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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)

Better Education Will Mean Better Health for Young Women and Girls

The Huffington Post – Julia Gillard

“If we invest in girls’ schooling, health benefits will follow. A better-educated girl is less likely to get HIV and more likely to be able to make her own choices about when she marries and how many children she’ll have. And it not only makes a difference for her, it makes a difference for generations to come…We must continue to place a high premium on access to and the quality of education; because this is the best tool we have for keeping our girls healthy…Given the virtuous cycle between a young woman’s health and access to quality education, we must ask ourselves – what can we do to make a difference?”(more)

How female science, math teachers influence whether young women major in STEM fields

Journalist’s Resource – Kelly Peaton

“Jobs in STEM fields often are high paying and in high demand, which is why government leaders have been pressing colleges and universities to produce more STEM graduates…the reality is that far fewer women and minorities enter careers in the so-called STEM fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics…A January 2016 study published in Social Problems considers how teacher demographics could influence that effort…The authors state that female math and science teachers may help encourage interest among girls by pushing them to take risks and go against stereotypes and by raising their confidence in their abilities. They note the importance of focusing on students’ high school years to help boost the number of women entering STEM-related fields.”(more)

Overrated Men

Inside Higher Ed – Josh Logue

“Male students appear to consistently and significantly overrate the abilities of other male students, whereas female students showed no such bias, according to a new study in the journal PLoS ONE. Researchers at the University of Washington surveyed more than 1,700 students in three introductory biology classes, asking them to nominate those who they felt were doing exceptionally well in the class. Even after controlling for outspokenness and actual graded performance, male students in each of the classes consistently overestimated the performance of other men to the tune of an assumed 0.765 bump in grade point average. Effectively, for an outspoken female student to be nominated at the same rate as an outspoken man, her class GPA would need to be three quarters of a point higher than that of the guys.”(more)

Tech Would Be Better If More Women Designed It

Forbes – Nick Morrison

“Getting more women into the STEM workforce would lead to better performance and better products, according to global consultancy firm Accenture. The Fortune Global 500 company was today hosting a series of events aimed at encouraging girls to consider careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) subjects when they leave school. Women make up just a quarter of the STEM workforce but closing the gap would not only help tackle the skills shortage in the tech industries, it would also lead to better performance, said Emma McGuigan, managing director of Accenture’s technology division in the U.K. and Ireland. “We all know that you get the best team performance when you have diverse teams and people from different genders and backgrounds. That is when you get the best ideas,” she said.”(more)

Girls Who Code Offers Summer Programs, Scholarship Funds

Education News – Jace Harr

“Girls Who Code, an initiative to draw more girls into computer science-based education, will be hosting 78 Summer Immersion Programs in 2016 and providing $1 million in scholarships to its attendees. The national non-profit will be teaming up with companies and philanthropic foundations for these programs, which aim to close the gender gap in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields…Girls Who Code founder and CEO Reshma Saujani said: “This incredible expansion shows the technology sector has finally woken up to its gender gap problem and is moving quickly to show many more young women they have a future in the industry. I want to thank all of our partners who are as committed as we are to reversing long-held assumptions about what an engineer should be and opening up many new doors for women across the nation.””(more)