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Student Competitions Support the Next Generation of Engineers

Education World – Sandeep Hiremath

“It’s no secret the world is evolving at a rapid pace, and in order to keep up, young people must be more prepared than ever to enter institutions of higher learning and eventually the workforce. In particular, there is an increasing need for candidates with hands-on experience in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. According to Change the Equation, between the years 2014 and 2024, the number of STEM jobs will grow 17 percent, compared with 12 percent anticipated growth for non-STEM jobs. Knowing this, how do we ensure students are ready to tackle what lies ahead? Enter student competitions. It’s not your typical athletic contest or student election, but instead a competition involving robotics, engineering software, and collaboration.”(more)

What To Do About America’s STEM Education Gap

The Scientific American – Staff Writer

“America has been struggling to keep up when it comes to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education. The U.S. placed 35th and 27th out of 64 countries in math and science respectively according to the 2012 Program for International Student Assessment survey. That stinks. Today, Scientific American and Macmillan Learning held the STEM Summit 4.0 at the New York Academy of Sciences. Educators, entrepreneurs and government employees gathered in a space overlooking the lower Manhattan skyline to listen to and discuss strategies for teaching and engaging students in STEM topics. This year’s theme: The Power of Data.”(more)

STEM education: Not just for the next Neil Armstrong

The Hill – Rep. Randy Hultgren

“”I think I knew as a little girl that I was addicted to the stars and the universe and trying to understand it.”
“I’ve been lucky to have a number of mentors. … For me some of the most exciting [lectures] were on neutron stars, these spinning pulsars.”
“High school teachers were really important. Also my parents — my father always challenged me [with] all kinds of math quizzes.”
This is what some of the top astrophysicists in the world told the Committee on Science, Space and Technology when I asked how they began their journey and were inspired to become scientists. The common thread among all of them? Early, inspiring experiences followed up by relevant school subjects and caring mentors and educators that sparked their interest and gave them a vision of something bigger out there to explore. STEM education — those key subjects of science, technology, engineering and math — was central to their journeys. Yet science and math education isn’t just about building the foundation for a career in research medicine, architecture, space exploration or startup technologies. It’s about learning basic problem-solving.”(more)

Feng: Success bubbles up when science moves from the lab to the community

The Calgary Herald – Patrick Feng

“The relationship between science and the public has sometimes been a rocky one. While surveys show the public generally views scientists in high regard, there remains concern in some quarters about the public’s understanding of science. Worries about getting more students into science and engineering, and public controversies over topics such as climate change and water fluoridation feed the nagging suspicion among some that the public is not interested in science. Last week’s highly successful Beakerhead shows this is not the case. Well over 50,000 people attended the five-day “smash up of art, science and engineering,” making it one of the city’s largest annual events. Not bad for an idea that started only four years ago. Moreover, Calgarians’ enthusiastic response to Beakerhead shows that public interest in science is high, especially if science is served up in something other than a boring lecture.”(more)

Don’t Just Talk About Science With Your Kids, DO Science With Your Kids

Forbes – Chad Orzel

“…science doesn’t have to be complicated…The most important thing kids, and adults for that matter, can get from science is not a set of facts, but a mindset: the idea that questions about the world have answers, and that you can find those answers through careful thinking and empirical testing. The best way to develop that is not just talking about science, but through actually going through the process when the opportunity presents itself…You’re not likely to make any earth-shattering discoveries this way, but you’ll help kids build a mindset that will set them up for future success, in STEM careers or basically any other path they want to pursue. The scientific reasoning process is the most powerful tool we have for figuring out how the world works and using that knowledge to our advantage. And it’s a tool all of us can (and do) use, regardless of age or available resources. So when you have the chance, don’t just talk about science facts with your kids, get out and do some science.”(more)

Balloon ‘spacecraft,’ prosthetic limb and subway vacuum wow White House Science Fair

The Washington Post – Moriah Balingit

“Obama hosted his final White House Science Fair on Wednesday, hobnobbing with young brainiacs and speaking of how their fearlessness and courage in attacking problems as diverse as subway trash and Ebola buoyed his optimism for the future…The science fair is one of the more visible parts of the administration’s broader effort to elevate science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education in the nation’s schools…Jo Handelsman, associate director for science at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, said the administration has worked to increase the recruitment of women and minorities into STEM fields, where they have been historically underrepresented…Handelsman said that if the nation fails to develop experts from traditionally underrepresented groups, there will be a critical shortage of STEM-trained workers.”(more)