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STEM Workforce Retention Topic of New Book from Association of Women in Science (AWIS)

Elsevier Foundation provides support to AWIS to publish
“Equitable Solutions for Retaining a Robust STEM Workforce: Beyond Best Practices”
Chicago, IL February 12, 2014 | “Equitable Solutions for Retaining a Robust STEM Workforce: Beyond Best Practices,” a new book from the Association for Women in Science (AWIS) that addresses work/life integration and satisfaction issues faced  by those in STEM careers, will premiere at the AAAS national conference in Chicago, February 15.   The project was funded by the Elsevier Foundation.
Although work/life satisfaction is typically regarded as a women’s issue, “Equitable Solutions for Retaining a Robust STEM Workforce: Beyond Best Practices,” finds that it is an issue that crosses gender lines. Co-authored by Donna Joyce Dean, Ph.D., an expert on scientific and technical workforce issues, and Janet Bandows Koster, Executive Director of AWIS, the book was developed to provide both academic and private sector STEM work environments with the tools they need to retain their workforce, especially women.  
"The issue of developing STEM talent is at the top of the national conversation, but the attrition of top talent from the scientific workforce severely hampers countries’ ability to lead in innovation and stay globally competitive in these disciplines,” said Janet Bandows Koster, AWIS Executive Director & CEO. “Women make up 51% of the overall U.S. workforce but account for only 25% of STEM workers. More significantly, women who have advanced degrees in STEM are far more likely to leave related occupations than women in other professions.”
“Equitable Solutions for Retaining a Robust STEM Workforce: Beyond Best Practices” was developed as a result of the largest global survey ever undertaken about work/life integration issues among scientists. More than 4,000 researchers in both academic and corporate settings responded to the study that revealed 83 percent work more than 40 hours per week and that half those said that work demands conflicted with their personal lives at least two to three times per week.  The survey’s findings raised serious concerns about retaining the necessary level of scientific talent required to sustain innovation. The data showed that key factors including lack of flexibility in the workplace, dissatisfaction with career development opportunities and low salaries, are driving many researchers of both genders to reconsider their profession.
“Many institutions and organizations have begun to recognize the need to address this issue,” said co-author Dr. Donna Dean. “The book provides case studies of successful, well-researched programs that are models for both academic as well as corporate workplaces.   Each chapter offers practical tools that can be rescaled to develop programs similar to those described in the case studies.”
The Elsevier Foundation funded the development of “Equitable Solutions for Retaining a Robust STEM Workforce: Beyond Best Practices” as part of their commitment to the research community.  “Millions of dollars are being invested to encourage young people to consider STEM based careers,” said David Ruth, Executive Director, Elsevier Foundation.  “The Elsevier New Scholars have created evidence-based programs that address the work/life challenges of STEM employment, including dependent-care responsibilities, dual-career relationships, mentoring, as well as the ability to travel to professional meetings.   If we want to retain our STEM workforce we have to help those professionals be both successful and satisfied in this career choice.  We are proud to support the development of this book.”
“Equitable Solutions for Retaining a Robust STEM Workforce: Beyond Best Practices” is currently available through Elsevier Store for $44.95.   Read more at:



Lawrence Beck of Beck's Superior Hybrids Joins STEMconnector®'s STEM Food & Ag Council

The STEMconnector® team is pleased to announce that Lawrence “Sonny” Beck, President of Beck’s Superior Hybrids will join our STEM Food & Ag Council.

Beck’s Superior Hybrids is based in Atlanta, Indiana, where his business philosophy emphasizes quality, service, and the importance of agronomic research to the future well-being of the American farmer. Beck’s Hybrids is the largest family-owned retail seed company in the United States, serving farmers in Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky, and Tennessee. For more than 75 years, Beck’s has been committed to providing its customers with the best in seed quality, field performance, and service. A dedicated team of professionals, access to the best genetics and trait technologies from suppliers worldwide, and regionally-focused product research and testing has made Beck’s one of the fastest growing companies in the seed industry.

“Now, more than ever, is the time to develop solutions for the increasing global demand for food. For more than 75 years, Beck’s Hybrids has supported farmers and the agricultural industry. By joining the STEM Food & Ag Council, we get the chance to impact the next generation of leaders whose education and careers will be crucial in addressing the agricultural needs of the future,” said Beck.

Under his direction, Beck’s Superior Hybrids has become the largest family owned retail seed business in the United States. Sonny earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Agronomy and Plant Breeding and a Master of Arts degree in Agricultural Economics, both from Purdue University. When he graduated in 1962, he became the first College of Agriculture student to receive Purdue's G. A. Ross Award, presented annually to the overall outstanding graduating senior man. Sonny was awarded the Purdue University Distinguished Agriculture Alumni Award in 1992, and he received an Honorary Doctorate of Agriculture from Purdue University in 2007. In July 2013, Sonny was appointed to Purdue University’s Board of Trustees by Governor Mike Pence. He is currently the Vice President of the Purdue Ag Alumni Seed Improvement Association, and serves on the Indiana Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, the Board of Governors for the U.S. Grains Council, and is a Lifetime Honorary Member of the American Seed Trade Association. Sonny has held a variety of other leadership positions within the agriculture industry, including president of the American Seed Trade Association, president of the Indiana Crop Improvement Association, a charter member of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture Advisory Board, and a member of the Purdue Agriculture Dean’s Advisory Council.

Since early 2013, STEMconnector®’s STEM Food & Ag Council engages the new Food and Ag economy and leverages the collective abilities of it’s members to drive impact. Members collaborate on focused initiatives to create a talented food and agricultural workforce capable of meeting future demands. 

To find out more information, or how you can become involved, contact or

Physics at the Olympics: The Luge

The luge is the most dangerous of the three Olympic sliding sports (bobsled and skeleton are the others), where sliders can reach speeds of 140km per hour (87 mph)!  Athletes use their weight and and the sled's runners to navigate the winding track of solid ice.  So what about the physics of the luge?  Lets take a look...

A luger's goal is to make it down the track in the fastest time possible, by maximizing their initial velocity and reducing any opposing forces.  Maximizing initial velocity is all about the strength and speed of the luger out of the gate, see below.  Maintaining, and increasing speed from this point is in the hands of gravity and the luger's steering.  A few things that will slow an athlete down are aerodynamic drag, friction with the ice, and improper steering.  The acceleration due to gravity (9.8m/s/s) can't be changed, not by the luger or the scientists.  The most interesting things about luge are how the drag, friction, and steering can be changed to make one luger better than another.

Aerodynamic Drag

Drag force is represented by the following mathematical expression:

F is the drag force acting on the sled and athlete.

c is the drag coefficient.  The drag coefficient is determined by the shape of the luger on his/her sled, and thus varies from athlete to athlete.

is the velocity of the luger.

is the area breaking the wind, or the area of the profile of the front of the luger.

ρ is the density of the air, which can be calculated using temperature, humidity, barometric pressure, and elevation.

Also factoring into the overall drag is the mass of the luger, more mass increases the force due to gravity (F=ma) and thus reduces the amount of importance placed on aerodynamic drag.  Make a force diagram to understand this.


Also important in a luger's speed is minimizing friction.  The blades of the sled are polished and sharpened to minimize this factor.  Further, as the athlete steers the sled by making small adjustments in the angle of the runners he/she creeates some amount of friction.  Minimal, and efficient steering will help minimize the opposing forces on the athlete due to friction with the ice.


Navigating the luge track is one of the most important things to consider.  The proper path around the track can yield increases in speed, and potentially shorter distances traveled when compared to competitors.  Shorter distances at faster speeds will win races.  How does a luger maximize speed?  By maximizing his/her centripetal acceleration through the banked turns.  

Recall that centripetal acceleration is simply the velocity squared, over the radius of the turn.  While a banked turn may have a constant radius at all levels, traveling from the bottom to the top of the turn increases the radius the luger travels, decreasing their acceleration.  Ultimately the luger will lose out on much needed speed to beat his/her competition.

When geeks think of sports in geek terms, they become so much more interesting!

Check out the Sochi 2014 Luge Results here.


Boys & Girls Clubs of America and Time Warner Cable Partner to Spark Youth Interest in STEM

Time Warner Cable Donates $500,000 to Help BGCA Launch New DIY STEM Program
ATLANTA and NEW YORK – February 12, 2014 | Time Warner Cable (TWC) and Boys & Girls Club of America (BGCA) today announced details of a new partnership designed to help address America’s declining proficiency in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). TWC, as part of its Connect a Million Minds (CAMM) initiative, will provide $500,000 in cash and in-kind support to help BGCA engage and inspire youth around the country to become interested in STEM subjects.
The partnership was initially announced by professional football player and Boys & Girls Club alumnus Victor Cruz and Food Network Chef Anne Burrell at CAMM Day, which was held on February 1, 2014 at TWC Studios in New York City.
“We are proud to partner with TWC on this exciting STEM program for our members,” said BGCA President and CEO Jim Clark. “BGCA is committed to preparing globally competitive graduates for successful 21st century careers, and this new program will enable Club kids to unearth STEM concepts through fun, hands-on activities and explore the jobs of tomorrow.”
“Time Warner Cable believes in getting kids excited about STEM because having the next generation skilled in these areas is critical for our country’s continued success,” said Rob Marcus, Chairman and CEO of Time Warner Cable. “We are very proud to partner with BGCA and support a new program that will help their members reach their potential by becoming inspired by the world of STEM.”
The $500,000 in support from TWC will enable BGCA to launch a new Do-It-Yourself (DIY) STEM program for Boys & Girls Clubs around the country. Available for all Clubs this summer, the DIY STEM program curriculum will engage Club youth ages 10 to 18 in a different strand of STEM—from robotics to electrodynamic propulsion—each week. Aligning to the Common Core State Standards Initiative, the project-based STEM activities will provide opportunities for critical thinking and peer exchange.
Additionally, TWC will provide grants to 10 Boys & Girls Clubs in the New York City and New Jersey area to run the DIY STEM program and host a culminating DIY Family night where family members, Club staff and other supporters can see the kids’ STEM project presentations. Participating Clubs are:
  • Boys & Girls Club of Harlem – Frederick Douglass Academy Clubhouse
  • Boys & Girls Club of Harlem – M.L. Wilson Clubhouse
  • Boys & Girls Club of Metro Queens
  • Boys & Girls Clubs of Mount Vernon – Sixth Avenue Unit
  • Boys & Girls Club of Paterson & Passaic – 21st Avenue Unit
  • The Children’s Aid Society – Dunlevy Milbank Boys & Girls Club
  • The Children’s Aid Society – East Harlem Boys & Girls Club
  • The Children’s Aid Society – Frederick Douglass Boys & Girls Club
  • Madison Square Boys & Girls Club – Navy Yard Clubhouse
  • Variety Boys & Girls Club of Queens
Research shows that out-of-school programs, like those offered at Boys & Girls Clubs, are effective in stimulating interested in STEM-related careers. Since 2008, more than 850,000 kids have engaged in STEM activities at Boys & Girls Clubs across the country. To learn more about STEM programs and opportunities at Boys & Girls Clubs, visit

Preparing Tomorrow’s STEM Leaders: Sign Up Your Students Today as X-STEM Ambassadors in 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:

If we are to motivate tomorrow’s STEM leaders, we must begin to involve them in leadership roles today. This is the focus of the Festival’s X-STEM Ambassadors initiative, an endeavor in which students at more than 300 K-12 schools across the country are currently participating. Sign up your school today! X-STEM Ambassadors are the backbone of the Festival’s X-STEM School Program, and through leadership teams the ambassadors help create and carry out the STEM mission plan for their school. Register your K-12 institution today as an X-STEM School so that your students can become X-STEM Ambassadors! Learn more about X-STEM Student Ambassador Titles on the USA Science & Engineering website here.

Lemelson-MIT Introduces New High School Invention Program

Expands Commitment to Inspire Next Generation of Inventors with Junior Varsity InvenTeam Initiative
CAMBRIDGE, Mass., February 11, 2014 | The Lemelson–MIT Program announced today the launch of the Junior Varsity (JV) InvenTeam initiative, a program designed to cultivate inventive curiosity and skills in ninth and tenth grade students traditionally lacking access to hands-on enrichment opportunities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The initiative begins with pilots in Massachusetts and Texas, with plans to extend to California and the Pacific Northwest in 2015.
The JV InvenTeam initiative, supported by The Lemelson Foundation, builds upon InvenTeams™, the Lemelson-MIT Program’s decade-long experience engaging students in invention education activities. JV InvenTeams practice invention-based design activities and apply their learned skills to create useful and unique projects, including shoe soles and wearable electronics. Students will also learn to present projects at regional capstone events alongside other JV InvenTeams and their varsity counterparts, Lemelson-MIT InvenTeams.
“The JV InvenTeam initiative engages students in STEM skill-building and valuable after-school opportunities that they might not otherwise experience,” said Joshua Schuler, executive director of the Lemelson-MIT Program. “Students learn how to safely use tools and explore new materials, building a strong foundation in scientific and technical skills. Guidebooks and activities created for teachers and students and access to a network of invention education experts provide JV InvenTeams with the resources they need to excel in hands-on STEM opportunities.”
The JV InvenTeam initiative provides corporations, universities, civic groups, nonprofits, and private foundations the opportunity to engage in meaningful mentorship and sponsorship opportunities with ninth and tenth grade students. Corporate sponsor Stanley Black & Decker has generously equipped the initiative with a donation of hand and power tools to help the students develop new skill sets in inventive thinking and doing and bring their inventions to life. Additional partnership opportunities are available for companies interested in cultivating inventiveness among U.S. students.
Meet the 2014 JV InvenTeams
The inaugural JV InvenTeams cohort represents a diverse group of public schools and communities. The Massachusetts grantees are affiliated with 21st Century Community Learning Centers. The Learning Centers offer community connections and sites for after-school enrichment opportunities. Grantees in Texas include science and engineering educators who will work with their students on invention projects inside and outside the classroom. 
Massachusetts JV InvenTeams
·        B.M.C. Durfee High School (Fall River)
·        Chelsea High School (Chelsea)
·        North High School (Worcester)
·        Putnam Vocational Tech Academy (Springfield) 
·        Triton Regional School District (Byfield)
Texas JV InvenTeams
·        Cypress Springs High School (Cypress)
·        Hastings High School (Houston)
·        KIPP Generations Collegiate High School (Houston)
·        KIPP Sunnyside High School (Houston)
·        Reagan High School (Houston)
“The JV InvenTeam experience will help build students’ confidence in their ability to become inventors, makers, fixers, and entrepreneurs,” said Rachel Alexander, educator from John H. Reagan High School in Houston, Texas. “Our hope is that students learn to collaborate in a competitive environment, communicate ideas, brainstorm, and persist even in the face of adversity.”
"The expansion of the Lemelson-MIT Program to include younger students as members of JV  InvenTeams  is a natural extension of my husband, Jerry's, commitment to encouraging and providing young people the opportunity to become inventors," said Dorothy Lemelson, chair of The Lemelson Foundation.
For more information about the Lemelson-MIT Program, the JV InvenTeam initiative and partnership opportunities, contact Leigh Estabrooks, Lemelson-MIT Program Invention Education Officer at
Celebrating invention, inspiring youth
The Lemelson-MIT Program celebrates outstanding inventors and inspires young people to pursue creative lives and careers through invention.
Jerome H. Lemelson, one of U.S. history’s most prolific inventors, and his wife Dorothy founded the Lemelson-MIT Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1994. It is funded by The Lemelson Foundation and administered by the School of Engineering at MIT, an institution with a strong ongoing commitment to creating meaningful opportunities for K-12 STEM education.
The Lemelson Foundation uses the power of invention to improve lives, by inspiring and enabling the next generation of inventors and invention based enterprises to promote economic growth in the US and social and economic progress for the poor in developing countries. Established by prolific US inventor Jerome Lemelson and his wife Dorothy in 1992, to date the Foundation has provided or committed more than $175 million in grants and PRIs in support of its mission. For more information, visit
Stanley Black & Decker, an S&P 500 company, is a diversified global provider of hand tools, power tools and related accessories, mechanical access and electronic security solutions, healthcare solutions, engineered fastening systems, and more. Learn more at

National 4-H Council and HughesNet® Team Up to Spark Youth Interest in Science, Technology Careers

With statistics showing the U.S. falling behind in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education and careers, National 4-H Council and HughesNet announced today a new partnership to introduce more American youth to hands-on, community-based STEM learning.
The partnership includes a sponsorship from Hughes Network Systems, the operators of HughesNet, to demonstrate the excitement and opportunities of STEM through "Tech Takeover Days" at national 4-H camps; science events at local fairs; and National Youth Science Day – a national science experiment that engages young scientists from around the country. The effort will include a focus on small communities where resources for science-focused community programs are limited.
"With the clear evidence that U.S. teens are losing interest in science, technology, engineering and math, there's no better time than now for National 4-H Council and HughesNet to collaborate on inspiring the next generation of STEM leaders," said Jennifer Sirangelo, president and CEO, National 4-H Council. "4-H is America's largest youth development organization and HughesNet is America's #1 satellite Internet provider, so I am very optimistic about the great impact we'll achieve by combining our energy and resources to address this critical problem."
Experts credit technological innovation with almost half of U.S. economic growth over the past 50 years, and nearly all of the 30 fastest-growing occupations in the next decade will require at least some background in STEM. Yet, only 45 percent of U.S. high school graduates in 2011 were ready for college work in math and 30 percent were ready in science.[1]
"Both of our organizations serve small, local rural and ex-urban communities in America," said Mike Cook, senior vice president, Hughes North American Division. "We are equally passionate about STEM education and excited about our partnership with 4-H, helping build future technology leaders who will power our nation's competitiveness in a global economy."
Through a combination of targeted outreach and customer communications, Hughes will also help 4-H re-connect with its 25 million alumni across North America.
To learn more about the National 4-H Council and HughesNet partnership visit

Girls Who Code Open Applications For 2014 Summer Immersion Program

Girls Who Code, an organization that aims to empower young women for futures in technonlogy, is now accepting applications for the 2014 Summer Immersion Program. 
Open to 10th and 11th grade girls with a passion for tech, the Summer Immersion Program will run for 7 weeks, Monday-Friday from 9am-4pm in Boston, Miami, Mountain View, New York City, Palo Alto, San Francisco, San Jose, San Ramon, and Seattle, with classrooms embedded in our nation’s major technology companies and universities to offer girls real-world experience and exposure.
Now in its 3rd year, the Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program is an innovative approach to computer science education that pairs intensive instruction in computing concepts, programming fundamentals, mobile phone development, and robotics with engagement opportunities led by the industry's top female engineers and entrepreneurs.
“The girls in our programs today are the innovators and entrepreneurs of tomorrow,” said Reshma Saujani, Founder and CEO of Girls Who Code. “Whatever you want to accomplish, whoever you want to be, learning computer science can help you realize your dreams. I encourage young women from every background and every experience level to apply to Girls Who Code.” 
Applications are now live at and will be open until Thursday, February 27 at 11:59pm

Lockheed Martin Sponsors 2014 Spirit of Innovation Challenge

Lockheed Martin renews partnership with Conrad Foundation to bring STEM entrepreneurship program to students worldwide

HOUSTON (Feb. 4, 2014) | Nancy Conrad, founder and chairman of the Conrad Foundation, announced today that Lockheed Martin committed to support the 2014 Spirit of Innovation Challenge as the title sponsor. This marks the fourth consecutive year of participation in the annual innovation challenge by the global security and aerospace company.
The Spirit of Innovation Challenge invites teams of students ages 13-18 worldwide to use science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), along with creativity, collaboration, and entrepreneurship, to develop products and services to benefit humanity and address global sustainability. The program offers teachers, parents, and afterschool coordinators a relevant and dynamic way to teach STEM. Supporting the teams’ efforts are world-renowned scientists, engineers, and entrepreneurs who work with the students as virtual mentors.
“We need a workforce of problem solvers to address our toughest 21st century challenges,” said Dr. Ray O. Johnson, Lockheed Martin senior vice president and chief technology officer. “The Spirit of Innovation Challenge encourages innovative thinking and collaboration around the development of real-world, marketable products, and services.”
The 2014 finalist teams will be announced Feb. 20 and meet April 6-8 at Space Center Houston for the Innovation Summit powered by Lockheed Martin. Student teams will compete for more than $50,000 in next-step grants to develop their products and services. In addition to competing, students and their teachers will have opportunities to join fireside chats with cutting-edge technology leaders and tour NASA facilities.
For more information about the Conrad Foundation, visit or contact the Spirit of Innovation Challenge at
About the Conrad Foundation
The Conrad Foundation is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to 21st century, immersive learning, where students use their imagination and innovation to enrich their classroom studies by adding context to content. The Foundation is the only organization of its kind whose programs combine education, innovation, and entrepreneurship to inspire solutions for achieving global sustainability. For more information, visit
About Lockheed Martin
Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs approximately 115,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration, and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products, and services. The corporation’s net sales for 2013 were $45.4 billion.

The Clean Tech Competition – From Young Minds Come Fresh Solutions

The Clean Tech Competition is a global research and design science challenge for students ages 15-18 that promotes educational trends towards student-led, project-based learning (PDF). Each year, the competition addresses an issue that focuses on the next great engineering challenges. This year's theme, "A Solution to Pollution" challenges teams of students to research a pollution issue and innovate a solution using clean energy. Finalist teams will be given a stipend and paired with an expert STEM-mentor to turn their idea into a prototype. There is no entry fee for the competition. For more detailed information, please visit our website at
This is the first year that the competition is open to students around the world! To register a team, a Team Leader (age 18 years or older) must fill out a simple form on the competition website. Team Leaders are liaisons to the competition administrators, and are responsible for registering the team, and providing team contact information. They are not required to assist the team academically. Final registrations and first round paper submissions are due March 7, 2014 at 4pm EST. Register now here!
On April 7, 2014, semi-finalists are announced. On April 14, 2014, ten teams are selected from those to become the Clean Tech Competition finalists. The teams that do not move on receive the semi-finalist prize of $300. See complete prize information here. The ten finalist teams will be paired with a professional mentor and granted a $200 stipend to help them build a prototype of their solution and bring their ideas to reality. These teams from around the world will come together to present in front of a live panel of judges at the Finalist Event in New York on May 30, 2014.
Contact Us
To learn how to bring this opportunity to your students and get involved in the Clean Tech Competition, please visit, email, or call (516)764-0045 with any questions. Also, find us on Facebook, Twitter and check out the competition blog!


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