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Rethink Announces New Tool to Help Teachers Support Students with Behavioral Challenges

 
NEW YORK, Aug. 13, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- School districts across the country are beginning to adopt a new tool that will make it easier for educators to help students overcome behavioral challenges -- an impediment to academic progress for students.
 
Rethink, an education technology company that puts cutting-edge tools to support students with special needs in the hands of educators and parents, announced today a new management and tracking platform that helps teachers improve student behavior. The new mobile-based Behavior Support tool helps teachers to identify student behavior challenges and provide personal attention to students, by eliminating burdensome paperwork and helping teachers customize their behavior invention plans.
 
"We know that problem behavior significantly disrupts the learning process, and is also a big contributor to staff turnover," says Jamie Pagliaro, Chief Learning Officer of Rethink. "Rethink is pleased to launch its new Behavior Support component, developed by teachers for teachers. This robust toolkit is available to help schools create and maintain a positive classroom environment for all students, and can play a key role in district-wide Positive Behavior Support initiatives."
 
Teachers with special education students will be able to use the tool to integrate Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports plans and can track time spent on compliance with IDEA requirements regarding behavior support. The new platform provides any teacher with an easy, on-the-go ability to conduct behavior assessments, create effective behavioral support plans, and track intervention success.
 
The platform also integrates with current Rethink curriculum and provides teachers with a library of instructional videos that can help them create and implement meaningful behavior plans tailored to each student. Teachers are able to collect and analyze information on student progress, which helps them better develop long-term behavior intervention plans and communicate and collaborate with parents.  The platform is available on both tablet and mobile devices, allowing teachers to track progress in real-time as they work with students throughout the class day.
 
Rethink has been soliciting educator feedback on the platform over the last several months, and the platform will be available to school districts beginning in September 2014.
 
Rethink is an award-winning research-based program model for supporting students with disabilities in specialized through fully included settings. Our dynamic online solution includes a comprehensive video-based curriculum aligned to the Common Core State Standards, job-embedded professional development and parent training modules, individualized assessment tools, behavior intervention planning and an IEP Builder – all developed by nationally recognized experts in the field. We also offer data-based reports for school and district leaders to automatically monitor progress with LRE Goals, and a proven implementation support model guided by our team of seasoned educators.
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Blackboard Launches Free App to Help Students Discover Career Paths

 
 
WASHINGTON, Aug. 14, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Blackboard Inc. announced [on Thursday] the release of Job Genie™, a free mobile app designed to minimize student anxiety around the job selection process by helping them explore potential career paths and options for college. Job Genie is the latest innovation to come out of Blackboard Labs, an initiative dedicated solely to education technology experimentation.
 
The app is a result of qualitative research with students that indicated a large amount of apprehension around key academic decisions, such as picking a school, major, or career path. Designed to be a non-threatening way to explore various education and job options, the app uses casual language and aesthetics to reinforce that these choices are part of a journey and that students should not feel locked into a single recommendation.
 
Job Genie is still in development and the early release will be updated based on feedback. The Blackboard Labs initiative is designed to incubate great ideas to share with the user community, get their reaction, and translate that into powerful and useful products.
 
"I think everyone wishes they had a plan," said a student participant in the research study that lead to the development of Job Genie. "And even if you have a great plan, pressure from parents, difficult courses and other bumps in the road make it tough to always see the next step. It's nice to know that I can just pull out my phone and have my own personal career counselor at my fingertips."
 
The interactive user experience is focused solely on learner engagement and includes simple personality, interest and achievement questions that generate a list of schools, degrees and job options best matched to the answers. Learners can compare salaries, research cost-of-living information, and even view videos from practitioners that paint a realistic picture of day-to-day job activities.
 
"Students tend to feel locked into choices they make very early in their educational journey, which can make the selection of a career path intimidating," said Mark Strassman, senior vice president of product management at Blackboard. "It's important for them to feel comfortable with a certain amount of experimentation, learning and discovery. Through this app, we aim to provide relevant data to help students make informed decisions. We are fully committed to building solutions from the learner's perspective and helping them become more career-ready and, ultimately, successful."
 
The free app is available in the iTunes Store, on Google Play, and online, where product feedback can be submitted, reviewed, and potentially incorporated.
 
For more information about Blackboard, please visit www.blackboard.com or follow @Blackboard on Twitter.
 
About Blackboard Inc.
Blackboard is the world's leading education technology company that is reimagining education by challenging conventional thinking and advancing new learning models. We rapidly deploy relevant and meaningful technologies and services to meet the needs of the modern day learner and the institutions that serve them, driving success and growth for both. In partnership with higher education, K-12, corporate organizations, and government agencies around the world, we help every learner achieve their full potential. For more information about Blackboard follow us on Twitter at @Blackboard.
 
Any statements in this press release about future expectations, plans and prospects for Blackboard represent the Company's views as of the date of this press release. Actual results may differ materially as a result of various important factors. The Company anticipates that subsequent events and developments will cause the Company's views to change. However, while the Company may elect to update these statements at some point in the future, the Company specifically disclaims any obligation to do so.
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American Indian Science and Engineering Society Receives $1.5 Million NSF Grant

This is press release from American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M., Aug, 18, 2014 (PRNewswire-iReach) | Sarah EchoHawk, CEO of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES), announced that the organization has been awarded a grant of $1.5 million from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

The project is sponsored by multiple directorates at NSF including the Directorates for Biological Sciences, Mathematics and Physical Sciences, Engineering, Education, Geosciences, Computer and Information Science and Engineering, and the Office of International and Integrative Activities.
 
According to EchoHawk, this is the largest NSF grant AISES has ever received, both in terms of the amount and the scope. Titled Lighting the Pathway to Faculty Careers for Natives in STEM, the program is designed to boost the number of AISES student members who persist in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The long term goal is to increase the number of AISES members who pursue faculty positions in STEM disciplines at United States colleges and universities.
 
"The absolute dearth of American Indians, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians  (AI/AN/NH) represented within faculty—and particularly STEM faculty—in institutions of higher learning has long been a national problem," said Echohawk. "We look forward to helping make a significant impact in reversing this trend."
 
This NSF grant is a one-of-a-kind attempt at full-service mentoring and exposure to opportunities that will help move individuals further along their academic paths. A five-year pilot project will be implemented at the national level, using the extensive network of individuals who are engaged in AISES national efforts or its various student chapters and will develop a model framework for supporting AI/AN/NH higher education students who are pursuing education to establish careers as academic faculty members in STEM. The impact of program involvement before, during, and after students' participation will be evaluated. These published findings will serve as a guide for future projects.
 
Sally O'Connor, NSF Program Officer, said three things are particularly notable about this grant.  "First, its focus is primarily Native American, although it doesn't exclude any others. Second, the PIs are all Native Americans who have become leaders in their respective STEM fields. And finally," she continued, "the work will help determine the most critical interventions which lead AI/AN/NHs to achieve PhDs in STEM fields."
 
In the past, public and private entities have attempted to improve the representation of Natives in STEM faculty positions, but have met with only limited success. However, this project, with its five-year pilot program being supported by NSF and implemented at the national level is "designed to make a real difference," according to Dr. Melinda McClanahan, Chair of the AISES Board of Directors.  She added, "To continue to maintain the United States' competiveness in the global economy, the country must utilize all of its talent in order to advance scientific knowledge and technological innovation. That is the reason this project is so important."
 
According to Steven P. Craddock, Tribal Councilman for the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah), "I can attest that there is a great need for more Native role models in STEM faculty positions. I do believe that Native Americans have strong aptitude for the sciences and the country cannot afford to let this talent go untapped. Increasing the number of Native American professors in the STEM fields will certainly help with the recruitment, retention, and success of Native STEM majors."
 
Co-Principal Investigators for the Project:
 
Dr. Mary Jo Ondrechen (Mohawk), Northeastern University
Dr. Ondrechen is Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Northeastern University. Her NSF-funded research group specializes in theoretical chemistry, computational biology, and genomics. She is Immediate Past Chair of the AISES Board of Directors. From Northwestern University, she holds a Ph.D. in Chemistry and from Reed College, she holds an ACS-certified B.A. in Chemistry. 
 
Dr. Chris Cornelius (Oneida), University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Dr. Cornelius is Associate Dean for Research, College of Engineering, University of Nebraska-Lincoln. From Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, he holds a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering and a Master of Engineering in Chemical Engineering. From Montana State University, he holds a B.S. in Chemical Engineering. His research experience spans over 15 years as a faculty member, a senior administrator in academia, a national laboratory staff scientist, and an industrial engineer. In addition to teaching and research, he is Editor of the Journal of Materials Science.
 
Dr. Robert Megginson (Lakota), University of Michigan
Dr. Megginson is the Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Mathematics and Associate Dean at the University of Michigan. He is former Deputy Director at Mathematical Sciences and Research Institute (MSRI) and a long-time mentor for AISES students. In 1997, he received the U.S. Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring. In 1999, he received AISES' Ely S. Parker Award, for lifetime professional achievement and service to the Native American community. From the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, he holds a Ph.D. in Mathematics, an A.M. in Statistics and a B.S. in Physics.
 
Dr. Melinda McClanahan (Choctaw), Retired, USDA Agricultural Research Service
Dr. McClanahan is the current Chair of the AISES Board of Directors. She holds the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Radiation Biology from Texas Woman's University and has an MBA degree from New Mexico Highlands University.  She served as professor, university department head (bringing a valuable perspective on the faculty hiring process), and dean of science and engineering for 20 years before joining the U.S. Senior Executive Service in Washington, DC. She retired in 2010 after nine years as the Chief Information Officer of the USDA Agricultural Research Service. She is an Adjunct Professor with the American University in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
 
About the American Indian Science and Engineering Society:
For over 35 years, the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) has been working to substantially increase the representation of American Indians and Alaskan Natives in engineering, science, and other related technology disciplines. A non-profit organization, AISES is the leader in STEM opportunity in Indian Country with nearly 3,000 current members and scholarship programs which have cumulatively awarded over $8 million to almost 5,000 students.
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Chevron supports student Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education with Inside the Outdoors

This is a press release from
 
COSTA MESA, CA, MAY 7, 2014 | In the past three years, Chevron Corporation, with local offices based in Brea, has given Inside the Outdoors Foundation $250,000 in funding to support K-12th grade student learning in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education programs.
 
Funding received in 2014 marks the third consecutive year that Chevron has provided support to Inside the Outdoors programs, demonstrating the company’s ongoing commitment to science-focused education.
 
“STEM education is critical to producing a workforce that can compete in the global marketplace,” said Hector Infante, manager of policy, government and public affairs at Chevron. “Investments developed through programs such Inside the Outdoors are also investments in the long-term success of our company.”
 
Since 1974, Inside the Outdoors has been providing hands-on programs to students across Orange County and in parts of the Inland Empire and Los Angeles County. Our programs utilize nature’s classroom to stimulate children’s innate curiosity and sense of play to create a learning environment that builds the foundation for students to pursue STEM-related careers.
 
Inside the Outdoors (ITO) operates under the umbrella of the Orange County Department of Education but receives no tax-based funding to run its programs. Therefore, ITO’s foundation relies heavily on the generous support of private funders such as Chevron to keep the program thriving.
 
Unfortunately, the downturn in the economy has made it extremely difficult for schools to provide anything for students beyond basic instruction. Over half of the students who attend our program are from low-income schools and receive sponsorship to attend. Many of the students have never been beyond the concrete streets of their neighborhoods, even though they live just minutes from the beaches, forests, and mountains that are part of Southern California’s many natural treasures. 
 
Manny Kiesser, president of the Inside the Outdoors Foundation board, shared, “Chevron’s commitment to education is an important element to ensuring that Southern California students are prepared to pursue STEM careers. Partners like Chevron are leveling the playing field by providing hands-on learning opportunities for students from all communities.” 
 
Chevron’s funding has provided S3: Students, STEM, and Service-Learning education experiences in local Orange County parks and natural areas for approximately 45,000 K-12th grade students and 1,500 teachers. STEM-based student projects impacted an additional 125,000 students, parents, teachers, and community members through peer-to-peer teaching, student-led volunteer projects, and science fairs. 
 
Photo caption: As part of an Inside the Outdoors’ engineering competition, local high school students and their mentor to use STEM-principles to design shade structures.
 
For more information about Inside the Outdoors, please contact Lori Kiesser, Development Officer, at (714) 708-3889.

 

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Study aims to uncover processes that help improve theoretical knowledge

This is a press release from NSF

Researchers study what it takes for children to update their knowledge about the shape of the earth.

August 14, 2014 | What is it about the human mind, as opposed to those of other animals, that makes it able to comprehend and reason about complex concepts such as infinity, cancer or protons That is what National Science Foundation- (NSF) funded research conducted by Harvard University professors Susan Carey and Deborah Zaitchik seeks to find out.
 
The two investigators are leading a new project that explores how children develop understanding of abstract concepts over time, specifically in mathematics and in science--biology, psychology and physics. Their research could prove transformative to the practice of education.
 
Carey and Zaitchik's project, "Executive Function and Conceptual Change," is one of 40 projects funded in the first round of an NSF initiative called INSPIRE that address extremely complicated and pressing scientific problems.
 
Specifically, the project aims to determine how children develop theoretical concepts of science and math and how the learning process might be modified to increase their level of understanding.
NSF's Developmental and Learning Sciences Program in its Directorate for Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences partially funds the research. It is one item in a program portfolio that strives to understand how children learn, and what factors influence their social and thinking skills as they become productive members of society.
 
Past research shows children have intuitive theories about science and math before they begin formal learning. Their intuitive theories are often radically different from the theories taught in school, but through schoolwork, are transformed into standard, often abstract ideas that were previously unknown to the students.
 
For example, children believe the earth is flat and draw conclusions about the world based on that assumption. When they become aware the world is round, they must update their knowledge about the shape of the earth and also update the kinds of conclusions they can draw about the world in light of this new information, such as that it is impossible to fall off its edge.
 
This transformation involves what Carey and Zaitchik call conceptual change--a process by which a person's knowledge and beliefs are modified over time and evolve into a new conceptual system of interconnected knowledge and reasoning.
 
Conceptual change is extremely difficult to achieve. Studies show it requires more than gathering new facts to replace or modify old facts; it demands, in addition, sustained mental effort to integrate all related pieces of information into a coherent body of knowledge.
 
"The kind of knowledge we are talking about is hard to construct," says Carey, a Harvard psychologist and the project's lead principal investigator. "You just don't get it for free."
 
The difficulty of conceptual change is one of the reasons teaching science and math is such a challenge. It is also a reason the Research on Education and Learning program within NSF's Directorate for Education and Human Resources co-funds the project.
 
Carey and Zaitchik believe that if the cognitive processes needed to produce conceptual change can be identified, better understood and successfully manipulated through simple training, it might make a big difference in a student's academic success, whether that student is in kindergarten or college.
 
They are especially concerned with how a suite of cognitive processes called "executive function" impacts children's ability to both build new abstract knowledge and use it throughout their lifetimes.
 
The components of executive function under investigation by the research team include working memory, inhibitory control and set-shifting. Working memory involves the ability to actively hold information in mind, update it and mentally work with it. Inhibitory control is the ability to suppress interference, distractions and inappropriate responses, which is important for completing cognitive tasks. Set-shifting involves the ability to flexibly switch goals or modes of operation, such as recognizing that different problem-solving approaches will be more successful in different settings.
 
Previous research has shown that executive function is more predictive of school readiness than entry-level reading skills, entry-level math skills or IQ. In addition, executive function has been shown to play an important role throughout a person's school years, with working memory and inhibitory control independently predicting math and reading score success in every grade from preschool through high school.
Carey and Zaitchik say there is already a good deal of empirical evidence that these processes play a strong role in school children's ability to learn and express theoretical knowledge that does not require conceptual change. In this project, however, they are testing the hypothesis that executive function also underlies the ability to achieve conceptual change.
 
"For cognitive change, one needs to 'think outside the box,' look at things differently from the way one had been looking at them," says Adele Diamond, one of the founders of the field of developmental cognitive neuroscience and an expert on executive function. "To get to that point, it helps to be able to try out different perspectives and experiment with looking at things this way and that.
 
"Playing with ideas, relating things in new ways relies heavily on working memory," she says referencing one component of executive function examined in Carey's and Zaitchik's research project.
 
Additionally, "to think in new ways, to see things in new ways, one needs to inhibit old ways of seeing things, old habits," she notes referencing inhibitory control, which the project leaders are also examining.
Diamond is an outside project observer at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, where she is the Tier 1 Canada Research Chair for Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience within the Psychiatry Department there.
 
Work by Diamond and her colleagues provides a backdrop for Carey's and Zaitchik's approach. In pioneering research, Diamond found school activities in early childhood--including play--could improve children's executive function and better their performance on standard academic testing. Her research also shows executive function can be improved in 4-5 year olds, ages that some researchers had thought was too early to try to improve executive function.
 
Carey and Zaitchik are conducting several experiments that explore how executive function relates to conceptual change. They are interested in exploring the possibility that providing training to enhance executive function can also facilitate conceptual change. They are also exploring whether diminished executive functioning might explain science and math difficulties in children at risk for school failure. (For more information on these studies see the article titled "Unlocking the secrets of children's complex thinking: the studies")
 
One study was designed to determine whether executive function could predict children's success on specific training that produces conceptual change. The researchers found that it did. Credit: Thinkstock
 
They are testing the hypothesis that executive function underlies the ability to achieve conceptual change in two very different groups. The first group is children who are engaged in new learning of specific science and math theories. The second group is healthy elderly adults who, despite decades of experience holding and using the theories involved, nonetheless make many of the same errors in reasoning that children do.
 
"This work has the potential to support and promote executive function in children in ways that will have broad and deep impacts on their learning and achievement," says Laura Namy, Developmental and Learning Sciences program director at NSF, pinning the research to important child development priorities.
 
Moreover, the research could have far-reaching importance to populations with particularly weak executive function, such as children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, a population also studied in the project, as well as disadvantaged children, aging adults and patients with Alzheimer's disease.
 
"That executive function enhancement can directly impact a mental process so far downstream as conceptual reasoning is potentially extraordinarily transformative," says Namy. "It implies that a relatively straightforward intervention, such as executive function training, has the potential to ‘level the playing field' for children from disadvantaged backgrounds, for those with attention deficits and those experiencing age- and disease-related cognitive decline."
 
The relationship between executive function and conceptual change appears to be powerful, she says. "The goal of this investigation is to begin to discover why."
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Branstad’s, Reynolds’ proposal wins NGA grant to advance innovative education and workforce development initiatives

This is a press release from the Office of the Governor (IA)

Thursday, August 14, 2014 – (DES MOINES) | Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds today announced the State of Iowa has been awarded a National Governors Association (NGA) grant to assist in continuing their innovative educational and workforce development programs within Iowa. The grant is worth up to $170,000, and was awarded after the governor’s office submitted a proposal to the “NGA Policy Academy on Aligning the Education and Training Pipeline to the Needs of the Economy.”
 
“Lieutenant Governor Reynolds and I know that in order for Iowa to remain competitive in developing and attracting high-quality, world-class careers, we must continue to provide effective education and job-training,” said Branstad. “We’re pleased to receive this grant from the National Governors Association to continue advancing Iowa’s skilled workforce and innovative education programs.”
 
The grant will help Iowa continue to advance innovative programs like the Skilled Iowa Initiative, the Governor’s Science Technology, Engineering and Math initiative, Home Base Iowa, the Iowa Apprenticeship and Job Training program and other programs aimed at closing the middle-skills gaps.  A variety of state entities will collaborate with private sector, non-profit, and educational stakeholders to continue to advance Iowa’s efforts to grow our talent pipeline.
 
“Today’s announcement of new funds for workforce and education development is yet another win for hardworking Iowans,” said Reynolds. “We’re proud that Iowa’s unemployment rate has dropped nearly thirty percent and more Iowans are working than ever before, but if we’re to continue to be globally competitive, we must continue to innovate.”
 
The NGA initiative is part of 2013-2014 Chair’s Initiative of Oklahoma Gov. Marry Fallon titled, “America Works: Education and Training for Tomorrow’s Jobs.”
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Walsh University Awarded Prestigious National Science Foundation Grant Benefiting Chemistry Students

This is a press release from Walsh University

Award Marks First NSF Grant in Walsh History

North Canton, OH-July 28, 2014 | Walsh University has been awarded its first National Science Foundation (NSF) grant for almost $600,000 to fund scholarships for students interested in pursuing the field of chemistry.  With an initial award of $75,616, NSF has pledged continued support of the program for an additional $518,137 over a five-year period.
 
The highly competitive Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (S-STEM) grant was awarded to the Walsh Division of Mathematics and Sciences to fund the creation of the new STAR Chemistry Program: “Inspiring, Educating, and Preparing Young Science Talent for an American Ready Workforce.”
 
“NSF grants are very competitive, and Walsh University is honored to receive one.  It is a strong endorsement of our faculty and the quality of our programs. The University has always had a tradition of excellence, and in recent years we have renewed our commitment to extend that tradition more deeply into the areas of scholarship and research,” said Walsh University President Richard Jusseaume.  “A very important part of Walsh’s mission is to promote academic excellence and close student-teacher interactions. The NSF grant along with initiatives such as our new Center for Science Innovation will help to reinforce that mission while also providing students interested in pursuing careers in the sciences the resources they require for success.”
 
NSF funding will help to enhance Walsh strategies, services, and partnerships focused on increasing chemistry major recruitment, retention, graduation, and career advancement among academically talented students with financial need. The grant will enable Walsh to award 16 four-year scholarships to eligible chemistry students, ranging from $5,000 to $10,000 per year, depending on each student’s level of unmet financial need and merit.
 
Another important component of the STAR program will be the creation of the new STAR scholars learning community for chemistry students. Over the five-year grant period, two groups of eight students, the first in fall 2015 and the next in fall 2016, will live and take classes within a designated learning community and participate in activities that will strengthen their self-identity as chemists.
 
“The S-STEM grant will serve as a catalyst to create momentum for what we hope will be a stellar chemistry major cohort. This initiative will move Walsh to the next level in reputation and performance relative to the quality of our chemistry graduates and our community involvement,” said Division of Mathematics and Sciences Chair Michael Dunphy, Ph.D. “What this entails is a restructuring of a traditional chemistry major to make it more flexible and market appropriate. We will be able to provide more choices for our students and focus on internships to help prepare students to enter the workforce.”
 
The STAR scholars will benefit from Walsh’s redesigned chemistry curriculum that addresses the existing gap in skills needed by chemistry graduates and those identified by local industry partners. As a part of this new curriculum, all Walsh chemistry majors participate in an internship, a three-semester integrated laboratory experience, and a four-year Chemistry Careers Seminar. Held every second week, the Career Series brings together faculty, students and industry partners to speak about current industry issues and career opportunities for students.
 
“We realized we couldn’t just create a Career Series, we had to align our curriculum to real jobs available in NE Ohio. Companies want experience as well as a bachelor’s degree,” said Associate Professor of Chemistry and Walsh’s NSF grant Principal Investigator Peter Tandler, Ph.D. “Our new curriculum integrates the American Chemical Society criteria for a certified degree with coursework and internships that produce graduates with expertise that fits our local workforce needs. STAR scholars will take courses that tie directly to regional industries such as synthetic and metal material, environmental and green, and fuels and energy chemistry.”
 
In order to attract eligible candidates and broaden participation, the NSF grant will also help to fund a comprehensive recruitment plan that involves interacting with students at high schools, on-campus science workshops, and regional science fairs.
 
Through grant facilitation by Walsh’s Director of Grants and Sponsored Research Rachel Hammel, the STAR Program is under the direction of Walsh chemistry faculty members Dr. Peter Tandler, Dr. Amy Heston, Dr. Neil Walsh, Dr. Michael Dunphy and Dr. Nisreen A. Nusair.
 
The Walsh Division of Mathematics and Sciences, housed within the new School of Arts and Sciences, is the University’s third largest academic division and has experienced a 255 percent increase in students majoring in the sciences since 2005. The division’s new state-of-the-art Center for Science Innovation building will facilitate student learning through the addition of learning and research labs to support advanced chemistry as well as exercise science, human anatomy, occupational therapy and physics.
 
NSF is an independent federal agency created by Congress in 1950. With an annual budget of $7.2 billion (FY 2014), NSF is the funding source for approximately 24 percent of all federally supported basic research conducted by America's colleges and universities. In many fields such as mathematics, computer science and the social sciences, NSF is the major source of federal backing.
 
Walsh University is an independent, co-educational Catholic liberal arts and sciences institution that promotes academic excellence and diversity and provides close faculty-student interaction. It is dedicated to teaching its nearly 3,000 students from 27 states and 37 countries to become leaders in service to others through a values-based education with an international perspective in the Judeo-Christian tradition. www.walsh.edu.
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NASA Selects Proposals to Increase STEM Education at Community and Technical Colleges

This is a press release from NASA

WASHINGTON, Aug. 13, 2014 (PRNewswire-USNewswire) | NASA's Office of Education will award more than $17.3 million through the National Space Grant and Fellowship Program to increase student and faculty engagement in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) at community colleges and technical schools across the U.S. Each award has a two-year performance period and a maximum value of $500,000. 
 
The 35 awards were granted after a solicitation to members of the national Space Grant Consortia. Winning proposals outlined ways to attract and retain more students from community and technical colleges in STEM curricula, develop stronger collaborations to increase student access to NASA's STEM education content, and increase the number of students who advance from an associate to a bachelor's degree.
 
The California Space Grant Consortium, for example, proposes to enhance STEM preparation at 12 state community colleges and improve opportunities for approximately 300 students to transfer to either the University of California or the California State University system. This multi-faceted program includes development of a distance learning STEM course for faculty and students that fosters education and training in programmable microcomputers, near-space ballooning, small satellites, autonomous ground robots and wearable sensor vests for sports and health monitoring.
 
The Colorado Space Grant Consortium proposes to add four new community college campuses as affiliates to the consortium. Students and faculty members from these institutions will participate in STEM activities by designing, building and launching high-altitude balloon payloads. In addition, the students will have an opportunity to compete for scholarships, summer internships at NASA centers and to participate in the RockOn! workshop, part of an ongoing collaboration with NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.
 
On the East Coast, the North Carolina Space Grant Consortium proposes to offer competitive STEM scholarships at the community college level in order to attract and retain students through graduation and/or matriculation into four-year universities. The consortium also will offer a Team Design Challenge and Competition for faculty and students across the state to increase STEM education experiences featuring NASA content.
 
Space Grant Consortia operate in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Each has a lead institution to manage its activities. In addition, there are more than 850 affiliates, including colleges and universities, industry, museums and science centers, and state and local agencies, that work to support and enhance science and engineering education, research and public outreach efforts for NASA's aeronautics and space projects. The affiliates work directly with the lead Space Grant institutions to deliver quality STEM programs.
 
Through this NASA higher education program, the agency continues its tradition of investing in the U.S. education infrastructure with the goal of developing STEM skills and capabilities critical to achieving the nation's exploration goals through a robust, STEM-literate workforce.
 
To view a complete list of the awardees and their winning abstracts, visit:
 
 
For more information about the National Space Grant and Fellowship Program, visit:
 
 
For more information about NASA's education programs, visit:
 
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International Association for STEM Leaders Gives Ershela Sims the The Statewide STEM Leadership

This is a press release from the International Association for STEM Leaders

The Statewide STEM Leadership award was presented by the International Association for STEM Leaders to the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics and was accepted by program leader, Dr. Ershela Sims, Dean of Engineering and Technology. This school is a statewide leader in North Carolina. They not only offer a high quality and unique STEM education to their students, they also offer STEM classes to schools around the state through an innovative distance education program,” said Dr. Carole Inge, founder of IASL. 

The school’s courses range from AP Computer Science and Modeling with Differential Equations to Mechanical Engineering, and Biomedical Instrumentation. In addition, NCSSM offers a variety of courses to other high schools around the state online and through interactive video conferencing such as Honors Aerospace Engineering and Computational Chemistry. In addition, faculty at the school are in the last stages of completing a multi-strand four year high school STEM curriculum for the NC Department of Public Instruction, which will be implemented at schools around the state. Every one of North Carolina’s 13 congressional districts is represented by students who attend this institution.

Dr. Ershela Sims is the Dean of Engineering and Technology and an Engineering Instructor at the NC School of Science and Mathematics (NCSSM). As an instructor, she has developed and teaches a variety of engineering courses including, Intro to Mechanical Engineering, Statics, and Biomedical Instrumentation. In addition, she was a lead developer on a curriculum development project for the NC Department of Public Instruction, where she developed a 4-year curriculum in health & life sciences and biomedical engineering. She also mentors student research projects in Biomechanics as well as other areas of engineering and is the faculty sponsor for multiple engineering clubs including NSBE Jr and NASCAR Ten80.

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