RizePoint awards Canyons School District students STEM summer camp scholarships

Melanie ShepherdMaking the Grade: Utah works to improve its marks in STEM education Utah Business May 8, 2018News

About 21 scholarships were originally planned to be awarded in the third annual summer camp scholarship program; however, RizePoint Vice President of People Operations Peter Johnson said about four additional scholarships were funded by company individuals who were inspired by the quality of applicants.

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Making the Grade: Utah works to improve its marks in STEM education — Utah Business May 8, 2018

Melanie ShepherdMaking the Grade: Utah works to improve its marks in STEM education Utah Business May 8, 2018News

Tamara Goetz, executive director of the Utah STEM Action Center, identifies one of the bottlenecks contributing to STEM shortage as originating at the beginning of the education pipeline.  Quite simply, many students don’t consider STEM as an option. Goetz says it’s important to identify “the gaps in foundational skills that prevent students from being comfortable” with STEM-related fields. It’s the all-too-common “I’m no good at math” syndrome in which students perceive technical disciplines as esoteric and unfathomable. STEM disciplines, many seem to think, require a set of specific mental configurations or intrinsic abilities. Much like computers come out of the factory with specific software installations and hardware specs, you either have the right stuff (so the erroneous tale goes) or you don’t.

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Recent Study Encourages Diversification Of Faculty In University STEM Programs

Lolly BowlerMaking the Grade: Utah works to improve its marks in STEM education Utah Business May 8, 2018News

A professor at the University of Utah recently co-authored a study exploring challenges faced by black male doctoral students. The six-year study followed 21 students earning doctorate degrees in engineering. It showed these students felt they were at the bottom of the hierarchy when it came to receiving resources from faculty members.

William Smith is the chair for the Department of Education, Culture and Society at the University of Utah. He worked on this research project with a professor from Iowa State University and one from the University of Alabama.

“It was a very interesting experiment to really hear the voices of what these students were dealing with on a day-to-day basis in these programs,” Smith said.

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5 honored for contributions STEM education in Utah

Lolly BowlerMaking the Grade: Utah works to improve its marks in STEM education Utah Business May 8, 2018News

SALT LAKE CITY — The STEM Action Center, in partnership with the Utah Technology Council, recognized five individuals for their contributions to science, technology, engineering and mathematics education statewide during the Utah Innovation Awards dinner Thursday.

This year’s recipients are:
• Cassandra Ivie, a student at Copper Hills High School

• Todd Monson, eighth-grade science teacher at Oquirrh Hills Middle School

• Spencer Holmgren, principal of Hillcrest Elementary School

• Kevin Reeve, co-founder of Cache Makers and volunteer mentor

• Rachel Fletcher, counselor at the Salt Lake Center for Science Education

The teacher, counselor, principal and mentor will be recognized and will receive a trophy and a $2,000 grant for STEM projects, while the student will receive a trophy and an iPad Mini.

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‘Girls In Aviation’ Program Reaches New Heights In Northern Utah

Lolly BowlerMaking the Grade: Utah works to improve its marks in STEM education Utah Business May 8, 2018News

The Girls in Aviation program was started just one year ago by the Cache Makers group based out of Logan, UT. The program focuses on exposing girls ages nine to 15 to the aviation industry as well as broad STEM, or Science Technology Engineering and Math, opportunities.

“Women are less likely to come into this field and more likely to drop out and that’s for STEM in general,”  said Claire Dugger, a second-year student at Utah State University, studying to become a professional pilot.

Dugger is a member of Utah State University’s chapter of Women in Aviation, a group that provides mentorship for the Girls in Aviation program. This is her second year mentoring and notes the noticeable gender disparity in her field.

“Only 6% of pilots are female,” she said. “Girls in Aviation program is one-step to getting girls actively participating and excited about a possible career in aviation or other STEM fields.”

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McMillan students explore STEM questions

Lolly BowlerMaking the Grade: Utah works to improve its marks in STEM education Utah Business May 8, 2018News

Which flower absorbs the most amount of water? Do kids or adults have a quicker reaction time? How tall do I sound? These and other questions, McMillan Elementary student-scientists explored as part of their STEM fair, which was on display during the interactive STEM night activities.

“We invited all the students from kindergarten to sixth-grade to participate,” said McMillan STEM coordinator Kristen McRae, who said that 130 students took the opportunity to display 118 projects. “Quite a few of our younger students want to do it because it’s fun and presented their projects to judges.” Those students, she said, received feedback from area judges so when they reach the upper grades, they can compete for spots to advance to the University of Utah Science and Engineering Regional Fair.

Third-grader Lily Matsumori was one of those students. She questioned what the effect of color had on the taste of food and drinks. “I wanted to know if when our eyes see the color of the food, if it effects what we think and sends signals to the brain how the food will taste,” she said. “I thought it would.”

To test her hypothesis, Lily used red and green food coloring to change the color of apple juice. Twenty people tasted both colored drinks and while all agreed the drink was a juice, the majority of testers thought the two drinks were different, with the red-colored apple juice more sweet and the green-colored, more tart.

“I proved my hypothesis that the color does affect the taste of food and the testers were tricked into thinking the juices were different. I know some companies that make and sell food add coloring to their products to make them more appealing, but I’d like to further my experiment with other colors like purple and black to see what kinds of messages our eyes will send to our brains about those,” she said.

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