Early STEM Education Will Lead to More Women in IT

CIO — WASHINGTON — If the tech sector is to increase the number of women in its workforce, schools must develop robust, mandatory computer science programs in the K-12 education stage, according to a prominent advocate for women in tech.

“You make it an option, the girl is not going to take it. You have to make it mandatory and start it at a young age,” says Ashley Gavin, curriculum director at Girls Who Code, a nonprofit working to expose more girls to computer science at a young age that has drawn support from leading tech firms such as Google, Microsoft and Intel.

“It’s important to start early because, most of the fields that people go into, they have exposure before they get to college. We all study English before we get to college, we all study history and … social studies before we get to college,” Gavin says. “No one has any idea what computer science is. By the time you get to college, you develop fear of things you don’t know. Therefore early exposure is really important.”

Gavin, speaking at an event focused on increasing the number of women pursuing education in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math, claims that, of the job openings in those STEM fields, some 70 percent will be pegged to computer science by 2020.

Few Women in Tech, More Jobs Left Unfilled

Advocates of expanding STEM education often talk about the “leaky pipeline” — the fact that many students who initially start toward a degree in one of those fields change course and pursue a different discipline.

Girls Who Code estimates that 30 percent of students with early exposure to computer science stay in the field. At that drop-off rate, for women to fill half of the computer specialist job openings the Department of Labor is projecting in 2020, 4.6 million girls will need some K-12 computer science instruction. Gavin’s nonprofit alone aims to reach 1 million girls by 2020.

Other industry data paints a starker picture. Women comprise 48 percent of the total workforce but hold just 23 percent of the STEM jobs, according to the National Math and Science Initiative. In 1991, women received 29.6 percent of the bachelor’s degrees awarded in computer science; in 2010, women took just 18.2 percent of those degrees.

That apparent decline in women’s interest in computer science is a subset of the broader concern over a shortage of STEM workers. Studies argue that the perceived shortage of STEM workers is overstated, and that the labor supply has actually been increasing faster than demand — but Gavin, along with many tech companies, counters that the problem is very real indeed.

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Job Posting – Yakima Valley Tri-Cities MESA Director

Located at Washington State University in Richland, Washington; Yakima Valley Tri-Cities MESA is seeking to hire a director to develop, manage, implement, and assess the MESA programs at middle and high schools for the geographic area(s) served in accordance with local and statewide guidelines.

The focus for each program is the student, with the primary interest to provide mathematics, science, and technology programs for African American, Hispanic, American Indian, Pacific Islander, and female populations.tricitysig

https://www.wsujobs.com/postings/10209

Click here to learn more or apply.

HB 1079 Summit: A Decade of Dreaming

Screen Shot 2014-04-01 at 10.52.02 AMFriday June 20, 2014

9:00 am – 4:30pm
University of Washington, Seattle
Early Bird registration fee: $50.00
After April 15  registration: $75.00

About the Washington State Educational Access Coalition for HB 1079 Students

The Washington State Educational Access Coalition for HB 1079 Students is comprised of faculty and staff from colleges, universities and other interested organizations around the state to assess the services that are available to support non-United States citizens who are attending or may attend college through Washington State House Bill 1079 and to educate providers, families and policymakers about the issues facing these students in higher education.

Register Today!

Meet, Greet, Teach: Making a Difference?

Screen Shot 2014-03-31 at 12.16.30 PMAn informal conversation about interdisciplinary teaching on environmental issues.

Thursday April 3, 2014
5:00 – 6:30pm
Program on the Environment Commons, Wallace Hall (ACC) 012

Register Now

Free to attend. RSVP requested by Monday March 31, 2014

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Only 27% of college students end up in careers reflecting their disciplinary degree. For the environment side of natural science, it’s 48%. The average person changes careers 2-3 times.

Is a laser focus on disciplinary knowledge and associated skills sets a wise academic choice; one that gives students all of the tools they’ll need to be successful?

What about the career, professional, and life skills – the essentials that everyone needs, and no course teaches? Effective communication, team based experience, organizing, leadership, listening, connecting and networking, visioning, creating a clear idea, selling it. The list is long.

Join us for a discussion of how – and why – blending essential skills into coursework can make a difference to student learning.

Panelists:

  • Emer Dooley, Lecturer in Entrepreneurship, Foster School of Business
  • Francesca Lo,  Director, Husky Leadership Initiative
  • Sean McDonald, Lecturer/Capstone Instructor, Program on the Environment; Research Scientist, School of Aquatic &  Fishery Sciences
  • Jennifer Turns, Professor, Human Centered Design & Engineering

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About MGT:
MGT is an evening series offering graduate students, postdocs, staff and faculty with an interest in engaging in artful, interactive, innovative teaching a chance to interact with colleagues from across campus who are willing to share their enthusiasm and experience.

Each MGT focuses on a single “30,000 foot” issue: What is interdisciplinary? The role of facts versus values. Can personalized teaching be objective teaching? Saving STEM.

Over a glass of wine and light appetizers, attendees have a chance to mix and mingle before settling down to a 30-minute “fast panel” of 3-5 faculty, each delivering thought- and conversation – provoking answers. With time for both structured and social interaction, MGT presents an opportunity for everyone to have a say, make a contact, find a shared direction, and learn something new.

Wanting more follow-up? We’ll wrap up the session with time for more one-on-one interaction, giving everyone time to grab a speaker for a final comment.

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Sponsored by the College of the Environment and hosted by t he Program on the Environment

  1. U.S. Census, 2010
  2. McKinsey Report
  3. U.S. Dept of Labor

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2014 Seattle MESA Day Call for Volunteers!

Sign Up to Volunteer Today!

Screen Shot 2014-03-26 at 10.32.17 AMThis event brings Seattle Area Middle School and High School MESA students together to participate in a variety of math, engineering, and science competitions. This year the main event is the Prosthetic Arm. Students prepare for the event in their MESA classes and MESA Day gives them the opportunity to show what they learned in an healthy competition. We need volunteers to help judge the competitions and lead other activities during the day.

MESA Day would not be possible without the assistance of our valued volunteers. There are volunteer opportunities in a variety of areas, we hope that you will join us!

Click here to volunteer!

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Contact Us

Questions or comments about volunteering for Seattle MESA Day? Get in touch with Seattle MESA by contacting either Neiri Carrasco (neiric@uw.edu) or Leah Quinn (leahq@uw.edu). You can also give us a call at 206-616-9653.

To view the entire flyer please click here

Recent STEM News

More than a Veggie Patch: School Gardens Help Teachers, Students With STEM

“The idea of having a community garden is nothing new. It’s a popular way to promote sustainability, healthy eating and camaraderie. But one organization has found it’s also a powerful way to improve teacher effectiveness and boost student interest and engagement in science. Screen Shot 2014-03-24 at 3.14.46 PM

REAL School Gardens, a nonprofit organization with offices in Washington, D.C., and Texas, partners with companies and nonprofits to bring learning gardens into low-income elementary schools. Schools are selected through a grant application process, says Jeanne McCarty, the organization’s executive director, and students use math and art to develop a design for the garden. A few weeks later, they come together with REAL School Gardens staff members, corporate volunteers, parents and teachers to bring the ideas to life.

The gardens are currently installed in more than 90 schools in Texas, McCarty says, and there are plans to expand to several more schools in the District of Columbia area in the coming school year, including Mundo Verde Bilingual Public Charter School, Barnard Elementary School and Bridges Public Charter School.

“I saw a golden opportunity to actually bring what was happening outside of the classroom into the school day,” McCarty says. “Our whole mission is to create learning gardens that grow successful students, so we focus heavily on the learning garden as a space to do that, a way that kids can get real, hands-on experience outdoors that is linked to what they’re studying in the books.”

While science is an obvious application for the gardens, McCarty says, teachers have also found the spaces useful for teaching math and language arts…”

Read the full article here

Gaining Steam: Teaching Science Through Art

“Breaking down the walls between art, hard sciences and math, a new crop of educators is designing curricula that allow these subjects partner with one another, encouraging holistic learning.

Screen Shot 2014-03-24 at 3.15.57 PMAcross the country, teachers and administrators are coming to a similar conclusion: art informs science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and vice versa. Consequently, they are pioneering new methods of teaching that combine disciplines which have been isolated from one another under traditional educational models. And they are just getting started.

Andover High School in Massachusetts, for instance, teaches geometry through the lens of art. Through a scavenger hunt at a local museum, math and art students come to understand that scale in geometry is the same thing as perspective in art, says Meghan Michaud, a teacher at Andover High. Her school is in the second year of a 10-year plan to marry art and STEM.

This approach is “about 21st century learning skills,” Michaud says, and preparing kids “for whatever college or career is ahead.”

In Annapolis, Md., 8th grade students at Wiley H. Bates Middle School learn about Mexican mosaics and math at the same time. The students study traditional turquoise mosaics and create their own versions with bits of paper. Their classmates then collect sample sizes and use them to predict the number of tiles used in the artwork.

Studying and observing the art first, without the fear of getting something wrong, encourages confidence and risk-taking in the classroom, says Laura Brino, the art integration specialist at Bates Middle School…”

Read the full article here

MESA News Across the Country

MESA News highlights student and alumni success, industry relationships and program achievements. It is published three times per year.

Winter/Spring 2013

Tacoma MESA in the news!

Screen Shot 2014-03-24 at 12.29.26 PMTacoma nonprofit organizations gather for make a difference day (The News Tribune) – By Rob Carson

  • You know what Habitat for Humanity is, and the Humane Society. 
  • But what about Changing Rein? MESA? Ladies First?

Check out the article that was written about our visit to the Department of Agriculture and the Entomology lab! Screen Shot 2014-03-24 at 12.29.39 PM

  • Recently, our Ninth Grade Bridge Students were able to take a field trip to the Department of Agriculture and explore the fascinating world of insects.
  • Our students were able to see first-hand how an interest in insects can translate into a career.
  • Thank you to Mike Louisell and the entire Ag Briefs staff for allowing us to share this article with our MESA community!

Read the article here 

Seattle MESA Saturday Academy

Seattle MESA is working with Marine Biology experts at the University of Washington to introduce high school students to a wide variety of Marine Biology careers that will allow them to experience the “wow factor” of Marine Biology through hands-on experience and experimentation. Saturday Academy consists of two levels:

  • Introductory – in which students are introduced to the field, have the opportunity to engage in experiential hands-on learning, and meet and network with in-practice professionals in the greater Seattle community who can speak enthusiastically to their career.  Designed for 9th and 10th grade students, but available to any student.
  • Advanced – in which returning Saturday Academy students have the opportunity to increase their content knowledge and skill sets, engage in experiential hands-on learning, meet and network with faculty researchers at the UW, mentor Introductory Saturday Academy students, and present their work to colleagues, friends and family.

The Saturday Academy Program focuses on the following areas:

  • Emphasize careers and educational opportunities in Marine Biology
  • Integrate programming with state science standards
  • Highlight and utilize University of Washington resources
  • Expose students to Marine Biology resources, careers, and opportunities in the greater Seattle community
  • Have Fun!

The Washington MESA Newsletter

 

Screen Shot 2014-03-24 at 11.35.00 AMSuccessful Legislative Efforts


Olympia, WA. “The Mathematics Engineering Science Achievement (MESA) Community College Program (MCCP) was highlighted at a House Higher Education Committee work session on Tuesday, February 25, 2014. MESA provides under-represented students academic and transfer-support services to help them excel and ultimately attain four-year degrees in science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) fields. Started in California, the program has successfully been replicated in over a dozen states. Full story andVIDEO

Washington MESA Scholarship

Each year, Washington MESA provides scholarship resources to students that have been recognized by their communities as future leaders in science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM) disciplines. In partnership with Boeing and Weyerhaeuser, scholarship funds are provided to persisting Washington State MESA students to ensure that students have the opportunities to attend college, obtain STEM degrees, and pursue careers in STEM based fields. The deadline to apply is April 21, 2014 so APPLY NOW!

Center Spotlight

Yakima Valley Tri-Cities MESA and Columbia Basin College MCCP
Yakima, WA. On February 21, 2014 YVTC MESA high school and Columbia Basin College community college students attended workshops lead by STEM professionals and also competed in an Engineering design challenge. As a result of the STEM Pathway Conference, students explored career opportunities in STEM and community college students served as mentors for K-12 MESA students to provide tangible connections to college experiences.

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