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January 2010

By: Debbie | January 28 2010 | Category: NIH Resources, Scientists in the Community

Connected computer miceI always knew that I wanted to pursue a career in science, but figuring out how to achieve my goals was another matter altogether. My parents were not college graduates. Although they supported my career goals, they were unable to offer the guidance I needed. I could have used advice on things like: how to finance a college education, how to choose a major, and how to navigate my career options after earning my bachelors degree. I wonder now how differently my career path might have been if a mentor had been there to guide me along the way.
The NIH has taken a very proactive role in helping high school and college students to pursue careers in behavioral and social science, biomedical science, dental, and healthcare careers. Through its LifeWorks® E-mentoring program, students are linked via e-mail with e-mentors who provide them with relevant information, guidance and support.
The NIH continues to recruit new mentors to support students nationwide. If you are an undergraduate student, university professor, postdoctoral fellow, independent researcher, or healthcare worker interested in becoming a mentor, visit the LifeWorks® E-mentoring Web site for more information.
High school and undergraduate students, if you are interested in finding a mentor, visit the LifeWorks® E-mentoring Web site to learn what you need to get started.
By: Gina | January 22 2010 | Category: Tidbits for Teachers

Miss Iowa and students at Coe College, I admit, the last time I paid any attention to the Miss America contest I was about 7 years old - even though my cousin became Miss Moline (Illinois) somewhere along the way. Well, something happening in Iowa has made me take note this year.

You see I recently got an email telling me about Anne Langguth’s work. Who is Anne Langguth? She is a Harvard graduate who majored in government and pre-medicine who will be attending medical school at the University of Iowa this fall, and is – oh by the way – Miss Iowa.

Since being crowned in June 2009, she's traveled throughout the state to support initiatives that promote academic success and wellness.  According to Langguth with her "…Miss Iowa crown as a microphone, I look forward to the opportunity to promote both healthy lifestyles and engagement in the sciences with citizens of our state." She has even teamed up with the University of Iowa Hygienic Laboratory to serve as its Environmental and Public Health Ambassador to raise awareness of a looming shortage in public health workers.

That’s my kind of Miss America! So this year I am definitely rooting for Miss Iowa.
By: Cindy, Paul | January 15 2010 | Category: Issues in Education

President Obama honors educators in math and scienceOn January 7, 2010, in the East Room of the White House, President Obama honored 120 teachers and mentors for “inspiring and educating a new generation in math and science.” The President was quick to point out that all of us have a responsibility to help build an education system that meets the needs of all students, today and for generations to come.
He stressed that the future of the United States’ leadership in scientific discovery and technological innovation -- and thereby its competitiveness in the world economy -- hinges on how our students are educated today, particularly in the STEM fields. Results from a recent international testExternal Web Site Policy show that U.S. students are being outmatched by their competitors (U.S. 15-year-olds ranked 21st in science and 25th in math out of 30 countries tested, for example). The President has set a goal “to move from the middle to the top of the pack in science and math education over the next decade.”
A key part of the President’s plan is to improve the way we recruit, train, support, and retain good teachers. When the Recovery Act became law last year, the Federal government made its largest investment in education in history. It staved off the firing of 300,000 teachers and school workers prompted by state budget shortfalls. Other grants for “innovative programs to train new teachers” will be awarded by the U.S. Department of Education. Additionally, the Department initiated a $4 billion Race to the Top fund that States will compete for by creating innovative programs, especially in science and math education.
President Obama explained that he’s expanding the “Educate to Innovate” campaign – a nationwide effort by citizens, nonprofits, universities, and companies to help improve math and science education.” To augment the multimillion-dollar initiatives by Intel and Dell, the President is asking all 200,000 scientists who work for the Federal government to participate in the campaign. He wants scientists to do whatever they can in their communities to advance science and math education, including speaking at schools, judging at science fairs, and “creating hands-on learning opportunities through efforts like National Lab Day.External Web Site Policy” The hope is that today’s scientists will ignite in students the same interests that drove them to pursue careers in science.
By: Gina | January 8 2010 | Category: Science Lite, Scientists in the Community, Tidbits for Teachers

National Lab Day logo

What is National Lab Day?

National Lab Day (NLD) is more than just a day. It’s a nationwide movement to bring more high-quality, hands-on, discovery-based lab experiences to students in U.S. middle and high schools. To accomplish this, NLD fosters collaborations of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) professionals with educators and students both in and out of school. Activities go on throughout the year, culminating in a May NLD celebration to recognize the projects and their achievements.

Who is National Lab Day?

National Lab Day is a partnership among federal agencies, foundations, professional societies, and other STEM-related organizations. Involved federal agencies include the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and the Department of Energy. Supporting foundations include the Gates Foundation and the MacArthur Foundation. Over 200 professional organizations—with a combined membership of 6.2 million—are working to make National Lab Day a success. The National Science Teachers Association and the American Chemical Society are coordinating the professional organization efforts.

How does National Lab Day work?

Step 1 for requestors. Teachers, museums, and after-school programs post their needs on the NLD websiteExternal Web Site Policy.
Educators set the agenda for NLD. They know their students and their needs. Requests might be for lab equipment, one-on-one mentoring from a scientist, a visit to a working lab, tech support, help with a lesson plan, up-to-date career information, help with a science fair project, chaperones for a field trip, or just an extra set of hands for a class project.

Step 1 for volunteers. Volunteers register and list their skills, expertise, and access to resources on the NLD websiteExternal Web Site Policy .
While all kinds of volunteers are needed, scientists, technologists, engineers, and mathematics undergraduate and graduate students and professionals are particularly encouraged to participate.  They can convey the challenges, rewards, and promise of their careers, and inspire the next generation of scientists and innovators.

Step 2. Requestors and volunteers receive a list of potential partners and connect with them.
After posting a request for volunteers or resources on the NLD websiteExternal Web Site Policy , the requestor will be emailed a list of local volunteers. Requestors can contact the volunteers on the list or browse for others and begin to form a local community of support —university students, scientists, engineers, professionals, and others—who will work with them to achieve their objectives.
Volunteers will also be emailed a list of local opportunities and will be able to browse requests and respond with offers to help according to the needs of the re questors.

Step 3. Have fun together helping students learn.
By: Gina | January 7 2010 | Category: Science Lite, Scientists in the Community, Tidbits for Teachers

Festival Name surrounded by icons representing different aspaects of science 

USA Science & Engineering Festival coming soon, the first national event

What is the universe made of? Why did dinosaurs go extinct? What do magic tricks and hip-hop have to with math? What can amphibians and reptiles tell us about the environment? What do engineers have to do with baseball? Kids (and adults) will have a chance to find out at the first ever USA Science & Engineering FestivalExternal Web Site Policy Expo on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. on Oct. 23 & 24th, 2010.

The Expo is the pinnacle event of the inaugural USA Science & Engineering FestivalExternal Web Site Policy that will be celebrated all over the United States. The Festival is a collaboration of over 500 of the nation’s leading science and engineering organizations.

You can help make the USA Science & Engineering FestivalExternal Web Site Policy a truly national experience by hosting a Satellite Event in your area. Whether you are a student club, school, university, community organization or company, you can put on your own celebration of science the same weekend that thousands of people celebrate science in the National Mall. The organizers are working to have hundreds of Satellite Events throughout the country, anchored to the Expo on the Mall. You can make your Event as small or as big as you want. It can be a single activity put on by your student club, a small celebration at your school or company, a larger event that involves organizations from your community, or a full fledged Festival modeled after the USA Science & Engineering FestivalExternal Web Site Policy .

You create it, and the festival organizers will help you market it by including your information on their website and in their newsletters. That way, anyone in the nation can check our website to see what’s happening in their backyard the weekend of the Expo. It’s a great way to get your community excited about science, and to put your organization on the national map. Check out the USA Science & Engineering FestivalExternal Web Site Policy website for more information.

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