STEM Premier Top 100 Spotlight: Anna Weinstein

We were proud to recently unveil the 2018 STEM Premier Top 100 students.   

Hailing from all across the nation, the students of the Top 100 represent a wide variety of talent, skills, and backgrounds. We wanted to get to know these students better and showcase the personalities behind the STEM Premier platform!

Our previous spotlight was on Jonathan Banks from Oak Park, Illinois. Now, it's time to shine it on Anna Weinstein from Denver, Colorado! 

Anna recently graduated from Cherry Creek High School in Greenwood Village, Colorado - a suburb of Denver - where she was a National Merit Scholarship finalist and an AP National Scholar. Her nimble footwork on the pitch also earned her All-Conference Honorable Mention recognition for women's soccer.

She was accepted to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where she will begin classes this fall and continue her soccer career. 

Read more about Anna below in her own words.

Anna Weinstein

Greenwood Village, Colorado

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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Something you wouldn't know about me is...I kick box in my free time 

For fun, I like to...spend time in the mountains camping, kayaking, skiing, climbing fourteeners, and just enjoying the fresh air

If I could meet anyone in the world, past or present, I would want to meet...L.L. Zamenhof, the creator of Esperanto. He holds a unique position as the creator of the most widely spoken constructed auxiliary language in the world, and as such presents an interesting character.

The best teacher I’ve ever had is...either my 6th grade Math teacher or 11th and 12th grade English teacher because they both created an environment that encouraged students to independently confront issues in creative ways. In English, about a third of the class would stay after class to continue discussing different topics with the teacher

The last app I downloaded on my phone was...Duolingo and Morse Coach to continue learning Esperanto and to start learning German and morse code

After high school, my next step is...to attend MIT and major in Computer Science and possibly Brain and Cognitive Science as well. I also hope to travel and study abroad in Spain, Ireland, or really anywhere

In ten years, I see myself...working with a company that allows me to work on creative solutions to intriguing questions connected to psychological and physical health. I may also have completed graduate school.

My greatest dream is...to build a machine that can shrink and enlarge matter to resolve any problem ranging from pollution to resource competition. But more realistically, I aspire to contribute to society on a large scale by working on programs that help research, diagnose, or treat different aspects of mental and physical health. Current apps like Sea Hero Quest which generates data for Alzheimers research and fantastical creations like the psychoanalytic game in “Ender’s Game” fuel these goals.

My favorite thing about STEM Premier is...the opportunities it provides to connect with different organizations that align with my goals and interests.

We hope for the best for you Anna! We’re proud to have you be a STEM Premier user and part of the 2018 STEM Premier Top 100!

"War for Talent" Spurs Businesses to Extend Talent Pipelines into High Schools

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Seven years ago, IBM realized that their talent pipeline strategy needed an overhaul. Like a poorly managed pension fund, the output it was generating would eventually be outstripped by an ever-increasing need for specific skills and knowledge; their system was no longer a long-term solution. It needed a fix before it all came crashing down.

"There's a war for talent across all our competitors,” said IBM Foundation President Jennifer Ryan Crozier, “We know we're going to need a lot of different pathways to bring talent in.”

So in 2011, IBM became the first “P-Tech” business, partnering with a Brooklyn high school and the City University of New York. The intended outcome? To produce qualified candidates for the types of jobs which IBM knows will face critical talent shortages in the future.

P-Tech is a six-year academic and vocational tech program which allows students in grades 9 through 14 to simultaneously earn a high school diploma and an industry-recognized associate degree while also gaining relevant work experience in emerging fields.

Since 2011, more than 400 additional organizations such as Motorola, Verizon, and Dow Chemical have joined IBM in this exponentially-expanding experiment with over 80 high schools across the country. The companies offer input on the curriculum, bring students on site, pair them with employee mentors, and offer paid internships.

These organizations know they are on the cutting edge of talent pipeline management. The investments they are making today have placed them on the inside track, and are putting them in prime position to attract the skilled workers which these programs aim to produce in the years to come. In most cases, it’s the first professional contact these students ever experience.

"This is about preparing the next generation of the workforce," Crozier says. "It's not a short-term fix for roles we have open today," she said.

Of course, not every organization has the vast resources of Verizon, Dow, or Big Blue to develop such robust recruiting programs.

That is where STEM Premier levels the playing ground.

By utilizing the STEM Premier platform, companies and organizations can tap into a digital environment of hundreds of thousands of high school students across the country. You can connect and build relationships with these students - the same way that IBM does - without investing millions of dollars to do it.

Ryan Church Awarded STEM Premier Dashboard Scholarship

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: Describe a teacher or course that drew your interest to a certain STEM career or area of study.

Although we had many fantastic applicants, we could only choose one. And so we are pleased to announce Ryan Church from North Carolina as our most recent Dashboard Scholar!

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Ryan recently graduated from John T. Hoggard High School in Wilmington, NC where he was extremely active in his chapter of HOSA - Future Health Professionals; as a senior, he was also elected President of his chapter. He was voted captain of his soccer team twice, and helped lead his teammates to back-to-back conference titles. He will be enrolling at the University of South Carolina this fall.   

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

1. Something you wouldn't know about me is...that I love thrift shopping and most of my shirts are from thrift stores.

2. For fun, I like to...play soccer and go to the beach with friends.

3. Two people I wish I could meet are...Neil DeGrasse Tyson and Bob Ross because I love their shows and I feel like they both have lots of knowledge and interesting life advice to share.

4. The best teachers I've ever had were...Mrs. Coston and Mr. Terzian. Both of them were great and gave me the passion to pursue biology in college and as a career.

5. The last app I downloaded on my phone was...the University of South Carolina app, because I love my future school.

6. After high school, my next step is...to attend the University of South Carolina to study biology.

7. In ten years, I see myself...either in dental school or pursuing a biological research career.

8. My greatest dream is...to spend my days in a lab working to discover new things that will benefit the world.

9. The thing I like the most about STEM Premier is...that it connected me with many scholarship opportunities and gave me the chance to get myself out there and be rewarded for my hard work.

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

Congratulations Ryan, good luck as you begin your college career. Go Gamecocks!

The Five Best Ways Colleges & Companies Find Talent with STEM Premier

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Finding the right talent is tough. It doesn’t matter whether you’re recruiting next fall’s incoming class for your university or ensuring your organization has the professionals it needs to grow and succeed. Nobody ever said it was easy to build a pipeline of talent. But we can make it a lot easier.

STEM Premier’s search module allows organizational users to search our database of hundreds of thousands of individuals based on a limitless combination of criteria, giving you the flexibility you need in your search. You can dial in and micro-target exactly the type of people you're looking for. When it comes to finding needles in a haystack, think of it as your digital pitchfork. 

Here’s just a few ways you can narrow down the prospects.

College Interests:

College recruiters, we know you spend long hours on the road visiting high schools and college fairs, so let’s make your life a little easier. Start your search without even leaving campus by finding all the students who are already interested in attending your university, regardless of where they reside. Do you recruit from the same pool of students as one of your peer institutions? Use that information to find students who may be interested in your school as well. No longer will geography and time dictate your limits. 

Credentials:

If your organization needs work-ready candidates who can hit the ground running, you'll want to start your search here. Whether it's a certificate, license, diploma, or badge, you can find those qualified candidates with just a few clicks. Browse skilled individuals across a plethora of certifications offered by nationally-recognized organizations, such as the American Welding Society

Associations:

Companies and colleges like individuals who get involved. Engagement in student associations, clubs, teams, and professional organizations indicates higher levels of initiative, drive, and leadership. Those are all soft skills which businesses and schools love. But maybe it's professionals skills you want, such as the technical expertise honed by organizations like SkillsUSA. Or the business acumen developed by Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA).  Search across a wide range of organizational involvement to find who want to connect with. 

Career Interests:

If a student is interested in your industry, that's a great opportunity to start a conversation with them. But even if they are not, young adults are open to a future of possibilities. Even if their career interests aren't directly related to your organization or field, they may be similar. Find students based on a vast multitude of career interests, and use that passion as a segue to open a discussion with them. 

Next Step:

A four-year college isn’t always the best fit for a graduating high school student. There are millions of students whose next step is to attend a community college, a trade school, enter the military, or jump right into the workforce. Find the candidates who you know will be most receptive to what your business or organization has to offer them.

STEM Premier Top 100 Spotlight: Jonathan Banks

We were proud to recently unveil the 2018 STEM Premier Top 100 students.   

Hailing from all across the nation, the students of the Top 100 represent a wide variety of talent, skills, and backgrounds. We wanted to get to know these students better and showcase the personalities behind the STEM Premier platform!

Our previous spotlight was on Kaylee Smith from Stillwater, Oklahoma. Now, it's time for Jonathan Banks from Oak Park, Illinois to shine!

For Jonathan, it's all about making people smile. That's one of the reasons he aspires to attend dental school and become an oral surgeon. He was recently recognized as an Illinois State Scholar, an honor given to the top students in the state. However, his most impressive academic achievement may be his perfect 36 score on the ACT!

When it comes to creating smiles, it's not just about dentistry; Jonathan also authors a blog aimed at inspiring young people to live their best lives. 

Read more about Jonathan below in his own words.

Jonathan Banks

Oak Park, IL

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Something you wouldn't know about me is...My family and I have kept a vegan diet for over 6 years! Since we watched the documentary Forks over Knives that taught us about healthy lifestyles, we decided to change the way we eat and live, and it's been great!

For fun, I like to...make music. I have played saxophone for over eight years, and I just love the feeling of playing music. My favorite is jazz, and playing in my school jazz combo is one of my favorite extracurriculars. I also like blogging, and I try to keep my site updated as often as I can with inspirational blog posts. You can find me at www.jbgreatday.com

If I could meet anyone in the world, past or present, I would want to meet...Pythagoras; he seemed to be right about a lot of things.

The best teacher I’ve ever had is...Ooh. That's tough. My teachers have been great for pretty much my entire educational experience, and I credit them for my academic success thus far. I'd have to say one of the classes I enjoyed the most was my sophomore honors chemistry class taught by Ms. Cheryl Rulis. She helped make chemistry fun, and every day in that class I felt my understanding grow. She never failed to challenge and push all of her students so we could learn and grow. 

The last app I downloaded on my phone was..."Really Bad Chess." I saw it in the app store, and I think it's pretty cool. It's a fun spin-off of chess, and I like it because it forces me to think about the game I've played for years in a different way. I recommend!

After high school, my next step is...to attend the University of Illinois at Chicago (Go flames!!). I will study biological sciences and go on to dental school so I can ultimately become an oral surgeon. I like smiles a lot, so I want to go into a profession that revolves around helping people smile easier. 

My greatest dream is...To help as many people as possible, as much as possible. I want to help people smile more.

The thing I like about STEM Premier most is...how it connects students with opportunities that help them grow into the wonderful people we all will soon become. The connections that STEM Premier provide are powerful. 

We hope for the best for you Jonathan! We’re proud to have you be a STEM Premier user and part of the 2018 STEM Premier Top 100!

South Carolina Ports Authority Holds First STEM Premier Signing Day

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The ink had just begun to dry on Anthony Richburg Jr.’s letter of intent when he donned the Carolina blue helmet and gave the cameras a bright smile along with two excited thumbs up.

No, he hadn’t just signed to play for the UNC Tarheels; rather, the promising 18-year-old had chosen to begin his professional career with The South Carolina Ports Authority.  

In its first-ever “Signing Day” on June 19, SPCA was proud to have landed the recent North Charleston High School graduate, a promising student they would have never found if not for his STEM Premier profile.

“We welcome Anthony Richburg to our team as the Port’s first hire from the STEM Premier partnership,” said SCPA president and CEO Jim Newsome, “and look forward to continuing to engage with local high schools on job opportunities at the Port and ways to prepare for a maritime industry career.”

The event was held - fittingly - at the The Union Pier Passenger Terminal in Downtown Charleston. Anthony was accompanied by his mother and stepfather as well as SPCA Vice President Barbara Melvin and Director Rusty Matthews, who made the decision to hire Anthony.

After initially discovering Anthony’s profile on STEM Premier, representatives from SPCA contacted him via the platform’s direct messaging tool. Through direct contact and networking opportunities facilitated with STEM Premier, SPCA and Anthony built a relationship which culminated in his signing day commitment in June.

Identifying and connecting with Anthony early on was vital in regards to his ultimate decision. That same type of engagement will be the future for SPCA’s recruitment efforts.

“The Ports Authority and greater maritime community employ more than 9,000 people locally, and we’re pleased to partner with STEM Premier to raise awareness of the Port among students in the Tri-County region as part of our recruitment strategy for the next generation of our workforce,” Newsome said.

“Partnering with proactive companies like SCPA,” says STEM Premier Co-Founder Casey Welch, “who understand and appreciate the importance of early engagement is vital in helping to identify, engage, and recruiting the future workforce while also retaining top talent from the Charleston area like Anthony.”

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STEM Premier Top 100 Spotlight: Kaylee Smith

We were proud to recently unveil the 2018 STEM Premier Top 100 students.   

Hailing from all across the nation, the students of the Top 100 represent a wide variety of talent, skills, and backgrounds. We wanted to get to know these students better and showcase the personalities behind the STEM Premier platform!

Our last spotlight was on Mika Domingo from Mililani, Hawaii. This week, it's time for Kaylee Smith from Stillwater, Oklahoma! 

Music is a big part of life for this aspiring biomedical scientist; Kaylee is a member of three different bands, and can play several instruments! She has been honored as Musician of the Year three times by her high school, and she even serves as Assistant Band Uniform Manager! But her world doesn't revolve solely around sharps and flats. She is also a highly involved mock trial participant, a HOSA member, and Vice President of her National Honor Society chapter. 

She hopes to one day find the cure for some of the world's most debilitating diseases. In fact, she's already decided to get a head start by serving this summer as a laboratory assistant at Oklahoma State University - a school she is currently considering attending. She also is interested in Washington University in St. Louis as well as the University of Tulsa. 

Read more about Kaylee below in her own words.

Kaylee Smith

Junior

Stillwater High School

Stillwater, OK

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Something you wouldn't know about me is...that I play 6 instruments: oboe, flute, euphonium, English horn, piano, and ukulele!

For fun, I like to...watch videos from my favorite drum corps, Carolina Crown, and hang out with my mini golden doodle, Gus.

If I could meet anyone in the world, past or present, I would want to meet...Martin Luther King Jr. He made a drastic change in the world, and I think that is so inspiring.

The best teacher I’ve ever had is...Mrs. Anderson. Her English class was super fun, and she is still my mock trial coach today!

The last app I downloaded on my phone was...Google Sheets. I used it in my Environmental Sustainability class as we were doing different tests, like fecal coliform, pH, and ammonia on water sources

After high school, my next step is...pursue a degree in Chemical Engineering with possibly a minor in statistics.

In ten years, I see myself...working in the biomedical research field researching Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. after completing my Ph.D.

My greatest dream is...to cure Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.

The thing I like about STEM Premier most is...how students can showcase themselves. I can tailor my platform to be unique for me, and it lets colleges and employers see a little bit about me in a new way.

We hope for the best for you Kaylee! We’re proud to have you be a STEM Premier user and part of the 2018 STEM Premier Top 100!

Project Lead The Way (PLTW) Announces Revolutionary New Assessment

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STEM Premier and Project Lead The Way (PTLW) have long been proud partners in their mission to enhance the student experience by opening doors and providing opportunities. PLTW students across the country have been leveraging the STEM Premier platform to showcase themselves to the world. 

That's why were excited to report that PLTW recently unveiled a new way of assessing student ability.

Until now, student assessment tools have tended to focus strictly on academic subject matter. While not flawed in and of themselves, a singular reliance on these assessments has left colleges, universities, and businesses in the dark when it comes to the holistic potential of the applicants they are considering. For example, an aptitude test will convey how proficient a student is in mathematics, but it cannot tell a potential employer how creative that same student may be. Or how well they problem-solve, communicate, and work with others. Skills which are very much desired by organizations all over the country spanning every industry.

PLTW resolved to tackle this problem head-on by designing an assessment tool which could effectively capture these “soft skills” while maintaining its emphasis in the fields of engineering, biomedical science, and computer science. The result, PLTW predicts, will revolutionize the way schools, employers, hiring managers, and scholarship providers evaluate the value of their candidates and applicants. “The ability to problem-solve, to think critically, to communicate, to collaborate – we really haven’t had a way to signal those skills to future employers,” says Dr. Vince Bertram, President and CEO of Project Lead The Way, “The new PLTW Assessment will allow us to do that.”

To help design this new tool, PLTW assembled a coalition of thirty-eight experts who are respected professionals in secondary education, higher education, and industry. This coalition consisted of deans, faculty members, hiring managers, CEOs, engineers, and others representing widely-respected entities such as Duke University, Vanderbilt University, NASA, FedEx, John Deere, and Eli Lilly. This PLTW Test Advisory Panel provided input as to which skills are the most valuable to their organizations. The final verdicts? Creativity, critical thinking, problem solving, collaboration, communication, ethical reasoning, and mindset.

Then, assisted by nationally recognized psychometricians, they figured out the best ways to measure those skills within the context of a standardized testing environment. Naturally - considering the nature of what they were measuring - they had to put their own problem-solving talents “to the test” and think outside the box.

The resulting assessment format is one which redefines standardized testing. It is interactive and utilizes simulations, video stimuli, situational judgment questions, and other types of challenges to measure the test-taker’s real world ability to apply their skills and knowledge. It effectively eliminates the possibility for students to “beat the system” by cramming. It also closes loopholes inherent in other standardized tests, such as “successful guessing.”

400,000 PLTW students across the country will take the assessment starting in the 2018-2019 school year, followed by an estimated 450,000 during the 2019-2020 school year. Upon completing the assessment, these students will have a comprehensive metric which will have a plethora of relevant applications, from scholarships to job opportunities.  

STEM Premier salutes PLTW and congratulates them on the creation of their new assessment. We believe that students are more than simply their academic test scores. Every student on the STEM Premier platform is unique in their own right. That's why STEM Premier allows student to add videos to their profile and provides a skills showcase section; so they can show off the talents that don't come across through a grade or test score!

STEM Premier Spotlight: Michigan

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Quick Facts:

  • STEM Premier Secondary-Level Students: 4,700+
  • Top College Interests: University of Michigan, Michigan State University, Wayne State University, Grand Valley State University
  • Top Intended Majors: Pre-Med, Nursing, Computer Science

We're heading up to the Wolverine State for our newest State Spotlight for a closer look at STEM Premier students in Michigan. The Great Recession of 2008 hit the state of Michigan especially hard, and 2009 found the state in a severe economic rut. However, Michigan has resiliently bounced back and is now the nation's seventh-fastest growing economy. 

The manufacturing legacy of Michigan lives on, as that industry still represents the largest portion of the state's economy. However, economist have noted that diversification has been one of the factors in helping lift Michigan out of the economic mud. The finance industry, comprising 18% of the state's economy, is right behind manufacturing's 19%. Unemployment in Michigan is currently at a 20-year low. 

Michigan’s largest population of STEM Premier students is located in and around Detroit - which happens to be the hometown of our fantastic partner, SME - with other sizable pockets around Grand Rapids, Lansing, Ann Arbor, Kalamazoo, and Flint. However, STEM Premier students are all over the state including it's Northern tip in towns like Traverse City, and in the Upper Peninsula in places like Marquette. Its students tend to have their eyes on the healthcare industry as reflected by the number of related fields among their top career interests; many of them want to be nurses, surgeons, pediatricians, and healthcare support specialists. This is particularly true for STEM Premier user Onyewuchi Ndukwe, a rising high school senior from Detroit, who hopes to become an optometrist and one day return to her home country of Nigeria to create an organization which provides glasses and contact lenses. 

However, true to Michigan's economic legacy, mechanical engineering is also a top choice for the state's students. 

ACT’s 2017 Condition of STEM Report on Michigan indicates that 55% of Michigan’s high school seniors express an interest in STEM, which is above the national average. However, ACT warns, only 56 students who were assessed in the inventory indicated an interest in a career in math or science education. This indicates that the state may face a STEM educator shortage in the coming years. 

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

STEM Premier Top 100 Spotlight: Mika Domingo

We were proud to recently unveil the 2018 STEM Premier Top 100 students.   

Hailing from all across the nation, the students of the Top 100 represent a wide variety of talent, skills, and backgrounds. We wanted to get to know these students better and showcase the personalities behind the STEM Premier platform!

Last week, the spotlight was on Matthew Frost from Hood River, Oregon. This week, we're headed way out into the Pacific to shine it on Mika Domingo from Mililani, Hawaii! 

Mika envisions for herself a career in healthcare, and her passion for the field has already taken root. She has already served on the Teen Advisory Council for the Hawaii Meth Project and was involved with the Coalition for a Tobacco Free Hawaii. She has also been a reliable volunteer for Kaiser Permanente, assisting in various departments such as the pediatrics ward. Recently, Mika was a qualifier for the 2017 HOSA International Leadership Conference for prepared speaking. 

She recently graduated as valedicatorian of her high school and will be attending Santa Clara Universtiy next fall as a Presidential Scholar. 

Read more about Mika below in her own words.

Mika Domingo

Senior

Mililani High School

Mililani, HI

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Something you wouldn't know about me is...that I am a competitive gymnast! I’ve been doing competitive gymnastics for about 12 years and I am currently a level 9 gymnast. This year I won the all-around state champion title for my age group, and qualified to compete in the Western National Championships. 

For fun, I like to...read and listen to musicals.

If I could meet anyone in the world, past or present, I would want to meet...Vera Cáslavská. She was an Olympic gymnast, and at the 1968 Olympics she protested the invasion of her home country of Czechoslovakia on the podium.

The best teacher I’ve ever had is...my calculus teacher. I’ve had him for AP Calculus BC last year and Calculus 3 this year. He makes math class so enjoyable and I’m very grateful for him. This week, we are using differential equations to make mathematical models where vampires, humans and other species may peacefully coexist.

The last app I downloaded on my phone was...the Tamagotchi app

After high school, my next step is...to attend a four-year University (still undecided) to major in biomedical engineering.

In ten years, I see myself...hopefully working in the medical field doing a job I truly enjoy

My greatest dream is...to become a doctor. I’ve had this dream since I was about five years old, and it hasn’t changed yet. I’m not sure what I’d like to specialize in yet but the fields of immunology and infectious disease especially interest me.

The thing I like about STEM Premier most is...the endless opportunities that you can find on this website. I initially joined to explore HOSA’s opportunities, but I have encountered many other opportunities while using STEM Premier.

We hope for the best for you Mika, and we’re proud to have you be a STEM Premier user and part of the 2018 STEM Premier Top 100!

STEM Premier Top 100 Spotlight: Matthew Frost

We were proud to recently unveil the 2018 STEM Premier Top 100 students.   

Hailing from all across the nation, the students of the Top 100 represent a wide variety of talent, skills, and backgrounds. We wanted to get to know these students better and showcase the personalities behind the STEM Premier platform!

Last time, our spotlight was all about Laura Mulrooney from Raleigh, North Carolina. Today, we're shining it on Matthew Frost from Hood River, Oregon!

An avid robotics enthusiast, Matthew has been a FIRST Tech Challenge Robotics World Championship competitor for two years running, and recently competed in Houston, Texas against other teams from all around the world.

His love for robotics drove him to design a mobile "Fab Lab" which he uses to visit local elementary schools to promote STEM and robotics. As a high school student, his proficiency in mathematics and science has allowed him to tutor college-level students. Talk about flipping the script! It's no wonder that he was voted ""Most Likely to Become The Next Einstein" by his classmates

Read more about Matthew below in his own words.

Matthew Frost

Senior

Hood River Valley High School

Hood River, OR

For fun, I like to...WORK WITH ROBOTICS! So much learning and life skills come out of these activities, and the innovation is so exciting.

Something you wouldn't know about me is...I love writing "To-Do" lists for just about anything. Nothing is more satisfying than being able to recycle the piece of paper with a bunch of completed tasks on it.

If I could meet anyone in the world, past or present, I would want to meet...Albert Einstein or another scientist who has changed today's world. Watching them invent a brand new technology would be amazing.

The best teacher I’ve ever had is...either my 8th grade math teacher who taught us calculus or my 11th/12th grade English teacher who "sometimes" gets off track to teach my class life lessons and important skills.

The last app I downloaded on my phone was...a game called Psych to play with my robotics team. I highly recommend it for parties or large groups of people!

After high school, my next step is...to go to college and get a degree in engineering.

In ten years, I see myself...if all goes well, sitting on a beach in the Caribbean, watching the sun appear over the horizon. In reality, I'll probably be sitting at a desk late at night trying to finish up some cool engineering project.

My greatest dream is...helping humanity through engineering.

The thing I like about STEM Premier most is...the endless opportunities it has.

We hope for the best for you Matthew, and we’re proud to have you be a STEM Premier user and part of the 2018 STEM Premier Top 100!

STEM Premier Top 100 Spotlight: Laura Mulrooney

We were proud to recently unveil the 2018 STEM Premier Top 100 students.   

Hailing from all across the nation, the students of the Top 100 represent a wide variety of talent, skills, and backgrounds. We wanted to get to know these students better and showcase the personalities behind the STEM Premier platform!

We caught up with Top 100 student Tyler Blake for our most recent spotlight. This week, it's all about Laura Mulrooney from Raleigh, North Carolina!

Laura is an enthusiast of the great outdoors who loves to get her hands dirty while exploring the world around her. She is a volunteer with the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences where she has spent the past five years conducting research and presenting her findings. 

She also enjoys the fine arts, spending her free time in choral performance, playing the piano, and practicing several styles of dance. 

She has committed to attend the University of Florida where she intends to major in Geology and Earth Science. 

Read more about Laura below in her own words.

Laura Mulrooney

Senior

Millbrook High School

Raleigh, NC

 Laura pauses to snap a quick pic during a day-long hike in Yosemite during spring break.

Laura pauses to snap a quick pic during a day-long hike in Yosemite during spring break.

For fun, I like to...hang out and watch HGTV with my younger brother. 

Something you wouldn't know about me is...I have fought Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS/RSD) in my right leg for years. But I have beat it and am able to walk again despite a time when I was told it was unlikely I would be able to. 

If I could meet anyone in the world, past or present, I would want to meet...Franklin & Eleanor Roosevelt -they seem like such interesting people who managed to have such a humongous impact on the world and life I know today. 

The best teacher I’ve ever had is...was my 6th grade English teacher- I still use his tricks and techniques today, even in AP English!

The last app I downloaded on my phone was...the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s, 'Seafood Watch' app. If that doesn't describe me, I don't know what would lol. 

After high school, my next step is...to go to college in order to learn and explore the different pathways within geology, in order to best determine what I would like to devote my time and research to.

In ten years, I see myself...having built a strong career, that is ready to grow with a good circle of friends and family by my side.

My greatest dream is...to work at the Smithsonian museum as a paleontologist. Wouldn't that be the life!

The thing I like about STEM Premier most is...that it allows me to keep all of my accomplishments in one place for whenever I need to pull them out for an application. It also helps me to hold myself accountable and keep everything I do up to my personal standards, all the while allowing me to see the future I am working towards. It's my constant reminder of why I do what I do!

We hope for the best for you Laura, and we’re proud to have you be a STEM Premier user and part of the 2018 STEM Premier Top 100!

STEM Premier Top 100 Spotlight: Tyler Blake

We were proud to recently unveil the 2018 STEM Premier Top 100 students.   

Hailing from all across the nation, the students of the Top 100 represent a wide variety of talent, skills, and backgrounds. We wanted to get to know these students better and showcase the personalities behind the STEM Premier platform!

We caught up with Top 100 student Jake Chao for our most recent spotlight. This week, we're checking in with Tyler Blake from Provo, Utah. 

Music is a big part of Tyler's life, where he has distinguished himself in both instrumental and vocal performance. His talent on the piano has led him to perform in concert tours of Central America and Southeast Asia , and he has been honored for his ability at the state-wide level several times. He was also named to Utah's All-State Choir, and he serves as president of his school's choir team. Academically, Tyler has earned recognition as a National Merit Scholar as well as an AP Scholar with Distinction.  On the playing field, he serves as captain of his club soccer team. 

He has committed to attending Brigham Young University - where he was awarded the institution's selective Russell M. Nelson Scholarship - beginning this summer. He is interested in pursuing a future in both the musical and psychological fields. 

Read more about Tyler below in his own words.

Tyler Blake

Senior

Timpview High School

Provo, UT

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For fun, I like to...meet new people. I have always been fascinated by people. Everyone has a different story to tell, and each one is worth hearing.  

Something you wouldn't know about me is...I absolutely love animals. I have a pet dog named Chester, and he's definitely one of the highlights of every day. 

If I could meet anyone in the world, past or present, I would want to meet...Johann Sebastian Bach. Music is a large part of my life, and Bach is by far my favorite composer to play. It would be an amazing experience to meet him, learn from him, and get a firsthand account of how he composed and played. 

The best teacher I’ve ever had is...my 11th grade english teacher, Mrs. VanOrden. She had a way of creating a classroom environment in which grades were not the focus. Instead, she was able to focus on learning to write, and learning to love writing. There was never any pressure to perform at a certain level. Just a love of writing that she was able to transfer to each of her students. I learned more in that class than I have in any other. 

The last app I downloaded on my phone was...GroupMe. I know it's super boring, but I don't really ever download apps on my phone. GroupMe just lets me have a simple and easy way to manage group texts with various organizations I am a part of. I'd rather be out doing something than looking at a new app on my phone. 

After high school, my next step is...attending Brigham Young University this summer. After this summer, I will be taking a break from college to serve a 2 year LDS mission, after which I will continue to pursue my educational goals at BYU. 

In ten years, I see myself...still in school, working on a doctorate degree. I also see myself married in ten years, possibly with a child. Family has always been a major part of my life, and will continue to be so in ten years.

My greatest dream is...to find a way that I can really make a difference in the world. Whether this is through humanitarian efforts, or simply through my career and research, I want to create a way that I can help thousands upon thousands of people improve their lives. Service has always brought me great joy, and I hope to be able to continue to find ways to serve more and more people throughout my life. 

The thing I like about STEM Premier most is...it helps you to organize your portfolio. While completing college and scholarship applications throughout the last year, there was a lot of different aspects of my life that I needed to write about. STEM Premier gave me an opportunity to organize the highlights of my life in a concise and simple manner that helped me to organize my ideas for any essays I needed to write for college. 

We hope for the best for you Tyler, and we’re proud to have you be a STEM Premier user and part of the 2018 STEM Premier Top 100!

STEM Premier Top 100 Spotlight: Jake Chao

We were proud to recently unveil the 2018 STEM Premier Top 100 students.   

Hailing from all across the nation, the students of the Top 100 represent a wide variety of talent, skills, and backgrounds. We wanted to get to know these students better and showcase the personalities behind the STEM Premier platform!

Last week, the spotlight was on Paige Davis from Kansas. Now it's Jake Chao who's next up! Hailing from Cypress, California, Jake has excelled both inside and outside the classroom. As a talented public speaker, Jake has competed on debate teams, mock trial teams, and was elected as student body president of his school. He was also named the Youth Leadership America Speaker of the Year. He is a National Merit Scholar and AP Scholar with Distinction. Athletically, he has been honored as a leader of his cross country team as well as his track and field team. 

Read more about Jake below in his own words.

Jake Chao

Senior

Oxford Academy

Cypress, CA

 Jake (left) with his friends after their annual Senior Citizens Prom, a dance they help coordinate, which allows students to dance and interact with the elderly at a local senior citizen center.  

Jake (left) with his friends after their annual Senior Citizens Prom, a dance they help coordinate, which allows students to dance and interact with the elderly at a local senior citizen center.  

For fun, I like to...run and watch MasterChef. I am slowly getting better at cooking! 

Something you wouldn't know about me is...I am red-green colorblind! 

If I could meet anyone in the world, past or present, I would want to meet...Jeff Bezos. After reading about Amazon in the book The Everything Store, I have taken Jeff Bezos as the model to follow in innovation and work ethic. 

The best teacher I’ve ever had is...Mr. Jun Cuenca. He truly cares for his students, and his dedication to the organizations he advises is beyond belief. Thank you Mr. Cuenca!

The last app I downloaded on my phone was...Attendify. I downloaded it to use at the HOSA State Leadership Conference in Anaheim!

After high school, my next step is...attend college at Stanford University. I hope to pursue a degree in economics and possibly create a startup. 

In ten years, I see myself...working hard in life to attain success. I might still be working for an education, but I hope to be making my way in the business world. 

My greatest dream is...to learn how to cook! I am slowly getting better at it, but I want to have one signature dish that I've mastered. 

The thing I like about STEM Premier most is...its downloadable report of my profile! It works as a resume when I need to fill out other applications.

We hope for the best for you Jake, and we’re proud to have you be a STEM Premier user and part of the 2018 STEM Premier Top 100!

STEM Premier Top 100 Spotlight: Paige Davis

We were proud to recently unveil the 2018 STEM Premier Top 100 students.   

Hailing from all across the nation, the students of the Top 100 represent a wide variety of talent, skills, and backgrounds. We wanted to get to know these students better and showcase the personalities behind the STEM Premier platform!

Last week, we shined the spotlight on Sophia Reck from Wyomissing, Pennsylvania. This week, Paige Davis from Derby, Kansas takes center stage! One of the top students in the entire state, Paige is a highly engaged member of both Project Lead The Way and HOSA - Future Health Professionals who has committed to attend the University of North Texas. She was recognized by the Wichita Business Journal as one of their "Young Achievers" and was one of only three students from her high school to be named as a National Merit Finalist!

Read more about Paige below in her own words.

Paige Davis

Senior

Derby High School

Derby, KS

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For fun, I like to...binge-watch my favorite shows on Netflix or go to the movies. 

Something you wouldn't know about me is...that I am a self-proclaimed concert junkie. I have been to three in the last six months alone and I already have five more planned for the rest of the year--my bank account does not thank me. 

If I could meet anyone in the world, past or present, I would want to meet...my favorite female scientist, Rosalind Franklin, who significantly contributed to our understanding of DNA, RNA, and viruses.

The best teacher I’ve ever had is...my Project Lead The Way biomedical pathway teacher, Mrs Long.

The last app I downloaded on my phone was...the puzzle game Monument Valley 2. 

After high school, my next step is...to go to the University of North Texas to pursue a degree in biology with a concentration in pre-med. 

In ten years, I see myself...beginning my first job in the 'real-world.' Though I know my plans may change throughout college, right now the plan is to become a medical researcher. 

My greatest dream is...to be able to have a home and work life that makes me happy and the ability to travel on a semi-regular basis. 

The thing I like about STEM Premier most is...being able to organize all of my accomplishments in a neat and visually-pleasing format.

We hope for the best for you Paige, and we’re proud to have you be a STEM Premier user and part of the 2018 STEM Premier Top 100!

STEM Premier Top 100 Spotlight: Sophia Reck

We were proud to recently unveil the 2018 STEM Premier Top 100 students.   

Hailing from all across the nation, the students of the Top 100 represent a wide variety of talent, skills, and backgrounds. We wanted to get to know these students better and showcase the personalities behind the STEM Premier platform!

Sophia Reck is our first student in the spotlight. From marine biology to choral performance to the culinary arts, it's safe to say that Sophia has quite a range of hobbies! She is highly involved in her Pennsylvania community and has her eyes set on The Big Apple for college next fall. What a fantastic student to kick off our 2018 Top 100 spotlights! 

Read more about Sophia below in her own words.

Sophia Reck

Senior

Wyomissing Area High School

Wyomissing, PA

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For fun, I like to...learn about new cultures and then cook or bake their cuisine. I have a passion for both anthropology and cooking, so I like to combine them in my spare time. One of my favorite recipes was nian gao,  also known as Chinese New Year cake.

Something you wouldn't know about me is...that I traveled to New Brunswick the summer after my sophomore year to study marine biology— specifically whales and other marine mammals. Although I don’t want to pursue biology as my career, I’ve always been fascinated by the ocean and its myriad of creatures.

If I could meet anyone in the world, past or present, I would want to meet...Grace Hopper, widely regarded as one of the first computer scientists. Being a woman in STEM is difficult in 2018, so I can hardly imagine the courage and grit it took to be successful in the ‘50s and ‘60s! 

The best teacher I’ve ever had is...my computer science teacher, Mr. Minich. I entered his classroom as both the only freshman and only girl in his Java programming course. Without his help and encouragement, I would never have been able to accomplish all I have throughout my high school career.

The last app I downloaded on my phone was...the NYC Subway app. I will be spending my college years in the big apple (foreshadowing 101), so, I wanted to get acquainted with the metro system so I’m ready to go in the fall.

After high school, my next step is...to attend New York University’s Tandon School of Engineering for Computer Science. As I alluded to in the previous answer, New York City is going to be my new home for at least the next four years. Go Violet!

In ten years, I see myself...as a project manager for a technology company in New York or another large northeastern city. My dream employer is Google, but I’m sure that’s true for lots of people! If someone from Google reads this, I’d love to meet up since I’ll be very close to your New York headquarters soon!

My greatest dream is...be able to inspire other girls to pursue their interest in STEM. I realize that not many people had access to the wonderful opportunities I did during high school, so working towards availability of technology for all is still imperative. Hopefully, by the time I’m finished, being a woman in STEM will just be the norm!

The thing I like about STEM Premier most is...being able to connect and interface with plenty of colleges, companies, and other engaged high schoolers. It’s an amazing resource that I’d recommend to any ambitious and driven student.

We hope for the best for you Sophia, and we’re proud to have you be a STEM Premier user and part of the 2018 STEM Premier Top 100!

STEM Premier Releases 2018 Top 100 Students

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It's once again that time of year! And so it is with much pride and excitement that we announce STEM Premier’s 4th annual Top 100 rankings: The 2018 STEM Premier Top 100!

 This year, over 350,000 STEM Premier student users attending over 19,000 high schools from across the country competed for a place in the Top 100, making this accomplishment a testament to the Top 100’s academic and extracurricular endeavors.

 This year’s Top 100 features students from 29 different states, with the most highly represented states being Texas and California. High school seniors comprised roughly 75% of the top 100, but twenty-two juniors also made the list. An additional handful of talented sophomores also earned the distinction.

 Top 100 students are comprised of valedictorians, National Merit Scholar Finalists, AP Scholars,Science Olympiad Champions, Girl Scouts & Eagle Scouts, Presidential Scholars, and Project Lead The Way (PLTW) students.

What makes the STEM Premier Top 100 unique is the diversity of educational and professional paths represented. While many of the Top 100 plan to attend a traditional four-year university - including reputable schools such as Stanford and MIT - others will be continuing their STEM education at two-year technical schools and community colleges in fields such as advanced manufacturing, information technology, and healthcare. The result is an elite group of students who reflect the shifting realities of the U.S. economic, educational, and professional environments. 

 How are students chosen for the Top 100? We utilize a unique algorithm which accounts for over 30 different factors from each student’s profile. This process quantifies and synthesizes the profile information and creates a star rating for each individual student. Students considered for the Top 100 are then contacted and verified to ensure accuracy and integrity of the information added to their STEM Premier profile.

 While we are proud to announce this year’s Top 100, we would also like to recognize every single one of the 350,000+ students on STEM Premier’s platform who are pursuing their educational and professional dreams. We wish all the best of luck as you shoot for the stars!

 Click here to view the 2018 STEM Premier Top 100

STEM Premier Spotlight: Oklahoma

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Quick Facts:

  • STEM Premier Secondary-Level Students: 3,500+
  • Top College Interests: University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State University, University of Central Oklahoma, University of Tulsa
  • Top Intended Majors: Nursing, Mechanical Engineering, Biology, Computer Science

April’s State Spotlight takes us to the Midwest and the Sooner State for a closer look at STEM Premier students in Oklahoma. The vast plains of Oklahoma may mislead you into believing that the state primarily is focused on agriculture, but that would be inaccurate.

The public sector currently comprises the largest portion of Oklahoma’s economy, accounting for roughly 16% of the state’s GDP in 2016. Outside of the government, mining, manufacturing, trade, and finance are Oklahoma’s predominant industries. Oklahoma’s economy has steadily grown over the past fifteen years, and now comprises a larger portion of the total U.S. economy than it did in 2002.

Oklahoma’s largest population of STEM Premier students is located in the state capitol of Oklahoma City, while other hubs exist in Tulsa and Norman. Its students tend to have their eyes on the healthcare industry as reflected by the number of related fields among their top career interests; many of them want to be nurses, surgeons, pediatricians, and healthcare support specialists.

ACT’s 2017 Condition of STEM Report on Oklahoma indicates that 47% of Oklahoma’s high school seniors express an interest in STEM, which is in line with the national average. However, the report notes, only 16% of students had both an expressed interest in STEM as well as an ACT Interest Inventory score which indicated proficiency in a STEM field. This may foreshadow a dearth of in-state STEM talent in the coming years; something STEM employers may want to take note of.

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

Looking Closer: Student Interest in Social Sciences

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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 social sciences.

 Although the social sciences and humanities have recently been the object of some derision - especially amid the debate over how well U.S. universities are adequately preparing students for work in the modern economy - they are still extremely relevant. The social sciences are comprised of a variety of disciplines delving into the “softer” aspects of our world - as opposed to “hard” sciences such as physics, chemistry, or biology. These include cultural, sociological, and historical research areas.

 Here’s just a few examples of the social science occupations which have captured the attention of STEM Premier students:

  • Archaeologists
  • Economists
  • Historians
  • Geographers
  • Political Scientists
  • Anthropologists

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

 

Imaginations "Rohming" Wild: Homeschooled Robotics Team Heads to World Championship

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Rohming Robots runs on passion. And now this motivated group of home-schooled students is taking that passion to the world stage.

Established in 2014 by Head Coach Linda Stewart, Rohming Robots - a Charleston, South Carolina-based robotics team - will be heading to Houston, Texas in April to compete against thousands of like-minded students in the FIRST Tech Challenge World Championship.

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FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC for short) is a competitive robotics league which pits grade 7-12 students against each other in a head-to-head format. Teams are responsible for designing, building, and programming their robots. Assisted by coaches and mentors, the teams build their mechanical “athletes” with pieces made of various materials, and use sensors and programs to execute their gameplans. Teams are also required to keep an engineering notebook; a log of the team’s construction process from the first blueprint sketches to the last screw.

What makes Roaming Robots unique is who they are. The team is comprised entirely of homeschooled and virtual students ranging from 8th to 12th grade. The team divides responsibilities based on their interests and skills; a strategy they say keeps the process fun for everyone involved. It’s not just nuts, bolts, and programming which are involved in the process. The team also has roles for important non-technical duties such as community outreach and fundraising.  

“Every year, they want to do a little more,” says Stewart, “go a little farther.”

And go farther they did.

A 4-H project club primarily sponsored by STEM Premier partner SME, Rohming Robots received FTC’s Think Award, honoring the best engineering notebook from among 72 teams. That achievement earned them their spot in the World Championship next month. Their competitive robot - named Tod - was custom-built using machined and 3-D printed parts.

Rohming Robots recently became one of STEM Premier’s newest organizations to join our online community. This will allow its team members to gain access to the same types of opportunities which tend to benefit students from more traditional K-12 backgrounds. We’re excited to know that these students will be able to let their passion and talent shine forth, and find opportunities they may have not otherwise realized.

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Stewart is excited for her young team. "I reviewed all the ways that club members can use STEM premier to help them connect with local businesses to better explore their interests, with colleges they are interested in, and with potential internships and employers for their future careers," she says.

"Team members are excited about showcasing their specific talents and interests using their STEM Premier profiles and adding the SME badge to their profiles because of the long history of support our local chapter has given us.”

After all, it’s not just about the mechatronics. The talents of Rohming Robot’s members extend far beyond the robotics wrestling ring, ranging from collaborative teamwork to project management to public speaking. It takes all sorts of skill sets to run a successful team. And these students are making it happen!

STEM Premier wishes the entire Rohming Robots team good luck in Houston!