March 4, 2019 STEMdaily

by STEMconnector

In today’s STEMdaily, a UVA professor dissects the new astrophysicist Barbie in an op-ed for USA Today, NBC News Learn encourages latinx engineers, what to expect in an online engineering degree program, a review of textbooks that are supposed to be aligned with NGSS shows disappointing results, and more stories on #MeTooSTEM, the higher ed tech race with China, and Michigan’s K-12 investment.

Click here for the entire 3/4 STEMdaily edition.

Diversity in STEM
Latino engineers want to encourage more to pursue STEM careers (NBC News) 
STEM jobs, a crucial part of the global economy, are growing faster than other industries and tend to pay better than the national average, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Hispanics make up 16 percent of the American workforce, but only 6 percent of scientists and engineers, according to the National Science Foundation. There is ample opportunity in science, technology, engineering and math, according to Latino engineers in several fields. Zaida Hernandez-Irisson, Samantha Dominguez and Emmanuel Rivera spoke to NBC News Learn about their experiences, hoping to encourage others to explore engineering as a career option.

Opinion: Astrophysicist Barbie is perfect. That’s not how you attract more girls to STEM careers. (USA Today) 
The new astrophysicist Barbie, announced by Mattel last month, seems well-intentioned enough: Its goal is to encourage young girls to enter science and engineering fields by wedding Barbie’s glamour and intellectual gusto. In reality, it’s just another cultural message of unattainable perfection, and our messages of perfection for girls are already keeping them out of STEM work at the highest academic levels. Like every woman I know, I could rattle off all my imperfections to you with great ease.

This Scientist Was the Architect of #MeTooSTEM. Now Others Are Fighting to Save Her Job. (Chronicle) 
Over the past two weeks, scientists nationwide have rallied behind a Vanderbilt University professor and prominent anti-harassment activist who is fighting to reverse her tenure denial. BethAnn McLaughlin, an assistant professor of neurology and pharmacology at Vanderbilt’s medical center, has become widely known over the past nine months as the architect of #MeTooSTEM, which began as a website and social-media community where people could tell their stories of experiencing harassment in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields. It’s now a nonprofit organization.


In Tech Race With China, U.S. Universities May Lose a Vital Edge (Fortune) 
The U.S. is still out in front of global rivals when it comes to innovation, but American universities –- where new ideas often percolate –- have reason to look over their shoulder. That’s especially true for technologies like 5G phone networks and artificial intelligence. They’re exactly the fields where President Donald Trump recently insisted the U.S. has to lead — and also the ones where Asia, especially China, has caught up. Universities from China, Korea and Taiwan get more patents than their U.S. peers in wireless communications, according to research firm GreyB Services.

New sensors monitor sick babies without wires blocking hugs (AP) 
Peek into any U.S. hospital’s baby ICU, and you’ll see sick and premature newborns covered in wired monitors that tear at fragile skin and make it hard for parents to cuddle their kids. Now researchers have created tiny skin-like wireless sensors that may finally cut those cords. “This need was so compelling,” said John Rogers, a Northwestern University bioengineer who led the sensors’ development. “Without the wires, it’s much easier for the parents, mothers in particular, to interact and hold their babies.”

Higher Education

What to Expect in an Online Engineering Degree Program (US News and World Report) 
After more than two decades working in the engineering industry, Anupam Sharma decided it was time to take his career to the next level, so the Washington state resident enrolled in an online master’s degree program at the University of California—Los Angeles Samueli School of Engineering with a specialization in data science. The 43-year-old currently works at Microsoft as a senior technical program manager focusing mainly on artificial intelligence. “There was a program in the city in Washington where I live, but they didn’t have an online version, and I didn’t want to waste time traveling because of the full-time job,” says Sharma, who expects to graduate in 2020.

Low-income students aren’t graduating from college at same rate as higher-income students (Detroit Free press) 
Shortly after he completed college, Dillon Frechen found himself facing a new challenge — trying to get students from two rural Muskegon County high schools interested in continuing their education. That meant doing things like taking them on college tours and talking up the benefits of going beyond high school. It also meant helping the students and their families figure out a way to pay for school — a huge barrier for lower-income students.


Science Curriculum Reviews Are Out, and Results Aren’t Great (Education Week) 
The first independent review to weigh whether new science curriculum series are truly aligned to a set of national standards was issued this morning—and mostly, the materials fell well short of expectations. Four of the series—Discovery’s Science Techbook, Carolina Biological Supply Company’s Science and Technology Concepts, and two versions of Teachers’ Curriculum Institute’s Bring Science Alive!—were deemed insufficiently aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards.

Students use 3-D printers to make prosthetics for children (My San Antonio) 
Taylor Authement and Ethan Groom leaned over the 3-D printers, studying the shapes slowly coming to life before their eyes. The printers whirred on a table inside Molly Graham’s internet business class at Northshore High School, their robotic arms tirelessly working through an 11-hour process that would result in the creation of hands from a spool of plastic-like fiber called PLA filament.

Whitmer to call for $180 boost in per-pupil K-12 grant (Detroit Free Press)
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer will call for a $180 boost in the minimum per-student grant for K-12 schools, plus other significant increases in K-12 spending, in her Tuesday budget presentation, The Associated Press reported Monday and Whitmer officials confirmed. The proposed increase would be among the largest a Michigan governor has proposed in recent years, though Gov. Rick Snyder proposed a $240-per-student hike in the minimum per-student grant in his final budget, for 2019.

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