Stephen Colbert of Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report had a very special guest on his October 30, 2013 show: teen scientist Jack Andraka.
Grand Prize Winner of the 2012 International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF), at the age of just 16 years old, Andraka developed a simple and inexpensive test for pancreatic cancer. He talks about that test and his work in general in this fun little interview.
Watch the interview here, or at the original web page.
It’s no secret, not breaking news, that school budgets are suffering. The result is a reduction of programs which can help students learn outside of the core curricula. In Mansfield, MA, an ‘outside’ organization called Mansfield Education Foundation was set up in 2010 to raise and find money to help support students in a variety of ways, including STEM related programs. Like many ancillary groups, it takes a multi-pronged approach to fundraising, like an upcoming Secret Shop (December 7), where businesses can sponsor tables, as well as working with businesses in general for other gifts and sponsorships. The result of this work thus far has been more than $30,000 in grants given to Mansfield schools. Read more about their efforts to support their schools.
Innovation for the classroom can happen outside of the classroom!
If you’re in the Boston area and free on November 21, 2013 from 3-6pm, there’s an event at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center which will kick off the annual conference of the History of Science Society. Presented in conjunction with the Boston University Center for Philosophy and History of Science, two panels will examine how the history of science can inform modern and innovative ways of getting citizens engaged with science. Titled “Science and Spectacle” and “Crowdsourcing: Science by the People?” the event will feature discussions covering both current engagement techniques, and how those stack up against historical examples of similar efforts. Expect a vigorous debate, as well!
Admission to this event itself is free. Details can be found on the History of Science Society’s site, and also on their Facebook event page.
The United States Department of Education is today releasing the results of a study of 2011 scores from the National Assessment of Education Progress exam. Summarized by the department’s National Center of Education Statistics, the study shows both good news for students across the United States, but also where our students stack up to peers around the world.
Massachusetts took the top ranking of results within the US but not overall, coming in behind some other nations. In an era of global competitiveness, it is notable to see both gains that have been had, and benchmarks still to reach.
Read more here
Dedham High School has been taking part in the Mass Math and Science Initiative (MMSI), and the students are enjoying great success, creating a model for around the state of Massachusetts.
In kicking off the school’s 5th year of participation in this program, Mass Insight Education director Joe Mahoney laid out the reality of how much better students are doing in STEM curricula once they reach college as a result of having taken part in this program. Read more in the Daily News Transcript.
Geek is Glam event at WPI
While we’re generally accustomed to seeing STEM stories through activities in schools, encouragement and support can come from many corners. A great new example of this is a partnership between the Girl Scouts of Central and Western Massachusetts and Worcester Polytechnic Institute. On Saturday, they are presenting a day of Geek is Glam events aimed at showing more girls what the possibilities are for STEM related careers. There will be workshops on a variety of topics including how to use every day objects to do science, and speakers from astrophysics, meteorology, NASA, and more.
Read more on MassLive
Daniel W. Youngstrom, a graduate of Marlborough High School and former Massachusetts State High School Science Fair exhibitor, has achieved a rare honor: As a grad student at Virginia Tech, Dan has received a Fulbright fellowship.
A Ph.D. candidate in biomedical and veterinary science at the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, Dan helps develop stem cell treatments for horses. Later this month, his Fulbright fellowship will take him to Riga, Latvia to pursue his work at the Cell Transplantation Center. “The Cell Transplantation Center is similarly developing cell-based therapies to treat a variety of conditions in humans,” he said. I am excited to apply my experience in veterinary research to its work, and the collaboration should prove to be mutually beneficial.”
Dan was involved in the Marlborough High School Science Fair in 2004 and 2005. He took his 2005 project to the Worcester Regional Science and Engineering Fair and then all the way the Massachusetts State Science and Engineering Fair. Yet another science fair success story!
Read more on Virginia Tech News
Over the years, several participants in the Massachusetts State Science & Engineering Fairs have truly made a lasting impression. Rick Housley is one of them. Now a sophomore at Stevens Institute of Technology, Rick graduated from Boston University Academy in 2012. A multi-award-winning exhibitor during his middle and high school years, Rick launched his science fair career with the development of a computer controlled robotic arm in 6th grade. Rick recalls that the complexity of his projects increased from year to year:
“As I matured my projects did too. They grew in complexity, depth, and real-world applicability. In 7th grade I made the robotic arm wireless. In 8th grade I developed a device capable of controlling electrical sockets via text message. In 9th grade I made my 8th grade project capable of controlling almost anything via text message, even those troublesome home appliances. In 10th grade I found my passion for biomedical devices and developed a wearable navigation system for blind users: a device that would announce to the user the location of ‘key objects’ within a room.”
Rick won the prestigious Frederick P. Fish Patent Award at the 2011 State High School Fair for his E-LERT device, which was also the basis of his first-place project in 2012′s state fair. At the beginning of his senior year, Rick told us, “I hope to make E-LERT a device that can really change lives.” He seems to be well on his way, having signed an assignment agreement with a medical device company for IP and technology related to the E-LERT project.
Rick recently gave a talk about his project on TEDx, a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. We can’t wait to see what else is in store for this amazing young man. Congratulations, Rick!
Empowering students to participate meaningfully in real-world research is what science fairs are all about. For any student, science fair participation has multi-fold benefits, but for some, like Emory Payne, the benefits pay off early and in a big way.
Emory and his science fair partner, Zohaib Moonis, both students at the Bancroft School in Worcester, MA, won “Team 1st Place” honors at the Massachusetts State Science & Engineering Fair at MIT in May for their project, “Effect of Ethanol on Beta Cell Development in Zebrafish: Linking Fetal Alcohol Syndrome to Type 1 Diabetes.” Two weeks later, the duo headed to the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Phoenix, picking up second place in the Addiction Science Awards from the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
For Emory, the fun didn’t stop in Phoenix. He received the opportunity to work at UMass Medical School this summer, studying a gene mutation in hereditary breast cancer. “Getting so much exposure in the labs and getting to do independent research has been a great experience,” he says. “Being at UMass has led to awesome opportunities.”
More on UMass Med Now
Since 1949, the Massachusetts State Science & Engineering Fair (MSSEF) has been promoting science literacy and advancing inquiry learning. MSSEF programs engage sustained student interest, increasing science learning while also developing students’ 21st century workplace skills, such as communication, teamwork and a strong work ethic.
It can be difficult to put into words the excitement that builds when a student’s idea becomes fully realized through a science project. We thought we’d let some of our students, teachers, and friends do the talking for us through a series of videos. Visit MSSEF’s YouTube channel, or start with The Anatomy of a Science Fair Project, below.