STEM Roundup: Obama Honors 102 Math and Science Teachers

A roundup of recent STEM education and employment news.

On Dec. 20, President Barack Obama honored 102 mathematics and science teachers with the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.
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Obama Honors 102 Math and Science Teachers

WASHINGTON, DC - On Dec. 20, President Barack Obama honored 102 mathematics and science teachers with the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. An article on states the educators -- who represent all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Department of Defense Education Activity -- will receive a $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation to be used at their discretion, and will travel to Washington to be honored. In a statement, Obama said the teachers “are inspiring today’s young students to become the next generation of American scientists, mathematicians, and innovators. Through their passion and dedication, and by sharing their excitement about science, technology, engineering, and math, they are helping us build a promising future for all our children.”

GM’s First Female CEO an Exception, Not the Rule

NEW YORK - The elevation of Mary Barra to chief executive at General Motors last week might give the impression that women have finally arrived in manufacturing. Overall, however, women executives have been losing ground at American manufacturing companies, according to the Wall Street Journal. Since the U.S. job market began recovering in early 2010, the number of men working at all levels in manufacturing—from shop floor to the executive suite—has risen 7 percent, Labor Department data show. But during the same period, the number of women in manufacturing slipped 0.3 percent. The percentage of U.S. manufacturing-company employees who are female has dropped to 27 percent from a peak of about 32 percent in the early 1990s. That runs counter to the general trend of rising female employment: Women currently account for about 49 percent of all nonfarm jobs in the U.S., up from 47 percent in 1990.

Oregon Colleges, Tech Companies See Bumper Crop of STEM Students

PORTLAND, Ore. - Universities and Oregon technology companies have been working for years to increase interest in technical programs, aiming to provide workers for the state’s tech industry. Now, those efforts are apparently bearing fruit, according to the Portland Oregonean: Enrollment in Portland State University’s engineering and computer science program is up 22 percent in the past two years; at Oregon State, enrollment is up 30 percent in the same period. The “enrollment storm” has led schools to adjust. At Portland State, administrators added introductory classes in the winter and spring, classes ordinarily offered just in the fall, to meet the surge in interest.

Code Fellows: Top Computer Programming Grads Can Earn Up to $100K

Code Fellows is upping its ante: The Seattle-based organization, which runs two-month programming classes for aspiring software engineers, previously guaranteed a salary of $60,000 or more post-graduation. Now, according to the tech news site GeekWire, Code Fellows says its top applicants — those already demonstrating coding experience and solid fundamentals — will make at least $100,000 after completing the program. The increase is due to the growing demand for graduates Code Fellows has experienced. “The bar to get in has never been higher, and our partner companies are starting to offer jobs sooner after graduation,” wrote Will Little, CEO of Code Fellows. “We are seeing more of these applicants show up and we’d like to let them know ... that their skills are highly valuable in today’s market,” Little wrote.

Md. Officials Encourage High School Students to Choose STEM

PIKESVILLE, Md. - Students at Pikesville High School showed up for school last week and found themselves smack-dab in the middle of a statewide effort to bolster the state’s science and tech workforce. The Baltimore Business Journal reports that representatives from Johns Hopkins University’s physics department, the University of Maryland School of Medicine and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, to name a few, urged the students to consider the real-world benefits of science, technology, engineering and math -- part of the Maryland Business Roundtable for Education’s push to promote STEM education. Much has been said about the growth in STEM-related job opportunities, but analysts question whether students are suited to fill those jobs: as of 2011, 45 percent of high school graduates from schools like Pikesville were ready for college-level math and only 30 percent were ready for college-level science, according to the National Math and Science Initiative.

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