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New UTEP technology helps patients walk again

Chad MacDonald, EE PhD candidate at the University of Texas-El Paso, checks out the Smartgait rehab system developed by researchers and students at the school.El Paso, TX – Researchers at the University of Texas-El Paso (UTEP) have developed a Smartgait rehabilitation system. Smartgait is designed to help patients with walking disabilities caused by stroke, MS, traumatic brain injury or spinal cord injury.

Smartgait technology lets neurologists analyze a patient’s walking pattern based on data generated by the patient’s own body. This creates a more accurate picture
of the damage or impairment, leading to a better selection among treatment options.

The system was developed by a team led by UTEP EE professor Thompson Sarkodie-Gyan. “When we are able to quantify the impairment so we know exactly where and how serious
it is, the doctor can be very precise,” Sarkodie-Gyan says.

Engineering students helped develop the machine prototype, contributing research, design and testing of the technology and equipment.

For more information about UTEP’s Laboratory for Human Motion Analysis and Neurorehabilitation, visit humanlocomotion.utep.edu, or see engineering.utep.edu
for info about the school itself.


Study finds tech women stalled at mid-level

Study finds tech women stalled at mid-level.Palo Alto, CA – The Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology (ABI) has released results of a two-year study of obstacles that keep most technical women from rising above mid-level management.

The study looks at workplace, technical workforce, workplace experience and work/life balance issues. It’s based on a large-scale survey and in-depth interviews conducted at seven mid to large, publicly traded Silicon Valley high-tech firms.

At each successive level women comprise a smaller proportion of the workforce, the study finds. Mid-level women are predominantly white or Asian, with few underrepresented minority women at middle rank or above. The survey found that technical men are 2.7 times more likely than technical women to hold high-level positions.

Study recommendations include increased professional development, especially mentoring, for technical women; fostering a positive work culture; balancing flexibility, work pace, and family; and developing a diverse leadership team.

The study was funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation, and conducted with the Michelle R. Clayman Institute for Gender Research at Stanford University (Stanford, CA). The National Center for Women and Information Technology collaborated on the report, and corporate underwriting was provided by Symantec.

The full report is available at www.anitaborg.org/news/research.


Club Tech partnership provides technology access

On their trip to Minneapolis, winners of the Boys and Girls of America Club Tech art contest get some lively advice from a Microsoft technical employee.Atlanta, GA – Boys and Girls Clubs of America members exhibit their work with digital technology at Club Tech digital arts festivals sponsored by Microsoft, Boys and Girls Clubs of America and the Best Buy Children’s Foundation.

During the last school year, the kids produced digital artwork reflecting the theme of “Our Changing World.” More than 900 entries were submitted, and sixteen winners, aged ten to eighteen, won learning trips to Minneapolis, where they visited Best Buy corporate HQ, the local Microsoft office and the Minneapolis College of Art and Design to experience technical careers firsthand.

The digital arts program is a feature of Club Tech, which provides Boys and Girls Clubs nationwide with the latest software and technology.

These are very important skills to possess. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 77 percent of all jobs in the U.S. will require at least some IT ability by 2010. Projections show a rising demand for computer-related occupations, but the number of U.S. workers with the necessary skills is declining.

Only 13 percent of American adults are proficient in the knowledge and skills needed to identify and perform computational tasks, and this percentage has not gone up in fifteen years. Of the people who currently earn their livings in computer and math-related occupations, only 7.7 percent are African American; the percentage of BSCS degrees earned by women has dropped from 37 percent in 1985 to 22 percent in 2005.


Future City seeks engineer mentors

Engineer mentor, left, teacher and an ’07 team from Milpitas, CA.Washington, DC – Each year the National Engineers Week Future City competition introduces tens of thousands of seventh- and eighth-graders to engineering processes,
as they work in teams to create cities of tomorrow.

The kids work with their teachers and with volunteer engineer mentors to create a community with functioning infrastructure, from skyscrapers and parks to transportation and energy. Last year more than 30,000 students from 1,111 schools participated, creating a huge need for volunteer mentors.

Julie Gennaro is a consulting engineer at URS who guided the Future City team at Our Lady Help of Christians School (Abington, PA). She says the investment of time is well worthwhile.

“We all know the statistics about the lack of students entering the engineering profession,” says Gennaro. “Here’s an opportunity to do something about it by inspiring young people to pursue engineering.” Some young people now in engineering school had never even considered the profession before participating in Future City.

Gennaro also notes that volunteer engineer mentors find Future City a natural fit. “As engineers we love to solve problems,” she says. “What can be more fun than spending time with a group of young people discussing current and future engineering challenges and brainstorming solutions?”

For information on mentoring a Future City team, visit www.futurecity.org and click on “Register as an Engineer.”


Too little mentoring for STEM women and minorities

Jennifer Chou-Green: “A wide range of mentoring activities is important.” San Jose, CA – Mentoring is a key factor in keeping women and minorities on track to careers in science, technology, engineering and math (the STEM professions). When asked, female students and early-career women overwhelmingly reported a lack of mentoring opportunities, according to a new study released by MentorNet.

More than 2,500 students and postdoc scholars in STEM fields were polled to learn more about their need for mentors. More than 70 percent of women responding said they did not have a consistent source for advice and support. They expressed their need for a mentor able to serve as an objective sounding board and role model.

“Women, minorities and postdocs in engineering and sciences believe a wide range of mentoring activities
is important to their academic success,” reports Jennifer Chou-Green, director of the study. “Students seek mentors who are non-threatening and encouraging role models, who offer advice, who respect them as individuals, and who help them overcome challenges.”

For further details, check out mentornet.net/studentperceptions.


Tiny Prints appoints engineering VP

Adnan Asar is the new Tiny Prints VP.Mountain View, CA – Engineer Adnan Asar has joined online custom stationary company Tiny Prints in the
newly created role of VP of engineering. He will lead strategic and operational aspects of Tiny Prints’ online presence, including back- and front-end systems, networks and data centers.

Asar joins Tiny Prints from Yahoo! He has also worked in senior positions at Oracle and Keynote Systems. And he co-founded and served as CEO of Equbits, a startup that built predictive modeling and analytics software for major pharmaceutical companies.

Asar has an MSCS from San Francisco State University and a BS in EE & CS from the University of California-Berkeley.

Tiny Prints is a small business founded in 2004 by Kelly Berger, Laura Ching and Ed Han.


Kaitz Foundation names diversity champs

New York, NY – At its annual fundraising dinner, the Walter Kaitz Foundation recognizes corporations for their support of diversity in cable TV. This year Bright House Networks
and Scripps Networks were singled out for their diversity efforts.

Bright House is a multi-system operator. It provides digital phone, high-speed data (HSD), video-on-demand, subscription video-on-demand and DVR to 2.4 million customers in
large markets including Birmingham, AL; Detroit, MI and Tampa/Central Florida. The
award citation notes that as an operator based in a number of diverse communities, the company works to be sure its workforce, suppliers and community activities reflect the markets it serves.

Scripps Networks produces lifestyle media, developing content for TV, the Internet, satellite radio, books, magazines and emerging media platforms. In recent years the network has intensified its efforts to ensure diversity in its workforce, community, audience and suppliers, as well as the content of its efforts.

As a result, Scripps has increased the presence of multicultural experts on its networks and has initiated a supplier diversity program that includes participation in NMSDC and measurable goals for supplier diversity, its award citation notes.

At Scripps Networks, 38 percent of the executive team is made up of women and people of color. The company has launched a project to promote the development of female leaders.


CompTIA program gets Lenovo Hope Fund grant

Oakbrook Terrace, IL – The Creating Futures program of the educational foundation of the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) recently received a grant from the Lenovo Hope Fund.

Creating Futures addresses the need for skilled high-tech workers by training people from underutilized groups to work in information technology. These include people with disabilities, military vets, at-risk youth and dislocated workers.

Creating Futures was among more than forty grant applicants from around the world, according to John Mayr, VP of Lenovo worldwide service operations and delivery, who nominated the program for the award.

The grant is much more than just a gift of money, Mayr declares. It honors the Creating Futures organization, and all the people who are working to give opportunities for productive and rewarding careers in IT to under- utilized individuals.


New PBS project attracts women to engineering

Judy Lee, profiled on an EYL segment, enjoys her creative and collaborative engineering job at Ideo, a human-centered design firm. Boston, MA – Engineer Your Life (EYL) is a national outreach campaign to interest girls in engineering. It was created by WGBH Boston and the National Academy of Engineering, in partnership with a coalition of engineering and educational organizations.

Studies have found that high school girls believe engineers sit in windowless cubicles all day doing math problems. EYL sets out to change the way these young women view engineering careers.

The new campaign will show engineering as an interesting, enjoyable, social, lucrative and flexible career choice for women: a job that can make a difference in people’s lives.

Each of twelve video programs is an in-depth profile of a young female engineer. The programs describe paths the girls took to reach their professional goals.

In addition to profiling young women engineers, the site includes detailed descriptions of eleven engineering disciplines, with information on typical projects and starting salaries. It also offers information on required courses and paths of study for high school, undergrad and graduate students.

Through its website, EYL offers training for school counselors and engineer-mentors. The organization also hosts information tables at college and career fairs. For more information visit EngineerYourLife.org.


Nanonet circuits promote flexible electronics

Purdue EE/computer engineering professor and principal researcher Ashraf Alam: “a fundamental advance in how nanotube circuits are made.” West Lafayette, IN – Researchers at Purdue and the University of Illinois have overcome a major obstacle in producing transistors from networks of carbon nanotubes. The development could make it practical to print circuits on plastic sheets for applications including flexible displays.

“Nanonets” are circuits made of carbon nanotubes randomly overlapping in a fishnet-like structure. But they have been plagued by a critical problem: the networks of carbon tubes are typically contaminated with metallic tubes that cause short circuits.

Researchers solved the problem by cutting the nanonet into strips, preventing short circuits by breaking the path of metallic nanotubes.

“This is a fundamental advance in how nanotube circuits are made,” says Ashraf Alam,
a professor of EE and computer engineering at Purdue University. Alam was a principal researcher on the project, along with Kaushik Roy, another Purdue professor of EE and computer engineering, and doctoral students Ninad Pimparkar and Jaydeep P. Kulkarni.

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign led experimental lab
research to build the circuits, and Purdue led research to develop and use simulations
and mathematical models to design the circuits and interpret and analyze data.


Transportation engineer Riad Alharithi joins Otak

Riad Alharithi. Portland, OR – Architecture, engineering, landscape architecture and planning firm Otak added transportation engineer Riad Alharithi to its staff this past summer.

Alharithi recently served with the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) as a local road field engineer.

Before moving to Otak in Oregon, Alharithi was president of the Illinois Valley branch of the ASCE. He has a 1988 BSCE from Aleppo University (Aleppo, Syria), a 1995 MSCE from Illinois Institute of Technology and
a 2001 MSCS from Western Illinois University.



Rohm and Haas gives and receives NOBCChE awards

Jeremy Venter of Rohm and Haas with Morgan State senior and scholarship winner Raquel Jemison. Rohm and Haas received a corporate support award. Washington, DC – The National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers (NOBCChE) presented
a new scholarship at its thirty-fifth annual conference this March. The award, funded by specialty materials company Rohm and Haas, was created to encourage African American students in chemistry and chemical engineering programs to participate in undergraduate research.

Morgan State senior and chemistry major Raquel Jemison received the scholarship, the Rohm and Haas Company award, for her research paper presented at the NOBCChE conference, “The thermal properties and x-ray diffraction of epoxy nanocomposites.”

At the same conference Rohm and Haas was honored with an award of its own for its
long-standing service to the organization. “NOBCChE is honored to present Rohm and Haas with our first Corporate Support award recognizing our long partnership in fostering youth interested in the field of chemistry,” said NOBCChE president, Victor McCrary.

For more information on the scholarship, go to www.nobcche.org.


Gateway Academy programs triple in ‘08

Dearborn, MI – The Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) education foundation tripled the number of summer Gateway Academy programs in 2008. The 181 day-camp style academies gave secondary school students hands-on experience in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Typically almost half the kids at Gateway Academies are female and more than 40 percent are non-Caucasian.

The increased number of opportunities was made possible by a growing list of corporate sponsors. This year’s sponsors included American Electric Power, Caterpillar, Deere & Co, Harley-Davidson, Intel and Solar Turbines.

For more information about the programs and locations where they are offered, visit www.sme.org/foundation.


Women’s Transportation Seminar chapter awards scholarships and honors

High school scholarship winners with Alice Tolbert-Wiggins of WTS, right. Los Angeles, CA – In November 2007 the Los Angeles area chapter of the Women’s Transportation Seminar (WTS) awarded a record $28,500 in scholarships to eight college students and three high-school students. “This year’s scholarship winners represent the best and the brightest female students pursuing careers in the transportation industry. WTS-Los Angeles is proud to recognize their accomplishments and their academic excellence,” said chapter president Maria Guerra.

The chapter also recognized its 2007 Employer of the Year, Jones & Stokes; Woman of the Year, Gina Marie Lindsey, executive director, Los Angeles World Airports; and Member of the Year, Judy Hong, deputy project manager/senior engineer LTK Engineering Services.



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