NSF finds gender inclusion benefit within programs

In a report of FY 2011-2016 data, the National Science Foundation finds that rate of female participants in its currently-funded Engineering Research Centers (ERCs) may be higher than for overall engineering programs. Specifically, participation among female faculty is better by about seven percent, by about 15 percent among female undergraduates, and a more modest 1-2 percent increase among doctorate students. This seems to be a significant gain in a field in which male Ph.D.-holders outnumber women 6:1 (per NSF data for 2015).

Second set of NSF INCLUDES awards focuses on increasing STEM diversity

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has announced the recipients of 27 Design and Development Launch Pilots as part of its INCLUDES initiative. The initiative is aimed at enhancing U.S. leadership in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) discoveries and innovations through a commitment to diversity and inclusion. The 27 pilots feature public-private partnerships that will develop blueprints for broadening STEM participation and are funded through two-year, $300,000 grants. Although the vast majority of awardees are based at universities, the program attempts to engage partners from private and corporate philanthropy, industry, non-profits, K-12 school systems, federal agencies and scientific professional societies, and any other organizations affiliated with STEM. A key feature of NSF INCLUDES is its focus on uniting a wide variety of collaborators to generate pioneering solutions to persistent problems. These pilot projects will create an infrastructure that enables large-scale coordination and wider STEM participation.

Creating tomorrow’s STEM leaders in AZ schools

Arizona schools are taking a different approach to developing the next generation of STEM workers and leaders with the Chief Science Officer position, now in 120 schools across the state. The students, from grades six to 12, are elected by their peers and participate in training events where they learn about STEM activities and careers and can advocate for STEM education in their schools. Throughout the year, the students work with industry professionals or community mentors to apply their knowledge in real-world settings. Partners from a variety of organizations help support the training institutes for the students, and frequently host event at their sites or visit the schools. The program garnered the attention of former president Barack Obama and has sparked interest in other states and regions. The Arizona program is a collaborative initiative of Arizona Commerce Authority and Arizona Technology Council Foundation.

Record number of doctoral degrees conferred in US in 2015, NSF

U.S. institutions of higher education awarded 55,006 research doctorate degrees in 2015 according to the National Science Foundation’s Survey of Earned Doctorates (SED). This figure represents the highest number ever reported. The report also highlights several other multi-year trends.

Money and incentives key to STEM teacher recruitment

To recruit more STEM students to teach in their field after graduation, pay them more money says a study by the American Physical Society (APS). Recognizing that innovation relies heavily on STEM initiatives and an educated workforce, the APS in collaboration with the American Chemical Society, Computing Research Association, and Mathematics Teacher Education Partnership set out to learn what discourages students in STEM from eventually teaching the subjects. Although STEM students who responded to a survey indicated they may be interested in the teaching profession, their misconceptions about salary and other factors seem to be keeping them out of teaching.

Parental involvement improves students’ STEM test scores, heightens career interests

A multi-decade study shows a 12 percent increase on the math and science ACT for high school students in Wisconsin whose parents were provided with information on how to effectively convey the importance of STEM to their children, according to the UChicago News. The report also finds that the same students were more likely to take high school STEM classes. The researchers highlight that the increased STEM coursework in high school led to increases in college STEM class enrollment and careers.

Nearly 8.6 million US STEM jobs in 2015, BLS finds

Approximately 6.2 percent of U.S. workers (nearly 8.6 million people) were employed in STEM jobs in May 2015, according to STEM Occupations: Past, Present, And Future from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).  Of those nearly 8.6 million people, nearly half (45 percent) are employed in computer occupations. In addition, seven of the 10 largest STEM occupations were related to computers and information systems including the largest STEM occupation – applications software developers (750,000 people).  STEM occupations provide nearly double the wages of non-STEM occupations.

Manufacturing Competitiveness Relies on Talent

The U.S. ranks second on a global manufacturing competitiveness index, according to the 2016 Global Manufacturing Competitiveness Index by research firm Deloitte Global and the Council on Competitiveness. The U.S. ranking has improved in each of the past studies and is poised to take over that top spot from China by 2020, the study maintains.  However, executives from across the world in responding to the study, noted that talent is the leading factor in determining manufacturing competitiveness, and finding and cultivating that talent is a topic that has received increasing attention from the manufacturing sector. While such rankings provide an interesting focal point, their real value lies in the discussion and attention focused on the subject matter. SSTI recently interviewed several leading thinkers on the subject, finding common calls for changing the approach to the talent pipeline in manufacturing, as well as a cautionary note on rankings.

STEM Education Designed to Reach Broad Audience

One of the greatest assets in transforming STEM education is so simple it is often overlooked: a child’s innate sense of curiosity. Harnessing that curiosity and engaging students in activities that instill a sense of wonder and discovery can help legitimize behaviors that are core to the practice of science and engineering. Experiences that invite play, tinkering, discovery and risk are valuable tools that can reach across every audience to increase an interest in STEM activities, and reach more students, according to STEM 2026.

TechConnectWV Survey Finds 48,500 Employed in STEM Jobs

More than 48,500 are employed in West Virginia’s STEM-related fields, according to an October survey, A Survey: STEM Jobs in West Virginia in 2015, commissioned by TechConnect WV and the West Virginia Department of Commerce. The survey, which used data from 2015, found that 48,553 people, or 6.7 percent of the state’s workforce, are employed in science, technology, engineering or math (STEM)fields – ranking the state higher than the national average of 6.2 percent (as of May 2015). The reported average hourly wage in West Virginia for a STEM-related job is $28.89. And those STEM jobs support another 190,000 jobs in West Virginia, including 56,600 workers employed in the healthcare sector, and 2,420 employed as post-secondary educators in STEM-related subjects.


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