Tag Archives: STEM

STEM Science Fair Projects Help Students Prepare for Real-Life Careers

Science fair projects are a great way for students to test out their interest and aptitude for a career in STEM (science-technology-engineering-math). But they shouldn’t choose just any old topic. Try to focus on projects with real-world applications that will give them some experience in a good-paying job field, like engineering. With planning and hard work, the right science fair project might bump up a student’s chances for a scholarship or Continue reading

E is for Engineering – The Best STEM Careers

2013 First Lego League Global Innovation Award winners, the NeXT GEN Team

The NeXT GEN Team won the 2013 FIRST Lego League Global Innovation Award for developing a tool to help seniors pick up small objects, such as pills, using robotic technology.

As someone with a degree in engineering, I’ve noticed a peculiar fact. In the world of STEM (Science-Technology-Engineering-Math) engineering careers appear to be the ugly ducklings of the group.

There’s a lot of talk about teaching kids to code, which falls under math, computer science and technology. There’s also a huge emphasis in the media on biotech, space science, and environmental science.

But in my opinion, the lowly engineer gets short shrift. Continue reading

Women in Robotics: Challenges and Progress

Julie Adams, Electrical engineering and computer science professor at Vanderbilt University

Electrical engineering and computer science professor Julie Adams along with students Sean Hayes, right, Mark Bailey, left, Electa Baker and Caroline Harriott, center, work with their remote control robots outside the Student Life Center. (John Russell/Vanderbilt University)

Robotics is one of the fastest growing fields in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and women have benefited from that growth. Over the past three decades, women in robotics have faced challenges, but at the same time, have seen encouraging progress.

“Around the time I entered graduate school in the early 90s, the number of females going into PhD programs in robotics showed a big step up, and I was part of that,” said Julie Adams, associate professor of computer science and computer engineering at Vanderbilt University.

At that time, Adams was one of only three women of the 30 to 35 students in the general robotics, automation, sensing & perception (GRASP) laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania, and one of the first to graduate with a PhD. Continue reading

GMU professor’s “Nanoparticle Net” may detect early cancer, Lyme disease

Women in Science and EngineeringAlessandra Luchini, a Ph.D. and assistant professor at George Mason University, has helped to invent a “nanoparticle trap” which allows scientists to detect unhealthy cells much sooner than before. When found early, cancer and other diseases are easier to treat, giving patients a better chance for survival.

Recently, Luchini gave a lecture on “Nanotechnology in Biomedicine” as part of Mason’s Vision Series at the Hylton Performing Arts Center in Manassas, Virginia. Continue reading

Women in Science and Engineering: Fiber Optics Expert Suzanne R. Nagel

Women in Science and EngineeringIn honor of Women’s History Month, this is the third in a series of posts on some of the accomplished women scientists and engineers I have had the privilege of interacting with throughout my career. Back in 1986, I interviewed almost a dozen women working in fields related to lasers for an article in Lasers & Applications magazine.

Today I focus on another of these women, Suzanne R. Nagel, an engineer at AT&T Bell Laboratories in the area of fiber optics.

Suzanne R. Nagel, Ph.D.

Suzanne R. Nagel, Ph.D.

Without her, you wouldn’t be reading this online. No, she didn’t invent the internet. But she helped make it possible to create the first transoceanic fiber optic cable, leading to today’s high-speed data transmission that makes our world-wide internet service possible. Continue reading