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Inquiry First.

In 65 countries, 15-year-old girls performed better than their male peers on a science test given by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.  In the United States, however, boys outperformed girls.  What's the disconnect in America?  Researchers think that stereotypes may have something to do with it.

“We see that very early in childhood — around age 4 — gender roles in occupations appear to be formed,” said Christianne Corbett, co-author of the 2010 report, Why So Few? Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. “Women are less likely to go into science careers, although they are clearly capable of succeeding.” Countries like Asia and the Middle East, where a higher percentage of women go into the sciences, don't seem to have the same cultural forces at play.

Read on nytimes.com

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Two Massachusetts high school students made it into the finals of the Intel Science Talent Search 2013!  A program of Society for Science & the Public, the talent search will culminate in an awards ceremony in March, where the 40 finalists -- chosen from a field of more than 1,700 entrants -- will compete for $63,000 in awards.  The top winner will receive $100,000 from the Intel Foundation.

Lexington High School student Surya Bhupatiraju's project, "On the Complexity of the Marginal Satisfiability Problem," propelled him to the finals of this year's Intel Science Talent Search.  Surya is no newcomer to science fair success. Along with his project partner, Hao Shen, he won a team first place at last year's Massachusetts State High School Science &... Read More

From The Foundation Center's Philanthropy News Digest:

Created by the Lemelson-MIT Program, the InvenTeam initiative provides opportunities for high school students to cultivate their creativity, curiosity, and problem-solving abilities and apply lessons from science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) subjects to invent technological solutions to real-world problems.

InvenTeams comprised of high school students, teachers, and mentors receive grants of up to $10,000 to invent technological solutions to a problem of their choice. Projects can range from assistive devices to environmental technologies and consumer goods. Applicants are encouraged to consider the needs of the world's poorest people (those earning $2 or less a day) when brainstorming ideas.

STEM educators at high schools and nonprofit educational organizations who have not received an InvenTeam grant within the past three years are eligible to apply. Funds may be allocated for project-related research, materials, and learning... Read More

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

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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

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