Chief of Naval Research Rear Adm. Nevin Carr announced an incentive plan to award up to $8 million for ideas aimed at boosting K-12 education in the sciences during a June15-16 conference in Alexandria, Va.
“Today’s approaches to training and education must seek new innovative ways to sustain America’s position as a global technology leader,” Carr told the more than 650 government, academia and business leaders gathered at the Naval Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) forum.
“I wouldn’t begin to pretend that the Navy is going to solve the country’s STEM problem…there are others out there working very hard to do that,” Carr continued, “but we also want to make sure we are all intersected in a way that we can get the most out of the collective.”
The challenge is one of many efforts the Navy has developed to encourage students, parents and teachers to pursue STEM education and careers. Through its STEM initiatives, the Navy seeks to increase the talent pool of future Sailors, naval scientists and engineers.
The Navy will award up to $1.5 million to each Phase One selectee. Teams will compete to advance to Phase Two. In the second stage, up to two teams will be awarded as much as $1 million each to extend their Phase One success to a Navy training challenge for another year. The technologies will be designed to meet students’ individual learning style.
The Navy STEM Forum was held in Alexandria, VA on June 15 & 16, 2011; was hosted by the Office of Naval Research (ONR). There were at least 500-600 people in attendance with the expectations to hear about ONR’s STEM initiatives.
“Inspiring today’s youth to pursue STEM careers is a major focus of the Naval STEM Forum,” Chief of Naval Research Rear Adm. Nevin Carr said. “We want to improve current initiatives and explore new ways to interest students at all levels. The Navy has pulled together some highly distinguished leaders in government, business and education to help inform our future STEM engagement.”
The Naval STEM Forum included presentations from Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus; Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead; Carr; Undersecretary of Defense (Personnel and Readiness) Dr. Clifford Stanley; White House Office of Science and Technology Policy Dr. Carl Wieman; President of the American Chemical Society Dr. Nancy Jackson; President of the National Academy of Engineering Dr. Charles Vest; founder of For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology and DEKA Research and Development Corporation Dean Kamen; and author, TV personality and executive director of the Planetary Society Bill Nye, who delivered the closing keynote address on June 16.
Todd Mitchell, an Information Technology student at USF Sarasota-Manatee’s North Port location, will receive full tuition and fees, a stipend of $25,000 per year, a paid summer internship, and a guaranteed job after graduation. He has accepted a civilian position with the Quantico, Virginia Marine Corps Systems Command to begin in 2012. Marine Corps Systems Command is the Commandant of the Marine Corps’ agent for acquisition and sustainment of systems and equipment used to accomplish their war/fighting mission.
Mitchell had been in the Navy for 20 years and worked as a civilian in retail management before deciding to go back to college to get a degree in Information Technology. He chose USFSM for its convenient North Port location and its real-world training that he knew would be applicable in the workforce.
“My family was already established in North Port, so I needed a convenient degree program option, and USF Sarasota-Manatee was exactly what I was looking for,” Mitchell said. “I liked that the IT program was actually teaching job skills that would make you employable, as opposed to business theory that doesn’t always apply in the real world. The classwork I’ve done here is real-world stuff that I’m going to use in my career.”
Much of the real-world training that Mitchell has gotten at the university includes a specialization in Internet Security, which will be useful as he does research on cyber warfare for the Marine Corps. He believes that his university experience and previous experience with the military helped him get the position, which was offered to only 300 of the 3,000 applicants who applied for the scholarship through the Office of National Scholarships.
Megha Sunny, undergraduate research assistant at the Center for Advanced Computation and Telecommunications and a senior in the Electrical and Computer Engineering department at the University of Massachusetts Lowell was awarded the prestigious National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship for 2011. Megha is one among fifty-one awardees nationwide in the field of Electrical and Electronic Engineering.
Photo courtesy of: GK12net
The SMART Scholarship for Service Program is an opportunity for students pursuing degrees in STEM disciplines to receive full scholarships and employment upon degree completion. In the video above SMART Scholar, Ryan Swindle discusses his involvement with his work in astronomy related to his SMART award working with the United States Naval Observatory in Washington DC.
Most people who go to museums are allowed to look, not touch. For William Nutt, it’s the other way around.
The anthropology graduate student has been blind since birth, but that won’t stop him from studying artifacts and human remains. Nutt earned a $30,000 fellowship in April to study the collapse of the Bronze Age.
“For the actual evidence and archeological material, there are museums,” he said. “A lot of it you can handle tactile. You can do just as much feeling as looking. My wife will be taking photos and I’ll be describing them.”
Nutt and his wife, Hannah — also an anthropology graduate student — will travel to museums around the world. William’s project will focus on the Anatolia region in Turkey.
William and Hannah will travel to museums in Chicago, Germany, Great Britain and Turkey over the course of three years. Hannah will assist him in his research by taking photos and describing artifacts and materials.
“It’s his baby, his project,” she said. “We approach thing’s differently. He’s more interested in materiality [artifacts]. I’m interested in the landscape, anything that is on the land or part of it.”
William will look at factors like how sites were constructed, and changes in peoples’ health to determine a cause in the collapse of the Bronze Age.
“I hope to find signs of foreign influence, like invasions or migration, and the decline in health,” he said. “Those are the two things I’m trying to find exist. If they don’t show up, I’ll know I need to look for another factor.”
William applied for the fellowship with the Graduate Research Fellowship Program, which is part of the National Science Foundation.
“It’s one of the best stipends you can get in America for science,” William said. “It’s very demanding and competitive. The demand is to turn in research reports. It’s like a full-time job. That’s the best way to look at it so you don’t get behind.”
William said he became interested in anthropology after taking a class on Aegean archeology with anthropology professor Karl Petruso. For William to take his exams, Petruso sent tests to the Office for Students with Disabilities, where they converted the exam into a text file and used a computer program to read them aloud.
“I told him it might not work, but he asked if he could stay in the class, and he did outstanding work,” Petruso said. “He has a great memory for detail. He is a tireless researcher and he writes beautifully, so his exams and papers were really first rate. I’ve seen the readers’ comments on his proposal. They were very impressed by his intellectual maturity.”
William won’t participate in any excavations, but he will be trained on how to excavate.
“You can’t just look at a pot and say ‘this time period, this region’. It’s not as cookie cutter,” he said. “There’s a lot of training to look at artifacts. Human and animal bones are, if anything, more complex.”
Anoklase Ayitou, a graduate student in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at North Dakota State University, Fargo, has been awarded a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship.
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Anoklase completed his second year as a graduate student at NDSU under the guidance of Professor Sivaguru Jayaraman, who is a National Science Foundation CAREER Award recipient, as well as a recipient of the 2010 Swiss Chemical Society’s Grammaticakis-Neumann Prize.
Anoklase also received a UNCF-Merck Science initiative grant earlier this year, and is a Global Center of Excellence fellow at Osaka University, Osaka, Japan. “It is really a privilege to have a student of Anoklase’s caliber in my group,” commented Professor Sivaguru Jayaraman. Anoklase’s doctoral work involves the use of light to synthesize chiral molecules (molecules that are not superimposable on its mirror image). As a graduate student, Anoklase has published scientific papers in four peer-reviewed journals including the Journal of the American Chemical Society.
Anoklase is the third graduate student at NDSU to receive a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship.
Kathleen F. Mittendorf, a recent graduate of DePauw University, was honored this year with a Graduate Research Fellowship. While at DePauw, she completed a double major in biology and biochemistry. Mittendorf will begin graduate study in the fall at Vanderbilt University’s Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in the Biomedical Sciences.
Mittendorf’s NSF fellowship isn’t the first national recognition she received while at DePauw. As a sophomore in 2008, she was one of three DePauw students to win a Goldwater Award, another highly competitive award given to students in mathematics, the natural sciences and engineering. She says that research experience during the summer of her freshman year — a component of the SRF program — gave momentum to the success she found during her four years at DePauw.
“Getting research experience before our senior year really helps to set us apart from some other schools,” Mittendorf says. “There’s no way I could have won a Goldwater as a sophomore if it wasn’t for that, and the Goldwater application process then made it a lot easier to pursue [the NSF fellowship].”
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Mittendorf’s first foray into research was as a child, when she combed through The New York Times science section for information about treatments for multiple sclerosis, which affects a member of her family.
“Back then, I thought if you were interested in science you either became a doctor or a veterinarian, but I was already doing the most basic kind of research.” Mittendorf says.
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“Fifty years ago, a lot of the techniques we use didn’t even exist,” Mittendorf says. “When my mother was in school, she would have just started to hear about the things we now do in introductory classes. Through the course of your career, you’ll never stop learning.”
Meaghan McNeill, a graduate of Baylor University, received an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship this year. While at Baylor, McNeill pursued a double major in mathematics and biology.
“It will probably take me four years to finish my graduate degree, but having three years paid for is a huge help,” McNeill said.
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McNeill said she hopes to be a professor and conduct research, focusing on imaging and diagnostics. She said she plans to continue her studies at Rice University, studying biomedical engineering.
For the first time in Washington State University history, two students from the anthropology department have received Graduate Research Fellowships. The two students, Stefani Crabtree and Kyle Bocinsky, are both working with the NSF funded Village Ecodynamics Project (VEP).
Modeling in the VEP involves computer simulation to recreate an area in the southwestern region of the United States. They input various important factors, such as farming soil, access to water, and access to animals for hunting, into the model in an attempt to recreate the human and climatic conditions of the time.Simulated “residents” (agents) situate themselves on the landscape in relation to these critical resources, and VEP researchers compare the resulting conditions to the actual archaeological record. In this way, Crabtree, Bocinsky and other researchers are able to draw conclusions about what may have actually occurred in the past.Researchers from the VEP hope agent-based models like these will provide answers to the mysteries surrounding climate change and sudden emigration from the region.
Crabtree plans to use the platform of the VEP to analyze how alliance formation among ancient societies helped them deal with marginal environments and what triggers made those alliances collapse and result in warfare. She anticipates that these alliances will help her to better understand the vast and complete depopulation of the central Mesa Verde region.. . .
Second-year master’s student Bocinsky also works with the NSF funded VEP. Through his research he hopes to broaden archaeologists’ understanding of how turkey domestication spread across the southwest region of the United States.Bocinsky has designed a module for the village simulation allowing people to hunt and domesticate wild turkeys, which show up abundantly in the archeological record and may have been a critical resource for people in the past.He seeks to use innovative research methods to extract ancient DNA from turkey eggshells found at the site, which he believes will reveal the diet and the breeding habits of these ancient birds.