Star Party This Friday – October 24, 2014!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAJoin us from 5:30-9:30 at Austin Community College’s Round Rock campus for a night of science fun for the whole family!

From 5:30-7:00pm, ACCHaoS will be there with all of the exciting hands-on science exhibits for kids, and Austin Planetarium will have planetarium shows in the Discovery Dome.

At 7:00, our own Dr. Jim Heath, ACC professor of astronomy and physics will hold a public talk entitled, “Science: What It Can and Cannot Do.”

Last, but not least, the observing deck will be open to the public for some night sky viewing.

Check out all the details at go.austincc.edu/starparty!

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STEM Education and the Gender Gap

There are fewer women than men in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) occupations.  According to a report by the U.S Department of Commence, only one in seven engineers are women.  The report also found that “while women fill almost half of the jobs in the U.S economy, they hold less than 25 percent of STEM jobs.”  The report speculates on some possible factors:

“The under-representation of women in STEM majors and jobs may be attributable to a variety of factors. These may include different choices men and women typically make in response to incentives in STEM education and STEM employment – for example, STEM career paths may be less accommodating to people cycling in and out of the work-force to raise a family – or it may be because there are relatively few female STEM role models. Perhaps strong gender stereotypes discourage women from pursuing STEM education and STEM jobs.”

One thing that appears clear is that to bring more women into these jobs, we need to support and encourage them, and it seems clear that providing this support, encouragement and education at a young age could make a difference.

Events like this Saturday’s “Introduce a Girl to Engineering” at UT provide some of that support and encouragement,  and help young girls to be aware of choices that they may not know they have.  

ACCHaoS and Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day at UT

HIGH_RES Girl Day LogoThis Saturday, February 23, ACCHaoS will be taking part in Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day at the University of Texas at Austin.  The event is presented by the Women in Engineering Program.  This event, according to the website, “gives 1,800 1st through 8th grade students a chance to:

  • have fun doing grade-specific, hands-on engineering activities
  • meet students, professors and engineers from industry, and
  • see what it’s like to be an engineer”

Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day is an international event, celebrated during Engineer’s Week.  “Celebrate the G in Engineering” is a short video about what this event is all about.

Preregistration for the event is already closed, but on-site registration will begin at 1:30pm on the 23rd.  Those on-site registrations will be taken at a table marked “ON-SITE REGISTRATION” near the Check-in tent in front of the Engineering  Teaching Center II on the UT campus on the corner of Dean Keeton and San Jacinto Streets.  You can expedit the process by filling out the form in advance and bringing it with you.

10 Amazing Jobs You Could Land With the Right STEM Education

Very interesting article.  Only one of the jobs on this list was something that I’d heard of before (yes, I really do have a couple of friends who are professional hackers).  Okay, and I had thought of the fact that there had to be statisticians on staff at ESPN.  But some of these are new technology, and really cool.  I think Music Data Journalist would be my pick – I love musics and I love playing with numbers and making cool graphs!  What’s your favorite?

10 Amazing Jobs You Could Land With the Right STEM Education

Is There a Bleak Future for STEM Education in the US?

IMG_1877It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone remotely involved in education that US student fare poorly in the rankings of on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), but in STEM Should Be a Natural Extension of Literacy Education, written by Chuck Cadle, CEO of Destination Imagination, there is sobering news not only on the state of STEM education in the US, but also on the perception of its importance by parents.

Cadle cites the Organization for Economic Coordination and Development (OECD) rankings that found (US) students were “finishing 25th in math and 17th in science in the ranking of 31 countries”.  He also includes the results of the research conducted by Harris Interactive for Microsoft in 2011 “to conduct research to determine the STEM perceptions of parents and students.”  That report found that “49 percent of K-12 parents see STEM as a top priority, but only 24 percent would be willing to spend extra money for STEM education.”

Is it possible to improve STEM education without additional funding?  How will we do that – through privately funded resources?  Will that create a cultural divide, with only those with the means to supplement their education having access to the competitive skills provided by an enhanced STEM education?  If we can’t improve STEM education without public funding, how do we stress its importance to the stakeholders in public education?