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Fourth Meeting of STEM Innovation Task Force Focuses on STEM 2.0

March 4, 2014, Santa Clara, CA | STEMconnector®’s STEM Innovation Task Force (SITF) convened its fourth general meeting on Thursday February 27th, and Friday February 28th in Santa Clara, CA. The meeting was hosted by Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), a global leader in information technology (IT) services and business process consulting, at its Silicon Valley Customer Collaboration Center. Currently, Balaji Ganapathy, director of Workforce Development, Tata Consultancy Services serves as the co-chair of the SITF. 

Celebrating its first anniversary, the SITF met to discuss its achievements for 2013 and further its action plan for its signature program “STEM 2.0” and the STEM Career Accelerator Day, held March 18, 2014. 
The first action of 2014 was convening the ‘Global War for Talent’ Summit on January 14th in Washington, DC. The summit featured a number of high-level speakers from the industry, education, and non-profit sectors to discuss topics such as changing global demographics, pace of technology growth, and the skills gap; and sub-topics of the future of human capital development, STEM education, and making the connection between business and academia.
The major project for the STEM Innovation Task Force in 2014 will be “STEM 2.0”. This initiative is focused on identifying the critical career capabilities that students need (in addition to a traditional STEM education, also referred to as STEM 1.0) for unlocking successful STEM careers in the future. The SITF has decided to focus on Digital Fluency, Innovation Excellence, and Life Skills as the three critical capability platforms; as well as two parallel platforms that align these capabilities with Industry demands for career & job readiness and the Education system for engagement & delivery channels.  The STEM 2.0 initiative will link to the STEM Food & Ag Council to ensure that specific capabilities in the food and agriculture industry are being developed for the future. The STEM Innovation Task Force will convene expert roundtables, Town Hall Conference Calls, and develop and release a white paper series highlighting major recommendations for government and the private sector to bridge the gap between current education and the STEM capabilities needed to succeed in tomorrow’s new economy.
On March 18th the STEM Innovation Task Force in partnership with its member companies and organizations will convene its first annual STEM Career Accelerator Day (#STEMCAD14) across seven different locations in the United States. The aim of this event is to encourage high school students to pursue STEM majors and careers through an engaging visit to a major STEM facility, direct interaction with STEM professionals, and hands-on learning activities. The event will also involve their teachers and parents to enable crucial conversations on STEM careers. The following organizations will be hosting a STEM Career Accelerator Day Event:
Arizona State University/Honeywell/Tata Consultancy Services: Mesa, AZ
Frito-Lay Campus: Plano, TX
Quaker Campus: Barrington, IL
Beverages Campus: Valhalla, NY
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center: Greenbelt, MD
Spark 101/Teach For America: Virtual 
About the STEM Innovation Task Force (SITF):
STEMconnector’s SITF comprised of 29 industry, government, education, and non-profit leaders. The SITF has a grand vision of “Accelerating sustainable STEM careers and wealth through innovation science and excellence in tomorrow’s new economy.” The task force will accomplish their agenda of developing STEM human capital through a number of high powered working groups that focus on certain priority areas of STEM innovation.

Matthew Alford of the University of Washington and Jennifer Isenhart of Wide Eye Productions named winners of Ocean 180 Video Challenge! (Press Release)

Videos highlighting research in physical oceanography, marine chemistry, and marine biology claim top prizes. Winners selected by over 30,000 middle school students for excellent communication of science

MELBOURNE, FL- What does a scientist look like? What does a scientist actually do? For some, the idea of science might conjure memories from high school physics or maybe someone in glasses and a lab coat. Recently, ocean scientists from around the US set out to show the public who they really are, the work they conduct, and why their research is important to scientists and non-scientists alike.

Using 3 minute videos, ocean scientists explored a piece of their own recently published research, highlighting its significance and purpose. To determine who was best at engaging and explaining these new discoveries, the Ocean 180 Video Challenge looked to a group of potential future scientists: middle school students.
A team of nearly 31,000 middle school students from around the world joined forces last month to determine the winners of the Ocean 180 Video Challenge. Viewing each of the finalists, students were asked to evaluate the films for their clarity and message. They were also asked to consider which videos made them excited about the scientists’ research.
Alyson Tockstein led her students in the judging process at Talcott Mountain Academy in Avon, CT. “It showed them the variety of disciplines of study inside marine science,“ explained Alyson. “ It showed them the connections between technology and math and science in a way that they haven’t really been exposed to before.”
After 5 weeks of classroom viewing, deliberation, discussion and voting, the three winners emerged. The top film, Wavechasers and the Samoan Passage, was singled out for its educational value, creativity, and the excitement the scientists shared with students. Hundreds of classrooms participating commented on the top video’s ability to make them “more interested in science” and “excited by research”. One judging classroom explained the video grabbed their attention “by the mystery of something so significant and would be unknown if people were not researching it.”
How a microscopic team alters the course of carbon in the Atlantic Ocean, from Laurence Yeung of UCLA and Meg Rosenbaum of the California Institute of Technology took the second prize, while Bite Size: Bull shark predation of tarpon from Neil Hammerschlag of the University of Miami and Gareth Burghes of Lagomorph Films claimed third place honors. An honorable mention was awarded to Joseph Pawlik of the University of North Carolina at Wilmington for his video abstract Sponges of the Caribbean: What ecological factors most affect them?
Each of the top three teams received a portion of the $6,000 cash prize, but many of the finalists saw value beyond the financial reward. Laurence Yeung explained “It was a chance to make a new video for an audience we hadn't targeted before, using a storytelling style we hadn't used before. It was an experiment.”
Sponsored by the Florida Center for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence (COSEE Florida) and funded through a grant from the National Science Foundation, the Ocean 180 Video Challenge was designed to inspire scientists to communicate the meaning and significance of scientific research with a broader audience.
The importance of creating effective communication skills in science fields is steadily increasing and many national organizations, including the National Science Foundation, have emphasized the importance of scientists engaging the public and making their research accessible to non-scientists. 
“Scientists receive extensive training in how to do science, but often lack training in how to share science with others –especially the people who support and fund the research,” said Richard Tankersley, Florida Tech professor of biological sciences and member of the Ocean 180 Steering Committee. “Ocean 180 is a wonderful opportunity for scientists to practice and hone their communication skills and broaden the impact and accessibility of their research.”
Finalists in the Ocean 180 Video Challenge had their videos viewed by thousands of classrooms around the world, exposing diverse and new audiences to their research. Students also provided scientists with feedback on how to improve their video storytelling and technical skills and ways to make science more relatable to the public. 
For some middle school students, and budding scientists, sharing science might be the best part of Ocean 180. As one student judge explained, “It’s not very good to keep information that’s valuable to the world cooped up in a little box. You need to open the box and let everybody see it so they’re more aware of the environment and what’s in it.”

ACM Urges States to Expand Computer Science Education to Prepare K-12 Students for 21st Century Workforce Needs

New Report Presents Recommendations and Initiatives to Address CS Education Challenges
NEW YORK, NY - March 5, 2014 | Citing the rapid growth of computing jobs in virtually every industry sector in the United States, ACM today issued a report urging states to provide more opportunities for students to gain the skills and knowledge needed to compete for these high-wage positions.  The report “Rebooting the Pathway to Success: Preparing Students for Computing Workforce Needs in the United States” calls on education and business leaders and public policy officials in every state to take immediate action aimed at filling the pipeline of qualified students pursuing computing and related degrees, and to prepare them for the 21st century workforce.  The report provides recommendations to help these leaders join together to create a comprehensive plan that addresses K-12 computer science education and that aligns state policy, programs, and resources to implement these efforts. 
“By 2020, one of every two jobs in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) will be in computing,” said Bobby Schnabel, chair of ACM’s Education Policy Committee.  “This concentration of computing positions in STEM makes it imperative for K-12 students in academic and career technical education programs to gain more opportunities to learn computer science.”
ACM CEO and Executive Director John White said that despite national calls for improved STEM education, computer science is largely omitted from these reforms.  “A key factor in the limited access to K-12 computer science programs is the notion that computer science is not considered part of the ‘core’ subjects that students are expected to learn.  We need to expose all students to computer science so they learn the vital skills that are increasingly relevant to a broad range of well-paying occupations,” he said.
To remedy this dilemma, the report recommends that states or localities adopt a clear definition of rigorous computer science that is grounded in the K-12 Computer Science Standards developed by the Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA).
The ACM report calls on colleges and universities to play a role in in expanding opportunities for computer science education by recognizing rigorous computer science courses in their admissions requirements.  Higher education institutions can also reduce barriers to degree completion by adopting system-wide agreements that allow students to transfer course credits to fulfill their computing degrees efficiently.
Examples of current computing education initiatives across the country are included in the report, providing potential models and inspiration for policymakers to adapt as they develop their own computer science education and computing workforce development plans.  The report includes an overview of each initiative’s approach for increasing access to computer science in K-12 as well as plans to address diversity issues. 
The report presents the results of a study conducted by the ACM Education Policy Committee.  The study, based on data gathered from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, was designed to assess the national computing workforce landscape, and to determine how well states are preparing K‑12 students with the computing skills necessary for their future careers. 
About ACM
ACM, the Association for Computing Machinery, is the world’s largest educational and scientific computing society, uniting computing educators, researchers and professionals to inspire dialogue, share resources and address the field’s challenges. ACM strengthens the computing profession’s collective voice through strong leadership, promotion of the highest standards, and recognition of technical excellence.  ACM supports the professional growth of its members by providing opportunities for life-long learning, career development, and professional networking. 

The Future Has Arrived: Discover at the Festival Expo How Biotechnology is Changing 21st Century Medicine!

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:

No longer the  stuff of science fiction, biotechnology is changing 21st century medicine forever. With new knowledge and technologies, doctors and researchers are finding ways to increasingly craft better therapies tailored to an individual’s genome and microbiology. At the Festival Expo next April, learn from leaders in the field how scientists are transforming one-size-fits- all medicine to treatments customized just for you. In a panel presentation moderated by New York Times columnist Carl Zimmer (who is author of such bestsellers as ‘A Planet of Viruses’, ‘Parasite Rex’ and ‘The Tangled Bank’), you’ll also meet Kim Popovits, who as a cancer patient and CEO and President of Genomic Health, is at the forefront of the personalized medicine movement, working to develop treatments as unique as patients themselves. 

Learn more about this #SciFest 2014 Stage Show: The Tech of You: Inside the Personalized Medicine Revolution

National 4-H Council Trustees Present Congressional Testimony on the Importance of 4-H, Agriculture and Food Security

Chevy Chase, MD (March 4, 2014) | National 4-H Council Trustee Tess Hammock, Forsyth, Georgia, testified before members of Congress today on the importance of agriculture and engaging young people to help meet food security demands of the future. Hammock reminded committee members that food production must double by 2050 to respond to projected population growth, and recommended engaging more young people in agriculture education and careers to help meet the increased demand. 

An agricultural communications major at the University of Georgia, Hammock’s testimony was part of a larger hearing of the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Horticulture, Research, Biotechnology and Foreign Agriculture on the importance of Cooperative Extension. The purpose of the hearing was to review the 100 years since the Smith-Lever Act of 1914 was signed into law establishing the Cooperative Extension System. 
Cooperative Extension and the nation’s land-grant colleges and universities provide a network of professional educators in every county in America to improve their surrounding communities through programs and resources focused on agriculture, home economics, economic development, environmental health and youth development.
“The Smith-Lever Act of 1914 established an invaluable partnership through the national Cooperative Extension Service between land-grant colleges conducting research and the farmer who was able to apply that information to improve his farming system, thereby improving lives and leading our nation into an agricultural revolution,” said Congressman Austin Scott, (R-GA), chairman of the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Horticulture, Research, Biotechnology and Foreign Agriculture. “I thank each of our witnesses for providing their valuable testimony today and look forward to further evaluation of the state of the Cooperative Extension Service to ensure a successful model of Cooperative Extension education for many years to come.”
Hammock joined fellow National 4-H Council Trustee Delbert Foster, acting vice president, Land-Grant Services, South Carolina State University, Orangeburg, South Carolina at the hearing. 
“As Cooperative Extension continues, in the future, the focus will be to address emerging and critical issues that are impacting families, youth communities and agriculture producers,” said Foster. “Cooperative Extension, with the research base at the land-grant universities, is in a unique position to respond to the challenges and issues.”
Hammock represented 4-H, which is the youth development program of Cooperative Extension and the largest youth development organization in the nation. During her testimony, Hammock discussed the impact that 4-H has had in developing her as a youth leader, sparking her interest in public speaking and preparing her to pursue a career in agricultural communications. Hammock is a Presidential Leadership Scholar at the University of Georgia and a five-time Master Georgia 4-H'er. During her seven-year 4-H career, Hammock served on the 2011-2012 Georgia 4-H State Board of Directors and won state and national honors in public speaking, communications and the arts, and Leadership in Action.
“I am deeply grateful for the leadership skills I acquired in 4-H and the amazing adults who believed in me, including my county extension agent and state program leaders,” said Tess Hammock, National 4-H Council Youth Trustee. “4-H taught me that being a leader begins with confidence. Without mentors and 4-H youth leaders, my life would have been very different,” added Hammock.
Hammock emphasized that 4-H'ers are tackling issues that matter most in the areas of science, healthy living and food security.  
“Food security is an issue that is important to me and is the reason I am pursuing my undergraduate degree in agricultural communications,” said Hammock. “Agriculture touches every person on the planet, every day. It has been part of our story since the beginning of time, and it is vital to our very existence. Agriculture has an important story to tell and I want to be one of the voices telling that story.” 
In addition to Foster and Hammock, other witnesses included:
Dr. Sonny Ramaswamy, director, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, D.C.
Dr. A. Scott Reed, vice provost, University Outreach and Engagement & director, Oregon State University Extension Service, Corvallis, Oregon
Dr. L. Washington Lyons, executive administrator, Association of Extension Administrators, North Carolina A&T State University 
About 4-H
4-H is a community of seven million young people around the world learning leadership, citizenship, and life skills. National 4-H Council is the private sector, non-profit partner of the Cooperative Extension System and 4-H National Headquarters located at the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) within the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). In the United States, 4-H programs are implemented by 109 land-grant universities and Cooperative Extension through more than 3,000 local offices serving every county and parish in the country. Outside the United States, 4-H programs operate through independent, country-led organizations in more than 50 countries. 
Learn more about 4-H at, find us on Facebook at and Twitter at
Media Contact: Kate Caskin,

Carnegie Science Center is Finalist for National Medal for Museum and Library Service

This is a press release from The Carnegie Science Center
Science Center One of 30 Finalists in Prestigious National Honor
PITTSBURGH, March 3, 2014 – The Institute of Museum and Library Services has announced that Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh is a National Medal for Museum and Library Service finalist. The National Medal, the nation’s highest honor conferred on museums and libraries for service to the community, is celebrating its 20th year of saluting institutions that make a difference for individuals, families, and communities.
Medal finalists are selected from nationwide nominations of institutions that demonstrate innovative approaches to public service, exceeding the expected levels of community outreach.
“We are tremendously gratified to be recognized for our work in supporting science education in the Pittsburgh region,” said Carnegie Science Center Co-Director Ann Metzger. “We’re very proud of our efforts to be a leader in STEM education, to raise public awareness about in-demand careers through our math + science = success™ campaign, and the recent launch of our resource portal, It’s wonderful to have our team acknowledged for their great work.”
“Carnegie Science Center has been serving this community for 22 years,” says Ron Baillie, the Science Center’s other co-director. “We continue to innovate new ways to bring science to the people in our region and beyond. Our Science on the Road outreach program reaches 150,000 students a year, most of whom might never have the opportunity to visit the Science Center. We’re always looking for new ways to get kids from underserved populations interested in and access to science education. Being named as a National Medal finalist shows that those at the top of science education in this country value our efforts.”
Carnegie Science Center is one of 30 finalists selected from among more than 100 nominations nationwide. Finalists are chosen based on their significant and exceptional contributions to their communities. IMLS is encouraging community members who have visited Carnegie Science Center to share their story on the IMLS Facebook page and to visit the IMLS Facebook page to learn more about how these institutions make an impact. 
National Medal for Museum and Library Service winners will be announced this spring. Carnegie Science Center previously won the IMLS medal in 2003.
Among the achievements illustrating Carnegie Science Center’s community service:  
  • The Science Center is the region’s largest provider of informal science learning opportunities, with nearly 550,000 visitors onsite annually; its educational programming serves more than 220,000 people onsite and in schools and communities across five states (western Pennsylvania, eastern Ohio, northern West Virginia, northern Maryland, and southwestern New York).
  • Carnegie Science Center plays an essential role in developing the next generation workforce with the STEM skills to meet the needs of local industry. Its Chevron Center for STEM Education and Career Development leverages the Science Center’s role as convener and builds on the successful foundation of its STEM programming for even greater impact in the community. In October 2012, Carnegie Science Center’s STEM Center won international recognition when it received the Leading Edge Award for Business Practice from the Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC). 
  • Carnegie Science Center collaborates with more than 100 community partners to develop and implement programs like SciTech Days, ChemFest, and Engineer the Future, which feature hands-on exhibits by corporations and universities, as well as interaction with scientists and professionals. Student competitions like Future City and the Chain Reaction Contraption Contest engage volunteer engineers and STEM professionals to help students develop their months-long projects. The Pittsburgh Regional Science & Engineering Fair (PRSEF) coordinated by Carnegie Science Center since its inception is one of the nation’s oldest and most-respected; more than 1,000 students participate annually and compete for more than $1 million in cash prizes and scholarships. Based on the strength of PRSEF, Pittsburgh was chosen as  one of three cities to host the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair over the next decade.
  • To increase participation of underrepresented audiences in STEM, special programs for girls feature hands-on activities and interaction with female STEM professional role models. The Science Center actively raises funds from corporations and foundations to permit students from underserved schools to participate in the Science Center’s STEM programs; currently more than one third of the participants in the Science Center’s STEM programs are from underserved schools.
  • Recognizing the importance of reaching early learners, Carnegie Science Center provides pre-K science program in more than 100 Head Start classrooms in Pittsburgh, 30 in Westmoreland County, and 18 in Indiana County. In addition, CSC contributes content to all 1,200 Pre-K classrooms throughout West Virginia.
To learn more about Carnegie Science Center’s programs and events, visit or call 412.237.3400.

Plumbing the Ocean’s Depths With Titanic Explorer David Gallo at the USA Science & Engineering Festival Expo’s X-STEM Symposium!

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:

Deep beneath the ocean lie some of the most daunting mysteries, including ill-fated sea vessels of history.  Which is what makes the work of oceanographer David Gallo so fascinating. He’s led or co-led expeditions to study some of the most well-known vessels lost at sea, including the Titantic, the famous German battleship Bismarck, and the  WWII submarine USS Grunion.  David is just one of the exciting scientists you’ll meet in April at the Festival Expo’s X-STEM Symposium.  Tickets are going fast for this event, so register today!

Head to SciFest's X-STEM Symposium page to learn about more of the speakers: X-STEM – Extreme STEM Symposium

Million Women Mentors (MWM) Meets with Congress March 5 To Salute Leaders and Mobilize the Country to Mentor Girls in STEM Skills

MARCH 3, 2014 - WASHINGTON, D.C. | Nearly 20 key women Senate and House leaders gather to join the Million Women Mentors (MWM) movement as it hosts a celebratory luncheon in the Hart Senate Building on Wednesday, March 5. The event salutes these U.S. Senators and Representatives as they work to advance the roles of girls and women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education and career development. Senate attendees include: Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-LA), Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD),  Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI). House attendees include: Rep. Susan Davis (D-CA), Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-WA)  Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL),  Rep. Donna Edwards (D-MD), Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), Rep. Ann Kuster (D-NH), Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX),  Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY),  Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI), Rep. Grace Napolitano (D-CA) and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL).
“If we’re going to keep our competiveness in the global economy, we must prepare our students with the education they need for the jobs of the future. That starts with getting more talented students - and girls - into the STEM pipeline at a younger age, expanding engineering education, and bringing more STEM teachers into high-need communities. Million Women Mentors will make all the difference, giving our young girls role models in STEM fields and mentors to guide them though. We are relying on our children today to be the innovators of tomorrow. It’s our job to make sure they are prepared,” said U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand.
Following the luncheon, a reception will be held in the Ronald Reagan Building for the female Ambassadors serving residencies in the U.S. to honor International Women’s Day, and to date, 18 women ambassadors are confirmed to attend. Co-sponsored by MWM and the Diplomatic Courier, the reception is meant to salute the ambassadors as role models for women and girls globally. Today in Washington there is a record 27 women serving terms as ambassadors to the United States, a testament to the advancement of women in all career fields. 
MWM is an engagement campaign and national call to action that mobilizes corporations, government entities, non-profit and higher education groups, around the imperative of mentoring girls and young women in STEM fields. Since MWM’s launch in January 2014, nearly 45,000 pledges have been made to mentor girls and young women in STEM skills.
The web portal ( was launched in conjunction with Tata Consultancy Services (TCS). Available online is a nationwide call to action to capture pledge commitments from individuals, organizations and companies that have an interest in mentoring. In the second and third phases, the website will be enhanced with matching capabilities to pair organizations and educational institutions in need of mentors in STEM fields with STEM professionals and corporations. Additionally, the site will recognize those with model STEM mentoring programs and share timely learning resources for all. 
Founding sponsors include: Accenture, Cisco, Sodexo and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), in addition to ADP, Alpha Corporation, the Department of Defense, Diana Davis Spencer Foundation, FleishmanHillard, Microsoft Research, Diversified Search and Walmart. Silver sponsors include: Adecco Group North America, Freescale, General Motors, Discovery, Intellectual Ventures, UST Global and Reston Limousine.  
To date, MWM is the collective action of 52 national partners. The four founding partners are STEMconnector®, National Girls Collaborative Project (NGCP), MentorNet and NPower. Lead partners include The National 4-H Council, Girls Inc., The Manufacturing Institute, MENTOR, Teach for America, AAUW, Great Minds in STEM, American Institute of Architects (AIA), Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC), Business and Professional Women’s Foundation (BPW), National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT), YWCA, Center for Women in Business/ US Chamber Foundation,  Junior Achievement, Sally Ride Science, Skills USA, Girl Scouts of the USA, Lean In, US News & World Report, Diversity Woman, Diplomatic Courier, Enterprising Women, Discovery Communications, National Utilities Diversity Council (NUDC), National Women’s Political Caucus, eWomen Network, Girlstart, Global WIN, Innovate+Educate, My College Options, National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity (NAPE), US 2020, Women in Engineering ProActive Network (WEPAN), Computer Clubhouse Network, LATINAstyle, Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE), Success in the City, Arizona State University, The Public Leadership Education Network (PLEN), The American Geophysical Union (AGU), The Association of Women in Energy (AWE), FIRST Robotics, Thinking Media, TechBridge  and Nepris.
About Million Women Mentors:
MWM is an initiative of STEMconnector®, the national organization owned by Diversified Search LLC that works closely with corporations and thousands of entities to assist in STEM best practices and smart STEM investments. For more information about MWM, visit

Meet Fascinating Space Voyagers Next April at the USA Science & Engineering Festival Expo’s X-STEM Symposium!

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:

Space heroes and heroines, because of their courage, dedication and vision, continue to fascinate us, especially kids. This is why children and adults alike will not want to pass up the chance to meet some of the nation’s most noted space explorers up close and personal next April at the Festival Expo’s X-STEM Symposium! Voyagers such as: John Mace Grunsfeld, Ph.D., a veteran of 5 Space Shuttle missions; Anousheh Ansari, who in 2006 became the first female private space explorer, and the first astronaut of Iranian descent; Alvin Drew, one of the last NASA astronauts to perform a spacewalk as part of the Shuttle program and who started the “Storytime in Space” reading program for children while in space; Bernard Harris, MD, the first African American to walk in space; and Kathryn Thornton, Ph.D., who logged more than 16 million miles in orbit, and was the second American woman to walk in space in 1992.  Tickets for the symposium are going fast, so register today!

Head to SciFest's X-STEM Symposium page to learn about more of the speakers: X-STEM – Extreme STEM Symposium

Washtenaw Community College Offers Certificate Programs Designed To Train Students For Information Technology [IT] Jobs

This is a press release from Washtenaw Community College 

Innovative Ignite Program Will Provide Students with Certifications Aligned with Industry Standards and Help Meet Skills Demand from Area Business Leaders
Washtenaw County Businesses Encouraged to Provide Internship Opportunities for WCC Students
Ann Arbor, Mich, | Washtenaw Community College now offers accelerated certificate programs in information technology designed to train students for jobs in the high demand IT industry. 
With funding provided by a $2.9 million U.S. Department of Labor Grant, the IGNITE [Intentionally Growing New Information Technology Employees In Michigan] program offers certificates comprised of traditional classroom studies blended with online [distance] learning. 
As part of the IGNITE program, students will learn the latest in industry standards for Java Programming and Linux/Unix systems administration. 
The programs will prepare and qualify students for the following jobs: 
Computer Programmers 
System Software Developer
System Administrator
Network Administrator
Network Specialist
According to a 2013 report from the Workforce Intelligence Network, the most significant job growth in Southeast Michigan is in information technology. The report notes that over 3,000 jobs were posted for software developers in the second quarter of 2013. 
“We are very excited about this training program,” said Charles Lafayette, program manager for the grant.  “One thing that makes this program so unique, is that it has an internship coordinator dedicated to match WCC students with area employers – providing our students with real world experience to augment their college studies. This partnership will serve to fill the pipeline with qualified prospects able to step right into information technology positions – which continue to be in very high demand.” 
The program is multi-tiered – allowing students to enter at levels commensurate with their current information technology knowledge base. The coursework is aligned with current IT industry standards and certifications. 
An IT Career Readiness course is also available for students with little or no IT experience. Additional components of the overall grant program include dedicated advising and tutoring services. Credit classes are transferrable to a WCC associate’s degree and many are offered each semester. Space is available in winter courses. Registration and schedule information is available at
WCC is currently looking for area employers to provide internship opportunities for WCC IT students. “Both WCC students and area IT employers benefit from an internship arrangement,” said Rachel Finer Levy, IGNITE program internship coordinator. “The college provides solid training and instruction to our IT students – enabling them to enter an IT position equipped with the ability to make meaningful contributions in a short amount of time. It’s a relationship in which everyone benefits.” 
Also unique about the program is that internships can be customized to meet employer needs as well as student educational goals. Internships may include student contributions to ongoing work or on specific projects.  
For more information about the IT certificate programs e-mail or call (734) 677-5137. 
Employers interested in internship partnerships can contact Rachel Finer Levy at (734) 677-5115 or
About IGNITE at Washtenaw Community College:
IGNITE (Intentionally Growing New Information Technology Employees in Michigan) was developed under a $2.9 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor. The primary goal is to provide training to those who are unemployed, underemployed, or are military veterans, though classes are open to anyone interested. 
This product was funded by a grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration. The product was created by the grantee and does not necessarily reflect the official position of the U.S. Department of Labor. The Department of Labor makes no guarantees, warranties, or assurances of any kind, express or implied, with respect to such information, including any information on linked sites and including, but not limited to, accuracy of the information or its completeness, timeliness, usefulness, adequacy, continued availability, or ownership.
Washtenaw Community College (WCC) has made education accessible and affordable for the local community for 48 years. Located in Ann Arbor, MI, the College offers over 120 degrees and certificates, an open door admission policy and affordable tuition rates. WCC is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, the regional accrediting organization recognized by the United States Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. Please visit for more information. 




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