K-12

Four Scholarships That May Be Perfect for You

red kite.png

There are literally hundreds of thousands of scholarship opportunities in the United States. That’s a lot.

Extra cash to pay for college is great. But searching for the right scholarships seems like it could be a full-time job! Where do you even begin?   

No worries. We’ve got your back.

Our partnership with Red Kite, a scholarship matching engine, allows Tallo student users to match with over $20 billion in scholarships. And it’s really easy. We give you a Tallo profile to show yourself off. Red Kite reviews your profile in order to plug you into the right scholarship opportunities. Great teamwork, right? Like I said, we’ve got your back.  

And speaking of your profile, here’s a tip: the more complete it is, the better scholarship matches you’ll get with Red Kite. There may be a scholarship somewhere out there that was created for someone just like you. So be sure that your profile is telling your whole story!

What kinds of scholarships? There are all kinds! Just check out the financial aid info on our Tallo dashboard to find a whole list of them. To give you an idea, here are a few examples:

Automotive Women's Alliance Foundation Scholarships

This one’s for all my girls who love cars. This scholarship is awarded by the Automotive Women's Alliance Foundation (AWAF) to females who are passionate about the automotive industry.

Horatio Alger National Career & Technical Scholarship Program

Horatio Alger was a 19th-century author whose characters worked hard to overcome challenges and achieve their dreams. Applicants for this scholarship must be committed to career or technical program and demonstrate financial need.

E.C. Hallbeck Scholarship Fund

Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night, right? This scholarship is awarded by the American Postal Workers Union to high school seniors whose parent, step-parent, or grandparent served as U.S. postal worker.

National Collegiate Cancer Foundation Scholarships

A scholarship for courageous young adults whose lives have been impacted by cancer. Applications for 2019 will open this month.

Do any of these opportunities sound like a perfect fit for you? Go ahead and apply — someone’s going to win them, why can’t it be you?

Something Extra for Your Extracurriculars

 
DeathtoStock_SWEAT-7.jpg
 

We know that putting yourself out there in front of colleges and employers can be awkward, confusing, or scary. Maybe you don’t know what to say or how to say it. Well, we hope Tallo’s making the whole process a little better.

We know there’s more to your story (and your Tallo profile) than just your GPA and standardized test scores. Just about anything that you do outside of the classroom can have a place in your profile. If you’re having a hard time figuring out what to write, we went ahead and made a little list for you.  

Any of them sound like you? Go ahead and paste them right into your profile. It’s cool with us. All you have to do is fill in the blanks and switch up the descriptions to match your unique experiences. Easy-peasy!

1. Trusted babysitter with (insert number) years of childcare experience

As a dependable and dedicated babysitter, I ensure that the young children in my care are kept safe and engaged. I am consistently recommended by my clients to other parents due to my trustworthiness and experience.

2. Volunteer with (insert local community or faith organization)

As a member of my organization’s marketing committee, I helped generate interest for our largest fundraising event of the year. By promoting the event with flyers, emails, and telephone calls, we set a new attendance record.

3. Member of (insert sports team)

As a three-year member of my school’s varsity basketball team, I have learned important skills such as teamwork, cooperation, and commitment. Over three years, I was never late to a single practice or game, and I was voted co-captain during my senior season.

4. Freelance lawn maintenance professional

I have spent the past two summers managing my own lawn care business by proactively advertising my services to members of the community. I worked hard to ensure that each customer was satisfied with the level of care I provided for their lawn, and have grown my client list extensively.  

5. Experienced (insert subject) tutor

As a tutor, I know that it takes compassion and patience to help others learn. I help students complete their homework and special assignment, and prepare for tests. My favorite part is when a student shows me that their grade has improved!

Welcome to Tallo!

 
 

You’ve probably noticed by now. Things look a little...different.  

Okay, so maybe things look a lot different. Where did STEM Premier go?   

No worries, we haven’t gone anywhere. We’ve just changed our name to Tallo! As we’ve grown to help hundreds of thousands of young people showcase their talents, we’ve realized that those talents extend far beyond the STEM fields. So we thought a change was in order. We’re here for everybody, no matter what their passions are.   

Tallo represents who we are and where we’re going. The world needs all sorts of people, whether they excel in the lab, on the stage, or under the engine compartment. Everyone is welcome on Tallo!

Why the name “Tallo”? Think “talent” + “locator.” We like to keep things simple and on point. And as a little nod to our history, “tallo” just happens to be the Spanish word for “stem.”

Our name might be different, but our mission is the same: to give young people a way to showcase themselves to the educational and professional organizations who are looking for them. Finding the right path can be overwhelming. We’re here to make it easier.

Already have an account with us? Fantastic. Your login information is the same, and your profile is just how you left it. So you can pick up right where you left off.

New around here? Pleased to make your acquaintance. Jump right in and start showing yourself off to the world! Whether you’re a student, a school, or an organization, start creating your Tallo profile by clicking HERE.  

Then go ahead and strap in, suit up, hunker down, or whatever it is that gets you in the zone. Maybe it’s listening to some dubstep or country or rap. Maybe it’s interpretive dance. We don’t judge.             

In other words, you just do you. Tallo will help you figure out the rest.   

STEM Premier Spotlight: Texas

texas.jpg

The Rundown:

  • STEM Premier Student Accounts: 20,000

  • Male/Female User Split: Male - 41%, Female - 59%

  • Next Step:

    • College - 92%

    • Technical or Community College - 5%

    • Workforce/Military - 3%

  • Top High School Representation:

    • Manvel High School (Manvel)

    • Ball High School (Galveston)

    • Brazoswood High School (Clute)

    • Bel Air High School (El Paso)

    • DeBakey High School for Health Professions (Houston)

  • Top Career Interests:

    • Surgeons

    • Pediatricians

    • Mechanical Engineers

    • Registered Nurses

    • Aerospace Engineers

  • Top In-State College Interests:

    • University of Texas

    • Texas A&M University

    • Baylor University

    • Rice University

    • University of Houston

  • Top Out-of-State College Interests:

    • Stanford University

    • Harvard University

    • Massachusetts Institute of Technology

    • University of California - Berkeley

    • Johns Hopkins University

  • Number of Post-Secondary Student Users: 700

The last time we checked in with the Lone Star State, it had just over 3,000 student users. That number has since grown seven-fold to over 20,000! Texas also boasts nine of the 2018 STEM Premier Top 100!

Female student profiles in Texas outnumber males 59% to 41%, which continues to be encouraging news for a range of professions and industries historically considered to be dominated by men; healthcare and engineering are two of the state’s most popular career interests. In fact, nearly 1,700 female students in Texas are members of HOSA - Future Health Professionals.

But some of the most exciting news about Texas is the diversity of our student population. Nearly 10% of student users identify as first-generation students, and it is one of the only states where minority users (Hispanic/Latino) comprise the largest proportion of our users!

The Greatest First-Generation: A Closer Look at STEM Premier's First-Gen Students

First-Gen+Blog.jpg

Two months ago, we introduced you to STEM Premier’s First-Generation student population; students whose parents do not possess a college degree. When we first began delving into the data on our first-gen students, we were floored by what we found. It turns out that they are some of the most highly-engaged users on our platform; they display higher levels of profile completion and digital badge ownership. That fact has inspired us to strengthen our commitment to these oft-forgotten students. We hope that excites and inspires you as well.

But who exactly are these students? Well, there’s nearly 30,000 of them on STEM Premier, which means they comprise about 10% of our total student user population. They hail from across the U.S., from coast to coast. They span a diverse range of ethnic, geographic, and socioeconomic backgrounds. They are a big part of America’s future workforce, and they’re ready to make their impact in a multitude of career fields.

Do they have what it takes? Absolutely. 2,000 of them are National Honor Society members. Thousands more are engaged with HOSA - Future Health Professionals, Project Lead The Way, and other organizations.

Here’s a few more stats on our first-gen population:

Top States

  • South Carolina

  • California

  • Texas

  • Florida

  • Georgia

Top Career Interests

  • Registered Nurses

  • Surgeons

  • Mechanical Engineers

  • Pediatricians

  • Biological Scientists

  • Nursing, Psychiatric, and Home Health Aides

  • Computer Programmers

  • Aerospace Engineers

  • Biomedical Engineers

  • Electrical Engineers

Top College Interests

  • Clemson University

  • University of South Carolina

  • Stanford University

  • Coastal Carolina University

  • UCLA

Highest Organizational Engagement

  • National Honor Society

  • HOSA - Future Health Professionals

  • Project Lead The Way

  • Future Business Leaders of America

  • National Technical Honor Society

Does your college, company, or organization want to learn more about and connect with this special group of upcoming talent? Join us today.

STEM Premier Spotlight: South Carolina

shutterstock_592618865.jpg

The Rundown:

  • STEM Premier Student Accounts: 70,000

  • Male/Female User Split: Male - 48%, Female - 52%

  • Next Step:

    • College - 70%

    • Technical or Community College - 13%

    • Workforce/Military - 17%

  • Top High School Representation:

    • Cane Bay High School

    • Summerville High School

    • Goose Creek High School

    • Aiken High School

    • Fort Dorchester High School

  • Top Career Interests:

    • Registered Nurses

    • Mechanical Engineers

    • Nursing, Psychiatric, and Home Health Aides

    • Surgeons

    • Elementary, Middle, and High School Teachers

  • Top In-State College Interests:

    • Clemson University

    • University of South Carolina (Columbia)

    • College of Charleston

    • Coastal Carolina University

    • Winthrop University

  • Top Out-of-State College Interests:

    • Duke University

    • University of North Carolina

    • University of Georgia

    • North Carolina State University

    • Florida State University

  • Number of Post-Secondary Student Users: 1,500

It’s been nearly two years since our last spotlight on the state of South Carolina. And my how things have changed! The number of STEM Premier student users has grown exponentially since then, which means so too has our data and insight into this population of young talent.

Powered in large part by our relationship with SC Future Makers, over 50,000 students have joined our platform in the past two years to connect with schools, businesses, and organizations.

It’s true that much of our talent resides in the state’s larger metropolitan areas, but that’s to be expected. What has us totally pumped is how deeply the STEM Premier platform has reached every corner of the state. This enables every student to have a fair shake, whether they’re in Charleston or Chesterfield. And speaking of Chesterfield, we know 40 students there who are interested in becoming a classroom teacher. That’s breaking news for a state which is facing a critical teacher shortage!

It's Thanksgiving Week at STEM Premier!

Thanksgiving.png

It’s the season to give thanks. And here at STEM Premier, there’s a lot we have to be thankful for! It’s been an awesome year full of new opportunities and new friendships. We believe it’s important to spread the attitude of gratitude, so here’s just a few of the accomplishments, organizations, and people we’re grateful for!

  • We’re thankful for our growing population of hundreds of thousands of middle school, high school, and collegiate-level users across the country who use our platform to discover and connect with opportunities every day.

  • We’re thankful for the 200+ colleges, companies, and organizations such as Penn State, College of Charleston, Boeing Aerospace, Cummins Turbo Deisel, HOSA - Future Health Professionals, and FIRST Robotics who're providing scholarship, educational, internships, apprenticeships, and career opportunities to our amazing users.

  • We’re thankful for all the teachers, counselors, and career development specialists who've graciously partnered with us and allow our team into their classrooms to educate students on the power of building their professional online presence in this digital age.

We also asked some of our team members here at STEM Premier HQ what they are thankful for this season. Here’s what they had to say!

Sarah Musser, Partnership Strategist

  • For the dedication of Charleston Southern University’s Admissions team who are always looking for new ways to connect and relate with students. I am thankful to have clients who care so much about their current students and the future of their incoming class.

  • For the Girl Scouts of the USA. Through our partnership, I have spoken with women from South Carolina, Texas, New York, Indiana, and many other states, all with a universal goal of helping connect talented young women with college and STEM-focused job opportunities. As a former girl scout myself, it has been so special to help these eager young women build their impressive online portfolios. The future of women in STEM is bright!

Rebecca Craig, Engagement Team

  • For my wonderful colleagues at SC Ports for helping us educate students on regional workforce opportunities and for giving our wonderful Charleston students a great place to work and a solid career path.

  • For The Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce who have worked so hard in providing work-force skills and experiences to students in the Charleston, Berkeley, and Dorchester school districts through coordination of teachers and businesses. They are true warriors for the greater good of Charleston and for helping our students secure the brightest futures possible.

Valerie Keller, Engagement Team

  • For the STEM Learning Ecosystems Community of Practice who allowed us to present STEM Premier to a community of educators and influencers. To be in the presence of so many folks across the country who are involved in promoting STEM ecosystems and ensuring student success was an honor.

  • For the University of Pittsburgh for their collaboration in reaching out to top talent throughout the U.S. and for joining the community of four-year colleges helping to build STEM Premier.

Recruiting Members of Generation Z

shutterstock_199317449_72dpi.jpg

When it comes to different generations, a lot of stereotypes get floated around. The members of Generation X are the rebels. Millenials have become widely referred to as “Generation Me.” Regardless of how valid these labels may be, it’s a fact that attitudes and culture change from one generation to the next. Just like sports teams have to adapt to new-fangled offensive schemes, businesses and organizations have to adjust their own gameplans to compete at the highest level.

So what about Generation Z; the latest generation of high school and college-aged young adults? They’re suiting up the locker room and hungry for playing time. By 2020, they’ll comprise 20% of the workforce. Can you convince them to play for your team when they hit the field?

Here’s a few tips to help you “get” them.

Get after it early

Members of Generation Z have seen the massive student loan debts accumulated by Millenials. And that’s something they want no part of. Many of them are strongly considering bypassing college entirely and going straight into the workforce. They want a livelihood, not necessarily a degree.

Since attending college is no longer a foregone conclusion, high school students are weighing their post-graduation plans much earlier than previous generations. Connecting with them during this decision-making process is vital, and that’s what makes our platform a game-changer. We’ve made it easier than ever to find young talent and build your brand. But more importantly, you can do it before anyone else can. We are your direct access point to Generation Z. So what are you waiting for? Don’t just make a first impression. Be the first impression.

Get digital

Generation Z is the first generation of true digital natives. They could practically recognize an iPad before they could recognize a bottle of baby formula. If you aren’t connecting with them online, you aren’t connecting with them, period. To them, the internet is an extension of the world, so you need to be in it! If you are waiting for them to come to the college job fair to start recruiting them, someone else already has.   

Gen Z is online; and so are we. We are world’s first opportunity connection app for emerging talent, and we know that in order to connect and engage with them, we need to be playing in their sandbox.

Get real

Remember that big economic slump we call “The Great Recession?” Well, that’s the environment Generation Z grew up in. Because of that, members of Generation Z expect to work harder than previous generations. Simply put, they’re realists. Be honest and tell them what the deal is. What do they need to do to be qualified to work for your organization? What specific opportunities are you offering? Avoid vague, fluffy, and condescending language. They are skeptics at heart, so don’t bother trying to sell them on something that sounds good to be true.

When working with our college and company clients, we educate them on how to communicate with our users. Call them by their name, compliment something in their profile, tell them exactly why they are a good fit and should consider you for their next step

Get to the point

The Snapchat generation is used to digesting their information in, well…snaps. That means you’ve got their attention for 5 to 8 seconds before they scroll on to something else. It’s a challenge, sure. But the more accommodating you are to their short timeframe, the more responsive they will be. We teach our clients to leveage our personal messaging system to craft short, impactful, and individualized communications.

Tallo Spotlight: Randelle Thompson

1.jpg

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

SP_mobile image_2018.png

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.

Big Names in Industry Recognize Many Paths to Success

shutterstock_272653865.jpg

For the past two decades, enrollment numbers at America’s universities have been steadily rising as high school graduates rush to obtain what they - and their parents - perceive as the ticket to a well-paying job: a four-year degree.

However, a four-year degree is not the only route to professional success, and some of the nation’s most prestigious employers are beginning to acknowledge this fact. It’s old news that Google has long shrugged its shoulders over college degrees when assessing applicants. Now many more are following their lead, including Apple, IBM, Bank of America, and Ernst & Young.

So why is this? Because it’s not necessarily the diploma they’re after; It’s the skill set they want.    

“Academic qualifications will still be taken into account and indeed remain an important consideration when assessing candidates as a whole, but will no longer act as a barrier to getting a foot in the door,” says Maggie Stilwell, Ernst and Young’s managing partner for talent.

In other words, as long as an applicant possesses the knowledge and skills necessary for success, they will be an attractive hire. It doesn’t matter whether those skills were learned in a university seminar, a technical college workshop, or in the applicant’s own home.  

Everyone’s path to success is unique. That’s the belief our virtual ecosystem is built on, and why opportunity-seekers utilize STEM Premier regardless of their professional journey. While a four-year degree is the goal of many of our users, many others are breaking away from this traditional path, and are represented by robotics prodigies, engineering aficionados, and promising young professionals.    

Our users are exposed to a multitude of opportunities, many of which they may have never even considered before. For example, many organizations are so desperate for certain technical skills and certifications that they have created programs for young employees to work for them while footing the bill for their education. As a result, the employee is earning not only a paycheck, but a degree as well!

The world’s educational landscape continues to shift. There’s no telling what “traditional” academic pathways will fall by the wayside and what will take their place.

That’s why we do what we do. Because on STEM Premier, all paths can lead to success.

The Five Best Ways Colleges & Companies Find Talent with STEM Premier

SP_search_laptop.png

Finding the right talent is tough. It doesn’t matter whether you’re recruiting next fall’s incoming class for your university or ensuring your organization has the professionals it needs to grow and succeed. Nobody ever said it was easy to build a pipeline of talent. But we can make it a lot easier.

STEM Premier’s search module allows organizational users to search our database of hundreds of thousands of individuals based on a limitless combination of criteria, giving you the flexibility you need in your search. You can dial in and micro-target exactly the type of people you're looking for. When it comes to finding needles in a haystack, think of it as your digital pitchfork. 

Here’s just a few ways you can narrow down the prospects.

College Interests:

College recruiters, we know you spend long hours on the road visiting high schools and college fairs, so let’s make your life a little easier. Start your search without even leaving campus by finding all the students who are already interested in attending your university, regardless of where they reside. Do you recruit from the same pool of students as one of your peer institutions? Use that information to find students who may be interested in your school as well. No longer will geography and time dictate your limits. 

Credentials:

If your organization needs work-ready candidates who can hit the ground running, you'll want to start your search here. Whether it's a certificate, license, diploma, or badge, you can find those qualified candidates with just a few clicks. Browse skilled individuals across a plethora of certifications offered by nationally-recognized organizations, such as the American Welding Society

Associations:

Companies and colleges like individuals who get involved. Engagement in student associations, clubs, teams, and professional organizations indicates higher levels of initiative, drive, and leadership. Those are all soft skills which businesses and schools love. But maybe it's professionals skills you want, such as the technical expertise honed by organizations like SkillsUSA. Or the business acumen developed by Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA).  Search across a wide range of organizational involvement to find who want to connect with. 

Career Interests:

If a student is interested in your industry, that's a great opportunity to start a conversation with them. But even if they are not, young adults are open to a future of possibilities. Even if their career interests aren't directly related to your organization or field, they may be similar. Find students based on a vast multitude of career interests, and use that passion as a segue to open a discussion with them. 

Next Step:

A four-year college isn’t always the best fit for a graduating high school student. There are millions of students whose next step is to attend a community college, a trade school, enter the military, or jump right into the workforce. Find the candidates who you know will be most receptive to what your business or organization has to offer them.

South Carolina Ports Authority Holds First STEM Premier Signing Day

ports 2.jpeg

The ink had just begun to dry on Anthony Richburg Jr.’s letter of intent when he donned the Carolina blue helmet and gave the cameras a bright smile along with two excited thumbs up.

No, he hadn’t just signed to play for the UNC Tarheels; rather, the promising 18-year-old had chosen to begin his professional career with The South Carolina Ports Authority.  

In its first-ever “Signing Day” on June 19, SPCA was proud to have landed the recent North Charleston High School graduate, a promising student they would have never found if not for his STEM Premier profile.

“We welcome Anthony Richburg to our team as the Port’s first hire from the STEM Premier partnership,” said SCPA president and CEO Jim Newsome, “and look forward to continuing to engage with local high schools on job opportunities at the Port and ways to prepare for a maritime industry career.”

The event was held - fittingly - at the The Union Pier Passenger Terminal in Downtown Charleston. Anthony was accompanied by his mother and stepfather as well as SPCA Vice President Barbara Melvin and Director Rusty Matthews, who made the decision to hire Anthony.

After initially discovering Anthony’s profile on STEM Premier, representatives from SPCA contacted him via the platform’s direct messaging tool. Through direct contact and networking opportunities facilitated with STEM Premier, SPCA and Anthony built a relationship which culminated in his signing day commitment in June.

Identifying and connecting with Anthony early on was vital in regards to his ultimate decision. That same type of engagement will be the future for SPCA’s recruitment efforts.

“The Ports Authority and greater maritime community employ more than 9,000 people locally, and we’re pleased to partner with STEM Premier to raise awareness of the Port among students in the Tri-County region as part of our recruitment strategy for the next generation of our workforce,” Newsome said.

“Partnering with proactive companies like SCPA,” says STEM Premier Co-Founder Casey Welch, “who understand and appreciate the importance of early engagement is vital in helping to identify, engage, and recruiting the future workforce while also retaining top talent from the Charleston area like Anthony.”

Anthony Richburg Jr. Signing Day.JPG

Project Lead The Way (PLTW) Announces Revolutionary New Assessment

PLTW_M_L_3C-1600x533.png

STEM Premier and Project Lead The Way (PTLW) have long been proud partners in their mission to enhance the student experience by opening doors and providing opportunities. PLTW students across the country have been leveraging the STEM Premier platform to showcase themselves to the world. 

That's why were excited to report that PLTW recently unveiled a new way of assessing student ability.

Until now, student assessment tools have tended to focus strictly on academic subject matter. While not flawed in and of themselves, a singular reliance on these assessments has left colleges, universities, and businesses in the dark when it comes to the holistic potential of the applicants they are considering. For example, an aptitude test will convey how proficient a student is in mathematics, but it cannot tell a potential employer how creative that same student may be. Or how well they problem-solve, communicate, and work with others. Skills which are very much desired by organizations all over the country spanning every industry.

PLTW resolved to tackle this problem head-on by designing an assessment tool which could effectively capture these “soft skills” while maintaining its emphasis in the fields of engineering, biomedical science, and computer science. The result, PLTW predicts, will revolutionize the way schools, employers, hiring managers, and scholarship providers evaluate the value of their candidates and applicants. “The ability to problem-solve, to think critically, to communicate, to collaborate – we really haven’t had a way to signal those skills to future employers,” says Dr. Vince Bertram, President and CEO of Project Lead The Way, “The new PLTW Assessment will allow us to do that.”

To help design this new tool, PLTW assembled a coalition of thirty-eight experts who are respected professionals in secondary education, higher education, and industry. This coalition consisted of deans, faculty members, hiring managers, CEOs, engineers, and others representing widely-respected entities such as Duke University, Vanderbilt University, NASA, FedEx, John Deere, and Eli Lilly. This PLTW Test Advisory Panel provided input as to which skills are the most valuable to their organizations. The final verdicts? Creativity, critical thinking, problem solving, collaboration, communication, ethical reasoning, and mindset.

Then, assisted by nationally recognized psychometricians, they figured out the best ways to measure those skills within the context of a standardized testing environment. Naturally - considering the nature of what they were measuring - they had to put their own problem-solving talents “to the test” and think outside the box.

The resulting assessment format is one which redefines standardized testing. It is interactive and utilizes simulations, video stimuli, situational judgment questions, and other types of challenges to measure the test-taker’s real world ability to apply their skills and knowledge. It effectively eliminates the possibility for students to “beat the system” by cramming. It also closes loopholes inherent in other standardized tests, such as “successful guessing.”

400,000 PLTW students across the country will take the assessment starting in the 2018-2019 school year, followed by an estimated 450,000 during the 2019-2020 school year. Upon completing the assessment, these students will have a comprehensive metric which will have a plethora of relevant applications, from scholarships to job opportunities.  

STEM Premier salutes PLTW and congratulates them on the creation of their new assessment. We believe that students are more than simply their academic test scores. Every student on the STEM Premier platform is unique in their own right. That's why STEM Premier allows student to add videos to their profile and provides a skills showcase section; so they can show off the talents that don't come across through a grade or test score!

STEM Premier Spotlight: Michigan

shutterstock_592618865.jpg

Quick Facts:

  • STEM Premier Secondary-Level Students: 4,700+

  • Top College Interests: University of Michigan, Michigan State University, Wayne State University, Grand Valley State University

  • Top Intended Majors: Pre-Med, Nursing, Computer Science

We're heading up to the Wolverine State for our newest State Spotlight for a closer look at STEM Premier students in Michigan. The Great Recession of 2008 hit the state of Michigan especially hard, and 2009 found the state in a severe economic rut. However, Michigan has resiliently bounced back and is now the nation's seventh-fastest growing economy. 

The manufacturing legacy of Michigan lives on, as that industry still represents the largest portion of the state's economy. However, economist have noted that diversification has been one of the factors in helping lift Michigan out of the economic mud. The finance industry, comprising 18% of the state's economy, is right behind manufacturing's 19%. Unemployment in Michigan is currently at a 20-year low. 

Michigan’s largest population of STEM Premier students is located in and around Detroit - which happens to be the hometown of our fantastic partner, SME - with other sizable pockets around Grand Rapids, Lansing, Ann Arbor, Kalamazoo, and Flint. However, STEM Premier students are all over the state including it's Northern tip in towns like Traverse City, and in the Upper Peninsula in places like Marquette. Its students tend to have their eyes on the healthcare industry as reflected by the number of related fields among their top career interests; many of them want to be nurses, surgeons, pediatricians, and healthcare support specialists. This is particularly true for STEM Premier user Onyewuchi Ndukwe, a rising high school senior from Detroit, who hopes to become an optometrist and one day return to her home country of Nigeria to create an organization which provides glasses and contact lenses. 

However, true to Michigan's economic legacy, mechanical engineering is also a top choice for the state's students. 

ACT’s 2017 Condition of STEM Report on Michigan indicates that 55% of Michigan’s high school seniors express an interest in STEM, which is above the national average. However, ACT warns, only 56 students who were assessed in the inventory indicated an interest in a career in math or science education. This indicates that the state may face a STEM educator shortage in the coming years. 

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

STEM Premier Releases 2018 Top 100 Students

SP_top100.png

It's once again that time of year! And so it is with much pride and excitement that we announce STEM Premier’s 4th annual Top 100 rankings: The 2018 STEM Premier Top 100!

 This year, over 350,000 STEM Premier student users attending over 19,000 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 29 different states, with the most highly represented states being Texas and California. High school seniors comprised roughly 75% of the top 100, but twenty-two juniors also made the list. An additional handful of talented sophomores also earned the distinction.

 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) students.

What makes the STEM Premier Top 100 unique is the diversity of educational and professional paths represented. While many of the Top 100 plan to attend a traditional four-year university - including reputable schools such as Stanford and MIT - others will be continuing their STEM education at two-year technical schools and community colleges in fields such as advanced manufacturing, information technology, and healthcare. The result is an elite group of students who reflect the shifting realities of the U.S. economic, educational, and professional environments. 

 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 350,000+ 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 2018 STEM Premier Top 100

STEM Premier Spotlight: Oklahoma

shutterstock_167233529.jpg

Quick Facts:

  • STEM Premier Secondary-Level Students: 3,500+
  • Top College Interests: University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State University, University of Central Oklahoma, University of Tulsa
  • Top Intended Majors: Nursing, Mechanical Engineering, Biology, Computer Science

April’s State Spotlight takes us to the Midwest and the Sooner State for a closer look at STEM Premier students in Oklahoma. The vast plains of Oklahoma may mislead you into believing that the state primarily is focused on agriculture, but that would be inaccurate.

The public sector currently comprises the largest portion of Oklahoma’s economy, accounting for roughly 16% of the state’s GDP in 2016. Outside of the government, mining, manufacturing, trade, and finance are Oklahoma’s predominant industries. Oklahoma’s economy has steadily grown over the past fifteen years, and now comprises a larger portion of the total U.S. economy than it did in 2002.

Oklahoma’s largest population of STEM Premier students is located in the state capitol of Oklahoma City, while other hubs exist in Tulsa and Norman. Its students tend to have their eyes on the healthcare industry as reflected by the number of related fields among their top career interests; many of them want to be nurses, surgeons, pediatricians, and healthcare support specialists.

ACT’s 2017 Condition of STEM Report on Oklahoma indicates that 47% of Oklahoma’s high school seniors express an interest in STEM, which is in line with the national average. However, the report notes, only 16% of students had both an expressed interest in STEM as well as an ACT Interest Inventory score which indicated proficiency in a STEM field. This may foreshadow a dearth of in-state STEM talent in the coming years; something STEM employers may want to take note of.

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

Looking Closer: Student Interest in Social Sciences

shutterstock_627689366.jpg

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 social sciences.

 Although the social sciences and humanities have recently been the object of some derision - especially amid the debate over how well U.S. universities are adequately preparing students for work in the modern economy - they are still extremely relevant. The social sciences are comprised of a variety of disciplines delving into the “softer” aspects of our world - as opposed to “hard” sciences such as physics, chemistry, or biology. These include cultural, sociological, and historical research areas.

 Here’s just a few examples of the social science occupations which have captured the attention of STEM Premier students:

  • Archaeologists
  • Economists
  • Historians
  • Geographers
  • Political Scientists
  • Anthropologists

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

 

Imaginations "Rohming" Wild: Homeschooled Robotics Team Heads to World Championship

IMG_7137.JPG

Rohming Robots runs on passion. And now this motivated group of home-schooled students is taking that passion to the world stage.

Established in 2014 by Head Coach Linda Stewart, Rohming Robots - a Charleston, South Carolina-based robotics team - will be heading to Houston, Texas in April to compete against thousands of like-minded students in the FIRST Tech Challenge World Championship.

IMG_6356.JPG

FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC for short) is a competitive robotics league which pits grade 7-12 students against each other in a head-to-head format. Teams are responsible for designing, building, and programming their robots. Assisted by coaches and mentors, the teams build their mechanical “athletes” with pieces made of various materials, and use sensors and programs to execute their gameplans. Teams are also required to keep an engineering notebook; a log of the team’s construction process from the first blueprint sketches to the last screw.

What makes Roaming Robots unique is who they are. The team is comprised entirely of homeschooled and virtual students ranging from 8th to 12th grade. The team divides responsibilities based on their interests and skills; a strategy they say keeps the process fun for everyone involved. It’s not just nuts, bolts, and programming which are involved in the process. The team also has roles for important non-technical duties such as community outreach and fundraising.  

“Every year, they want to do a little more,” says Stewart, “go a little farther.”

And go farther they did.

A 4-H project club primarily sponsored by STEM Premier partner SME, Rohming Robots received FTC’s Think Award, honoring the best engineering notebook from among 72 teams. That achievement earned them their spot in the World Championship next month. Their competitive robot - named Tod - was custom-built using machined and 3-D printed parts.

Rohming Robots recently became one of STEM Premier’s newest organizations to join our online community. This will allow its team members to gain access to the same types of opportunities which tend to benefit students from more traditional K-12 backgrounds. We’re excited to know that these students will be able to let their passion and talent shine forth, and find opportunities they may have not otherwise realized.

IMG_5671.JPG

Stewart is excited for her young team. "I reviewed all the ways that club members can use STEM premier to help them connect with local businesses to better explore their interests, with colleges they are interested in, and with potential internships and employers for their future careers," she says.

"Team members are excited about showcasing their specific talents and interests using their STEM Premier profiles and adding the SME badge to their profiles because of the long history of support our local chapter has given us.”

After all, it’s not just about the mechatronics. The talents of Rohming Robot’s members extend far beyond the robotics wrestling ring, ranging from collaborative teamwork to project management to public speaking. It takes all sorts of skill sets to run a successful team. And these students are making it happen!

STEM Premier wishes the entire Rohming Robots team good luck in Houston!

ACT Releases 2017 Report on The Condition of STEM

HG_actlogong_505x305_FitToBox_Center.png

This week, our partner ACT released their 2017 edition of The Condition of STEM report.

Using comprehensive data gathered from the U.S. high school graduating class of 2017, ACT compiles and organizes the report in order to analyze the current landscape of student interest and achievement in STEM. The report is designed to assist stakeholders - such as educational organizations and industry-leaders -  to better understand this landscape and drive their own efforts to improve educational and workplace success.

This year’s report highlights several key findings and trends; some encouraging and some worrisome. For example, ACT’s data reveals that the oft-referenced STEM gender gap continues to persist. It also finds that physical geography plays a critical role in STEM achievement; a phenomenon we delved into last month.

However, for each of these areas of concern, ACT features “promising practices” gleaned from states, nonprofits, businesses and other organizations who are committed to making a difference. One such practice featured is the 100kin10  designed to address the critical shortage of STEM teachers in our nation’s schools.

The report concludes by providing several policy recommendations to be considered by government leaders, such as establishing loan-forgiveness programs for STEM educators.

In addition to the overall report, The Condition of STEM is also examined on a state-by-state basis. In fact, these are the same reports which we reference in our state spotlight blog series; New York was our most recent!

As part of our collaboration with ACT in compiling the 2017 Condition of STEM, each state report contains an example of a STEM Premier student user residing there.

This year’s report is yet another example of ACT’s commitment to driving STEM success in the U.S.