Verizon Commercial 2014 | Inspire Her Mind

“Our words can have a huge impact. Isn’t it time we told her she’s pretty brilliant, too? Encourage her love of science and technology and inspire her to change the world.”– Reshma Saujani, Founder of Girls Who Code

The United States has fallen significantly behind the rest of the world when it comes to the STEM subjects of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. Just as startling is that girls are even less involved in STEM majors and careers than their male counterparts, as women hold less than 25% of our country’s STEM jobs. Working together, let’s encourage more girls to get involved with STEM and choose careers that build a brighter future.

In addition to being the driving force behind programs that inspire, educate, and equip girls with the computing skills to pursue 21st century opportunities, Reshma is a featured MAKER and an inspiration to girls everywhere. Join or start a Girls Who Code club in your community at or hear more from Reshma at

Tune in to the White House Maker Faire!

We’ve got another big first happening at the White House tomorrow, and our guests are making a lot of things besides history:

President Obama will celebrate innovators, entrepreneurs, and tinkerers of all ages from across the country at the first-ever White House Maker Faire.

What do we mean by “Makers,” exactly?

New technologies such as 3D printers, laser cutters, and easy-to-use design software are enabling more Americans to make and build almost anything these days.

Tomorrow’s Maker Faire will feature new and innovative projects, inventions, and designs that are sure to amaze — and some of these projects may very well create industries and jobs of the future.

And starting at 10 a.m. ET, you can watch the entire event live at

Tune in tomorrow and see how America’s students and entrepreneurs are using cutting-edge tools to invent the future.

Episode 33: Alone Down There Update

Andrew SwansonAndrew Swanson was one of the speakers at the inaugural IdeaFestival Bowling Green. He and Chris “Booba” Young talked about a TV pilot they’d developed called Alone Down There using funds they’d raised on Kickstarter, a popular crowdfunding platform. Since that time, Andrew has been searching for the next direction for this project.

Enter the Banff World Media Festival, which for 35 years has brought top leaders from across the evolving media landscape to the heart of the Canadian Rockies for a totally unique experience. The Festival began as an intimate space where unparalleled access and cutting-edge insight could combine to forge relationships, launch new business and aid the ambitious members of a dynamic industry in reaching their goals.

During his time in Canada, Andrew had the chance to hear presentations from industry leaders and pitched his idea more than 15 times. In this episode of the Innovation Update, Andrew shares his experiences at Banff and makes an impassioned pitch to young people who have an idea they’re passionate about.


Being Human: The First Step in STEM Education

Photo courtesy of the Scientific American blog.
Photo courtesy of the Scientific American blog.

From the Scientific American blog: About nine months ago, I and six other young innovators and visionaries from around the country were asked to be part of an exciting addition to the Advisory Board for the USA Science and Engineering Festival, which took place in Washington D.C. in April. We were honored and frankly a bit overwhelmed to be on a list with nearly a dozen Nobel Laureates, the chief technology officers of Microsoft and Lockheed Martin and the inventor of the Rubik’s Cube.

The idea behind the Youth Advisory Board was to bring together some of the nation’s most energetic young minds — Intel science fair winners, literary geniuses, entrepreneurs, a polar explorer and published scientists — with a simple goal: to promote STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education.

There was just one problem: none of us were actually experts in STEM education.

Click here to read this fascinating account of joining the Youth Advisory Board.

STEM Needs to Be Updated to STREAM

StreamFrom the Huffington Post: In 2006 there was a term that started to grow in the United States– STEM education (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). The basis of the STEM movement was the growing concern that our students were not prepared for the high-tech jobs of the future. Just a year later a well-know researcher, Georgette Yakman, announced the need to include the arts in STEM programs; thus STEM became STEAM. Georgette took the inclusion of the arts and expanded on how it relates to the other STEM subjects. Her well-know quote is “Science and technology, interpreted through engineering and the arts, all based in elements of mathematics.” This is a rich beginning to our dive into the 21st century job market… but!

We have lost sight of one very important aspect of our education and all jobs, be they high-tech, low-tech, or no-tech. What about the importance of reading? Without the ability to read and write, there is not a job to be found for which STEM or STEAM education is going to be enough preparation.

Click here to read Rob’s full piece.

Tennessee’s STEM Fellows program seeks to bridge business, education

STEM schoolFrom the Chattanooga Times Free Press: The Southeast Tennessee STEM Initiative is seeking businesses with a desire to improve the quality of public education, and thus the quality of the workforce. Part of its one-year STEM Teaching Fellows program pairs businesses and area teachers together to learn from each other.

The STEM work here was kickstarted by the 2012 opening of STEM School Chattanooga, a Hamilton County public school that opened with support from businesses and nonprofits on the campus of Chattanooga State Community College. But officials are working to spread STEM across Southeast Tennessee through the STEM Innovation Hub.

Aside from working to better educate students in STEM subjects, the regional effort has worked to bring businesses and education together, so that business expectations for the workforce are more aligned with the public schools’ output of graduates.

Click here to read more about this common sense approach to educating students.

NASA, Khan Academy Team Up for STEM Education

Sal KhanFrom Mashable: YouTube education sensation the Khan Academy debuted a series of tutorials on astronomy and space exploration made in collaboration with NASA Thursday.

The announcement at the fourth annual White House Science Fair made it clear that the new tutorials are meant to generate more interest in science, technology, engineering and math (also known as STEM) education.

The tutorials on Khan Academy, a non-profit, educational website, are divided into three different sections. Each section is intended to acquaint the user with different aspects of space, and NASA’s understanding and exploration of it — from teaching users about the different protocols NASA uses to explaining the challenges of Mars exploration.

Click here to read more about this exciting new partnership.

Episode 32: Twyman Clements, Kentucky Space

Twyman Clements Quote CardIn less than 24 hours last November, the students and engineers of Kentucky Space LLC had three satellites launched to orbit on two different rockets from separate continents. These satellites were no larger than a tissue box but were the culmination of countless hours of engineering, design, frustration, and late nights. This work has paid off as all three are zipping around the earth at 5 miles per second 320 miles up and returning data to ground stations in the state.

The focus that comes with working on such a project results in many unintended consequences, making the team think out of the box to build a functional spacecraft in such a small volume in a short time. The funny thing about the drive towards space is it manifests itself in all kinds of capabilities that have, in turn, prepared two dozen students for a future, innovation-driven economy. The team is on the way towards building an emerging space industry in the state of Kentucky.

This episode of the Innovate Update features Twyman’s talk from IFBG: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Space.


Alltech founder announces $500,000 innovation award

Alltech LogoFrom the Herald-Leader: Alltech founder Pearse Lyons announced Monday that he would give away as much as $500,000 a year to help spur economic development, and he gave hints of his plans for Eastern Kentucky.

At the 30th annual Alltech International Symposium at the Lexington Convention Center, Lyons said his “Lyons Den” Innovation Fund was an outgrowth of the Alltech Innovation Competition, conceived as a way to inspire students while contributing to solutions for socioeconomic challenges in Eastern Kentucky. It has since been expanded to Ireland, Lyons’ native country.