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Science Foundation Arizona Names New Director of the Arizona STEM Network

This is a press release from Science Foundation Arizona

PHOENIX (March 7, 2014) | Science Foundation Arizona (SFAz) announced that Suzanne Kinney has been named director of the Arizona STEM Network.
Suzanne brings 16 years of experience in public policy and business. As director of the Arizona STEM Network, she will be responsible for leading a statewide collaboration of businesses, educators and philanthropy.  She will also work with the government’s common agenda to help more students graduate and be prepared to succeed in the global marketplace.
“We look forward to Suzanne's leadership and development of the Arizona STEM Network,” said William Harris, CEO and president of SFAz. “Her experience, education and demonstrated ability to build strong, working relationships with industry will enable her to continue the momentum we have built this past year and take the network to a new level statewide."
Prior to joining SFAz, Suzanne was senior vice president for public policy at the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry, where she managed public policy activities, recruited new members, communicated with the media and made presentations to civic organizations. She served as editor of the chamber's annual business agenda, a leading resource for the business community’s legislative priorities. Suzanne played a leading role in managing the chamber’s bold education and workforce development initiatives. Additionally, Suzanne was the founder and executive director of the Arizona Chamber Foundation, a research-based public policy think-tank.
Previously, Suzanne was a senior management research analyst at Morrison Institute for Public Policy at Arizona State University. In this capacity, she researched, analyzed and reported on Arizona public policy issues such as workforce development, education, governance and economic development. Earlier in her career, Suzanne worked as a management consultant based out of Chicago for Diamond Technology Consultants (now a PriceWaterhouse Coopers company).
In 2009, Suzanne was selected as one of the Phoenix Business Journal’s Forty-Under-40.
Suzanne received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Economy from Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana. She also received a Master of Arts degree from the Division of Social Sciences at the University of Chicago.
About Science Foundation Arizona
Science Foundation Arizona (SFAz) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization initiated in 2006 by the Greater Phoenix Leadership Inc., Southern Arizona Leadership Council and the Flagstaff Forty in conjunction with the executive and legislative branches of state government. SFAz serves as a catalyst for high-wage, knowledge-based jobs and economic diversity through administration and strict oversight of research, development and education grants to public education and other non-profit research performing institutions. For more information, visit

Space Exploration Broadcast Live: Experience It All from the Festival Expo With Planetary Radio!

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:

Planetary Radio, a key component of The Planetary Society (the largest and most influential space interest organization on Earth), is renowned for its fascinating weekly interviews with some of the most fascinating innovators and trailblazers in space exploration.  Be at the Festival Expo in April when Planetary Radio host and producer Mat Kaplan broadcasts live from the event which will include exciting interviews with space exploration luminaries, and special appearances by surprise guests!

Learn more: Bill Nye, Emily Lakdawalla, and Planetary Radio Headline The Planetary Society's Upcoming Presentations at Expo 2014


Online Career Development Conference Introduced by Society of Women Engineers

The Society of Women Engineers is proud to present its first Online Career Development Conference March 13-14, 2014. Featuring an array of accomplished speakers, the event brings together distinguished presenters to share their thoughts on how women can take control of their careers.
"We listened to the needs of our 26,000 members worldwide and worked to attract the brightest leaders in career development," said Peter Finn, SWE's deputy executive director and chief learning officer. "The online format means regardless of schedule or location, attendees can take advantage of this slate of speakers' perspective on professional advancement."
Developed for women three to 15 years into their careers, the summit is designed to help engineers remain competitive in the marketplace by continuously honing their professional and technical skills. Each of the four to five daily sessions range from 30 to 60 minutes and are crafted to help women achieve their career goals while maintaining work/life balance. Topics include:
.       Understanding emotional intelligence and its impact in the workplace
.       Being an authentic leader
.       Proactive approaches to career planning and transitions
.       Communicating effectively
.       Developing your brand
.       Negotiating your compensation
.       Engaging with community and professional organizations
The conference is made possible through the generous contributions of Gold-Level Sponsor Ingersoll Rand, along with Silver-Level Sponsor URS Corporation. For complete details and registration options, visit this link.

USA Science & Engineering Festival Garners Allies in the Halls of Congress

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 importance of inspiring America's youth to develop a passion for and careers in STEM is something that should concern us all – regardless of conventional geographic and political differences and boundaries. This is why the Festival established its Honorary Congressional Host Committee, which aids in forming non-partisan allies in the Festival’s mission to inspire young learners in the sciences, and to ensure the nation’s future global competitiveness.  U.S. Congressional representatives that have signed on to the Committee include: Susan Davis (CA);  Richard Hanna (NY); Mike Honda (CA); Joseph P. Kennedy, III (MA); Ann McLane Kuster (NH); Patrick E. Murphy (FL); Marc Veasey, (TX), and Jim Moran (VA).

Complete List: Honorary Congressional Host Committee - Past and Present Members.

Innovative Partnerships Build Advanced Manufacturing Pathways

This is a guest blog post via Karen Fraser-Middleton of the League for Innovation in the Community College. Read Karen's full post and more at their blog!
The energy and passion is palatable to anyone who tours Sacramento Hacker Lab, a place where entrepreneurs, hobbyists, students, artists, retirees, and corporate employees mix, inspire, and produce in incubator offices and hands-on fabricating space. Models, custom parts, video game characters, and aquaponics system components are being made on a professional level 3D printer thanks to the Sierra College Center for Applied Competitive Technology (CACT), based in Rocklin, CA.
The Sierra Community College District covers Placer, Nevada, and parts of Sacramento County, and stretches from Roseville, where companies such as Hewlett Packard are located, over 50 mostly rural miles to Lake Tahoe. The CACT serves the Sacramento Metropolitan region and Northern California.
Working with Sacramento Hacker Lab is just one of many Sierra College partnerships that are spurring innovation, encouraging entrepreneurship, preparing students, and meeting workforce demand in the advanced manufacturing sector in Northern California. Carol Pepper-Kittredge, CACT Director, Sierra College, credits building customer-driven relationships with college faculty, high school teachers, manufacturing companies, and regional organizations. “Working collaboratively, we’ve found customized sustainable solutions to developing an advanced manufacturing workforce in Northern California,” said Pepper-Kittredge.
“This is not a cookie-cutter approach,” said Pepper-Kittredge. “We listen keenly to the needs of industry and educators to bring a network of resources to the table to transform education and prepare students for engineering and design, and manufacturing and product development pathways.”
The Sierra College CACT and Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Collaborative are funded through the Workforce and Economic Development program of the California Community College Chancellor’s Office. In addition, Sierra College has benefited from National Science Foundation funding. The CACT also provides training to manufacturers and businesses in process improvement, lean manufacturing methods, project management, and many other business skills.

National Inventors Hall of Fame Announces 2014 Inductees

National Inventors Hall of Fame Announces 2014 Inductees (via PR Newswire)

-Special Ceremony Planned to Honor the Great Minds who Gave Us the 3D Printer, and Many Other Advancements in Medicine, Science, Technology, and Engineering- ALEXANDRIA, Va., March 4, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --The National Inventors Hall of Fame (NIHF), in…


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


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