September 2021
Education, business, and community partners in Michigan are embarking on a journey to make the state a world leader in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) education.
Regional STEM Mini-Grant Feature

Over the next several months, our monthly newsletter will feature recipients of last year's cycle of STEM Mini-Grants.   This program is designed  to support K-12 classroom teachers and out-of-school time educators in the teaching and learning of STEM. The emphasis is on stimulating new learning opportunities in collaboration with local business partners and community organizations.  

Regional STEM Mini-Grant Funded the Applied Battery Technology Project at Allegan High School

Allegan High School (AHS) is pioneering new and innovative ways to immerse students in powerful STEM experiences.  They received a Greater West Michigan  Region STEM Mini-Grant for their Applied Battery Technology Project last fall. 

Mark Mattox, Science Teacher at Allegan Alternative High School, partnered with Tom Peele (retired engineer, business owner, patent holder and community member) to deliver an innovative, hands-on course curriculum centered around cutting edge rechargeable lithium ion battery technology, the same kind found in modern technology like Tesla cars.  Students designed, manipulated and built rechargeable battery systems which can serve as simple power packs for phones or tablets, but are also scalable to provide power for any number of applications. In the AHS STEM curriculum, students are already engaged in underwater robotics, gardening, aquaponics, and mini innovative vehicle design, all of which are all applications for these types of innovative battery systems. 

The curriculum offered students an inquiry-based exploration of the scientific principles that will be necessary for functioning in today's highly tech-driven future.  Students worked through a series of activities designed to develop and build upon fundamental understandings of electricity, electrical energy conversions, and electrical storage. This type of fundamental understanding can ultimately lead to positive life outcomes, one possibility being employment in tech industries that will serve to meet the vast energy storage needs of the near future.  In Allegan County, established companies are working at the leading edge of these fields, the major one being LG Chem Michigan Inc.  The project had the goal of initiating a lifelong appreciation of STEM-centered abilities that are evident in all students.  


Cybersecurity Career Awareness Week: October 18-23, 2021

Cybersecurity Career Awareness Week, hosted by the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE), focuses on raising interest to inspire, educate, and engage citizens to pursue careers in cybersecurity. Cybersecurity Career Awareness Week takes place the third week in October, during  October’s Cybersecurity Awareness Month.  Each day of the campaign provides an opportunity to learn about the plethora of job opportunities that can be found when exploring cybersecurity as a career choice. During the week learners of all ages, educators, parents, employers, and the community participate in an international recognition of the contributions to society and innovations that cybersecurity practitioners make.  

Visit the Cybersecurity Career Awareness Week website to access tools and resources you can use to participate: 

  • Learn more about Cybersecurity Awareness Week 
  • Discover Cybersecurity Careers 
  • Explore Cybersecurity in your neighborhood 
  • Search ideas to promote careers in cybersecurity 
  • Build awareness about cybersecurity careers throughout the year 

For more information, visit   

Governor's High School Cyber Challenge

The annual Governor's High School Cyber Challenge, sponsored by the State of Michigan, is a multi-round cybersecurity challenge designed for teams of High School students all across Michigan.  In this event, teams will go head-to-head not only in reacting and responding to a cyber attack at a fictional organization but also battle for points inside our virtualized city, Alphaville, which simulates all of the common infrastructure and misconfiguration that exist out there in the world today. 

Registration is free and is open to teams of up to three students paired together with a coach/mentor.  Multiple teams from the same High School can sign up - over a thousand teams have participated over the years (including over 130 last year!).  The event will be held virtually and there are prizes for the top performers. 

Round 1 Registration is now open!  
Round 1 will be held entirely online and challenges will be released daily starting Monday, September 27, 2021 and ending Thursday, September 30, 2021. This is an amazing and enriching experience for students - no cybersecurity knowledge is required to play!   

More information can be found at the landing and sign-up page:

Want to become a mentor?   
If you are a professional who would like to mentor student teams or have a group of students in need of a chaperone/leader, please contact

CYBER.ORG Releases First National K-12 Cybersecurity Learning Standards

CYBER.ORG recently announced the release of the nation’s first voluntary K-12 cybersecurity learning standards to be used to in schools and districts around the country. As the United States continues to face an onslaught of sophisticated cyberattacks, there are over 464,000 unfilled cybersecurity positions nationwide. 

As the first national effort to align cybersecurity learning criteria across all 50 states, the K-12 cybersecurity learning standards aim to build a strong and more diverse talent pipeline to protect U.S. national security and maintain U.S. competitiveness on the world stage, while helping address the cybersecurity workforce shortage. States now have the option to adopt the K-12 cybersecurity learning standards ahead of the 2022-2023 school year. 

The K-12 cybersecurity learning standards center around three core themes – Computing Systems (CS), Digital Citizenship (DC) and Security (SEC) – all of which represent key fundamentals in cybersecurity education. Each core concept covers a range of pertinent cybersecurity topics, from the Internet of Things (IoT) to Threat Actors. 

To review the K-12 cybersecurity learning standards and learn more about the standards initiative, visit:

Resources for Families and Students
6th to 8th Grade Students - Apply to Participate in the Inaugural STEMinista Statewide Cohort

Are you entering the 6th-8th grade? Does science fascinate you with its endless possibilities? Do you live in Michigan? If you answered yes to all of those questions, we invite you to apply to be part of the inaugural STEMinista Statewide Cohort!  

The STEMinista Project of the Michigan Science Center (MiSci) is Metro Detroit’s most successful program for engaging 6th through 8th-grade girls in life-changing STEM experiences. MiSci is expanding this regional program to a state-wide initiative through partnerships with Michigan’s MiSTEM Network and Consumers Energy.  One girl from each of the 16 MiSTEM regions across Michigan will be chosen to form a cohort and act as a regional STEMinista Project Ambassador.    

The cohort will explore STEM careers through workshops and panels where participants will meet female STEM role models from diverse backgrounds. Participants will select a role model for 1:1 mentorship and by the program’s conclusion, girls will have worked with their mentor and MiSci staff to deliver a live episode of MiSci’s award-winning virtual science show, ECHO Live!.    

Project Website:  
Application Deadline: October 8th, 2021 (program participants will be selected approximately 2 weeks after the application deadline) 

Program Start Date: November 1, 2021 
Program End Date: Spring 2022 

Location: Virtual ONLY (Zoom or other video conferencing platform) 
Meeting Frequency: 1 - 2 times a month (program participants will receive more information once the cohort has been selected) 


  • Cohort candidate should be in the 6th - 8th grade    
  • Have an interest or curiosity in science, technology, engineering, and math    
  • Able to commit to all scheduled cohort / STEM mentor meetings    
  • Strong communication skills recommended     
  • Basic computer skills (videoconferencing, email) recommended   
Educator Resources and Professional Learning
Environmental Education Conference: October 1-3, 2021

Register for the Environmental Education Conference at Eastern Michigan University from October 1-3, 2021 and become stronger with others at your side! The conference includes three days of new instructional, K-12+ hands-on and outdoor professional growth.  

For more information and to register: 

VAI Helps Schools Move Beyond Learning Loss

The upcoming school year promises to be one of unique challenges and opportunities for educators. COVID-19 remains a daunting presence in all areas of public life. Meanwhile, many schools are currently facing down the looming specter of learning loss as they begin their fall semester. To better understand the current predicament, Van Andel Institute for Education (VAI) brought together several K–12 administrators at a virtual event to determine what was working, what wasn’t, and how best to combat the instructional impact of the pandemic moving forward. The conversation proved to be very enlightening. 

While each school was facing its own unique challenges, there were three questions which frequently rose to the top of the conversation: 

  • How can I use ESSER funding? 
  • How do I attend to the social-emotional needs of students and teachers? 
  • How can I prepare teachers to successfully close gaps in 2022? 

To help administrators better navigate these pressing issues, VAI created a free, downloadable guide composed of comprehensive strategies and ideas which allow administrators to leverage the lessons learned during pandemic teaching. 

“The admin whitepaper is an informative and practical tool for administrators as they plan to tackle and overcome learning loss this school year. The guide addresses key ways to rethink, refocus, and reimagine education in hopes that administrators can not only overcome learning loss, but move beyond it, accelerating learning for all students for years to come.” 
-Dawn McCotter, Teacher Programs Manager 

VAI has also launched an Educations Recovery Plan which allows schools to close the gaps created by instructional loss through customized solutions. The goal of VAI’s recovery plan is not simply to repair what the pandemic damaged, but to provide a solid structure on which schools can accelerate their learning. This is accomplished through three distinct platforms: 

  • Flex PD: A flexible and customizable PD model that honors teachers time, experience, and expertise. 
  • Instructional Resources: Tools and strategies that save teachers time, model best-practices, and ensure implementation. 
  • Ongoing Support: Sustained instructional coaching and support that maximizes your PD investment. 

VAI’s Education Recovery Plan is aligned to ESSER Funding and offers schools a free PD Needs Analysis regardless of whether they choose VAI as their provider. In the end, the 2021 school year is an opportunity to reimagine what education can be.   

To learn more about VAI’s Admin Guide and Education Recovery Plan, or to learn more about Van Andel Institute for Education, please visit

New NGSX Pathway on Oceans, Climate Science & Big Data

NGSX is offering a new virtual pathway - Oceans, Climate Science & Big Data (V-OCSBD). Virtual sessions will be held over a series of weekends in October and each session is from 10am to 3pm (ET) with planned breaks: 

  • Saturday, October 16, 2021
  • Sunday, October 17, 2021
  • Saturday, October 23, 2021
  • Sunday, October 24, 2021
  • Saturday, October 30, 2021

The pathway is designed for middle and high school teachers of science, social studies, and computer science and will help this mix of teachers plan lessons/units that support one another.  Working with data, using accessible digital tools for your classroom, and developing ideas for classroom lessons is a hallmark of this pathway.  This pathway is designed to make explicit the important linkages between the oceans, climate science and big data. There are conceptual connections between oceans and the other large bodies of water such as the Great Lakes. 

While middle and high school teachers are the intended audience, they are accepting motivated elementary teachers who want to develop units for their classroom on climate.  

Registration is now available here.

The participant fee for the OCSBD pathway is $190.00.  A participant certificate of professional learning hours will be available. Please send any questions you might have to

Youcubed Data Science Course and Professional Development

Youcubed® launched a new website for their adaptable, project-based curriculum for high school: Explorations in Data Science: Youcubed Adaptable Curriculum

The course will introduce students to the main ideas in data science through free tools such as Google Sheets, Python, Data Commons and Tableau. Students will learn to be data explorers in project-based units, through which they will develop their understanding of data analysis, sampling, correlation/causation, bias and uncertainty, probability, modeling with data, making and evaluating data-based arguments, the power of data in society, and more! At the end of the course students will have a portfolio of their data science work to showcase their newly developed abilities. The curriculum will be adaptable so that teachers can bring in datasets or use what is provided to find datasets most relevant to their students. The course has received A-G approval, so it can be taken as an alternative to Algebra 2, or in addition to Algebra 2. It can lead to a pathway in calculus, statistics, data science, amongst other STEM or humanities subjects. 

The first half of the of 8-unit course is now available for free to anyone.  Jo Boaler and the youcubed team are hard at work on Units 5-8, which will be added to the site in the fall. 

Professional Development
Join Jo Boaler and the youcubed team for an introductory workshop, How to Teach Explorations in Data Science: Youcubed Adaptable Curriculum. The two-day training, which is conducted remotely via Zoom, includes in-depth sessions on four units of the curriculum and is highly recommended for anyone planning to teach the course in the fall. 

Current workshop: 
Units 5-8:  October 4 & November 10, 2021 (live online) 

Check back here for upcoming workshops for Units 1-4. 

Youcubed Data Science HS Curriculum is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 International License.
Click here for more information about youcubed.

Developing a National Geographic Explorer Mindset with Your Learners

National Geographic’s interdisciplinary, inquiry-based approach to education seeks to foster an "Explorer Mindset" in each student - adopting a curious and adventurous spirit, understanding and developing empathy for the world, and taking action toward positive change.   

Sign-up for National Geographic's free Explorer Mindset course to introduce yourself to the National Geographic Learning Framework and learn how to foster the Explorer Mindset in your students. This hourlong, self-paced mini-course will introduce you to National Geographic’s interdisciplinary approach to education, its powerful resources, and a supportive community of educators. Enrollment ends on December 31.  Once you join the course, you have 14 days from your first log-in to complete the three parts: 

  • Part 1: Understanding the Explorer Mindset—In this part, you will learn more about the attitudes and skills of National Geographic Explorers and why they are also critical to students. You will meet inspiring Explorers and educators from National Geographic. (25 minutes) 
  • Part 2: Fostering an Explorer Mindset in Your Students —In this part, you will step inside the classroom of a National Geographic Certified Educator to see the Explorer Mindset in action. You will also learn more about resources and opportunities for teachers from the National Geographic Society. (15 minutes) 
  • Part 3: Stay Connected and Keep Learning—In this part, you will consider next steps in your own learning journey and learn more about National Geographic’s educator communities. (10 minutes) 

You can also join National Geographic's Explorer Classroom — live interactive sessions that connect young people with National Geographic Explorers — to hear behind-the-scenes stories and interact with cutting-edge scientists, researchers, and powerful storytellers from around the globe. All events are free, open to the public, and include an instructional guide to help learners get the most out of the experience. 

Putting Data to Work for Young People: A Framework for Measurement, Continuous Improvement, and Equitable Systems

​​​​​​​​​​Systems that coordinate afterschool, summer and other out-of-school-time programming communitywide have emerged in a number of U.S. cities and counties over the last 15 years or so. The organizations that oversee these systems increasingly recognize the need for periodic pulse checks to evaluate their efforts and inform improvements. But what, exactly, should these organizations assess and how? 

The Putting Data to Work for Young People: Measurement, Continuous Improvement, and Equitable Systems tool and guidebook can help people assess afterschool systems, the programs within them and youth outcomes—in the interest of informing system improvements.  

Every Hour Counts, a national coalition of expanded learning intermediaries, released a framework to help in collecting data, knowing how to interpret it, and acting on it effectively. The accompanying guidebook was written by two researchers, Jennifer Sloan McCombs, Senior Policy Researcher at the RAND Corporation, and Anamarie A. Whitaker, Assistant Professor, University of Delaware, formerly of the RAND Corporation.  

The framework and guidebook were developed with support from The Wallace Foundation and The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation. 

Virtual Field Trips
Virtual Technology Field Trip for Girls in Grades 4-8

The Girls GET-IT Day is an opportunity for girls in grades 4-8 to gain exposure to various technologies and technology concepts in a very practical, hands-on environment.  The 2021 Girls GET-IT Day is being held on Tuesday, October 12th from 9:00 am – 12:00 pm as in-school field trips with the workshop content delivered virtually via Zoom.   

Michigan Council of Women in Technology Foundation (MCWT) will provide all the supplies required for registered students to successfully complete the hands-on workshop activities as well as snacks to keep the girls going throughout the morning!  If your school is comfortable allowing visitors, MCWT will try to find ambassadors who can work with students, talk to them about technology careers, and assist them with completing the activities.  If your school is not comfortable with allowing visitors, MCWT will provide additional virtual support for the field trip coordinator during the event. 

Diane Jones, Office of the CIO from the University of Michigan, will share an inspiring message with the students and then each group of elementary 4-5 grade and middle school 6-8 grades students will participate in three unique technology workshops provided by professionals from Ally, Dow, Ford, Optomi, Intel, and/or the VMLY&R Agency that are designed specifically for that age group. 

Join MCWT for this exciting day and learn about the amazing world of technology!  Click here for more information and to register

If a teacher registers a group of at least 15 students by Friday, October 24, 2021 they will qualify to win a $100 Amazon gift card for their classroom. 

Please feel free to either email Tammy Doroshewitz at or call 248-218-2578 x108, if there are any questions or concerns about this event. 

Career Connections

Kent ISD Career Development Framework

The Kent ISD Career Readiness Framework contains resources and information for preparing students at various grade levels for exciting career and postsecondary education pathways. Each grade band has its own set of steps for guiding students through their career discovery and preparation. Some information is relevant to multiple grade bands, while other resources pertain to specific grade bands.

The Vision for Career Readiness is that every student leaves their K-12 experience career ready and with some sort of a plan. The Career Readiness team at KISD does this by helping every student prepare for college and careers through collaborative work within the community to develop and provide programs and resources for students, parents, educators and business partners. By the time you work through the documents and resources provided in the Career Readiness Framework, you will find you have what you need to confidently identify the skills and experiences every student needs to become career ready.

Just as each content area creates a scope-and-sequence of what to teach and when and how it should progress, the Career Readiness Framework includes a scope-and-sequence of learning opportunities and experiences that are introduced at appropriate times and which progressively build upon one another. The framework includes 26 unique modules, broken into 3 different grade bands/levels and are distributed per the Michigan Career Development Model’s (MCDM) suggested bands into the following areas:

In each grade band you’ll find content and resources on topic areas relevant to that level, whether it be links to valuable articles, lesson plans to use or videos to show. Each module contains an intro defining what the topic is and what it means, an explanation as to why it is important to know, and supporting content that explains how to use that information.
The Kent ISD Career Readiness team offers multiple opportunities for students!  Check out their Student Programs page for information about these programs:
  • VIRTUAL - Health Career Immersion Program
  • P3 Professional Pop up Panel
  • Career Chats
  • Talk & Tour Career Series - Virtual
  • Manufacturing Week

It’s easy to teach our students about the world we know, but how can we prepare them for a world of work that is being redefined daily?   

A new guide published by the STEM Learning and Research Center (STELAR) and authored by Jessica Juliuson, Joyce Malyn-Smith, Sarah MacGillvray, and Clara McCurdy-Kirlis, K–8 STEM Career Competencies, shares easy and effective ways to help students explore and acquire the skills they will need to thrive in 21st-century workplaces. 

In the blog post, 10 Ways to Prepare Today's Students for Tomorrow's Workforce, the authors of the guide identify these competency areas that research indicates will be needed for success in future work: 

  1. Artificial intelligence 
  2. Computational thinking 
  3. Digital and media literacy 
  4. Cybersecurity and digital citizenship 
  5. Data literacy 
  6. Dynamic interdisciplinary teaming 
  7. Design thinking 
  8. Systems thinking 
  9. STEM career development 
  10. Lifelong and flexible learning 

STELAR also hosted the authors of the guide as they presented an overview of the competencies.  Watch the webinar and access the slides here

Job and Career Accelerator from Michigan eLibrary

As part of the Michigan Department of Education’s eLibrary, The Job & Career Accelerator resource inside LearningExpress Library has a variety of great career exploration and job preparation resources. 

This resource includes lessons for creating effective resumes and cover letters, job interview tips, exploring careers, and much more. Once you create a free account, the lessons, courses, practice tests, occupation cards, eBooks, flashcards and tutorials you download will be saved for later retrieval. 

Check out the  Job & Career Accelerator today! 

Strengthening Career Pathways Through the Power of State and Local Partnerships

Fostering strong relationships in order to break silos between learning and work as well as align skill building opportunities across secondary, postsecondary, adult and professional levels is critical to building high-quality career pathways and learner-centered career preparation ecosystems. In this work, trust, common purpose, and resources for sustainability are all necessary for effective state and local partnerships.  

Strengthening Career Pathways Through the Power of State and Local Partnerships, a resource from Advance CTE in partnership with Education Strategy Group through JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s New Skills ready network, is the third and final in a series of policy briefs centered on strengthening career pathways. It offers promising practices for leveraging the strengths of both state and local leaders and maximizing the capacity of state resources to cultivate sustainable, scalable partnerships, and advance high-quality career pathways. 

Download the resource to access the following best practices, tools, and tips: 

  • Building partnerships by deepening trusted relationships 
  • Funding innovation through strategic local pilots 
  • Providing meaningful technical assistance 
  • Creating intentional cross-sector partnerships to advance career pathways 
  • Aligning visions and definitions 
The American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) Career Hub

The AISES Career Hub and Opportunities Board both contain free online job and career resource information that are accessible 24/7 for students and professionals. At the Career Hub job seekers can scan jobs, upload a resume or explore career resources by industry, state or job function. The Opportunities Board is a centralized hub of information about opportunities like scholarships, internships, and more. You can get access to complete, verified, and updated information that can help you grow your skills and expertise. 

The American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) is a national nonprofit organization focused on substantially increasing the representation of Indigenous peoples of North America and the Pacific Islands in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) studies and careers. 

Monthly Webinar Series: Advising for Future-Ready Careers

Advising for Future-Ready Careers is a monthly webinar series that provides information and resources to help counselors join the front line of the computing conversation and is hosted by Counselors for Computing (C4C), a program of the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT). This webinar series is free and open to the public, ages 16 and up – geared toward school counselors, educators, graduate students, and those in school advising roles. 

Advising for Future Ready Careers: Episode 1 features CEOs and Founders of Likeable STEM - Anesha and Annika Santhanam. This platform is dedicated to students in upper elementary, middle, and high school—especially girls—aiming to engage them in learning STEM in a fun, visual, and interactive manner. 

Advising for Future Ready Careers: Episode 1
Counselors for Computing (C4C) provides school counselors with information and resources they can use to support  ALL students as they explore computer science education and careers. Educators and students alike look to professional school counselors for ways to encourage girls, women, and underrepresented groups to pursue computing. But knowing where to start is hard, even for the most experienced counselors. NCWIT can help counselors remove the barriers so students choose to learn to compute, consider pursuing technical career paths, and believe their voices can be heard in the tech industry. 
Careers in Advanced Manufacturing

West Michigan is home to one of the nation’s largest and most extensive manufacturing sectors. We are national leaders in plastics, biopharmaceuticals, medical devices, production technology, automotive, office furniture, aerospace, and more. Manufacturing currently accounts for 19% of all jobs in the region and remains the heart of West Michigan’s economy.  

Industry Quick Facts: 

  • More than 141,300 advanced manufacturing jobs in West Michigan 
  • 2,535 advanced manufacturing establishments 
  • job growth rate of 29.1% from 2011-2020, significantly outpacing the national rate of 7.6% 
  • 130+ international manufacturing companies 

Explore additional Advanced Manufacturing industry quick facts from The Right Place.  

The term manufacturing often brings to mind assembly lines and mass production of anything from vehicles to computers. But there is much more to the field of manufacturing, especially in advanced manufacturing careers. There are many options for job-seekers, and careers in this field are available to both high school graduates open to on-the-job training and college graduates who are ready to apply their knowledge of technology to modern machinery, products, and designs. Visit STEM Jobs to learn more about the 5 Top Advanced Manufacturing Careers.  

Women in Manufacturing 
What will you do after high school? Watch the video below and find out why these 14 unique young women chose high-demand advanced manufacturing careers. They earn and learn right out of high school. They use creativity, work with teams, and make a difference in the world.  

Girls in advanced manufacturing improve the world (RCMD)

From cars to computers, almost everything you see relates to manufacturing. People who work in manufacturing design new products and decide how they will be made. They also make, or manufacture, those products. Take a look at the Manufacturing cluster at Career Girls and explore careers in Health & Safety Engineers, Industrial Engineers, Robotic Engineers, and more! 

Manufacturing Day
Manufacturing Day is a national event that is typically celebrated the first Friday of October, but any day can be Manufacturing Day!  

Resources for Manufacturing Day: 
National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity: Make Your Future (Parent/educator guide) 
Manufacturing USA 
Michigan Manufacturers Association 
The Manufacturing Institute 

Educators & Counselors resources: 
Career Pathways in Advanced Manufacturing  
Iowa Advanced Manufacturing Work-Based Learning Toolkit 
Advanced Manufacturing: Overview  

What is Chemical Engineering?

Where did the many human-made things all around you come from and how were they made? Many of the things we use every day contain substances that were discovered by chemists and then were designed and refined by chemical engineers.  
A chemical engineer can work in fields ranging from pure chemistry to nanotechnology, waste management, or mining. Chemical engineers help to solve real-world problems with exciting ideas, like recycling plastic bottles into fabrics that are used by high-end fashion designers.  
Chemistry and chemical engineering may seem similar, but they are very different. Chemistry is the study of matter: what it is made up of, how it interacts with other matter, and how to combine it to form compounds. Chemical engineering is more about finding ways that substances can be useful and figuring out how products can be created and transported. It combines knowledge of physics, microbiology, biochemistry, math, and economics. Chemical engineers design processes that transform raw materials into things we use every day. Chemical engineers also oversee the process of making products, and can be a part of the design of chemical plants, as well as their daily operations.  
Since what chemical engineers do is important in many companies and industries, they are in high demand, even in fields that might not seem related to chemistry. Chemical engineering is a very rewarding but challenging career.  

Maribel Locsin: Materials Process and Physics Engineer at Boeing 

Maribel is a Materials Process and Physics Engineer at Boeing and received a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from San José State University (SJSU).  Click here to read more about Maribel and her career at Boeing.  
Careers in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) 
Geographic Information Systems (GIS) is a computer-based tool that stores, analyzes, and visualizes data for geographic positions on the Earth’s surface as well as examines spatial relationships, patterns, and trends in geography.  

Interested in learning more about careers in GIS? Visit Careers in GIS hosted by Esri (Environmental Systems Research Institute, Inc.), the leading developer of GIS software.  

Two Careers in GIS:

GIS Specialist 
GIS specialists build and maintain GIS databases and use GIS software to analyze the spatial and non-spatial information in them. They may work under a wide variety of job titles, including GIS Analyst, GIS Technician, and Cartographer. Explore job descriptions, average salaries, and more on for a profile of a GIS Specialist.   

GIS Cartographer 
A variety of maps can be used to help state and local governments showcase boundaries, location of government owned lands, location of certain services, and more. Jenna Leveille, Deputy State Cartographer for Arizona State Land Department, helps to create these maps for a variety of needs for the state of Arizona. Check out the video below to hear all about Jenna's career in GIS: 


Careers in GIS: Cartographer

Dig a little deeper into GIS: 
Organizations across the globe are increasingly relying on location intelligence to make better decisions. As a result, careers in GIS are in demand more than ever. Equipped with data visualization and spatial analysis skills, GIS professionals qualify for occupations in countless fields.  

Visit Mynextmove to see profiles in Geographic Information Systems Technologists & Technicians and learn what they do, the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to the job. You'll learn what education and training you need as well as average salary and outlook for a career in GIS.    

Guide for Students about a Degree in Data Science is a website dedicated to data science education that includes career profiles, licensing & certification data by state, interviews with data science professionals, and occupational outlooks for the industry. Top-tier professionals in the computer science & engineering spaces have researched the web and assembled a list of hundreds of Data Science degrees. As of mid-2021, they have gathered over 500 universities with a data science degree at all levels.  

The Data Science Career Guide will help you understand what Data Science is and what you might do in a Data Science career including average salaries and educational requirements. 

To find the best data science program for you, start with viewing the many pages on the site. They contain in-depth information and related sub-fields. You can also view schools with a data science degree, by state.   

Check out these Data Science Programs in Michigan

Equity Resources

Opportunities for Women in STEM

The National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) is offering an Aspirations in Computing (AiC) award for 9th-12th grade women, genderqueer, and non-binary students for their computing-related achievements and interests, and encourages them to pursue their passions. Recipients of AiC awards receive access to a community of more than 20,000 women, genderqueer, and non-binary technologists and receive exclusive opportunities for scholarships, internships, hackathons and other free learning events. Students can apply here

Women of Color STEM Digital Conference  
Online, October 7-9, 2021

Participants will learn new skills to advance their careers, and connect with a vibrant STEM community of all career stages, including executives representing Fortune 500 companies committed to diversity and the advancement of women in the STEM workforce. Early bird registration ends August 15, 2021. Click here to register

Society of Women Engineers Conference (WE21) 
Indianapolis, IN, October 21-23, 2021 

WE21 is the largest conference for Women Engineers. This year’s theme is "Aspire to Inspire." Learn, network, and be inspired by diverse women in the fields of technology and engineering. A virtual conference option is available on the registration portal. Early bird registration ends September 20, 2021. Click here to register

LGBTQ+ STEM Resources 
Columbia's "39 LGBTQ+ STEM Innovators and Resources" guide discusses inspiring individuals who have supported, celebrated, and made significant contributions to the LGBTQ+ tech community. It also outlines prominent organizations that provide LGBTQ+ people with a variety of networking and learning opportunities. Additionally, the page lists external resources to scholarships, professional development, and advocacy web pages.  
Community-Centered STEM Teaching Tools

The STEM Teaching Tools collaboration shared two new tools this summer, each focused on centering community needs and knowledge in STEM learning: 

Connecting Science Instruction to Neighborhood Life Through Collaborative Design with Community - STEM Teaching Tool #73 provides research, guidance, and resources on supporting students’ science learning at home and in their local communities. When connections are made between school and community, students gain a better understanding of the variety of ways science relates to their lives and communities. See the resource here

Designing and Participating in Community and Citizen Science Efforts to Support Equity and Justice - STEM Teaching Tool #74 can support science educators and leaders to design science experiences that center the interests of the communities they serve. This inclusive approach can engage diverse members of the public in science and challenge traditional assumptions about who is considered a scientist. See the resource here

Webinar: Make STEM more Inclusive for People with Disabilities

All careers and environments should be accessible and inclusive. People with disabilities are as capable of academic and professional achievement as much as anyone when given the proper accommodations that allow for success. 

The Association for Women in Science (AWIS) has assembled a panel discussion on September 23 with disabled in STEM advocates. Recommended for industry leaders wanting to support their employees and anyone who wants to become an advocate. 

Tune in to learn how: 

  • each panelist advocates for change in STEM  
  • to check your own biases  
  • to support individuals with disabilities in your organization 

Leave with key action items that will help you make STEM more accessible and inclusive. 

Click here to learn more about the panelists, Dr. Emily Ackerman, Meena Das, Syreeta Nolan, Jesse Shanahan, and Krystal Vasquez.  

The Webinar is on Thursday, September 23, 2021 at 2-3 p.m. EDT. 

Click here to register

New Evidence Supports De-Tracking Mathematics Classes

How might we group students so that they can have the opportunity to go forward in mathematics and take any classes they want? 

Traditional systems of tracking have not served our students well and have resulted in significant inequities in the school system. The new proposed California Framework, for which Jo Boaler is one of the authors, sets out different approaches that have been shown to be more successful. 

An updated new paper, "Raising Expectations and Achievement: The Impact of Two Wide Scale De-Tracking Mathematics Reforms," co-authored by Jo Boaler and David Foster shares the evidence from multiple school districts engaged in de-tracking of middle school classrooms. Study 2, the new addition to the paper, shares significant student achievement increases, from across the achievement range, after a de-tracking initiative involving over 16,000 students. The paper also discusses the reasons for parent opposition and strategies to educate those who oppose such changes. 

Read the updated paper with new evidence supporting de-tracking!  

Workforce Development
The Future of Work

The world of work is changing at an ever-faster rate, and this transformation is just as profound as the Industrial Revolution.  Workers, employers, educators, and workforce developers alike are experiencing an era of historic disruption, driven by artificial intelligence, automation, and an increasingly global economy. 

Our state and local communities need a flexible, adaptable talent pipeline that can produce employees with the skills needed to succeed in this new world. Soft skills are the true value-add of human capital. They are uniquely human, cannot be replicated by automation, and are critical for talent to remain competitive in the future of work. 

These trends are evident in the Talent 2025 report, The Future of Work, which is intended to reframe Michigan’s talent attraction, retention, and development efforts to the talent needs of tomorrow. 

The report is a groundbreaking collaboration of Talent 2025 and Calvin University’s Center for Social Research. Presented as an interactive experience, the findings examine the impact of automation on the importance of 16 soft skills across industries, occupations, geography, and time. 

Access the Report  

Please direct all questions to Alex Andrews;  

The Right Place

The economy  in West Michigan has since diversified beyond its furniture beginnings, and is now a center for manufacturing excellence, health science discovery, and technological innovation. The Right Place is dedicated to researching and compiling valuable data and information to deliver insights to both their team and the Greater Grand Rapids business community.  Their Resources & Data Library houses everything from annual reports to industry overviews, demographic breakdowns, workforce data and more. 

Serving the West Michigan and Greater Grand Rapids area, The Right Place has compiled regional data and profiles for the following areas: 

Visit The Right Place regional industry pages below to see how these sectors are driving economic growth and prosperity in the Greater Grand Rapids community. 

The Right Place launched a Diverse Business Directory for greater Grand Rapids on its website as part of its economic inclusion initiatives. The filterable directory is a database of more than 1,200 minority-, women-, veteran- and LGBTQ+-owned businesses in 13 West Michigan counties, which includes Kent, Barry, Montcalm, Ionia, Ottawa, Allegan, Newaygo, Mecosta, Mason, Muskegon, Oceana, Lake and Osceola counties. 

Blueprint for Successful High School STEM Internship Program

It’s been nearly two years since Abbott launched its Blueprint aimed at broadening STEM horizons for high school students through a first-of-its-kind internship initiative playbook for other companies to follow. No stranger to the STEM internship game, Abbott first started an internship program for high school students in 2012 with an “each one, reach one” mentality, striving to do its part in harnessing the next generation of STEM leaders. 

The renewed emphasis on this program stems from the recent global COVID-19 pandemic, natural disasters, and continued lack of access to essential health care. These are major challenges resulting in the immediate and long-term need for a STEM ready workforce. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics backs this up, predicting the U.S. will need another nearly 800,000 STEM workers by the year 2029

It’s with this statistic in mind that Abbott is renewing its efforts to help other organizations start similar high school STEM internships programs. Abbott is relaunching the second edition of its internship blueprint, including new information about how to help students earn college credit for their experiences. High school students who complete Abbott's award-winning summer internship program are now eligible to receive college credit for the experience in a first-of-its-kind effort that can serve as a model for other companies to support STEM education. 

Download the updated blueprint at this site

From their notebooks to business leaders’ desks, our female high school interns share their stories in open letters asking for more opportunities in STEM.

EngineerGirl Sustainable Solutions Writing Contest

Every year, EngineerGirl sponsors a contest dealing with engineering and its impact on our world. 

The challenge this year: 

Write an informative essay about how engineering can help humanity meet one of the Sustainable Development Goals identified by the United Nations. 

The United Nations created the Sustainable Development Goals to identify 17 areas where urgent action to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that all people have equal opportunities to enjoy peace and prosperity. The world needs people with engineering skills to make these happen. 

To enter the contest, write a short essay about how engineering can help meet one of these sustainable development goals. Include at least one example of a solution that demonstrates how engineering design can be used to solve current problems without risking the future. 

Deadline for submission is February 1, 2022. Winners are announced in the spring. 

  • First-place winners will be awarded $500 
  • Second-place entries will be awarded $250. 
  • Third-place entries will be awarded $100. 

For more information and how to apply, go to EngineerGirl Sustainable Solutions Writing Contest

Fall 2021 Huskey Bites Challenge: Sustainability

Michigan Technological University’s College of Engineering & Center for Educational Outreach is excited to announce the Fall 2021 Husky Bites Challenge! 

Husky Bites Challenge is a six-week, virtual design challenge for students currently enrolled in 9th & 10th grade.  This year’s theme is Sustainability. Students will hear from leaders in the field, receive mentorship from current Michigan Tech students, and work as a team to put forward a design proposal that meets the needs of the next generation.   

Registration for this challenge is free, and students are welcome to register individually or as a team.  To learn more and register for the program, please visit  

Registration closes September 20, 2021. Please email with any questions. 

ArcGIS StoryMaps Ocean Challenge

Join storytellers worldwide in the ArcGIS StoryMaps Ocean Challenge hosted by Esri and the National Geographic Society! 

A story can effect change, influence opinion, and create awareness. Use ArcGIS StoryMaps to integrate maps, data, and multimedia content with text to tell a narrative about the world's greatest challenges and inspire solutions. 

High school and college students and individuals ages 18-24 are invited to create impactful stories about ocean health. Ideas for stories include: 

  • Highlights changemakers in ocean conservation. 
  • Addresses global warming, pollution, habitat protection, over-harvesting or poaching, local waterway management, or effects on water quality. 
  • Creates unique visualizations of threats to the ocean. 
  • Amplifies the seven Ocean Literacy principles. 
  • Addresses United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14: To conserve and sustainably use the ocean, seas, and marine resources. 

Find more inspiration, data, maps, and resources on Learn ArcGIS

SUBMISSION DEADLINE: October 22, 2021 at 8:00 p.m. (ET) 

Ready to enter? Visit ArcGIS for more details.  

All winners will: 

  • Receive a 2021 Esri Storyteller of the Year certificate. 
  • Be featured on the Esri website. 

The first and second-place winners also will be featured in educational materials for other students.  The first-place winners will have the opportunity to participate in a networking meet-and-greet with a National Geographic Young Explorer. 

U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon

The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon® is a collegiate competition that has inspired thousands of students worldwide to enter the clean energy workforce since its inception in 2002. Today, the 10 contests that are the foundation of Solar Decathlon challenge students to design and build high-performance, low-carbon buildings that mitigate climate change and improve our quality of life through greater affordability, resilience, and energy efficiency. The winners are those teams that best blend architectural and engineering excellence with innovation.  

Applications are open now! Explore the 2022 Design Challenge Rules and visit the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon to find out more information and how to enter. 

September 16, 2021: Ready, Set, Solar Decathlon Event
A virtual event covering competition expectations, deliverables, timeline, and resources available to Participant Teams. All students and faculty, new and returning, interested in participating are highly encouraged to attend.  

October 26, 2021, 5 p.m. EDT: Team Application is due on the Project Site. The Team Application must indicate which Division the team intends to enter. Each team must pay a nonrefundable $50 fee.  

Apply Now for the Dan Wolz Clean Water Education Grant

The Michigan Science Teachers Association (MSTA) partners with the Michigan Water Environment Association (MWEA) to identify teachers who have a clean water project and are in need of financial assistance to execute the project within a curriculum focused on water environment issues. 

The Dan Wolz Clean Water Education Grant was established in 2006 to heighten public awareness of the career opportunities our industry has to offer, and to improve the quality and quantity of Clean Water community education in Michigan's public schools. Dan Wolz was a true environmental steward of the earth. Thus, in recognition of the passion Dan had for education, this award continues to reach hundreds of Michigan students. 

The deadline to apply is October 29, 2021.

Determination of the award recipient will be made by the end of November. The award will be presented at the MSTA Conference in March 2022 during the awards banquet held at the Lansing Center. 

Download the Application | Download the Rubric | Apply Here  

Half the Sun Scholarship Program Supports Women In Joining the Solar Workforce

Nextracker™, the market leader in yield-enhancing PV system technology and solar trackers, and Solar Energy International (SEI), the world's leading renewable energy technical training provider, today announced their partnership to launch Half the Sun, a global scholarship program to support more women in joining the solar workforce.  

Women continue to be severely underrepresented in the solar industry, despite overwhelming agreement that a diverse workplace makes smart business sense. According the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), women account for only 28% of the Science, Technology, Engineering or Math (STEM) jobs in the global solar industry. This disproportionate gender gap largely stems from insufficient training and networking opportunities.  

The scholarship name "Half the Sun" is aspirational and derived from Pulitzer Prize winners' Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn's renowned book, Half the Sky, where narratives of challenge are turned into opportunities. Since women make up half the world's population, Half the Sun esteems to boost female and non-binary participation to 50%, or half the solar energy workforce. 

Half the Sun is a needs-based scholarship program that aims to address the lack of gender diversity by increasing pathways into the industry and fostering the next generation of female and non-binary solar professionals. It will award financial assistance for professional training in the form of tuition fees for applicants pursuing STEM education. With the global renewable workforce set to grow by almost 30 million people by 2030, Half the Sun can help shape this workforce with a more diverse pool of candidates. 

Application deadline: October 1, 2021 
Awardees announced: November 1, 2021 

For further information on the program, click here or contact 

Aspire High School Grant from MCAN

Michigan College Access Network (MCAN) is excited to continue offering grant funds to support high schools focused on changing systems that perpetuate inequity in postsecondary pathways.  

New for the 2021-2022 school year, high schools are eligible to apply for the first of a three-year grant series in the high school grants pathway, the Aspire grant. This grant series is meant to equip schools with the tools necessary to complete subsequent cycles of the grant process independently, beyond the first three years of participation. Multiple $5,000 grants are available within the first year of the High School Innovation Grants program.  

Throughout the high school innovation grant series, schools can expect to: 

  • Build strong, collaborative school or district-wide team focused on postsecondary education access and success 
  • Focus on sustainable, systems-wide solutions to accelerate progress towards sixty by 30 
  • Continuously use data to identify and investigate areas of improvement 
  • Facilitate continued progress towards sixty by 30 beyond the grant period 

MCAN anticipates that this opportunity will take principal/counselor teams about 20-30 hours through the course of the year, and participating PAC members 10-12 hours. 

Important dates: 

  • Applications close on Sunday, Oct. 17, 2021.  
  • Applicants will be notified of their status by Friday, Oct. 22, 2021 with a grant start date of Nov. 15, 2021.  
  • The Aspire grant will run through Sept. 30, 2022.  

Apply for the Aspire grant → 

Contact Information

Ginger Rohwer
Regional Director
(616) 331-2272

Diane Miller
Business, Community, and Education Liaison
(616) 331-2265

Services provided through a MiSTEM grant awarded by the Michigan Department of Education.
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