Interested In STEM? Social Media Paths Into Materials Science, STEM, 3D Printing

Social media provides a terrific way for students to keep up with their peers and academic concepts as they progress in their chosen degree and field. It also gives educators the means to engage at deeper levels with students, but also to simply see what others are doing and how that might impact teaching and mentoring.

There are so many groups, pages and messaging opportunities within Facebook, LinkedIn Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and informal groups within ad hoc group messaging or via a Slack Channel, the increasingly popular collaboration hub. There is no shortage of social outlets where you can advance your knowledge of your chosen career or interest area.

The TEAMM Network works to keep up with its member’s activities on social media. Many of the educators and institutions within the TEAMM Network are deeply involved with finding ways to share their expertise in STEM fields. Here are a few:

♦ Our sister organization, The National Resource Center for Materials Technology Education (MatEdU) is a NSF funded center housed at Edmonds Community College, recently created a new Facebook page curating the latest Materials Science innovations.

♦ TEAMM Network member, Dr. Ismail Fidan at Tennessee Technological University, started a LinkedIn Group called STEM ER[Educators & Researchers] that is filled with well over 36,000 members, many are quite active. “’STEM Educators & Researchers’ group links the research and education professionals in ‘Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics’ fields.”

♦ 500-plus educators connect on the 3D Printers in the Classroom Facebook group and it is worth a visit for creative ideas and to learn how others integrate 3D (and materials) into their classrooms. On a more international basis, 3D Printing Industry runs an active and popular Facebook page for keeping up with the latest news and tech reviews.

This short video showcases just a few recent posts highlighting how the sharing of information can be a good thing to keep you “in the know.” If you are actively running a social media group or page of some type on materials science, 3D printing, additive manufacturing, please email us with a link and some details.

Additional Resources: Here are three excellent blog posts on how educators are integrating social media (or not) into their classrooms.

  1. What Do Statistics Reveal About Educators and Social Media? (this post was highlighted in the short video in this post.)
  2. Social Media Classroom Use & Statistics
  3. Some Interesting Statistics & Facts on Social Media in Education You Must Know

International Day Of Women And Girls In Science

Last week marked the fourth annual International Day of Women and Girls in Science. In 2015, the United Nations established a resolution to acknowledge and celebrate the achievement of women in the sciences. The resolution also has the additional goal of encouraging the next generation of young women to pursue and solve new scientific challenges.

Screenshot of UNESCO Intl Day of Women Girls in STEM website
Screenshot of UNESCO Intl Day of Women Girls in STEM website

There are many worldwide and US-based initiatives designed to create gender equality in the sciences (as well as in all STEM fields). The United Nations estimates that “less than 30% of researchers worldwide are women.” The celebration is jointly coordinated between the UN-Women and UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) in collaboration with many institutional and civil organization partners.

Within the Additive Manufacturing and Materials Science disciplines, there are many female students entering these fields. In the US, many programs have been actively working to increase their female student enrollment in STEM degree programs. (I still need to confirm some examples, rewrite). We reached out to a couple of young women about their decisions to enter a STEM career.

At the University of Louisville, Kate Schneidau, a Mechanical Engineering Student and Engineering Co-op/Intern at RPC and AMCC, shared how she decided on a career in additive manufacturing:

“I grew up surrounded by STEM. I am a 3rd generation engineer and have known since I was young that this is the career path I wanted to take. My interest in additive manufacturing (AM) came after an opportunity arose for a cooperative intern position at the Rapid Prototyping Center (RPC) at the University of Louisville. Through my work there and now at the Additive Manufacturing Competency Center I have found a passion for AM. I am excited to work in collaboration with other engineers to engage in discussion on how to implement and expand the knowledge base of AM. As a senior engineering student looking at full-time positions I am only looking at positions that allow me to engage directly with AM in industry and expand upon my knowledge.”

Ashley Totin is a project engineer at America Makes and she shared a bit of her additive manufacturing and education journey with us.

“I always loved making and building things, but it wasn’t until my sophomore year in high school that “Engineering” was introduced to me. I loved science and math, and my high school teacher pulled me aside after class one day and asked if I ever looked into engineering. At that point in my life, I didn’t know much about engineering and thought that it was a dirty job that only men did. I discovered this was not the case, as there were a vast number of engineering fields. I decided to go into industrial and systems engineering and never looked back. I fell in love with manufacturing, the concept that everything we touch and see on a daily basis has been through a manufacturing facility. This then led me to discover additive manufacturing and America Makes, the national additive manufacturing innovation institute located in Youngstown, Ohio a short distance from the college I was attending. I instantly developed a passion towards this technology which led to teaching students and teachers about the technology, conducting a master’s thesis focused on AM and going on to have a career in AM. The possibilities for the younger generation are endless. These new technologies of the 4th Industrial Revolution provide a cleaner manufacturing environment and an exciting future.”

The fourth annual International Day of Women and Girls in Science is an important, but growing part of the overall effort taking place worldwide to close the gap around improving recruitment, retention, and promotion of women in STEM fields. Many TEAMM Collaboration Network partners support this significant work.

You can learn more at the UN Women and UNESCO pages, here and here.

Guitar Building For Veterans In Puget Sound

On Veterans Day weekend, and on the 100th anniversary of the end of World War One, the STEM Guitar Building Institute team came out to serve veterans in the Puget Sound region of Washington State at Edmonds Community College.

Here are a few of the photos from the veteran participants this year.

The STEM Guitar Building Institute does a remarkable job of training educators on how to use guitars as a way to teach science, technology, engineering, and math. In fact, the project has been in 47 States and three countries outside the USA: Canada, Colombia, and Australia. They are producing more than 1,700 guitar kits each year.

What Is The Guitar Building Institute?

According to the website:

“The National STEM Guitar Project, in partnership with NSF Advanced Technological Education (ATE) Centers with funding provided through a grant from The National Science Foundation hosts innovative Guitar Building Institutes throughout the US. Five-day institutes, combined with additional instructional activities comprising 80 hours, provide middle, high school, and postsecondary faculty training on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) applications as they relate to the guitar. The institutes present and teach participants hands-on, applied learning techniques to help engage students and spark excitement for learning STEM subject matter.”

 

Online Event for Boosting STEM Success for Women

The National Institute for Women in Trades, Technology & Sciences (IWITTS) is hosting an online seminar called the STEM Success for Women Telesummit this week April 24 through April 26 (and last week, April 17-19).

The conference features 15 top expert practitioners and educators who have successfully recruited and retained female and underserved students in STEM and CTE programs, sharing their step-by-step *recipes* for how they achieved this. The event is free and registration information is here.

Donna Milgram, executive director for IWITTS, reminds potential attendees, “Don’t worry if you can’t make all of the sessions. When you register for the Telesummit, you get access to the recordings and written transcripts of every session.”

While TEAMM focuses on Additive Manufacturing and Materials Science, many of the grants and projects fall under the broader STEM focus. The telesummit opening session “Recruitment: Infusing Joy into STEM” attracted our attention because Mark Evans, an Instructor and Program Chair of Emerging Technologies at Athens Technical College in Athens, Georgia uses 3D printing (among other methods/technology) in his Emerging Technology program.

“We do a lot with 3D modeling and 3D printing. In fact our intro course EMTX 1000: Tech-Driven Problem Solving relies heavily on the students learning Blendr and then making models they will then print on our 3D printers here at Athens Technical College. I worked closely with Carol Stanley, the college librarian to create a space called the “TecKnOWL0gy” NEST (specific OWL spelling intentional; see below for more on the Nest).”

You can read the full speaker schedule and STEM session abstracts here in PDF form.

The program bulletin describes Mark Evan’s session: “How He Boosted Female Enrollment in Emerging Technology from 6% to 82%. He went from only 1 female student to 15 in his Emerging Technology class the very next semester. In Fall 2016, Athens Tech awarded nearly half of the forty-three certificates in Video Game Design & Development to women. Learn how Mark used drones and Sphero robots along with other fun strategies to engage prospective students.”

According to the Athens Technical College website, the Nest is: a lab and development space with software and equipment supporting 3D printing, multimedia design, mobile and game development, video production, coding/programming, electronics, and other technology. The “Nest” provides current students, faculty, and staff a safe space to learn and explore these technologies. The purpose of it is to support and enhance learning by sparking students’ interest in emerging technologies. The name ties in “technology,” “know,” and “owl”—the college mascot. “Nest” gives students a safe space to learn and explore.

Don’t miss signing up for the second half of the STEM Success for Women Telesummit.

iMakerSpace Creates Innovation and Entrepreneurship Culture at Tennessee Tech University

Many colleges and universities work to create a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship (I&E) among students. Teaching either concept can be an esoteric pursuit, full of buzzwords and hard-to-implement ideas, but after making the decision to drive a new approach to I&E, Tennessee Tech University (TTU) immediately won a competition to be one of the first cohorts in the National Science Foundation Pathways to Innovation Program run by Epicenter and directed by Stanford University and VentureWell (formerly NCIIA).

The effort of this Pathways team led to the launch of the EagleWorks student competition and the iMakerSpace, as well as providing a model for many schools to follow – by combining a range of resources and access points. Under the leadership of both the Colleges of Engineering and Business, the TTU iMakerSpace serves as a central location on campus to provide training, service, partnership, research and evaluation in Innovation and Entrepreneurship to all disciplines.

“In today’s economy, it is imperative for all students to acquire an entrepreneurial mindset. College graduates need to enter the workforce skilled in assessing complex problems, conceiving innovative solutions and developing scalable solutions, whether they join a company or non-profit organization or start a new venture,” said Humera Fasihuddin, co-leader of the University Innovation Fellows program for Epicenter.

iMakerSpace supports NSF Research Experiences for Undergraduates

The space hosts an Internet of Things Platform for Engineering Education and Research known as IoT PEER. Thanks to the College of Engineering, via the iMakerSpace, the IoT testbed has become an area of collaborative innovation and interdisciplinary research.

If you have heard of the Lean Startup concept, then the Tenn Tech I-Corps is worth checking out. The Innovation Corps (I-Corps) Sites is a NSF-funded entity established at universities to nurture and support multiple, local teams as they transition their technology concepts into the marketplace.

Engineering students who have been working on projects under the NSF-funded AM-WATCH program, TTU NSF I-Corps Site,  and the Additive Manufacturing Studio are regular users of the iMakerSpace facility (housed within the TTU library).

The above mentioned programs are only a handful of the many ways that TTU is focusing on innovation and entrepreneurship for its students. Through partnerships, such as the Epicenter, the Colleges of Business and Engineering, and the Biz Foundry, a nonprofit focused on building entrepreneurs and innovators in the region; TTU is showing how to make STEM an essential and real-world practical part of education.