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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.
Category: and CSTA Honoring Administrators, Teachers and Students

This is a Guest Blog Post from Della Cronin of Computing in the Core

Just about a year ago this celebrity-packed video brought a lot attention to the need for more computer science education, and’s “Hour of Code” campaign has enticed over 25 million students to try their hand at coding.  Now is working with the Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA) and other partners to honor the hard work of administrators, teachers and students who have gone above and beyond in their support for the teaching and learning of computer science.  CSTA has launched the 2014 CSTA Administrator Impact Award to recognize administrators who have been helpful in strengthening opportunities to teach and learn computer science in K-12 schools.  

Not to be outdone, is also looking to honor exemplary and inspiring computer science teachers and students.  The Administrator award is being given by CSTA and to recognize an administrator who has made an outstanding contribution to K–12 computer science education. CSTA and want to identify and celebrate administrators who have made a significant impact to improve access to and the quality of computer science education, and any public or private school administrator may be nominated.

What will the winners win? Both the winning administrator and the nominator will attend, at CSTA's expense, the 2014 CSTA Annual Conference scheduled for July 14th and 15th in St. Charles, Illinois. The winning pair will also be encouraged to present at a dedicated session at the conference, will be recognized during an awards ceremony at the conference and will be featured in an article in the CSTA Voice. Applications must be submitted online no later than March 3, 2014.  Winners will be contacted by April 11, 2014, and announced soon thereafter. More details on the Administrator award can be found here, and the nominating form can be found here.


International Space Station Crew to Talk with Students in Los Angeles

Students and faculty from California State University, Los Angeles, along with high school students from the Alliance Marc and Eva Stern Math and Science High School, will gather at the university at 10:10 a.m. PST Thursday, Feb. 20, to speak with Expedition 38 crew members currently aboard the International Space Station.
The event will be broadcast on NASA Television and the agency's website.
Students will get to ask NASA astronauts Mike Hopkins and Rick Mastracchio, and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Koichi Wakata, questions about living and working aboard the space station. Educators have been preparing their students for the conversation with the crew by incorporating NASA activities in their classrooms.
The 20-minute, Earth-to-space call is one of a series of events planned for Feb. 15-27 as part of Destination Station: Los Angeles -- NASA's campaign to showcase its newest multimedia exhibit at the California Science Center.
Destination Station is NASA's national awareness campaign to showcase space station research opportunities, educate the public about station activities, and communicate the current and potential future impacts of the station on everyday life here on Earth. The exhibit is free with admission to the California Science Center and open to the public through April 7.
This in-flight education downlink is one in a series with educational organizations in the United States to improve science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), teaching and learning. It is an integral component of NASA's Teaching From Space education program, which promotes learning opportunities and builds partnerships with the education community using the unique environment of space and NASA's human spaceflight program.

SunPower Awards Engineering Curriculum Grants to California Public Schools

Today, SunPower awarded schools in four California school districts a total of $85,000 in grants to support the implementation of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) curricula for students. The grants were facilitated in partnership with Project Lead The Way (PLTW), the nation's leading provider of K-12 STEM programs.
After successful completion of a competitive application process, school districts receiving the awards include Antioch, Compton, Tustin and West Contra Costa Unified. Schools in each district will offer PLTW programs in which students engage in open-ended problem solving, learn and apply the engineering design process, and develop vital skills such as teamwork, communication and critical thinking.
"SunPower is very proud to support California's schools and help prepare our young people to meet the challenges of the 21st century," said SunPower Managing Director Bill Kelly. "In addition to funding these grants, which complement the state department of education's Linked Learning initiatives, SunPower works with Project Lead The Way to incorporate solar energy curricula into the program, bringing technology into classrooms and introducing students to engineering concepts that better prepare them for the future. We congratulate the districts receiving these awards today."
"Antioch Unified is very excited about receiving this grant, which will help provide STEM education to over 600 students at Orchard Park School in Oakley," said Michael Green of Antioch Unified School District. "We thank SunPower and Project Lead The Way for helping us create a great opportunity to deliver a project-based, world-class K-12 curriculum that will help our students develop the skills needed to succeed in college and beyond."
"Project Lead The Way is committed to providing the highest quality STEM education to prepare today's students for the global economy," said PLTW President and CEO Vince Bertram. "We look forward to partnering with these four districts to prepare our nation's next generation of innovators, and we are very grateful to SunPower for their generous support and commitment to making these grants possible."
In addition to working with Project Lead The Way to provide school-year grants, SunPower also offers the SunPower Solar Academy, an intensive summer program, to school districts across the state. In 2013, approximately 250 students from ten school districts participated in the week-long program, which immerses participants in a solar-focused STEM curriculum.
SunPower is a leader in delivering energy solutions to California's academic institutions. The company is providing, or has provided, a total of 36.1 megawatts of on-site solar power systems at 92 California K-12 public schools.

Celebrating Engineers Week: Raytheon Challenges Students to “Build it Better”

This is a guest blog post from Raytheon's MathMovesU initiative

Is there something you use at school - in the classroom, on the field, in your science lab, on the playground or anywhere on school grounds - that isn't designed as well as it could be?
Maybe your pencil sharpener is missing the point. Or that Bunsen burner has flamed out one too many times. Perhaps those monkey bars are driving you bananas. Or maybe the long lunch lines in your cafeteria are ruining your appetite. Pick any aspect of your school life (big or small) and describe how it could be redesigned for a better school experience.
You’re the head engineer on this project, and the only limit is your imagination. Submit your video entry - 2 minutes or less in length -
Each entry must be designed and executed by a student. Teachers may submit an entry on behalf of their student(s) or their class from February 16 through April 16. First, second and third-place winners will receive $2,000, $1,000 and $500 classroom grants for their schools, respectively.  Finalists will be selected based on creativity, effectiveness, application of math and/or science skills and the quality of the submission.
Launching during National Engineers Week, MathMovesU ‘Build it Better’ contest is one of two grant programs currently open to parents, teachers and students. Raytheon is also currently accepting nominations and applications for MathMovesU Math Hero Awards. MathMovesU will honor 32 math professionals with awards of $2,500 each, along with a matching grant of $2,500 to each of their schools. The deadline for nominations is April 9, 2014.

Meet Renowned Inventor James West and Other Leading Pioneers at the Festival Expo’s X-STEM Symposium in April!

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:

Ever notice that many of the most successful innovators in science and engineering were some of the most inquisitive and curious kids growing up?  Take, for example, renowned acoustical scientist James West, inventor of the foil electret microphone and one of the first African Americans in his field, who remembers as a child: “Curiosity ruled my life. If I had a screwdriver and a pair of pliers, anything that could be opened was in danger.”  Dr. West is just one of the “curious” and inspiring leaders in STEM that kids will meet and hear at the Expo’s  X-STEM Symposium - an all-day event of workshops, live demonstrations and other interaction which brings these pioneers up close and personal for visitors.  Tickets are going fast, so register today!

Nominated by the Johns Hopkins Whiting School of Engineering, check out Dr. James West's Speaker Profile on the X-STEM Symposium website: Wired For Sound: James West Turns a Childhood Curiosity Into a Career of Invention as an Acoustical Scientist.


From Corporate Lending to the Classroom: My Transition to Teaching as a STEM Professional

This is a guest blog post by Joe Koglin, Teach for America, Greater New Orleans Corps ‘11
After six years working in finance for a multinational conglomerate, I wasn’t sure it was what I wanted to do for the next twenty years of my life. While my position had it all from the outside – the title, salary, and gravitas that comes with many STEM jobs – I craved something which would allow me to use my skills to help directly empower people and communities. I considered switching careers, but wasn’t sure how. I even set a date on my calendar for when I would quit my job. As that date approached, I grew increasingly nervous. 
It’s not uncommon for mid-career professionals to hold apprehensions about transitioning careers, particularly when making a jump from the for-profit sector to non-profit work. 
I was one of these radical career changers. I had been volunteering with youth as a coach for about ten years, and valued the relationships I had with my players. I thought teaching might be a good way to extend that impact. And while my head was in the clouds as I dreamed about entering a classroom, the realities of all that a job switch entailed always brought me back down to earth.  
Considering how much I had invested in my career – 4 years as an undergrad and 6 in the workforce - I worried that my skills wouldn’t transfer to another context. I had spent all of my adult life focused on one narrow segment. Was I qualified to do anything else?
The answer was a resounding yes. The vast majority of experiences from the STEM private sector transfer into classroom leadership. Be they an accountant introducing decimal placements, an engineer leading an after-school robotics club, or a doctor teaching the classic frog dissection – STEM professionals have transferrable skills in spades. 
And what’s more – these skills are so incredibly needed in our country’s classrooms. The quality of our math and science education is not globally competitive, and the inequity is even worse within our own borders. Fifteen percent of US high schools offered no Algebra 2 classes in 2009-10, leaving nearly 500,000 students without crucial math skills. And less than one-quarter of students nationwide have access to rigorous computer science courses – a tragedy when one considers the 1.4 million computer science jobs opening that, as a result, they’ll be unprepared to fill.
Teaching is essential to the future of STEM. Educators hold our collective future as inventors and innovators in their hands, as they work to instill the next generation with the passion and skills to keep the STEM field moving forward. 
Perhaps the most exciting thing is that being a teacher doesn’t mean giving up the opportunity to innovate.  In addition to helping students navigate ambiguity, think analytically, and act strategically, they’re pioneering cutting-edge education methods themselves. Irene Hsieh (Metro DC ‘11) is helping create a healthy living curriculum that has kids as young as six planting community gardens, mapping nutrition access in their city, and writing letters to their representatives in Congress.
STEM teachers are taking the societal challenges they’ve encountered while teaching and tackling them head on. For STEM enthusiasts who want to change the world through innovation, there couldn’t be a better place to start than the classroom.
There are many wonderful paths into education out there. For me, Teach For America was the right fit. The training and transition into the classroom fit into my full life and provided a safe career transition – and the ongoing professional development meant I was thoroughly supported in my new venture. The guidance of mentor teachers, continuous learning opportunities, and robust network of alumni all helped me be my best for my students.  
When considering the impact a single teacher can have, I realize calculable academic gains are only one part of the equation – personal relationships, while impossible to measure, have a dramatic impact on students’ life outcomes. As a high school math educator with prior professional experience, I was able to show my students real-world application of their math skills, helping guide them toward future careers and academic pursuits. More than that, the bonds we forged were predicated on responsibility, respect, teamwork and creativity – mindsets that will stay with students as they continue on in their journey. 
As Teach For America’s final February 20 deadline approaches, I encourage you to learn more here. Click here to apply for the 2014-15 teaching corps.


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