STEM

thecuriositycube.com

Pharmaceuticals and biosciences company MilliporeSigma is stopping in Laramie this week to showcase its “Curiosity Cube.” What used to be a 22 by 10-foot shipping container is now a mobile science lab with interactive experiments. The Curiosity Cube allows kids to experience different technologies like high-tech microscopes, virtual reality, and 3D printers. 

code.org

Wyoming is poised to be the first state in the country to require its schools to offer computer science education. Friday, the State Senate passed a bill to add computer science to the basket of goods as a common core knowledge area.

 

Kamila Kudelska

There are over 500 open computing jobs in Wyoming, amounting to roughly $30 million in wages not flowing into the state. That’s according to Code.org, a non-profit that has partnered with the Wyoming Department of Education to expand access to computer science in schools.

 

Kamila Kudelska

As lawmakers are discussing whether to add computer science and computational thinking to the state educational curriculum, they are looking to Powell as an example. Powell is one of only five school districts teaching computer science. Wyoming Public Radio’s Kamila Kudelska takes a deeper dive into how their curriculum has developed and persisted throughout the years.

Graphics from SANS. Altered by Tennessee Watson

Jobs in cybersecurity are in high demand, and Governor Matt Mead is encouraging young people in Wyoming to explore the field, especially young women.

 

The governor has announced Wyoming will now participate in the “High School Girls CyberStart Challenge” — a cybersecurity competition for junior and seniors in the form of an online game. In the simulation, players are cyber agents responsible for protecting a base. The idea is to get girls interested in the cybersecurity field, where women are generally underrepresented.

 

wikipedia.org

Five classrooms in Wyoming are being recognized nationally for inspiring change in their local communities through the creative use of STEAM education, which stands for science, technology, engineering, arts and math.

 

Wyoming Department of Education

Governor Matt Mead signed an official proclamation Tuesday recognizing December 4 through 11 as Computer Science Education Week in Wyoming, as a part of his effort to make computer science a K-12 academic requirement.

 

“I would like to see coding at every grade level,” Governor Mead said at the proclamation.

 

He also acknowledged that the idea might be met with hesitation given the financial challenges public education is facing.  

 

University of Wyoming

It’s been a rough couple of years for the University of Wyoming where budget cutting, layoffs, and reorganization have been themes. Lately, the focus has been on less stressful ventures like enhancing STEM teaching, diversity, and a variety of initiatives.

One issue for University of Wyoming President Laurie Nichols is to try to address that lack of faculty and staff pay raises. She tells Bob Beck that those raises should be here by July.

UW College of Engineering and Applied Sciences

Women engineers face a lot of challenges, some of which begin as early as their college education, where they are highly outnumbered by their male peers in the classroom.

To address this disparity, the University of Wyoming has launched a new mentoring program, that pairs female engineering undergraduates with female alumni working in the field. Wyoming Public Radio’s Maggie Mullen spoke with Teddi Freedman, a Senior Coordinator for UW’s College of Engineering that is heading up the new program.

Tennessee Watson

A lab devoted to tinkering, playing and experimenting has opened its doors in the Coe Library at the University of Wyoming. There among stacks of books is the Makerspace — with large worktables, an electronics bench and four 3D printers.

Celebrating its 17th year, the Wyoming Latina Youth Conference hosted young Wyoming women of Hispanic descent for two days of programming in Laramie on October 13 and 14. The theme this year was, “embracing leadership, science, and creativity.”

Over 200 female students in 5th through 12th grade attended workshops on science, technology, and creativity, in order to foster a belief in the power to choose their future.

pixabay.com

As Wyoming’s energy industry continues to stay relatively stagnant, state leaders have been looking at alternate ways to boost the state’s economy. Governor Matt Mead is hoping technology will become a vibrant part of Wyoming’s economy, alongside energy, agriculture and tourism.  And this message has caught on. In June the Joint Education Committee requested that the Wyoming Department of Education convene a Computer Science Education Task Force, to look at what it would take to prepare Wyoming students to be leaders in the technology field.

 

ENDOW, Economically Needed Diversity Options for Wyoming, logo
ENDOW

The State Superintendent of Public Instruction is concerned that Governor Mead’s executive council focused on diversifying Wyoming’s economy, known as ENDOW, is leaving out K-12 education.

 

Superintendent Jillian Balow made that point recently in a letter to the governor. She said schools should be a part of the economic diversification discussion because public education is one of the largest employers in the state.

 

thebeardedladyproject.com

A University of Wyoming scientist has created a documentary to celebrate women in paleontology.

Ellen Currano said she and a friend, filmmaker Lexi Jameison Marsh, conceived of the project after a hard day in their separate fields. Both women had felt like outsiders who were not taken as seriously as their male colleagues.

A Partnership For A New American Economy

Keeping international students at the University of Wyoming in-state after graduation could create 136 jobs, according to a new report from the Partnership for a New American Economy, a national coalition of mayors and business leaders. The group commissioned the report as part of a national campaign about immigration reform this election season.

Bob Beck

Bob Jensen has spent most of his time in Wyoming thinking about improving the economy. For ten years he led the Wyoming Business Council, the state’s economic development arm. Several months ago during a meeting of some Cheyenne entrepreneurs the idea of developing a coding school was pitched. And that discussion led to the development of Array, School of Technology and Design in downtown Cheyenne.

“It is a grassroots effort to try and effect workforce quickly for a growing tech industry in Wyoming,” said Jensen.

Liam Niemeyer

Teachers from across Wyoming took part in programming and robotics workshops on the University of Wyoming’s campus this month to learn about new ways to teach students.

During the two-week long event called “UW RAMPED,” 30 teachers learned about miniature computers that can be used in the classroom and how to program robots of different sizes. Teachers also got to interact with a human-sized robot named Baxter.

Caroline Ballard

  

At the Women in STEM conference, more than 500 middle and high school girls descended on the University of Wyoming campus to learn more about STEM careers. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and math.  

The girls get to attend three workshops out of a possible 25 options, and choices range from animal husbandry to chemistry and robotics.

Holly Ramseier is a senior in Chemical Engineering at UW, and is helping out today. She says the conference is all about getting your feet wet and seeing what you like. 

uwyo.edu

More than 500 middle and high school girls will explore careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math at the upcoming Women in STEM conference at the University of Wyoming.

At least 26 workshops and activities will be led mostly by women from organizations like the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, Tata Chemicals, and the University of Wyoming.

Michele Turner, one of the event’s coordinators, says one of the goals of the conference is to show girls that there are opportunities for them in STEM.

Caroline Ballard

When University of Wyoming Computer Science Freshman Catherine Clennan sent an email to her professor explaining what she hoped to get out of an upcoming internship, she didn’t think much of it.

“It took about 20 minutes. I sat down and just, you know, word vomited onto the page and I sent it to him. And he was so moved by it that he responded to me saying we should do a blog for the internship, and I was like yeah ok let’s do it. And so I set it up and published it and it just went viral,” says Clennan.

istockphoto.com

A viral essay written by a University of Wyoming computer science student is inspiring real change at the university.

Wyoming State Science Fair

This weekend, students in grades 6-12 will compete in the Wyoming State Science Fair. The Science Fair is a competition where students conduct original scientific research - and collect and analyze data. The students present their findings on a poster and are interviewed by judges in their respective fields. The earlier rounds include individual school competitions, followed by regionals. About 900 students enter in the earlier rounds, but only a third advance to the final round, the State Science Fair.

sdstate.edu

The incoming President of the University of Wyoming said she is busy setting the stage for a fast start when she begins her new job late this spring. 

Laurie Nichols has been working on hiring a new Provost and looking at the best ways to review degree programs on campus. 

Aaron Schrank/WPR

Wyoming students who graduated high school in 2015 scored slightly higher on the ACT exam than last year’s seniors.

That’s according to a report released Wednesday by the test’s developer, ACT, Inc. Wyoming uses the ACT college entrance exam to measure student achievement.

The average composite score for Wyoming students was 20.2 out of 36—which puts the state in sixth place out of the 13 states where all students are required the ACT.

Wyoming Department of Education Chief Academic Officer Brent Bacon says that’s a slight increase from last year.

One way to tell how schools are doing with computer science is to look at how many students take the Advancement Placement exam for the subject. And, in the entire state of Wyoming, over the past four years, just one student took the AP computer science exam.

That one student was Casey Mueller—and the distinction is news to him.

“I was not aware of that, actually,” says Mueller. “I was kind of shocked in one sense. But, on the other hand, there was part of me that wasn’t surprised.”

A Meeteetse High School science project is now a finalist in a national teaching contest. The teacher and some students are on their way to New York to try to win the 120,000 dollar prize.

Meeteetse’s high school science students based their project on the Pitchfork ranch. The students used math, science, engineering, and computer skills to perfect self cleaning gates to keep Yellowstone cutthroat trout in the  Greybull river, and out of irrigation ditches.where they often die.

Their teacher, Michael Power, says their project can affect the entire ecosystem.

Aaron Schrank

As Wyoming teachers gear up for another school year, there’s more emphasis than ever on improving so-called STEM education in the state. STEM is an acronym that stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics. As Wyoming Public Radio’s Aaron Schrank reports, the number of jobs in these fields is rapidly rising in Wyoming, and the state’s education leaders are working together to prepare.

Courtesy Wyoming Council for Women's Issues

Wyoming’s Council for Women’s Issues will host its ninth annual career fair next month.

Open to high school girls in 9th and 10th grade, the Go WEST! fair will highlight careers in science, technology, engineering and math – fields largely dominated by men. According to the national science foundation, just 18.6 percent of US undergraduate engineering students were female in 2011.

Carma Corra, chairperson of Wyoming’s Council for Women’s Issues, says knowing the options is the first step to getting girls interested in studying science and math.

Uinta County parents and teachers say they were left out of the decision making process when the school superintendent announced he would scale back art classes in elementary schools to make more time for science.  Superintendent James Bailey says students were only getting about 1 or 2 days of science a week, which wasn’t enough since state assessments will soon be testing kids in science.  But last week, Bailey met with teachers and came up with a possible plan to integrate the two subjects.  He says the plan could actually improve the district’s curriculum.

Wyoming NASA Space Grant Consortium / University of Wyoming

More than 500 girls from across Wyoming will gather at the University of Wyoming Tuesday for the annual Women in Science Conference.

The Wyoming NASA Space Grant Consortium hosts the event, during which the middle- and high-school students learn about various applications of science, technology, math and engineering. In past years, students have identified animal skulls, developed computer games, and learned about anatomy in UW’s Human Cadaver Lab. Many of the scientists leading the programs are women.