Men and women disagree on the cause of tech’s diversity problem

Girls Who Code and CollegeHumor have teamed up to create “The Problem With Brogrammers,” a video that depicts the fundamental differences in the way male and female programmers work and view their work. CNET reports that while female coders may look for ways that technology can help those who are less privileged, male programmers are drawn to more self-serving innovations. “Oftentimes, the tech industry is perceived to create technology to make life easier for the most privileged, essentially replacing their moms rather than tackling our society’s most pressing challenges,” said Girls Who Code Founder Reshma Saujani. See below for the full video.

It won’t surprise anyone that men and women disagree on gender and diversity in the workplace. While some men believe that the lack of diversity hiring stems from a dearth of qualified hires, women tend to think that unconscious bias is to blame for the issue. Business Insider analyzed First Round‘s “State of Startups” report and found that out of more than 700 startup founders, only 17% were women. Having so many men in the ring seems to perpetuate male hiring. “Simply put, tech companies don’t make diversity a priority.” Two numbers stood out to us most in this report though: Almost a quarter of startups have no plans to increase diversity, and one-third of startups haven’t even talked about diversity within the company. In order to increase diversity in hiring, we first need to be on the same page and get everything out in the open. (See WiCipedia: Small Steps Forward, Big Step Back.)

 

Michigan STEM Partnership Intends to Become Principal Resource for STEM Education in State, Launches New Digital Hub

Statewide STEM leadership non-profit launches resource and efforts to facilitate growth of STEM in Michigan and enable increased awareness of workforce opportunities in STEM fields

mi-stem-partnership-logoThe Michigan STEM Partnership, a statewide non-profit organization, has launched a new digital resource hub and expanded business sector representation on its board in an effort to become the primary contributor to the growth and development of STEM Education in the state.

At a time where only 37 percent of Michigan high school juniors were rated “college ready” in math by the SAT college admission test, the Michigan STEM Partnership has launched its new digital hub, mistempartnership.com, to become the principal source on STEM resources for employers, educators, students, parents and professional organizations. The organization’s broad actions will include, but not be limited to, conducting primary research, offering information on grant opportunities, connecting stakeholders, and providing an online resource for STEM information required by the various stakeholders.

“The opportunity STEM provides the state’s economy is incredible,” said Gary Farina, Executive Director, Michigan STEM Partnership. “While we strive to influence students’ career decisions as they prepare for their future, we know we can also help businesses, educators and current professionals grow by making STEM resources available.”

The new digital hub provides stakeholders access to various STEM resources and information, including:

  • Local, state and national STEM events
  • Engagement opportunities with the STEM community through social media, events, surveys, blog and news archives
  • STEM research data
  • Primary research

In addition to the organization’s digital hub, efforts are in place to develop a regional structure for the organization to more efficiently tackle localized STEM needs.   The Michigan STEM Partnership is aligning its regional structure with the state’s designated Prosperity Regions. The Prosperity Region Structure enables direct engagement with stakeholders for the dissemination of programs and resources at the regional and local level. Through this structure, the Partnership is able to connect schools and teachers with STEM providers and partners to support talent development and K-12 STEM education programs throughout Michigan.

The Michigan STEM Partnership maintains connections with local, regional and national STEM organizations as well as business/industry and other stakeholders to facilitate awareness and sharing of best practices, analysis, information distribution and provision of quality STEM education tools to grow tomorrow’s innovators. These efforts will also result in creating a quality STEM education culture across the Midwest region of the U.S.

In the future, the Michigan STEM Partnership looks to expand its capabilities by offering grant opportunities, among other actions.

MI Film Office Achieves Success in 1st Year Partnership with Google CS First Program, Expands Benefits to Participants

Colorful Google CS First LogoThe Michigan Film & Digital Media Office (MFDMO) unveiled a partnership with the Google CS First Education Program in November 2015 and launched the program statewide in January 2016. Since then it was embraced by schools around the state, and is still currently being offered as part of a summer school activity or ‘camp’.

Because of the great success of the program here in Michigan, Google is now utilizing our state as a model to get more states and regions involved in the CS First Program! They started by giving us our own landing page about the program here in Michigan to show the success we’ve achieved, check it out HERE. More exciting announcements are coming!

Here in Michigan, we have a few announcements of our own! The MFDMO is adding several benefits to the program for participating schools that are new to the MFDMO partnership, or returning schools that register their club(s) for the 2016-2017 school year:  headphones and digital badging!

Headphones

Beginning September 1, the MFDMO will provide up to 20 headphones per school that joins for the first time in 2016-2017, and up to 20 headphones for any school participated in 2015=2016 and that confirms their ongoing participation as of September 1 in the MFDMO partnership for the 2016-2017 school year.

A new school must sign up for the partnership with the MFDMO, and enroll a minimum of 20 students to be eligible to receive the headphones. A returning school must verify their ongoing participation for the 2016=2017 school year by updating their participation data (a reminder will be sent on or around September 1) and enroll a minimum of 20 students in the program.

To place a request for headphones, the CS First contact person for your school should send an email request to csfirst@michigan.org, and include a delivery address for the school where the headphones should be sent. We will monitor new school signups and renewals that we receive online beginning September 1 to verify your eligibility, and headphones will be shipped during early to mid-September.

NOTE:  Each school, homeschool, or other youth-centered organization is considered one entity; maximum number of headphones per school/entity is 20. Homeschools will be limited to one set of headphones.

Digital Badging

In partnership with Google and the Michigan Department of Education, the Michigan Film & Digital Media Office (MFDMO) is excited to offer students the ability to share their success in the CS First program by earning a digital badge specific to the completion of Digital Badges from Google CS & MI Film & MI Eductheir CS First Club theme. The CS First Digital Badging Program is an EXCLUSIVE opportunity for clubs that have signed up for the CS First program through the MFDMO and in partnership with Google. Please click here for more information on the digital badging program and how to access the badges.

We at the Michigan STEM Partnership encourage you to learn more about the MFDMO partnership and the CS First Program effort to ensure Michigan youth have access to this unique curriculum that requires no previous computer science experience.

Joining this effort is an easy, two-step process:

  1. Complete the MFDMO online registration form.
  2. Start a club and receive lesson plans on the CS First website.

Should you have questions on this program, or either of these new benefits, you can reach out to Jenell Leonard, Commissioner of the Michigan Film & Digital Media Office.

Inner-city Students in Grand Rapids Learn How to Code Apps

MI Labs - MainWith assistance from Michigan Software Labs, a member of the Mobile Technology Association of Michigan (MTAM), on Wednesday, July 20th, a group of elementary students at the Gerald R. Ford Academic Center were introduced to software development. With the recent excitement around Poke’mon Go, the students were very interested in learning how to develop apps. The Oakdale Neighbor’s Initiative was put on by volunteers from Michigan Software Labs as a way for students to be exposed to an important skill they might not otherwise have access to learning.

Josh Hulst, a Partner at Michigan Software Labs, said “we were really impressed with these MI Labs2young students and their ability to learn how to code.” The goal of the session was to have student write a simple program that could be run like an app on a table device. The students learned skills such as writing simple code commands, starting a program, and arranging characters on a screen.

MI Labs3The tablets were donated, and all of the instructors were volunteers who are professional mobile app developers. The content was part of ScratchJr. ScratchJr. teaches young children (ages 5 – 7) how to program their own interactive stories and games. Throughout this process, they learn to solve problems, design projects, and express themselves creatively on a computer.

Oakland University to Host Live Telecast with NASA Crew July 20

nasa-photo

A team of NASA’s top extreme mission experts will be discussing the intricacies of space exploration and training needed during a live interactive telecast hosted by OU.

A team of NASA’s top extreme mission experts on July 20 will be discussing the intricacies of space exploration and training needed during a live interactive telecast hosted by Oakland University.

The event is open to the campus community and the general public and will be held from 2:25-4:30 p.m. in room 201 of Dodge Hall on Oakland’s campus.

The program will touch on NASA training missions, the diversity of research associated with space exploration and the diverse career opportunities at NASA.

Registration will begin at 2:15 p.m. Pre-registration for the event is required by signing up at https://goo.gl/DxVGcN.

Amy Butler, Executive Director of OU INC, said the telecast will be a “great opportunity for attendees to interact with the NEEMO aquanauts and see how NASA prepares for deep space missions.”

The experts talking to students are members of the aquanaut crew of the NASA NEEMO (NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations) 21 mission. They will discuss the mission, which includes NASA sending groups of astronauts, engineers and scientists to live in Aquarius, the world’s only undersea research station, for up to three weeks at a time. The Aquarius habitat and its surroundings provide a convincing analog for space exploration.

The telecast was made possible by OU INC accelerator client, TeloRegen – a biotech company that specializes in regenerative medicine – and Dr. Marc O Griofa, Chief Medical Officer of the group and member of the NEEMO mission. OUINC and the School of Engineering and Computer Science are co-sponsors of the event.

# # #

About NEEMO 21

Living on the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean, the 21st NEEMO crew will focus on evaluating tools and techniques being tested for future space exploration by living in simulated spacecraft conditions and conducting simulated space walks outside of their undersea habitat.

Inside the habitat, the international crew will conduct a variety of research and operational studies, such as testing a mini DNA sequencer and a medical telemetry device that will be used for future space applications. During their simulated spacewalks, the crew will collect samples for marine biology and geology studies, team with underwater remote operating vehicles, test operational software, and participate in a coral restoration project. Throughout many of these tasks, the mission will also test time delays in communications to simulate scenarios often encountered in space exploration.

Oakland University is a doctoral research university located on 1,443 acres of scenic land in the cities of Rochester Hills and Auburn Hills in Oakland County, Michigan. The University has 135 bachelor’s degree programs and 135 graduate degree and certificate programs. Oakland is a nationally recognized public university with 20,711 students. Academics include programs in the College of Arts and Sciences, School of Business Administration, School of Education and Human Services, School of Engineering and Computer Science, School of Health Sciences, School of Medicine and School of Nursing.

GM Encourages Minority Participation in STEM Careers

100BlkMen_Students_t580Like most companies engaged in the use of technology these days, Michigan-based General Motors is finding it harder and harder to locate and hire staff with the knowledge and skills needed in today’s rapidly-changing hi-tech world.

To help change this dynamic, the firm is making efforts nationwide to encourage students to pursue STEM-focused careers.

A recent article in BlackPressUSA details the firm’s recent participation in a panel discussion hosted by ‘100 Black Men of America’, an organization dedicated to educating and empowering African American youth, at their annual conference in Atlanta, GA.

Get the details about the event and GM’s participation HERE

Michigan can become the world leader in STEM education and careers

This article is a from a news release issued by the Michigan Department of Education.


Michigan has the potential to become a world leader in STEM education and careers, due to strong talent, educational institutions and thriving industries, according to a report released today by the MiSTEM Advisory Council*.

“Having top talent means preparing our students early for in-demand careers to make Michigan the center for brainpower and 21st Century innovation,” Governor Rick Snyder said. “I appreciate the council for its hard work to make sure we are on the right path, and look forward to their continued partnership as we make Michigan a leader in STEM.”

The MiSTEM Advisory Council, which was created in 2015 by the state Legislature to develop recommendations to promote STEM education and careers around the state, released its first report highlighting Michigan’s strengths in science, technology, engineering and math while making recommendations for improvements.

“Every student being able to take STEM programming is a key strategy in building Michigan into a Top 10 education state in 10 years,” said State Superintendent Brian Whiston. “Let’s take this opportunity and put it into gear.”

The MiSTEM Advisory Council includes business, higher education, K-12 education, and philanthropic leaders, as well as state legislators.

“These recommendations are the next step in Michigan’s ongoing effort to ensure we prepare every child and worker to obtain good-paying career opportunities and achieve their dreams right here in Michigan,” said state Senator John Proos, R-St. Joseph, a member of the council. “I have long supported STEM education, because these rigorous areas of study are vital to our future. I will continue to encourage schools to actively engage with job providers to design and implement curriculum that meets our skilled workforce needs and ensures all Michigan students are given a path to success.”

The council’s approach to STEM in Michigan focus on four key efforts including:

  • creating a new culture of STEM
  • strengthening the educator pipeline
  • integration between business and education
  • ensuring quality STEM experience

“I am excited about using the arts and creativity to attract under-represented students to STEM programs; to make it relevant to all students and not just those already interested in STEM,” said state Rep. Leslie Love, D-Detroit, a member of the council. “It’s infinitely more exciting, especially in an increasingly inter-disciplinary and digital world.”

The MiSTEM Advisory Council will publish recommendations annually. This year’s full report is attached.


*MiSTEM Advisory Council

The 11-member council was created by Governor Rick Snyder in 2015 to advise the governor, legislature, the Department of Talent and Economic Development, and the Department of Education with recommendations designed to improve and promote innovation and collaboration in STEM education and prepare students for careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The council shall recommend a statewide strategy for delivering STEM education-related opportunities to pupils and objective criteria for determining preferred STEM programs and make recommendations to the governor and the legislature no later than March 1, 2016.