STEM Education News

January 12, 2012

In This Issue:

Triangle Coalition Elects New Board of Directors

Triangle Coalition’s membership elected its Officers and Board Members to serve for 2012. We are pleased to welcome seven new members to the Board:

  • Thomas Peters, South Carolina’s Coalition for Mathematics and Science
  • Brenda Quinn, Intelitek, Inc.
  • Shelley Spears, National Institute of Aerospace
  • Mary Sullivan, Rhode Island STEM Center
  • Christine Vernier, Vernier Software
  • Jeffrey Weld, Iowa Math & Science Education Partnership
  • Kichoon Yang, National Council of Teachers of Mathematics

The Triangle Coalition Officers will remain the same as in 2011:

  • President: Mary Burke (Academy of Science of St. Louis)
  • Vice President: Larisa Schelkin (DOME Foundation, Inc.)
  • Secretary/Treasurer: Kendall Starkweather (International Technology and Engineering Educators Association)

We would also like to offer a sincere thanks to Bart Aslin, Marjorie Bardeen, Deborah Bliss, Lynn Elfner, and Claudia Toback, whose terms came to an end on December 31, 2011.

Click here for a current list of the Officers and the full Board with contact information

Boeing Invests in STEM Education Research

South Carolina’s Coalition for Mathematics and Science at Clemson University has begun a new research and innovation program that will identify ways that reading and writing can help middle school students better understand science and mathematics. The program, “Inquiring Minds: Reading to Learn and Innovate in Mathematics and Science,” will be carried out through a $750,000 grant from Boeing South Carolina over the next three years.

“State assessment results show a strong correlation between students’ difficulties with reading informational texts and failure to meet standards in mathematics and science,” says Dr. Tom Peters, Executive Director of the Coalition. “Reading to learn is just as critical as learning to read, especially when it comes to STEM education,” adds Peters, who also serves on the Triangle Coalition Board.

Boeing’s grant will fund research at ten middle school sites still to be selected and engage communities in support of STEM education. South Carolina’s Coalition for Mathematics and Science is seeking additional partners to join in the challenge. S2TEM Centers SC, a statewide network of STEM education support specialists, will provide ongoing, on-site support to participating teachers. To learn more, contact Dr. Tom Peters

President Awards Outstanding Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentors

In December, President Obama honored nine individuals and eight organizations with the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM) for 2010 and 2011. Administered by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the PAESMEM is awarded to individuals and organizations in recognition of the crucial role that mentoring plays in the academic and personal development of students studying science and engineering–particularly those who belong to groups that are underrepresented in these fields. In addition to being honored at the White House, recipients receive awards of $25,000 from NSF to advance their mentoring efforts.

One awardee, Teresa Woodruff, representing the Women’s Health Science Program for High School Girls and Beyond at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine said, “This award is for the hundreds of faculty, staff and students throughout Northwestern University and Northwestern Memorial Hospital who donate their time to mentorship. Our program focuses on the next generation of female leaders. Our goal is to ensure that the future is filled with a diverse group of problem solvers ready to meet the world’s challenges.” The program mentors urban minority high-school girls for college and careers in science and health.

As he announced the awardees, President Obama said, “Through their commitment to education and innovation, these individuals and organizations are playing a crucial role in the development of our 21st century workforce. Our nation owes them a debt of gratitude for helping ensure that America remains the global leader in science and engineering for years to come.”

View the full list of 2010 and 2011 awardees at NSF’s website.

NGA Releases STEM Education Guide

The National Governors Association (NGA) recently released a report, Building A Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math Education Agenda, focused on strengthening STEM education. The National Governors Association (NGA) first addressed STEM in its 2007 report, Building a Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Agenda. This report updates those recommendations in light of recent state progress to improve education standards and other efforts to advance STEM education. In addition, this report incorporates recent data from studies that make the economic case for pursuing a STEM agenda even more compelling than before.

The report’s six brief chapters cover the following issues:

  • Goals of the STEM agenda, focusing on specific measures.
  • Why STEM is important in terms of jobs, prosperity, and future economic success.
  • Where the current system is preventing the graduation of more high school and college students with STEM skills.
  • What is being done and can be done to counter these trends.
  • Concludes with a look at the work ahead.

Governors, state education policy staff, and state education leaders can use this guide to further the implementation of STEM agendas. For more information on NGA’s STEM work, visit

Department Education Releases Race to the Top Progress Report

This week, the U.S. Department of Education released state-specific reports profiling first-year progress on comprehensive education reform under Race to the Top. The reports document reform efforts underway in Delaware, D.C., Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island and Tennessee, the 12 grantees that secured Race to the Top funding in 2010.

The 12 state-specific reports provide summaries of accomplishments and setbacks experienced by states, and offer detailed accounts of work accomplished in year one measured against plans outlined in their applications. Each report is unique to a state’s plan with some grantees using year one to engage stakeholders, secure contracts or establish partnerships that will help implement reforms in years to come, while others have put new systems into place that have already reached districts or schools within their state.

In the final omnibus spending bill for fiscal year 2012, Congress provided an additional $550 million for Race to the Top. The bill includes language that will allow the Department to create a district-level competition and continue the Early Learning Challenge.

Intel Survey Finds Job Variety and Earning Power Motivate Teens Towards Engineering

A survey released by Intel Corporation in December found that lack of familiarity with the profession is a significant barrier to getting American teenagers to pursue engineering careers. Yet, exposure to any facts about engineering, the survey finds, including the breadth of what engineers actually do and, specifically, how much money they earn, leads more than half of teens to say they are more likely to consider engineering as a career. Intel believes that nurturing an interest in engineering in high school, or earlier, is a critical step to building a healthy pool of students poised to graduate with engineering degrees and become part of a stronger American workforce. The survey also confirmed that programs such as robotics and science competitions that offer teens the real-world, hands-on engineering experience can improve the likelihood that they will pursue the subject in college. Intel conducted this survey, in collaboration with Change the Equation, to better understand how to get more American teens interested in engineering as a career. Read about more of the survey’s findings here.

In support of the Presidential Jobs Council’s initiative to graduate 10,000 more engineers each year from U.S. colleges and universities, Intel has committed to double the number of engineering internships offered in 2012 and has launched a new program in which Intel executives visit college campuses across the globe and speak to students about the benefits of engineering careers.

STEM Champions of Change Honored at the White House

On Friday, December 9th, twelve leaders in the effort to recruit and retain girls and women in STEM

fields were honored as White House Champions of Change. These men and women, who include teachers, industry leaders, students, and non-profit leaders, have each taken great strides to reduce the barriers that drive many girls and women to turn away from high-paying, highly rewarding careers as the Nation’s top innovators. A special panel discussion also took place focusing on how these Champions are helping to recruit and retain girls and women in STEM. Watch the video from the Champions of Change panel, or learn more here. Also, read blog posts by the STEM Champions here.

  • Member in the Spotlight:

Triangle Coalition President Selected as AAAS Fellow

Mary Burke, President of the Triangle Coalition, and CEO of the Academy of Science-St. Louis, was recently selected as a new Fellow of AAAS. Election as a Fellow of AAAS is an honor bestowed upon members by their peers in recognition for meritorious efforts to advance science or its applications. Mary was elected to the Section on General Interest in Science and Engineering for distinguished contributions to STEM public outreach, engagement and literacy through leadership of the Academy of Science-St. Louis, NAAS, the Triangle Coalition and the Explorers Club.

Lawrence Bell, of the Museum of Science, Boston, which is also a Triangle Coalition member, was, too, selected as a Fellow to the Section on General Interest in Science and Engineering. Lawrence is recognized for his distinguished contributions to the field of informal science education at the Museum of Science, Boston and leadership of the Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network. Triangle Coalition is pleased to congratulate these two distinguished members.

The 539 new AAAS Fellows will be recognized for their contributions to science and technology at the Fellows Forum to be held on February 18 during the AAAS Annual Meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia.



This week’s STEM Education News is sponsored by 3M.

3M and the 3M Foundation are committed to supporting innovative and practical initiatives which enhance the quality of life in 3M communities around the world. With the goal of helping to develop productive, educated and involved citizens, 3M targets programs that address related education, family, and community issues. Science and math education and youth development are top priorities. In addition to education, 3M also supports health and human services, the arts, and environmental efforts. 3M and the 3M Foundation donate millions to education, arts and cultural, health and human services, and environmental organizations.

To find out how your organization can sponsor the News or support the Triangle Coalition in other ways, click here. __________________________________________________________________

The STEM Education News (formerly the TCEB) is a e-newsletter provided to members and friends of the Triangle Coalition.

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