STEM Premier iShine Scholarship Spotlight: Julia Holt

Several times each year, we award the STEM Premier iShine Scholarship to one student who is using their profile to best showcase themselves and shine! We also pose a question for each student applicant to answer to the best of their ability.

This time, we asked applicants to submit a short video telling us why they deserve to win the iShine Scholarship and how the scholarship assistance will help them pursue their dreams.

As always, we had many excellent submissions, and we are proud STEM Premier’s newest iShine Scholar: Julia Holt from Orlando, Florida!

Julia is a highly-involved senior at Timber Creek High School passionate about the field of astronomy. She has been accepted by the University of Central Florida, where she intends to enroll next fall. Check out her video entry below:

We caught up with Julia so we could get to know her a little better. Here’s what she had to say:

Something you wouldn't know about me is... that I'm VERY good at Just Dance (the Wii and Xbox game). My high scores have yet to be broken, and I have remained undefeated for almost 4 years.

For fun, I like to…. Relax. I'm a big fan of putting fun puzzles together. I enjoy watching movies, some of my favorites include Harry Potter, Star Wars, and Jurassic Park. And I really, really love to hike because I am so passionate about nature and the environment. These activities relieve a lot of my stress.

If I could meet anyone in the world, past or present, I would want to meet… Eleanor Roosevelt. My dad told me all the time when I was growing up "no one can make you feel inferior without your own consent" which is a famous quote by Eleanor Roosevelt. I would want to meet her and thank her for those words of wisdom, they have helped me on numerous occasions. I should probably also thank my dad!

The best teachers I’ve ever had were…. Mrs. Frandsen and Ms. Hubble. These two teachers opened my eyes to my personal potential. It is because of them that I have the courage to dream my dreams so big. I will forever be thankful for them and the ways in which they've helped me, whether they knew it or not.

The last app I downloaded on my phone was…. Word Cookies. It's sounds random, but it's actually very fun, and challenging. You have to make words out of letter-shaped cookies. I like to tell myself it's an educational app. :)

After high school, my next step is... to go to the University of Central Florida! I have been accepted and I plan to pursue a degree in Physics!

In ten years, I see myself…. earning my PhD in Physics and becoming an official Astronomer somewhere in Colorado (because I love the mountains).

My greatest dream is... to be alive to see plants on Mars.

The thing I like about STEM Premier most is... the way it "rates" your test scores. It's hard to find an exact answer to "what is a good score on the ACT/SAT?". The dashboard scales/color coats the scores (red/yellow/green), and it is actually very helpful in determining whether or not retaking the ACT or SAT is the best option, at least for me. :)

As the winner of the STEM Premier iShine Scholarship, Julia will receive $1000 as well as the STEM Premier iShine Scholarship Digital Badge. Congratulations Julia!

A Professional HUD: STEM Premier's Student Dashboard

If you’re an aircraft pilot, you are familiar with an HUD.

For everyone else, the acronym may be unfamiliar, but the concept shouldn’t be. An HUD, or Heads-Up Display, is an apparatus which presents important data to the user of a certain technology - a fighter jet, for example - without requiring them to take their eyes off of what’s in front of them.

When you’re flying at 800 miles per hour, you can imagine why that would be useful!

STEM Premier's Student Dashboard works in the same way.

Both at the secondary and collegiate level, students have a lot going on in their lives. They have tests to study for, homework to do, and projects to complete. And that just describes their academic lives! They also want to make time for friends, family, sports, hobbies, and other activities.

Simply put, students don’t have a lot of time to think about their academic and professional futures. Perhaps that’s why big state schools with strong brand-awareness never fail to attract their fair share of applicants. It could also explain why certain high-prestige professions, such as law and healthcare, dominate student interest surveys (on the 2015 CIRP Freshman Survey, an astounding 27.4% of incoming college freshman identified themselves as either pre-law or pre-med).

STEM Premier’s Student Dashboard is tailor-designed for each student on the STEM Premier platform. Using data from the user’s personal profile, the dashboard compiles and aggregates vital information for each student as they navigate their hectic lives at 800 mph - just like an HUD system!

When a student logs onto STEM Premier, their Dashboard is the first thing they see. Here’s what they’ll find:

They’ll find how their standardized test scores - such as their ACT score -  stack up against other users, which may prompt them to try for a higher score and broaden their opportunities.

They’ll find the “Explore Organizations” module, which will connect them with schools and businesses who match up well with their educational and career interests.

They’ll find financial aid opportunities powered by Redkite, which matches students to certain scholarship opportunities based on their STEM Premier profile information.  

In other words, STEM Premier students will have information placed at their fingertips which used to have taken hours of research to compile. That’s the whole point of an HUD. At STEM Premier, we don’t want students to have to take their eyes off the windshield to figure out where they’re going.

We want to help them know exactly where they’re headed. While still going full-throttle.

 

Getting Down to Business: National FBLA-PBL Week

How’s this for timing?

Future Business Leaders of America is celebrating their National FBLA Week this week (February 5-11). The week is designed to promote awareness of the organization and its programs amongst communities across the country.  

It’s also a perfect opportunity to announce STEM Premier’s partnership with this incredible organization. We visited FBLA’s 2016 National Leadership Conference this past July, and were amazed by the amazing students and staff we met there.

That makes us all the more proud to officially offer FBLA members the STEM Premier FBLA Membership Digital Badge! Students affiliated with FBLA can join STEM Premier and request their badge to include on their STEM Premier profile.

While the badge is cool, of course, even cooler is how STEM Premier will enhance these students’ educational and professional endeavors by allowing them to showcase their skills, talents, and accomplishments on their profile. From there, they can share their profile, link up with mentors, and take their networking to the next level!

Coinciding with National Career and Technical Education (CTE) Month, FBLA Week encourages members to participate in a broad range of awareness activities, including sharing their FBLA stories in-person and via social media and getting involved with community service.

Students are even inspired to get involved with their local political leadership by requesting them to sign a formal proclamation officially recognizing National FBLA-PBL Week in their towns, cities, and communities.

We wish the best for all members of FBLA, and we hope they take advantage of everything both FBLA and STEM Premier have to offer.

Learning From The Pros: Talent Evaluation Services

It’s no secret that college football has become big business. The stakes have grown higher. The stages and television audiences have grown larger. As a result, programs have been devoting larger amounts of resources into their operations in a relentless pursuit of a coveted national title.

As is true for any organization, the best way for a team to get on top - and stay on top - is to attract the best talent.

And to attract the best talent, you have to recruit the best talent. That’s where college coaches need some help. Some estimates have upwards of one million high school football players in the country. Given the sheer number of athletes, it is an impossible task to evaluate each one, and it is simply not practical to hire enough staff to keep tabs on them all.

That’s where talent evaluation and recruiting services come in. Since schools don’t have enough time and resources to scout an entire nation worth of prospects, they rely on services and experts to point the in the right direction.

Virtually unheard of in 1970’s and 80’s, these services have become so popular and relied upon as to become an industry in themselves. Rivals and Scout are now household terms. Tom Lemming’s Prep Football Report - an evaluation of the top 1200 prep football prospects each year - has come to be widely regarded as the “Bible of college football recruiting.”

The value of these services for college football programs lay in the countless hours of time saved and prospects reached. Before, college football coaches were forced to restrict their talent searches to the immediate surrounding area. Now, they can learn about prospect across the entire country and decide for themselves which ones are worth pursuing before they send coaches to evaluate them further.

This is exactly the same value proposition STEM Premier makes for schools, businesses, and organizations.

Using the same “star rating” system made popular by recruiting services like Rivals, STEM Premier comprehensively evaluates the credentials and accomplishments of high school students on our platform to provide educational institutions and other organizations with a game to develop their recruiting and talent pipeline strategy.

In fact, we will soon be releasing the 2017 edition of the annual STEM Premier Top 100 - the one hundred highest rated high school students in the country. Based on over thirty metrics in each student's profile, the Top 100 is a can't miss "who's who" of America's young talent. 

Sometimes teams aren't always simply looking for the best overall players. Sometimes they have specific position needs - at quarterback, for instance. Schools and organizations are the same way. STEM Premier is ready to help you address these needs as well. Organizations can use the advanced search features to find talent based on location, major, career interests, and much more. They can then follow these students in order to stay in touch and build a relationship - all from the comfort of their corporate office!

The best college football programs trust and rely on these services. Why shouldn’t your organization?

After all, there are millions of potential students and employees out there. You could probably use some help finding the best.

 

STEM Premier Student Spotlight: Akporesiri Omene

STEM Premier is proud to partner with professional and educational national organizations across the country. These partnerships enhance the effectiveness of our engagement with students in a mutually beneficial way. As a result, students are better able to leverage experience gained from their organization involvement and showcase themselves more effectively to colleges and industries. 

This week, we took the time to interview Akporesiri Omene from Chicago, Illinois. Akporesiri is a student at the Illinois Institute of Technology majoring in civil engineering. While in high school, he was a highly-involved member of ACE Mentor Program of America - a proud partner of ours! ACE Mentor Program fosters and mentors students who wish to pursue careers in architecture, construction, and engineering. With STEM Premier, Akporesiri can stay connected with ACE Mentor Program; even after his participation in high school. 

We wanted to learn more from Akporesiri about his involvement with ACE and STEM Premier, so we checked in to ask him a few questions. Read what he had to say below.

Why did you join ACE?

I joined ACE because I was unsure if I wanted to go into engineering or another field. I wanted to make sure that I wanted to get into the career path that was best for me. Also, I was attracted to the interactivity of the program and the fact that it has a hands-on approach to learning architecture and engineering.

What do like most about being part of ACE?

The companies that we worked with proved to be a huge networking resource. It’s not everyday that you get to work alongside professionals in your desired career path.

This mentorship had a twofold impact. The first was that we had the opportunity to gain insider knowledge about the industry so that we could get a feel of what we wanted to do. The second was that it provided an opportunity to look to our mentors for job opportunities and further mentoring.

As a bonus, I was able to get into the design-build program that ACE offers every year. I’m glad that I was a part of it, because my year happened to produce the largest and most successful design-build project in the organization’s history.

How has STEM Premier enhanced your involvement with ACE?

STEM Premier has allowed me to continue being a part of ACE. Although I am not an active member anymore, it is still nice to be a part of a community of like-minded, ambitious, and goal-oriented students and mentors. STEM Premier has made it easier for me to keep in contact with my previous mentors and contribute to the ACE Mentor community.


We were excited to hear how important of a role ACE and STEM Premier have played in Akporesiri’s professional endeavors. However, we also wanted Akporesiri to be able to show off his personality a bit, so here’s more about him in his own words!

Something you wouldn't know about me is…that I enjoy listening to music and walking in the drenching rain, especially after a long, stressful day. It’s very tranquil and surreal.

For fun, I like to….I listen to J-Pop and J-Rock (Japanese Pop and Rock music).

If I could meet anyone in the world, past or present, I would want to meetformer President Barack Obama and his family. It would be clutch to hang and chill with a Chicago native and learn about what it’s like to be President, and about life in general.

The best teacher I’ve ever had was/is….Mr. Craig. He was my high school math teacher. I appreciated how he took complicated math concepts and broke it down so that I could understand. He was also just a cool and chill guy in general.
 

The last app I downloaded on my phone was….Instagram. I’m getting more into it, to be honest.

After high school, my next step isto gain connections, skills, and experience both inside and outside of my university curriculum in order to become one of the best engineers out there.

In ten years, I see myself….travelling the world and performing engineering work around the globe wherever the need is the greatest.

My greatest dream isto revolutionize the infrastructure of Chicago, the United States, and eventually the world.

The thing I like about STEM Premier most iswell, what’s there NOT to love?

Thanks for catching up with us Akporesiri! We wish you the best as you pursue your studies and your dreams of revolutionizing the world. Keep up the great work!

Our Latest Dashboard Scholarship Winner Announced

We are proud to award multiple STEM Premier scholarships each year. We understand the critical importance of financial aid, and seek to help our students as they pursue their academic and professional dreams. 

The STEM Premier Dashboard Scholarship - awarded quarterly - asks students to provide their best answer to a certain question. The student with the most impressive, unique, or intriguing answer is selected as the winner. 

This time around, we asked applicants to submit their best answer to the following question: What kind of technology do you think will make the biggest impact in the next decade and why?

We had many fantastic applicants, and we are pleased to announce the winner...drumroll please…

Vy Le from Wichita, Kansas!

Vy is a sophomore at Northeast Magnet High School in Wichita interested in the field of medicine. Her college interests include Stanford, Harvard, the University of California-San Francisco, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, and the University of Kansas.    

We caught up with Vy for a little Q & A so we could get to know her a little better. Here’s what she had to say:                                                                    

1. Something you wouldn't know about me is...that I love to listen to music (preferably classical/edm/kpop), but I don't have any specific artist/band as a favorite!

2. For fun, I like to...watch documentaries, cooking, or house design videos! I enjoy learning about history, watching people make food, or seeing someone design a house. Also, I love to learn new songs on the violin, whether it be modern music or classical, by just listening to the song!

3. If I could meet anyone in the world, I'd want to meet...Shinya Yamanaka! He was awarded the Nobel Prize in 2012 for discovering that any mature cell has the genetic information to become a stem cell. This means a skin cell could be reprogrammed into a stem cell, which could potentially become any cell in the organism. This is super important (and cool) because any damaged organ or limb can be regrown with the same genetic information as the rest of the body!

4. The best teacher I've ever had was...I don't think I could just say one teacher. All of my teachers have been amazing and have done their job wonderfully! I've come to realize that teachers work super hard to educate students, and I appreciate all of my teachers' effort and hard work to succeed in doing so!

5. The last app I downloaded on my phone was..."Pocket Anatomy"! My sister had told me about it and I was quite interested because I figured it would be very helpful for me since I take a "human body systems" class! I'm still exploring the app, but I love how it lets you choose how much is on the body, like which layer you want to see (muscles, nerves, bone, etc).

6. After high school, my next step is...to go to a university! I don't know exactly what I intend to be at this time, but I know I want to help people medically, and so I will most likely major in something like biology!

7. In ten years, I see myself...graduating medical school with a M.D, starting my training to get a Ph.D!

8. My greatest dream is...for medical assistance to be available to everyone who needs it. I believe everyone should be able to get medical help if they need it. Money seems to be the biggest issue, but with the help of many charities and volunteers, we can all move a step further into making this dream a reality!

9. The thing I like the most about STEM Premier is...that it helps students organize everything in one account! Students can easily put down all the information they want colleges to know, such as experiences, achievements, and test scores. They can also share their profile with anyone, so it is way more efficient way than having to try and retype every achievement each time they might need to showcase their work! I guess you could say its organization skills are on point! :)

As part of her scholarship, Vy will also be awarded the exclusive STEM Premier Dashboard Scholarship Digital Badge. 

Congratulations Vy! We have no doubt that you will make a big difference in medicine one day. Maybe even win your own Nobel Peace Prize! 

Looking Closer: Student Interest in Construction

In recent posts, we shed some light on some of the career interests of STEM Premier student members. Now we’re delving deeper into select industries to see exactly what careers students have on their radar. Today, we’re looking at the construction industry.

Construction is an area primed to grow quickly over the next decade. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that employment in construction-related occupations will grow ten percent between 2014 and 2024, which outpaces the average growth for all occupations. In terms of jobs, this will mean an increase of approximately 700,000 from 6.5 million to 7.2 million.

It will be interesting to keep an eye on the policies of Donald Trump’s incoming administration in regards to infrastructure development. The President-Elect has previously announced plans to invest $1 trillion in infrastructure development; a package which would further increase the need for additional construction jobs. This is excellent news for trade and technical schools who offer educational programming poised to meet this new demand. 

It also makes organizations such as ACE Mentor Program - which seeks to connect high school students with professionals in the architecture, construction, and engineering fields - all the more vital. 

To get a better idea of some of the construction occupations which STEM Premier students are interested, here is a small sample:

  • Electricians
  • Carpenters
  • Construction Equipment Operators
  • HAZMAT Removal Specialists
  • Plumbers

Is your school or organization looking for these kinds of students? If so, join STEM Premier today and start connecting.

ACT Releases Condition of STEM 2016 Report

A new year brings with it new resolutions, new opportunities, and new challenges.

It also brings new insights.

Recently, our friends at ACT released the 2016 edition of their National Condition of STEM Report.

The report compiles data from the nationwide administration of the ACT® test to the high school graduating class of 2016 - taken by a record 64% of students - along with it’s accompanying ACT Interest Inventory, which measures each ACT test taker’s interest in different educational and occupational areas.

The Interest Inventory provides an opportunity for ACT to quantify the expressed interests of students (those which the students specifically identify themselves) in these areas as well as measured interests (based on answers to the Inventory’s questions). The results allow ACT to determine levels of interest in STEM fields as well as to compare the college readiness levels between these subsets of students.

So what did ACT find out in their Condition of STEM 2016 Report? Here are some of the highlights:

  • Students with an interest in STEM continue to show higher levels of college readiness than ACT-tested students as a whole.
  • Approximately half (48%) of ACT-tested U.S. graduates in the class of 2016 have expressed interest in STEM majors and careers. This level of interest has remained steady over the past five years.
  • Under-served learners have a high interest in STEM, but ACT STEM benchmark attainment lags far behind their peers.

Perhaps one of the most concerning stats from this year’s report is that only 1,258 students (less than 1% of the 2.1 million tested) had both an expressed and measured interest in becoming a math or science teacher. The lack of students interested in teaching STEM subjects to younger generations presents an alarming paradox for the future of STEM education in the U.S., and makes initiatives such as the 100Kin10 Network necessary.

Like we said, new years always bring new challenges. But STEM Premier and ACT are at the ready to transform these challenges into opportunities for today’s students and tomorrow’s professionals.

Read ACT’s National Condition of STEM 2016 Report.

STEM Premier Spotlight: Indiana

Quick Facts:

  • STEM Premier Secondary-Level Students: 1,600+
  • Top College Interests: Purdue University, Indiana University, Ball State University, Butler University, University of Notre Dame
  • Top Intended Majors: Computer Science, Pre-Medicine, Biology, Nursing

This week’s STEM Premier spotlight brings us to the Hoosier State, home of the world-famous Indianapolis 500 automobile race. Speaking of automobiles, we were proud to announce in September a fantastic partnership with Toyota Motor Manufacturing Indiana (TMMI) and Vincennes University who are utilizing the STEM Premier platform to recruit for TMMI’s Advanced Manufacturing Technician (AMT) program; an education-to-work initiative billed as Indiana’s strongest supportive-manufacturing degree.

Indiana’s STEM Premier’s student base - which includes two hundred National Honor Society members - has a strong presence in the central part of the state. Approximately one-third of student members are located in and around the state’s capital of Indianapolis. However, the remainder of the student base is spread fairly equally; most notably in Ft. Wayne, South Bend, and the southeastern reaches of Chicago where the metropolis has crept across Indiana’s border. The top occupational interests of Indiana’s students include surgeons, mechanical engineers, and registered nurses.

ACT’s 2016 Condition of STEM Report on Indiana finds that the state’s student interest in STEM (52%) exceeds the national average (48%); a trend which is five years running. Of those students interested in the STEM fields, Medical Sciences (42%) and Engineering/Technology (24%) appear to be the most desirable areas.

Learn more about STEM in Indiana by checking out ACT's full report.

Best STEM High Schools Spotlight: #10 Troy High School

In April, we talked about U.S. News and World Report’s recently released list of the best STEM high schools in the country.

We’re checking out some of the top schools which made the list. We’re rounding out the top 10 in this week’s spotlight with #10 on the list: Troy High School in Fullerton, CA.

Quick Facts:

  • Grade Levels: 9-12
  • Total Enrollment: 2720
  • Students on STEM Premier?: YES

In terms of enrollment, Troy High School is the largest school in the top 10 of the U.S. News and World Report’s best STEM high schools. A comprehensive four-year high school and part of the Fullerton Joint Union High School District, Troy High is located near California State University-Fullerton, offering unique educational opportunities for Troy’s students.

Troy High’s high ranking in the best STEM schools is due to its Troy Tech Specialized Secondary Magnet Program in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Troy Tech is a nationally acclaimed magnet program established in 1986 and 61% of Troy High’s students participate.

The program offers an advanced curriculum in technology with career strands focusing on computer science, engineering, cyber defense, media, business, and leadership. Seniors also participate in a senior internship provides a year-long hands-on experience in business, industry, academia, and local, state and national government with students working under professional mentors. Troy Tech boasts a mentor database of over 1,000 professional mentors who work with students one-on-one!

We tip our cap to Troy High School, and congratulate them on their well-deserved recognition. Go Warriors!

Learning From The Pros: Taking it Slow

The regular season of the NCAA’s college football FBS division has drawn to a close, meaning that bowl season and the highly anticipated four-team playoff is just around the corner.

It’s no coincidence that the four teams in contention for the national championship - Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State, and Washington - all are led by coaches with reputations for being excellent recruiters. What most people - even avid fans - may not know is that there is more than one way to run a great recruiting program.

Today, we’re taking a look at University of Washington head coach Chris Petersen’s approach to building a competitive program.

Petersen’s resume speaks for itself. A two-time winner of the Paul “Bear” Bryant Award, he compiled an incredible 92-12 record at Boise State University and sent multiple players to the NFL. He took over a middling Washington football program in 2014, and has summarily placed the Huskies in serious national title contention for the first time since 1991.

When it comes to recruiting, Petersen takes a more unorthodox approach.

In an article for USA Today Sports, Petersen mused that "the whole recruiting thing is going down a really bad path. Recruiting's becoming such a bunch of hype and a bunch of stuff that makes it harder on everybody to do an honest, good job and find the best fit for both sides. And that's what it's all about."

Opposed to the flurry of scholarship offers which most programs push out to any prospect who seems promising, Petersen prefers a slower and more methodical approach. It’s even been described as “a snail’s pace.”

The philosophy behind the approach, which Petersen honed at Boise State - where landing top prospects is difficult - is that they don’t want to simply find good players. They want to find players who buy into their message. This means Washington’s coaches don’t just rely on watching highlight tapes. They also get to know their prospects and their personalities.

"It's easy to put the tape on and see a good player,” said Petersen to USA Today, “but the reason we did so well at Boise and had so many of those guys get drafted and be NFL players was because we got the right guys who bought into our message. We were able to develop them. Plus, we liked coaching them, they liked being coached by us."

In today’s professional hiring environment, not enough organizations place emphasis on methodically building a stable pipeline of talented prospects who are not only interested, but are also a good fit for the organization.

STEM Premier’s platform is built around the ability to build personal relationships with users, whether they are potential students, potential scholarship recipients, or potential colleagues. Our messaging system facilitates communication with both individuals and groups, and our ManageOpps™ feature allows organizations to post scholarship offers, events, and other opportunities for talent to become engaged with them.  

Now you know Chris Petersen’s recruiting strategy. What’s yours?

What History Can Teach Us About Job Searches

In the study of history, documents and artifacts which were produced during the period of time being studied are called “primary sources.”

Primary sources are considered crucial evidence for historians in regards to forming conclusions in their research. In fact, they are virtually mandatory. This is because primary sources shed light on exactly how people thought and lived. For example, when examining an 18th-century explorer’s journal, we know it’s not a matter of opinion where the explorer traveled, because he tells us himself. In short, primary sources eliminate guesswork and provide a clear picture of something that may have happened hundreds - or even thousands - of years ago.

When it comes to standing out in the crowd of aspiring professionals, too few job applicants - and employers as well - fail to recognize the benefit of utilizing “primary sources” as they dive headlong into the hiring process.  

Published articles, art portfolios, dance recital footage, websites created. All of these are potential primary sources which accurately document a job applicant’s talent and proficiency. As a student or job seeker, if you are not showing off your work, you may not be putting your best foot forward. As an employer or educational institution, if you are not reviewing - or even asking for - past work, you may not be ultimately choosing the best applicants for your organization.

But isn’t that what resumes are for?

Not anymore.  

Resumes are an excellent way of summarizing education, qualifications, and professional experience in an easily digestible format. But resumes will always be a matter of an applicant’s opinion of themselves. To borrow another term from historical research, they are “secondary sources.” It’s easy to embellish and exaggerate your qualifications on a resume. It’s much harder to do on camera or on a canvas.

Times have changed. The digital age and high-speed internet allows for the quick uploading of digital files which can then be easily disseminated, downloaded, and viewed. Those who are not taking advantage of this technology are failing to examine the primary sources. Remember, primary sources are mandatory for historians. Why shouldn’t they be for educational institutions and employers?

STEM Premier’s “Student Files” feature allows students to upload a wide variety of digital files to their profile. From PowerPoint presentations to PDFs, users can choose the documents and work which best shows off their talents. They can even choose files directly from their Dropbox or Google Drive accounts.

Talents and skills which are best captured as video can be uploaded with the “Videos” feature located near the top of every STEM Premier student’s profile.

Let’s keep revolutionizing the way we find talent. The world is too big for just resumes.

Looking Closer: Student Interest in Social Services

In recent posts, we shed some light on some of the career interests of STEM Premier student members. Now we’re delving deeper into select industries to see exactly what careers students have on their radar. Today, we’re looking at the area of community and social services.

Designed to serve individuals in their educational, family, and healthcare environments, community and social services is a career area projected to grow 10 percent by 2024 and adding about 257,700 jobs, according the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This projected growth is faster than the average for all occupations. Most new positions in this occupational group will be in the healthcare and social assistance industry due to the country’s aging population. Similar job growth is occurring in the healthcare and healthcare support fields.

Millennials and their younger generational peers seemingly place more professional value on service and social responsibility, which is good news for educational institutions and organizations seeking talent in this field. To get a better idea of how STEM Premier can help tap into this talent, you can see a few samples below of specific social service careers that STEM Premier students are interested in:

  • Addiction counselors
  • Social workers
  • Health educators
  • Mental health counselors
  • Marriage and family therapists

STEM Premier students are even interested in religious vocations such as priests, rabbis, and ministers.

Is your organization looking for these kinds of students? If so, join STEM Premier today and start connecting.

Best STEM High Schools Spotlight: #8 International Community School

In April, we talked about U.S. News and World Report’s recently released list of the best STEM high schools in the country.

We’re checking out some of the top schools which made the list. This week’s spotlight takes us out to the Pacific Northwest for a closer look at #8: International Community School in Kirkland, Washington.

Quick Facts:

  • Grade Levels: 6-12
  • Total Enrollment: 427
  • Students on STEM Premier?: YES

With a foreign-born student body of nearly 20%, International Community School (ICS) definitely lives up to its name. ICS is a “choice school” in its district, meaning that any student throughout the district can apply for acceptance.

ICS’ mission is to provide a “classical education with global applications.” Particular emphasis is placed on depth of understanding and interconnected learning, with classroom discussion and group projects serving as primary drivers of the educational experience.

The school’s curriculum focuses on six core content areas: international studies, humanities, world languages, the arts, science, and math. Most courses beginning with grade 10 are either honors or advanced placement.

As its name would imply, ICS offers a robust foreign language program. Students are required to take a foreign language as one of their core courses for the entirety of their six-year matriculation. This typically results in strong proficiency by the time students graduate.

The faculty of ICS are the envy of schools across the country. They boast an average of 18 years teaching experience among them, and 90% of them hold advanced degrees. As if that is not impressive enough, 45% are bilingual and 40% have international teaching experience. All faculty are required to participate in continuing learning in specific content areas.

In addition to their #8 Best STEM High School ranking, ICS is a Blue Ribbon School and was ranked the #3 school in Washington by U.S. in 2015.

Congratulations ICS! Go Phoenixes!
    

Learning From The Pros: Building Your Brand

University athletic programs - at all levels -  dedicate significant resources towards getting the best players possible on their team’s rosters. The reason is simple: people are an organization’s most important resource. The more talented the people are, the more successful the organization will be.

When it comes to collegiate athletics, the average fan only sees the end-product of this work; the games, matches, and meets.

But only the coaches and staff along with players and their families are knowledgeable of the entire process which is necessary to achieve that end-product.

The work starts early. It’s a process which spans multiple years, oftentimes beginning before athletes have begun their junior year of high school. In terms of results, it should come as no surprise that the athletic programs which work the hardest and longest on the recruiting trail are the same ones who tend to field the most competitive teams.

Where does it all begin?

There are an estimated 8 million high school athletes in the U.S., and only 480,000 of them will compete at the collegiate level. Even less than that will earn an athletic scholarship. So how do coaches wade through the nationwide ocean of athletes to find the dozen or so they want to recruit?

Interestingly enough, it is often the athlete who first reaches out to the university. There are strict rules about when and how often coaches can contact athletes, but none exist for when athletes initiate the contact. The most common practice is for an athlete or their coach to send game film for the university to evaluate. Sort of like how an interested job candidate would send a business their resume. 

That’s why having a strong brand and open channels of communication are critical for any strong program. Teams who don’t have a strong presence and reputation will find a distinct lack of interest in their programs. And programs which do not have reliable methods of receiving communication from athletes interested in their programs will soon find those athletes moving onto other programs who will pay them more attention. 

Similarly, by neglecting these concepts, educational institutions and businesses may be missing out on interested talent. STEM Premier solves this problem. By joining STEM Premier, these organizations ensure themselves of an online presence which students can find and feel comfortable approaching. Our platform also allows organizations to tailor their presence with video, information, links, and more so as to maximize their efforts via a comprehensive profile. They can also message talent directly to establish a connection and build a relationship with students who fit their needs in higher education and the workforce.   

Not every organization can be as dominant as the University of Alabama is on the gridiron, but STEM Premier will help them tap into a new source of hidden talent and level the playing field. 

STEM Premier Spotlight: Louisiana

Quick Facts:

  • STEM Premier Secondary-Level Students: 2,000+
  • Top College Interests: Louisiana State University, University of Louisiana-Lafayette, Louisiana Tech University, Tulane University
  • Top Intended Majors: Pre-Medicine, Chemical Engineering, Biology

We’re headed down to the bayou for this month’s STEM Premier Spotlight on the state of Louisiana. As a major oil and gas producer, it should be no surprise to see chemical engineering top the list of intended majors of STEM Premier student members in Louisiana.

Although a large proportion reside in the Baton Rouge and New Orleans, STEM Premier student members are distributed fairly evenly across the state. Shreveport and Ruston in the north as well as Lake Charles and Lafayette in the south boast a fair share as well. Alexandria - located centrally - is not far behind.

In addition to chemical engineering, the top career interests of Louisiana’s students include mechanical engineering, nursing, and pediatriatrics.

ACT’s 2015 Condition of STEM Report on Louisiana highlights some interesting trends for the Pelican State. Although student interest in STEM has outpaced the national average since 2011, it has also seen a steady drop from 55% to 51% in 2015. The highest levels of STEM interest are in the engineering (28%) and medical (47%) fields, both of which exceed the national average for those areas (25% and 42%, respectively).

Learn more about STEM in Louisiana by checking out ACT's full report.

Learning From The Pros: What Collegiate Athletics Can Teach Us About Recruiting

Ask any collegiate athletics coach how important recruiting is to their team’s success. Without hesitation, you’ll hear words such as...

“Pivotal.”

“Vital.”

“Mandatory.”

Athletic talent is a scarce resource. There is only so much to go around. If you don’t work hard to attract your share of that talent, rest assured that somebody else will. It’s what economists term a zero-sum game.

Just how important is it to success? When five-time national championship football coach Nick Saban was hired at the University of Alabama in 2007, he asked Mal Moore, Alabama’s Athletic Director, if he thought he had hired the best coach in the country.

“Of course I do,” Moore replied.

“Well, you didn’t,” Saban corrected him. “I’m nothing without my players. But you did just hire a helluva recruiter.”

Why should things be any different for your institution or business? We often hear about how people are the most important resource in any organization. Alas, all too often we only pay lip service to that concept; We’re content to hire or accept those individuals who happen to stroll through our doors exhibiting even mild interest. The taxing nature of a comprehensive recruiting strategy stretches staff resources thin, even at larger organizations who can afford full-time recruiters.

That’s where STEM Premier can help.

In this series of blogs, we’ll be delving into the world of collegiate athletic recruiting to learn from the best. How do college programs, from powerhouses like Alabama to Division III teams, structure their strategy to evaluate and attract the best talent? And how can STEM Premier help you do the same?

U.S. Department of Labor Awards $900,000 Grant for South Carolina Apprenticeship Programs

There is certainly no such thing as too much good news.

Over the past few months, we’ve been excited to announce new initiatives and partnerships, such as our recent collaboration with Toyota Motor Manufacturing Indiana.

This week, we have some more great news to share. The U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration has awarded a $900,000 grant to the South Carolina Technical College System for the purposes of increasing and diversifying apprenticeships within the Palmetto State.

The grant, which is part of the ApprenticeshipUSA State Expansion Grant, is directed towards efforts to increase apprenticeships as a workforce development strategy and post-secondary career path. The grant will also go towards promoting STEM Premier as well as the SC Future Makers program - which is powered by STEM Premier.  

This financial support will go a long way towards increasing awareness of apprenticeship programs as well as help students, schools, and businesses connect with each other to promote these opportunities.

 

Are You Ignoring STEM Recruiting?

It’s no secret that we believe recruiting and building a talent pipeline is vital for any organization. This is especially true for STEM-centric organizations or positions within any organization which require STEM skills. That’s because some estimates project more than 2 million unfilled STEM jobs in the U.S. by 2018. This will create an extremely competitive environment as businesses fight over a limited supply of qualified candidates.

But don’t take it from us. TalentCulture - a professional and career resources website - recently questioned how seriously organizations are taking their STEM recruitment efforts and offered three big tips for leaders and human resources directors to consider. STEM Premier can help with all three.

1. Build Relationships with Candidates Before They Are Job Hunting

Job fairs are great, but the real forward-thinking organizations are getting in front of talent long before the job search begins. The ability to communicate with students on STEM Premier, as well as post scholarships and internship opportunities helps organizations establish rapport with prospects.

2. Focus on Diversity

Diversity these days is key. The demographic makeup of your company can have unintended and detrimental consequences when it comes to hiring the best talent. A sharp, young female web designer may be turned off by your office’s heavy male population, for example. Use STEM Premier’s search criteria to locate individuals whose background and demographics give your organization a wide variety of unique perspectives.

3. Create Your Own Talent Pipeline

This is the foundation of what STEM Premier is all about. Our platform allows educational institutions and organizations the ability to tailor a recruitment strategy that makes sense for them, find talent based on their specific needs, and communicate with that talent at any point in the process. If you know what you need, we’ll help you find it.

Best STEM High Schools Spotlight: #7 Raleigh Charter High School

In April, we talked about U.S. News and World Report’s recently released list of the best STEM high schools in the country.

We’re taking a closer look at the schools which made the list. This week we’re headed to the Tar Heel State to take a look at #7: Raleigh Charter High School in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Quick Stats

  • Grade Levels: 9-12
  • Total Enrollment: 545
  • Students on STEM Premier?: YES

The story of Raleigh Charter High School’s establishment is quite unique, and a testament to strong parental investment in their children’s educations.

In the spring of 1998, the parents of 8th graders at Raleigh’s Magellan Charter School wanted their children to pursue the same innovative education into their high school career and to expand the same opportunity to even more area students. These parents organized with businesses, educational professionals, and college professors to establish RCHS and its affiliated non-profit.

On RCHS’s website, they describe the three key elements of their educational philosophy to be:

  1. A small community of learners allowing teachers to focus on teaching
  2. Very actively involved parents
  3. Hands-on, experiential learning

This seems to be a successful combination as - in addition to its #7 ranking among the best STEM high schools in the country - Raleigh Charter High School has been ranked as the #2 high school in North Carolina and the #37 best high school nationally by U.S. News.