Menu

Articles

Innovations inspire high school girls to become next generation of female innovators, change the world through STEM

  • Written by BPT

16951483_webWhen the high school class of 2014 graduates from college in five years, more than 8 million jobs will be available in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). For students today, STEM is their future.

Innovations driven by STEM are shaping today’s economy. Though STEM accounts for a majority of job growth in the U.S., the number of students enrolling in relevant degree programs in college to fill these positions continues to decline, leaving a gap of skilled professionals. Women, in particular, are underrepresented in STEM. While women account for nearly half of all filled jobs nationwide, only a quarter of STEM-related positions are held by women.

Even with the known gap, many women are pioneering the industry, showing young girls they too can be successful in STEM. They are leading the charge in bettering the world by developing innovations and technologies such as global, online crowd-sourcing platforms that allow supporters to give funds from mobile devices. Others are advancing alternative energy products that deliver electricity, water and other basic resources in developing countries.

To help bridge the gap and ready the next generation of women innovators, many organizations support initiatives to introduce students, specifically young girls, to the importance of STEM. DeVry University, for instance, has its annual HerWorld program.

“HerWorld was created 16 years ago to educate high school girls about STEM and careers in STEM,” says Donna Loraine, provost/vice president of Academic Affairs at DeVry University. “Our goal is to show girls how they can make a difference in the world through these fields.”

A recent study by the Girl Scout Research Institute found that more than 80 percent of high school girls surveyed expressed interest in considering a career in a STEM field, including engineering, information technology and software development. This is a positive outlook, as positions in STEM are becoming available more rapidly than opportunities in any other field.

HerWorld empowers young women to succeed alongside their male counterparts by participating in confidence-building activities and hands-on workshops. They also hear inspirational stories from real, female role models working in STEM fields.

This year, nearly 7,000 girls from high schools across the country will attend local events during National HerWorld Month in March. Emmy-Award nominated actress Mayim Bialik, renowned for her roles on television series Blossom and The Big Bang Theory, is partnering with DeVry University to further the mission of HerWorld and inspire these girls by sharing her personal STEM journey – balancing her acting career while earning her Doctorate of Philosophy degree in neuroscience from UCLA.

“When I was a teenager, my biology tutor on the set of Blossom inspired me to think about science in a way that showed me that science was made for girls, too,” says Bialik. “It gave me the confidence to pursue a degree in the sciences. I want to motivate and encourage girls to work hard to improve their math and science skills and their perceptions about those fields, regardless of their career goals.”

The conversation on giving: What is your family passionate about?

  • Written by BPT

(BPT) - How many times has your child come home with news of a new penny drive or fundraiser happening at school or a place of worship? How often does this come with an explanation of who the cause or charity serves and how else your child can get involved? Often, children are eager to get involved with these fundraising efforts because there are reward incentives at the end, but parents can take this opportunity to discuss with children the real value of supporting nonprofit organizations.

So what’s the best way to start this conversation with your kids? Find out what’s important to them. Everyone has a cause or charity that is close to their hearts. For your kids, was it helping that lost kitten found in the backyard that sparked their philanthropic passions? Was it when they spent the weekend helping grandma plant a garden? Was it helping mom clean out their toys and taking them to kids who had nothing to play with?

Nonprofit organizations span many different categories, such as arts, education, environment, animals, health and more. When children focus on things they find interesting, they’ll be more apt to stay with them. Whatever it is they are passionate and motivated about, you can help them make a positive impact in the community through giving. It’s important to let kids know that even little contributions can make a big difference. Below are tips to help you get your child engaged in giving:

• Learn what they love. Have a conversation with your children and ask them what they care about. Learning about their passions can help to motivate them and also help you find more ways to get them involved, such as volunteering.

• Make it a family affair. Include your children in your decision-making process, too, so that they can start to see that there is a clear and thoughtful manner in which you make contributions to charity.

• Acknowledge their good deed. Since children don’t get the tax deduction or other tangible benefits of giving that adults often receive, their reward is based on your words of encouragement and evidence of the impact they made. Let them know you’re proud of them and tell them exactly why, using specific examples.

• Make this an ongoing effort. There are many ways to get involved with a charity, so introduce children to other forms of donating besides monetary contributions, such as their time and talents. This can foster a lifelong joy of proactive giving. A good way to get involved this year is Georgia Gives Day, a 24-hour, “flash-mob style” statewide giving event. With the trend of 24-hour flash mob giving growing across states like Colorado, Texas, Washington, Alabama and Pennsylvania, these “days of giving” have raised millions of dollars, all going straight to local community nonprofits.

Visit www.GAgivesday.org to search and select the nonprofit or cause of your choice and make a donation via credit card.


GAgivesday.org makes donating easy for the community by organizing nonprofits on one easily accessible online platform and providing key facts about these charities. Every penny counts when giving back to nonprofits.

Add new experiences to your holiday gathering

  • Written by BPT

Family gatherings during the holidays often involve everyone sitting around, catching up while children play with the toys they received as gifts.

It’s a wonderful time for family to hear the latest on jobs, trips, hobbies and health, but it can also turn into a tedious repeat of listening to Uncle Joe’s story of the Christmas of 1954 when the tree caught fire and burned all the presents underneath.

If your family gathering needs a little spicing up this holiday season, consider adding new experiences to the plans and making a new and fun tradition out of them. Here are some ideas to get started:

• Get out and enjoy the outdoors —

If you live in snowy parts of the country, organize a snowshoe trek, sledding time or ice skating at a community rink.

These activities can bring a healthy glow to your family members’ cheeks, as well as create new memories you can reminisce about at future family gatherings. If you don’t have snow in your area, consider planning a bike ride, a hike or even a golf outing to bring everyone together.

• Plan a meal away from the house —

Instead of cooking all the meals for the gathering, plan a formal brunch or dinner at a nice restaurant where everyone in your group can sit together and enjoy the food and holiday decorations.

• Make the gathering a retreat for all —

This year, consider getting your family out of the house and turn your holiday gathering into a festive retreat.

• Host a family talent show —

Everyone has a special talent in your family, so encourage them to bring their talent to the gathering.

Promote costumes or props, if needed to help enhance the fun.

Just clear out a small area in the gathering location, set up a couple of chairs for audience members and if you have the ability, dim the lights so the stage is in the spotlight.

Of course, host a reception following the show with hot apple cider and cookies for all.

By bringing new activities to your holiday gathering this year, you’ll be creating many new memories to share in the future, as well as making the event much more enjoyable..

The conversation on giving: What is your family passionate about?

  • Written by BPT

How many times has your child come home with news of a new penny drive or fundraiser happening at school or a place of worship? How often does this come with an explanation of who the cause or charity serves and how else your child can get involved?

Often, children are eager to get involved with these fundraising efforts because there are reward incentives at the end, but parents can take this opportunity to discuss with children the real value of supporting nonprofit organizations.

So what’s the best way to start this conversation with your kids? Find out what’s important to them. Everyone has a cause or charity that is close to their hearts.

For your kids, was it helping that lost kitten found in the backyard that sparked their philanthropic passions? Was it when they spent the weekend helping grandma plant a garden? Was it helping mom clean out their toys and taking them to kids who had nothing to play with?

Nonprofit organizations span across many different categories, such as arts, education, environment, animals, health and more. When children focus on things they find interesting, they’ll be more apt to stay with them.

Whatever it is they are passionate and motivated about, you can help them make a positive impact in the community through giving. It’s important to let kids know that even little contributions can make a big difference. Below are tips to help you get your child engaged in giving:

• Learn what they love. Have a conversation with your children and ask them what they care about. Learning about their passions can help to motivate them and also help you find more ways to get them involved, such as volunteering.

• Make it a family affair. Include your children in your decision-making process, too, so that they can start to see that there is a clear and thoughtful manner in which you make contributions to charity.

•  Acknowledge their good deed. Since children don’t get the tax deduction or other tangible benefits of giving that adults often receive, their reward is based on your words of encouragement and evidence of the impact they made. Let them know you’re proud of them and tell them exactly why, using specific examples.

• Make this an ongoing effort. There are many ways to get involved with a charity, so introduce children to other forms of donating besides monetary contributions, such as their time and talents. This can foster a lifelong joy of proactive giving.-

A good way to get involved this year is with Georgia Gives Day. Georgia Gives Day is a 24-hour, ‘flash-mob style’ statewide giving event that will take place on Dec. 6. With the trend of 24-hour flash mob giving growing across states like Colorado, Texas, Washington, Alabama and Pennsylvania, these “days of giving” have raised millions of dollars, all going straight to local community nonprofits.

Visit www.GAgivesday.org to search and select the nonprofit or cause of your choice, and make a donation via credit card. GAgivesday.org makes donating easy for the community by organizing nonprofits on one easily accessible online platform and providing key facts about these charities. Every penny counts when giving back to nonprofits.

Dual-enrollment programs jump-start students’ careers

  • Written by ARA

(ARA) - In today’s globally competitive economy, a college degree is increasingly becoming a critical factor in attaining career success. Yet, as of October 2011, only 68 percent of the year’s high school graduates had enrolled in a college or university, even though the national unemployment rate of high school graduates is nearly twice as high as that of college graduates - 7.9 percent and 4 percent, respectively.

Addressing the need for more college- and employment-ready high school graduates, many policymakers, educators and researchers promote dual-enrollment programs as an effective vehicle for building a workforce with the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in a 21st century economy.

Dual-enrollment programs allow high school students to jump-start their postsecondary education and career by enrolling in college courses before they graduate, earning both high school and college credits in the process.

DeVry University, for example, launched its Advantage Academy in 2004 to improve college access for high school students with limited financial resources. In two academic years and one summer session, students can earn an associate degree in a high-growth career field while they finish high school.

Eligible high school students in the public school systems in Chicago, Atlanta and Columbus, Ohio may enroll to earn their associate degree in health information technology, network system administration or Web graphic design. Graduates of the program can either enter the workforce or enroll in a bachelor’s degree program at DeVry University or another institution.

Dual-enrollment programs help meet a growing need for more academically and professionally prepared high school students, arming them with tools and resources that can improve their college and career decisions, says Steve Pappageorge, dean of the College of Continuing Education, New Programs and Outreach at DeVry University.

Programs like DeVry University’s Advantage Academy can help remove barriers to college access while introducing students to career opportunities in high-demand fields.

Triplets Simeon, Sydney and Shea Spivey can attest to the value of dual-enrollment programs. Each of the incoming high school seniors is deep in college planning mode and currently enrolled in Advantage Academy. Columbus City Schools (CCS) and DeVry University cover their tuition costs, so they can graduate from high school with two years of higher education to put toward four-year degree programs without incurring student debt.

“Advantage Academy has helped me become more familiar with the college experience and realize all of the benefits it offers,” says Simeon Spivey.“My siblings and I hope to attend colleges on the East Coast, and we feel more confident knowing we’ll be applying with associate degrees under our belts”

When they graduate in June 2013, the Spivey triplets will be two years ahead of their peers academically.

By 2018, approximately 63 percent of the 47 million U.S. jobs will require workers with some postsecondary education. Dual-enrollment programs provide high school students with an effective on-ramp to college and career success, helping to close the gap between students’ knowledge and the skills needed to achieve professional success in a globally competitive economy.