Thursday, January 31, 2013

Why the College Campus Experience Still Matters

reposted from LinkedIn:

Why the College Campus Experience Still Matters

Talk about the future of higher education often reminds me of The Jetsons, the 1960’s era cartoon that imagined a tomorrow of flying cars, homes hovering in space, robot maids, and holograms. College will certainly be different in 20 years, but my belief after spending a year and half researching a bookabout the future of higher education is that the Hollywood vision of college—four years on a residential campus—will still exist in thousands of places around the country.
Sure, online education and alternative ways of obtaining credentials will play a bigger role for students in the future, but there remains a critical role for colleges as we know them today.
Just look at the life of Michael Bloomberg. As described in a story earlier this week in The New York Times, Bloomberg was "a middling high school student from Medford, Mass., who had settled for C’s and had confined his ambitions to the math club" when he arrived at Johns Hopkins University in the early 1960s. By the time he left, “he was a social and political star” that set him on the path to eventually start the company that bears his name and made him a billionaire.
In The Times article, Bloomberg, now the mayor of New York City, talked about his love for Hopkins in very personal terms. “I just thought I’d died and gone to heaven,” he said. This week, Bloomberg donated $350 million to his alma mater, bringing the total amount of his donations to $1.1 billion.
Bloomberg’s story exemplifies the power of a residential college experience for 18-year-olds and what happens when an elite college like Hopkins takes a chance on an applicant. While I don’t believe that top colleges take chances on students like they once did because of their desire to constantly admit a better class, the transformative power of college still exists today for those able to find the right fit and afford ever increasing tuition prices.
Here’s what a campus can do better than the alternatives, at least for now:

A maturing experience

Let’s face it, most 18-year-old’s are not ready for the working world, and some are not even ready for a college campus. The four years of college turn adolescents into young adults and through the campus experience—living with different people, participating in activities and athletics, and being responsible for one’s self—gets them ready for life.

Access to mentors

Most of us who went to residential colleges can name a professor or two or other advisers who played a role in shaping our life and perhaps still do to this day. While mentors exist in online classes, the face-to-face interactions on residential campuses are invaluable to the maturing process. Of course, to save money, many colleges are replacing full-time faculty with adjuncts who often don’t have the time to make those personal connections.

Experiential learning

We know from research that students learn more and retain more when they apply what they hear in the classroom through experiences in real life. Not all colleges provide easy access to these experiences, but for those that do, students have the ability to volunteer in the community, work along scholars to do research, and study abroad.


We don't just remember the professors from college who had an impact on our life, but the friends who were there with us during those formative years. Those networks shape lives in so many ways, from romantic relationships to jobs to new companies (h/t to Michael Stoner for reminding me of this). Mark Zuckerberg might have dropped out of Harvard, but if you sawThe Social Network you might recall that Facebook would never have been if not for the Harvard residential experience while he was there.
Of course, this campus experience shouldn’t just be reserved for the children of Michael Bloomberg. But the fact of the matter is that at the country’s 200 colleges that are most difficult to get into, only 15 percent of entering students in 2010 came from families with incomes under $65,000. Nearly 70 percent came from families with incomes above $108,000. At this rate, we're on the road to creating a two-tiered higher-education system that will ensure we don't help foster the next generation of students like Michael Bloomberg.
Jeffrey Selingo is editor at large at The Chronicle of Higher Education and author of the forthcoming book, College (Un)Bound: The Future of Higher Education and What It Means for Students, scheduled for release on May 7.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Children's Science Center, STEM Media and Bloggers Event, 5 February 7 - 9 PM

Local media and STEM bloggers, this is the event for you!

Imagine Their Future: Children's Science Center Media...

Please join us to learn about our initiative to bring a Children's Science Center to Northern Virginia!

Tuesday, February 5, 7-9 PM in Reston, VA
Free - Register on link

Energy Game - Life-Sized Board Game

You’re Invited to Arlington’s Special Event: The Energy Journey Game 

Come be a player in Arlington’s interactive life-size board game!  Challenge yourself on everyday actions that have an energy impact as you journey down a path of decisions and chance!  The event is open to all ages and Spanish translation services will be available.

The Energy Journey Game will be held on Saturday, February 2, 2013 (snow date February 9th) at Washington-Lee High School, 1301 N Stafford Street.  Doors open at 1pm and the last game begins at 4pm.  Raffle prizes for recycled artwork will be held every half-hour! 

  1. Grab your energy wallet at the door and work to keep your balance in check!
  2. Journey through Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall as you make investments, take chances, and earn rewards.
  3. Stop off at our bonus blocks and collect clues to advance through the game.
  4. Compare yourself to your friends, neighbors, and other players.  How energy wise are you? 

Registration is not required, but your RSVP will help us better plan for the event.  Please let us know below if you plan to come!  Visit: .

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Beauty and Utility of Number Theory - February 5

WHAT: The Beauty and Utility of Number Theory

WHO: Presented by Robert Hummel, Ph.D., Potomac Institute for Policy Studies

ABOUT THE TOPIC: Our mathematics curriculum is largely based on arithmetic, algebra, geometry and calculus, which teach, among other things, the power of logical thinking and rigorous proofs, while providing tools that are useful in many applications of everyday life. But number theory is often left out of mathematical training and yet can provide the same exemplars of logical thinking and rigorous proofs. In recent decades, number theory has become important for cryptography and encryption of digital communications. Without assuming a background in higher mathematics, but only an elementary school understanding of arithmetic, this talk covers the concepts behind the use of public key encryption. The key underlying mathematical principles, involving modulus arithmetic, are comprehensible by "thinking deeply about simple things."

WHEN: Tuesday, February 5, 2013, 6:15 – 8:00 p.m.
Café Scientifique events are held on the first Tuesday of each month unless otherwise noted.

WHERE: The atrium of the National Science Foundation (NSF) Building, near Ballston Metro. Located at 4201 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, VA 22203 on the ground floor of the National Science Foundation (NSF) building. Parking is available under the NSF building or at Ballston Common Mall.

HOW: Register online now
Café Scientifique is free and open to the public. The presentation begins at 6:15 p.m. followed by Q&A. No science background required – only an interest! Registration requested. Please note: the Front Page restaurant will be closed on Feb. 5.

SUPPORT THIS CAFÉ: The Ballston Science and Technology Alliance, a nonprofit organization, is the sponsor of Café Scientifique Arlington. Since April 2006, the goal of Café Scientifique has been to make science more accessible and accountable by featuring speakers whose expertise spans the sciences and who can talk in plain English. Please go to and contribute. Help keep Café Scientifique open and free to all!

UPCOMING EVENTS: Tuesday, March 5, 2013 – Genetics at National Zoo presented by Robert Fleischer, PhD. Head & Research Scientist, Center for Conservation and Evolutionary Genetics

Monday, January 28, 2013

Let the Games Begin...NOVA SUMOBOTS website now open

The NoVa Sumobots website is now open and will be registering teams in 
Northern VA for the 2013 winter season.

This is open to all local residents 8-17 
years old.

For more information see
years theme is from the movie Highlander-- There Can Be Only One.
We are 
looking forward to seeing which of the bots will be the “King of the Ring”.

Good Luck to all as the Games begin!!

Ashburn Robotics

Sumobots 2013

Using QR Codes

Many of you have seen the QR Codes in the Classroom slides.  Here is a Master Gardeners Program showing how they can support informal learning.

Wed, Feb 27th: QR Codes in the Garden

Wednesday, February 27, 7 to 8:30 p.m.
Fairlington Community Center
3308 S. Stafford Street (off Quaker Lane), Arlington
Learn how to make QR (quick response) codes and use them on plant labels and signs for your garden. The workshop will also cover durable and cost-effective labeling materials and examples of placement and sizing.
The workshop is well suited for home gardeners and anyone working in community gardens, parks, schoolyards and other public spaces. Several exhibits on QR codes will be available from 6 to 7 p.m. Bring a smartphone if you would like to test out QR code scanning. QR Code Workshop 2013 Flyer (PDF). The event is free, but please register.
If you are having any problems registering,
you can alternatively email or call 703-228-6414.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Webinar Reminder: STEM Students, Interests and Jobs

STEM Students & STEM JobsJoin STEMconnector® and My College Options® on January 30, 2013 from 3:00pm-4:00pm ET for the official launch of our national report, Where are the STEM Students? What are their Career Interests? Where are the STEM Jobs? The webinar will be a live broadcast from our event launch hosted by the American Association of University Women (AAUW) in Washington, DC.   

The webinar will feature comments about the importance of the report from prominent STEM leaders including Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam and US Representative Kyrsten Sinema (AZ-9). The key findings coming from the report will also be presented by the STEMconnector® and My College Options® teams.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Career, Technical and Adult Education News from Arlington Public Schools

Arlington Public School's Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education puts out a monthly newsletter.  This article is featured in the January edition of the newsletter, CTAE Connect.   To see pictures and read more click here: January newsletter.

MakerBot Printers change how students learn about the Design Process

Technology Education classes at Swanson Middle School are using the MakerBot 3D printer to work on projects.  Students in all grades are using Autodesk Inventor to create solid parts on the Replicator.  Students in grades six through eight created snowflakes and learned about drawing and “mirroring” in CAD.  The students in eighth grade are using the  Inventor to help them design their CO2 dragsters.  Students draw their model in Inventor and then scale it down and print it on the 3D printer.  It is then used as a prototype for building the CO2 dragster in the woodworking lab. Jim DeMarino, the Technology Education teacher at Swanson, says “The 3D printer has taken Technology Education and teaching the Design Process to a different level.”


Arlington Education and Workforce Committee - January 30


Education and Workforce Committee

Arlington Chamber of Commerce
Education & Workforce Development Committee
Meeting Reminder
January 30, 2013,  4:00 PM at the Arlington Career Center

The next meeting of the Education & Workforce Development Committee is scheduled on Wednesday, January 30, 2013 from 4PM to 5PM in the Engineering / AutoCAD and Aviation Lab at the Arlington Career Center (Room 114).
For those not familiar, enter 816 S. Walter Reed Drive in your GPS or view this map:
Our agenda will include the following:

  • Presentations:
    • Terry Wolters, Apps4VA update
    • Dori Roberts, Capital Area Engineering / Engineering for Kids
    • Jim Egenrieder, NOVA STEM Education Outreach
  • Identifying Key Workforce Questions
  • Participants will review available Arlington Workforce data and identify the 3-5 most important or driving questions about understanding the workforce in Arlington.

We're still welcoming contributors/authors for the two blogs that complement the new Education and Workforce Portal:


Jim Egenrieder, Chair
703-599-3643 (cell)   or  GoogleVoice: 571-482-8298 or

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Thursday, January 17, 2013

First and Second Generation Immigrants

From the National Journal:

Disparity Among First- and Second-Generation Immigrants in STEM Degrees

Updated: January 15, 2013 | 4:24 p.m.
January 15, 2013 | 1:33 p.m.
Hispanic first-and-second generation immigrants lag behind in STEM degrees, compared to their Asian immigrant counterparts. AP Photo/LM Otero

Latino and Asian immigrants and their U.S.-born offspring are studying in areas deemed critical — science, technology, engineering, and mathematics — at different rates. 
A National Center for Education Statistics report, “New Americans in Postsecondary Education: A Profile of Immigrant and Second-Generation American Undergraduates,” shows the differences are stark.
About 25 percent of first- and second-generation Asian-Americans obtained degrees in the STEM fields, compared with 14 percent of their Latino counterparts, the report states.

These two major groups also differed from one another on key socioeconomic characteristics, including age, low-income status, parents’ education levels, and whether English was the primary language spoken at home, according to the study.

The report excluded foreign students, which generally go into the STEM fields at higher levels.

While people earning STEM degrees has been on the uptick in the past two decades, a more recent Census report shows that most of the degrees in computer, math, statistics, and engineering disciplines are still going to foreign-born residents, primarily to those from China and India.

Below are some interesting facts (many referring to the 2007-2008 academic year), on two demographics within the coalition of ascendants.
23%: The share of all undergraduates with at least one parent who is an immigrant.
25%: The percentage of Asian immigrants and their American-born offspring majoring in STEM fields.
14%: The percentage of Latino immigrants and those born here majoring in STEM fields.
25%: The share of first- and second-generation Latinos majoring in humanities, social sciences, and general studies.
21%: The percentage of first- and second-generation Asians majoring in humanities, social sciences, and general studies.
38%: The percentage of Latinos with at least one immigrant parent who are low-income, contrasted with 32% of Asian-Americans.
54%: The percentage of second-generation Latinos whose parents are without a college education, compared to 28% of their Asian counterparts.
18%: The percentage of Latino immigrants who say English is the primary language spoken at home, compared to 26% of Asian immigrants.
21.5%: The share of second-generation Latino undergrads under age 30 who took calculus in high school. (Those who complete advanced courses in high school are more likely to earn a bachelor’s degree, the study says.)
46%: The share of second-generation Asian-Americans who took calculus in high school.
52%: The percentage of Latino immigrants who ever took at least one remedial college course.
40%: The percentage of Asian immigrants who ever enrolled in at least one remedial college course.

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