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STEM Higher Ed Council Formed to Increase America’s STEM Talent Pipeline

STEM Higher Ed Council Formed to Increase America’s STEM Talent Pipeline

WASHINGTON, DC | STEMconnector® is proud to announce its newest initiative - the STEM Higher Education Council (HEC) – a national forum for college and university leaders to address America’s need for STEM talent through innovative education, training and strategic partnerships with business and industry.

Rob Denson, President of Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC), will Chair the Council with Martha Kanter and Dr. Freeman Hrabowski serving as its Senior Advisors. Dr. Kanter is the Distinguished Visiting Professor of Higher Education at New York University, having previously served as the U.S. Under Secretary of Education (2009-2013). Dr. Freeman Hrabowski is President of The University of Maryland, Baltimore County, holding that office since 1992. Denson, Kanter and Hrabowski will guide the design and implementation of the Council’s vision, goals and accomplishments.

Achieving impact is the organizing principle of the STEM Higher Ed Council by assembling key thought leaders to inform decision makers from business, government and higher education to improve access to viable STEM career pathways for students and optimizing their success. A unique characteristic of the Council will be its composition of 2 and 4-year colleges and universities focused on bridging early excitement in STEM to success in higher education and careers.  HEC members will stimulate dialogue, collaboration and innovation between diverse stakeholders from industry, state and local government, federal agencies and non-governmental organizations to improve STEM outcomes.  The Council will couple student preparation with highly dynamic workforce demands driven by the rapidly changing global marketplace. STEMconnector®’s business-led initiatives like its STEM Innovation Task Force (SITF) and the STEM Food and Ag Council (SFAC) and its communications platform, including the STEMdaily® online newsletter, will be integral to the Council’s work, amplifying the HEC’s reach and impact.  Some distinguishing characteristics of the STEM HEC are that it:

  • Leads a high-energy and national “boundary-breaking STEM collaboration” of industry, government and education with an action-oriented agenda.
  • Promotes high-impact strategies that improve outcomes in STEM education at all levels.
  • Focuses on the unique role of Higher Education connecting students to the workforce and STEM careers.
  • Collaborates with business to calibrate supply with workforce demand.
  • Emphasizes providing workplace-learning experiences to inform student preparation and career choices.
  • Showcases model partnerships between higher education and industry that achieve measurable results and scale.
  • Incorporates a diverse array of institutions including Community Colleges, Public and Land Grant Universities, Private Colleges and Universities and Minority Serving Institutions.

Iowa Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds, co-chair of the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council and chair of STEMconnector®’s STEM Food & Ag Council, enthusiastically supports the HEC. She said: “We’re pleased Rob will take his passion and leadership to STEMconnector®’s Higher Education Council as its new chairman. Rob is an engaged member of the Governor’s STEM Council and will help drive the message that great careers await students who obtain the STEM skills to fill the jobs.”

Edie Fraser, CEO of STEMconnector®, is thrilled to have the team of Rob Denson, Martha Kanter and Freeman Hrabowski launching HEC, noting that “Martha has devoted her life to drive change in higher education to increase student access and success. Her innovation, drive and commitment to new initiatives is legendary and her advocacy for providing viable and adaptable career pathways for students is second to none. Dr. Hrabowski’s research focus on science and math education, participation on national academies and committees, recognition as one of America’s Best Leaders, and reputation for excellence will bring a priceless level of quality to the Council’s work.”

The Council will kick off with its first Summit “From Opportunity to Impact” on October 8, 2014 in New York City.  Business and higher education leaders will showcase pioneering examples of partnerships that ensure student success in college and careers. Participants will share best-in-class STEM models of workplace learning through internships, co-op programs and mentorships, especially focused on engaging underrepresented populations in STEM fields leading to employment. A variety of face-to-face and virtual meetings and events will be held each year to encourage game-changing collaboration between higher education, government and industry.

To find out how you can become involved with the STEM Higher Education Council, contact Ted Wells, Chief Strategy Officer, STEMconnector® at

About the STEM Higher Education Council
The STEMconnector® STEM Higher Education Council (HEC) is the leadership forum of pubic and private colleges and universities intently focused on STEM education and careers and committed to the highest levels of achievement and success for students, institutions, businesses and communities in all STEM related educational and professional endeavors. Current members include: Des Moines Area Community College, Arizona State University, Taft College, Austin Community College, Iowa State University, the University of Florida, Tuskegee University, University of Maryland, Baltimore County and the National FFA Organization.

DiscoverE’s Global Marathon Kicks Off March 5

Annual Virtual Forum Builds a Worldwide Community of Women in Engineering and Technology Through Live Webcasts and Local Satellite Events
DiscoverE’s annual Global Marathon kicks off at noon (ET) on Wednesday, March 5, with opening remarks by Meg Whitman, President and CEO, HP.  With a 2014 theme of Let’s Make a Difference, the Global Marathon is a free, worldwide online forum connecting and engaging women in engineering and technology.
The only global event of its kind, the Marathon allows women professionals to meet virtually and share their stories of personal, educational, and professional challenges and successes. Featuring three days of live webcasts and local satellite events, the event is offered in conjunction with International Women’s Day on March 8. The 2013 Marathon engaged more than 900 active participants in 74 countries.
Topics for the three day event are:
March 5 – Advice From the Top
Top women executives share advice, anecdotes and best practices, highlighted by the panel The Best Advice You’ll Ever Get … And Be Able to Give.  Also meet Women on the Edge: Leaders in Emerging Technologies. Panelists represent women in IT, energy, electronic warfare systems, and cloud computing.
March 6 – Gaining Momentum
Moving from vision to action, the next wave of women in engineering provide practical tips to advance knowledge and career.  Panels include Best Ways to Mentor and Network and Why & How I Changed Careers.  Women on High Performing Global Teams: Strategies for Success, unites four time zones. 
March 7– Inspire Yourself. Inspire Others.
The panel Engage, Empower and Enhance Through Volunteering shines a spotlight on professional women who volunteer with humanitarian organizations, mentor women in engineering and encourage the next generations.
Leveraging Global Collaborations to Inspire the Next Generation of Female Engineering Leaders shines a spotlight on the next generation of Nigerian female engineering leaders who implemented an outreach program to introduce girls to engineering.
The Marathon concludes with Together We Make a Difference, headlined by remarks from the Marathon’s Global Chair, Danielle Curcio, Chief Software Engineer for Raytheon and Dawn McGinley, Global Leader and Strategist, 3M Women’s Leadership Forum and 2015 Marathon Chair.
“Diversity and inclusion are more important than ever as we work together to develop innovative solutions that meet our customers' needs globally,” comments Danielle Curcio, Chief Software Engineer, Raytheon and Chair, 2014 Global Marathon. “The Global Marathon is a tremendous opportunity for women worldwide to come together, to learn from one another and share experiences. This free, virtual platform is unique and allows everyone to participate. When women connect from around the globe, they inspire each other to change the world.”
For more information, interested participants should visit or email the Marathon team at
Major sponsors of the 2014 Global Marathon include ExxonMobil, Motorola Solutions Foundation, 3M, and Bechtel.  Additional sponsors include DuPont, Alcoa and Raytheon.

The Robots are Coming to a City Near You! Nearly 70,000 High-School FIRST® Participants Ready to Compete in the Ultimate Sport for the Mind™

This is a press release from FIRST®

More than 2,700 High-School Robotics Teams from Around the World to Compete in 98 Regional and District Competitions Starting February 27


More than 2,700 high-school students from 17 countries around the world will participate in the FIRST® Robotics Competition (FRC®) for an opportunity to win regional recognition for design excellence, sportsmanship, teamwork, and more, and advance to the FIRST Championship competition. The media is encouraged to attend, catch the excitement of this intense competition, and cheer on their favorite teams.
The FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC®) is a program that challenges high school students – working with professional Mentors – to design and build a robot to contend in competitions that measure the effectiveness of each robot, the power of collaboration, and the determination of students. Teams competing at 98 Regional and District FIRST Robotics Competition events will vie for regional awards and a spot at the FIRST Championship to be held April 23-26, at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, Mo. The competition is part of FIRST®, a not-for-profit organization founded by inventor Dean Kamen that is dedicated to inspiring young people’s interest and participation in science and technology.
The 2014 game, AERIAL ASSIST℠, is played by two Alliances of three teams each. Alliances compete by trying to score as many balls in goals as possible during a two-minute and 30-second match. Additional points are earned by robots working together to score goals, and by throwing and catching balls over a truss suspended just over five feet above the floor as they move the ball down the field.
Regional events taking place every week starting February 27 through April 12, 2014. Date/time varies by location.
To find a FIRST Robotics Competition event near you, please visit:
Photo Opp.:
Students testing, tuning up, and competing with their robots. Watch student teams of Alliances score as many points as possible during fast-paced matches. Student-operated robots throwing and catching balls over a truss suspended five feet above the floor. Mentors, school groups, school mascots, family, and fans cheering on teams
About FIRST®
Accomplished inventor Dean Kamen founded FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) in 1989 to inspire an appreciation of science and technology in young people. Based in Manchester, N.H., FIRST designs accessible, innovative programs to build self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills while motivating young people to pursue opportunities in science, technology, and engineering. With support from over 200 of the Fortune 500 companies and more than $19 million in college scholarships, the not-for-profit organization hosts the FIRST® Robotics Competition (FRC® ) for students in Grades 9-12; FIRST® Tech Challenge (FTC® ) for Grades 7-12; FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL® ) for Grades 4-8; and Junior FIRST® LEGO® League (Jr.FLL®) for Grades K-3. Gracious Professionalism® is a way of doing things that encourages high-quality work, emphasizes the value of others, and respects individuals and the community. To learn more about FIRST, go to



Google and Discovery Education Give Students an Inside Look at the Creative Process Behind Google Doodles

LIVE Virtual Field Trip Highlights the Creative Process and Science Behind Google’s Logo Transformation

SILVER SPRING, Md. (February 25, 2014) | As part of the seventh annual Doodle 4 Google competition, Discovery Education and Google are taking students from across the U.S. behind the scenes to meet the team of artists who create Google’s doodles.
Offering classrooms nationwide a chance to hear from the Google illustrators and engineers behind the world-renowned doodles, “From Sketches to the Google Homepage” will broadcast live from Google headquarters on Wednesday, March 5 at 1 p.m. ET. The virtual field trip will give students a first-hand look at how a doodle comes to life including the brainstorming, design tools and science behind the process.  In addition, Sabrina Brady, the 2013 Doodle 4 Google competition winner, will tell her story of how she created her touching doodle and is pursuing her dreams in art school.
“Discovery Education is thrilled to work with Google to inspire students nationwide with real-world experiences that deepen engagement,” said Lori McFarling, Chief Marketing Officer, Discovery Education. “Sparking student curiosity not only ignites innovative thinking, but also serves as a critical ingredient in creating the problem-solvers that will be so critical to the workforce of the future.”
The Doodle 4 Google competition invites K-12 students to use their artistic talents to think big, redesigning the homepage logo for millions to see with the chance to become an honorary Google doodler for a day.
“Each year we are so impressed by the talents and ideas coming from these kids.  This year’s theme about invention is especially close to our heart at Google since throughout history, ideas big and small, practical and playful, have started out as doodles.  I can’t wait to see what the students come up with this year,” said Ryan Germick, Doodle Team Lead.
In addition to the virtual field trip, Discovery Education worked alongside Google to create classroom resources designed to kick start creativity in K-12 classrooms including free videos and corresponding activity packs.
“Cutting-edge classroom resources like this virtual field trip give our students the opportunity to see and experience the powerful results that so often come from the marriage of creativity and science,” said Selena Ward, Instructional Lead Teacher for Arts Integration, Northwestern High School, Prince George’s County Public Schools. “This new content is inspiring our students to think in creative, original ways, and showing them how the creative process, coupled with science and engineering, are put to work at one of the world’s most innovative companies.” 
To register for the virtual field trip or access the free materials, please visit:
About Discovery Education
Discovery Education is the global leader in standards-based digital content for K-12, transforming teaching and learning with award-winning digital textbooks, multimedia content that supports the implementation of Common Core, professional development, assessment tools, and the largest professional learning community of its kind.  Available in over half of all U.S. schools, community colleges and in 50 countries around the world, Discovery Education partners with districts, states and like-minded organizations to captivate students, empower teachers, and transform classrooms with customized solutions that accelerate academic achievement. Discovery Education is powered by Discovery Communications (NASDAQ: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK), the number one nonfiction media company in the world. Explore the future of education at
About Google Inc.
Google is a global technology leader focused on improving the ways people connect with information. Google’s innovations in web search and advertising have made its website a top Internet property and its brand one of the most recognized in the world.
Google is a trademark of Google Inc. All other company and product names may be trademarks of the respective companies with which they are associated.

Foster: New Manufacturing Lab Offers Tremendous Opportunity For Illinois

Washington, DC -- Today, Congressman Bill Foster (IL-11) joined President Barack Obama and other legislators, academic and business leaders at the announcement of a public-private partnership to bring a new manufacturing institute to Chicago.  The Digital Lab for Manufacturing (Digital Lab) will grow our economy and lead to job creation in Illinois and throughout the country.  
“This is a tremendous opportunity, not just for Chicago, but for all of Illinois,” said Foster. “As a scientist and businessman, I have seen firsthand how digital manufacturing can spur growth. The Digital Lab will provide opportunities for manufacturers to develop and expand new technologies – re-invigorating manufacturing in Illinois, creating new jobs and growing our economy.”
“As someone who started a high-tech firm that provides hundreds of good manufacturing jobs in the Midwest, I know there are two ways to compete. We can race to the bottom with low wages and benefits, or we can race to the top with high skills and technology.  With the creation of the Digital Lab, Illinois is competing in a race to the top,” added Foster.
The President announced the US Department of Defense has awarded $70 million to Chicago-based UI Labs to create the Digital Lab for Manufacturing (Digital Lab).  An additional $250 million in funding will come from industry, academia, government and community partners, bringing together $320 million to build the institute.  More information on the Digital Lab is available here.
Foster has been an advocate for the lab and joined with other members of the Illinois Congressional Delegation in sending a letter of support for the proposal to Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel.  A copy of the letter can be found here.
Foster is a scientist and businessman who worked at Fermi National Laboratory for over 20 years.  Foster’s business career began at age 19 when he and his brother co-founded Electronic Theatre Controls, Inc., a company that now manufactures over half of the theater lighting equipment in the United States.
Foster’s scientific career was as a high-energy physicist and particle accelerator designer at Fermi Lab. Foster was a member of the team that discovered the top quark, the heaviest known form of matter. He also led the teams that designed and built several scientific facilities and detectors still in use today, including the Recycler Ring, the latest of Fermi Lab's giant particle accelerators.

Innovative Pre Engineering Collaboration: Kent School offers programs with Harvard, U Penn and Georgia Tech

Kent School, a four-year, coeducational college preparatory boarding school in northwestern Connecticut, is offering programs in June and July, 2014 in collaboration with U Penn’s Wharton School,  Harvard’s Kennedy School, and Georgia Tech’s Integrated Product Lifecycle Engineering Laboratory.  Kent’s Summer Educational Experience at Kent (SEEK) programs include Pre-engineering, Entrepreneurship, Global Development, and Team-based Engineering and Manufacturing (TEAM).  TEAM includes a professional education workshop for K-12 teachers: an introduction to key stages of engineering product development using the Co-create, Design, Build and Operate approach using activity challenges Dassault Systèmes V6 software, and 3D printers.
Seek 1 (June 2-6)
Pre-Engineering: to take part in an Engineering experience complete with hands-on learning, creative problem solving, and the use of CNC prototyping machines, 3D color printing, Vex Robotics and Solar/Wind energy experiments.  The week will end with a collaborative competition.
Seek 2 (June 2-6)
Entrepreneurship: Wharton Business School Professor Keith Weigelt will delve into the creative world of Entrepreneurship. Students will explore innovative thinking while working in small groups. Topics covered include Business Plan Ideas, Competitive Environments, Sales and Marketing, Pricing Strategies, Operations & Human Resource Management, Budgeting and Accounting.
Both SEEK1 and SEEK2 will have a simulation of “How To Start a Business” run by TeamBusiness.
SEEK 3 (June 7-13)
Global Development: Students learn how to leverage the power of engineering to solve global economic challenges as outlined in the report on Grand Challenges for Engineering by the US National Academy of Engineering. This session includes themes selected from, but not limited to: Engineering in Economic History; Energy and Water; Health, Food and Nutrition; and Music and Society. The program is implemented in partnership with the Science, Technology and Globalization Project at Harvard Kennedy School and led by its director, Professor Calestous Juma. It involves field visits to provide practical exposure to the students. The program includes faculty and student mentors from MIT, Boston University and Illinois Institute of Technology. Additional assistance is provided by firms such as Nokero Corporation. It also engages industry leaders, Kent alumni and other professionals. Participants start with the weekend spent in Boston to visit laboratories and engineering facilities.
SEEK 4 (July 14-25)
Team-based Engineering and Manufacturing (TEAM): In a two-week session, students will be introduced to key stages of engineering and manufacturing in a hands-on way through exercising the Co-create, Design, Build and Operate (CDBO) product development functions . This team-based session will be run under the guidance of  Dr. Daniel P. Schrage, Director of the Georgia Tech Integrated Product Lifecycle Engineering (IPLE) Laboratory.  Dr. Nate Sirirojvisuth, the IPLE Lab manager, along with graduate and undergraduate students from the IPLE Lab will instruct and help mentor the student teams.

Students will be provided STEM instruction for the prize challenges they will implement, along with the necessary systems engineering methods. They will also be taught state-of-the-art computer aided design (CAD) using Dassault Systèmes V6 software which is based on the principles of Product Lifecycle Management (PLM). They will be introduced to the principles of Design for Manufacturing (DFM) and the need for design and manufacturing tradeoffs. They will build their own products using 3D printers based on their  CAD models from the V6 software. The Dassault Systemes social-networking based collaboration platform[SwYm] will also be used to enhance the Teams “hybrid” collaborative component, where the competing teams are made up of mixed groups from other distributed summer camps. During the weekend, the participants will be introduced to the VEX robotics platform including a VEX competition.

TECT Aerospace Pledges Funding for Wichita State University's STEM Mentoring Initiative

TECT Aerospace Pledges Funding for Wichita State University's STEM Mentoring Initiative (via PR Newswire)

WICHITA, Kan., Feb. 25, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- TECT Aerospace, a global leader in aerospace component manufacturing, announced today their commitment to provide $100,000 over the next five years to Wichita State University (WSU) for the development of…


Top U.S. students and Ph.D. researchers to convene with laureates in Heidelberg, Germany

OAK RIDGE, Tenn.—ORAU and the National Science Foundation (NSF) are sponsoring the first American delegation of 20 students and postdoctoral researchers to attend the Heidelberg Laureate Forum, in Heidelberg, Germany, focused on mathematics and computer science. Students and early-career researchers from American institutions are eligible, and nominations and applications are currently being accepted until March 3, 2014.
Building on the successful model of the annual Lindau Meeting of Nobel Laureates, the Heidelberg Laureate Forum brings together students and early-career researchers with winners of the Abel Prize and Fields Medal in mathematics as well as the Turing Award and Nevanlinna Prize in computer science. The HLF is the result of a joint initiative of the Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies and the Klaus Tschira Stiftung.
The meeting will take place Sept. 21-26, 2014. Students and early-career researchers from American institutions are invited to apply, joining nearly 200 early career researchers from around the world who are expected to attend the weeklong meeting. Formal lectures will occur in the morning, and the remainder of the day will be set aside for students and researchers to meet informally with the Laureates, as well as with their peers from around the world.
In addition to completing an application, all interested individuals need to apply to become a member of the American delegation. The competitive application and selection process is managed by ORAU, and successful candidates will be notified of their acceptance in May 2014.
For more information regarding the Second Annual Heidelberg Laureates Forum, visit the ORAU website.

Contest Excitement Galore! USA Science & Engineering Festival to Host Multiple National Science Competitions

This post is part of our ongoing series highlighting awesome events going on at the USA Science & Engineering Festival, taking place April 26th & 27th at Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. Learn more here:

The challenge of competing in an exciting, nationwide contest in STEM can bring out the best in young learners. Students will have their share of thrills as the Festival plays host this April to three high-profile science competitions: the National KidWind Competition, the Kavli Video Contest, and the Environmental Protection Agency’s P3 (People, Prosperity and the Planet) Sustainable Solutions Design Competition. KidWind challenges students to explore wind energy technology by designing and testing their own wind turbine. The Kavli “Science in Fiction” Video Contest, sponsored by the Kavli Foundation, invites kids to produce a video which illustrates how accurately or inaccurately science is portrayed in TV, movies and games. And the EPA’s P3 competition tests students’ ability to design solutions for a sustainable future.  Selected entries from all three contests will be on display at the Festival Expo, April 26-27.

Learn more about the competitions on the USA Science & Engineering Festival Website: 2014 Kavil Science Video Contest

NASA Launches STEM-in-Sports Online Series

This is a press release from NASA.
Teachers and students can learn the science behind scoring a touchdown, throwing a slam-dunk or a hitting a homerun with a new distance-learning program called NASA STEM Mania.
NASA's Distance Learning Network (DLN) will present the two-week series Monday, Feb. 24, through Monday, March 10, and will give educators and students from kindergarten through 12th grade the opportunity to learn how NASA and science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) play a role in sports.
NASA STEM Mania sessions will be held each Monday through Thursday and will allow students and educators the ability to interact virtually with NASA subject matter experts on a variety of topics such as the science of race car driving, using STEM to succeed in football, and using basketball as an engineering example in the classroom. Sample highlights from the various sessions include: sports clips from the International Space Station; a special astronaut appearance; and, how to become an Orion virtual crew member.
Student sessions will be presented at 12-1 p.m. EST and sessions for educators will be presented at 4-5 p.m. EST.
The DLN is an interactive videoconferencing network that allows the next generation of explorers to connect with NASA scientists, engineers and researchers without leaving the classroom. The distance-learning events are designed to educate through demonstrations and live interactions with NASA experts across the country.
To learn more about each session, register for a session or watch the session live via NASA's DLiNfo Channel, please visit:
For information about NASA's education programs, visit:


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