UMass, Georgia Tech to share $6.2 million grant for computer education

The University of Massachusetts will partner with the Georgia Institute of Technology to share strategies for attracting students to computer science, thanks to a $6.24 million grant announced Thursday.

The National Science Foundation grant will help UMass and Georgia Tech build on their success in broadening participation in computer science, especially among women and minorities. UMass hosts the Commonwealth Alliance for Information Technology Education, which already has a track record in working with Massachusetts students in state and community colleges.

According to UMass, more than 21,000 students and 1,200 educators have attended some 350 events sponsored by the alliance since its inception in 2007. The alliance has been particularly successful in helping community college computer science students transfer to four-year colleges.

Renee Fall, the project manager for Commonwealth Alliance for Information Technology Education, said computing is one of the fastest growing sectors of the U.S. economy and needs more skilled workers.

“Using computers is exciting and fun,” she said, “but knowing how to program and design computers is a whole other level.”

Currently, the professional field is dominated by white males. Fall said women and other underrepresented sectors of the population can bring fresh perspective and new talents to computing and broaden the workforce in general.

“Right now there are just not enough people to fill the jobs,” she said.

While the alliance has focused mostly on college-age students, Georgia Tech has some experience reaching out to students from kindergarten through high school. By pooling and building on their work, UMass and Georgia Tech hope to avail other states of their knowledge. The first new partners, California and South Carolina, have already been identified.



Georgia Tech Honored for Efforts to Increase Minorities in Engineering

The National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME) has presented its annual University Rising Star Award to the Georgia Institute of Technology for its commitment to providing successful outreach and support programs that address the needs of underrepresented minorities in engineering.

Georgia Tech’s efforts in addressing such needs have traditionally received recognition from various sources. Diverse Issues in Higher Education, for instance, ranks  the University No. 1 in multiple categories: engineering bachelor’s degrees awarded to all minority students, engineering doctoral degrees awarded to African Americans, engineering doctoral degrees awarded to Hispanics and engineering doctoral degrees awarded to all minority students. Hispanic Business Magazine also recently named Georgia Tech No. 1 among engineering graduate schools.

Dr. Rafael L. Bras, provost and executive vice president for Academic Affairs at Georgia Tech, accepted the award during NACME’s Awards Dinner and Celebration, and thanked all of the individuals and departments at Georgia Tech – from Enrollment Services to the College of Engineering – dedicated to attracting and supporting underrepresented students as they pursue careers in engineering.

“I am proud that our efforts to improve diversity span the full spectrum,” Bras said in a news release. “We work with all age groups to cultivate a diverse pipeline by increasing engineering awareness in the K-12 arena and exposing students to real-world, hands-on engineering experiences; we work with high school students; we celebrate our minority students and their accomplishments; and we have programs to promote graduate education – particularly in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields – among women and underrepresented minorities.”

Bras added that Georgia Tech remains committed to its goals of diversity and inclusiveness and to providing the best education to all students.

“The support and recognition of great organizations like NACME is very much appreciated,” he said.



New science scholarship stems Armstrong student opportunities 

The Colleges of Science and Technology and Education are collaborating to give Armstrong students a unique opportunity. Armstrong was granted the Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship program for students majoring in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree from Armstrong and later a master of Arts in teaching degree. 

Upon completion of these two degrees, recipients of the STEM scholarship will have a great chance of becoming K-12 STEM teachers.

The two colleges partnered with the Savannah-Chatham County Public School System and local YMCAs, allowing Armstrong students to interact with local school systems as teacher assistants and tutors for low-income students in the regional area. 

After completing the STEM bachelor’s degree and the MAT, students may be placed into a high-needs school for a minimum of two years, for each year the student received the loan.

“Many schools in Georgia are considered high-need schools,” said Delana Nivens, assistant dean of the College of Science and Technology. “The Chatham County school system has partnered with Armstrong to get students into the classroom and experience teaching, opening the door for more teachers, highly qualified teachers.” 

Although the program is based around Chatham County, students are not required to teach in the area.

Robert Gregerson, dean of the College of Science and Technology, is thrilled to be granted another scholarship funded by the National Science Foundation. 

“[The] first scholarship, S-STEM, is for students interested in STEM fields without wanting to be educators,” Gregerson said. “STEM Teacher is for STEM students wanting to become educators.”

“[The Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship program] is the first grant program, where majority of the money is for the students,” Nivens said. 

Over $900,000 out of the $1.2 million will go directly to the students. 

“Students may receive up to $10,000 a year for three years that the student participates in the program.” 

There are three different transitions within the STEM Teacher program: Fellows, Scholars and MASTER Scholars. Fellows are freshmen and sophomores who are exploring the option of teaching. Scholars are juniors and seniors who have decided to become STEM teachers, and MASTER Scholars are students who graduated with a science degree and are pursuing a MAT at the College of Education.

Gregerson and Nivens both agree the STEM Teacher Scholarship benefits Armstrong but is most valuable to the students who receive the scholarship. 

“Students will less likely face financial hardships, which will make it easier for students to progress, graduate, and go into their working field,” Gregerson said. 

“Teaching internships are difficult for many students because of the commitment to being in the school,” Nivens said. “This scholarship helps these students.” 

“There has been a greater push for STEM Teachers to recognize STEM students in high school to set them on the right path, even before entering college,” said Sherry Lester, a mathematics teacher in a Georgia high-needs public school. 



Grant helps bring NASA curriculum to Peach County High School

FORT VALLEY -- With the help of a nationwide grant, rocket science might become the norm in some Peach County High School classes.

The school’s STEM -- Science, Technology Engineering and Math -- Academy will soon teach NASA curriculum, give students hands-on robotics experience and offer field trips to universities, the Museum of Aviation and the Kennedy Space Center.

STEM already gives students rigorous science and math courses to prepare them for college and future careers. Now, the academy will take those classes a step further through the new program dubbed “Out of the Box -- STEM-Ulation for the Left and Right Brains.” The program, which kicked off Monday, is sponsored by the Fort Valley chapter of The Links Inc., a women’s volunteer service organization. The local chapter recently snagged a two-year, $20,000 grant from The Links Foundation, which wanted to use those funds to encourage more minority students to take part in STEM. The Links Foundation received a $250,000 grant from Chevron, which it split among its chapters.

“We recognized an achievement gap, typically between majority and minority students,” said Starlac McGhee, STEM committee co-chairwoman for the local chapter of The Links. “Sometimes, folks are intimidated by (the STEM Academy), and some see it as un-cool.”

McGhee and others hope the new program will change those attitudes. Teachers will soon begin training on how to incorporate NASA education curriculum into their lessons. Professors and students from Fort Valley State University will travel to the high school to show students how to create and use robotic technology. Students will learn how to write and de-bug computer programs. They will travel to career sites where people use those skills every day.

Students often ask, “Where am I going with my education? How is this relating to the world and to me,” said Anita Mathis, deputy principal of the STEM Academy at Peach County High School. “This is giving them exposure.”

This year, 87 sophomores, juniors and seniors participate in the STEM Academy, and officials hope the new program will not only give those students a boost, but will persuade others to give STEM a try. Next year, STEM officials will try to recruit freshmen, Mathis said.

“The primary goal is to try to get more students, more minority students to develop an awareness in terms of what the possibilities are,” McGhee said, “and to ... fulfill the careers that our society needs.”


PNC Grants $1.2 Million To Expand Atlanta Pre-K Arts And Science Programs And Quality Early Childhood Education In Georgia

Efforts to improve arts and science skills among Atlanta preschoolers and support Georgia's quality ranking system for child care centers received a boost in the form of $1.2 million in grants from the PNC Foundation.

Fernbank Museum of Natural History, Sheltering Arms Early Education & Family Centers, and Young Audiences, Woodruff Art Center will share a three-year, $1 million grant to enhance access to arts and science resources for hundreds of pre-k students, their families and early childhood educators in lower-income communities.

In addition, a $200,000 grant from the  PNC Foundation, which receives its principal funding from The PNC Financial Services Group (NYSE: PNC), will support Quality Rated, Georgia's new quality rating system to assess, improve, and communicate the level of quality in early care and education programs.

"Georgia's children are the future of our state and have the right to a quality early education that supports their individual potential," said Georgia Governor Nathan Deal. "These funds from PNC will be used to support non-profit early care and education programs throughout Georgia as they raise their standards beyond licensing compliance and become Quality Rated."

The Georgia Family Connection Partnership will assist early childhood education centers throughout the state to help raise their quality ratings. The statewide organization will use the PNC grant to provide professional development conferences for early childhood education centers in low- to moderate-income communities.  The sessions will help centers meet goals set under the state's new Quality Rated system.

"Our support of science and arts education for area preschoolers is a strategic investment to help children succeed in school and life," said PNC Chairman and Chief Executive Officer James E. Rohr.  "This early education initiative represents a commitment to the rich, cultural energy that has distinguished Atlanta and furthers our investment in school readiness."

Under the arts and science initiative, more than 500 Sheltering Arms' students will benefit from field trips and an expanded arts and science focused curriculum, and their families will receive hands-on learning resources and complimentary family passes to the Fernbank Museum and Woodruff Arts. The grant will also fund professional development workshops, classroom supplies and other resources for 26 early childhood educators.

Today's grant announcements with Rohr and Eddie Meyers, PNC's regional president for Greater Georgia, mark the local launch of PNC Grow Up Great, a $350 million, multi-year, bilingual initiative that began in 2004 to improve early childhood education for children from birth to age 5. To date, the program has served more than 1.5 million preschoolers and PNC employees have recorded approximately 293,000 hours through a progressive policy that permits 40 hours a year of paid time off for volunteerism.

In addition, PNC will donate 10,000 "Happy, Healthy, Ready for School – Math Is Everywhere" activity kits to supplement mathematics learning for participating children. Created by Sesame Workshop as part of a continuing partnership with PNC, the bilingual, multimedia kits include a guide for parents and caregivers, a children's book, along with an original Sesame StreetTM DVD. Math Is Everywhere materials are available for free at all PNC Bank branches,, and


Northrop Grumman Foundation and National Math and Science Initiative Announce National STEM Education Program Results

In partnership with the National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI), the Northrop Grumman Foundation announced that three high schools that the foundation sponsored as part of the Initiative for Military Families have produced a combined 105 percent increase in qualifying scores on Advanced Placement (AP) math, science and English test scores in the first year of program sponsorship.

The initiative's mission is to provide consistent, high-level math and science education in high schools serving military bases in the United States. The program brings college-level math, science and English courses to students through the AP curriculum and provides continuity for students in that coursework when their families are transferred.

"It's encouraging that after such outstanding efforts put in by the students, teachers and administrators, we saw such strong results proving that all their time and dedication to this program has paid off," said Sandra Evers-Manly, president of the Northrop Grumman Foundation. "We know how important science and math are to our nation's future. Northrop Grumman and the Northrop Grumman Foundation are committed to improving education through programs that support students and teachers, and improving science, technology, engineering and math curricula."

The Northrop Grumman Foundation funds three schools: Carl Albert High School in Midwest City, Okla.; Eisenhower High School in Lawton, Okla.; and Howard High School, Macon, Ga. Enrollment for the 2012-2013 school year has seen a 128 percent increase since the program's inception.

"These results are phenomenal. They will open doors to college for these students. Many of them have parents who are serving our country and have had to make sacrifices themselves," said Gregg Fleisher, senior vice president of NMSI. "We are so grateful to the Northrop Grumman Foundation for supporting this program as it gives students here the skills they will need to succeed in a more complicated world."





University STEM initiative wins statewide awards

Georgia College’s Program of Distinction, Science to Serve, is winner of this year’s first S.T.E.M. Education Awards.

 Presented by Technology Association of Georgia (TAG) and TAG Education Collaborative (TAG-Ed), the award recognizes the university’s program for its outstanding efforts and achievement in supporting and promoting science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education in Georgia.

“We’re honored to be recognized among a select group of universities that dedicate significant resources to STEM education,” said Dr. Rosalie Richards, Kaolin Endowed Chair in Science and director of the Science Education Center at Georgia College. “Access by all to STEM disciplines is the tenet of our work. We believe the Science to Serve Initiative provides a national model for how small colleges with notable STEM programs can help build the STEM capacity of their regional communities.”

Georgia College won in the STEM education category for post-secondary outreach.

Georgia College became one of six university finalists in this category, winning against Armstrong Atlantic State University in Savannah; Columbus Technical College in Columbus; Georgia Gwinnett College in Lawrenceville; Savannah State University in Savannah; and Savannah Technical College in Savannah.

“Today, Georgia companies are struggling to fill more than 4,000 technology positions,” said Michael Robertson, executive director of TAG-Ed. “By 2018, we will need to fill an additional 211,000 STEM-related jobs. Georgia College's Science to Serve Initiative is one of those key programs that prepares students for careers in these fields and is making great strides to advance STEM education. By celebrating these efforts, we expect to continue to build a strong STEM community.”

Georgia College’s Science to Serve Initiative is an innovative program advancing the interest, engagement and understanding of science by people of all backgrounds.

Since 2001, the initiative has impacted more than 50 Georgia counties through K-12 outreach activities that provide pathways to STEM at the post-secondary level, from workshops and institutes with educators from across the state to career development programs with high school students.

Each academic year, approximately 12,000 students, teachers and parents participate in Science to Serve activities.

Georgia College Science to Serve resources include the Natural History Museum & Planetarium, Office of Academic Outreach, Science Education Center, Educational Greenhouse, Project FOCUS, the new Center for Engaged Learning, Innovative Course-building Group, student STEM clubs, the new observatory, STEM Initiative and STEM-related departments.

During 2008, Science to Serve officially became one of six Georgia College Programs of Distinction — providing a distinctive niche in an academic area of state, national and international significance.

The local program also partners with state and national organizations to develop and implement interdisciplinary approaches to science.

“The award acknowledges Georgia College’s goal of strengthening community, state and national ties through programs, partnerships, research and service that enhances economic and educational opportunities,” said Dr. Matthew Liao-Troth, interim provost at Georgia College. “We are delighted to serve the state through Science to Serve and other programs that bring the liberal arts into practice for the good of all Georgians.”

Visit for more information about Georgia College’s Science to Serve Initiative.



Georgia Fuels STEM Education With 'Innovation' Grants

A new batch of "Innovation Fund" grants announced by Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal features a strong emphasis on improving STEM learning. The projects to win support in this third round include building "computational thinking" into high school STEM curricula, developing hands-on STEM learning units pegged to environmental issues with the state's coastal region, and expanding a STEAM-themed school (with an "A" for the arts) into the high school grades.

"The Innovation Fund empowers local communities to work together and think creatively about how to best address their educational needs," said Gov. Deal, a Republican, in a press release issued yesterday.

This latest round of nine grants total about $4.5 million. In all, the state's Innovation Fund, developed with support from Georgia's $400 million federal Race to the Top award, will devote $20 million to a variety of projects focused on STEM learning, improving teacher effectiveness, expanding charter schools with "special characteristics. All the grants involve partnerships between school districts or charter schools with other entities, such as postsecondary institutions, businesses, and nonprofit groups.

The STEM-focused grants announced this week in Georgia include:

• $431,000
Computational Thinking
Georgia Tech will work with Atlanta's Mays High School and other teachers in the Atlanta district to develop and implement a "systematic approach" to including computational thinking in STEM curricula.

• $703,000
Coastal Issues and STEM
Georgia Southern University, seven area research institutes, and six school districts will develop STEM learning units related to the environmental concerns with Georgia's coastal region.

• $677,000
Rockdale 21st Century Academy of Environmental Studies
The Rockdale County school district, in collaboration with Georgia Tech and AVID (Advancement via Individual Determination, a college-readiness program) will create a middle-grades magnet school that uses portfolio and project-based learning, with an emphasis on environmental science.

• $750,000
Expanding a STEAM School
Drew Charter School in Atlanta, Georgia Tech's Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics, and Computing (and the Georgia State University School of Music) will expand their STEAM-focused school, now serving grades K-8, to include grades 9-12.

• $52,000
STEAM Makeover
The Greene County school district, Georgia Tech, and the University of Georgia will develop a proposal to convert a traditional public school into a STEAM-themed charter school.

A fourth and final round of Innovation Fund grants from Georgia will be announced in January.





Georgia Department of Education Launches Microsoft IT Training Program Statewide to Equip Students with 21st Century Skills for Success

The Georgia Department of Education announced a collaboration with Microsoft Corp. to offer the Microsoft IT Academy (ITA) Program statewide to provide students with real-world technology skills to help them thrive in the 21st century economy.

By working together with Microsoft, Georgia's 463 high schools will have access to classroom lab licensing, learning content, lesson plans, teacher resources, professional development and class projects annually. In addition, the 460,000 high school students in Georgia's public schools can earn industry-recognized certifications on Microsoft programs that will help them pursue careers in business, technology, engineering, science and beyond.

"We are committed to giving Georgia students the skills they need to be ready for whatever they want to do after high school, whether it be college or a career," said State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge. "We want to produce a technology-savvy workforce by ensuring access to these resources in every school across the state."

The Microsoft IT Academy Program bridges the world of education and work. It is a comprehensive program that supports ongoing technology education for students, teachers and other education professionals spanning computer basics to high-level programming, along with information and communications technology management.

The IT Academy will be incorporated into several of the 17 career clusters under Georgia's Career Pathways initiative, which will launch in fall 2013. Under the initiative, students will choose a career pathway in high school and will take classes tailored to what they want to do after graduation.

"The IT Academy will help build a pipeline of innovators in Georgia as the program helps students gain interest in STEM subjects, science, technology, engineering and math, and spur ideas for how they can be applied in the real world," said Cameron Evans, Chief Technology Officer for U.S. Education, Microsoft. "Students will be able to graduate high school with industry credentials that are globally recognized in the business world."

The collaboration with Microsoft was announced at Fayette County High School on Wednesday. So far, about 200 high schools across the state have shown interest in implementing the Microsoft IT Academy program for students and teachers.

The program will provide a convenient and flexible learning environment where students can get hands-on experience with the latest technology to gain a competitive edge in today's job market or the next step in their academics. More than half of jobs today require some technology skills, and experts predict that will increase to 77 percent in the next decade, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The program's resources include online learning content, official Microsoft course materials and curriculum and instructor tools.

Georgia is the sixth state in the U.S. to broadly roll out the program, joining more than 13,000 Microsoft IT Academies in 160 countries across the globe.

For more information, visit or .



Georgia Tech, Griffin-Spalding Co. Schools Receive $7.3M for STEM Education
Called Advanced Manufacturing and Prototyping Integrated to Unlock Potential (AMP-IT-UP), the project aims to inspire students to study STEM topics, particularly manufacturing, by exploring their creativity and watching their creations come to life.
The National Science Foundation has awarded the Georgia Institute of Technology and the Griffin-Spalding County School System a five-year, $7.3 million grant to enhance middle and high-school education in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.
The initiative – led by Georgia Tech’s George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering in collaboration with the Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics and Computing (CEISMC) – will introduce about 5,100 Griffin-Spalding County students in grades six through nine to advanced manufacturing learning experiences, such as working with robots and creating items using computer design and 3-D printers.
Called Advanced Manufacturing and Prototyping Integrated to Unlock Potential (AMP-IT-UP), the project aims to inspire students to study STEM topics, particularly manufacturing, by exploring their creativity and watching their creations come to life.   
“With AMP-IT-UP we hope to inspire all students to connect with STEM fields,” CEISMC Associate Director and AMP-IT-UP Program Director Marion Usselman said in a release. “In particular, we want to catch those students who might be our future creative innovators but who are at risk of falling through the cracks in our current book and test-driven education.”
Student classroom experiences will be broadened by extracurricular clubs and competitions provided through the AMP-IT-UP project. Georgia Tech faculty and students will mentor Griffin-Spalding students in clubs such as the Junior Makers Club and robotic competitions including FIRST LEGO League and FIRST Robotics.
Additionally, Georgia Tech faculty will be using the project for research purposes. They will be investigating whether STEM innovation and design courses impact students’ academic engagement, content understanding, knowledge transfer and persistence in STEM. Researchers will also study how professional development of teachers affects the deployment of the advanced manufacturing curriculum, and will explore and describe the barriers to change within educational systems.
“To develop and put into practice innovative approaches and strategies in math and science based on educational research is phenomenal,” Griffin-Spalding County School System Superintendent Curtis Jones said in a releae.
Georgia Tech and the school system have been awarded $2.9 million for the first two years of the grant, with another $4.3 million to follow in 2014.



STEM Small Grants Program 2012-2013
As a part of the Board of Regents’ STEM Initiative (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), the UGA Office of STEM Education awarded a total of 12 small grants to fund research projects to improve instruction and enhance the success of students taking STEM courses. The ultimate goal is to increase the number of STEM majors and the number of students prepared to teach STEM courses in grades 6-12.
Armstrong, Norris
UGA, Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, Genetics/Biology Division
Stanger-Hall, Kathrin
UGA, Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, Plant Biology
Improving Assessment in Introductory Biology
Stanger-Hall, Kathrin
UGA, Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, Plant Biology
"Science Pets" for Learning about Biodiversity: Implementation (Continuation Request)
Beckmann, Sybilla
UGA, Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, Mathematics
Izsak, Andrew
UGA, College of Education, Mathematics and Science Education
Proportional Reasoning of Middle Grades Pre-service Teachers (PROMPT)
Cantarella, Jason
UGA, Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, Mathematics
Shonkwiler, Clay
UGA, Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, Mathematics
Providing Context for Calculus with Video Games and Data
Dustman, Wendy
UGA, Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, Microbiology
Orey, Michael
UGA, College of Education, Education Psychology and Instructional Technology
Changes in Attitude, Motivation and Learning Efficacy Resulting from Blended (Hybrid) Teaching in an Upper Division Science Undergraduate Course
Grundstein, Andrew
UGA, Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, Geography
Porinchu, David
UGA, Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, Geography
Vercoe, Richard
UGA, Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, Geography
Akers, Pete
UGA, Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, Geography
Das, Ujjaini
UGA, Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, Geography
The Development of "Inquiry-Based" Exercises on Local Physical Geographic Processes and Landforms for Geography 1111L: An Introduction to Physical Geography Labratory Sections
Kong, Fanbin
UGA, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Food Science and Technology
Shewfelt, Robert
UGA, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Biological and Agricultural Engineering
Improving the "Heat Transfer" Educational Video Game for Enhanced Learning Outcomes
Mao, Leidong
UGA, Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center (NanoSEC), Faculty of Engineering
Lab-on-a-chip Teaching Module for Undergraduate Students at the University of Georgia
Salguero, Tina
UGA, Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, Chemistry
Outreach-Focused Course Component for UGA Chemistry Undergraduates
Tippins, Deborah
UGA, College of Education, Mathematics and Science Education
Shen, Ji
UGA, College of Education, Mathematics and Science Education
An Analysis of Pre-service Science Teachers' Interdisciplinary Understandings of Design Technology in Physics: The Case of Newton'sThird Law and Linguine
Shen, Ji
UGA, College of Education, Mathematics and Science Education
Oliver, Steve
UGA, College of Education, Mathematics and Science Education
Developing a Transformative Knowledge System for Pre-service Science Teachers: Phase II
White, Dorothy
UGA, College of Education, Mathematics and Science Education
Smith, Bettye
UGA, College of Education, Workforce Education, Leadership and Social Foundations
Expanding a Cultural Awareness Unit for Pre-service Mathematics Teachers

The 1st Annual S.T.E.M. Education Awards  
September 14, 2012
Savannah International Trade & Convention Center
Savannah, GA  
            The first annual S.T.E.M. Education Awards will honor Schools, Extracurricular Programs, Public-Private Partnerships, Science Agencies and Post-Secondary Education Outreach Programs for outstanding efforts and achievement in supporting and promoting Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math Education in Georgia.  
            Please join the Technology Association of Georgia and our partners as we recognize the importance of S.T.E.M. education and preparing Georgia's students to be the workforce of tomorrow on September 14, 2012, at the Savannah International Trade & Convention Center.  
12:00-1:30 KEYNOTE LUNCH: Dr. Linda P. Rosen, CEO of Change the Equation  
1:30-2:30 PANEL 1: Best Practices For Forming Public-Private Partnerships
2:30-3:30 PANEL 2: Technology in the 21st Century Classroom
3:30-4:30 PANEL 3: How to Build A Strong Volunteer Base Between Business & Education   
6:00-9:00 STEM Education Awards, Dinner Reception & Keynote Address with Scientific American's Anna Kuchment and the co-founder of Wolfram Research, Theo Gray.  
Key S.T.E.M. education stakeholders, community and business leaders are encouraged to join us for this important gathering of thought-leaders. Proceeds for the S.T.E.M. Education Awards will go to support the TAG Education Collaborative, a non-profit 501c3 dedicated to advancing S.T.E.M. education in Georgia, and TAG Savannah. 
For more information on TAG Education Collaborative please contact Michael Robertson at  
For more infomation on TAG Savannah please contact Brady Cannon at       



Georgia Southern University Establishes New Interdisciplinary STEM Education Institute
Georgia Southern University has established a new institute for interdisciplinary STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Education (I2STEMe) (pronounced “I two STEM e”) that will support thematic grant writing, research and outreach.  The Institute is committed to excellence in primary, secondary and higher education STEM teaching and learning with a focus on rural and diverse populations under-represented in STEM areas. 
“Georgia Southern University is not only committed to increasing the numbers of those entering STEM fields, but also to creating an environment where our citizens are more STEM literate and can make informed decisions about complex issues,” said Georgia Southern President Brooks Keel, Ph.D.,.  The announcement comes on the heels of a White House initiative to create a new national STEM Master Teacher Corps and a focus on increased funding that allows school districts to identify, develop and leverage highly effective STEM teachers.
“This new institute will not only support a strategic and important national initiative, but it will position Georgia Southern to play an important role as we work to inspire Georgia’s best and brightest K-12 students to pursue STEM careers,” Keel said.
The Institute will create a broad range of partnerships across academia, business, education and research centers in southeast Georgia, support professional development, outreach, curricular development, the creation of innovative courses and research in STEM education through grant funded projects.   The Institute, one of the first of its kind, will be distinctive in that it will focus on serving rural southeastern Georgia.
“Georgia Southern has a track record in developing programs that serve the special needs of our region, a largely rural and ethnically diverse area,” said Charles Patterson, Ph.D., vice president of research and dean of the Jack N. Averitt College of Graduate Studies. “Our goal is to provide greater access for rural and underserved populations to science, technology, engineering and math by helping these students to pursue degrees and careers in those areas.”
The STEM institute is being established through a unique collaboration of core partners: Georgia Southern’s new Allen E. Paulson College of Engineering and Information Technology, the College of Science and Mathematics, the College of Education and the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences.  This interdisciplinary collaboration addresses and integrates all four facets of STEM curriculum; utilizing cutting-edge research and educational practice in teaching from kindergarten through college.
“I2STEMe is the only institute within the University System of Georgia to address all four components of STEM disciplines within the framework of educational practice,” says Keel.  “It is unique, but more importantly it addresses a specific need in our state.”
Georgia Southern research professor Robert Mayes, Ph.D., who teaches in the College of Education,  will serve as the first I2STEMe Director alongside Institute Fellows Joy Darley, Ph.D. and Jim LoBue, Ph.D., both from the College of Science and Mathematics; and Shonda Bernadin, Ph.D., from the Allen E. Paulson College of Engineering and Information Technology.

For further information about the Institute, please contact Dr. Robert Mayes, or visit the Institute’s website at



Georgia Tech Partnerships Support State K-12 STEM Education

Strengthening education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) remains a priority in Georgia. With approximately $1.6 million in funding made possible through Race to the Top (RT3) program, the Georgia Institute of Technology is partnering with K-12 schools to address this challenge.
Georgia Tech has a role in three of the five projects approved through the initial round of Innovation Fund grants recently announced by Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal. The projects were selected from among 70 competing for support of high-impact programs for student success.
Teach for Georgia, a collaborative partnership between Georgia Tech, the Okefenokee Regional Educational Services Agency (RESA) and the Ware and Dougherty county school districts, is a teacher pipeline program modeled after the successful Teach for America (TFA) initiative. A $1 million grant will provide funding to recruit Georgia Tech STEM majors to teach in underserved rural Georgia school districts. The grant will cover two years of competitive salaries and certification support for program participants.
There are a myriad of reasons for the shortage of academically qualified STEM secondary education teachers in rural Georgia, according to Donna Llewellyn, director of Georgia Tech’s Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning. “Teach for Georgia will address two of our primary concerns: the shortage of necessary funds available to hire new teachers and the ability to attract new STEM graduates to these communities.”
A second $270,000 grant will support continued collaboration between Barrow County and Georgia Tech for a novel program that brings higher-education instruction to K-12 students via a sophisticated high-definition (HD) videoconferencing platform. Known as Direct to Discovery (D2D), the program has already connected high-school classrooms directly to cutting-edge research under the direction of scientists and engineers from Georgia Tech and the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI).
Georgia Tech will also partner with Georgia State University and Drew Charter School to establish one of the state’s first STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) programs. The initiative involves collaboration with three Georgia Tech units: Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics and Computing (CEISMC), Ferst Center for the Arts and the College of Architecture. CEISMC will also provide professional development for teachers and conduct project evaluation. Georgia Tech will receive approximately $385,000 to support these programs.
The Innovation Fund was created from $400 million in RT3 funding awarded in August 2010. The state’s application included extensive input from education stakeholders and members of the business and philanthropic communities who helped develop the program.



Georgia Certifies First STEM School

Every morning, the roughly 270 third, fourth and fifth-graders at the Marietta Center for Advanced Academics (MCAA) each spend about an hour doing activities like these:

In one class, Nino Fasula is working on an assignment that combines science research and creative writing.

“We started off learning about poems, and then we started learning about Mars,” he says. “So we just started to combine Mars and poems, so we came out with starting to make Mars poems.”

Down the hall, Nyah Gulri is designing a birdhouse. ”I’m looking at birds that are in Georgia that nest in birdhouses,” she explains. “I found a bird called a brown thrasher and I’m looking at how big of a nest they need.”

And Shreya Gelli is drawing to-scale blueprints of a sculpture that she will eventually build out of plywood and recycled bottle-caps.

“We’re doing a pineapple,” she says. “First, we find out on the internet…how tall it is. Then we go onto a website that converts it to centimeters, and that’s the dimensions we’re going to use when we do it on the plywood.”

What all these classes have in common, says MCAA principal Jennifer Hernandez, is that students use science, math and technology to solve problems rooted in engineering and design.

“We don’t want them to create something that’s cookie-cutter; we don’t want to tell them what to do,” Hernandez says. “So they are given the engineering design challenge – the problem – they’re given the criteria and the constraints and then they have to develop what they want the end product to be. And that’s where the innovation and the creative and critical thinking come in.”

It’s that way of designing a class that helped MCAA become the state’s first school to win STEM certification from the Georgia Department of Education. State officials hope that the new designation will help parents find top-notch science, technology, engineering and math programs and give schools the incentive to bring their programs to a higher level.

President Barack Obama has made improving STEM education a national priority, and many states are trying to spur schools to bolster their programs. Georgia’s STEM certification program is one way of doing that.

Gilda Lyon, who directs the state’s STEM certification program, says that even schools with strong math and science programs might not meet the qualifications for certification.

“A lot of schools are doing real high-level math and science, but they don’t have any business partners or they don’t give the teachers time to plan together or the math and science is simply isolated,” Lyon says.

What she’s looking for is schools that show how the fields relate to one another.

“So that students understand that math is not just for math class – how many times have we heard kids say, this is not English, why do I need to learn English here?” Lyon says. “We want them to understand that math is a part of science and math is a tool for science teachers to help students become deeper learners.”

Kara Householder, the fourth-grade teacher overseeing Shreya Gelli’s pineapple sculpture project, explains how that integration works in practice. “What this class does is we combine art and mathematics with the engineering process,” she says.

Householder teaches her students about renewable and non-renewable resources by having the students collect plastic bottle-caps – which she says would otherwise probably end up in landfills or waterways. Instead, the students use the bottle-caps to design and build sculptures.

“So we’ve found a way to reuse them and a way to create some beautiful artwork,” Householder says. “So they study scale factor, blueprint design, symmetry, drawing to scale, which they’re working on now. And they’re finding it extremely difficult to make their blueprints symmetric and at the appropriate scale.”

Linda Hutchinson, an MCAA teacher who helped develop the program, says that STEM fields are a natural for elementary school students because they bring skills from all academic fields together.

“It is all inclusive,” Hutchinson says. “We’re just bringing science out of the textbook and out of the science classroom and into all of the other areas of education.”

The school’s staff designed its own program so that teachers could tailor their classes to their own interests and passion, but also for a practical reason: most STEM material that had been developed was targeted for high school teachers. “Really, when we opened in 2005, you could have gone on the internet and looked up STEM elementary program and you wouldn’t have found anything,” Hernandez says.

“We tried to picture, what would this look like for elementary school students and for elementary teachers,” Hutchinson says. “It actually was not that difficult to do for an elementary school. Elementary tends to be a little more interdisciplinary anyway — we’re used to relating and making connections between our subjects a little bit more than the departmentalized atmosphere of middle school and upper school.”

The key piece, Hutchinson says, is the engineering. “That’s the part that scares most people but actually it’s the part that pulls everything together,” she says. “It’s the part that brings out the hands-on, problem-solving, real-world learning for the students. Engineering is designing to solve a problem.”

Lyon says MCAA is leading a trend of in-depth STEM instruction into the lower grades. ”They’re at the front wave of it, but I’m telling you, the wave right behind them is way up there,” she says. “I’m inundated every day with elementary schools wanting to know more about STEM.”

Francis Eberley, the executive director of the National Science Teachers Association, says that the trend is a big change from the past decade, when many schools reduced science instruction in order to spend more time focusing on more heavily tested subjects.

“What the science, technology and math schools are doing is that they’re really elevating science to the same level of importance as reading and mathematics, and that hasn’t occurred on a broad level,” Eberley says. “And I think Georgia is really doing that with this model.”

And while MCAA teaches students who already score high on standardized tests, school staff and Gilda Lyon at the Department of Education argue that it’s a model that can be used by any school.

“We want to make sure this is clear: This is not just for elite students, this is for all kids,” Lyon says. “The thinking processes that need to go on in STEM classes – those are the things that are good for all children, regardless of whether you ever go into a math field or a science field. The kind of wiring that goes on in your brain – that’s what’s important, that will not change in a child’s brain once that wiring for science and math takes place.”

As more schools prepare their STEM programs for certification, that theory is about to be put into practice.





 Georgia Announces Adult Education Leaders


Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) Commissioner Ron Jackson recently named Beverly E. Smith assistant commissioner of the state’s adult education programs. Jackson also announced that the state’s former adult education assistant commissioner, Josephine Reed-Taylor, has been promoted to the TCSG’s number-two spot as deputy commissioner of the statewide technical college system. Smith is a former educator, corporate manager, consultant, and trainer. She recently served as executive director of the TCSG Foundation, Inc., the system’s fundraising arm. Smith spent 18 years with AT&T and Southern Bell as a corporate manager and worked as a college administrator at Kent State University in Ohio and Georgia State University. She also served as an Upward Bound program director and taught high school in Ohio. Deputy Commissioner Reed-Taylor will now work with the commissioner to oversee Georgia’s 28 technical colleges, the state Office of Adult Education, and the Quick Start workforce development program. Reed-Taylor has led the state’s adult education programs since 2006. She has maintained a successful 40-year career in postsecondary administration in Georgia, Minnesota, South Carolina and New York.




TAG Education Collaborative (TAG-ED) has announced the launch of their new website at The user-friendly site offers information about the organization's operation, programs, events, as well as resource information and news.

"This site is an effort to provide TAG-ED with a platform to create more community awareness about the importance of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education and its role in the development of the next generation of innovation.", said John Hurlbut, Executive Director of TAG-ED. "We wanted a clean and navigable website that our stakeholders will find appealing and informative."

Visitors to this site can read about the organization's history and services, as well as the profile of each member of the TAG-ED Board of Directors.

The new site was built by Glick Interactive to be a destination for visitors to learn about TAG-ED news as well as education news around the country while giving TAG-ED sponsors a way to advertise and promote messaging towards the TAG-ED constituency. "We built the TAG-ED site on the Drupal platform to give the TAG ED administrators the power of a content management system (CMS) to manage the site content, events, and sponsorships", stated Abhi Goel, President of Glick. The website is hosted at Colocube (, a TAG-ED sponsor.

Formerly the TAG Foundation, the TAG Education Collaborative is a 501c3 non-profit organization which was formed by the Technology Association of Georgia in 1999. In 2009, the organization's name was changed to the TAG Education Collaborative (TAG-ED) to facilitate a re-branding that would enable it to be a catalyst for Georgia's K-12 education system to become a leader and innovator for STEM related education. TAG-ED's efforts in this area are vital to the development of the talent that will be required to fill the growing demand for qualified staff for careers in information technology, science and engineering.

Glick Interactive as an Atlanta based, full-service web development and design firm with international offices in Moscow and New Delhi. Glick leverages the latest Internet and interactive technologies to make its clients successful. Glick takes pride in its work and constantly strives for excellence.

About The Technology Association of Georgia (TAG)
TAG is a leading technology industry association dedicated to the promotion and economic advancement of the state's technology industry. TAG provides leadership in driving initiatives in the areas of policy, capital, education and giving, and also brings the technology community together through events, initiative programs and networking opportunities. TAG serves as an umbrella organization for 27 special interest groups, or Societies, including Women in Technology (WIT). Additionally, TAG's charitable arm, the TAG Education Collaborative, is focused on helping science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education initiatives thrive. For more information visit the TAG website at or TAG's community website at

The Technology Association of Georgia (TAG) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to support its members by generating opportunities for personal, professional and business growth. By forging strategic alliances, TAG serves as a primary catalyst to foster a rich environment for economic development in Georgia's technology community. TAG is made up of over 10,500 members representing technology leaders from over 1,400 Georgia-based companies, affiliated technology and business organizations. TAGthink is the TAG's community website.