Quiz Question: Who is "Amazing Grace"?
Wikipedia Responds: Grace Brewster Murray Hopper (December 9, 1906 – January 1, 1992), née Grace Brewster Murray, was an American computer scientist and United States Navy Rear Admiral. She was one of the first programmers of the Harvard Mark I computer in 1944, invented the first compiler for a computer programming language, and was one of those who popularized the idea of machine-independent programming languages which led to the development of COBOL, one of the first high-level programming languages. She is credited with popularizing the term "debugging" for fixing computer glitches (in one instance, removing a moth from a computer).
Computer Science Education Week didn't get much publicity or traction until Hadi and Ali Partovi started code.org three years ago. The Hour of Code event was developed to jump start computer education for ages 4 to 104. Three years later, Hour of Code is a global movement reaching tens of millions of students in 180+ countries. One-hour tutorials are available in over 40 languages, and no experience is needed. This year Hour of Code reached almost 200,000 students including many in Flagstaff!
Janice Mak, science educator at Explorer Middle School in Paradise Valley and a Code.org educator, worked with Mindy Bell, Flagstaff STEM Coordinator, to arrange for the December 3rd workshop. where all 579 students to attend the workshop. The course filled less than 24 hours after being posted!
Joe Gutierrez, Principal of W.F. Killip Elementary, and Killip STEM Coordinator Ted Komada, participated in the workshop along with many of their educators. A big thank you to Science Foundation Arizona who provided stipends for the Killip educators. The teachers, and Technology Integration Coach Sheryl Wells, ensured that all 579 Killip students participated in the Hour of Code last week!
Science Foundation Arizona has several technology initiatives including the Code Writers Education Initiative, and they are offering coding workshops using both Code.org and Google CS First programming. The workshops are free and SFAz provides stipends for educators to attend. You can learn more about initiatives to improve technology education in Arizona at both Science Foundation Arizona and the Code.org websites.
For the love of STEM: Students volunteer at middle school
Guest Blog by Theresa Bierer - Originally published November 13th, 2015 in NAU News
Engineering major Charlie Wilson spends time most weeks with Flagstaff middle school students, volunteering at the Sinagua Middle School Institute for Technology and Engineering (MIT-e), and is often joined by other members of NAU’s American Society of Civil Engineers.
Wilson and his peers offer more than scientific insights to students by bringing parts of the college experience into the classroom.
“The NAU students give us a better perspective of what college might be like and what we might be learning some day,” said eighth-grader Shea Wilson, who one day plans to pursue an engineering degree. “It is really interactive and I enjoy being hands on, building things and making a difference in society.”
Wilson’s classmate Dermot Louchart agreed that engineers do work that matters and said he enjoys working with the NAU students on building a city. “It is super interactive and engaging,” he said. Louchart’s part of the project focuses on money management and city government.
Because of its emphasis on science, technology, engineering and mathematics, Flagstaff earned the designation as a STEM City in 2012. The STEM City Center was initially funded by NAU, with several partners joining the effort in the last two years. For many people, the STEM City designation is a source of pride.
“NAU students bringing STEM into the classroom is important because my students sometimes think of science as an isolated topic but now they see college students applying it in their lives,” said Gretchen Downey, a teacher at Sinagua Middle School’s Institute for Technology and Engineering.
“As an engineering student, it feels really good to introduce these eighth graders to engineering and science,” said NAU senior Mariah Paz. “I wish I would have been exposed to similar principles in middle school.”
100,000 Strong in the Americas with
NAU's Global Science and Engineering Program
The energy sources that support modern society are changing and will continue to change; one NAU group is involved in studying how these sources vary between countries.
NAU's Global Science and Engineering Program (GSEP) is a key player in the 100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund. This international educational initiative of the Obama administration is aimed at enhancing Western hemispheric competitiveness, increasing prosperity, and providing study abroad opportunities to better prepare a globally aware and culturally competent workforce. GSEP received a grant last spring for their project, Geology and Policy: Energy Resources in the Americas, Now and in the Future. This project will begin a long-term institutional exchange between NAU and the Universidad Nacional de Tucumán (UNT) in Argentina in geology and energy policy research.
Four students from NAU and four from UNT were selected in a competitive process to represent their institutions in this exchange program. The NAU students are all double (or triple) majors in a science/engineering field and a language as required by the rigorous GSEP curriculum. The four NAU students and their majors are:
The students met for the first time at a welcome dinner on October 19th at NAU's International Pavilion. NAU provided the Argentinian contingent with a warm welcome from NAU leaders including President Rita Cheng, Interim Director of the Center for International Education Liz Grobsmith, CEFNS Dean Paul Jagodzinski, and SESES Director Paul Umhoefer.
In preparation for the Arizona field course, there were six virtual class meetings, discussions, and supplementary readings on US energy issues. The project is using a novel approach - a mixed method of virtual classes preceding the field courses that provides a theme and grounds this exchange program. Professors Michael Ort and Erik Nielsen from NAU, and Roberto Lencina from UNT, provide leadership and ideas for student research opportunities. Michael and Roberto have been colleagues since 1987, when Michael did fieldwork in Argentina. Roberto specializes in economic geology and is also a skilled mediator in energy and resource issues. Erik brings a strong background in natural resources, economics, and public policy to this project.
During the field course from October 19th - 28th, the project participants visited natural gas, coal, and uranium mines, plus wind, hydroelectric, combined gas/steam, and solar power plants. The students and faculty explored natural resources in the southwest from source to production, examining the many social, political, and scientific dimensions of each energy source.
In the spring, the Argentine faculty and students will lead the virtual classes in preparation for the NAU group's visit to northern Argentina from May 15th - 27th. The Argentine field course will explore the geology and natural resource energy production sites in northern Argentina including the salt flats pictured below.
This field course exchange begins a long-term bilateral exchange for NAU and UNT. The NAU students will be the first to participate in the exchange, completing their year abroad in Tucumán, Argentina, and continuing with the 100K Strong project theme for their internship research. Melissa Armstrong, Director of Interdisciplinary Global Programs at NAU, and the project leader, anticipates that UNT will become the natural pathway for the Geology/Spanish and Environmental Sciences/Spanish students in the Global Science and Engineering Program at NAU.
For More Information:
Link to the GSEP homepage to learn more about Going Global at NAU.
Link to the NAU News article on the 100,000 Strong in the Americas award.
Flagstaff STEM Coordinator