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Inquiry First.

Massachusetts earned an overall grade of B (score of 84.1) in the Quality Counts 2012 State Highlights Report -- placing the state second only to Maryland, which achieved a B+ (87.5).  The national average was C+ (76.9).

Key areas measured include adult outcomes, school accountability, school finance, and college readiness.  Get the State Highlights Report here.

The editors of Science News selected their top 25 science stories of 2012 based in part on which kept them up at night. Among the stories that made the cut: The evolution of bionic people from fantasy to near-reality; a study that calls into question the protective effects of "good" cholesterol; and June's once-in-a-lifetime journey of Venus across the surface of the sun.  Check out the whole list on... Read More

Congratulations to the semifinalists in the 2013 Intel Science Talent Search (Intel STS)!  The nations's most prestigious pre-college science competition, Intel STS is a program of Society for Science & the Public (SSP).

"Together with Intel, we congratulate these exceptional students, look forward to watching their future progress, and commend the mentors, teachers, schools, parents, and communities that have contributed to theis success," said SSP President Elizabeth Marincola.

Eleven Massachusetts students made the semifinals, rising to the top 300 from a crowd of 1,700 entrants.  They are:

Dhroova Aiylam (16)
Massachusetts Academy of Math & Science, Worcester, MA

Giridhar M. Anand (17)
Newton North High School, Newtonville, MA

Surya Narayanaraju Bhupatiraju (17)
Lexington High School, Lexington, MA

Aheli Chattopadhyay (17)
Foxborough High School, Foxborough, MA

... Read More

Thanks to longtime sponsor Genzyme, MSSEF is grateful to be one of the organizations profiled in Boston Business Journal's 2013 Giving Guide. All of the organizations profiled in the guide were sponsored by a company with a complementary mission.  Since 1999, Genzyme has provided the top prize awarded at MSSEF's High School Fair.  The award is now $10,000 plus a paid internship (valued at about $2500) to the winning student plus $15,000 to the student's teacher and school.  Thank you Genzyme!

Janice Kaliski took her experience as an outstanding volunteer judge for MSSEF back to her home state of New Hampshire to help establish the New Hampshire Science & Engineering Exposition (NHSEE).  NHSEE advances science education in NH through the New Hampshire Science and Engineering Exposition and by collaboration with businesses, with communities, and state colleges and universities.

Recently, MSSEF has lent NHSEE some expertise gleaned during its 64 year history, including sharing a list of project categories and providing guidance on judging criteria and score sheets.  The 2013 EXPO will be held at NH Technical Institute in Concord on Thursday March 14, 2013.  MSSEF's High School Fair is... Read More

Massachusetts undergraduates still have a few weeks to apply for a scholarship through the Massachusetts High Demand Scholarship Program. The MA Department of Higher Education will be accepting applications for various amounts of awards until January 15th, 2013. According to the department's Office of Student Financial Assistance, "The scholarship program supports training and degree completion in disciplines that are deemed to be critical shortage areas, as identified by the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development."

Eligible academic disciplines are heavy on STEM fields, such as computer science, mathematics, and engineering. Instructions for applying may be found here.

We already knew that the demand for STEM graduates was on the rise to meet the demands of a changing economy, but recently the White House put a big number on how critical the demand really is.

Last week, the Obama Administration designated the effort to increase the number of undergrads with degrees in STEM fields as a Cross-Agency Priority goal.  According to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, this means that the effort is, "one of a limited number of such articulated goals designed to focus cross-agency coordination and encourage sharing of best practices among agencies with complementary missions."

Initially, at least, the CAP goal to increase STEM graduates will focus on five "areas of opportunity":

  • improving STEM teaching and attracting students to STEM courses;
  • offering meaningful opportunities for students to engage in STEM research early... Read More

New construction breaks ground at the Atlantic Cape Community College in New Jersey. This $16 Million building that focuses on STEM facilities will be a sustainable venture into expanding the College’s supply of forward thinking curriculum. “It will be the home of the new Air Traffic Control (Terminal) Degree program, will have a vegetated “green” roof and astronomy viewing area, and is designed to receive Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) silver status”. Complete with a Recycled materials and energy saving construction costs, the new building will not only support our future STEM graduates but the environment for years to come!

See on Press of Atlantic City

Political jokes aside, Big Bird and his friends at PBS have a key role to play in the future of our youth and the educators responsible for teaching them. Although the continuous television programming offers kids of all ages a stable channel of fulfillment and education, the PBS Teachers STEM Resource Center will help those looking for some online content in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math fields. Everything from free webinars, videos, lesson plans to interactive content for grades pre-K to 12.

Acquiring the attention and interest of children is not easy these days with all that high tech gadgetry around but leave it to PBS to push the envelope in expanding the imagination of what the future may hold.

“PBS is well known for science series such as NOVA, Nature and Sid the Science Kid. PBS... Read More

The Office for Mathematics, Science, and Technology/Engineering at the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education posted the following notice to its Listserv:
"The release of the second and final public draft of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) is set for the first week in January 2013. In recognition of the hectic schedules in December and the approaching holidays, the NGSS staff wanted to ensure all educators, stakeholders and the public had appropriate access to the draft. We fully encourage all interested parties to review the draft as individuals or in groups and provide feedback to the Lead States and writers. Information about the Next Generation of Science Standards is available at"


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