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


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

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.

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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.