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Winter 2013/Spring 2014

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Diversity/Careers Winter 2013/Spring 2014 Issue






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News and Views


Army partners with LNESC at Washington Youth Leadership

Washington, DC – The U.S. Army partnered with LULAC National Education Service Centers (LNESC) as the organization celebrated its fortieth anniversary during the LNESC Washington Youth Leadership Seminar (WYLS) in Washington, DC.

The intensive three-day seminar brought together emerging LULAC Youth and LNESC student leaders from across the United States and Puerto Rico. They met with national leaders from Congress, corporate America and other institutions.

The Army participants highlighted career and education opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) via multiple activities during the WYLS event. Army hosted a leadership workshop to help students identify their personal leadership style. Army officers participated in a panel discussion with other WYLS sponsors on how technology infrastructure impacts companies’ ability to conduct business.

The Army and LNESC also hosted a campus tour for the WYLS students to Georgetown University, where students heard from university officials and ROTC representatives on the college admissions process, scholarships, financial aid and campus life.

LNESC provides educational programming to disadvantaged youth throughout the U.S. and Puerto Rico. It was established by the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), the nation’s oldest and largest direct-membership Hispanic advocacy organization.


TN colleges host Women in Cybersecurity conference

Nashville, TN – Tennessee Tech University (Cookeville), the University of Memphis (TN), and Jackson State Community College (Jackson, TN) are collaborating on the first national Women in Cybersecurity conference.

The conference will take place at Marriott Airport Hotel in Nashville, TN on April 11 and 12. It’s funded by the National Science Foundation under a Scholarship for Service award.

Keynote speaker will be Dr Deborah Frincke, associate director for education and training of the National Security Agency’s Central Security Service. She was chief scientist for cybersecurity research at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory from 2004 to 2011.

Among the other speakers are Dr Jenna Matthews, associate professor of computer science at Clarkson University (Potsdam, NY), and Lisa Foreman, founder and CEO of Women’s Society of Cyberjutsu (McLean, VA).

Dr Ernest McDuffie will give opening remarks. He is the lead in the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education at the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

For information, visit www.wicys.net.


ADA launches intensive women’s software developer school

Seattle, WA – Ada Developers Academy (ADA, Seattle, WA) announced in September the official launch of its first intensive software developer school. The yearlong program will train and prepare women without previous programming experience for productive roles in software development.

ADA has seed funding from Washington State’s Department of Commerce, support from the Technology Alliance (Seattle,WA), and sponsorship from local companies.

ADA was founded to help solve two key labor issues in Washington State: the gender imbalance and the high-skilled- labor shortage. Eighty-five percent of today’s software developers are male. There are currently 20,000 unfilled STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) jobs in Washington.

The ADA program offers six months of classes followed by a six-month-long internship at a local tech company. Additionally, many students will be eligible for a tuition waiver and stipend throughout the program. “Because ADA is not-for-profit, we’re able to provide these benefits to our students, so they can enter into careers writing code without increasing their student debt burden,” says Susannah Malarkey, executive director of the Technology Alliance.

The first half of the program focuses on full-stack web development in the classroom, allowing students to choose what specialty of software development they want to pursue in their post-ADA careers. HTML/CSS, JavaScript, Ruby on Rails, and database fundamentals are all offered. The second half of the program is a six-month internship, where students will learn what it’s like to be part of a software team delivering production code for real applications. The first cohort is expected to be fifteen to twenty students; at scale the program plans to graduate as many as 100 women a year to pursue software developer positions in the region.

Scott Case, chief operating officer of EnergySavvy, a local sponsor, says, “It’s extremely hard to fill all our positions in engineering and it’s even more challenging to achieve some degree of gender balance while doing it. ADA provides a unique solution to this growing problem. I’m excited to be involved with this project and look forward to seeing how ADA helps local tech companies as well as our local and state economies.”


LGS inspires middle school students at Recruiting Tomorrow’s Engineers Today seminar

Westminster, CO – In September, LGS Innovations hosted sixth, seventh and eighth-grade students for the first career day of its Recruiting Tomorrow’s Engineers Today program.

The LGS recruiting team in Westminster, CO set up the pilot program with the Colorado School of Mines (Golden, CO). The students began their day at the LGS Westminster facility, then moved to the Mines campus.

The career day wrapped up at LGS, where LGS software engineer Julie Krause gave a demonstration of technology that helped victims of Hurricane Katrina reach loved ones during the emergency.

“Our Recruiting Tomorrow’s Engineers Today program is just getting started,” says Bill Coder, LGS recruiting manager. “In the future, we would like to target additional student audiences. The goal is to foster STEM programs at the K-12 level and work with colleges to expose both students and parents to the engineering programs available.”

Bryan Cannady, LGS property manager, showed the students the LGS Hummer and its use and tactical communications capabilities in the field. When the students moved on to the Mines campus, their parents joined them for a presentation from the admissions office followed by a visit to the computer lab, where a CS professor explained programming languages. Other demonstrations and activities filled the day.

“This education awareness program is set up to help students visualize why science and math are important in education and future career choices,” says Coder.

LGS is an independent subsidiary of Alcatel-Lucent. LGS researches, develops and deploys networking solutions dedicated to U.S. federal government operations around the world.


University students find new paths to sustainable and responsible development

Coral Gables, FL – Winners of the 2013 Odebrecht Award for Sustainable Development awards were announced in September at a ceremony in Miami.

The award invites university students to search for innovative technologies and methods to promote sustainable and responsible development. Odebrecht USA, headquartered in Florida, and its subsidiary Braskem America, based in Philadelphia, sponsor the competition. Odebrecht is a Brazilian engineering, construction and petrochemical company with widespread holdings.

University of Cincinnati engineering students Ethan Jacobs, Qingshi Tu and Ronald Gillespie clinched the top prize with an idea that offers value across the supply chain, acting as a remedy for wastewater treatment plants and contributing to the energy security and environmental sustainability of the United States.

The team was advised by professor Mingming Lu of the school of energy, environmental, biological and medical engineering in the university’s College of Engineering and Applied Science. The team’s project, “Using trap grease as the raw material for biodiesel feedstock production,” tackles one of the largest unseen wastes in society: the wastewater stream.

A team from University of California-Berkeley took second place. Students David Campbell, Henry Kagey, Vivek Rao, and advising civil and environmental professor Slawomir Hermanowicz submitted the proposal “Solar photocatalytic greywater recycling in building facades.” The project was co-advised by architecture professor Maria Paz Gutierrez.

Third place went to students Amanda Velazquez, Paola Davalos and Sergio Baltodano, advised by professor Andres Tremante, from the Florida International University department of mechanical and materials engineering, whose entry was “Education, renewable energy and disaster resistant housing for rural Haiti: An integrated design for reconstruction.”

This is the second year of the Odebrecht Award in the United States.


NRC awards FY13 nuclear education grants

Washington, DC – The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has awarded more than $14 million in grants to academic institutions in fiscal year 2013 through its Nuclear Education Program. The grants are used for scholarships, fellowships, trade school and community college scholarships and faculty development. Congress has authorized the NRC to provide funding for programs like this in order to meet projected workforce needs at nuclear facilities.

This fiscal year, the NRC awarded forty-eight grants to thirty-six higher education institutions, including minority-serving institutions, located in twenty-four states.

“This program encourages students to pursue careers and research in the nuclear sector, providing them with the expertise to keep our nuclear facilities and materials safe and secure in the future,” says NRC chairman Allison Macfarlane. “As a safety regulator with an academic background, I highly value our agency’s efforts to support this worthwhile effort.”

Including the FY13 grants, the NRC Nuclear Education Program has awarded nearly $107 million since the program began in 2007.

See www.nrc.gov for more information on the NRC’s Nuclear Education Program.


Cordova, Handelsman nominated to science posts by President Obama

Washington, DC – Dr France Anne Cordova and Dr Jo Handelsman were nominated by President Barack Obama to key administration posts in July.

The President nominated Cordova to the post of director of the National Science Foundation, and Handelsman to serve as the associate director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy. “The extraordinary dedication these individuals bring to their new roles will greatly serve the American people. I am grateful they have agreed to serve in this administration and I look forward to working with them in the months and years to come,” Obama said.

Cordova is president emerita of Purdue University (West Lafayette, IN), where she served from 2007 to 2012. From 2002 to 2007, Cordova was chancellor of the University of California at Riverside, where she was a distinguished professor of physics and astronomy.

Previously, Cordova was the vice chancellor for research and professor of physics at the University of California-Santa Barbara, and NASA’s chief scientist. She was on the faculty of the Pennsylvania State University, where she served as head of the department of astronomy and astrophysics, and was deputy group leader in the earth and space sciences division at Los Alamos National Laboratory (NM).

She is chair of the board of regents of the Smithsonian Institution and a member of the National Science Board.

Cordova received a BA from Stanford University (CA) and a PhD from the California Institute of Technology-Pasadena.

Handelsman is the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Professor and Frederick Phineas Rose Professor in the department of molecular, cellular and developmental biology at Yale University (New Haven, CT), a position she has held since 2010. Previously, she served on the University of Wisconsin-Madison faculty as a professor in plant pathology and professor and chair of the department of bacteriology. She is currently president of the American Society for Microbiology.

In 2011, Handelsman received the Presidential Award for excellence in science mentoring. She was the director of the Wisconsin Program for Scientific Teaching and co-founded the National Academies Summer Institute on Undergraduate Education in Biology. She received a BS from Cornell University (Ithaca, NY) and a PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


Army Corps, Texas A&M partner to enhance opportunities for minority students

Corpus Christi, TX – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Galveston District has signed a cooperation agreement with Texas A&M University at Corpus Christi, a Hispanic-serving institution. The agreement commits the organizations to work together to enhance opportunities throughout the Corps for minority students.

“This partnership will help the USACE Galveston District recruit from a diverse pool of high-performing individuals with talents and strengths that are critical to providing excellent services to all Corps customers,” said Col Richard Pannell, district commander, at the August signing.

Pannell notes that the agreement has a focus on preparing engineering students for responsible positions in environmental and civil engineering programs.

“Achieving more diversity in the workplace is one of the goals of this partnership,” said Dr Rose Caballero, EEO officer and coordinator of the Advancing Minorities’ Interest in Engineering (AMIE) program for the USACE Galveston District. “This partnering agreement encourages engineering students to consider a career with the Corps upon graduation and helps us create a workplace that is reflective of the communities in which we serve.”

AMIE is a coalition of fourteen historically black colleges and universities, and has a longstanding partnership with the Corps. Similar agreements are in place with most of the AMIE schools.

As part of the agreement, Corps staff will work to enlighten engineering students about the Corps, its missions, unique capabilities and opportunities through student career experience programs, internships and career development programs. They’ll also provide guest lecturers and help sponsor student professional organizations. They’ll help establish Texas A&M-Corpus Christi as a center of excellence for environmental programs, and participate in campus career fairs.

“I believe the USACE Galveston District’s internship and partnership programs with Texas A&M University will directly contribute to the recruitment, mentorship, development, advancement and retention of Hispanics in the Corps and other federal agencies,” said Pannell. “We are proud of our efforts to eliminate barriers that may hinder equal opportunity for Hispanics in the Corps, and will continue to focus on enhancing and promoting programs that result in equal employment opportunities.”

The agreement was signed by Pannell; Dr Flavius C. Killebrew, the university’s president; Dr Frank Pezold, the dean of the College of Science and Engineering, and the USACE Southwestern Division’s Commander Brigadier General Thomas Kula.

For information regarding university partnership opportunities, contact Dr Rose Caballero at 409-766-3920 or email rose.m.caballero@usace.army.mil.


Wayne State receives grant to develop program for nanoengineers

Detroit, MI – Researchers at Wayne State University are developing an undergraduate certificate program geared toward training the next generation of nanoengineers.

According to the National Nano Initiative, a U.S. government research and development initiative involving nanotechnology-related activities in twenty-seven department and agency units, the demand for technicians and research scientists in nanotechnology-related industries is anticipated to grow significantly as nanotechnology-enabled products and processes mature.

Wayne State has received a $200,000 Nanotechnology Undergraduate Education (NUE) grant from the National Science Foundation to help prepare students for flexible employment opportunities and provide them with experience in cutting-edge technologies. “This new certificate program will help prepare students to gain experience in the field of nanoengineering, ultimately training them on emerging technologies,” said Guangzhao Mao, PhD, professor of chemical engineering in Wayne State’s College of Engineering. “The program will aid in meeting the growing demands of Michigan’s manufacturing economy and other high-tech industries that are settling in the state. Students in the program will get hands-on knowledge of the field through laboratory and research work, enabling them to move from familiar subjects to less familiar research-oriented studies.”

Mao’s collaborators in developing the program include Mark Ming-Cheng Cheng, PhD, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering; Sandro da Rocha, PhD, associate professor of chemical engineering; Erand Nikolla, PhD, assistant professor of chemical engineering; and Yong Xu, PhD, professor of electrical and computer engineering.

“Nanotechnology has great potential to change our economy and improve our standard of living, just as advances in information technology have revolutionized our lives and the economy over the past two decades,” said Hilary Ratner, vice president for research at Wayne State University. “This grant will give our students the opportunity to play an important role in another revolutionary technology by expanding their knowledge and skills beyond their traditional disciplinary training. In particular, degreed engineers can take advantage of the program for additional training, enabling them to advance their careers in this growing field in Michigan and elsewhere.”

Wayne State serves a diverse student population, with an undergraduate minority population of 36 percent. It is Michigan’s only urban research university.


Pitney Bowes Foundation invests in IT-Ready Labs to help underrepresented populations find IT work

Downers Grove, IL – The Pitney Bowes Foundation recently made a $15,000 literacy and education grant to the IT-Ready Labs program that helps populations underrepresented in information technology pursue successful careers in the field.

IT-Ready Labs, an initiative of the Creating IT Futures Foundation, develops, tests, incubates and launches innovative nonprofit programs tailored for the IT sector. The programs help women, ethnic minorities and displaced or underemployed individuals find sustainable work.

“Through this grant, the Pitney Bowes Foundation is giving people in need of an opportunity the pathway to a life-changing career, as well as the chance for a family-supportive, middle-class life,” said Charles Eaton, CEO of the Creating IT Futures Foundation.

One of the programs to emerge from IT-Ready Labs is the IT-Ready Apprentice Program, which provides eight to fifteen weeks of intensive, classroom-based education and training free of charge. Participants learn technical skills like building a computer, installing software, troubleshooting problems and setting up and managing networks. And they learn softer skills like communication and customer service.

After training and a successful certification exam, IT-Ready Apprentice Program graduates qualify for six-month paid apprenticeships with local participating companies.

The Creating IT Futures Foundation recently issued a white paper examining the inaugural year efforts of the IT-Ready Apprentice Program. The paper reveals that four months after completing the program, 72 percent of graduates were employed fulltime in information technology-related positions.

The Creating IT Futures Foundation is the philanthropic arm of CompTIA, a nonprofit trade organization representing the interests of IT professionals and companies.

The IT-Ready Apprentice Program is offered in Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN and Cincinnati and Columbus, OH, in partnership with the nonprofit organization Per Scholas.

To learn more about the foundation, go to www.creatingITfutures.org.


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