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Blackboard and Achieving the Dream Join Forces to Help Increase Student Completion

The following is a press release from PRNewsire.
Blackboard Inc. today announced a powerful new collaboration with Achieving the Dream Inc. that will aim to address the most pressing challenges facing education, including workforce preparedness and improving completion rates.
Through the collaboration, Blackboard will engage with core team members from Achieving the Dream Colleges, which includes presidents, academic deans, directors of student success and other community college leaders, to gain a deeper understanding of the unique needs of community college students nationwide.
Blackboard and Achieving the Dream intend to engage in joint efforts that span from the changing needs of today's workforce and the widening of the skills gap, to the unique characteristics of learners in community colleges and the alternative models of education to support them. The two organizations plan to share their findings with the larger higher education community.
"The learners these community colleges serve are unique and face different sets of challenges," said Katie Blot, senior vice president of corporate strategy and industry relations for Blackboard. "This collaboration comes at crucial time, when companies like Blackboard need a deeper understanding of these challenges and how our capabilities can help address them. We are thrilled to have the opportunity to work with Achieving the Dream and directly with their innovative institutions, who understand that we cannot remain stagnant if we want to improve the educational experience for our learners."
With over 200 partner institutions and 15 state policy teams working throughout 34 states and the District of Columbia, Achieving the Dream is a nonprofit organization that helps nearly 4 million community college students stay in schools, earn college certificates or degrees, and have a better chance of realizing their economic opportunity.

WebAssign Partners with University Science Books to Offer New Textbooks

The following is a press release from PR Newswire
WebAssign, a leading provider of online instructional tools for faculty and students, today announced it will offer an online homework solution for the publishing company University Science Books. This union demonstrates WebAssign's continued commitment to provide instructors with textbooks and tools that help achieve their academic goals.
"We are excited to expand WebAssign's physical chemistry offering with McQuarrie and Simon's Physical Chemistry: A Molecular Approach also known as "Big Red," and Chang and Thoman's Physical Chemistry for the Chemical Sciences," said Erik Epp, WebAssign chemistry product manager. "WebAssign is already a leader in the advanced mathematics arena, so we are pleased to bring advanced grading options for algebraic expressions, linear and differential equations, and matrices to questions in physical chemistry." These new titles feature links to a complete eBook and step-by-step derivation questions to help students understand complex ideas.
University Science Books has published quality books and textbooks in chemistry, physics, astronomy, biology, and environmental sciences for more than 35 years. In addition to the two physical chemistry titles, WebAssign also now offers an enriched question collection for the publisher's popular title, McQuarrie's General Chemistry, 4th edition.
"With WebAssign, we are able to provide users our affordable content through an effective, high-quality online instructional system," said Jane Ellis, publisher at University Science Books. "This union enables us to support student learning at a deeper level."

Chevron’s Partnership with the Fab Foundation (video)

Chevron's Partnership with the Fab Foundation

In order to create Fab Labs in the United States, Chevron has entered into a $10 million partnership with the Fab Foundation. Fruitvale Junior High School's Project Lead the Way class was among the first visitors to get to use the first Fab Lab opened through this partnership in Bakersfield, CA.

"This Fab Lab was established in partnership with California State University, Bakersfield, and it is the first of our planned Fab Labs," said Blair Blackwell, Manager, Education and Corporate Programs at Chevron.

"A Fab Lab is a place where students and entrepreneurs come to imagine, to design, and to make almost anything they want," said Sherry Lassiter, Director of the Fab Foundation. "California State University is joining a global network of over 400 Fab Labs in more than 50 countries."

"Seeing these projects come out that the students have worked so hard on has just been the greatest experience. Not every design is coming out as anticipated. So when you have to re-work the project, the students see the design process in action," said Holly Shelton, Science/Gateway to Technology Teacher at Fruitvale Junior High School, regarding the invaluable engineering lessons her students learned at the Fab Lab.

Watch a video of the partnership in action below.

Chevron’s Partnership with the Fab Foundation

X-STEM Symposium Takes You Inside the Visionaries Who Are Making Math Come Alive

This is a post in our ongoing coverage of USA Science & Engineering Festival's X-STEM Extreme STEM Symposium - April 28, 2015 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C.

Mathematics -- the bane of many a student -- is getting a facelift in the classroom these days, thanks to a growing number of visionary mathematicians who are exploring new ways to make math more exciting and relevant for learners. At the USA Science & Engineering Festival’s X-STEM Symposium in April, meet key players in this movement, including prominent physicist Robert Lang, known for using the centuries-old art of origami to reveal the mysteries of mathematics and science; and professor-author Frank Morgan whose award-winning teaching methods in math are becoming legendary. Tickets for X-STEM -- a hands-on, all-day experience -- are going fast so register today!

X-STEM Speaker Profile:
Dr. Robert Lang
Rediscovering The Art Of Origami As An Exciting Tool In Science And Mathematics

Dr. Frank Morgan
Discover Why This Noted Mathematician Is Passionate About Motivating Young Learners In Math

State to Celebrate Women’s History Month and Pass Women in STEM Resolution

Kickoff event to be held Tuesday, March 17 in Nashville

March is Women’s History Month, and history tells us that women earn only around 77% of the salary of men in the same positions. History also tells us the national average of applicants vs jobs is over 4 job seekers for every 1 job. But what if there was a field where jobs were so plentiful that there were more than twice as many available jobs as applicants, and that historically paid higher than other fields? In STEM fields – science, technology, engineering, and math – this is a reality and this Tuesday, March 17, the Tennessee Legislature will be passing a State Resolution encouraging more women to study and work in these STEM fields.  In these fields women earn 92% of the salary of men.
Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey will join with Speaker of the House Beth Harwell on Tuesday, March 17th from 10am to 11am Central at the State Capitol Senate Chamber in Nashville to recognize and commend the hard working women of Tennessee who work and study in STEM fields. The event, sponsored by Million Women Mentors and over a dozen Tennessee businesses and organizations, will be the first of its kind to honor both women in STEM and Women’s History Month with a State Resolution. 
“Despite the tremendous gains that girls and women have made in education and the workforce during the past 50 years, progress has been uneven and certain scientific and engineering fields remain overwhelmingly male,” said Sheila Boyington, Senior Advisor for Million Women Mentors. “Women are about 50% of the national workforce but they are only 24% of the STEM workforce.  It is so important that we make STEM education a top priority for Tennessee to address the STEM workforce shortage, and to help close the gap between women and men in these high paying fields,” said Boyington.
The U.S. is facing an increasing shortage in the STEM workforce. Employment in STEM is expected to grow 17 % by 2018, while the number of college graduates in STEM fields continues to decline. A constant supply of well-trained STEM workers is essential to meeting the workforce needs in Tennessee.  In 2009, just 18 % of bachelor’s degrees awarded were in STEM fields, down 24 % from two decades ago, particularly for women.
Besides the obvious reasons why women should major in STEM, the economic implications based on pay are profound.
The nationally launched Million Women Mentors® effort is growing in Tennessee to use mentoring as an avenue to engage women and girls in STEM careers. The goal of the movement is to garner one million mentors in STEM professions over the next several years, to collectively increase the interest and confidence of girls and women in these academic areas. Approximately 30 states are commitment to this effort. Each mentor will commit to a minimum of 20 hours and the initiative has five suggested mentor pathways with a robust portal that will capture and amplify the numbers who are working on this effort.
About Million Women Mentors®
Launched on January 8th  ,2014, MWM is the collective action of over  national partners and  corporate sponsors designed to increase the number of girls and women within the high school to work age continuum that persist and succeed in STEM programs and careers. For more information on MWM please visit
About STEMconnector®
STEMconnector®is a consortium of over 110 companies, associations, academic institutions and government entities concerned with STEM education and the future of human capital. STEMconnector® focuses on the STEM workforce and jobs, with a particular emphasis on diversity and women. Our work spans the entire pipeline (K-J—Kindergarten to Jobs) and how STEM education experiences translate into careers. For more information, visit

Is America Maintaining Its Competitive Edge? Get Answers at the USA Science & Engineering Festival’s X-STEM Symposium!

This is a post in our ongoing coverage of USA Science & Engineering Festival's X-STEM Extreme STEM Symposium - April 28, 2015 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C.

How is America doing in maintaining its competitive edge in technology, including attracting the best and the brightest in STEM? Robie Samanta Roy, Ph.D., Vice President, Technology and Innovation at Lockheed Martin, provides timely -- and surprising -- insight at the Festival’s X-STEM Extreme Symposium next April! Mark your calendar for this unforgettable day of workshops and live demonstrations with him and other STEM leaders as they take students inside the frontiers of innovation and science. Tickets are limited, so register NOW!

X-STEM Speaker Profile:
Dr. Robie Samanta Roy
Keeping America Competitive -- At The Speed Of Innovation

Vernier and NSTA Announce Winners of the 2015 Vernier/NSTA Technology Awards

This is a press release from Vernier Software & Technology

Seven STEM educators awarded prizes valued at $5,500 each for their innovative use of data-collection technology in the classroom

BEAVERTON, Ore., March 12, 2015 (PRNewswire) | Vernier Software & Technology and the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) announced the winners of their annual Vernier/NSTA Technology Awards. The seven science and STEM educators—one elementary teacher, two middle school teachers, three high school teachers, and one college-level educator—were chosen by a panel of NSTA-appointed experts for their innovative use of data-collection technology with a computer, graphing calculator or other handheld device in the science classroom.
Each winner will be formally recognized at the 2015 NSTA National Conference in Chicago, IL on March 13, 2015 and will receive $1,000 in cash, $3,000 in Vernier products, and up to $1,500 toward expenses to attend the conference.
"The use of data collection in science and STEM classrooms can truly transform the teaching and learning processes," said David Vernier, co-founder of Vernier and former physics teacher. "From investigating lichen growth to the analysis of water samples from a nearby watershed, this year's Vernier/NSTA Technology Award winners show how the use of data collection provides engaging, hands-on opportunities for scientific investigation and discovery."
This year's Vernier/NSTA Technology Award winners include:
Category: Elementary School
Amy Atkinson, Hominy Valley Elementary School, Candler, NC
Amy Atkinson created a project that focuses on healthy lifestyle choices in diet, exercise and relaxation and culminates with a fourth grade health and wellness fair. As part of the project, students work with local health professionals to explore different facets of healthy living and use Vernier sensors to measure and collect real-time heart rate, blood pressure and respiration data. 
Category: Middle School
Susan Brown, Northland Preparatory Academy, Flagstaff, AZ
To help students in grades 6–12 explore how climate change effects lichen growth and diversity, Susan Brown created a long-term research project in partnership with a local arboretum and Northern Arizona University. Her project utilizes gardens along an elevation gradient, as well as an on-site garden at the school. Students used Vernier sensors to collect weather-related data from the gardens and then make their own observations and draw their own inferences about climate change and its effects.
Dennis Pevey, Jr., eSTEM Public Charter School, Little Rock, AR
Dennis Pevey engages his students in science education by infusing STEM concepts into projects that focus on the environmental issues impacting central Arkansas. In one particular project, students will create biofiltration units for the school's parking garage to help prevent the leaching of chemicals into the Arkansas River. They will use Ion-Selective Electrodes and SpectroVis spectrophotometers from Vernier to monitor and analyze the water samples over a three-month period.
Category: High School
Kristy Bibbey, Poudre High School, Fort Collins, CO
During a project that introduces the physics of sound, Kristy Bibbey's physics students—as well as a local musician—bring in an instrument that they play and use the Vernier Microphone to record various wavelengths using the various instruments. The data are shown in real time on the classroom's whiteboard so that students can analyze the data, recognize the properties of a wavelength and understand the inverse relationship between period and frequency.
Karlheinz Haas, The Pine School, Hobe Sound, FL
To help make kinematics and dynamics more accessible and relatable to students, Karlheinz Haas adapted a series of commonly used physics labs to incorporate the use of the TI-Nspire CX handheld in combination with Vernier sensors and DataQuest software. These labs include a marble activity that teaches students about horizontal velocity and an investigation involving echoes that teach students about the speed of sound. 
Ann Shioji, William C. Overfelt High School, San Jose, CA
In Ann Shioji's "Beauty and the Yeast" unit, students explore how chemicals affect their daily lives. At the beginning of the unit, students conduct preliminary research on the gestation period and respiration rates of yeast and then conduct a class investigation using a CO2 Gas Sensor to determine the rate of respiration of glucose by Saccharomyces to monitor a closed population of yeast. Then, students are provided the opportunity to design their own inquiry-based experiments to test the effects of chemicals on living yeast cells.
Category: College
Lois Zook-Gerdau, Muskingum University, New Concord, OH
Muskingum University partnered with the Muskingum Soil and Water Conservation District to assess the water quality in the nearby Salt Creek Watershed. They used Vernier sensors and spectrometers, which were instrumental in helping research students conduct a variety of analyses on these water samples. Through this partnership, students worked with local environmental professionals, and the community won a grant for conservation efforts based on the water quality assessments.
To learn more about the Vernier/NSTA Technology Awards and to find details for the 2016 application, visit  
About Vernier Software & Technology
Vernier Software & Technology has been a leading innovator of scientific data-collection technology for 34 years. Focused on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), Vernier is dedicated to developing creative ways to teach and learn using hands-on science. Vernier creates easy-to-use and affordable science interfaces, sensors, and graphing/analysis software. With world-wide distribution to over 130 countries, Vernier products are used by educators and students from elementary school to college. Vernier's technology-based solutions enhance STEM education, increase learning, build students' critical thinking skills, and support the science and engineering practices detailed in Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Vernier's business culture is grounded in Earth-friendly policies and practices, and the company provides a family-friendly workplace. For more information, visit

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Nominees are Announced for First-Ever SET Award for Portrayal of a Female in Technology! Vote Today through April 6th on YouTube

This is a press release from EIC

The SET Award for Portrayal of a Female in Technology is presented by Entertainment Industries Council (EIC), the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT), and Google

Los Angeles, CA (March 9 2015) | Voting begins today for the first-ever SET Award for Portrayal of a Female in Technology presented by Entertainment Industries Council (EIC), the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT), and Google. This award recognizes a female character, and those involved in bringing her to life, that goes above and beyond to inspire and encourage the breakdown of stereotypes and elevate the conversation around female ingenuity in technology fields. 
“When it comes to encouraging girls and women to pursue careers in computer science and other technical fields, we know that positive role models matter,” Mo Fong, Director for K-12 Education Outreach at Google, said. “We are excited to be partnering with EIC and NCWIT to create an award that highlights amazing women in entertainment and the characters they portray to inspire and propel more women into technical careers critical to future innovation.”
The nominees, from television, film and internet productions, were selected through public comment on YouTube. The winner will be determined by a combination of public voting and expert input from entertainment and technology professionals. The nominees are: 
  • Annedroids on Amazon
  • Arrow: “Felicity Smoak” played by Emily Bett Rickards
  • Bones: “Angela Montenegro” played by Michaela Conlin
  • Criminal Minds: “Penelope Garcia” played by Kirsten Simone Vangsness
  • Halt and Catch Fire: “Cameron Howe” and “Donna Clark” played by Mackenzie Davis and Kerry Bisché 
  • How to Build a Better Boy: “May” and “Gabby” played by China Anne McClain and Kelli Berglund
  • The Imitation Game: “Joan Clarke” played by Keira Knightley
  • Interstellar: “Murph” played by Jessica Chastain, Ellen Burstyn and Mackenzie Foy (at various ages) 
  • Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: “Skye” played by Chloe Bennet
  • NCIS: “Abby Sciuto” played by Pauley Perrette
  • NCIS: Los Angeles: “Nell Jones” portrayed by Renee Felice Smith
  • Scorpion: “Happy Quinn” played by Jadyn Wong
“EIC is proud to recognize the power and influence actors and actresses have to bring to life inspiring and exciting characters who can change attitudes and perceptions of diverse audiences about career paths of the future,” Brian Dyak said, President and CEO of EIC. 
Voting begins today and continues through April 6th, 2015. Click here to cast your ballot! The winner will be announced at the 2015 NCWIT Summit for Women & IT on May 19-21 in Hilton Head, South Carolina.
About Google Inc. 
Google is a global technology leader focused on improving the ways people connect with information. Google’s innovations in web search and advertising have made its website a top Internet property and its brand one of the most recognized in the world.
About Entertainment Industries Council 
EIC is a non-profit organization founded in 1983 by leaders within the entertainment industry to bring the power and influence of the industry to communicate about health and social issues. The organization is considered to be the chief pioneer of entertainment and journalism outreach and a premiere success story in the field of entertainment education. This mission relies on providing resource information to the creative community and culminates in recognition of the industry through the national television special PRISM Showcase which addresses accurate portrayals of substance use issues and mental health concerns. The organization also produces the SET Awards, honoring positive and non-stereotypical portrayals of science, engineering and technology. For a complete list of health and social issues addressed by EIC and local projects please visit First Draft and EIC’s website at or the internet television network at The PRISM Awards web site is The SET Awards web site is
About NCWIT 
The National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) is a non-profit community of more than 600 universities, companies, non-profits, and government organizations nationwide working to increase women’s participation in computing and technology. NCWIT equips change leaders with resources for taking action in recruiting, retaining, and advancing women from K–12 and higher education through industry and entrepreneurial careers. Find out more at



Dean Kamen (a.k.a Modern-Day Edison): Just One of the Noted Inventors You’ll Meet at X-STEM Symposium!

This is a post in our ongoing coverage of USA Science & Engineering Festival's X-STEM Extreme STEM Symposium - April 28, 2015 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C.

Besides founding the amazing robotics outreach movement known as FIRST, he's sometimes called a modern-day Edison for the sheer number and impact of his inventions -- which range from the Segway human transporter and revolutionary robotic prosthetic arm to the iBOT battery-powered wheelchair. Get ready to engage one-on-one with Dean Kamen at the USA Science & Engineering Festival’s X-STEM Symposium, an unforgettable all-day experience in April with some of the most fascinating visionaries in STEM! Tickets are limited and going fast -- so get yours TODAY! Click here to register.

X-STEM Speaker Profile:
Dean Kamen
Inside The Mind And Creations Of Inventor Dean Kamen


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