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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:

The Robot Block Party Celebrates Rhode Island’s Robotics and Technology Innovators of All Ages

The April 5, 2014 event is free and open to the public.
Rhode Island School of the Future and the Humanity Centered Robotics Initiative at Brown University are joining forces to celebrate National Robotics Week with a community outreach event on April 5, 2014 from 11 AM to 4 PM. The Robot Block Party features robot demonstrations and exhibits from industry, universities, community organizations and public, private, parochial and home schools.
The family-friendly event is April 5, 2014 from 11 am to 4 pm at the Pizzitola Center, Brown University, 235 Hope Street, Providence, Rhode Island. The event is free and open to the public.
Demonstrations include the Baxter and PR2 robots from the labs of Chad Jenkins and Stephanie Tellex at Brown University, seafaring robots from URI, and a telepresence robot from Matt Stein's lab at Roger Williams University. Nordson EFD, igus, inc. and Yushin America will display robots used in manufacturing. The Rhode Island Computer Museum, FabNewport, Fluxama and Modern Device will have hands-on exhibits in electronics and robotics. Salve Regina University and CCRI students with help from clients from the Maher Center will manage an amateur radio operation onsite. The Providence Children’s Museum provides Rigamajig, a mechanical design & engineering play space. AIR 4H, Lincoln School, the Girls Scouts, New Dimension Church, and Walpole Jr. Robotics will demonstrate FIRST LEGO League, FIRST Tech Challenge, FIRST Robotics and Jr. FIRST LEGO League.  Students from the Newport Community School, All Saints Academy, Our Lady of Mercy, St. Philomena School, Compass School, Alan Shawn Feinstein Middle School and Wheeler School have built robotic parade floats and chain reaction machines that will delight and inspire spectators.
Industry sponsors of the Robot Block Party include National Grid, Yushin America, igus, inc., Amica and the Tech Collective.
Rhode Island School of the Future is a 501(c)(3) organization that inspires young people to explore science, technology, engineering, math and manufacturing through youth robotics. We provide infrastructure for hands-on, inquiry based STEM outreach programs including FIRST® LEGO® League.
The Humanity Centered Robotics Initiative is a group of Brown University faculty, students, and affiliates dedicated to robotics as a means to tackle the problems the world faces today.  Beyond pursuing the goal of technological advancement, we want to ensure that these advancements are applicable and beneficial economically and socially.  We are working across many disciplines to document the societal needs and applications of human-robot interaction research as well as the ethical, legal, and economic questions that will arise with its development.  Our research ultimately aims to help create and understand robots that coexist harmoniously with humans.

What’s Hot in April? The Career Pavilion at the USA Science & Engineering Festival Expo!

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:

Giving high school students the chance to explore the hot high-tech careers of today – plus providing them with valuable information on the colleges, internships and afterschool programs that offer training in these areas, and introducing them to key employers for such career positions – can go a long way in setting learners on the right path in STEM.  Which is why students and parents will not want to miss the wide array of such resources in April at the Festival Expo’s STEM Career Pavilion, with representation from over 65 colleges and universities and over 20 companies!

Learn more bout the STEM Career Pavilion at USA Science and Engineering Festival's website: 2014 Career Pavilion for High-School Students

National 4-H Council Hosts Second STEM Food and Ag Council Meeting


February 21, 2014, Washington, D.C. | STEMconnector®’s STEM Food & Ag Council (SFAC) held its second meeting on Friday at the National 4-H Youth Conference Center in Chevy Chase, Maryland. The meeting focused on leveraging the national enthusiasm for STEM disciplines into educational opportunities and career pathways in food and agriculture, and scaling up STEM initiatives for youth. The meeting is partially underwritten by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

Iowa Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds, Council Chair, and the Council’s Vice Chair Paul Schickler, President of DuPont Pioneer, were in attendance along with committee members from industry, education and government. The STEM Food & Ag Council is guided by its mission to “inspire, nurture and engage individuals to passionately pursue careers in Food and Agriculture by unlocking their full potential as leaders and professionals.” Its systemic approach brings together diverse stakeholders from the food and agriculture workforce to bring innovation to human capital development.

“I am committed to this initiative because there is no question that a qualified STEM workforce is an essential ingredient in feeding the additional 2 billion people that will occupy our planet by 2050,” said Lt. Governor Reynolds. “The only way for us to meet the nutritional demands of a growing population is to address STEM workforce issues with the key players from industry, government and education.”

“It is critical that we engage young people in the incredible career opportunities within food and agriculture,” said Schickler. “We are committed to the STEM Food & Ag Council because it provides the opportunity for us to collaborate on this important challenge of activating the next generation of leaders to feed the world.” 

The meeting featured presentations and breakout sessions with a clear focus on impact-rich initiatives. Council members discussed the future of the Council and how to further engage stakeholders around the idea of including food and agriculture in STEM.

“National 4-H Council is pleased to host this meeting at our Youth Conference Center,” said Jennifer Sirangelo, President and Chief Executive Officer of National 4-H Council. “4-H is committed to positive youth development and we have deep commitments to both food security and to STEM education. The STEM Food and Ag Council brings together these priorities and allows us to identify new partners for this exciting work.”

Member organizations of the STEM Food and Ag Council include Archer Daniels Midland Corporation, Agriculture Future of America, Beck’s Hybrids, Des Moines Area Community College, Dow AgroSciences, DuPont Pioneer, the Institute of Food Technologists, Monsanto, the National FFA Organization, Iowa State University, Land O’Lakes, PepsiCo and the University of Florida.

The next meeting of the STEM Food & Ag Council is scheduled to take place July 16, 2014 in St. Louis and will be hosted by Monsanto. The final meeting of 2014 will be held in Des Moines in conjunction with the World Food Prize in Iowa.

About STEMconnector®
STEMconnector® is the leading communications platform driving collaboration between stakeholders in STEM education.  Launched in 2011 with the mandate of identifying, informing and connecting stakeholders in STEM education, STEMconnector® has over 90 sponsoring organizations from the public, private and non-profit sectors.

About STEM Food & Ag Council
The STEM Food & Ag Council is a unique public-private partnership dedicated to driving education and career opportunities for the next generation of the food and agricultural workforce. The STEM Food & Ag Council assembles government, business and education leaders aimed at increasing collaboration and mobilizing resources to connect today’s youth to the Food and Ag careers of tomorrow.

MOUSE and Solar One Launch Program to Empower Youth Technology Leaders to "Green" Their Schools and Communities

MOUSE and Solar One Launch Program to Empower Youth Technology Leaders to "Green" Their Schools and Communities (via PR Newswire)

GreenTECH Program Funded by Three-Year, $1.08 million grant from the National Science Foundation NEW YORK, Feb. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- MOUSE, a national nonprofit organization that empowers youth to learn, lead and create with technology, in partnership…


FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg: One of Many Nifty Fifty Speakers That Schools Will Meet During the USA Science & Engineering Festival!

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:

Early exposure to exciting role models in STEM can have an amazing impact on K-12 students.  This is why the Festival’s 'Nifty Fifty (times 3)', a program of Science Spark and presented by InfoComm International, continues to be such a hit with kids and teachers. The Nifty Fifty are 150 of the most noted science and engineering professionals in the nation who are fanning out across the Washington, DC area to speak about their work and careers at middle and high schools. One such recent visitor was Dr. Margaret Hamburg, FDA Commissioner, who spoke at Bladensburg High School in Bladensburg, MD on the rewards of her job and career opportunities in STEM.  At the school, she was honored with a color guard, musical presentation and presented by the Mayor of Bladensburg with a proclamation honoring her accomplishments!

Find our more about Dr. Margaret Hamburg and "The Nifty Fifty" at USA Science and Engineering Festival: The FDA: Protecting and Promoting Public Health – From the Foods We Eat to the Medicines We Take.

Webinar: Afterschool programs engaging youth in engineering, computing and technology

The Afterschool Alliance is celebrating National Engineers Week by highlighting how afterschool programs engage kids in robust engineering learning! Join us Thursday February 19 at 1 pm EDT for a webinar featuring high-quality afterschool STEM programs making an impact on youth! Register here.
We’ve paired the topic of engineering with computing, as both disciplines are subject to significant workforce concerns. Over the next four years, the number of jobs requiring proficiency in STEM is projected to grow twice as fast as non-STEM fields. Computing and engineering represent a majority of these new STEM jobs, and it is important that students are prepared to take advantage of future opportunities. Afterschool programs represent a promising avenue to offer engineering and computing education.
We invite you to join the discussion, as we explore the role of afterschool as an important ally in K-12 STEM education. We’ll hear from afterschool leaders that are working to provide rigorous engineering, computing, and technology programs to youth in cities from Santa Fe to Baltimore.
Guest speakers include:
Andrew Coy; Executive Director, Digital Harbor Foundation
Jen Joyce; Director of Professional Development, Techbridge
Irene Lee; Principal Investigator, Project GUTS, Santa Fe Institute
Our most recent issue brief, “Computing and Engineering in Afterschool”, provides background on this topic and additional profiles of high-quality afterschool programs offering engineering, computing, and technology.
The Afterschool Alliance is a nonprofit public awareness and advocacy organization working to ensure that all children and youth have access to quality afterschool program. More information is available at
Webinar registration link:

Foster Statement On Retirement Of Congressman Rush Holt

Washington, DC -- Today, Congressman Bill Foster (IL-11) released the following statement on the retirement of Congressman Rush Holt:
“I was saddened to hear of the retirement of my friend and colleague Congressman Rush Holt.  His thoughtful and rational approach to the legislative process will be deeply missed.
“While I am proud to carry the torch for physicists in Congress, it is clear that we need more scientists in public office.  Too much of our Congress is made up of lawyers and career politicians who are trained in the art of arguing, but not in problem solving or analyzing data to develop commonsense solutions.  While no one can match him, as Watson knows, we need more Representatives like Rush Holt to bring a voice for science and reason to Congress.”
Foster and Holt are the only physicists serving in Congress.
Foster is a scientist and businessman who worked at Fermi National Laboratory for over 20 years.  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.


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