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Summer/Fall 2013



Diversity/Careers Summer/Fall 2013 Issue



Women engineers
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News and Views


Purdue students create new products from corn and soybeans

West Lafayette, IN – Teams of Purdue University students who created fiber insulation from soybeans and a fireworks casing from corn won the top prizes in the annual Student Soybean and Corn Innovation contests. The awards were announced at a reception on March 20 in Indianapolis. Each team received a $20,000 prize for their work.

The competitions were sponsored by the Indiana Soybean Alliance and Indiana Corn Marketing Council.

“The experience that students have working with corn and soybeans during this competition is an introduction to these crops and how corn and soybeans can be used as a main component in so many different products,” says Jane Ade Stevens, chief executive of both organizations. “Encouraging students to think about corn and soybeans in creative, new ways benefits our corn and soybean farmers just as much as the variety of new products that the students generate.”

The winning corn team created Sky Maize, a biodegradable fireworks casing that is lighter and less expensive than what is now commercially available. Team members were Rachel Clayton of Greenwood, IN, Jake Hoeing of Rushville, IN, Polina Navotnaya of Tashkent, Uzbekistan and Alexander Parobek of Munster, IN.

The soybean team produced Nature Loft, a soy protein fiber insulation that can be used in bedding, apparel and other products like headphones. Team members were Anshu Gupta of Chennai, India, John Grace of Hudson, OH, and Solwoo Kim of Seoul, South Korea.


Chrysler Group recognized as a top supporter of historically black engineering schools

Auburn Hills, MI – Chrysler Group LLC has been named a top supporter of engineering programs at the nation’s historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) for the third consecutive year by U.S. Black Engineer & Information Technology magazine.

The selection was made with input from the deans of the nation’s fourteen accredited HBCUs and from members of corporate academic alliance Advancing Minorities’ Interest in Engineering (AMIE).

“On behalf of Chrysler Group, we are honored to be recognized for our commitment to the nation’s HBCUs as a great source of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) talent,” says Georgette Borrego Dulworth, director of talent acquisition and diversity, Chrysler Group LLC. “Identifying and recruiting diverse talent with world-class skills is imperative to our company’s continued success.”


Symantec and NCWIT award grants for recruiting women in technology

Boulder, CO – In March, the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) and Symantec awarded $9,000 in seed funds to twelve student-run programs that aim to increase the numbers of women studying computer science and related technology disciplines. Each program will receive $750 for a project to recruit, retain and encourage girls and women in technology.

Symantec is the sponsor of the NCWIT Student Seed Fund, which has distributed $34,500 so far to fifty-six student-run programs at universities and colleges nationwide. Student Seed Fund initiatives have provided programming workshops, after-school programs, student mentoring, peer support, professional training, and other opportunities to nearly 2,000 elementary, middle-school, high-school, undergraduate and graduate students.

“Symantec recognizes the business benefits of a diverse technical workforce and we believe women need to be a part of this workforce,” says Ellen McLatchey, director of global diversity. “We are proud to support these student-led programs because they generate interest in computing while building a stronger, more diverse talent pipeline.”

“We’re thrilled with Symantec’s leadership in recognizing that student-led initiatives can have huge impact, both for the students who run them and their target audiences,” says Lucy Sanders, CEO of NCWIT. “Support for these programs is growing the technical pipeline girl by girl, woman by woman.”

This round of NCWIT Student Seed Fund awards went to programs at Indiana University/Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), James Madison University, Northwestern University, Purdue University, Seattle Central Community College, Tennessee Technological University, University of California-Irvine, University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign. University of Massachusetts-Amherst, University of Puget Sound, University of Texas-Pan American and Western New England University. For more info on the Seed Fund Program, see www.ncwit.org/programs-campaigns/ncwit-awards.


NJIT student places third at NSBE convention

Newark, NJ – Afolawemi Afolabi, a fourth-year PhD student at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, won third place for oral presentation at the technical research exhibition held during the thirty-ninth annual convention of the National Society of Black Engineers in Indianapolis, IN in March. At the convention, Afolabi delivered a presentation based on his PhD thesis work on the formation and stabilization of drug nanoparticle suspensions. His research is supported by the NSF engineering research center for structured organic particulate systems, headquartered at Rutgers University. Afolabi is a project coordinator at the center.


Siemens PLM Software continues investment in STEM education

Plano, TX – Siemens PLM Software has made a free high school edition of its Solid Edge software for 3D computer-aided design (CAD) available for educators in secondary schools throughout the world. The intent is to expose students to the engineering and product design tools used by manufacturers worldwide, and encourage them to pursue STEM careers, helping address the global skills shortage in engineering and related fields. Educators can download a free twelve-month academic site license by visiting www.siemens.com/plm/solid-edge-highschool.

“The global manufacturing community, including our customers, needs a steady stream of engineering talent that understands how to use modern technology to innovate and create products to meet the demands of the marketplace,” said Karsten Newbury, senior vice president and general manager for mainstream engineering software at Siemens PLM. “As students enter high school they begin making decisions about higher education and potential careers. The free high school edition of Solid Edge will expose students to advanced CAD design, giving them a glimpse into possible career opportunities.”

The high school edition of Solid Edge contains Siemens PLM Software’s unique synchronous technology, which combines the speed and flexibility of direct modeling with the precise control of dimension-driven design. Schools will have access to the full function modules of Solid Edge drafting, sheet metal, surfacing and advanced assembly design. Educators can renew the free license annually.


Harris-Stowe and Saint Louis University launch dual-degree math and engineering program

St. Louis, MO – Anthony (Tony) Thompson, CEO of Kwame Building Group, joined Dr Albert Walker, president of Harris-Stowe State University (HSSU), and Rev Lawrence Biondi, SJ, president of Saint Louis University (SLU) in fall 2012 as they signed an academic partnership to launch a new dual-degree mathematics and engineering program.

Thompson initiated the dual-degree program at the St. Louis higher education institutions to encourage more STEM graduates. He is supporting the program financially through the Kwame Foundation, which established a $100,000 endowed scholarship for a student in the program and will continue to contribute $10,000 a year.

“This program addresses our state’s initiative to increase science, technology, engineering and math degrees,” says Thompson. “It also broadens the appeal of Harris-Stowe for local and minority students, and increases the number of diverse candidates at SLU.”

The dual-degree program in mathematics and engineering allows students to complete a math degree at HSSU and then continue with an engineering degree at SLU. After five years, students will graduate with two degrees.

According to the partners, this STEM collaboration between a private, urban Jesuit research institution and a public, urban historically black university is unique in America’s higher education system.

Students who complete the mathematics degree at HSSU will begin enrolling in the engineering portion at SLU in fall 2014.

Kwame Building Group, headquartered in St. Louis, is a program and construction management firm. Kwame Foundation is a nonprofit charitable organization founded by Kim and Anthony Thompson. It provides a path into the professional world for youth in underprivileged communities through mentoring programs and scholarship opportunities. For additional info, visit www.kwamefoundation.org.


Anna Balazs announced as 2013 Mines Medalist

Rapid City, SD – Anna Balazs, PhD, a pioneer in the area of predicting the behavior of complex polymeric materials, has been named 2013 Mines Medalist by the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology.

She becomes the fifth Mines Medalist at the school, which founded the national award in 2009 to recognize scientists and engineers who have demonstrated exceptional leadership and innovation.

“The research being conducted by Anna Balazs has the power to transform lives, and we are excited to name such a distinguished researcher as our 2013 Mines Medalist,” says School of Mines acting president Dr Duane Hrncir.

Balazs is distinguished professor of chemical engineering at the University of Pittsburgh. Her work focuses on developing theoretical and computational models to capture the behavior of polymer blends, nanocomposites, complex fluids and colloidal systems, work that is “crucial to develop predictive models for the behavior” of designing advanced materials, according to Steven R. Little, PhD, chair of the department of chemical and petroleum engineering at the University of Pittsburgh, who nominated Balazs for the award.

She has been a Fellow in the Royal Society of Chemistry; a senior visiting Fellow at Oxford Center for Advanced Materials and Composites and Materials Science Department (Oxford University); visiting Fellow at Corpus Christi College, Oxford University; and a Fellow with the American Physical Society.

Her work has been published in Science, Nature and elsewhere.


Army ROTC cadet receives scholarship

Washington, DC – The U.S. Army sponsored the College Expo in March as part of its ongoing commitment to ensure youth are prepared to attend college and become leaders in their communities. Army representatives participated in a panel on high-growth careers, conducted a leadership development seminar to strengthen students’ professional skills and hosted an interactive booth.

During College Expo activities, LTC Eartha Govan, professor of military science at Bowie State University, presented a full-ride scholarship award of $44,300 to ROTC cadet Antonio Johnson. He is a computer science major at Bowie State University (Bowie, MD). He graduated cum laude in 2012 from North Point High School in Waldorf, MD and currently has a 3.53 cumulative GPA at Bowie. Johnson is a member of the Bowie University ROTC and is on its robotics team.


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