JKCF in the News: 2015 STEM Grants in Fierce CIO

STEM education efforts get triple play of good news

JKCF_Web_Icon_BlackBy David Weldon
March 26, 2015

Fierce CIO

Good things do indeed happen in threes when it comes to efforts to promote careers in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. This week saw reports of three major developments around STEM–from education grants, to White House support, to growing enrollments at college campuses.

First up was word today that the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation has awarded $1.6 million in STEM education grants to help educate and train more young adults to enter careers in STEM-related disciplines.

In announcing the grants, the foundation noted “We are squandering the talents of millions of students who would pursue successful and influential careers in STEM fields if only they had educational opportunities that prepared them early on,” said Foundation Executive Director Harold O. Levy. “The Cooke Foundation is tackling this monumental waste by supporting organizations and programs that will put low-income middle and high school students on the path to studying STEM in college and beyond.”

Facing competition from disruptors like Apple, PayPal and Alibaba, banks are racing to demonstrate that they can provide customers with hi-tech, high-touch financial services. Yet one of the most critical elements to enabling any transaction, authentication, often still relies on paper-based or in-person processes that erase the efficiency gains of online and mobile services.

The Foundation provided a breakdown of program recipients, which included the New York Academy of Sciences for a Global STEM Alliance Junior Academy; the Duke University Talent Identification Program; the Art of Problem Solving program in New York; the College of William and Mary Camp Launch program; the Purdue University Gifted Education Research Institute; and the New York Univesity Courant Center for Mathematical Support. All of these programs provide educators and mentors to middle school and high school aged students to help them develop interest in STEM-related jobs.

Along the same lines, the White House this week announced that it “had secured scores of commitments from a variety of organizations to promote STEM education, including more than $240 million in funding for tech training programs around the country,” noted an article at CIO.

STEM education, and particularly diversity in STEM fields, was a major theme at this year’s White House science fair, held Monday for what is now the fifth straight year.

“We don’t want to just increase the number of American students in STEM. We want to make sure everybody is involved,” President Barrack Obama was reported as saying at the event. “We get the most out of all our nation’s talent–and that means reaching out to boys and girls, men and women of all races and all backgrounds. Science is for all of us. And we want our classrooms and labs and workplaces and media to reflect that.”

Finally, there is growing interest in STEM fields at America’s colleges and universities, with the proof being a new building boom on STEM-related facilities.

As reported by ITWorld, “Colleges and universities across the country have been building new facilities to keep up with expanding STEM … programs. Cornell University, University of California at Merced, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and George Washington University in Wshington, DC are just a few of the many schools with slick new facilities for computer science and engineering.”

The article also noted that colleges and universities are rethinking how they construct STEM-related facilities, with a focus on better engaging students.

“They’re all looking to create a welcoming space for students and faculty to congregate, study and learn. Creating a destination place on campus is a huge theme,” architect Leila Kamal, or EYP Architecture & Engineering was quoted as saying.

For more
– check out the article at CIO
– check out the article at ITWorld
– check out the release from the Cooke Foundation