Higher Education

Tallo Spotlight: Randelle Thompson

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Less than a year ago, we featured Tallo organizational user Tidelands Health. Based out of Georgetown, South Carolina, Tidelands decided to partner with us in order to place themselves on students’ radars. “[STEM Premier] will help us deepen our relationship within the region by introducing Tidelands Health to members of the community at a young age,” said Busy Kimball, Manager of Talent Acquisition, at the time.

That’s just what they’re doing. By utilizing our digital ecosystem to provide scholarship opportunities for students interested in healthcare, they’ve found exactly the kind of students they’ve been looking for; students like Randelle Thompson!

Randelle is one of Tideland’s recent scholarship recipients. A native of Myrtle Beach, Randelle wasn’t all that familiar with the Tidelands healthcare system, which is headquartered 35 miles away in Georgetown. It was during her senior year of high school that she really began to take notice and consider a future career with the organization. The scholarship opportunities Tidelands made available on STEM Premier solidified her interest. “I would check the website periodically to see if any scholarship opportunities were available,’ she explains. “That’s when I applied for the scholarship with Tidelands Health.”

The aspiring nurse graduated last May from Myrtle Beach High School and is currently attending Horry Georgetown Technical College. She will soon be working for Tidelands Health. But first, she wants to take advantage of the opportunities college has to offer her.

“My plan for next year is to perfect my techniques in the nursing program I’m enrolled in,” she says, “I also plan to join the honors society and other clubs as well.”

Read more about Randelle below in her own words!

Something you wouldn't know about me is...I have an accent!

For fun, I like to….read or listen to music.

If I could meet anyone in the world, past or present, I would want to meet…the head nurse of a hospital in Fort Lauderdale, Florida because that’s where I’d love to live and work someday.

The best teacher I’ve ever had was/is….my probability and statistics teacher during my senior year of high school. She was was always supportive of me and my aspirations.

The last app I downloaded on my phone was…the McGraw-Hill Connect app.

In ten years, I see myself….managing a department of whichever hospital I happen to find myself for.

The thing I like about STEM Premier most is...their ability to see potential in students.

Congratulations Randelle on your scholarship! We know you’ll be an awesome nurse (and hospital manager) one day!

Breaking Down Barriers: First-Generation Students Make STEM Premier Work for Them

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Historically speaking, the deck has been stacked against young students whose parents do not possess a college degree; students otherwise known as first-generation (or “first-gen”) college students. For example, a 2013 study found that only 17 percent of first-gen students earned a college degree within ten years of their high school sophomore year; a much lower rate than their peers who have parents with a college education.

But at the end of the day, first-generation students who are deemed “college-ready” persist just as successfully at the post-secondary level as continuing generation students. Thousands of STEM Premier students identify as first-generation. These students in particular are out to prove themselves, and they’re using our digital ecosystem to do it. In fact, we’ve identified them as one our “highly motivated” student populations. Simply put, they’re awesome.

Here’s how we know:

  • More than three out of four first-generation students on STEM Premier have a fully completed profile; a rate that out-strips continuing generation students by about nine percent.

  • They are reporting higher rates of AP test engagement and digital badge ownership.

  • The rate at which they apply for scholarships and other opportunities via STEM Premier closely matches their continuing-generation peers.

What are they passionate about?

  • 84% of them have their sights set on attending a four-year college. Talk about closing the gap!

  • 10% plan to pursue CTE (Career Technical Education). That’s essential education for some of America’s hardest-to-fill jobs.

  • 6% plan to serve our country in the military, where they will learn critical technical and leadership skills.

  • The most popular career interests for first-generation students include counselors, paralegals, librarians, and equipment technicians.

As we’ve discovered, the passion among these students has been blazing for years. They’ve simply needed an outlet to pursue that passion. We truly cannot express how honored we are to be that gateway to opportunity. But we’re not surprised. After all, STEM Premier is where all students get their opportunity to shine.

New Report Identifies Vital Skills for the Future of the Workforce

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As the world’s economy continues to evolve, the skills and practices necessary to keep pace are evolving with it. STEM Premier has been there every step of the way offering students, job-seekers, and organizations a new and better way to engage each other. 

What's the evidence?  Recently, the California-based think tank Institute for the Future teamed up with the talent-management software company Cornerstone OnDemand to identify a short list of skills which will be vital for tomorrow’s professionals.

Two specific skills stood out in the joint report. They stood out because, not only are they important for students and young professionals to understand, but also for the schools and businesses who seek to attract them to their organizations and institutions.  

They are also exactly what STEM Premier was designed for. 

Make yourself known

“Brands aren’t for celebrities anymore,” the report notes. Hard copy resumes are making their last stand in a ever-evolving digital environment. Online professional platforms are quickly becoming the new standard. The reasons are obvious. Digital formats are easier to work with and share. They allow for greater flexibility and are much more dynamic. They allow applicants and job seekers the opportunity to uniquely express themselves and show off their talents by uploading videos, attaching documents, and more. These online profiles also allow schools and employers to find exactly the type of candidates they are looking for, and can truly get to know the person they are accepting or hiring. Simply put, everyone wins.

STEM Premier allows everyone - including organizations - to tailor their profile in order to make them stand out. 

Build your tribe

Industries and institutions can change rapidly, but the practice of building and maintaining personal networks will always be critical. Online platforms allow organizations to cut straight through traditional barriers - such as geography - to find and connect with the talent they need. As online platforms become the norm, the barriers which have prevented talented individuals from being noticed will crumble. The end result will be an environment in which the most qualified applicants are found and engaged every day around the globe.

STEM Premier provides a way for organizations and individuals to reach out and connect with each other. Forget jobs and college fairs; take your talent search directly to the prospects you are most interested in!

 

STEM Premier is proud to be part of the vanguard of this revolution. The future is coming. Is your organization ready?

President Calls for Expansion of Vocational Education in State of the Union Address

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President Donald Trump’s first State of the Union Address on January 30 was laden with bold visions and plans for the country. For proponents and advocates of vocational education, one particular statement stood out during the eighty-minute speech.

“Let's invest in workforce development,” he began, “and let's invest in job training, which we need so badly. Let's open great vocational schools, so our future workers can learn a craft and realize their full potential.”

This proclamation was music to the ears of many who believe that too much emphasis has recently been placed on traditional four-year degrees which has left trade and vocational education neglected. Workforce statistics show that gaping holes still persist in filling jobs which require vocational training and trade education.

NPR Education Correspondent Anya Kamenetz - commenting on Trump’s statement - elaborated further on how the U.S. government is currently addressing this pressing issue. She notes that U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos supports expanding vocational education, and she recently spoke to the U.S. Conference of Mayors about the range of innovations she would like to see, such as “industry-recognized certifications, two-year degrees, stackable credits, credentials and licenses, advanced degrees, badges, four-year degrees, microdegrees” and “apprenticeships.”

The Senate is also currently holding committee hearings on the re-authorization of the Higher Education Act by which the nation’s student financial aid system operates.

STEM Premier Spotlight: Arizona

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Quick Facts:

  • STEM Premier Secondary-Level Students: 3,000+
  • Top College Interests: Arizona State University, University of Arizona, Northern Arizona University, Grand Canyon University, Stanford University
  • Top Intended Majors: Nursing, Pre-Med, Computer Science

 Our next state spotlight takes us across the Grand Canyon for a closer look at the state of Arizona. Arizona is well-known for its tourism industry, but the state’s economy is much broader. Its utility, transportation, financial, and healthcare industries are also major components of the state’s economic foundation.  Arizona is also home to one of the nation’s top STEM Schools: BASIS Tucson North

 Arizona’s largest population of STEM Premier students is concentrated in the state capitol of Phoenix. Other hubs of students exist in Tucson - home of the University of Arizona, Flagstaff, and Yuma.

 Medical fields dominate the top occupational interests of Arizona’s students, and include surgeons, nursing, pediatrics, and physical therapy.

 ACT’s 2016 Condition of STEM Report on Arizona shows that overall STEM interest among the state’s students remains steady at 48%, which mirrors the national average. However, particular interest in the mathematics and computer science fields has increased, while medical and healthcare interest has sunk a bit.

 Learn more about STEM in Arizona by checking out ACT's full report.

Looking Closer: Student Interest in Media and Communications

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In recent posts, we shed some light on some of the career interests of STEM Premier student members. Now we’re delving deeper into select industries to see exactly what careers students have on their radar. Today, we’re looking at the media and communications industry.

As the U.S. continues its transition into a knowledge economy, media and communications professions are becoming increasingly prevalent as they are necessary for the generation, curation, translation, and dissemination of information. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts that media and communication occupations will grow six percent from 2016 to 2026, resulting in approximately 45,000 new jobs.

According to CollegeFactual.com, the top universities in the U.S. for media and communications include Stanford, The University of Pennsylvania, American University, University of Southern California, Northwestern, and Emerson College (MA).

To get a better idea of some of the media and communications occupations which STEM Premier students are interested, here is a small sample:

  • Broadcast Technicians
  • Editors
  • Interpreters
  • Public Relations Specialists
  • News Analysts
  • Reporters

Is your school or organization looking for these kinds of students? If so, join STEM Premier today and start connecting.

STEM Premier Spotlight: Colorado

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Quick Facts:

  • STEM Premier Secondary-Level Students: 2,400+
  • Top College Interests: University Of Colorado - Boulder, Colorado State University, Colorado School of Mines
  • Top Intended Majors: Computer Science, Nursing, Bioengineering

Our next state spotlight takes us to the scenic Rocky Mountains for a closer look at the state of Colorado. Home to a bevy of federal military and scientific establishments including North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), The United States Air Force Academy, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), there’s quite a lot of action in the Centennial State.

Colorado’s largest concentrations of STEM Premier students are located in Denver, Colorado Springs, and Ft. Collins. Other notable areas of student presence include Grand Junction, Vail, La Junta, and Pueblo.

The top occupational interests of Colorado’s students include nursing, mechanical engineering, biomedical engineering, and aeronautical engineering.

ACT’s 2016 Condition of STEM Report on Colorado has shown a slight decrease in overall STEM interest among the state’s students over the past year. This decrease seems to be caused by a shift of interest areas from the medical science and engineering disciplines to computer science and mathematics; not necessarily an unexpected shift in the modern information age. Interest in the medical sciences has lessened by 2% over the past five years and - at 35% - lags behind the national average of 41%. But - as mentioned above - interest in general science outpaces the national average by 3%, and interest in computer science and mathematics is ahead by 1% of the national average.

 Learn more about STEM in Colorado by checking out ACT's full report.

New College Spotlight: York College of Pennsylvania

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From day one, York College of Pennsylvania has been on a mission to prepare its students for purposeful and productive lives. A private liberal arts university located a stone’s throw away from the scenic Susquehanna River, York College prides itself on providing the large college experience combined with small college warmth.

And as one of the newest institutions to partner with STEM Premier, they know exactly the type of student they are looking for.

For York College, It all starts with proactivity.

“Students come to York College of Pennsylvania because they want to take action,” explains Andy Shaw, Director of Operations and Enrollment Communications. “They want internships or paid co-operative learning that lead to jobs. They want to conduct research with faculty or have a professor who will meet with them one-on-one. They want to get engaged right away.”

Larger institutions may have difficulty in managing these types of expectations, but York College strives to provide hands-on instruction and engagement for each of its 4000 students. Its 15:1 faculty-to-student ratio provides the opportunity for meaningful relationships to develop and grow between professors and their pupils. “It is not uncommon for a student to spend an hour kicking back with a professor about their career path, trends in the field, and more,” says Shaw.

York offers over sixty bachelor's degree programs, all of which emphasize experience-based learning and involved faculty. York utilizes a program called Generation Next, a unique approach to academic curricula - which helps students create a system of courses that allow them to explore personal interests, as well as enhance and strengthen the skills and abilities valued by their major and potential employers.

With STEM Premier, York College is excited about having access to a diverse group of high-achieving students with a keen interest in STEM. In addition to a traditional liberal arts education, York also offers exceptional degree programs in engineering, healthcare, and other STEM disciplines. 

Beyond the classroom, students are provided with productive outlets for their work and ambitions, such as Elevator Pitch Competitions which have garnered the interests of organizations such as Apple and Google.

All in all, the student experience at York College is described as “friendly, supportive, and action-packed.”

“Students spend a lot of time in the Kinsley Engineering Center,” says Shaw. “There's even a built-in kitchen and lounge area, because they are always working on a project, fine-tuning their research, or talking with faculty.”

Of course, there’s also plenty of opportunities for students to unwind. “With 23 NCAA teams, a modern recreation and fitness center, and daily events, there's always something to do.” 

And with Baltimore, Washington D.C., and New York City all located within reasonable driving distance from campus, students at York are uniquely situated to take advantage of the recreational and professional opportunities offered by these large metropolitan areas. 

Learn more about York College of Pennsylvania.

What Students Are Saying About STEM Premier

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We are always striving to make the STEM Premier experience an incredible one for all of our users. Because of that, constant communication with both our student and organizational users is vital. Their input helps us ensure that the STEM Premier platform is the best it can be.

It’s always positive to hear what our users enjoy about the platform, and we’ve asked student users all over the U.S. to tell us what they like about the STEM Premier experience.

Here’s what they had to say!

Alex (Wallingford, PA) “The ability to create a profile for colleges to see and reach out to students with is - for me - the most important part of STEM Premier. If it weren't for this, I wouldn't be where I am now.”

Sydney (Chapin, SC) “It's helping me keep track of everything I need for my college applications. It'll be great to already have everything in one place, so I won't have to go searching around for it when this coming September rolls around.”

Ujwala (Columbus, IN) “It is a great place to display all of my credentials and to connect with amazing opportunities.”

Hezekiah (Columbia, SC) “The facility of organizing my information as well as the design of the website. I also appreciate how other people can view my profile and gain insight into my personality and accomplishments.”

Lydia (Fremont, CA) “The platform isn't just made for the student; it's also made by the student.”

Julia (Orlando, FL) “It's hard to know exactly what a good score on the ACT or SAT is. The STEM Premier dashboard color-codes your scores, and it is actually very helpful in determining whether or not retaking the test is the best option.”

Vy (Wichita, KS) "It helps me organize everything in one account! I can easily put down all the information they want colleges to know, such as experiences, achievements, and test scores. I can also share my profile with anyone, so it is way more efficient.”

Smriti (Troy, NY) “By updating information like my coursework and experiences, it matches me with opportunities.”

Akporesiri (Chicago, IL) “What’s there NOT to love?”

Lyndi (Sergeant Bluff, IA) “It gives me the opportunity to meet people and learn about colleges while showing them who I am, all in one spot. It make the college search a little less overwhelming.”

Austen (Round Rock, TX) “The connection it gives me with the STEM industry. After all, it is an industry known for designing and defining the future of the world; it’s nice to be able to get a glance at the future this early on.”

Are you a student - or know someone - who would benefit from the connections and opportunities STEM Premier has to offer? Create a free profile today!

New College Spotlight: Charleston Southern University

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In the vibrant Carolina lowcountry resides the newest STEM Premier institution: Charleston Southern University.

Founded in 1964, CSU is a Christian liberal arts institution which combines a faith-based approach and a mission of strong academic excellence. Its 60+ degree programs - offered both at the undergraduate and graduate level as well as online - provide a wide range of academic and vocational options for its 3,600 students. The academic programs are complemented by a NCAA Division 1 athletics program and an excellent student support apparatus.

Jameson Willey, Enrollment Services Programmer, explains that CSU’s unique mission means recruiting a special kind of student. “CSU looks for students that view their education as a priority,” he says, “students that want to be challenged and do their best.”

CSU knows these students are out there. However, their biggest recruiting obstacle is getting the CSU brand in front of them, especially when Clemson, the University of South Carolina, and the College of Charleston are also competing for attention.

“Our biggest challenge is getting on the radar of students so they can begin to have their eyes opened to us as a viable option,” Jameson says. “While other institutions in our state certainly have a unique appeal, we believe we have an appeal that is just as unique. CSU offers a lot of what these other institutions offer and, perhaps more importantly, a lot of what they cannot offer.”

“STEM Premier will help us to connect on a more personal level with students, allowing us to incorporate our intimate campus environment into our recruiting practices.”

Charleston Southern University boasts an impressive 14-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio which drives a more personalized approach to each academic program designed to develop critical problem-solving and communication skills.

“Our goal,” Jameson declares, “is to connect with students that will thrive in our unique environment.”

When asked to describe the student experience is like at CSU, Jameson didn’t shy away!

“CSU students enjoy a campus experience like no other! They benefit from a wealth of resources to help them succeed and have fun while they do it. From free tutoring and learning resources to NCAA Division 1 athletics and expansive extracurricular activities, we pride ourselves on our student-focus built upon a faith-based foundation. Not to mention, we are located minutes from historic Charleston, South Carolina.”

Learn more about Charleston Southern University.

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Looking Closer: Student Interest in Environmental Sciences and Wildlife

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In prior blog posts, we’ve shed some light on some of the career interests of STEM Premier student users. Now we’re delving deeper into select industries to see exactly what careers students have on their radar. Today, we’re looking at the environmental science and wildlife industries.

These industries generally utilize knowledge of the natural sciences in order to protect the environment and human health. They may clean up polluted areas, advise policymakers, or work with industry to reduce waste. More specifically, they may collect samples and data, analyze and determine threats to the environment, develop plans to address environmental issues, and execute environmental policy and procedures.  

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects this industry to grow eleven percent by 2024, which is a faster clip than the overall average for all industries. This rapid growth can be attributed to heightened public interest in the environment as well as the increasing stress placed on the environment due to population growth.

According to Ecology Project International, some of the top schools for environmental sciences in the U.S. include Amherst College (MA), Colby College (ME), Colorado College, Montana State University, and Pomona College (CA).  

To get a better idea of some of the environmental science and wildlife occupations which STEM Premier students are interested in, here is a small sample:

  • Environmental Scientists
  • Environmental Inspectors
  • Park Rangers
  • Wildlife Technicians
  • Conservation Scientists
  • Wastewater Treatment Operators

Is your school or organization looking for these kinds of students? If so, join STEM Premier today and start connecting.

New College Spotlight: The Cooper Union

New York City is home to nearly one hundred universities and colleges spread throughout the vast metropolitan area. Some of them - like NYU and Columbia - you can probably name off the top of your head. However, the island of Manhattan is home to a bevy of exceptional schools that may not necessarily be household names outside of the Big Apple.

We’ve recently partnered with one such school, The Cooper Union, to help them sort through the city's and region’s college-bound students and personally connect with those whose academic aspirations match The Cooper Union’s mission.

The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art was founded in the mid-1850’s by industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper. Particularly known for its architecture, art, and engineering programs, Cooper Union envisions itself as an institution dedicated to preparing students to make enlightened contributions to society. True to this mission, the college awards every admitted student with a scholarship.

STEM Premier is excited to be working with such an esteemed institution. It is consistently recognized for its academic programs, and it was recently named #1 among Regional Colleges North by U.S. News And World Report. We recently caught up with Abby Davis, Assistant Director of Admissions at Cooper Union, who told us a bit more about the college and how they intend to utilize STEM Premier.

Tell us a little bit about The Cooper Union and its mission
Cooper Union was founded in 1859 with the radical notion that education should be accessible to everyone, regardless of race, religion, or gender, so that they could improve their employment opportunities.

What does The Cooper Union look for in prospective students?
Students need to know that they want to study one of the three majors we offer - architecture, visual arts, or engineering. Important traits include time management ability, maturity, and independence.

What is the student experience like on campus?
Students at Cooper Union are driven, focused, and passionate. With an enrollment of fewer than 1000 students, students get to know their classmates well and also get to work one on one with faculty members. It is an intimate experience in the heart of downtown Manhattan.

How will STEM Premier change the way The Cooper Union recruits?
STEM Premier can help us reach well-qualified students who live in places where Cooper Union is less well known.

There are a plethora of colleges, schools, and universities in Manhattan. How will STEM Premier help The Cooper Union stand out from the rest?
The personalized connection STEM Premier provides throughout the recruitment process mirrors the type of educational environment we foster at Cooper.

STEM Premier Connections: How Webb Institute is Finding the Perfect Fit

Last month, we put the spotlight on Alex Koziol, a high school senior from Wallingford, PA and a STEM Premier student user. Despite receiving acceptance letters from prestigious institutions like Carnegie Mellon and the United States Coast Guard Academy, Alex decided to commit to another school; a school he had never even heard of when he began his college search. He chose Webb Institute, a private undergraduate college located in Glen Cove, NY.

Webb Institute is solely dedicated to Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering. So it goes without saying that their pool of potential students is much smaller than the typical college or university. That means they have to dig deeper and recruit smarter in order to find their next class of all-stars, all the while competing against schools which have much more name-recognition.

So why did Alex choose Webb Institute? Lauren Carballo, Director of Admissions and Student Affairs, explains that "through STEM Premier, we had the opportunity to send personalized messages to students who we believed could be great fits for Webb Institute.”

By utilizing STEM Premier, Webb was able to hone in on prospective students - including Alex - who matched the type of matriculate they were looking for. Once they found them, they were able to recruit and communicate with them in such a way that made other colleges seem impersonal.

“One student in particular caught our attention,” Lauren continues, “who we thought would be a great addition to our community.”

That student was Alex.

“I actually first noticed Webb because of a message from them on STEM Premier,” says Alex. “Its reference to my activities rather than simple academic talent piqued my interest.”

That simple message was powerful enough to drastically alter Alex’s college plans.

“He responded to our message, set up a visit and fell in love with Webb,” says Lauren. “We're so excited that Alex will be part of the Class of 2021!"  

Alex couldn’t be happier with his unexpected change of plans. “I was fortunate to have the choice between some amazing schools,” he says, “but I chose Webb because it fit my interests and personality the most closely...I didn't start out obsessed with ships, but in the month since my decision, I sure have gotten there!”

STEM Premier Spotlight: Ujwala Pamidimukkala

It’s always a pleasure keeping up with our STEM Premier student users. The best part is that there are always success stories to highlight.

 Our latest spotlight is on Ujwala Pamidimukkala, a senior at Columbus North High School in Indiana. Ujwala  - one of our 2017 STEM Premier Top 100 -  was recently named as one of the winners of Indiana’s inaugural Governor's STEM Team award.

 As one of four winners from over one hundred applications, Ujwala’s award represents the “Science” in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. And deservedly so. She is highly involved with HOSA - Future Health Professionals, and she placed first in both the Medical Math and Pharmacy Tech categories at Indiana’s HOSA state competition.

 Additionally, Ujwala is an AP Scholar with Distinction, President of her school’s Spanish Club, and a member of her high school tennis team. She has already committed to Vanderbilt, where she plans to major in molecular biology and chemistry.

 We caught with Ujwala to hear a little bit more about her in her own words. Here’s what she had to say!

Something you wouldn't know about me is...I follow more golden retrievers than people on Instagram

For fun, I like to….cook all sorts of food from around the world, but I especially love to make desserts.

If I could meet anyone in the world, past or present, I would want to meet…Joe Biden because we have a mutual love of ice cream and Ray Ban sunglasses.

The best teacher I’ve ever had was/is….Mr. Dale Nowlin because he's an amazing math teacher and friend

The last app I downloaded on my phone was…Netflix (I LOVE to watch Friends!)

After high school, my next step is...studying molecular biology and chemistry on the pre-med track at Vanderbilt University.

In ten years, I see myself….going through residency and other training to become a cardiovascular surgeon.

My greatest dream is...to positively touch as many lives as I can through a career in cardiovascular surgery.

The thing I like about STEM Premier most is...it is a great place to display all of my credentials and to connect with amazing opportunities.

 Thanks Ujwala! We wish you the best of luck as you pursue your dreams at Vanderbilt!

Announcing the 2017 STEM Premier Top 100

It is with much pride and excitement that we announce STEM Premier’s 3rd annual Top 100 rankings: The 2017 STEM Premier Top 100!

This year, over 225,000 STEM Premier student users attending over 16,000 high schools from across the country competed for a place in the Top 100, making this accomplishment a testament to the Top 100’s academic and extracurricular endeavors.

This year’s Top 100 features students from 32 different states, with the most highly represented states being Texas (13 students), California (9), and Washington (8). The diversity of academic and extracurricular success of this group is astounding. Top 100 students are comprised of valedictorians, National Merit Scholar Finalists, AP Scholars,Science Olympiad Champions, Girl Scouts & Eagle Scouts, Presidential Scholars, and Project Lead The Way (PLTW) members.

And that’s just getting started.

Other Top 100 students are involved in specialized and highly technical organizations such as FIRST Robotics, VEX Robotics, Google Code-in, JROTC, HOSA - Future Health Professionals, 4-H, Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA), Mu Alpha Theta, and SME (Society of Manufacturing Engineers).

How are students chosen for the Top 100? We utilize a unique algorithm which accounts for over 30 different factors from each student’s profile. This process quantifies and synthesizes the profile information and creates a star rating for each individual student. Students considered for the Top 100 are then contacted and verified to ensure accuracy and integrity of the information added to their STEM Premier profile.

While we are proud to announce this year’s Top 100, we would also like to recognize every single one of the nearly quarter-million students on STEM Premier’s platform who are pursuing their educational and professional dreams. We wish all the best of luck as you shoot for the stars!

Click here to view the 2017 STEM Premier Top 100

 

STEM Premier Student Spotlight: Akporesiri Omene

STEM Premier is proud to partner with professional and educational national organizations across the country. These partnerships enhance the effectiveness of our engagement with students in a mutually beneficial way. As a result, students are better able to leverage experience gained from their organization involvement and showcase themselves more effectively to colleges and industries. 

This week, we took the time to interview Akporesiri Omene from Chicago, Illinois. Akporesiri is a student at the Illinois Institute of Technology majoring in civil engineering. While in high school, he was a highly-involved member of ACE Mentor Program of America - a proud partner of ours! ACE Mentor Program fosters and mentors students who wish to pursue careers in architecture, construction, and engineering. With STEM Premier, Akporesiri can stay connected with ACE Mentor Program; even after his participation in high school. 

We wanted to learn more from Akporesiri about his involvement with ACE and STEM Premier, so we checked in to ask him a few questions. Read what he had to say below.

Why did you join ACE?

I joined ACE because I was unsure if I wanted to go into engineering or another field. I wanted to make sure that I wanted to get into the career path that was best for me. Also, I was attracted to the interactivity of the program and the fact that it has a hands-on approach to learning architecture and engineering.

What do like most about being part of ACE?

The companies that we worked with proved to be a huge networking resource. It’s not everyday that you get to work alongside professionals in your desired career path.

This mentorship had a twofold impact. The first was that we had the opportunity to gain insider knowledge about the industry so that we could get a feel of what we wanted to do. The second was that it provided an opportunity to look to our mentors for job opportunities and further mentoring.

As a bonus, I was able to get into the design-build program that ACE offers every year. I’m glad that I was a part of it, because my year happened to produce the largest and most successful design-build project in the organization’s history.

How has STEM Premier enhanced your involvement with ACE?

STEM Premier has allowed me to continue being a part of ACE. Although I am not an active member anymore, it is still nice to be a part of a community of like-minded, ambitious, and goal-oriented students and mentors. STEM Premier has made it easier for me to keep in contact with my previous mentors and contribute to the ACE Mentor community.


We were excited to hear how important of a role ACE and STEM Premier have played in Akporesiri’s professional endeavors. However, we also wanted Akporesiri to be able to show off his personality a bit, so here’s more about him in his own words!

Something you wouldn't know about me is…that I enjoy listening to music and walking in the drenching rain, especially after a long, stressful day. It’s very tranquil and surreal.

For fun, I like to….I listen to J-Pop and J-Rock (Japanese Pop and Rock music).

If I could meet anyone in the world, past or present, I would want to meetformer President Barack Obama and his family. It would be clutch to hang and chill with a Chicago native and learn about what it’s like to be President, and about life in general.

The best teacher I’ve ever had was/is….Mr. Craig. He was my high school math teacher. I appreciated how he took complicated math concepts and broke it down so that I could understand. He was also just a cool and chill guy in general.
 

The last app I downloaded on my phone was….Instagram. I’m getting more into it, to be honest.

After high school, my next step isto gain connections, skills, and experience both inside and outside of my university curriculum in order to become one of the best engineers out there.

In ten years, I see myself….travelling the world and performing engineering work around the globe wherever the need is the greatest.

My greatest dream isto revolutionize the infrastructure of Chicago, the United States, and eventually the world.

The thing I like about STEM Premier most iswell, what’s there NOT to love?

Thanks for catching up with us Akporesiri! We wish you the best as you pursue your studies and your dreams of revolutionizing the world. Keep up the great work!

ACT Releases Condition of STEM 2016 Report

A new year brings with it new resolutions, new opportunities, and new challenges.

It also brings new insights.

Recently, our friends at ACT released the 2016 edition of their National Condition of STEM Report.

The report compiles data from the nationwide administration of the ACT® test to the high school graduating class of 2016 - taken by a record 64% of students - along with it’s accompanying ACT Interest Inventory, which measures each ACT test taker’s interest in different educational and occupational areas.

The Interest Inventory provides an opportunity for ACT to quantify the expressed interests of students (those which the students specifically identify themselves) in these areas as well as measured interests (based on answers to the Inventory’s questions). The results allow ACT to determine levels of interest in STEM fields as well as to compare the college readiness levels between these subsets of students.

So what did ACT find out in their Condition of STEM 2016 Report? Here are some of the highlights:

  • Students with an interest in STEM continue to show higher levels of college readiness than ACT-tested students as a whole.
  • Approximately half (48%) of ACT-tested U.S. graduates in the class of 2016 have expressed interest in STEM majors and careers. This level of interest has remained steady over the past five years.
  • Under-served learners have a high interest in STEM, but ACT STEM benchmark attainment lags far behind their peers.

Perhaps one of the most concerning stats from this year’s report is that only 1,258 students (less than 1% of the 2.1 million tested) had both an expressed and measured interest in becoming a math or science teacher. The lack of students interested in teaching STEM subjects to younger generations presents an alarming paradox for the future of STEM education in the U.S., and makes initiatives such as the 100Kin10 Network necessary.

Like we said, new years always bring new challenges. But STEM Premier and ACT are at the ready to transform these challenges into opportunities for today’s students and tomorrow’s professionals.

Read ACT’s National Condition of STEM 2016 Report.

Tailoring College Recruitment with STEM Premier

When it comes to recruiting the right students for your school, it is always a challenge trying to sort out those students who would be the right fit from amongst the millions of other college-bound students each year. So let’s see - step-by-step using actual data from the STEM Premier platform - how we can overcome this challenge.

Here’s a hypothetical: you’re a public higher ed institute in the state of Pennsylvania and you’ve just launched a new chemical engineering program. You’ve got the faculty and the facilities. Now you just need the students.

So, let’s start with a bird’s eye view and see what the landscape looks like. Here’s the top college interests of STEM Premier’s entire student population:

Unless we’re a nationally-renowned institution like MIT,  this is obviously too broad for our needs. Let’s narrow it down by using STEM Premier's tools. We can use the "search" function to specify that we are looking only for students residing in the state of Pennsylvania. Once we have a list obtained of students who match that criteria, we could either further refine it by adding additional criteria - such as GPA - or go ahead and add the search to our "dashboard," which will give us a comprehensive overview of those Pennsylvania students. Let's add the search to the dashboard and take another look at college interests.

Now we’re getting somewhere. So we can see which schools that Pennsylvania’s students are most interested in, and we can also see where they live.

But what about Pennsylvania students with an interest in chemical engineering? No biggie. Let’s add that career interest to our already existing search criteria, and add that back to our dashboard.

Bingo. Now we’re cooking. At this point, we can see a trove of information about this segmented population, from their college interests to their standardized test scores. From here, we can use this information in multiple ways. We can use the map to identify students from certain towns or locations around the state, we could single out students within this segment for personalized communication, and we could send out a message to all of these students. It’s really all about the unique goals and needs of the organization using STEM Premier.  

If you're a college looking for your next incoming class, click here to learn more and get started. 

STEM Initiatives Increase on University Campuses

For the past decade, STEM education and training has been emphasized by the White House, local communities, and everywhere in between.

One area in particular that STEM has naturally seen an impressive flurry of growth is higher education.

Universities and colleges of all types around the country have been investing resources in STEM initiatives. From the Southeast to the Northwest and from public to private institutions, departments and centers dedicated to STEM have been popping up at an incredible rate.

The initiatives themselves are just as wide-ranging.   

At schools such as the University of Kentucky, UC-Davis, and Notre Dame, degree programs focused on STEM education prepare their students to teach and educate future generations in STEM.

Other schools like Georgia Southern and Northwestern look to promote outreach, collaborative opportunities, and interdisciplinary study.

Although the specific programs vary, they share a common goal: to promote and encourage STEM to students of all ages.

Are these initiatives working? It may be too early to draw definitive conclusions, but there are some interesting correlations.

For example, The University of Georgia’s Office of STEM Education, designed in part to improve student retention in STEM majors, was established in 2007. In the past decade, the percentage of UGA’s undergraduate students receiving degrees in STEM majors has increased from 15 to 21 percent. Perhaps more impressively, nearly a third of UGA’s doctoral graduates last year received STEM-related degrees.