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Project Scientist Scholars Program Launches This Summer

This is a guest blog from Project Scientist Academy, Charlotte, N.C.

Extending its promise to educate, coach, and advocate for girls with an aptitude, talent, and passion for STEM, Project Scientist, in partnership with Bank of America and The NASCAR Foundation, launched the Project Scientist Scholars program this summer in Charlotte.
The Scholars program is built for girls ages 12-16 and extends the pipeline of the non-profit which runs the Project Scientist Academy for girls ages 4-11.
Fifteen girls are participating in the five-week STEM summer camp that runs from July 7 to August 8 at Queens University. The campers are students at Collinswood Language Academy and Oaklawn Language Academy. They were recommended by teachers and school administrators and submitted applications to join the program.
The Project Scientist Scholars program ties directly into the Project Scientist Academy camps. The Scholars will serve as “near-peer” mentors to the younger girls during the morning hours of the camps, helping to initiate the spark of STEM in the Academy girls while learning crucial leadership and mentoring skills.
The Scholars will also participate in  the  STEM  Superstar  sessions  alongside  the  Academy  students  and  will  attend Academy field trips.
“The differentiators in the Scholars program are in two areas – personal development and holistic STEM connections,” explained Sandy Marshall, founder of Project Scientist. 
“The girls will be coached by a professional counselor to help develop an education and career plan, identifying the best placement and opportunities for each girls’ specific STEM interests. The girls will also take part in a STEM outreach effort that will connect them with STEM in the business world.”  
The  NASCAR  Foundation  donated  $20,000  to  the  program  and  provided  unique opportunities for the Scholars to visit the NASCAR Research and Development Center and a NASCAR Wind Tunnel. The Scholars will meet STEM professionals throughout the NASCAR industry, while documenting what they learn through their small-group interactions. The girls will develop an infographic about STEM in NASCAR.
”The NASCAR Foundation is excited to partner with Project Scientist to launch the scholars program this summer,” The NASCAR Foundation Executive Director Lorene King said. “Our sport is filled with unique opportunities that showcase STEM applications in a fast-paced, fun environment which makes our partnership the perfect fit for the girls who are a part of this program.”
The Scholars program is also supported by a $15,000 grant from the Bank of America Charitable Foundation. In addition, the bank will provide the campers with a five-week financial literacy class in an effort to provide each girl with an understanding and ability to manage the building blocks of financial success, including budgeting and saving. 
“We’re  proud  to  partner  with  Project  Scientist  to  further  STEM  programming  and opportunities for girls and young women here in Charlotte,” said Charles Bowman, North Carolina  and  Charlotte  market  president,  Bank  of  America.  “It’s  initiatives like  the Scholars program that help students find a passion and professional path that also strengthen  the  local economy  by improving  the  experience and  talent of the future workforce.”
The inaugural campers will be sharing their thoughts about STEM through a blog at
For more information please visit or check us out on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

NAPE Education Foundation Partners with Freescale Foundation to Provide Professional Development in Austin Independent School District

This is a press release from NAPE Education Foundation

Gap, PA (July 30, 2014) | The National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity (NAPE) Education Foundation will receive funding and support from the Freescale Foundation for teacher professional development programming for 25 secondary science and mathematics teachers and instructional specialists in the Austin Independent School District (AISD) in Texas. The Freescale Foundation is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organization focused on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education. 
The research-based professional development program, Micromessaging to Reach and Teach Every Student™ (Micromessaging), is designed to increase the success of students in STEM with an emphasis on underrepresented populations, including females, minorities, and low-income students. Teachers learn how to identify barriers to student learning and use the power of micromessages (small and often subtle, yet powerful messages) to improve classroom instructional strategies leading to increased student participation, performance, and persistence in rigorous STEM courses and programs.  
The Micromessaging curriculum, which will be delivered in spring and summer 2015, includes seven units delivered over about 28 hours and facilitated discussion groups in which reflection and evolution in practice take place. Underpinning the curriculum is NAPE's Program Improvement Process for Equity™, a six sigma-based model, which allows for data- and research-based solutions that provide measureable outcomes.  
"The Freescale Foundation is thrilled to partner with NAPE's Education Foundation in training educators in Austin," said Rick Morales, Executive Director of the Freescale Foundation. "We want to stress the importance of serving the increasingly diverse student body in our local communities. By partnering with AISD and NAPE, this curriculum will build educators' capacity to help students in their pursuit of a STEM career and to achieve their full potential." 
NAPE Chief Executive Officer, Mimi Lufkin, commented that she was thrilled to learn that the proposal had been accepted.  "I am looking forward to partnering with the Freescale Foundation on this important new initiative in Austin, Texas. Given that each teacher reaches about 100 students annually, this training could benefit 2,500 students in a year."
Dr. Pauline Dow, Chief Academic Officer at Austin Independent School District, commented after learning about the grant. "The Austin Independent School District is honored to partner with NAPE through Freescale Foundation's generous contribution. Engaging and equipping female, minority, and low-income students is crucial in developing an educated pipeline of future STEM professionals, and this underscores the importance of the underlying messages we convey to students every day in the classroom, which shape their perceptions and ultimately their direction in pursuing careers in STEM fields."
About NAPE
NAPE is a national, nonprofit consortium of state and local agencies, corporations, and national organizations that collaborate to create equitable and diverse classrooms and workplaces where there are no barriers to opportunities. The NAPE Education Foundation has been involved in a number of initiatives to increase diversity in America's workforce and to increase opportunities in high-skill, high-wage, high-demand careers. Among these is the National Science Foundation-funded STEM Equity Pipeline, which works with educational systems to increase the participation of underrepresented populations in STEM education. For more information, visit

Branstad, Reynolds highlight success of STEM education in Iowa three years after the initiative’s launch

This is a press release from the Iowa Governor’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Advisory Council (Iowa STEM)

July 28, 2014 - (DES MOINES) | Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds today were joined at their weekly press conference by Dr. Jeff Weld, executive director of the Governor’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Advisory Council and Shelly Vanyo, a science teacher at Boone High School, to highlight Iowa’s STEM initiative, three years after it was established by Executive Order 74.
“It’s remarkable what a dedicated group of Iowans can accomplish. Gov. Branstad and I knew that to prepare our children for a globally competitive job market, we had to promote and provide a quality STEM education,” said Reynolds, who serves as the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council co-chair with Vermeer CEO Mary Andringa. “Today, over 3,000 classrooms and clubs involving more than 100,000 young Iowans were involved in STEM in 2013-14, and the program continues to expand its reach to every corner of the state with each passing year.”
Branstad and Reynolds highlighted the progress made by the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council:
o   Created a network of six STEM regions partnering with Hub institutions to support the program delivery by outstanding regional STEM managers, each overseen by regional STEM boards.
o   Implemented the Council’s vision for providing excellent STEM programs to children across Iowa, both inside and outside schools.
o   Launched STEM-focused classrooms, STEM teacher licenses, community STEM festivals, STEM connections between business and education, and a STEM awareness campaign, among other innovations.
o   Over 3,000 classrooms and clubs involving more than 100,000 young Iowans were involved in STEM in 2013-14.
“Every one of the STEM programs rolled out to educators across Iowa this past year has met or exceeded its objective of inspiring greater interest in STEM among students. That’s important because facts show that STEM careers pay, on average, $10 dollars more per hour than non-STEM jobs, translating to average incomes of $58,800 versus $39,300 for all occupations,” said Branstad. “We made a commitment to Iowans that we will provide the tools to succeed in STEM, and we are delivering on that commitment.”
In addition, the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council released a report evaluating the impact of STEM education efforts across the state. Iowa STEM is independently evaluated by a consortium led by UNI’s Center for Social and Behavioral Research working with ISU’s Research Institute for Studies in Education and UI’s Iowa Testing Programs. The findings of this report are based on data from over 20,000 student participants in the STEM Scale-Up program and 600 STEM educators, and nearly 1,900 Iowans who participated in the statewide survey.
Among the key findings from the report were:
o   Students participating in STEM Scale-Up programs reported more interest in STEM topics and STEM careers afterward. 
o   A small gender gap between male and female participation in Scale-Up has been narrowed from Year 1 to Year 2 of programming.
o   Participation of minority students matches their share of Iowa’s school-age population.
o   Awareness of the acronym STEM among adults has increased 58 percent between 2012 and 2013.
o   And in case we were not sure if all this mattered to the average Iowan, a whopping 98% of surveyed adults agree that advancements in STEM will give more opportunities to the next generation.
“The results are especially gratifying for everyone involved in Iowa’s STEM effort. I was particularly pleased to see that three-fourths of all the teachers who scaled-up a STEM program this year reported greater skills and confidence to teach STEM and 750 business partnerships took place this year with educators scaling up STEM programs,” said Weld. “Connecting schools and businesses is a major strategy of the Council, because of the promise these connections hold for maintaining the momentum in STEM.”
For more information on STEM education in Iowa, please visit

Report Recommends New Approach to U.S. Manufacturing’s Youth Outreach and Training

This is a press release from Hope Street Group and Alcoa Foundation

Regional Changes Needed To Close Skills Gap and Make U.S. More Competitive

July 29, 2014 – (Washington, DC) | With over 600,000 positions currently vacant and over half of their workforce just a few years from retirement, U.S. manufacturing firms face a serious lack of young, skilled workers. Immediate changes in career education and training are needed to ensure the industry can meet its future hiring needs. Hope Street Group, a nonprofit organization focused on U.S. economic opportunity, released a report today that highlights student, educator and employer perspectives into this issue, along with strategies for manufacturing employers to collaborate with educators on youth outreach and training.
The report, Missing Makers: How to Rebuild America’s Manufacturing Workforce, found that American youth are getting fewer opportunities to experience technical trades directly. This problem is exacerbated by systemic challenges that prevent educators and employers from creating opportunities to expose young people to manufacturing careers.
The report’s key takeaways include the following:
1.       Change the messaging of manufacturing programs and partnerships with schools; companies should actively emphasize to parents and educators that technical training can enhance, rather than limit, career opportunities.
2.       Young people are getting fewer opportunities to experience technical trades directly. Companies can provide opportunities, both in-person and virtual, for teachers and counselors to educate themselves on manufacturing career pathways. Companies should also consider creating a set of resources for teachers and guidance counselors, giving them the ability to educate thousands of students in turn.
3.       With the right structure and players involved, manufacturing firms can collaborate with each other and with local educators, overcoming common financial and coordination barriers to youth outreach.
One prominent observation from the report’s findings was that youth frequently develop misconceptions about manufacturing early on because they have little direct exposure to manufacturing in their daily lives. They are often unaware, uninterested or unprepared for jobs available in their regions and lack comprehensive knowledge of the rapid changes the U.S. manufacturing sector has undergone in recent years.
Those aiming to assist students in the career exploration process also expressed concern over significant time and resource barriers. Teachers generally felt they lacked the time and guidance to cover career education in the classroom. Manufacturing employers cited financial difficulties and a lack of coordination with other local employers and educators as major obstacles to success. Only 29 percent of business leaders currently report any meaningful collaboration with higher education institutions, according to a poll conducted by Gallup and Lumina Foundation.
“The problem is indicative of a growing disconnect between employer needs and educational training focus, and solving it will require finding new ways to encourage alignment,” said Hope Street Group President and CEO Martin Scaglione, who stressed that lessons learned in the report are applicable to a broad array of industries now struggling to fill job vacancies.
Hope Street Group suggests that manufacturing employers take an active role in addressing this knowledge gap by playing a larger role in exposing students to manufacturing and other skilled careers through encouraging manufacturing education in the classroom, providing direct contact with technical trades and creating online educational resources.
Funded by Alcoa Foundation, the philanthropic arm of a global leader in lightweight metals technology, engineering and manufacturing, the report also includes recommendations for fostering collaboration between local manufacturers and educators in their respective regions, helping to overcome financial and coordination barriers that have hindered effective outreach. The report is intended to further inform and empower the numerous stakeholders involved in addressing this issue, many of whom are already working on innovative efforts to improve education to employment pathways in and beyond manufacturing. 
“Manufacturing jobs of the future will require all workers to continually upgrade and diversify their skills. We must move beyond fragmented training solutions and take a broader, more holistic view of what individuals need to achieve self-sufficiency in an increasingly complex working world,” said Esra Ozer, President of Alcoa Foundation.
The research work conducted for this report was a component of Hope Street Group’s Jobs & Workforce program, which seeks to foster and amplify a seamless learning and work continuum in the U.S. Alcoa Foundation provided funding for the project and report.
About Hope Street Group
Hope Street Group is a national nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to expanding economic opportunity and prosperity for all Americans. For more information, visit and follow @HopeStreetGroup on Twitter.
About Alcoa Foundation
Alcoa Foundation is one of the largest corporate foundations in the U.S., with assets of approximately $470 million. Founded 62 years ago, Alcoa Foundation has invested more than $590 million. In 2013, Alcoa Foundation contributed more than $22 million to nonprofit organizations throughout the world, building innovative partnerships to improve the environment and educate tomorrow's leaders for careers in manufacturing and engineering. The work of Alcoa Foundation is further enhanced by Alcoa's thousands of employee volunteers who share their talents and time to make a difference in the communities where Alcoa operates. Through the Company's signature Month of Service program, in 2013, a record 62 percent of Alcoa employees took part in nearly 1,300 events across 24 countries, benefiting more than 505,000 people and 1,900 nonprofit organizations.
For more information, visit and follow @AlcoaFoundation on Twitter.

STATE OF IOWA - Committed to Million Women Mentors

This is a guest blog post from the State of Iowa

The state of Iowa is proud to join the national movement Million Women Mentors (MWM). Iowa is deeply committed to leveraging the strong work ethic in our state by bringing MWM to all 99 counties across the state.  We are actively engaging women (and men) to serve as mentors in STEM and MWM.  With that in mind, the MWM Iowa effort brings together leaders of education, government, and industry to engage girls and young women to understand, develop interest, and gain confidence so they can pursue and succeed in STEM courses, degrees, and careers.
"MWM mentors can guide, encourage, and open doors for girls and young women to be fully equipped for the great jobs of tomorrow in STEM-related careers," said Iowa Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds.  "In the United States, STEM is a driving force behind economic growth, stability, and educational success. That's why we're creating an environment in Iowa that prepares all of our students with the necessary skills to compete in a global knowledge-based economy."
  • Iowa is committed to engaging 5,000 Mentors over four years in the MWM initiative, with each Mentor committing to providing the minimum of 20 hours of mentoring each year.
  • Iowa is engaging three primary sectors (education, government and business) to leverage the MWM effort and increase STEM awareness throughout the state.
  • Iowa is committed to connecting all 99 counties within the state to engage in mentoring girls and young women in STEM-related programs or initiatives.
  • Iowa will work with new and established mentoring programs to offer STEM-related educational and career opportunities in Iowa.
  • Iowa will have specific MWM goals to ensure participating businesses help us create sustainable workforce development options and increase exposure throughout the state.
  • Iowa will leverage companies with Vacation Time-Off (VTO) programs, STEM-related positions, and workforce development opportunities to integrate the Iowa MWM effort into existing and potential outreach or development activities.



Teachers Provide Feedback on how to STEMtheGAP in U.S. Education

This is a press release from Dow

Dow’s STEMtheGAP™ Teacher Challenge Awards 25 Grants

Midland, Mich. – July 28, 2014 | Professional development days, project-based learning exercises and career exploration with industry employees are just a few of the suggestions on how to STEMtheGAP™ from teachers across the U.S. After receiving 312 submissions to Dow’s STEMtheGAP™ Spring Teacher Challenge, the company awarded 25 educators with $1,000 grants for their outstanding ideas and feedback surrounding science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education.
The Teacher Challenge is designed to foster dialogue between educators and businesses around the growing concern of uninterested kids and unrealized opportunity around STEM. With the STEMtheGAP™ Teacher Challenge, Dow hopes to encourage increased collaboration and innovation in helping to drive new ideas surrounding STEM education in the United States. The spring challenge is the start of a three phase competition that will award a total of $100,000 to 100 winners over the coming months.
“The Teacher Challenge is an excellent way for Dow to award educators who are passionate about STEM,” said Rob Vallentine, global director, STEM Education. “The challenge also allows us to communicate with teachers directly and learn what gaps in STEM education are most prevalent in today’s classroom.”
The 25 winners of the STEMtheGAP™ Spring Teacher Challenge are as follows:
William Jaggers – Chateaugay, NY
Julie Estrada – Windsor, CO
Rebecca Brewer – Troy, MI
Donna Himmelberg – Fairport, NY
Sondra Whalen – Verona, NY
Todd Beard – Flint, MI
Deb Wimberley – Manchester, TN
Janie Simpson – Monroe, LA
Bryce Balif – Plain City, UT
Ronald Phelps – Merrillville, IN
Jennifer Brannon – Liberty, IN
Colin Johnson – Dallas, TX
Cindy Tabor – Warsaw, IN
Anne Mlod – Auburn, NY
Traci Bianco – Wheatfield, IN
Tawasha Thomas – Opelousas, LA
Ryan Sonognini – Layton, UT
Susanne Hannigan – Anchorage, KY
Rodrigo Anadon – Mishawaka, IN
Tina Manus – Milford, CT
Jason Wiley – High Point, NC
Bonita Richins – North Logan, UT
Stacy – Chattanooga, TN
Nancy Gifford – Harwich, MA
Tamara Williams – Ashland City, TN
The Center for Science Teacher Learning, who selected the winners, analyzed the 312 submissions providing an overview of the main issues teachers were concerned about in STEM education.
The STEMtheGAP™ Teacher Challenge will continue with a summer challenge, closing July 30, awarding 25 teachers and a fall challenge, opening August 4, awarding another 50. For more information about the STEMtheGAP™ Teacher Challenge or the Dow education movement, visit
About Dow
Dow (NYSE: DOW) combines the power of science and technology to passionately innovate what is essential to human progress. The Company is driving innovations that extract value from the intersection of chemical, physical and biological sciences to help address many of the world's most challenging problems such as the need for clean water, clean energy generation and conservation, and increasing agricultural productivity. Dow's integrated, market-driven, industry-leading portfolio of specialty chemical, advanced materials, agrosciences and plastics businesses delivers a broad range of technology-based products and solutions to customers in approximately 180 countries and in high growth sectors such as packaging, electronics, water, coatings and agriculture. In 2013, Dow had annual sales of more than $57 billion and employed approximately 53,000 people worldwide. The Company's more than 6,000 products are manufactured at 201 sites in 36 countries across the globe. References to "Dow" or the "Company" mean The Dow Chemical Company and its consolidated subsidiaries unless otherwise expressly noted. More information about Dow can be found at

Out-of-School STEM: Inspiring Underrepresented Youth to Change the World

This is a guest blog from By Damon A. Williams, Ph.D., senior vice president and chief education & youth development officer, Boys & Girls Clubs of America

Several weeks ago, Eddie Cuba, 11, met President Obama at the White House Science Fair in a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity as one of the million kids who have been inspired by STEM through the Connect a Million Minds (CAMM) initiative. Thanks to this initiative, Eddie had the opportunity to join a new program at Boys & Girls Club of Paterson & Passaic called Do-It-Yourself (DIY) STEM because he really enjoys learning science in a different environment after school, making rockets and light bulbs with friends. Since Eddie started the DIY STEM program, his grades have improved, and he wants to go to college and keep studying science because he thinks STEM is fun.

Eddie, Jayda and Rob Marcus at the White House Science Fair; Photo: BGCA
Like many young people, Eddie came alive and was inspired by STEM when given the right opportunity for expanded learning outside the school day. STEM education is critical to the future success of our young people as most of the fastest-growing jobs will require some education in science, technology, engineering and math. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be 9.2 million jobs in STEM fields by 2020. Young people entering the workforce need more skills than they did decades ago—the ability to think critically and problem solve, leverage quantitative information and develop creative solutions both in teams and as individuals. 

Eddie, Jayda and Bill Nye the Science Guy at the White House Science Fair; Photo: BGCA
Unfortunately, there is a shortage of both interested and adequately prepared K-12 students in STEM subjects, especially among minority youth and young women. Gaps in science and math educational achievement for African American, Latino and Native American students start as early as the fourth grade. Additionally, despite a steady increase over the past 20 years, only 15 percent of female high school students express an interest in STEM fields, as compared to 40 percent of male high school students. The opportunity gap in STEM education is likely to widen unless organizations develop pathways for more underrepresented youth to succeed in STEM careers. 
How do we prepare America’s young people, particularly underrepresented youth, for a successful post-secondary education and a 21st century career? One way is through out-of-school time. The out-of-school environment—after school and summer—plays a critical and often overlooked role in helping young people develop needed skills and competencies. Out-of-school providers like Boys & Girls Clubs have an opportunity and responsibility to help more young people develop a passion and an aptitude in STEM—as many kids mistake a lack of foundational knowledge for a lack of talent or ability.
By introducing youth to hands-on, discovery-based STEM learning opportunities, out-of-school providers are teaching kids how to make technology through design thinking—rather than just consuming technology. This education is invaluable because there is a skills divide between young people who simply consume data as entertainment and kids who can apply data analytically and creatively. 
Research shows that the out-of-school environment advances STEM learning and increases interest in STEM-related careers, particularly among underrepresented youth. In fact, African American, Asian American and Latino households are most likely to participate in out-of-school STEM programs (Change the Equation). As a complement to the school day, out-of-school programs also provide opportunities for trial-and-error beyond the school environment—a safe place to fail—while teaching critical 21st century skills like problem solving and perseverance, which are needed in STEM careers. 
Out-of-school providers cannot inspire the next generation in STEM alone. To lessen the opportunity gap in STEM education and prepare America’s young people for great futures, we must develop strategic partnerships to increase STEM interest. Serving as the backbone organization, out-of-school providers can connect like-minded schools/universities, businesses and government entities to build capacity and support for innovative STEM programs. 
For example, Boys & Girls Clubs of America recently partnered with Time Warner Cable to help address America’s declining proficiency in STEM by, together, launching the DIY STEM program for Clubs across the country. Aligned with Time Warner Cable’s commitment to connect young people to the wonders of STEM, this curriculum engages Club youth ages 10 to 18 in the “science of every day,” focusing on energy and electricity, engineering design, and food chemistry, to provide out-of-school opportunities for critical thinking and peer exchange. 
Out-of-school programs like DIY STEM are often the first time where underrepresented youth are given the opportunity to learn STEM in fun and motivating ways. These programs provide project-based learning opportunities that address real-world challenges and encourage innovative solutions, and these experiences can be life changing. According to Eddie, “I truly believe that learning science will help kids change the world.”
Few issues are more important to the future of our nation as STEM education. Through strategic partnerships, I hope that more out-of-school STEM programs will be offered to underrepresented youth as a supplement to school, so they develop the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in the 21st century workplace. Furthermore, if America is going to remain a global leader, a new, more diverse workforce of problem-solvers, innovators and inventors will be necessary to drive our nation’s economy.
Damon A. Williams, Ph.D. is senior vice president and chief education & youth development officer for Boys & Girls Clubs of America, whose more than 4,100 Clubs serve nearly 4 million young people through membership and community outreach. You can reach him at
Every afternoon in America when the 3:00 p.m. school bell rings, 58 million kids leave school and 15 MILLION have no place to go. They risk being unsupervised, unguided and unsafe.
On July 31 in New York City, Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) will publically launch their Great Futures Campaign, an unprecedented marketing, fundraising and impact initiative that serves to redefine the opportunity equation: School + Out-of-School = Great Futures.
Help them out by making a post using #GreatFutures and link to!
Here's a sample tweet:
When the school bell rings 15 MM kids have no place to go. Join us and @BGCA_Clubs to support #GreatFutures for kids at
That is why BGCA will launch their #GreatFuture campaign on July 31st at 3:00 PM EST for the Bell Heard 'Round the Web! 

LEGO compatible robotics for less than the cost of a text book

This is a guest blog from Microbric

Microbric has launched a Kickstarter campaign for its latest STEM targeted offering, Edison, ( in a bid to address the shortage of affordable technology resources in mainstream education. Edison – or the little orange robot – encompasses the functionality of other robotic products already available, but at a much lower price, opening the door to wide spread adoption by all schools. 
Besides the cost of equipment, Edison tackles the question of student engagement by providing icon based drag and drop programming software, as well as an amazing array of sensors to react to light, sound and remote commands. Its modular design enables compatibility with LEGO products allowing schools already using these robotic products to continue seeing a return on their original investment as well as a cost effective extension through integration with Edison.
‘Whilst schools recognize the importance of STEM education to the future of today’s students, providing a holistic, practical experience is often dictated by circumstantial factors such as available budget. We believe that this shouldn’t be a factor that prevents kids getting the most effective education possible and have launched our $40 Edison robot to level the playing field for every student in every school,’ Brenton O’Brien, Managing Director of Microbric said at the launch.
Microbric ( has been providing robotic products to the student and hobbyist market for over 10 years, although this is the first product produced for the mass market using crowd funding as a source of funding. To follow the Edison journey from idea to reality, track the project's progress on Facebook, Google+ and the Edison Kickstarter

International Association for STEM Leaders Gives Professor Usha Rajdev the International Higher Education K-12 STEM Partnership Award

This is a press release from the International Association for STEM Leaders

International Association for STEM Leaders awards Marymount University and Professor Usha Rajdev with the International Higher Education K-12 STEM Partnership Award

On April 24 and 25, Millwood Virginia-based, International Association for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Leaders successfully launched its inaugural leadership event at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. Nearly 100 STEM leaders from around the world joined IASL leadership. This invitation-only annual STEM Leadership Summit recognized several attendees for their leadership in STEM education through a formal awards ceremony. The awards were presented to programs, schools, school districts and individuals who exemplify STEM Excellence as defined by criteria developed by IASL.
The Higher Education K-12 STEM Partnership Award was presented to Dr. Usha Rajdev, professor of Education at Marymount University. Through her work with undergraduate and graduate students, Rajdev has facilitated opportunities for her students to partner with Fort Belvoir Elementary School in Fairfax, Virginia. She and Dr. Eric Bubar, Marymount assistant professor of physics, also enabled elementary children to talk via amateur radio with an astronaut on the International Space Station. In addition, Rajdev’s undergraduate and graduate students create integrated STEM lesson plans and implement them, alongside seasoned teachers in area schools. During the IASL event, Rajdev’s students took part in defining the attributes of quality STEM programs, leading to the development of an international certification.
The International Association for STEM Leaders is globally recognized for creating a "golden standard" for STEM excellence in traditional and non-traditional educational settings for all pre-kindergarten through adult students.  In collaboration with global STEM leaders, the IASL will provide guidance for implementing excellent STEM programming and develop a STEM framework that is industry-based and globally recognized.  In the coming months, IASL will host regional events to continue its recognition of exceptional leadership through awards and to focus its outreach activities around regional education and economic development issues.  
The STEM Leadership Summit was held in conjunction with the world’s largest STEM event, hosted by the USA Science and Engineering Festival. STEMconnector, the leading one-stop shop for STEM information participated as an initial sponsor and Edie Fraser, the founder, spoke to the IASL leaders and recognized them for their important work of impacting the lives of students every day through STEM leadership and education. Other partners include Diversified Education Systems (DES), a leader in “turn-key” laboratories including: casework, equipment, curriculum, training and support.  DES is also a collaborator with Root Cause and Pitsco Education, two additional partners of IASL. On the online side of STEM, Learning Blade and Career ATG offer career and STEM awareness, exposure and training to students. Finally, Concept Schools, a charter school management company, and Vista Teach, an early elementary robotics and engineering education company, took part in the event as sponsors.

Team USA Attains Three Gold Medals and One Silver Medal at the International Biology Olympiad

This is a press release from The Center for Excellence in Education (CEE)

McLean, Va. | The Center for Excellence in Education (CEE) announces Team USA was awarded three Gold Medals and one Silver Medal at the 25th International Biology Olympiad (IBO) held in Bali, Indonesia. Team USA represented this nation in the world’s competition for top academic achievement in biology, surpassing student representatives from 63 nations of the world.

The United States Medalists are:
  • Gold Medalist - William Long, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science & Technology, Alexandria, Virginia
  • Gold Medalist - Yilun Du, Pullman High School, Pullman, Washington
  • Gold Medalist - Varun Mangalick, Mounds View High School, Arden Hills, Minnesota
  • Silver Medalist - Abhijit Mudigonda, Westview High School, Portland, Oregon

Team USA members were selected based on their academic merit by CEE during the 12th annual USABO National Finals hosted by Purdue University. Long, Du, Mangalick, and Mudigonda, are this nation’s premier biology students and will be seniors this fall. 
“CEE is extremely proud of the success of Team USA 2014,” said Joann DiGennaro, President of CEE. “William, Yilun, Varun, and Abhijit garnered world recognition with their academic proficiency and are headed for outstanding science careers.”
Nearly 10,500 U.S. students from across the U.S. registered for the highly competitive USABO. Twenty finalists from 10 states were selected to compete at the USABO based on their scores from the open and semifinal exams.  The high school students at the USABO also participated in lectures, study sessions and laboratory exercises led by biology experts in fields that include cellular & molecular biology, plant anatomy & physiology, animal anatomy & physiology, ethology, genetics & evolution, ecology, ethology, and biosystematics.  This marks the fifth consecutive year that Purdue has co-sponsored the finals with CEE.
Kathy Frame, Director of the USABO and Special Projects for the CEE, and Clark Gedney, Director of the BioMedia Center for Instructional Design at Purdue, accompanied Team USA to the worldwide event.  Air travel was provided courtesy of Korean Air, the official airline of the USA Biology Olympiad. 
Frame was elected by her fellow jurors to be a member of Indonesia's Host Committee for the 2014 IBO in Bali. The subgroup worked in cooperation with Indonesia to review the practical and the theoretical examinations that had been developed, focusing on the quality of the questions in terms of scientific correctness and conceptual formulation.  She will participate as a member of Denmark’s Host Committee for the 2015 IBO in Aarhus.
About the Center for Excellence in Education
The Center for Excellence in Education was founded in 1983 by the late Admiral H.G. Rickover and Joann P. DiGennaro, President of the Center. The Center's mission is to nurture high school and university scholars to careers of excellence and leadership in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and to encourage collaboration between and among leaders in the global community. CEE sponsors the Research Science Institute (RSI), the USA Biology Olympiad (USABO), and the Teacher Enrichment Program (TEP). For more information about the Center and its programs, visit CEE’s Web site,
About Team USA at the International Biology Competitions
CEE is proud that every U.S. team member has medaled in the International Biology Competition since 2003, bringing home 38 gold, 8 silver, and 2 bronze medals. 


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