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Cal State L.A. president pledges to boost minority STEM graduates at White House Education Summit

This is a press release from Cal State L.A.

College Opportunity Summit hosted by President Obama, First Lady and Vice President

Cal State L.A. President William A. Covino on Thursday pledged to increase the number of degrees awarded to minority students in the critical fields of math, science and technology during a White House education summit.
 
Hosted by President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, the second White House College Opportunity Summit brought together more than 300 college presidents and other community leaders. Participants committed to undertake efforts that will encourage greater numbers of students to enroll in college and graduate. The initiatives target low-income, first-generation, and underrepresented students.  
 
Covino pledged to increase by 25 percent over five years the number of degrees awarded to minority students in the university’s College of Natural and Social Sciences and College of Engineering, Computer Science, and Technology. Cal State L.A. has been a leader in producing graduates in the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering and math. 
 
“Cal State L.A. has long championed efforts to insure that all students have access to higher education and receive the support they need to succeed.  Increasing our STEM graduates is a crucial need, and builds upon our faculty's distinction as nationally ranked mentors for the scientists and engineers who will transform our future," Covino said. “This summit situates our goals—and our success—in the national arena. We applaud President Obama for tackling an issue that is of crucial importance to our nation’s ability to compete in an increasingly technological world.”
 
Summit participants, including California State University Chancellor Timothy P. White and other CSU presidents, took part in panel discussions and heard remarks by President Obama, the First Lady and the Vice President.
 
The summit focused on key goals: building college networks that will collaborate to improve graduation rates; investing in high school counselors as part of the first lady’s Reach Higher initiative; creating K-16 partnerships around college readiness, and increasing the number of college graduates in STEM fields.
 
To help support these initiatives, President Obama announced that $10 million will be directed to help promote college completion and a $30-million AmeriCorps program that will improve low-income students’ access to college. 
 
Cal State L.A. plans to increase its STEM graduation numbers through initiatives, including additional academic counseling, redesigning courses to emphasize scientific research and creating a general science degree program.
 
At Cal State L.A., more than 100 graduates in the past 12 years have earned Ph.D.’s in STEM-related disciplines and are in postdoctoral fellowships, industrial positions and faculty appointments.
 
In its most recent ranking, the National Science Foundation ranked Cal State L.A. as the top baccalaureate institution of Latino science and engineering Ph.D. recipients among all predominantly undergraduate and master’s degree colleges and universities in the continental United States.
 
Many Cal State L.A. STEM students are like Jameka Jefferson, who dreams of becoming a microbiologist and contributing to her community.
 
“I like doing research and I want to be part of a community and help build, innovate and educate others,” she recently said during a presentation attended by Covino.
 
About Cal State L.A.
Cal State L.A. is a university dedicated to engagement, service, and the public good. Founded in 1947, the University is home to over 23,000 active students, and 235,000 distinguished alumni, who are as diverse as the city we serve. Located in the heart of Los Angeles, Cal State L.A. has long been recognized as an engine of economic and social mobility. Led by an award-winning faculty, the University offers nationally recognized programs in science, the arts, business, criminal justice, engineering, nursing, education and the humanities.
 
Cal State L.A. is home to the critically-acclaimed Luckman Fine Arts Complex, Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs, Hertzberg-Davis Forensic Science Center, Hydrogen Research and Fueling Facility, Billie Jean King Sports Complex, TV, Film and Media Center and the Center for Engagement, Service, and the Public Good. For more information, visit CalStateLA.edu, or like us at http://Facebook.com/CalStateLA.  
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Nepris Wins Teachers’ Choice Award for the Classroom from Learning Magazine

This is a press release from Nepris

Nepris Brings STEM and STEAM Experts to Classrooms for Virtual Discussions and Project Mentoring

DALLAS – December 3, 2014 | Learning Magazine recently announced that Nepris is a winner of the Learning® Magazine 2015 Teachers’ Choice℠ Award for the Classroom. Nepris—a cloud-based platform connecting STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) professionals with teachers—manages the end-to-end process including matching professionals’ skills to teachers’ needs and hosting the interactive sessions that bring STEM relevancy to the classroom. Click to Tweet.
 
For 20 years, Learning magazine has selected the best classroom-tested, teacher-recommended products. Nominated products are judged by a national panel of teachers who evaluate the products through two rounds before picking the winners, which are featured by Learning magazine.
 
Nepris makes it possible for industry professionals from a diverse set of career clusters to discover, connect and share their skills and experiences with K-12 classrooms without leaving their office. Teachers submit a request at Nepris.com and specify the desired outcomes and learning standards to be addressed. Nepris compares the teacher’s needs to skills of hundreds of professionals already registered in Nepris and then virtually connects the two for a virtual interactive discussion creating real-world relevance and inspiring students about STEAM careers. Nepris provides relevant information to prepare professionals for virtual interactions, gathers feedback from all stakeholders after a session and continuously refines the process of matching the right professionals to classrooms that need them.
 
“This is the third major award for Nepris this year and we are extremely honored to be receiving such accolades from the Teachers’ Choice Awards,” said Sabari Raja, CEO and founder of Nepris. “Nepris is a simple and practical solution to what has been a real problem for K-12 education: getting working professionals and subject matter experts to speak in schools. Nepris has created a platform that has made it possible for teachers and students to access a world of professionals at their fingertips.”
 
Professionals and educators can see archived sessions and enroll their company or school at Nepris.com. Companies can sponsor teachers, schools or districts. Individual teachers from elementary, middle or high schools can sign up for a free trial at any time.
 
About Nepris
Dallas-based Nepris brings STEM to life (and now STEAM, which adds the Arts to science, technology, engineering and mathematics) by connecting professionals with teachers who need speakers or project mentors for interactive, cloud-based sessions. Nepris makes this a turn-key process: identifying and registering professionals and teachers, matching professionals’ skills to the teachers’ needs, advising on best practices for classroom interaction and then hosting the interactive sessions. See Nepris in action at Nepris.com/webinar or sign-up as a teacher or STEAM professional at Nepris.com.
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100 Diverse Corporate Leaders in STEM - Kathy H. Hannan of KPMG

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 Kathy H. Hannan, national managing partner for diversity and corporate responsibility at KPMG.

Kathy Hannan, KPMG

Kathy H. Hannan
National Managing Partner for Diversity and Corporate Responsibility
KPMG

Kathy H. Hannan is the National Managing Partner for Diversity and Corporate Responsibility at KPMG. In this role, she focuses on linking ethics, philanthropic partnerships, stakeholder engagement, environmental best practices, and diversity objectives to the organization’s commercial strategy and enterprise sustainability. She also actively supports programs that help underserved communities and initiatives targeting workforce readiness, youth and education. Hannan began her career at KPMG in the New York office in 1985 and was admitted to the partnership in 1994 as part of the International Corporate Services Tax practice. In 2004, she was named the Midwest Area Managing Partner of Tax Services, KPMG’s first female to be named to such a position. She also served as a member of KPMG's Management Committee and Global HR Steering Group.

About KPMG

KPMG LLP, the audit, tax and advisory firm, is the U.S. member firm of KPMG International Cooperative (“KPMG International”). KPMG International’s member firms have 155,000 professionals, including more than 8,600 partners, in 155 countries. The KPMG Foundation is a Gold Sponsor of STEMconnector, which brings together STEM leaders in business, education, government and the public sector to promote STEM education and skills building. STEMconnector places a special emphasis on increasing interest and participation in key constituent groups like women and minorities, to ensure that every community is engaged in pursuing the many opportunities in STEM fields. This focus aligns with KPMG’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.

Kathy on Diversity and STEM

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

STEM education and workforce development in the United States needs to improve significantly to ensure we have the pipeline of talent to compete in the global economy today and in the future. According to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, American students score 23rd in math and 31st in science when compared with 65 other top industrial countries. KPMG is committed to supporting programs along the education continuum that help students prepare for the future. STEM education is critical to workforce readiness, particularly in the financial services industry where science, technology, math and engineering all play an important role. U.S. global competitiveness directly correlates with the future success of our nation’s children.

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

KPMG is committed to building a sustainable, diverse talent pipeline for our organization and the broader market by continuing to make long-term, strategic investments in programs from early childhood and throughout the education continuum including helping to build a cadre of diverse professors in academia. Some of these programs include: KPMG’s Family for Literacy program, which is dedicated to fighting childhood illiteracy in low-income communities; our work with Junior Achievement’s Finance Park program, which expands to financial literacy for middle-school students; our work to inspire interest in the accounting profession among high school students through the National Academy Foundation’s 250 Finance Academies; our focus on STEM education; and our PhD project, which helps encourage minorities to pursue doctoral degrees and has increased diversity in the teaching ranks nearly four-fold at business programs nationwide.

What do we need in the US to continue to be at the top of global innovation?

Innovation is critical to our organization’s future and is a key priority for any business operating in today’s rapidly shifting economy that includes increasing regulation, disruptive technologies, and economic and political uncertainty. Companies must be nimble and innovative to grow and compete. Innovation requires a long-term focus, as well as a willingness to change course when the market calls for it. It also means requires that companies recruit and retain diverse, top talent. One of the challenges facing U.S. companies when it comes to innovation is basic workforce readiness. The gaps in workforce readiness are most evident among youth growing up in low-income communities. If companies are going to have long-term access to a strong and diverse talent pool, we need to be part of the solution. That means engaging our people in, and focusing our strategic investments in the community, building programs and initiatives to help ensure that every young person has the skills and opportunities he or she needs to be a valued and successful employee in the future.

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

I have been a mentor at many points along my career path and continue to serve as one in my present role. I’m a strong advocate for mentorship as it serves as valuable vehicle to assist employees’ professional development. Beyond mentorship, our organization also focuses on sponsorship. I am happy to serve as a sponsor as well. Mentors act as role models and close advisors, providing a helpful perspective on things like how to invigorate one’s career, achieve internal recognition, or navigate professional relationships. The role of a sponsor differs, however, because they will use their political capital to advocate for that person's career growth and advancement as they continue to build their career. A sponsor will promote their protégé’s visibility, and will strongly recommend her for strategic opportunities. Diverse, high-performing employees should have mentors and sponsors throughout their careers. I speak from personal experience, as I’ve been mentored and sponsored by great people. At KPMG we have many programs that support diversity through mentorship and sponsorship. One such program is our Leaders Engaging Leaders program, which connects members of KPMG’s Board of Directors and Management Committee with high-performing diverse partners, better preparing them for advancement into our organization’s leadership.

100 Diverse Corporate Leaders in STEM - Adele Gulfo of Mylan

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 Adele Gulfo, chief strategy officer at Mylan.

Adele Gulfo, Mylan

Adele Gulfo
Chief Strategy Officer
Mylan

Adele Gulfo serves as Mylan’s Chief Strategy Officer. Reporting directly to the CEO, she focuses on Mylan’s key growth drivers, including the company’s expansion in Latin America, the development and expansion of its global Specialty franchise and the development of global commercial strategies to maximize its upcoming launches of increasingly complex generic products, such as biologics, injectable and respiratory therapies. Previously, Gulfo served as President & GM of Pfizer’s U.S. Primary Care business unit, which included Commercial Operations and the Managed Markets organization for all of Pfizer’s Biopharmaceutical business units. Trained as a scientist, with experience in both operational and strategic roles, Gulfo serves as an advisor for Cleveland Clinic’s Innovation Center, Partners Healthcare and Springboard Life Sciences. She was recognized for work in developing medical and public-education campaigns that helped to establish the significance of lowering LDL cholesterol in preventing and managing heart disease, and has five patents. She serves on the Board of Directors for Volunteers of America and the Committee of 200 (C200), an invitation-only membership organization of the world’s most successful women business leaders.

About Mylan

Mylan is one of the world’s leading global pharmaceutical companies. Our medicines range from difficult-to-manufacture dosage forms, such as injectables and transdermal patches, to HIV/AIDS antiretroviral (ARV) therapies, and include generic, brand and specialty products. The company has exceptional research and development capabilities and is one of the world’s largest active pharmaceutical ingredient manufacturers. Every one of Mylan’s 1,300-plus medications meets one global quality standard regardless of where it is produced.

Adele on Diversity and STEM

Why is STEM Education and Workforce Development Critical to the Future of Our Nation?

Ours is a knowledge-based innovation economy fueled by technology and technological advances. STEM education creates critical thinkers and provides the foundational skills for the next generation of innovators. Barack Obama said it best when he declared the need to increase STEM education, especially for underrepresented groups, including women. As President Obama stated, “Reaffirming and strengthening America’s role as the world’s engine of scientific discovery and technological innovation is essential to meeting the challenges of this century.”

Medical, biotechnology, pharmaceutical and medical device industries are all predicated on STEM education and training. We are in the midst of a scientific discovery explosion. The opportunities and challenges of the next generation of STEM graduates are to apply these amazing discoveries to develop practical innovations that will advance health and society. We also have an unprecedented opportunity for cross-STEM disciple collaboration—information technology and biology, physical chemistry and engineering, math (big data), and neuroscience—to come up with cures for Alzheimer’s disease, all forms of cancer, congenital diseases and more. Our ability to interrogate huge masses (big data) of population data to find the genetic basis of disease is especially exciting.

How do we encourage students to continue their study of STEM fields, particularly women?

First and foremost, we need to explain the connection between STEM education and a fulfilling and exciting career. For students (I was one of them), it is very hard to connect the dots from a biology lecture or organic chemistry lab to running a multi-billion business in a Fortune 50 science-based company. Now, I make it my goal to share this insight anytime I can, especially with students who are taking sciences courses and are not sure why. It’s critical that we help students see what’s possible with the foundational skills of a STEM education. Who wouldn’t want to play a role in making the world a better, healthier place to live? Or be a part of the team that produces the next generation of Google Glass, as a practical and fashionable product. Or invent the first commercially available hover board or jet pack to speed through traffic jams. (With the help of my niece and nephew, I could go on listing more exciting advances.) America’s STEM industry leaders need to communicate more effectively with today’s students about the many exciting job opportunities available in STEM. And we must tap into the curiosity and creativity of our high school graduates and show them the fascinating parts of science and technology.

One of the biggest challenges we face in attracting women to STEM is a lack of role-models. Scientists today aren’t perceived as “cool” or “edgy” but as quite the contrary. We have Hollywood to thank for solidifying this image. Fortunately, TV shows are making progress in this area by casting women in leading roles as doctors, scientists and smart STEM-based professionals (more, please!). However, as important as role models are, we also need mentors. Studies show that sustained mentorship efforts help to achieve the goal of getting women to pursue careers in STEM. Beyond that, we can use the help of more enlightened men who are already playing a huge role in helping to create a culture of inclusion for women.

To end on an optimistic note, women are making significant inroads in biotech. In 2010, they occupied almost half (46%) of all positions in the biologic and life sciences fields. What’s more, those women are reaching out to our future scientists. Case in point: NexGene Girls is an organization that pairs young girls with women in biotech to expose the girls to the field early on, excite them and bring them into the field. Women in Bio (of which I am a member) takes on the challenge of helping women in biotech network and connect with each other, with a goal of assisting them to attain leadership positions.

Top business groups are also taking action. The Committee of 200 (C200), of which I am a board member, has turned its focus on highlighting the issue of women in STEM. In fact, C200 thanked Renee James, President of Intel Corporation, for her contribution to the field with the organization’s first-ever STEM Innovator Luminary Award during the 2013 C200 Annual Conference. The organization also hosted a first-ever STEM-focused Reachout event at UCLA, a daylong event discussion with C200 members on topics related to careers in Entrepreneurship and STEM. In conjunction with this event, C200 provided $10,000 Scholar Awards to female student leaders within STEM related careers, and welcomed six new Scholars into its Scholar Network, where they’ll receive valuable guidance and support in their careers.

100 Diverse Corporate Leaders in STEM Rising Star - Filippe Cade of Professional Environmental Engineers

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. In addition to today's Diverse Corporate Leader, Carolyn Green, we recognize a Rising Star from Professional Environmental Engineers: Filippe Cade, vice president/director of engineering.

Filippe Cade, ProEnv

Filippe on Diversity and STEM

My name is Filippe Cade … and I am a black engineer, part a threatened and endangered species. Black engineers make up only 5% of the engineering population. Despite these steep odds, at an early age, I was set up for success by my own family. My mother made me and my four siblings work on math problems every day during the summer to keep our math skills at a high level. That fostered my passion for math and science, and having older siblings that shared this passion served as a great source of inspiration. In fact, one is now is a civil engineer and another is an Optometrist. Both have provided a great deal of mentorship to me. Further, I have a twin brother who took every single math and science class right by my side in high school and in college. He is a fellow engineer, which serves as a daily source of encouragement. I was fortunate to have STEM achievers in my own family that helped to propel me where I am today, and I want to serve in a similar role to propel other young people into math and science degrees and careers. My vision for the future is for young people to be encouraged to be engineers and mathematicians and doctors and rocket scientists because they see men and women that look like them excelling as engineers and mathematicians and doctors and rocket scientists. My hope is for other young professionals to be so visible and active in their communities such that my vision becomes a reality. I hope, in my lifetime, that the black engineer will no longer be threatened or endangered.

100 Diverse Corporate Leaders in STEM - Carolyn Green of Professional Environmental Engineers

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 Carolyn Green, president and chief executive officer at Professional Environmental Engineers.

William Gipson, P&G

Carolyn Green
President and Chief Executive Officer
Professional Environmental Engineers

Carolyn L. Green is President and CEO of Professional Environmental Engineers, Inc. (PE). PE is a portfolio company of EnerGreen Capital Management, LLC, a private equity firm that Green founded to invest in growth stage companies involved in the energy and environmental industries. Prior to founding EnerGreen, Ms. Green was Vice President - Health, Environment and Safety for Sunoco, Inc. A graduate of the University of Iowa, Green was national board chair of the American Association of Blacks in Energy from 2008-2010. She chairs the Energy Sector Working Group of the Executive Leadership Council and mentors young corporate engineers and scientists in both the ELC and the AABE.

About Professional Environmetal Engineers

Incorporated in August 1997, Professional Environmental Engineers (PE) is a minority, woman-owned environmental engineering firm offering a full range of cost-effective and innovative solutions for governmental and commercial clients. The company is headquartered in St. Louis, MO, with offices in Kansas City, MO; Omaha, NE; Atlanta; and Houston. PE’s diverse team members include engineers, geologists, hydro-geologists, environmental scientists, chemists, biologists, wetlands specialists, health & safety professionals, field technicians, hazardous materials managers and lead/asbestos inspectors. PE is proud of its ethnic and gender diversity and places top priority on ensuring that a diverse talent pool is part of every recruitment. The company contributes to and encourages employees to work with student chapters of such organizations such as NSBE, AABE and Association of Environmental and Engineering Geologists.

Carolyn on Diversity and STEM

In an increasingly complex and inter-connected world, no nation can be competitive economically without a technologically savvy workforce. This both requires people who are comfortable using technology and those who can develop new generations of technological progress in all areas of commerce, but especially in manufacturing, transportation, healthcare, environmental protection and consumer products. Nations that can master the challenge of producing a STEM-literate workforce, while encouraging individual creativity and lifelong learning, will position themselves for long-term prosperity.

For their part, corporations need to be partners in identifying and developing the necessary skillsets. Corporate executives need to think critically about what skills and attitudes the company will need in the future rather than focusing on degrees or job titles, or assuming that tomorrow’s jobs will be merely some variation on today’s. Companies also will need to take into account the different priorities of younger employees, who value work/life balance as much or more than career growth, which may lead significant numbers of them to seek the independent consultant or entrepreneurial route. Companies that can both attract talented workers and harness the creative energy of contractors and consultants will have a leg up, especially if those companies truly value and encourage diversity – of thought and approach, as well as gender, ethnicity or national origin.

Building a more inclusive, more technologically competent society requires that business and academia collaborate to develop STEM curricula that work both for business and for students. The focus on theory and memorization must be coupled with experiential learning to reflect the varied ways in which people learn. Instruction also needs to reflect the ways in which technology has changed how students process information. They constantly ask how they can apply their studies in the workplace and in their everyday lives. Equally importantly, they need to learn the “soft” skills that will allow them to utilize their “book” knowledge, which means they need to know how to think critically, how to question assumptions and put forward alternatives in a positive manner, and how to apply the lessons from one discipline to solve another, seemingly unrelated problem. Students need problem-solving skills, cultural sensitivity, and an understanding of group dynamics so that they can interact productively with colleagues from backgrounds and disciplines very different from their own. Finally, the workers of tomorrow need to be lifelong learners, so both business and academia need to break down the barriers to continuous learning by bringing academia into the workplace and into communities.

As a minority and woman-owned engineering company, PE prides itself on finding and hiring outstanding engineering and scientific talent, irrespective of gender or ethnicity. By insisting on a diverse hiring pool, we find that the most qualified candidate often is diverse as well. While we can’t necessarily compete with large companies in salary and benefits, we can provide a collegial working environment, interaction with senior management, opportunities for individual initiative, and more rapid progression from individual contributor to project manager. Our people work on a broad range of projects, which may not occur as readily within larger, more siloed organizations. We also focus our recruitment efforts on people educated in or with ties to the communities in which we operate, rather than trying to compete in a national pool. We think that, by focusing on our local marketplace for talent and by emphasizing the advantages of working in a small diverse organization, we combine the technical expertise of large engineering firms with the local presence and access to decision-makers that our clients desire.

Autodesk Makes Design Software Free to Schools Worldwide

The following is a press release from Autodesk, Inc.
 
 
Fulfilling its promise to expand access to its professional design software in education, Autodesk, Inc. (NASDAQ:ADSK) has made its industry-leading design, engineering and entertainment software free* to students, instructors and academic institutions worldwide.
 
Through this action, more than 680 million students and educators from over 800,000 secondary and post-secondary schools in 188 countries can take advantage of free access to Autodesk’s professional software and services for use in classrooms, labs, and at home.
 
“The way we make things is changing rapidly, and we need a workforce ready to design for new manufacturing and construction techniques. By providing free professional design tools to students, faculty members and academic institutions around the world, we’re helping get industry ready for the next phase,” said Carl Bass, CEO, Autodesk.
 
Following its announcement of free software for academic institutions in the United States earlier this year as part of President Obama’s ConnectED initiative, Autodesk has gradually expanded free access to its leading design software to academic institutions across Asia Pacific and Europe. The leader in 3D design, engineering, and entertainment software is also helping schools move to the cloud by providing academic institutions with its full suite of next generation cloud-based design products, cloud services such as the A360 collaboration platform, as well as maintenance subscription for free.
 
From students as young as 13 years old leveraging Fusion 360 to conceptualize and 3D print prosthetic devices, to college teams developing environmentally sustainable homes using BIM 360 Glue, young talent are pushing the boundaries of design and innovation both inside and outside of the classroom using the same design software used by professionals every day.
 
“Our students are using Fusion 360 to design an Energy Scooter which we are bringing to market via Kickstarter, and they’re only in 8th grade! If we can help more classroom teachers incorporate learning through design in their curriculum, and technologies that engage students in problem-solving through engineering, students will see how math and science are springboards to careers as future innovators and entrepreneurs,” said Karen Kaun, Founder of Makeosity.
 
To facilitate the integration of design tools into curricula, Autodesk also offers free project-based learning content and resources including the Digital STEAM Workshop and Design Academy.
 
“Closing the digital gap in education starts by providing European schools with common access to the same advanced technology being used by industry professionals today. Autodesk’s pledge to provide our schools, students and teachers with free access to its professional 3D design software will enable educators to introduce design thinking into our classrooms; equip digital natives with the design tools to learn to solve real-world challenges in new creative ways; and prepare the next-generation workforce with the 21st century skills to meet industry demands and advance our economies,” said Neelie Kroes, former vice-president of the European Commission.
 
To learn more or to request free educational access to Autodesk software, visit http://www.autodesk.com/education.
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Education Thought Leaders Gather at 2015 International CES to Showcase EdTech

The following is a press release from TransformingEDU.

Robotics, adaptive platforms, sensors, laboratories, incubators, Big Data, mobility, and augmented reality: no, this isn’t a futuristic industrial setting, but rather the technologies shaping the high-tech classrooms of today. TransformingEDU, presented by Living in Digital Times at 2015 International CES®, brings together the leading experts, educators, entrepreneurs and investors to share the latest advances and changes taking place in pre-K through 20 education. The full day conference, sponsored by McGraw-Hill Education, will take place on January 8, 2015 in Las Vegas (8:30am – 5:00pm in the Venetian, Level 2, Bellini 2006).
 
The latest products in education technology can also be seen at the TransformingEDU marketplace exhibits, January 6th through the 9th at the Sands Expo and Convention Center in Las Vegas.
 
“CES provides a great backdrop for us to explore what it means to be a student in digital times.” said Robin Raskin, founder and president of Living in Digital Times. “New hardware, from tablets to brain sensing software and smart pens to LCD projectors, have changed the landscape of education. And new software that provides long distance instruction, collaboration and access to shared tools and ideas have jump started an educational renaissance.”
 
“From pre-K to higher education to lifelong learning, billions of dollars are being spent both by schools and by consumers, making education one of the most robust markets for development,” said Kerry Goldstein, producer of the TransformingEDU Summit. “CES is a unique place to come see the latest in ed tech innovation.”
 
TransformingEDU informative sessions focus on demonstrating and discussing the emerging technologies impacting pre-K through 20 education for students, educators, administrators and parents.
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NEF CyberLearning invests $10M for STEM Education

This is a press release from National Education Foundation (NEF)

WASHINGTON, Nov. 25, 2014 (PRNewswire) | National Education Foundation (NEF), the national non-profit leader in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education, announced plans to invest $10 million to increase the number of school districts across the country with access to high-quality STEM education programs.  
 
In order to qualify for the matching grant, a school district must have 35% or more students on free or reduced cost lunch.
 
This is an innovative initiative to improve the STEM skills of U.S. students.
 
STEM skill attainment is critical if students, communities, and institutions in America are to thrive in the highly competitive global economy.
 
Realizing the importance of STEM, many school districts are pursing establishment of STEM academies. NEF's grant will allow them to create total system solutions to compliment and supplement their efforts.
 
NEF Chairman and STEM education expert Dr. Appu Kuttan states, "U.S. is falling further behind other countries in STEM education every year. We need to stem the tide with cost-effective holistic solutions rather than piecemeal solutions."
 
Commending NEF's efforts, President Bill Clinton said, "You are helping to empower tomorrow's leaders. I salute you for your ongoing commitment for creating a better and stronger America." -
 
NEF has partnered with the State University of New York (SUNY) to help administer the grants and help school districts set up STEM academies
 
Apply for the grant at: www.cyberlearning.org/STEMgrant
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100 Diverse Corporate Leaders in STEM - Floyd Green of Aetna

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 Floyd Green, vice president and head of community relations and urban marketing at Aetna.

William Gipson, P&G

Floyd Green
Vice President and Head of Community Relations and Urban Marketing
Aetna

Floyd W. Green, III is Vice President and head of Community Relations and Urban Marketing for Aetna, Inc. He is responsible for developing grass roots marketing strategies to assist in business development, customer retention, healthcare disparities and strategic partnerships. He is also responsible for Aetna’s corporate philanthropic investments to strengthen Aetna’s brand which includes local and national granting, expanding employee volunteerism and employee gift matching programs. His organization manages the implementation of Aetna’s urban marketing strategies designed to address the multicultural/multilingual and generational needs of key constituents as well as to develop alternative distribution channels across all market segments. Finally, his organization is responsible for all national and local events/trade shows as well as the company’s award winning international briefing center. He is a member of the Executive Leadership Council (ELC).

About Aetna

Aetna is one of the nation's leading diversified health care benefits companies, serving an estimated 45 million people with information and resources to help them make better informed decisions about their health care. Aetna offers a broad range of traditional, voluntary and consumer-directed health insurance products and related services, including medical, pharmacy, dental, behavioral health, group life and disability plans, and medical management capabilities, Medicaid health care management services, workers' compensation administrative services and health information technology products and services. Aetna's customers include employer groups, individuals, college students, part-time and hourly workers, health plans, health care providers, governmental units, government-sponsored plans, labor groups and expatriates. For more information, see www.aetna.com and learn about how Aetna is helping to build a healthier world. @aetna

Floyd on Diversity and STEM

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

I have to be transparent regarding my support over the years and with what Aetna has been doing in this area. We have seen significant improvements when the focus has expanded from STEM to STEAM. We have also seen improvements in test scores, dropout rates when our youth are exposed to an approach where the arts and arts education are integrated with sciences, technology, engineering, and math. STEAM is gaining momentum and we are excited to see its progress across the country. It is critical that we continue to focus on arts and arts education in many underserved communities. The inclusion of Arts into STEM will allow those who struggle with normal academics to excel by using creative measurers like in the Kinsella School here in Hartford, Connecticut.

What is the key to smart STEM investments?

There are countless examples of why this is important and how these investments can be handled intelligently. One such example is Hartford Performs.

Hartford Performs started out as an arts task force, called into being by the school’s Superintendent. It was asked to research models from around the nation that could help students obtain deeper, broader and meaningful access to the arts – right at a time when funding for things like art, music and sports was extremely tight and the need for investment in literacy and numeracy was at an all-time high. What the task force found was a community partnership model that was equally owned by the school district and the greater community – and it then committed to implementing it with fidelity in the city. Why? Because research showed that an investment not just in access to arts in school, or arts out of school, but an investment into integrating the arts into school curriculum had an impact on student performance.

Now, after working in 26 schools (including 22 of the 24 lowest performing in Hartford), working with 103 arts providers, offering 198 arts programs, touching 11,846 HPS students, and with three years of data, Hartford has its own research proving that Hartford Performs positively impacts student achievement. With 56 percent of students participating in any Hartford Performs programs last year reporting that these programs led to their very first visit to a museum, it’s easy to advocate for the arts purely on the basis of the power of exposure and experience. The three-year evaluation provided an additional argument, however, to all who seek the means to close the achievement gap between the academic performance of Hartford students and their peers around the state. It’s the spark – the gift – of excitement about learning

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

I continue to marvel at what our employees are doing to help promote STEM and STEAM initiatives. From mentoring local school children to teaching kids science through building sustainable neighborhoods, or donating computers and software to local nonprofits to funding the arts and arts education, all are great work that continues to be celebrated. In 2013 our employees donated 6.8 million dollars to nonprofits across the country and 7000 employees logged in over 400,000 volunteer hours. Many of the money donated and hours volunteered were in the areas of STEAM and STEM. The Aetna Foundation matched the giving with over 4 million dollars and spends millions every year in closing the disparity gaps in healthcare. Aetna recognizes the importance of funding and supporting to help stimulate the next generation of innovators and differentiators. I personally sit on the board of the Americans for the Arts. Because of that position, I can personally lobby and advocate the importance of STEAM and also see first-hand the value and incredible results.

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