February 27, 2019 STEMdaily

by STEMconnector

In today’s STEMdaily, General Motors makes a big announcement at the annual BEYA STEM Conference, PLOS profiles the history of African-American STEM societies for Black History Month, a feature on the importance of liberal arts majors to STEM companies, Congress passes a bill supporting veterans in STEM, research sizing up the effectiveness of coding bootcamps, and why California students might not be ready for their new science test next month.

Click here to view the entire 2/27 STEMdaily. 


Diversity in STEM
General Motors is Making a Large Contribution to the STEM Community (Black Enterprise) 

Thousands of STEM professionals gathered at the annual BEYA STEM Conference in Washington, D.C., to connect and learn from each other, celebrate excellence in the workplace, and nurture the STEM pipeline. Recently, General Motors introduced approximately 250,000 U.S. students, through 58 STEM-related nonprofits, to the world of artificial intelligence, digital and immersive learning, and computational thinking since the announcement of the STEM Impact Compass in New York in June 2017.

Stories of African-American STEM Societies: Part 1 — The First Wave (1895 to 1947) (PLOS) 
When we celebrate STEM history, we tend to focus on individuals singled out for specific inspiring scientific achievements. And that’s great. But this month I wanted to focus on collective effort, and the invaluable work people do to support and advance each other. So I looked for today’s national African-American professional organizations in STEM fields, and dug into their stories. They are a truly awesome vanguard, and far too many for a single post: this is the first of 4. (Please let me know if you know of more!)

Will Me Too Activism Cost Professor Her Job? (Inside HigherEd) 
BethAnn McLaughlin is a hero to many women in academe, especially those in science. She founded a nonprofit called #MeTooSTEM to draw attention to the harassment of women in academic science, much by prominent men who are considered leaders of their fields. She has spoken out against “harassholes” and has named names in public speeches, asking why some scientists are still showered with honors for their science despite the way they have treated women. She has urged members of the National Academy of Sciences to resign unless all harassers are removed from its ranks. 

Higher Education

Dear Liberal Arts Major: STEM Companies Need Your Skills to Grow (EdSurge) 
Jennifer Wolochow majored in philosophy and religion at Stanford, hoping to become a high school teacher. But instead of a classroom, Wolochow now works on the Silicon Valley campus of a company that’s using technology to make learning more accessible to people throughout the world. Her career journey, which led her to Coursera, a startup that develops online courses and educational programs, highlights a trend that has become more pronounced in the last few years. More STEM companies are hiring workers with liberal arts backgrounds, according to a recent report.

Penn will not reclassify economics as a STEM major, despite past considerations (Daily Pennsylvanian) 
In January 2018, Penn administrators were considering reclassifying economics as a STEM major, which would help international students navigate the work visa application process. But more than a year later, the department is no longer exploring the option. “My understanding is that they have a STEMmajor and are happy with the current configuration of options for students interested in Economics,” Associate Dean Peterman wrote. “Those who want to pursue a STEM major should declare Mathematical Economics.” 


Bill co-sponsored by U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb helping vets pursue STEMcareers passes House (Beaver County Times) 
A bill co-sponsored by U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb that encourages veterans to pursue careers in STEM passed the House on Monday. The Supporting Veterans in STEM Careers Act passed on a voice vote and now heads to the Senate for consideration. It was introduced by U.S. Rep. Neal Dunn, R-Fla., on Jan. 10, and Lamb, D-16, Mount Lebanon, was an original co-sponsor. According to a release from Lamb’s office, the bill promotes veterans pursuing STEM careers and directs NSF to develop a comprehensive outreach plan to increase veteran participation in its STEM education and research programs.

800 People Attend DOE-Supported STEM Night at Oak Ridge School (ENERGY.GOV) 
Nearly 20 employees from DOE’s offices of EM and Science supported a local middle school’s first STEM night, which attracted more than 800 students and their family members. Jefferson Middle School’s recent event provided the students and families the opportunity to learn and have fun. Organizers designed activities to share ideas, resources, and opportunities in the STEM fields. Those fields are central to the technical work occurring in DOE’s Oak Ridge operations, which employ about 12,000 people and have a $5.6 billion economic impact in Tennessee. 



Research Study Sizes Up Tech Boot Camps (Inside HigherEd) 
Boot camps have been hailed by policy makers as a cost-effective and fast way to provide workers with new tech skills, but research published last week highlights how little is known about these providers. A study of the boot-camp landscape by RTI International classified just 50% of boot camps as comprehensive career-preparation programs. The study suggests access to these comprehensive programs may be limited for nontraditional students — over half required tests and interviews to get in, the majority were only offered in person and the median cost was $13,500. 


University-hosted sites carry out statewide initiative to elevate K-12 STEM instruction (UAH) 
The Alabama Math, Science, and Technology Initiative (AMSTI) is well-known throughout the state as a provider of high-quality math and science instruction to over 900 schools through its 11 university-hosted sites. But less well known is the initiative’s origin story, which dates back nearly 20 years to the establishment of its inaugural site at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH). Today, in addition to hosting the annual Summer Institute, Holt and her team provide year-round hands-on training and resources to teachers from well over 100 participating schools in the North Alabama region. 


California students may not be ready for new science test (EdSource) 
Next month California students will start to be tested on the state’s new science standards for the first time, but with little instruction in the subject in elementary school and few aligned textbooks they aren’t likely to be ready. The state had to develop the new test aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards, adopted in 2013, to replace the old standards put in place in 1998. The new standards, which begin in kindergarten, emphasis critical thinking over rote memorization, more hands-on science projects and require students to investigate, collect and use data, and give evidence-based explanations for what they discover.

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