24th annual Robotic Car Race Feb 25 for 8th Grade

The Pittsburgh Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) Section will hold its 24th annual Robotic Car Race (IndEEE 500cm) on Saturday, February 25, 2017, at the Carnegie Science Center. The purpose of this race is to interest young students in science and engineering. Students will have fun while applying elementary control systems theory, robotics, and mechanical and electrical engineering principles to their cars. The contestants will be required to adjust various mechanical and electrical control parameters so that their robot car can follow a narrow white line for 500 cm.

The students will be using Lego NXT robots, and the challenge: detect the finish line, turn around, andfollow the track back to the starting line.

All eighth grade students who have not participated in previous years are invited. There will be ten teams chosen to compete. You may enter more than one team of two to four students but they will be allowed to compete subject to availability. Please keep a backup team in case any members of your first team are not able to make it. Your students do not need to bring any materials or tools—a race car kit (Lego NXT robots) and instruction manual will be provided for each team. All contestants and sponsoring teachers will get a Carnegie Science Center admission.

Deadline: Feb. 15, 2017.  Please contact tom.dionise@ieee.org with any questions.

Good luck!

LINK TO FLYER

LINK TO ENTRY FORM

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Opportunities for PA residents to Receive the Training for the Upcoming Construction and Plant Jobs

By Leah Kennelly

Summary of January 18, 2017
Town Hall Meeting
with PA Auditor General
Eugene DePasquale

A panel discussion with the Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale was held on Wednesday, January 18, 2017 at the Penn State Beaver Campus focusing on the Cracker Plant Workforce Development.  Including the Auditor General, members of the panel included:

  • Rick Okraszewski: Training Director at the Carpenters Joint Training Fund
  • Steve Columbus:  Administrative Manager at Western PA Operating Engineers
  • Jason Fincke:  Executive Director at the Builders Guild of Western PA, Inc.
  • Jill Valentine:  Education Program Associate – Continuing Education at Penn State University
  • John Goberish:  Dean of Workforce and Continuing Education at Community College of Beaver County
  • Jack Manning:  Executive Director and President of Beaver County Chamber of Commerce

The Pennsylvania Auditor General’s focus is to audit the workforce within the state to ensure that as jobs are created within the state, the positions are filled by Pennsylvania residents.  For this to be achieved, however, the residents must have the needed skill set to fill the positions.  With the construction of the Shell Chemical ethane cracker plant in Potter Township to launch in January 2018, as many as 6,000 workers could be needed.  The focus of the panel discussion was to understand the current programs available to ensure that Pennsylvanians will have opportunities in the upcoming job market.  

Many opportunities exist for PA residents to receive the training needed to be considered for the upcoming construction and plant jobs.  Local trade unions, the Community College of Beaver County (CCBC), and Penn State’s Department of Continuing Education all have programs in place to train Pennsylvania residents.  CCBC is offering a two-year process technology degree to train individuals to become operators in the new Shell ethane cracker plant and well as at other local chemical manufacturers.  Penn State Beaver offers a wide variety of courses including Supply Chain Management and Project Management Program for those working in industry to earn certifications and become more marketable.  The Builders Guild represents all 16 building trades and has a free apprentice program that is paid for by the union.  They have an annual operating budget of $30 million!  The program requires 3-5 years to complete, but includes on the site job training.  The Operating Engineers have two programs, each 4 years, that focus on training individuals to operate heavy equipment in the building, highway, energy and demolishing industries.  They receive 800 applications for 60 available positions and train 200 apprentices at a time.  The Carpenter Joint Training Fund focuses on pile drivers, highway construction, millwrights, and building construction and have over 1500 apprentices.  

The Auditor General began the discussion regarding grant money.  He questioned if the various educational organizations have applied to state and federal grants, and if so how was the process?  Most of the unions have received grant money from the US Department of Labor, the National Science Foundation, and the PA Department of Labor, and did not have any issues regarding the process. The only issue presented is that the state grants are available through different agencies, and it would be easier if they were all associated with one state agency.  The grant money received does not directly support the apprentice programs, but has been used to purchase training equipment and improve the training facilities.  Most of the apprentice programs are paid directly by the union.

The requirements to enter the apprentice programs was also reviewed.  Requirements for the candidates may vary slightly, but typically are that they must be 18 years of age, have a high school diploma or GED, pass a drug test, have a valid driver’s license, and have access to a vehicle.  In the midst of a national drug epidemic, the Auditor General questioned the difficulty of candidates passing the drug-free criteria.  Most trade union representatives indicated that it is not a significant problem because those with drug issues do not seem to apply for the program.  The bigger issues, however, is having a valid driver’s license and access to a vehicle.  The need for transportation affects each community differently.  Mayor Walker from Aliquippa indicated his concern that his community will miss valuable training and job opportunities because many in his community do not have access to transportation.  He called for a re-examination of revoked driver’s licenses and a return of more  ‘Bread and Butter’ licenses that remove driving restrictions for work purposes.

The significance of the opportunities that lie ahead are that the jobs that will be created will have salaries of $40,000 – $60,000 a year, which are family-sustaining jobs. It is a real opportunity for growth in the county.  

But what happens to all of the trained residents once construction of the massive plant is complete?  It is believed that new construction of facilities that support the chemical industry will develop in coming years, and therefore keep the workforce employed in the region.

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Pittsburgh Maker Faire 2016

Pittsburgh Maker Faire 2016Maker Faire is part science fair, educational fair and celebrates all things STEM, STEAM, and art and everything in-between. Pittsburgh’s second full Maker Faire was held October 15 and 16 on the Northside of Pittsburgh, sprawling from the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh into NOVA Place and Allegheny Center.

Pittsburgh’s first attempt at hosting a Maker Faire came in 2013, with a mini-Maker Faire being held in October inside and just out front of the Children’s Museum. The first Faire included a mobile FABLAB, vendors, access to the Children’s Museum MAKESHOP, and art and STEM activities for families to complete with their children. After a year off, Pittsburgh graduated to holding its first full Faire in 2015, which included robotics demonstrations, an entrepreneurship and innovation zone, educational vendors, and a maker’s market.

20161016_140112This year’s Faire expanded to three full days, including a Friday educational day which was free to local school students. The maker’s market increased in size and attendees could also partake in a food truck roundup. In addition to vendors and activities, the Faire also included educational talks and workshops on both Saturday and Sunday.

Some of the exhibits included Viking crafts by the Society for Creative Anachronisms, multiple robotics clubs, the Allegheny Intermediate Unit’s mobile FABLAB, a soft tissue 3D printer in development by CMU, Little Bits and Makey Makey exhibits in the education zone, and a Tesla coil instrument built by Hack Pittsburgh members. The Faire was co-sponsored in 2016 by the Children’s Museum and Hack Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh’s first makerspace which opened to the public.

Pittsburgh Maker Faire 2016If you are looking for family-friendly entertainment and a chance to expose your children (or your students) to everything which is happening in the Pittsburgh region in STEM, entrepreneurship, innovation, and STEAM, be sure to check out the next Faire!

 

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National Chemistry Week – Illustrated Poetry Contest

chemistry-poetry-contestClick here for event flyer.

Entry Deadline:  Monday, October 31, 2016

“Solving Mysteries through Chemistry”

The Pittsburgh Section of the American Chemical Society (ACS) is sponsoring an illustrated poem contest for students in Kindergarten – 12th grade.

First Prize of $50 will be award in each of 4 grade categories: K-2nd, 3rd-5th, 6th-8th and 9th-12th grades.

Mail entries to: Michael Mautino, 3485 Frye Ave., Finleyville, PA 15332.  Include on back of entry:  student name, grade, school name, teacher name, teacher phone number and teacher email address. For home school students please use parent/guardian information in place of teacher.

Winners of the Pittsburgh Section ACS illustrated poem contest will advance to the ACS National Illustrated Poem Contest!

Questions: Contact michael.mautino@covestro.com

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Science News – A Phenomenal Free Resource

The Society for Science & the Public is excited to offer, through the generous support of Regeneron, the Science News in High Schools program free to public high schools and public charter schools for the 2016-2017 academic year.

Sign up your school now for Science News in High Schools and, at no cost to you or your school, receive 10 hard copies of the biweekly magazine, free digital access for the entire faculty and student population and an Educator guide that provides questions, activities and links to the standards to support your classroom learning.

Science News, published since 1922, provides an approachable overview from all fields and applications of STEM daily on the web and bi-weekly in a published magazine. Learn more at https://www.societyforscience.org/science-news-high-schools.

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STEM Networking Series

Thursday, September 22  5:30-8 p.m.
at the Carnegie Science Center
 
In this unique networking series, ASSET STEM Education and Carnegie Science Center will bring together business and education professionals to collaborate to benefit STEM education across our region. The first session will feature Justin Aglio, Director of Innovation at Montour School District and Rosemary FitzGerald Droney from Mt. Lebanon Furniture on building successful partnerships and collaborations.
 

 
Presented by

    

     
Special Thanks to our Sponsors
     
 
Register today. For more information contact Maleea Johnson, mjohnson@assetinc.org or 412-481-7320, ext. 201.
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STEAM Ed April 2016

STEAM Magazine April 2016

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