STEM

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

With the help of a grant from Google, Obama Academy in East Liberty opened a maker space for students Thursday. It’s an amenity more commonly found in schools in wealthier districts.

Courtesy of UPMC

Ann Kozak, 15, peered at a three-dimensional printed model of the female reproductive system. Learning about career options in women's health was a great experience, she said.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Toyosi Egbebi says she spends a lot of her free time taking things apart and trying to figure out how they work.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

About 10 miles south of Pittsburgh, a construction crew in Bridgeville is finishing the tech wing of the new Chartiers Valley High School.

Best Robotics

The national robotics education nonprofit Best Robotics is moving its headquarters to Pittsburgh.

Thousands of students participate in Best Robotics competitions annually, spending six weeks building robots with real world potential.

“Every year there's an industry theme for the competition,” said executive director Rosemary Mendel. “Last year, it was agriculture; this year, it's fire and rescue.”

The idea is to train the future tech workforce and get more kids excited about pursuing careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Asia Parker wants to be a mathematics professor.

“Math is just amazing. You can do anything,” she said.

Parker, 17 from Carrick, waited in a Duquesne University laboratory near a kiln heating materials she was using in semi-conductor experiments. Semi-conductors are often used in computers and solar panels. The high school senior wants to make new compounds for Jennifer Aitken’s research, which is looking at shifting the wavelength of lasers.

Mark Goebel / Flickr

The Carnegie Science Center has received a $7.5 million gift from PPG and the PPG Foundation – the largest in the science center’s history. The donation will go towards the construction of the PPG Science Pavilion, which is scheduled for completion in June 2018.

The Viral T-Shirts Of The Trump Resistance Are Made Right Here In Pittsburgh

Mar 2, 2017
Reid Frazier / Allegheny Front

Inside a sprawling industrial building below a Pittsburgh police station, Jay Fanelli stands next to a big wheel-like structure stamping a red-white-and-blue pattern on grey t-shirts.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

The city of Zumala sits on the Nile Delta. Edible mushrooms feed on plastic waste and plants filter the water for residents and businesses. Suspended tubular trains carry the city’s 300,000 people from place to place, high above the buildings.

The fictional city cost less than $100 to build and was designed by 10 middle-schoolers.

Homewood - Brushton YMCA Opens Creative Youth Center

Nov 14, 2016
Marcus Charleston / WESA

Giordan Dixon, 16, stuck to his script at the new Homewood – Brushton YMCA on Bennett Street in Homewood South.

“I want to be a singer and a music producer,” he said, guiding small tours.

The National Assessment of Educational Progress, or NAEP, is called The Nation's Report Card for good reason; the tests are administered the same way year after year, using the same kind of test booklets, to students across the country.

Hundreds of clinics around the country are offering to treat a long list of health problems with stem cells.

The clinics claim that stem cells found in fat tissue, blood, bone marrow and even placentas can help people suffering from arthritic joints and torn tendons to more serious medical problems, including spinal cord injuries, Parkinson's disease and strokes. Some even claim the cells can help children with autism.

But leading stem cell researchers say there's not enough evidence to support the clinics' claims.

Melinda Roeder / 90.5 WESA

Saint Bartholomew School student Daryl Jean, of Penn Hills said she can’t understand why more girls don’t get excited about science and technology.

“I feel like girls, they can like science and stuff, but they don’t understand it, and some boys can be intimidating,” she said. “But I think you should try your best, because there’s a lot of inspiration out there.”

The American Association of University Women tried to kick start some of that inspiration in young Pittsburghers last weekend with its “Tech Savvy” computer coding workshop at La Roche College.

Noah Brode / 90.5 WESA

About 30 people gathered at Smallman Galley in the Strip District Monday for one of the first events of more than 60 this week geared at including all types of people in innovative practices across the city.

That includes everything from a small business resource fair and a women business leaders breakfast, to several more colorful ideas, like "Pizza Poems" and "Maker Storytime Thursday."

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

About 160 area students toured the U.S. Department of Energy's Technology Laboratory Wednesday as part of President Obama's Brother's Keeper initiative to address opportunity gaps in science, technology, engineering and math fields. 

Students were encouraged to pursue those fields with hands-on activities, such as experimenting with liquid nitrogen and testing acid voltage of fruits and vegetables. Researchers also talked to students about the lab's work in energy and environmental research and development with the focus of providing clean energy. 

Wesleyan University

Today's young adults pressured into pursuing degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics might be left to wonder about the relevancy of liberal arts in the modern world.

Michael Roth, president of Wesleyan University in Connecticut and author of the book Beyond the University: Why Liberal Education Matters, told Essential Pittsburgh’s Paul Guggenheimer that liberal arts educations enhance not only students' subjects of study, but also how that subject relates to the world around them.

Mike Richards

What do 3-D printers, laser cutters and sewing/embroidery machines have in common? As of Tuesday, they are all available for use inside the Carnegie Science Center’s Sportsworks building in the digital fabrication lab, or “fab lab.”

Making mushrooms that glow in the dark?  

A new community lab opened its doors Downtown on Thursday to local students and adults to experiment in biosciences.

“We needed a place where citizens, adults (and) obviously high school students and their teachers could go to be able to experience the life sciences -- biomedicine, which is a hands-on activity,” said Alan Seadler, associate provost for research at Duquesne University and director of its biotechnology program.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Pennsylvania Secretary of Education Pedro Rivera was an engineering major in college – for one semester.

“Then I tutored at one of the local high schools, at Reading High School, and I fell in love with education,” Rivera told a group of high school students at Duquesne University on Monday. “I remember calling my mother and telling her, ‘Hey, I’m thinking about switching my major from engineering to education.’ There was a pause on the phone, and she said, ‘Oh no you’re not.’”

College costs are on the rise and government financial assistance is shrinking, leaving many high schoolers to wonder what they can do to ensure their future success without taking on massive debt.

A recent partnership between the Community College of Beaver County (CCBC) and Lincoln Learning Solutions, formerly known as the National Network of Digital Schools, may make a difference in Butler County and the surrounding region.

$1.1 Million Announced For Teen Summer STEM Jobs

Jun 18, 2015

Local leaders announced $1.1 million in STEM funding for paid internships benefiting low-income, at-risk youth at a meeting Downtown on Thursday.

The 3 Rivers Workforce Investment Board will manage the pilot in partnership with city and county officials through the Learn and Earn program set up earlier this year. 

The Carnegie Science Center has received a $614,000 grant to promote education in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

The two-year grant, from The Heinz Endowments, will benefit the Carnegie STEM Excellence Pathway, which offers schools resources to improve their STEM classes.

Walt Urbina / Courtesy Photo

With women earning less than 20 percent of all bachelor’s degrees awarded in physics, engineering and computer science, some might consider Becca Volk an anomaly, but among her teammates on Pittsburgh’s all-female Girls of Steel competitive robotics team, Volk fits right in. The 16 yr. old junior at Avonworth High School knows she wants to be an engineer someday.

On March 28, Girls of Steel won the Chairman’s Award at the Buckeye Regional FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) in Cleveland, which qualifies the team to compete in the FRC Championship April 22-25 in St. Louis.

Becky Wetherington/Flickr

In commemoration of World Autism Awareness Day, Lu Randall, Executive Director at Autism Connection of PA and April Artz,Coordinator for the EmployAble program at the Squirrel Hill Career Development Center, are working to place adults with mental health issues in STEM jobs. The EmployAble program, which provides supportive services along with their job placements, acquired the funds to include services for adults on the autism spectrum in 2014.

Asked about the challenges faced by job seekers on the autism spectrum, Artz explains:

"When people go to apply for a job, there's still a lot of concern on their end about disclosing or talking about it to their employer. And I think in some ways that is justified because there is still a lot of misunderstanding despite the fact [that] this is very prevalent, and this is sort of being a human, we still have a lot of stigma and anxiety around this."

Explaining her outlook on helping the people she works with to seek employment, Randall says: 

"I see my role, in particular, as providing kind of a cross-cultural explanation of a group that's really not well understood. And it's very similar, when we listen to the issues, to any other minority groups in the past or currently who have a hard time being taken seriously, being respected, not having stereotypes put out there that are untrue."

Also in the program, Pitt professor Michael Kenney talks about why some Americans become interested in joining ISIS, and travel contributor Elaine Labalme gives suggestions on where to go for some extra March Madness.

 

Carnegie Science Center Talks STEM on Capitol Hill

Mar 19, 2015

With the number of science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, jobs increasing at three times the rate of other industries, the Carnegie Science Center is encouraging schools and Pennsylvania lawmakers to focus on improving the way students learn about STEM fields.

During a Wednesday congressional briefing in Washington, D.C., science center representatives and educators outlined the Carnegie STEM Excellence Pathway, an initiative that launched in October to help schools evaluate and expand the way they teach math and science.

Gateway to the Arts

Early childhood learners outperform their peers when they are taught with an arts-integrated background, according to an independent study of a model used in 11 Pittsburgh area schools.

dansheadel / flickr

In school we were all taught about the number represented by the symbol π. Our understanding of the number might be a bit foggy, but most of us remember it has something to do with a circle and that it is 3.14.  In reality, the irrational number (by definition) goes on forever, but it starts with 3.141592653. 

For the last several years, the popularity of so-called “Pi Day,” or March 14 (3/14), has been growing in the U.S., and Saturday will mark what many are calling “Super Pi Day,” where we can add the next two digits of the mathematical super number (3/14/15). And if you really want to geek out you can make sure you are near a clock at 9:26:53 a.m. (3/14/15 9:26:53).

Kids in the Pittsburgh area have a chance to learn game design skills, and then compete nationally.

On Saturday National STEM Video Game Challenge is hosting a hands-on workshop with game industry professionals at The Ellis School to teach youth how to design video games.

With college costs rising faster than inflation for the last decade, Pennsylvania lawmakers have unveiled a 13-bill package that would make higher education more affordable, especially for students from lower-income families.

Ground was broken Wednesday on a four-story academic building at Central Catholic High School in Oakland that will be devoted exclusively to STEM—science, technology, engineering and math.

According to Brother Bob Schaefer, Central’s principal, the facility will include state of the art labs for traditional sciences with a focus on the “T” and “E” in STEM.  “We’re going to have an entire area of the building that’s dedicated to those kind of pre-engineering and computer science and particularly opportunities for the students to develop some courses with the robotics technology.”

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