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Friday, October 31, 2014

Students Celebrate Afterschool Program


CLIFTON — Students from Schools 12 and 17 filled their school with song and learned new lessons as a part of a national celebration of afterschool programs.

On Oct. 23 a combination of the fourth and fifth grade Minds in Motion students performed in the School 12 gymnasium before their peers and a gathering of parents and staff. Minds in Motion, the name of the afterschool program, is funded by the 21st Century Grant, which supports STEM-related (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) activities as well as literacy. The federal grant money is awarded per a five year term and entitles School 12 to a $500,000 grant every year to support program resources.

The chorus performed a rendition of "Stereo Hearts" by Gym Class Heroes, complete with dancing, and three solo singers with group backup. The students learned the song and practiced as a part of the program.

The celebration, Lights on After School, placed the spotlight on afterschool programs nationwide, and gave students a chance to show off what they’ve learned.

The Minds in Motion program gives students a safe place to go after school, where they can do homework and take a variety of special classes. Students in the program are also supplied with meals and participate in field trips.

School 12 principal, Maria Parham-Talley, said the program was designed to expose students to many different careers related to STEM. A show of hands that afternoon yielded many students interested in a career as a police officer, military, firefighter, teacher, or scientist.

Later, the gathering of afterschool students accompanied music teacher Dawn Valentine in singing "We Are Here" by Alicia Keys, their arms swaying and hands clapping in time with the music.

Parham-Talley asked students what the song lyrics "we are here for all of us" meant.

A student replied, "so we can help each other."

The district recently completed its Week of Respect, where students learned about the nature of bullying and how to combat it. Students and parents saw a portion of a student-made film, titled "The Power of One," which showed how to be a responsible bystander and help someone struggling in a bullying situation.

Parham-Talley said there was "one more treat" in store for the students that afternoon, when a squad of four from Clifton Police Department’s SWAT (Special Weapons And Tactics) team performed a short drill as they came on stage.

The SWAT team had also come to speak at the school in January for Public Safety Day. Excited students asked questions of the officers, and the officers shared their stories of hard work and dedication to get where they are today.

One shared his story of coming to the U.S. at 14 years old, learning English as a second language, and studying hard to be a police officer.

He added the "most powerful weapon" is "your mind and [a] pen." He said with these, people can tell others their story and can teach anyone something new.

Another officer said students shouldn’t despair over a poor test grade, but instead "keep trying to get where [they] want to be." He added police officers go to school too, and every year receive additional training.

Students were excited to see the equipment the SWAT team brought along, which included a shield, door ram, and pry bar, among others. The officers explained the equipment is there "to protect" and they "train so that bad things don’t happen."

Officers explained the use of each of the pieces of equipment. Students were invited to take a closer look and try on a defensive vest.

The Minds in Motion program, which is in its second year, is free for registered students. Students enrolled can take a variety of classes after school.

Click here to read from this article's source.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Turning the Tides for Children and Families: Success after Super Storm Sandy


Turning the Tides is a series of programs targeting youth in grades K-12. This initiative uses proven strategies to promote healing and increase resiliency among youth and families, equipping them with skills and knowledge necessary to recover from the effects of Super Storm Sandy. Services will be provided, free of charge, in the most storm impacted schools and communities in the following northern counties: Bergen, Hudson, Essex, Middlesex and Union. The following interventions will be offered in the Turning the Tides Program:

Sources of Strength
  • Peer leader program for youth in middle schools, high schools and community-based programs
  • Increases positive help-seeking behaviors
  • Breaks down "codes of silence" and encourages youth to seek adult help when in crisis
  • Decreases risk factors such as isolation and negative coping
Classroom/Culture/Community-Based Intervention Program (CBI)
  • An interactive program for youth in grades K-12
  • Uses music, movement, silent story-telling and other youth-oriented techniques
  • Significantly reduces traumatic stress reactions (fear, anxiety, frustration, depressed mood, sleep disturbances, difficulty concentrating)
  • Increases a sense of safety, self-esteem, and hope
SPR (Skills for Psychological Recovery)
  • A skill building approach for teens, adults and families
  • Reduces ongoing stress from traumatic events through engaging in problem-solving, positive activities, helpful thinking, and building healthy social connections
  • Aims to accelerate recovery by identifying personal strengths and developing additional coping skills
More Than Sad: Preventing Teen Suicide
  • A suicide prevention awareness program for youth-serving individuals in schools and community programs
  • Provides education about factors that put youth at risk for suicide, in particular depression and other disorders
  • Focuses on risk factors, and warning signs for suicide
  • Will comply with the requirements for teacher education in New Jersey
To learn more about Turning the Tides, contact us at: turningthetides@rutgers.edu or at: 732-235-2897

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Teen Conflicts Spill Over to Other Areas of Their Lives


Teens' conflicts at home increase the risk of problems at school for up to two days, according to a new study.

The research also found that the reverse is true: school problems can create issues at home.

Additionally, the study found that bad mood and mental health symptoms such as depression and anxiety are important factors in what's referred to as "spillover effect."

Problems that can spill over between home and school include arguments between teens and their parents, skipping class, not completing assignments, difficulty understanding school work, and doing poorly on a quiz or test, the University of Southern California researchers explained.

For example, failing a test could cause a teen to be irritable, which in turn could lead to an argument with parents.

The researchers also found that teens with more symptoms of anxiety and depression were more likely to be in a bad mood after arguing with their parents.

The study included more than 100 teens, ages 13 to 17, and their parents. The participants completed questionnaires at the end of each day for 14 days. The findings appear in the journal Child Development.

"Spillover processes have been recognized, but are not well understood," Adela Timmons, a doctoral student, and Gayla Margolin, professor of psychology, wrote. "Evidence of spillover for as long as two days suggests that some teens get caught in a reverberating cycle of negative events."

They said their findings could be used to find ways to help teens better handle bad moods and to improve their family relationships and how they do in school.

Click here to read from this article's source.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Join us on Sat 3/21/15 for NJ Maker’s Day 2015 initiative


The Piscataway Public Library, Hillsdale Public Library, Gloucester County Library and LibraryLinkNJ, in partnership with NJSACC, would like to officially announce the NJ Maker’s Day 2015 initiative.This event is designed to be a statewide single-day event that celebrates, promotes, and for many introduces them to maker culture, as well as the values associated with making, tinkering and STEM based learning.

The date for this event is planned for Saturday, March 21st of 2015 between 10am-4pm (though events could be held outside this window as well).

The website for this initiative can be found at http://njmakersday.org

NJ Makers Day is designed to be a flexible, fun and educational experience for all here in our state. In announcing this initiative, we are inviting you to join us in hosting a program(s), discussion(s), speaker(s), maker faires, open play and creation events and more! 

What you do and how you participate is totally up to you!

Through our registration form, you can register to be a participating site for this statewide event today. You do not need to have any idea yet of what you would like to do that day, just an interest in participating and willingness to do something! (no matter how big or small). 

The registration form can be found here : http://bit.ly/njmakersday_register - the form is also available from the "Sites" tab on main menu of our website.

At present we have 27 sites across 20 of 21 NJ counties who have committed to participating in this statewide event, and we hope that your program and/or location will be next!

Our committee remains committed to assisting any and all sites in supporting your participating. We are actively working on developing partnerships and sponsorship we feel will add benefit to sites and this event as a whole. We want to work with you to make your participating, as well as this event, as successful, fun and engaging as possible.

The planning committee will additionally be providing online meeting opportunities for site representatives to meet with committee members, as well as each other, during the process to share ideas, address challenges, etc.

Please free to contact site coordinators Doug Baldwin (dbaldwin@piscatawaylibrary.org) and Maureen Donohue (mdonohue@piscatawaylibrary.org) with any questions you have about the project or participating as a hosting site. (please include us both on any correspondence).

Click here to read from this article's source.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Jet breaking sound barrier looks like this


A photographer spent five years attempting to photograph the moment a jet breaks the sound barrier and finally succeeded, capturing the split-second moment the aircraft reached “transonic velocity,” or the speed of sound at 766 mph.

Joe Broyles, 61, attending an air show at the Oceania Naval Air Station in Virginia Beach, Virginia, picked a spot in the sky and snapped eight images in less than two seconds, hoping he’d get lucky, according to Caters News Agency.

“They move so fast it’s near impossible to time when to start pushing the shutter button,” Broyles told Caters.

Luck was on his side as Broyles captured the moment an F-18 Super Hornet 2 jet broke the sound barrier, forming a vapor cone around the jet that lasted tenths of a second.

Broyles had been to several air shows in the past attempting to get his tough-to-get photo. Not only is it difficult because of the speed of the aircraft but so is judging the height that the jet will pass overhead.

“I didn’t know if he would come in high, low, or somewhere in the middle,” he said. “I have experienced all three.”

Now he’s finally experienced success.

“When I saw the photograph, I was absolutely ecstatic,” Broyles said. “I’ve been waiting for this moment for at least five years, so when I saw the image I raised my arm with a closed fist—I finally got it.”

Click here to read from this article's source.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Ignite Program “Sparks” Student Discovery


Extended-day programs throughout the country joined together on Oct. 23 to celebrate the 15th Annual Lights on Afterschool, an initiative highlighting the significant roles that these programs play in the lives of children, families, and communities.

It’s a message that is celebrated every day in Camden, where more than 200 students grades 4 to 8 participate in Ignite, an innovative expanded learning program at Camden Community Charter School, Cooper’s Poynt School, Master Charter School’s North Camden Elementary, Rafael Cordero (R.C.) Molina Elementary School, and Pyne Poynt Middle School.

Rutgers University­–Camden teams with the schools in the Rutgers­/North Camden Schools Partnership, funded with a grant from the New Jersey Department of Education 21st Century Community Learning Centers program. Leveraging university resources, the initiative aims to maximize student learning and strengthen families and their neighborhood, while bolstering the education of Rutgers­–Camden students and enhancing faculty research.

“A true partnership is built on a deep understanding of the cares and needs of a community, a neighborhood, and its families and children,” says Gloria Martinez-Vega, principal of R.C. Molina Elementary and Molina Annex. “True partners support one another with the purpose of making dreams come true by closing gaps and offering guidance. That is what Rutgers–Camden has given our North Camden neighborhood and our scholars at R.C. Molina – an opportunity to dream, to believe, and to achieve for a better future.”

Ignite seeks to “spark” student discovery by providing science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) courses; art; athletics; literacy achievement; mentoring, and college exposure, explains Gayle Christiansen, program coordinator for the Office of Civic Engagement at Rutgers–Camden.

“This isn’t your typical afterschool program,” says Christiansen. “Students are offered academic services, but they are also introduced to a variety of high-quality programs intended to spur their interests and inquiry well beyond the classroom.”

Diamond Hernandez, a 7th-grader at Cooper’s Poynt, says that her favorite class is cycling, offered by the YMCA of Burlington and Camden Counties, one of the program’s dedicated partners.

“It’s fun, because I get to ride bikes around Camden with my friends,” says Hernandez, who dreams of one day being a police officer.

Jayden Brown, a 5th-grader at R.C. Molina, enjoys the tennis class, offered through a partnership with Legacy Youth Tennis and Education in Philadelphia.

“We get to run around and play,” says Brown, who also wants to be a cop.

Rutgers­–Camden faculty and students collaborate with school staff to align and complement programming with school-day instruction. A Rutgers–Camden student site coordinator and school-based master teacher co-coordinate each of the programs. Undergraduates serve as Ignite Education Ambassadors, assisting teachers in the implementation of classes. They also team with teachers and community partners to engage students in project-based learning clubs, which showcase their results at the end of the semester and summer session.

“As a future teacher, getting on-the-job experience is difficult until you are student teaching,” says Justin Cuevas, a history major who is also pursuing an education certificate at Rutgers­–Camden. “Ignite has allowed me to get that experience as a sophomore and connect with kids in the city where I was born.”

During the summer, 100 middle-school students take part in the Ignite program on the Rutgers–Camden campus, where they get acclimated to college life, and are introduced to other educational initiatives, such as the Rutgers–Camden Future Scholars program. Ultimately, Ignite aims to kindle students’ interests and capabilities of attending and completing college.

Suffice to say that it’s working.

Click here to read from this article's source.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Rutgers engineering looks at intersection of art in STEM


Written by Danica Sapit

Engineers are adding a new skill to their set: art.

A movement known as “STEAM,” a combination of Science Technology, Engineering and Math and Arts, has taken hold of Rutgers Engineering. The movement has been gaining traction over the last decade, according to the national STEM to STEAM group.

STEAM advocates the intersection of science, technology, engineering and math with the arts and humanities in a push for innovation, as defined by the Rhode Island School of Design’s website.

This ideology has begun to permeate in the Rutgers School of Engineering through education, research and campus organizations.

Various student-run arts and humanities clubs have risen out of the School of Engineering, such as the Engineering Honors Book Club and the recently formed School of Engineering Art and Photography Club.

Jean Patrick Antoine, assistant director of the Governor’s School of New Jersey, is the adviser for both clubs. He introduced three honors engineering students skilled in illustration and photography to each other to start the club.

Nitika Yadlapalli, a School of Engineering first-year student and co-founder of the Art and Photography Club, said the goal of the club is to create an outlet for engineers to express their artistic skills.

Christopher Guevera, a School of Engineering sophomore and the club’s co-founder, said art does not conflict with the ideals of engineering because engineers need creativity, not just calculations, to create anything new. Michelle Chernick, a Rutgers Engineering senior, also co-founded the club.

The School of Engineering Art and Photography club plans to begin to integrate music and creative writing into future plans, if interest proves strong enough, Yadlapalli said.

The club hopes to become an Engineering Governing Council society for funding of future art exhibitions and field trips, as well as monthly online competitions, talks, and workshops.

“STEAM works because … [we] don’t have only a left brain or a right brain,” Antoine said. “We have a brain.”

The advent of STEAM has laid the foundation for stronger bridges between each of the different engineering majors and designers.

The Rutgers Makerspace club on Livingston campus was founded three years ago by Mason Gross School of the Arts graduate James Brehm, has been a breeding ground for engineering and art student collaborations.

As it is stocked with 3D printers, mills, Arduino circuit boards, a laser cutter, a new Shop Bot and classes in technology or entrepreneurship, Richard Anderson, director of Virtual Worlds in the Division of Continuing Studies, said STEAM has been a good source of creativity.

Anderson said numerous capstone design projects, competition-winning entrepreneurial efforts and hobbyist endeavors were born at the space.

“A ‘maker’ is someone who takes the things around him and builds something new,” he said. “I think of making in crafts, computers, creative writing and so on. Everyone’s a maker.”

While Anderson cannot closely monitor each project, he said he sees numerous engineering, computer science and art students working and teaching each other in the space. Projects include a prototype of clothing with health trackers and a 3D-printed Rutgers Scarlet Knight robot that collects donations.

Engineering, computer science and art are the typical focus, he said, but he wants all students to get involved in making and entrepreneurship in order to get into prototyping. Anderson said this community of sharing works because a frequent overlap exists in the design processes in art and engineering.

What might be an interesting problem for an engineer but an experience for an artist can turn out to be the same project, he said.

“I’m all for bringing STEAM so that people can go into business or just think more broadly in and out of their own field, make things and enjoy changing the world,” Anderson said.

Bahman Kalantari, a professor in the Department of Computer Science at Rutgers, said he has been advocating STEAM since 2000 through his software, Polynomiography. According to his website, Polynomiography is “the art and science of visualization in approximation of zeros of polynomials.”

From Californian high schools to Tokyo middle schools, Kalantari has lectured on Polynomiography to introduce and integrate it into curriculums.

He said Polynomiography is a useful educational tool for getting people of all ages interested in mathematics.

Kalantari described polynomials as “games of hide-and-seek,” in that points in a polynomial equation are “hidden,” and finding that equation will reveal them.

The software’s interface allows people to pick points on a coordinate plane to create an image, and the program calculates the polynomial to produce it, he said. It can also take in an equation and output an image.

Kalantari said this has fostered experimentation and exploration of polynomials that go well beyond what is considered “useful” in education and the workspace.

The program takes a “backward” approach to solving and liberates math as a subject into an art form, he said.

“[Polynomiography] isn’t just images using math,” Kalantari said, “It’s an infinite medium — polynomials — with various uses. Art, math, science and so on.”

On STEAM, he said he would not have considered himself an artist before, but through math, he has grown closer to art.

Rutgers has demonstrated three realizations of STEAM: systematic art, abstract/creative approaches to STEM and symbioses of both.

The School of Engineering Art and Photography team hopes to introduce artistic ideas in fellow engineers, and Polynomiography has forged a balance between mathematics and art.

Many still regard the movement with hesitation.

Kalantari said he has not received funding for Polynomiography from the University since 2000, but this has not halted his passion.

He said many miss the educational value in his software’s images, and therefore, stymie real progress in various fields: mathematics, computer science and art.

Kalantari continues to be invited to lecture globally, in Aresty Undergraduate Research and in Byrne seminars, and he has started a clothing line modeling his “polynomiographs.”

“Engineers need to realize that there’s more to the world out there than math and science,” Yadlapalli said. “Imagine … a world with single-minded engineers. How terrible.”

Click here to read from this article's source.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Bayer donates $100K to fund N.J. student visits to STEM education lab


Written by Jessica Mazzola

EAST HANOVER — Students from a Newark middle school got a first-hand look at what they and about 7,000 other New Jersey students will experience over the next two years, thanks to a $100,000 grant from the Bayer Corporation to STEM education nonprofit Students 2 Science, Inc.

Bayer President Philip Blake was joined by N.J. Senator Cory Booker and astronaut Mae Jemison – the spokesperson for the company’s Making Science Make Sense initiative – at S2S’s laboratory in East Hanover yesterday to present the organization with a $100,000 grant, the company announced.

S2S hosts students from north and central New Jersey at its lab to give kids hands-on, real-world science experiment experience. The grant will fund visits from nearly 200 schools to the lab over the next two years. About two-thirds of the students are from New Jersey Schools Development Authority schools.

Either graders from Newark’s Link Community Charter School attended the announcement yesterday, and performed four periodic table-related experiments at the lab, the company said.

Bayer Corporation President Philip Blake presents a $100,000 grant to Students2Science on October 15, 2014. Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and NASA Astronaut Dr. Mae Jemison were on hand for the event. (Courtesy Bayer Corporation)
Jessica Mazzola | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

“Bayer, Students 2 Science and I all know that increased education in science, technology, engineering and math drives innovation in our communities, in our state, and throughout our country,” Booker said in the release.

“With this grant, Bayer is investing in New Jersey’s future and ensuring that our students have access to quality education in innovative fields that will help grow our economy."

Blake said in the release that he thinks other science-based companies should back STEM education initiatives.

“Students 2 Science plays an invaluable role in STEM education here and offers STEM companies throughout the region unique volunteer opportunities for their scientists and engineers. We, at Bayer, urge them to get involved.”

Click here to read from this article's source.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Girls learn about career paths at STEM program hosted by Somerset County Commision on Status of Women


Nineteen middle-school girls from six area school districts got a hands-on introduction to potential STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) careers at a recent program sponsored by the Somerset County Commission on the Status of Women.

“This was an excellent opportunity for the girls to get a closer look at these specialized career paths in a fun and engaging way,” said Freeholder Patricia Walsh, liaison to the commission. “Too often girls aren’t encouraged to pursue STEM careers. Hopefully this will help expand their interest in these fields.”

Presenter at the free workshop, held at the Somerset County Vocational & Technical High School, was Dana Egreczky, senior vice president of workforce development at the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce.

Each school district in Somerset County was invited to send two girls to this event whom the districts believed would be inspired to improve or show more interest in the STEM areas. One teacher from each school district also was invited to observe, as were parents.

During the workshop, the girls played The Hiring Game. The game focused on the skill sets needed to be competitive in STEM careers.

For more information, contact Commission Chair Jane O’Donnell at 908-234-9302.

Click here to read from this article's source.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

GoldieBlox, The Toymaker Trying To Get Girls Hooked On Engineering, Goes Digital With New iOS App


Written by Sarah Perez

GoldieBlox, the San Francisco Bay Area startup focused on building toys for girls aimed at getting them hooked on engineering, has this morning taken its first steps into the digital realm with the debut of a new iOS application – the company’s first – GoldieBlox and the Movie Machine, as well as a “digital playground” called Bloxtown.com.
The new app works as a way to engage with the GoldieBlox brand as a standalone experience, but also ties in with the company’s physical toys, by allowing kids to print out their animations and other creations and then use those cards along with their real-world toys, if they choose.
GoldieBlox, for those unfamiliar, has been selling a series of construction sets designed to appeal to girls’ interests – instead of building scary robots, for example, the toys let girls build machines that move and spin and include cute characters like cats and puppies, accompanied by a storybook that guides the action. The startup is probably best known for its marketing campaign which this year included a high-profile Super Bowl ad that parodied the toy industry’s obsession with using the color pink for its “girl” toys and focusing on “fluffier” activities like playing princess in a castle.
While I personally don’t think there’s any problem with girls playing make-believe, I agree with GoldieBlox’s overall vision which is that girls deserve a wider variety of toys, including those that encourage making and building and, you know, actually thinkingabout things.
The new iOS app supports that same agenda with an app that’s fun, but also educational. The app uses the voice talents of Kari Byron of TV’s “MythBusters,” and and Emily Haines of the rock band Metric, and marks the debut of the company’s first animated short, where Goldie and friends build a zoetrope to save the Bloxtown Film Festival.
The app’s educational value comes in as teaches the basics of animation by having kids create 12-frame animated GIFs through additive illustration.
Those creations can then be uploaded and (soon) shared on Bloxtown.com, where kids can also explore educational tutorials, view others’ creations, and check out the character Goldie’s world for the first time.
As an iOS app, the company also seems to be crossing over into more “unisex” territory, as nothing about the app seems to necessarily discourage boys from also enjoying it.
“While our mission as a company is to introduce engineering concepts to girls and give them confidence to get building, reaching girls only gets us half way there. We believe having boys grow up with a girl role-model who is an engineer is vital to changing the perception that girls can’t be inventors,” explains Beau Lewis, Vice President of Digital at GoldieBlox. “We regularly hear from parents that their boys love playing with the toys just as much.”
In fact, GoldieBlox even recently added a boy character to the Goldie story named Li Gravity. “At the end of the day, it’s all about leveling the playing field,” says Lewis.
His statements mirror some of the new rhetoric around how to best enact changes that can help eliminate the sexism in today’s culture, and specifically in the tech industry. It is not, perhaps, all about having girls who try out engineering concepts through play, but about making sure that when they’re ready to take further steps later in life to actually study engineering or work in the field, the “boys” respect them as peers, not oddities.
Of course, the company’s expansion into digital (and to boys), could also hint at GoldieBlox’s need to beef up its revenue in new ways. Though the app is free, it’s designed to complement – and therefore encourage – sales of its physical toys, which now includes six GoldieBlox storybook and toy construction sets, ranging from $19.99-$59.99.
The company declines to share its revenue figures, sales, or customer numbers – a reluctance that may speak to the fact that its initial products are moving slower than it would want to brag about, despite the company’s heart-warming mission. A digital playground could give the company more opportunities to experiment with which concepts actually draw in young, would-be engineers – male or female – whether that’s building machines or animating GIFs or something else entirely.
The new app is a free download here.
Click here to read from this article's source.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Girls in IT - apply by 11/2 for NCWIT Award for Aspirations in IT


Calling all girls with an interest in IT/Computing!

Apply now for the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) Award for Aspirations in Computing.

Eligibility:
  • girls, grades 9-12
  • citizens of the U.S.
  • applicants with a demonstrated, outstanding aptitude and interest in IT/Computing and demonstrated leadership ability
  • past applicants, including National and local Affiliate runners-up and local Affiliate winners
Educators, please share this with your female students who are involved in, or interested in, Information Technology.

Additionally, the Aspirations in Computing Educator Award recognizes teachers, counselors and other educators that make a special effort to support girls' interest in technology.

Applications are being accepted until November 2, 2014.

Find out more information and apply at: www.aspirations.org/

Click here to learn more and apply.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Apply by 11/15 and join the Maker Movement with a grant from Cognizant


Cognizant is a leading provider of information technology, consulting and business process outsourcing services, dedicated to helping the world's leading companies build stronger businesses. Their education initiatives in the U.S. focus on expanding and enhancing STEM education by increasing exposure to, and interest in, STEM learning activities.

Cognizant is now accepting applications for the 2015 Making the Future afterschool and summer program.  Developed in partnership with the Maker Education Initiative and the New York Hall of Science, the program provides grants to community organizations to run hands-on, Maker-Movement inspired programs in an afterschool or summer-camp setting.  Cognizant believes that Maker activities not only engage and excite kids but can spark interest in STEM and the arts, as well as develop their creative capabilities.  Maker programs include a diverse range of STEM topics, including electronics, robotics, computer programming, digital fabrication, 3-D printing and wearable technology.
Child-serving U.S. nonprofit organizations wishing to run afterschool, in-school and summer Maker programs can apply from now through Nov. 15, 2014.  Making the Future grants can cover costs for tools, materials, instructor fees, and other expenses essential to meeting the needs of the children participating in the program.
Want to learn more about making? The Maker Education Initiative is a fantastic resource for getting started in making, facilitating programing and more. You can also watch our webinar series on making in afterschool — part 1part 2, and part 3.
Click here to read from this article's source.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Apply by 11/24 for the Verizon Innovative App Challenge & win $20K for your school!


GATHER YOUR TEAM.
DREAM UP YOUR IDEA.
WIN $20,000 FOR YOUR SCHOOL!

NO DEVICES OR CODING EXPERIENCE NEEDED.
Just submit a great idea and you could win.

The goal of the Challenge is to increase student interest and knowledge in STEM subjects and mobile technology through an engaging and empowering learning experience.

Click here to dowhnload the 2014 - 2015 App Challenge Flyer


The Verizon Innovative App Challenge is an exciting, creative and collaborative competition that offers $20,000 grants for winning middle schools and high schools and Samsung Galaxy Tabs for students on the winning teams. Designed to ignite students’ interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), the Challenge shows students exciting new possibilities for their futures, opening doors they may never have known were there.
  • Working with a faculty advisor, teams of 5 - 7 students develop an original concept for a mobile app that incorporates STEM principles and content and addresses a real need or problem in their school or community. While designing their apps, students consider marketplace need, usefulness, audience and viability and align their app concept with one of the three Verizon Foundation focus areas of Education, Healthcare or Sustainability. Teams submit their design concepts online through an App Concept Overview and Summary, a three-to-five minute Video and Essay Responses.
  • The top middle school and top high school teams that meet all contest requirements will be named "Best in State" and be eligible for consideration as "Best in Region" winners. Team members will be invited to participate in a live STEM related webinar hosted by the Verizon Foundation.
  • Twenty-four (24) Best in Region winners will be selected from the Best in State teams around the country based on a judging rubric. Each of the twenty-four (24) regional winning schools (12 middle school and 12 high school teams) will receive $5,000 cash grants plus virtual support and training to help them build out their app concepts.
  • A distinguished panel of STEM educators and corporate innovators will then judge the Best in Region teams’ app concepts and designs based on their online submissions and their presentations during a live webinar. The four (4) top middle school and four top high school teams will be selected and announced as 2015 Verizon Innovative App Challenge winners.
  • Each of the eight (8) winning schools (4 middle school and 4 high school teams) will receive additional $15,000 cash grants plus professional support and training to help them build out their app concepts and bring them to life. Each student on the eight winning teams will receive a Samsung Galaxy Tab and be invited to present their developed apps in person – on their new tablets – at the 2015 National Technology Student Association Conference in Dallas, Texas in June, 2015.
The Verizon Innovative App Challenge offers a unique opportunity for students around the country to participate in a rich, project-based learning experience that fosters teamwork and encourages them to explore new ideas and consider future careers in STEM.
Click here to learn more and apply!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Microsoft releases diversity stats, says 'much work' still to be done


Written by Mary Jo Foley

The firm shares updated stats, showing that it's grown the percentage of women in its overall workforce from 24 percent to 29 percent -- though in tech positions the figure is lower.

Women now comprise 29 percent of Microsoft's worldwide workforce, up from 24 percent over the past year, according to new figures released by the company.

Microsoft made available new diversity stats and launched a new diversity and inclusion Web site on October 3.

Other new data the company shared today:

  • The number of Microsoft senior executive women and minorities rose from 24 percent to 27 percent in the past year.
  • The percentage of women and minorities on the Microsoft board of directors is up from 33 percent to 40 percent compared with last year.

Microsoft's workforce is currently 60.6 percent Caucasian, 28.9 percent Asian, 5.1 percent Hispanic/Latino, 3.5 percent American/African Black, 1.2 percent multiracial, .5 percent American Indian/Alaskan native and .3 percent Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander.

When looking at the Microsoft tech (versus nontech) workforce, the percentage of women is a lower 17.1 percent, according to Microsoft's data.

Comparatively, Google's latest diversity data showed its workforce was 30 percent women and 61 percent Caucasian.

Lisa Brummel, Microsoft's executive vice president of human resources, sent an email to all employees to mark the release of the latest information.

Click here to read more from this article's source.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Talk about STEM! New Mexico hopes 'singing road' curbs speeding


TIJERAS, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico transportation officials are hoping a "singing road" along historic Route 66 will curb speeding.

Tigress Productions is creating the road between Albuquerque and the mountain community of Tijeras for a new National Geographic Channel series dubbed "Crowd Control" that will debut in November.

The road uses a series of rumble strips to create music. The driver will hear the tune as long as the speed limit is obeyed.

There are only a few such "singing roads" in the world.

Aside from getting drivers to slow down, state Transportation Secretary Tom Church says the rumble strips will keep drowsy drivers from falling asleep at the wheel.

He says the goal of the experiment is to change driver behavior in a fun way by giving them a reward for obeying the speed limit.

Click here to read from this article's source.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

NOYCE Foundation and STEM Everywhere video series



The NOYCE Foundation is sharing a couple of recent items on STEM in afterschool and out-of-school time. Take a look!

Bright Lights Community Engagement Award Videos
The seven winners of the Noyce Foundation’s Bright Lights Community Engagement Awards worked with videographer Stephen Brown and his team from Mobile Digital Arts to develop these video stories of their work.  You can learn more about the Bright Lights Awards here.  We encourage you to watch and share these wonderful examples of community engagement.
 
Franklin Institute  https://vimeo.com/104676019
Hands On Children’s Museum  https://vimeo.com/100668530
Monterey Bay Aquarium  https://vimeo.com/104676583
Museum of Science and Industry  https://vimeo.com/104946554
Science Museum of Minnesota  https://vimeo.com/103744091
Tech Museum of Innovation  https://vimeo.com/103541428
 
“STEM Everywhere” video series on out-of-school science 
Also by Mobile Digital Arts:  a new series on Edutopia showing youth engagement in science in informal settings.  Check out the first three videos and blog posts in this series supported by the Noyce Foundation:
 
Skate veteran and educator Bill Robertson, also known as "Dr. Skateboard," teaches students who might have otherwise fallen through the cracks about speed, velocity, and momentum at the local skate park.
 
Eighth-grader Quin uses his passion for electronics to teach fellow students about 3D printing, arduinos, and other hands-on lessons in STEM skills. 
 
An after-school program at a local science museum sparked high school student Mariah's passion for teaching and learning about science, technology, engineering, and math. Now she thrives in an internship where she mentors middle school kids.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

STEM Education is Growing! Help us keep the momentum going! Here's how


Thanks to you, we've gained an even larger audience to help increase out-of-school STEM education and create more #MomentsThatClick.

We appreciate all of your help and would like to ask for your continued assistance!


As a registered user of Click2Science, we'd like to ask you to download and attach this web badge to your organization's website. Here are a few reasons to wave the flag:

  • It helps make your organization more marketable: Your staff is teaching youth STEM skills, preparing them to take the science, technology, engineering and math jobs that don't even exist yet.
  • Click2Science is a not-for-profit, funded by the NOYCE Foundation and others.
  • Click2Science is credible. Our lessons and curriculum have been developed by a team of researchers at a leading land-grant university. 
  • Click2Science empowers your staff. And a more empowered staff can help increase a child's retention. 

Visit Click2SciencePD.org today to download your own web badge and wave your flag!

You can also show your love for Click2Science by following us on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Latinas in STEM: Making Bright Futures a Reality


Written by Mónica I. Feliú-Mójer

Editor’s note: During National Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 to October 15), Ciencia Puerto Rico and Borinqueña are celebrating the work of organizations inspiring, supporting and empowering Latinas in STEM fields. You can read the following post in Spanish here.

Latinas have a bright future in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Latina girls love learning how things work. They love building things. They think it would be fun to design a video game or an app. Unfortunately, they have fewer opportunities and resources to make that bright future a reality 1.

The Latinas in STEM Foundation is leveraging family, culture and community to change that. Founded in 2013 by five alumnae from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the organization aims to inspire young Latinas to pursue careers and thrive in STEM fields.

“We want to spread awareness about STEM and to encourage Latinas in K-12 grades, especially within underserved communities, to strongly consider pursuing a STEM career,” says Diana Albarrán Chicas, an electrical engineer who is a co-founder and the financial director of Latinas in STEM. Fellow co-founders are Noramay Cadenas, Luz Rivas, Jazlyn Carvajal and Veronica Garcia.

Inspire, Pursue, Thrive

The founders of Latinas in STEM Foundation felt there was a need for a “for Latinas, by Latinas” approach because as Latinas working in STEM industries “we see the brutal reality of the statistics… we really wanted a way to outreach directly to the community and increase the number of Latinas entering STEM fields,” says Noramay Cadena, co-founder and executive director of the organization. In the United States, Latinas make up just 2 percent of the STEM workforce (despite representing 8.1 percent of the U.S. population) 2.

The five successful Latinas who created the foundation were inspired to pursue careers in STEM by hearing about the experience of people like them, working in STEM fields. Now they want to pay it forward by inspiring the next generation of Latinas in STEM.

To achieve this, the Foundation has established programs that impact the lives of girls and young women, from primary to higher education to professionals.

The STEM 101 conferences (recently held in New Jersey, California and Texas) include hands on workshops in which middle school and high school girls can build robots or prototype mobile apps. These conferences also include workshops to help students explore STEM fields, to prepare for college admissions and the financial aid processes, and to provide them with advice on how to succeed as Latinas in STEM fields.



Latinas in STEM also offers the Summer Enrichment Program, involving elementary students (grades three to five) with hands-on workshops that allow students to explore chemistry by making their own shampoo or engineering by building bridges. Although many of their programs so far have focused on school-aged girls, Latinas in STEM is currently working on reaching out to college students and professionals.

“We also seek to help Latinas in STEM thrive in their college and professional careers by providing mentorship, networking and recognition opportunities,” adds Albarrán Chicas.

Recently, they hosted STEM Night, a networking event sponsored by El Camino College and Chevron, for professionals, educators and non-profits. Latinas in STEM is also having a college and professional membership drive that is meant to help them connect to Latinas in STEM fields around the country.

Familia, cultura y comunidad

Cultural and family values have strong influence on Latina girls’ decision to go to college and pursue a career in STEM. Family support and encouragement have been shown to be important for persistence of Latinos/as in STEM fields 3.

Unfortunately, Latino parents and families are often unable to provide their children with the academic, financial and emotional support they need to get through to finish a career in STEM 4,5.

“We aim to not only educate students, but most importantly their parents so that they may be better positioned to support their daughters along this challenging journey,” says Albarrán Chicas.

During the STEM 101 conferences, Latinas in STEM offers bilingual workshops for parents that focus on why STEM fields are thriving, the college admissions and financial aid processes, and the importance of supporting/encouraging their children to pursue STEM fields.

Whenever they hold a workshop or a conference, Latinas in STEM taps into the local community of STEM professionals to facilitate workshops and serve as volunteers. Many of these professionals are Latinas and Latinos, providing attendees with role models that look like them, who are part of their community.

“We have been fortunate to have many supporters along the way, including all of our local STEM professionals, the volunteers who logistically have helped our conferences run smoothly. Our growing membership has also been very valuable in supporting our current efforts and our new initiatives. We have had great support from our many partners and educational institutions that believe in our mission,” says Albarrán Chicas.

Their work is having great impact. To date, the Latinas in STEM Foundation has reached over 2,200 girls, 350 parents and 550 professionals.

“Throughout our conferences parents and students have approached us, thanking us for bringing our conferences to them and explaining why STEM is important,” says Albarrán Chicas. “The most common question is always: will you be coming back next year? There is something priceless about hearing how grateful the students and parents are with our efforts.”

References:

  1. Modi, Schoenberg & Salmond (2012). Generation STEM: What Girls Say About Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, p. 20-24. Girl Scouts Research Institute.
  2. Women, Minorities and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering (2013). National Science Foundation.
  3. Garcia and Hurtado (2011). Predicting Latina/o STEM Persistence at HSIs and non-HSIs. Downloaded on September 14th, 2014 from: http://ow.ly/BuymQ.
  4. Taningco, Mathew, & Pachon (2008). STEM Professions: Opportunities and Challenges for Latinos: A Review of Literature. The Tomás Rivera Policy Institute.
  5. Villegas, M.A.S, and Vincent, K.M. (2005). Factors that Influence the Underrepresentation of Latino/a Students Majoring in Mathematics in the State of Washington. WSU McNair Journal, 3, 114-129.

Click here to read from this article's source.

Friday, October 3, 2014

National Initiatives Help Minorities Prepare for College Course Work


Written by Delece Smith-Barrow

For many minority teens, getting into college is one challenge, but thriving in college is an entirely different battle.

Only 34 percent of black high school graduates who took the ACT in 2014 were ready for college-level English courses, and 14 percent were ready for college-level math, according to a recent report from the testing organization. Among Hispanic test takers, 47 percent were ready for college-level English and 29 percent were ready for college-level math.

The percentages for white students were significantly higher: 76 percent for English and 52 percent for math.

This data comes on the heels of an April Pew Research Center report that says Hispanics are enrolling in college at a higher rate than black and white students, but few are actually getting bachelor's degrees.

A number of factors can influence how well students grasp academic concepts that will help them in college, experts say.

Students from low-income backgrounds, who are often minorities, may go to schools that don't push them to master certain math concepts. Instead, they are passed on to the next grade even if they are not ready to advance, says Theresa Price, founder and executive director of the National College Resources Foundation. The foundation puts together college expos for African-American and Latino students, provides SAT and ACT preparation and offers other support services.

"Math is the No. 1 subject that students need help in," says Price. "If you miss the basics, how can you move on?"

Minority students who struggle in math, English and other subjects can get help from several national organizations. Price's foundation, as well as organizations such as Talent Development Secondary and Upward Bound, are trying to meet their needs and aid them in their college admissions endeavors.

The National College Resources Foundation is based in California but serves students across the country using partnerships with some of its affiliates located in other regions, says Price.

For $20 an hour – a fee that's not set in stone for families facing great financial need – students can receive tutoring in specific subjects from peer advisers, who also provide help with filling out college applications.

Talent Development Secondary takes a slightly different approach by reaching middle and high school students in their classrooms.

The Maryland-based organization operates within the school of education at Johns Hopkins University and uses various strategies to "turn around the most challenged secondary schools in the country," says Charles Hiteshew, Talent Development Secondary's CEO. It develops curriculum and is hired by school districts to help teachers and students transform their learning environment. The vast majority of students it reaches are African-American​ and Latino, says Hiteshew.

Talent Development Secondary ​is involved in a partnership with other organizations, including​ ​City Year, which allows college and high school graduates to mentor students and tutor them in math and English.

"It's an incredibly rewarding experience," says Hiteshew.

High school students who want tutoring in math and English, but would rather it be in a more collegiate environment,​ can turn to the Upward Bound program for help. Upward Bound is federally funded and located at a number of community colleges and undergraduate institutions throughout the U.S.

Click here to read from this article's source.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

$150 million move for one of Hudson County's high schools


Written by Matthew Speiser

Reviving a nearly 10-year-old idea, Hudson County is ramping up plans to move High Tech High School from its North Bergen location to a new campus in Secaucus.

"For a while it seemed like a good idea that would never happen," said Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise. "But now it seems the (freeholders) vote could happen within the next six months."

The relocation of High Tech and the other county school, County Prep in Jersey City, has been a topic of discussion for many years. But with major renovations underway at County Prep, county officials changed their minds.

Officials also said that a majority of County Prep students live in Jersey City, and it made sense to keep the school at its current home on Montgomery Street.

The decision to secure the funds and guarantee the High Tech move will likely be voted upon by the county freeholders in the coming months, thanks to a recent grant given by the state Schools Development Authority, DeGise said.

"We've conceptually approved the project," said Hudson County Freeholder Bill O'Dea. "Now the county has to vote on the amount they will contribute."

The relocation will cost an estimated $150 million, of which the state has already agreed to contribute 59 percent, or roughly $88.5 million, DeGise said. The county would have to pay the other $61.5 million, officials said.

Part of the county's share of the cost would come from selling the 15-acre plot of land in North Bergen where High Tech is currently located.

That land is valued at somewhere between $15 million and $20 million, according to Frank Gargiulo, superintendent of the Hudson County Schools of Technology.

"It makes a lot of sense to move, otherwise we're going to keep pouring money into a bad property," Gargiulo said if the High Tech facility, a converted factory between rail lines and the heavily trafficked Tonnelle Avenue.

The new campus would be located on county-owned property currently leased to Field Station: Dinosaurs, close to Secaucus Junction and the famous Snake Hill on the Hackensack River.

"It's a very distinct geography over there," said DeGise. "We plan to incorporate that into the curriculum, (and) it was one of the things that attracted the decision-makers in Trenton."

Gargiulo plans on adding many amenities to the campus that are worthy of High Tech's academic reputation.

"We have one of the best performing arts and music programs in the state," said Gargiulo. "We need to add a theater and a sound-proof music room, as well as STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) facilities such as an engineering lab."

The reason it has taken so long for the plan to be put into action is that the county has spent the better part of the past 10 years waiting for the state Department of Education to approve the project and provide funding, O'Dea said.

During that time, Gargiulo secured an estimated $18 million in county money to renovate County Prep in Jersey City. That renovation will include a brand new gymnasium and several new science classrooms. Construction has already started on the project.

O'Dea added that the new Secaucus campus will be completed roughly three years after the funding is approved.

"If we can get this to happen, we will be set for a while," said DeGise. "We will have two state-of-the-art schools in Hudson County.

Click here to read from this article's source.