Monthly Archives: April 2015

Inaugural Health Physics Society (HPS) Science Camp

Date: Tuesday, July 14, 2015
Time: 1:00 PM— 5:00 PM
Come Interact with Vendors from 12:00—1:00 PM
Camp begins promptly at 1:00 PM
Admission: Free of Charge
Location: Indiana Convention Center, Indianapolis, Indiana

In honor of the 60th anniversary of the Health Physics Society’s first organizational meeting,
we wish to invite science teachers and students to the Inaugural Health Physics Society
(HPS) Science Camp. This camp is open to science teachers and students and allow us to give
back to the communities we visit. Admission to this camp is free of charge. However, we are limiting attendance to the first 50 teachers and 50 students. We will keep a waiting list if there are last minute cancellations.  Do not pass up this opportunity!

For teachers attending the camp, we will give each teacher participant free materials to conduct the demonstrated labs back in their classroom, free Geiger counters, free CEUs and free lab discussions and lectures.  Our hope is to bring more real, every-day science to the classroom, as it pertains to radiation.

As part of the camp, we are also inviting middle/high school students to participate.  You are welcome to invite a student(s) to the camp (they may be relatives of appropriate age or students from your class).  The attending students will also receive free items, including general radiation information they may share with family.  In addition, we will have professionals from a number of radiological fields and some colleges available to discuss classwork and careers.

For more information or to register, email Jeff Mason at

Disney’s Create Tomorrowland – XPRIZE Challenge

XPRIZE and Disney have teamed up to encourage kids ages 8-17 to develop their Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (S.T.E.A.M.) skills in Disney’s Create Tomorrowland – XPRIZE Challenge. We are asking kids to image themselves in the future and report back to the present through a video, image, or story about one new and amazing invention or innovation they encounter, how it works, and the impact it has on the world.

Registration is now open. Six winners will each receive an amazing prize package that includes a $3,000 check, a 3D printer, and much more! To learn more, visit:

Purdue iD Tech to hold children’s summer camps on campus in June and July

Purdue faculty and staff can save $75 on an iD Tech summer camp held on Purdue’s West Lafayette campus for their 7- to 17-year-old children.

The camps run for weeklong sessions in June and July with overnight, day camp and weekend options. A calendar with the camp listings is available here.

Camp options include topics that cover video game design, programming and coding, engineering, robotics and more.

To be eligible for the $75 savings, register and pay in full by May 21 and use code PURDUETC2015. In addition, a email address is required to register.

This is the seventh year iD Tech has held camps at Purdue. Camp details can be found here.

Now Accepting Applications! US2020 VISTA Openings

TPF4Y has been so grateful for the help of our three VISTAs during the pilot year of our US2020 initiative. They are smart, resourceful, hardworking, self-starters who have been completely capable of picking up and running with every task we’ve asked of them since day one. Their one-year terms of service will be coming to a close this summer, which means we are in the process of interviewing their potential successors.

AmeriCorps VISTA members live and serve in some of our nation’s poorest urban and rural areas. With passion, commitment, and hard work, they create or expand programs designed to bring individuals and communities out of poverty. Want to learn more about becoming a VISTA? Visit the AmeriCorps VISTA FAQ page.

TPF4Y is looking for two new VISTAs to start in July with a focus on continuing the progress we’ve made with the US2020 Initiative here in Indianapolis.

Corporate & Community Coordinator VISTA (click here to apply!)

This VISTA member will focus on the messaging and recruitment of corporate partner employees and IUPUI students as mentors for US2020 programs. He or she will help to maintain positive relationships with all partners through proactive communication and assist in mentor orientation and implementing background checks.

School & Program Coordinator VISTA (click here to apply!)

This VISTA member will serve as a sort of liaison between US2020 mentors and contacts at our school and community center sites to ensure a smooth transition into mentoring. He or she will also be in charge of implementing evaluation procedures and ensuring that data is collected, compiled, and communicated effectively.

We are looking forward to welcoming two outstanding new VISTAs to our team in July – please share these opportunities with any talented individuals you feel would fit the bill!

Non-STEM Fields Increasingly Require STEM Skills

It’s becoming increasingly difficult to define who is and is not included in America’s modern STEM workforce, simply because technical proficiency is becoming mandatory in a diverse body of occupations. STEM worker shortages have garnered plenty of headlines in recent years as an increasingly technical and automated job market demands more out of its workers. But a Tuesday report from the National Science Board argues such complaints have been around since the 1950s and that they’re ultimately not a good use of time. Innovation has blurred the line between what does and does not constitute a STEM employee, and it’s hard to measure a shortage without a precise definition.

Read the complete article here.

Iowa STEM Council Awards Scale Up Programs

The Iowa Governor’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Advisory Council will impact more than 100,000 Iowa learners through approximately 2,818 educators in year four of the statewide STEM Scale-Up initiative for the 2015-2016 academic year.

Through a rigorous review process, the STEM Council selected 14 high-quality STEM programs across Iowa’s schools, after-school programs and other settings for grades pre-K through 12. These programs range from building robots and wind turbines to virtual reality and STEM career awareness, demonstrating an appeal to diverse youth, success in improving academic performance, evidence of integrating STEM concepts, development of school-business-community partnerships and sustainability beyond STEM Council financial support.

“In the fourth year of STEM Scale-Up, the STEM Council has partnered with nearly every school district in our state, which shows the amazing growth and outreach STEM has had in the last three years,” said Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, co-chair of the STEM Council. “Delivering these programs to the areas of the greatest need is always a priority for the STEM Council and guiding the regional STEM managers to build capacity to this level is extremely rewarding for all of us.”

Each of the six regional STEM managers, guided by their regional advisory boards, awarded these programs with vital funding from the Iowa Legislature, leveraging $3.1 million spread evenly across regions of the state.

Results from the 2013-2014 Iowa STEM evaluation report show more than 90 percent of students who participated in a STEM Scale-Up program reported higher interest in at least one STEM subject or career. Nearly 75 percent of participating teachers report greater skill and confidence in teaching STEM and continue their program after the STEM Council’s financial support ends.

Go to the Iowa STEM website here.


Education experts point to inadequacies in STEM teaching

Less that half of STEM majors graduate with their intended degree, having some education experts pointing fingers at professors. A national push for increased focus on STEM education outlined in a 2012 report called for an increase of 1,000,000 STEM professionals over the next decade to remain competitive nationally. But University of Wisconsin education researcher Mark Connolly said this is a tall order given only 19 percent of students will graduate with a STEM degree. With only 40 percent of intended STEM majors actually graduating with those degrees, Connolly said a big part of the problem lies in the quality of STEM teaching.

Read the complete article here.

Purdue Study: Most K-12 schools lack engineering-centered education

A study aimed at improving engineering education in public schools found that only a dozen states clearly define and lay out engineering curricula for K-12 students in their science standards, and only four of these states present a “comprehensive” inclusion of engineering. Researchers are trying to improve engineering education in public schools to address a national need for highly skilled engineers for the workforce. “For me the real need is to have more diverse ways of thinking in engineering,” said Tamara Moore, an associate professor of engineering education at Purdue University. “One of the requirements of a good engineering team is to have people coming at a problem from lots of different directions. We need a more diverse population of engineers, but I also want people to be more engineering literate.”

Read the complete article here.

Purdue Engineering summer academy set for traditional and homeschool educators

The Purdue School of Engineering Education’s INSPIRE Institute for Pre-College Engineering (INSPIRE) will host a summer academy in July to provide elementary and middle school educators (traditional and homeschool) with the skills, resources and understanding to help integrate engineering into their classrooms.

The INSPIRE Summer Academy, which will be held July 21-24 at Wang Hall, is open to kindergarten through eighth-grade educators. INSPIRE has offered engineering and integrated STEM academies since its inception in 2006.

Examples of workshop topics will include:

* Discovering how broadening contexts for engineering design problems can engage children more fully in engineering design practices and processes.

* Using engineering and literature to motivate and deepen children’s mathematics and science learning.

* Developing children’s self-confidence while providing opportunities for them to fail — and learn from failure.

* Nurturing children’s natural inquisitiveness and creativity — how asking questions and exploring crazy ideas are two important parts of engineering.

Applications may be submitted through April 12 at The cost is $250, and a limited number of scholarships are available. Additional details about the summer academy are available here.

Opinion: Science Is Essentially Human; Or Why Better STEM Education Isn’t A Threat

Contributor:  Chad Orzel — I write about physics, science, academia, and pop culture (bio).

Fareed Zakaria has conveniently provided me with a hook to do just that, with a much-shared Washington Post piece headlined “Why America’s obsession with STEM education is dangerous.” (“STEM” of course is the trendy acronym for “Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.”)

Zakaria’s piece is promoting his new book In Defense of a Liberal Education, and working where I do, I see a lot of these. Zakaria’s particular “defense” isn’t especially good or bad, as such things go, just a little more well-connected than most. As is very common with such things, he engages in a bit of rhetorical jiu-jitsu, giving examples of politicians disparaging the idea of majoring in arts or anthropology then decrying “this dismissal of broad-based learning,” as if suggesting students major in “practical” subjects was equivalent to saying they should never take even a single class in “impractical” subjects. In fact, what’s being questioned by calls for more and better STEM education is not the idea of broad-based education, but a different kind of narrowness, in which most students who go on to work in business and public policy do everything they can to avoid science classes.

Read the complete article here.