STEM Beats - June 2015

The Power of Partnerships: From the Classroom to the Boardroom

June 30, 2015

For today’s students, forging a path from the classroom to the boardroom requires much more than tireless focus and persistent passion. More than ever before, students need opportunities to learn real-world, hands-on skills from actual STEM professionals—whether in afterschool programs or true work-based learning opportunities. Increasingly, it is these kinds of opportunities that help young people develop the important skills they need to climb the corporate ladder—like problem solving, analytical thinking, and a willingness to innovate and experiment, even through failure.

The problem is that many of our nation’s students, even those who make it through college, aren’t receiving that solid foundation. In a recent survey by the American Association of Colleges and Universities, fewer than one in four employers said four-year college graduates are good at applying their knowledge and skills in the real world. That shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. The vast majority of young Americans never get the chance to apply the skills they learn at school.

But Corporate America isn’t sitting on its hands. Yesterday, CTEq CEO Linda Rosen led a discussion before a standing-room-only audience at U.S. News & World Report’s STEM Solutions Conference about how some of the most effective STEM programs – and the businesses that support them – are giving students a strong foundation in STEM through real-world inspiration, hands-on experience, and practical knowledge needed for tomorrow’s jobs. 

The panel featured representatives from two STEMworks programs: the National Academy Foundation, which maintains a national network of high school career academies in critical areas like finance, IT, and engineering; and RoboRAVE, one of the nation’s most innovative K-16 robotics competitions, where young people work with STEM volunteers to design, build, and program autonomous robots. Representatives from CTEq members HP and Qualcomm rounded out the panel, describing the ways in which companies can give more young people real-world experience.

While financial investments in programs that focus on teaching STEM skills—like those in our STEMworks database—are necessary, it’s often investments of time through employee volunteerism that truly spark an interest in STEM fields because students are able to see STEM in action.

Panelists offered diverse visions of how to connect many more young people with real STEM professionals. Pat Brown of NAF shared her organization’s aim to provide all high schoolers substantive internships with real employers in STEM fields. Ed Hidalgo from Qualcomm speculated that there would never be enough internship positions to meet the demand. He envisioned a world in which every young person receives an “experienceship”—some kind of real-world STEM experience that sparks her interest to pursue a STEM field while equipping her with the skills to succeed.

Read our new work-based learning guide or check out Start with STEM and ways companies can help give students the inspiring start in STEM they need to thrive today and in tomorrow’s workforce. You can also check out more about the session here and follow the discussion from the conference on Twitter using the #STEMSolutions hashtag.

Tags: STEMworks

STEMtistic on Display: Novice Science Teachers

June 30, 2015

Novice teachers often lack the resources and professional development to catapult their teaching strategies -- particularly in high-poverty schools. We know that educators, specifically STEM teachers, need our support. Investing in quality STEMworks programs focused on teacher professional development is a great place to start.

Be sure to check out all of our STEMtistics and share your favorites with friends, colleagues, and other STEMthusiasts!

Source: National Science Foundation, Science & Engineering Indicators, 2014

Tags: science, teachers, STEMtistics

Congratulations Are in Order

June 29, 2015

Our very own Craig R. Barrett, chair of the CTEq Board of Directors, and retired chairman and CEO of Intel, has been named to the STEM Leadership Hall of Fame and will be honored tomorrow at the U.S. News STEM Solutions conference. We've always known about his commitment to STEM education and making sure every young person has access to high-quality STEM opportunities -- and we're delighted that he's being recognized for it now.

Barrett has been selected, along with the other inductees, for his leadership in advancing STEM education and workforce development. The other honorees include: Stephen D. Bechtel, Jr., Senior Director, Bechtel Group; Senior Director, Fremont Group; Chairman, S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation; Maria Klawe, Ph.D., President, Harvey Mudd College; Shirley Malcom, Ph.D., Head of Education and Human Resources Programs, American Association for the Advancement of Science; and Eduardo J. Padrón, Ph.D., President, Miami Dade College.

In acknowledging the inductees, Brian Kelly, U.S. News editor and chief content officer, said, "This outstanding group has a proven track record of unwavering commitment to improving STEM education and career engagement. The U.S. STEM Leadership Hall of Fame recognizes pioneers in their own fields who are also instrumental in leading national efforts to better prepare students for tomorrow's workforce needs." We could not agree more!  Congratulations to Craig Barrett and all the 2015 STEM Leadership Hall of Fame inductees!

You can follow the conference conversation on Twitter using the #STEMSolutions hashtag.

Summer's Here - Splash into Science

June 25, 2015

It’s officially the first week of summer and we’re feeling the heat! For many Americans, the beach and pool are favorite getaways. Seriously, there’s nothing like frolicking in cool water on a hot summer day. But, did you know that there’s a ton of science involved in even the most relaxing aquatic activities?

Leaping from a diving board is a perfect example of physics in action -- a projectile motion encompassing vertical acceleration, angular momentum, and the moment of inertia characteristics. This article in Wired breaks down the science in diving by looking at how a diver rotates and what matters in a rotation. Divers do almost all of the work on the diving board -- by putting energy into the board, a diver harnesses the “equal and opposite” (Newton’s Third Law of Motion) and that same energy is eventually transferred back into projecting the diver up and forward away from the diving board.   

Of course, once you land in the water you’ve got to swim. “We couldn’t be less well suited to moving through water if we tried,” says Chris Woodford in his ExplainthatStuff blog about the science of swimming. Instead, we understand the science behind how forces work and use them to our advantage. Woodward discusses the scientific properties of water vs. air, Newton’s laws of swimming, and buoyancy as they relate to swimming (and so much more) -- you’ll never be able to look at the pool the same way after you dive into this piece.

Scuba Diving
Diving 30 feet below sea level can be a ton of fun but also extremely dangerous. Conrad Blickenstorfer at Scuba Diver Info discusses the physics of scuba diving in his article. Bet you didn’t think you’d need a refresher course on Boyle’s, Charles’, Dalton’s, and Henry’s laws from your high school physics class before taking the plunge! All four laws, “the gas laws,” help explain how the gases in our body react under water. The gases inside our body are compressed a great deal the deeper you dive, and the impact of that can be deadly. In fact, Blickenstorfer argues all divers should have a basic understanding of these four laws before going underwater because water is fundamentally different from air and our body and senses work differently once submerged.

Who hasn’t wanted to hit the river and paddle for days to beat the summer heat?  Did you know that the key to kayaking is all about buoyancy? Buoyancy is an upward force exerted by a liquid, gas, or other fluid that opposes an object’s weight. Untamed Science describes buoyancy in simple terms as the force equal to the weight of the water the kayaker displaces. It’s interesting to consider why some objects float and others don’t -- and science can answer that. Check out the video below for more on how kayakers use buoyancy.

We’re all about learning while having summer fun. Once you start viewing the world through a STEM microscope, you’ll find that STEM is truly everywhere -- even in your summer splash. 

Tags: science

STEMtistic on Display: Last in Numeracy

June 23, 2015

Considering the information we recently released in Does Not Compute, this week’s new STEMtistic isn’t shocking –- but it is troubling. Our nation was ranked last place in a numeracy test given to adults age 16-24. If ever there was a time to invest in STEM, and programs like those in STEMworks, it’s now. 

For more, visit the STEMtistics section of our website and search by category to find the perfect fact for your STEM needs.

Source: Organisation for Econoimic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Skills Outlook , 2013.

Tags: math, STEMtistics