into innovation?

Although innovation is defined simply as the act of introducing new ideas into a system, in an applied business setting I interpret it as the ability to predict where you need to be and adjust to be there before the customer realizes they needed you there. Innovation can be revolutionary and take industries forward in huge leaps, or it can also be more subtle and evolutionary. My organization enables innovation by providing common platforms that serve as building blocks and allow teams across Disney to more quickly deliver new products and experiences to market. We focus on efficiently prototyping new concepts and technologies and then rapidly iterating to production-grade quality and scale.

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

Staying competitive means identifying and investing in good ideas and top talent. Good ideas are not hampered by arbitrary boundaries like position, title, socioeconomic status, race, etc and can come from anywhere in the organization. In fact, research has clearly proven over the years that the best ideas are more likely to emerge from diverse groups. Disney's investment in technology leadership with a focus on diversity increases the chances that good ideas will bubble up and be heard. Additionally, our focus on diversity means that we increase our candidate pool and are therefore better able to attract and retain top talent.

National Academy of Inventors announces 2014 NAI Fellows

This is a press release from the National Academy of Inventors (NAI)

Academic inventors and innovators elected to high honor

TAMPA, Fla., Dec. 16, 2014 (PRNewswire) | The National Academy of Inventors (NAI) has named 170 distinguished innovators to NAI Fellow status.
 
Those named today bring the total number of NAI Fellows to 414, representing more than 150 prestigious research universities and governmental and non-profit research institutions.
 
Included among all of the NAI Fellows are 61 presidents and senior leadership of research universities and non-profit research institutes, 208 members of the other National Academies (NAS, NAE, IOM), 21 inductees of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, 16 recipients of the U.S. National Medal of Technology and Innovation, 10 recipients of the U.S. National Medal of Science, 21 Nobel Laureates, 11 Lemelson-MIT prize recipients, 112 AAAS Fellows, and 62 IEEE Fellows, among other awards and distinctions. 
 
Collectively, the 414 NAI Fellows hold nearly 14,000 U.S. patents.
 
Election to NAI Fellow status is a high professional distinction accorded to academic inventors who have demonstrated a highly prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development, and the welfare of society.
 
The NAI Fellows will be inducted on Mar. 20, 2015, as part of the 4th Annual Conference of the National Academy of Inventors at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Deputy Commissioner for Patent Operations Andrew Faile will be providing the keynote address for the induction ceremony. Fellows will be presented with a special trophy, newly designed medal, and rosette pin in honor of their outstanding accomplishments.
 
"It is our distinct pleasure to host the 2014 NAI Fellows induction ceremony at Caltech," said Mory Gharib, Caltech's vice provost for research and Charter Fellow of the NAI.  "I am honored to be a Fellow of this organization and continue to be inspired by my innovative colleagues.  I look forward to welcoming these renowned inventors to campus next March."
 
"We appreciate what NAI does to encourage inventors who stimulate and support our innovation economy," says USPTO Commissioner for Patents Margaret (Peggy) Focarino. "It's a privilege to serve on the NAI Fellows Selection Committee as the Fellows program provides a unique opportunity to shine a spotlight on our nation's top inventors. We congratulate the Fellows on their outstanding achievements!"
 
The 2014 NAI Fellows will be recognized with a full page announcement in The Chronicle of Higher Education 16 Jan. 2015 issue, and in upcoming issues of Inventors Digest and Technology and Innovation.
 
The academic inventors and innovators elected to the rank of NAI Fellow are named inventors on U.S. patents and were nominated by their peers for outstanding contributions to innovation in areas such as patents and licensing, innovative discovery and technology, significant impact on society, and support and enhancement of innovation.
 
The 2014 NAI Fellows Selection Committee comprises 17 members, including NAI Fellows, recipients of U.S. National Medals, National Inventors Hall of Fame inductees, members of the National Academies and senior officials from the USPTO, Association of American Universities, American Association for the Advancement of Science, Association of University Technology Managers, and National Inventors Hall of Fame.
 
"We are delighted to recognize the 2014 NAI Fellows and their unparalleled commitment to excellence in academic invention," said NAI President Dr. Paul R. Sanberg.  "Their many discoveries have made a truly significant impact on society and we are proud to honor them for these contributions."
 
Complete list of NAI Fellows: http://academyofinventors.com/search-fellows.asp.
 
The National Academy of Inventors is a 501(c)(3) non-profit member organization comprising U.S. and international universities, and governmental and non-profit research institutions, with over 3,000 individual inventor members and Fellows spanning more than 200 institutions, and growing rapidly. It was founded in 2010 to recognize and encourage inventors with patents issued from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, enhance the visibility of academic technology and innovation, encourage the disclosure of intellectual property, educate and mentor innovative students, and translate the inventions of its members to benefit society. The NAI offices are located in the University of South Florida Research Park. The NAI edits the multidisciplinary journal, Technology and Innovation, published by Cognizant Communication Corporation (NY). www.academyofinventors.org
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100 Diverse Corporate Leaders in STEM - Michele Kang of Cognosante

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 STEMConnector.org/100Diverse. Follow the conversation on social media using #100STEMLeaders. Today's Diverse Corporate Leader is Michele Kang, founder, chief executive officer, and co-chairman at Cognosante.

Michele Kang, Cognosante

Michele Kang
Founder, Chief Executive Officer, and Co-Chairman
Cognosante

Michele Kang is the founder, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Chairman of Cognosante. Prior to founding Cognosante in 2008, Ms. Kang served as Vice President and General Manager of Northrop Grumman's Health Solutions, where she oversaw Northrop Grumman's Health IT business. Taking over the operating unit in 2003, she built a health business that now spans the major components of the health industry - clinical systems, life sciences, public health, and healthcare financing and benefits management. Prior to joining Northrop Grumman, Ms. Kang worked with CEOs, CFOs, and senior management teams of Fortune 500 and global 100 companies as a management consultant to turn around under-performing businesses, improve operational efficiencies, execute profitable growth strategies, and implement global marketing and branding strategies. She is one of the Inaugural Members of 100 Women Leaders in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM), elected in 2012 along with U.S. senators, high ranking government officials, and top executives of Fortune 500 companies.

She received a BA in Economics from the University of Chicago and a MBA from the Yale School of Management. In addition, she completed executive management programs at Harvard Business School, MIT Sloan School of Management, and the Brookings Institute.

About Cognosante

At Cognosante, we fundamentally believe we can create a better healthcare environment where everyone benefits. We are dedicated to applying our knowledge and innovation to help produce a healthier population. As a trusted partner to public and private organizations, we help our customers understand complex healthcare reform requirements and transform their enterprise to meet the healthcare needs of millions of people across the country. From integrated eligibility, to ICD-10 to Health Insurance Exchange, we help our customers master the big picture. We provide industry-leading expertise in modular architecture to meet CMS' Seven Conditions and Standards — all while maximizing efficiency, quality and tight budgets.

Michele on Diversity and STEM

How do you believe STEM education can improve a nation's competitiveness?

While young girls and boys use technology every day to communicate, play video games, download and listen to music, their interest in majoring in STEM - science, technology, engineering and mathematics – has steadily declined over the past decade. Fewer students are enrolling in computer science and graduating with computer science degrees. If this trend continues, the technology industry will only be able to fill half its available jobs with candidates with computer science bachelor’s degrees from U.S. universities, according to the National Center for Women in Technology.

What principles do you apply to your professional and personal life to advance STEM education?

One of my most important roles as CEO is to motivate employees and to provide opportunities to help them find new and exciting ways to contribute to the business. I work to ensure everyone knows the unique work and life experiences they bring to the company are valued and are making a difference. I believe it is critical for employees to know they are accomplishing something exciting and meaningful and to understand the important role they play every day in helping our customers overcome their challenges, solve their problems and fulfill their missions.

What counsel would you provide around "collaborating to achieve success" in STEM education and the workforce?

As the founder and CEO of Cognosante, a dynamic and growing health IT company headquartered in McLean, VA, I am passionate about technology and am grateful for the opportunities I have been afforded by pursuing a career in a STEM field. In order for Cognosante and other companies in the health IT field to grow and be successful, we need more ‘minds on health’ and more students to pursue a STEM education to help address some of the major challenges facing the health services industry.

PwC Charitable Foundation Inc. Donates $50,000 to Covenant Prep and Grace Academy

This is a press release from PwC

PwC Hartford Invests in Local Schools, As Part of PwC's Earn Your Future Commitment to Advance Youth Education in the US

HARTFORD, Conn., Dec. 16, 2014 (PRNewswire) | PwC US today announced that its Hartford office will donate $50,000 to Covenant Preparatory School and Grace Academy funded through grants from the PwC Charitable Foundation, Inc. The grants are a part of PwC's Earn Your Future, a $160 million commitment to advance youth education and financial literacy across the US.
 
Covenant Prep and Grace Academy are tuition-free middle schools for underserved families and will each receive a $25,000 grant. The donations will be used for a variety of initiatives, including bolstering science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs, computer upgrades, laboratory improvements and professional development for teachers. PwC partners and staff plan to expand volunteer programs at both schools, engaging with students through tutoring, mentoring and teaching financial literacy lessons.
 
"Investing in youth education and developing future leaders in our local communities is a top priority for PwC," said Keith Hubert, office managing partner of PwC's Hartford office. "Over the past four years, PwC partners and staff have volunteered at both schools in everything from field days with the students, to painting and helping with school improvements. We're looking forward to expanding our relationship with Covenant Prep and Grace Academy through both skills-based volunteer programs and through this financial investment from the PwC Charitable Foundation."
 
"STEM education is critical to the future of our economy," said Matthew Fitzsimons, Head of School at Grace Academy. "The grant by the PwC Charitable Foundation is a tremendous step in helping us provide interactive, hands on learning to expose our students to STEM related careers."
 
"We're focused on creating multiple pathways to graduation, through a variety of learning opportunities," said Glenn Winfree, Head of School at Covenant Preparatory School. "Thanks to the generosity of the PwC Charitable Foundation, we will enhance our STEM and leadership development programs to provide students with relevant learning experiences, in and outside of the classroom."
 
Through PwC's Earn Your Future initiative, the firm is working to help close the educational gap by collaborating with schools and community organizations to drive improvement around financial literacy. Since its inception in June 2012, PwC's Earn Your Future has sparked scaled change and increased engagement in every PwC market across the US firm. PwC's people have made a measurable impact on more than 1.1 million students and 41,000 educators by providing educational, financial and/or developmental resources. Additionally, PwC has donated $43 million to support youth related causes over the past two years.
 
About The PwC Charitable Foundation, Inc.
The PwC Charitable Foundation, Inc., a section 501(c)(3) organization, makes contributions to the people of PwC in times of financial hardship, and to nonprofit organizations that support and promote education and humanitarianism.
 
About PwC US 
PwC US helps organizations and individuals create the value they're looking for. We're a member of the PwC network of firms, which has firms in 157 countries with more than 195,000 people. We're committed to delivering quality in assurance, tax and advisory services. Find out more and tell us what matters to you by visiting us at www.pwc.com/US.
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100 Diverse Corporate Leaders in STEM - Patricia L. Kampling of Alliant Energy Corporation

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 STEMConnector.org/100Diverse. Follow the conversation on social media using #100STEMLeaders. Today's Diverse Corporate Leader is Patricia Kampling, chairman of the board, president, and chief executive officer at Alliant Energy Corporation.

Pat Kampling, Alliant

Patricia L. Kampling
Chairman of the Board, President, and Chief Executive Officer
Alliant Energy Corporation

Patricia L. Kampling was named Chairman, President and CEO in 2012. Her broad experience within the utility industry has proven essential to Alliant Energy’s ability to ensure competitive costs and reliable service for customers, while building and sustaining a balanced portfolio of traditional and renewable energy generating facilities. Pat joined Alliant Energy in 2005 as Vice President of Finance. She transitioned to Chief Financial Officer and then Treasurer. In 2011, Pat became President and Chief Operating Officer responsible for overall corporate operations and was instrumental in the execution of Alliant Energy’s capital plan, commitment to customers, environmental planning and safety initiatives.

Before Alliant Energy, Pat spent more than 20 years at Exelon Corporation. She started as an Engineer, and eventually became Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Exelon Enterprises and the Treasurer of Commonwealth Edison. Pat holds bachelor’s degrees in Engineering and Economics from Swarthmore College, an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School, and is a registered Professional Engineer. Pat credits her background in STEM studies and her early career in engineering for her success in the utility industry. She asserts that a STEM education gives you the knowledge and training to break down a complex problem to its components in order to better understand it and find a solution.

About Alliant Energy Corporation

Alliant Energy Corporation is a Midwest U.S. energy company with more than $11 billion in assets. Our company primarily engages in electric generation and the distribution of electricity and natural gas. Our utility subsidiaries serve approximately one million electric customers and 418,000 natural gas customers in Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota. We maintain a strong fleet of fossil fuel and renewable generating facilities, producing more than 30 million megawatt hours of electricity each year. Alliant Energy employs approximately 4,000 employees. Almost every career at Alliant Energy calls on STEM studies. Our array of engineering departments includes substation engineering, system protection, boiler and turbine engineering, thermal performance engineering and much more. Electricians, line crews, and natural gas techs keep energy flowing to our customers. Information technology employees build, support and maintain our systems. Even customer service representatives and corporate communications employees must have a strong working knowledge of the utility industry and energy generation.

Patricia on Diversity and STEM

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

The utility sector workforce is aging faster than most industries. Since we have a growing demand for employees in engineering and I.T., we must play a key role in developing those future employees. By promoting STEM studies to young women and minorities, we help fill the pool of potential job candidates as well as infuse it with diverse perspectives, talents and backgrounds. Innovative solutions are born from a STEM education and willingness to think in unique ways. That’s good for our industry, customers and the workforce at large. Studying STEM trains your mind to break issues down to their key components, which helps you better understand them and develop a solution. You can take that skill to any career.

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

I am most proud of our employees who feel strongly about engaging with diverse students and young professionals. We’ve played an integral role in developing the Women in EMS program at University of Wisconsin – Platteville and in mentoring engineering students at Iowa State University. We have women leading and encouraging new recruits for local chapters of the Society of Women Engineers. We have an engineer in a leadership role of a regional chapter of the Society of Hispanic Engineers. They recently hosted a science and math family night that proved very popular. As far as women in engineering – I think our employees, who are such great role models, are out there more than other companies.

What is your advice to those involved in promoting STEM education?

I have two pieces of advice: make it more exciting and make students aware of the opportunities. Educators need to think beyond education. They need to help their students make the connection between their passions and STEM subjects. Many students – women and men – have this notion that it only leads to being an engineer, but they don’t have a clear understanding what that means. It’s much more than buildings and big machines – there’s aerospace, industrial, mechanical, biochemical, civil, materials science … there is bound to be something that connects with a student’s passion. That said, a STEM education doesn’t lock you into a career as an engineer. I’m a perfect example. I started as an engineer, transitioned to finance and am now leading a utility.

Leaders are in great demand as business builders and role models. What advice do you have for minorities and women coming up in the system?

The key is having a passion for the work you are doing and then aligning yourself with others who have the same mission. It’s a great equalizer – when you have the same mission or passion. The focus is on the success of the mission and team members’ contributions. Make relationships based on what you’re working on. You’ll build important connections, learn as you go and find opportunities to lead.

Casio Receives Prestigious Education Technology Award For Its Ultra Short Throw Projector

The following is a press release from PRNewsire.
 
 
Casio America, Inc. is proud to announce that its Ultra Short Throw Projector, the XJ-UT310WN, has received a 2014 Award of Excellence from Tech & Learning magazine (a NewBay Media publication). The awards program recognizes software, hardware, network and web products that feature innovative applications that break new ground as well as those that added significant enhancements to proven education tools. All entries are given a rigorous test-driving by qualified educators in several rounds of judging. Products are also carefully screened by the publication's editorial team. Winners are showcased in the December 2014 issue of the magazine.
 
"It's a proud moment when Casio is recognized by the very community we aim to serve for having a high-quality product that meets educators' needs and enables them to more efficiently teach the leaders of tomorrow," said Matt Mustachio, General Manager of Casio's Business Projector Division. "After launching earlier this year, the Ultra Short Throw Projector has been extremely well-received among the education community and simply illustrates the importance of providing products that are forward-thinking and deliver quality technology results for the classroom."
 
Primarily designed for the education market where Ultra Short Throw projectors are becoming the standard, Casio's XJ-UT310WN is the world's brightest LampFree® Ultra Short Throw projector* available. It features an ultra short throw ratio of 0.28:1, produces 3100 lumens of brightness, and boasts WXGA (1280 x 800) resolution which is ideal for displaying HD content from video and computer sources. The XJ-UT310WN utilizes Casio's 5th generation LASER & LED Hybrid Light Source technology which delivers a 20,000 hour estimated lifespan and achieves an increase in color spectrum compared with a mercury lamp. This LampFree® light source also eliminates the need to replace unsafe mercury bulbs which helps to lower the projector's total cost of ownership and maximize the investment.
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