Students

ASM International and STEM Premier Team Up

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Sometimes Christmas comes early, and for us at STEM Premier, nothing brings us more holiday cheer than establishing a new partnership with yet another distinguished organization.

ASM International - the world's largest and most established materials information society - and STEM Premier have joined arms in promoting their members and the field of materials science. With an organizational history dating back to an era of blacksmithing, ASM International seeks to benefit the materials community by providing scientific, engineering and technical knowledge, education, networking and professional development.

ASM International is headquartered at Materials Park - a 45-acre engineering marvel - outside of Cleveland. The organization boasts thousands of members across the globe and more than 80 chapters worldwide, which provide opportunities for students and professionals to network and learn from each other. Additionally, it offers a plethora of educational resources including classroom and lab instruction, online interactive courses, loads of research materials, and much more.

To meet the challenges of the future, the ASM Materials Education Foundation expanded its mission to engage the next generation of students interested in engineering principles and STEM topics. ASM Materials Camp is a unique team-based, intensive problem solving science experience for students entering their junior and senior year. ASM Materials Camp has grown into an award-winning program in which thousands of students have participated.  

Through STEM Premier, ASM members and other individuals who have participated in ASM/ASM Materials Education Foundation programming can request a digital badge to display on their STEM Premier profile. ASM Membership, ASM Materials Camps, and ASM Materials Education Foundation Scholarships are just some of the programs credentialed through STEM Premier.

Are you an ASM International participant? Join STEM Premier and request your digital badge today!

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.

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!

STEM Premier Spotlight: Dr. A. Sean Alford

When it comes to education, STEM Premier understands the importance of putting students first. And sometimes, putting students first requires educators to take calculated risks, such as implementing new curricula, standards, or technology in the classroom. The best teachers and administrators understand that progressive thinking and planning for the future is just as important in education as it is in business.

In this series of blog posts, we want to take some time to recognize some of the incredible K-12 educators we have had the privilege of working with. These are energetic, forward-thinking, and fun individuals who have implemented the STEM Premier platform in their schools, districts, and counties.

Dr. A. Sean Alford is the subject of our first spotlight. The Superintendent of Aiken County Public School District in South Carolina, Dr. Alford was one of STEM Premier’s earliest proponents. He took some time away from his hectic schedule to engage in some Q&A with us.

See what an experienced and passionate educator has to say about how STEM Premier has enhanced his school district.  

 

Dr. Sean Alford
Superintendent
Aiken County Public School District
Aiken, South Carolina

What is your role with the Aiken County Public School District (APCSD)?
Superintendent responsible for organizational effectiveness and efficiency.

How did you get into education? What drew you to the profession?
I had great mentors in my lifetime, many were teachers or coaches. I wanted to do for others what had been done for me.

What is your favorite thing about education?
The overwhelming impact that an individual can have on their own lives if they apply themselves through the educational process.

Tell us a little bit more about ACPSD!
Aiken County is a progressive school district that focuses on solution-driven processes. We want graduates to possess a set of employable skills when they leave our schools.

How is STEM Premier helping your district?
STEM Premier helps to reinforce many concepts that we strive to teach and model in our schools; moreover, it facilitates student's understanding of multiple pathways to postsecondary success.

How did you implement STEM Premier? Do you have any suggestions for other schools on how to best implement STEM Premier?
Measured or strategic implementations always work best. Our process was designed to connect our schools to our post-secondary institutions before we began a deliberate effort to engage the business community.

What is your favorite part of the system?
I believe students enjoy the user-friendly platform.

What has your experience been with the STEM Premier team?
The STEM Premier team members are committed professionals.  Their passion for their work is evident.

What is the future impact that STEM Premier will have on the Aiken County Public School District?
As we strive to make stronger connections and build new bridges with business and industry, I believe that STEM Premier will allow job creators to assess student's skills and abilities in a meaningful way which should make the hiring and training processes much more fluid.

Thank you Dr. Alford for taking time away from your passion to spread the word about STEM Premier. We wish the best of luck to you and your students, teachers, and staff!

STEM Premier Powers Boeing's Inaugural STEM Signing Day

Signing Day. No off-season affair is more important for collegiate athletic programs and their fans than the day when their future stars sign their commitments.

The pens are ready. Ball caps sit patiently, ready to be donned by bright-eyed prospects with grand dreams.

For South Carolina’s star students, their own day has finally come.

On May 9, the inaugural Boeing STEM Signing Day took place on the South Carolina State House grounds in Columbia. Just like signing days for athletes, over fifty high school seniors from across the state inked their letters of intent to pursue a career in STEM. Inside the Edgar Brown Building, elected officials as well as business and community leaders looked on like proud coaches and parents, envisioning incredible futures for these students. All of these students will be attending a 2-year or 4-year college to continue their STEM education.

For us at STEM Premier, it was a vision made reality. As part of an amazing collaborative partnership, Boeing utilized the STEM Premier platform to identify and personally invite star students to participate. From over 400 applications - all managed within STEM Premier - seventy were chosen to attend and make their mark on the future of STEM.

“Boeing is honored to help lift up and recognize the achievements and next steps of some of our state’s brightest minds – students who will eventually lead the way as we advance innovation and technology in the 21st century,” said Joan Robinson-Berry, Boeing South Carolina vice president and general manager.

The inaugural Boeing STEM Signing Day marks the beginning of a tradition which we hope students, industry leaders, and officials look forward to each year. We wish the best of luck to each of the participants, and are proud to call them STEM Premier students.

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Learning from the Pros: Getting Social

When it comes to recruiting, collegiate coaches are constantly on the lookout for anything that can help them gain an edge over rivals and competitors.

With the NCAA keeping a close eye on phone calls, text messaging, and in-person visits, it should come as no surprise that programs across the country have taken to the internet to connect with recruits where they are: social media.

What is interesting about the NCAA’s regulation of social media communication is that, instead of tightening down on it - such as it’s done with texting - it has actually given coaches more freedom on the web. Prior to August 2016, coaches were allowed to private message recruits, but could not “publicize” their recruitment by “liking” or sharing a recruit’s posts. They are now allowed to do so.

Here’s the important part: The NCAA officially explained this rule change as being due to the impossible nature of constantly monitoring thousands of social media profiles. However, many believe it was mostly due in part to the fact that social media is by far the preferred medium of communication of high school athletes nowadays.

What makes STEM Premier a powerful tool is that combines the power of a social media platform and professional networking programs into one package. Organizational users can directly connect with prospective students and employees, providing the genuine sense that their talents are being recognized and pursued. This is a far cry from simply making students aware of an organization's opportunities through traditional methods such as job postings and billboards. 

Why does this matter? Because coaches know that if you want to land a recruit, you have to make them feel comfortable with your school. If one program is sending a recruit letters in the mail, while another is actively communicating with them online - where they post, tweet, like, share, and hashtag with their friends - guess which one has the advantage?

Your organization’s recruiting strategy should be no different. Times are changing, and the schools and businesses which simply rely on the “old-school” methods of college and jobs fairs and snail mail to attract talent are going to fall behind.

With STEM Premier,  not only can schools and businesses showcase their programs and opportunities for free via their STEM Premier profile, they can also directly link their profile from more "social" platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, and Google+. 

With nearly a quarter-million students on STEM Premier, organizations can take a page out of Nick Saban’s playbook and build relationships with these students where they are.

Looking Closer: Student Interest in Business and Finance

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 business and finance industry.

While the industry is not expected to grow quite as dramatically as other sectors - healthcare for instance - over the next decade, increased regulation will drive the demand for more accountants, auditors, and other types of financial analysts. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that business and financial occupations will increase by about eight percent by 2024, adding more than 630,000 new jobs.

When it comes to talent for business, many of the nation’s promising young minds are on the STEM Premier platform. Thanks to our incredible partnership with FBLA-PBL (Future Business Leaders of America), student members are offered the FBLA Membership Digital Badge to proudly display on their profiles. FBLA also promotes STEM Premier to its student members as a way to professionally connect with schools and businesses who are looking for young people just like them.

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

  • Budget Analysts
  • Cost Estimators
  • Loan Officers
  • Accountants
  • Financial Advisors

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

STEM Premier Spotlight: Alabama

Quick Facts:

  • STEM Premier Secondary-Level Students: 3,400+
  • Top College Interests: Auburn University, University of Alabama at Birmingham, University of South Alabama, University of Alabama
  • Top Intended Majors: Pre-Medicine, Nursing, Computer Science

The talent population on STEM Premier continues to grow, which means that our student base continues to increase in diversity; especially geographic diversity. Over 200,000 high school and college-level students across the country are showcasing themselves on the platform.

Alabama is the focus of our next state spotlight. Among the Yellowhammer State’s 3400+ STEM Premier users are 260 National Honor Society members, 175 members of HOSA - Future Health Professionals, and 93 FBLA members.

While STEM Premier students can be found virtually anywhere in the state, the largest concentration of students can be found in the state’s major population centers of Birmingham, Mobile, Montgomery, and Huntsville - home of the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center. The top occupational interests of Tennessee’s students include surgery, nursing, mechanical engineering, pediatrics, physical therapy, and aerospace engineering.

According to ACT’s Condition of STEM Report, Alabama’s student interest in the STEM fields (52%) continues to outpace the national average (48%). This trend is powered by growing interest in the computer science, mathematics, and engineering fields. This sets Alabama apart from other states whose student interest lies primarily in the medical and health fields.

Read ACT’s entire Condition of STEM Report for Alabama.

STEM Premier iShine Scholarship Spotlight: Julia Holt

Several times each year, we award the STEM Premier iShine Scholarship to one student who is using their profile to best showcase themselves and shine! We also pose a question for each student applicant to answer to the best of their ability.

This time, we asked applicants to submit a short video telling us why they deserve to win the iShine Scholarship and how the scholarship assistance will help them pursue their dreams.

As always, we had many excellent submissions, and we are proud STEM Premier’s newest iShine Scholar: Julia Holt from Orlando, Florida!

Julia is a highly-involved senior at Timber Creek High School passionate about the field of astronomy. She has been accepted by the University of Central Florida, where she intends to enroll next fall. Check out her video entry below:

We caught up with Julia so we could get to know her a little better. Here’s what she had to say:

Something you wouldn't know about me is... that I'm VERY good at Just Dance (the Wii and Xbox game). My high scores have yet to be broken, and I have remained undefeated for almost 4 years.

For fun, I like to…. Relax. I'm a big fan of putting fun puzzles together. I enjoy watching movies, some of my favorites include Harry Potter, Star Wars, and Jurassic Park. And I really, really love to hike because I am so passionate about nature and the environment. These activities relieve a lot of my stress.

If I could meet anyone in the world, past or present, I would want to meet… Eleanor Roosevelt. My dad told me all the time when I was growing up "no one can make you feel inferior without your own consent" which is a famous quote by Eleanor Roosevelt. I would want to meet her and thank her for those words of wisdom, they have helped me on numerous occasions. I should probably also thank my dad!

The best teachers I’ve ever had were…. Mrs. Frandsen and Ms. Hubble. These two teachers opened my eyes to my personal potential. It is because of them that I have the courage to dream my dreams so big. I will forever be thankful for them and the ways in which they've helped me, whether they knew it or not.

The last app I downloaded on my phone was…. Word Cookies. It's sounds random, but it's actually very fun, and challenging. You have to make words out of letter-shaped cookies. I like to tell myself it's an educational app. :)

After high school, my next step is... to go to the University of Central Florida! I have been accepted and I plan to pursue a degree in Physics!

In ten years, I see myself…. earning my PhD in Physics and becoming an official Astronomer somewhere in Colorado (because I love the mountains).

My greatest dream is... to be alive to see plants on Mars.

The thing I like about STEM Premier most is... the way it "rates" your test scores. It's hard to find an exact answer to "what is a good score on the ACT/SAT?". The dashboard scales/color coats the scores (red/yellow/green), and it is actually very helpful in determining whether or not retaking the ACT or SAT is the best option, at least for me. :)

As the winner of the STEM Premier iShine Scholarship, Julia will receive $1000 as well as the STEM Premier iShine Scholarship Digital Badge. Congratulations Julia!

A Professional HUD: STEM Premier's Student Dashboard

If you’re an aircraft pilot, you are familiar with an HUD.

For everyone else, the acronym may be unfamiliar, but the concept shouldn’t be. An HUD, or Heads-Up Display, is an apparatus which presents important data to the user of a certain technology - a fighter jet, for example - without requiring them to take their eyes off of what’s in front of them.

When you’re flying at 800 miles per hour, you can imagine why that would be useful!

STEM Premier's Student Dashboard works in the same way.

Both at the secondary and collegiate level, students have a lot going on in their lives. They have tests to study for, homework to do, and projects to complete. And that just describes their academic lives! They also want to make time for friends, family, sports, hobbies, and other activities.

Simply put, students don’t have a lot of time to think about their academic and professional futures. Perhaps that’s why big state schools with strong brand-awareness never fail to attract their fair share of applicants. It could also explain why certain high-prestige professions, such as law and healthcare, dominate student interest surveys (on the 2015 CIRP Freshman Survey, an astounding 27.4% of incoming college freshman identified themselves as either pre-law or pre-med).

STEM Premier’s Student Dashboard is tailor-designed for each student on the STEM Premier platform. Using data from the user’s personal profile, the dashboard compiles and aggregates vital information for each student as they navigate their hectic lives at 800 mph - just like an HUD system!

When a student logs onto STEM Premier, their Dashboard is the first thing they see. Here’s what they’ll find:

They’ll find how their standardized test scores - such as their ACT score -  stack up against other users, which may prompt them to try for a higher score and broaden their opportunities.

They’ll find the “Explore Organizations” module, which will connect them with schools and businesses who match up well with their educational and career interests.

They’ll find financial aid opportunities powered by Redkite, which matches students to certain scholarship opportunities based on their STEM Premier profile information.  

In other words, STEM Premier students will have information placed at their fingertips which used to have taken hours of research to compile. That’s the whole point of an HUD. At STEM Premier, we don’t want students to have to take their eyes off the windshield to figure out where they’re going.

We want to help them know exactly where they’re headed. While still going full-throttle.

 

Getting Down to Business: National FBLA-PBL Week

How’s this for timing?

Future Business Leaders of America is celebrating their National FBLA Week this week (February 5-11). The week is designed to promote awareness of the organization and its programs amongst communities across the country.  

It’s also a perfect opportunity to announce STEM Premier’s partnership with this incredible organization. We visited FBLA’s 2016 National Leadership Conference this past July, and were amazed by the amazing students and staff we met there.

That makes us all the more proud to officially offer FBLA members the STEM Premier FBLA Membership Digital Badge! Students affiliated with FBLA can join STEM Premier and request their badge to include on their STEM Premier profile.

While the badge is cool, of course, even cooler is how STEM Premier will enhance these students’ educational and professional endeavors by allowing them to showcase their skills, talents, and accomplishments on their profile. From there, they can share their profile, link up with mentors, and take their networking to the next level!

Coinciding with National Career and Technical Education (CTE) Month, FBLA Week encourages members to participate in a broad range of awareness activities, including sharing their FBLA stories in-person and via social media and getting involved with community service.

Students are even inspired to get involved with their local political leadership by requesting them to sign a formal proclamation officially recognizing National FBLA-PBL Week in their towns, cities, and communities.

We wish the best for all members of FBLA, and we hope they take advantage of everything both FBLA and STEM Premier have to offer.

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!

Looking Closer: Student Interest in Construction

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 construction industry.

Construction is an area primed to grow quickly over the next decade. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that employment in construction-related occupations will grow ten percent between 2014 and 2024, which outpaces the average growth for all occupations. In terms of jobs, this will mean an increase of approximately 700,000 from 6.5 million to 7.2 million.

It will be interesting to keep an eye on the policies of Donald Trump’s incoming administration in regards to infrastructure development. The President-Elect has previously announced plans to invest $1 trillion in infrastructure development; a package which would further increase the need for additional construction jobs. This is excellent news for trade and technical schools who offer educational programming poised to meet this new demand. 

It also makes organizations such as ACE Mentor Program - which seeks to connect high school students with professionals in the architecture, construction, and engineering fields - all the more vital. 

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

  • Electricians
  • Carpenters
  • Construction Equipment Operators
  • HAZMAT Removal Specialists
  • Plumbers

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

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.

STEM Premier Spotlight: Indiana

Quick Facts:

  • STEM Premier Secondary-Level Students: 1,600+
  • Top College Interests: Purdue University, Indiana University, Ball State University, Butler University, University of Notre Dame
  • Top Intended Majors: Computer Science, Pre-Medicine, Biology, Nursing

This week’s STEM Premier spotlight brings us to the Hoosier State, home of the world-famous Indianapolis 500 automobile race. Speaking of automobiles, we were proud to announce in September a fantastic partnership with Toyota Motor Manufacturing Indiana (TMMI) and Vincennes University who are utilizing the STEM Premier platform to recruit for TMMI’s Advanced Manufacturing Technician (AMT) program; an education-to-work initiative billed as Indiana’s strongest supportive-manufacturing degree.

Indiana’s STEM Premier’s student base - which includes two hundred National Honor Society members - has a strong presence in the central part of the state. Approximately one-third of student members are located in and around the state’s capital of Indianapolis. However, the remainder of the student base is spread fairly equally; most notably in Ft. Wayne, South Bend, and the southeastern reaches of Chicago where the metropolis has crept across Indiana’s border. The top occupational interests of Indiana’s students include surgeons, mechanical engineers, and registered nurses.

ACT’s 2016 Condition of STEM Report on Indiana finds that the state’s student interest in STEM (52%) exceeds the national average (48%); a trend which is five years running. Of those students interested in the STEM fields, Medical Sciences (42%) and Engineering/Technology (24%) appear to be the most desirable areas.

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

Learning From The Pros: Taking it Slow

The regular season of the NCAA’s college football FBS division has drawn to a close, meaning that bowl season and the highly anticipated four-team playoff is just around the corner.

It’s no coincidence that the four teams in contention for the national championship - Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State, and Washington - all are led by coaches with reputations for being excellent recruiters. What most people - even avid fans - may not know is that there is more than one way to run a great recruiting program.

Today, we’re taking a look at University of Washington head coach Chris Petersen’s approach to building a competitive program.

Petersen’s resume speaks for itself. A two-time winner of the Paul “Bear” Bryant Award, he compiled an incredible 92-12 record at Boise State University and sent multiple players to the NFL. He took over a middling Washington football program in 2014, and has summarily placed the Huskies in serious national title contention for the first time since 1991.

When it comes to recruiting, Petersen takes a more unorthodox approach.

In an article for USA Today Sports, Petersen mused that "the whole recruiting thing is going down a really bad path. Recruiting's becoming such a bunch of hype and a bunch of stuff that makes it harder on everybody to do an honest, good job and find the best fit for both sides. And that's what it's all about."

Opposed to the flurry of scholarship offers which most programs push out to any prospect who seems promising, Petersen prefers a slower and more methodical approach. It’s even been described as “a snail’s pace.”

The philosophy behind the approach, which Petersen honed at Boise State - where landing top prospects is difficult - is that they don’t want to simply find good players. They want to find players who buy into their message. This means Washington’s coaches don’t just rely on watching highlight tapes. They also get to know their prospects and their personalities.

"It's easy to put the tape on and see a good player,” said Petersen to USA Today, “but the reason we did so well at Boise and had so many of those guys get drafted and be NFL players was because we got the right guys who bought into our message. We were able to develop them. Plus, we liked coaching them, they liked being coached by us."

In today’s professional hiring environment, not enough organizations place emphasis on methodically building a stable pipeline of talented prospects who are not only interested, but are also a good fit for the organization.

STEM Premier’s platform is built around the ability to build personal relationships with users, whether they are potential students, potential scholarship recipients, or potential colleagues. Our messaging system facilitates communication with both individuals and groups, and our ManageOpps™ feature allows organizations to post scholarship offers, events, and other opportunities for talent to become engaged with them.  

Now you know Chris Petersen’s recruiting strategy. What’s yours?

What History Can Teach Us About Job Searches

In the study of history, documents and artifacts which were produced during the period of time being studied are called “primary sources.”

Primary sources are considered crucial evidence for historians in regards to forming conclusions in their research. In fact, they are virtually mandatory. This is because primary sources shed light on exactly how people thought and lived. For example, when examining an 18th-century explorer’s journal, we know it’s not a matter of opinion where the explorer traveled, because he tells us himself. In short, primary sources eliminate guesswork and provide a clear picture of something that may have happened hundreds - or even thousands - of years ago.

When it comes to standing out in the crowd of aspiring professionals, too few job applicants - and employers as well - fail to recognize the benefit of utilizing “primary sources” as they dive headlong into the hiring process.  

Published articles, art portfolios, dance recital footage, websites created. All of these are potential primary sources which accurately document a job applicant’s talent and proficiency. As a student or job seeker, if you are not showing off your work, you may not be putting your best foot forward. As an employer or educational institution, if you are not reviewing - or even asking for - past work, you may not be ultimately choosing the best applicants for your organization.

But isn’t that what resumes are for?

Not anymore.  

Resumes are an excellent way of summarizing education, qualifications, and professional experience in an easily digestible format. But resumes will always be a matter of an applicant’s opinion of themselves. To borrow another term from historical research, they are “secondary sources.” It’s easy to embellish and exaggerate your qualifications on a resume. It’s much harder to do on camera or on a canvas.

Times have changed. The digital age and high-speed internet allows for the quick uploading of digital files which can then be easily disseminated, downloaded, and viewed. Those who are not taking advantage of this technology are failing to examine the primary sources. Remember, primary sources are mandatory for historians. Why shouldn’t they be for educational institutions and employers?

STEM Premier’s “Student Files” feature allows students to upload a wide variety of digital files to their profile. From PowerPoint presentations to PDFs, users can choose the documents and work which best shows off their talents. They can even choose files directly from their Dropbox or Google Drive accounts.

Talents and skills which are best captured as video can be uploaded with the “Videos” feature located near the top of every STEM Premier student’s profile.

Let’s keep revolutionizing the way we find talent. The world is too big for just resumes.

Looking Closer: Student Interest in Social Services

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 area of community and social services.

Designed to serve individuals in their educational, family, and healthcare environments, community and social services is a career area projected to grow 10 percent by 2024 and adding about 257,700 jobs, according the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This projected growth is faster than the average for all occupations. Most new positions in this occupational group will be in the healthcare and social assistance industry due to the country’s aging population. Similar job growth is occurring in the healthcare and healthcare support fields.

Millennials and their younger generational peers seemingly place more professional value on service and social responsibility, which is good news for educational institutions and organizations seeking talent in this field. To get a better idea of how STEM Premier can help tap into this talent, you can see a few samples below of specific social service careers that STEM Premier students are interested in:

  • Addiction counselors
  • Social workers
  • Health educators
  • Mental health counselors
  • Marriage and family therapists

STEM Premier students are even interested in religious vocations such as priests, rabbis, and ministers.

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

Best STEM High Schools Spotlight: #8 International Community School

In April, we talked about U.S. News and World Report’s recently released list of the best STEM high schools in the country.

We’re checking out some of the top schools which made the list. This week’s spotlight takes us out to the Pacific Northwest for a closer look at #8: International Community School in Kirkland, Washington.

Quick Facts:

  • Grade Levels: 6-12
  • Total Enrollment: 427
  • Students on STEM Premier?: YES

With a foreign-born student body of nearly 20%, International Community School (ICS) definitely lives up to its name. ICS is a “choice school” in its district, meaning that any student throughout the district can apply for acceptance.

ICS’ mission is to provide a “classical education with global applications.” Particular emphasis is placed on depth of understanding and interconnected learning, with classroom discussion and group projects serving as primary drivers of the educational experience.

The school’s curriculum focuses on six core content areas: international studies, humanities, world languages, the arts, science, and math. Most courses beginning with grade 10 are either honors or advanced placement.

As its name would imply, ICS offers a robust foreign language program. Students are required to take a foreign language as one of their core courses for the entirety of their six-year matriculation. This typically results in strong proficiency by the time students graduate.

The faculty of ICS are the envy of schools across the country. They boast an average of 18 years teaching experience among them, and 90% of them hold advanced degrees. As if that is not impressive enough, 45% are bilingual and 40% have international teaching experience. All faculty are required to participate in continuing learning in specific content areas.

In addition to their #8 Best STEM High School ranking, ICS is a Blue Ribbon School and was ranked the #3 school in Washington by U.S. in 2015.

Congratulations ICS! Go Phoenixes!