People can write their complaints on a "Wall of Grievances" in the Morris University Center (MUC) Cafeteria beginning today through Wednesday and then meet for a rally around the Rock in the University Quad on Wednesday, Nov. 9.
SIUE will be the site of the organized demonstration, which is in response to a nationwide non-violent movement called: "Occupy Wall Street." The movement has spread to cities, municipalities and schools across the country. According to the movement's website, the message is that 1 percent of the nation-identified as bankers, politicians and corporate persons-possesses the majority of the country's wealth and has a stranglehold over the other 99 percent.
The site states that, in order to bring national awareness to the "greed and corruption of the rich" for the purpose of creating dialogues and finding solutions, mass groups of people are "occupying" outdoor places and holding rallies. The movement began in New York's financial district Sept. 17 and describes itself as "a leaderless, people-driven crusade for democracy."
People can write their complaints on paper that will be provided, which will then be posted to a "wall." Concerns can be listed from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. in the MUC Cafeteria through Wednesday, Nov. 2.
A rally will be held from 10-11 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 9 in the Morris Quadrangle, with participating organizations rallying for their ideas. Panel discussions about some of the written concerns will be held from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 9 in the MUC Goshen Lounge, affording students the opportunity to create their own solutions to grievances. All events are open to students, faculty and staff and other Occupy Movements in the area.
For more information on "Occupy SIUE" contact Harry Zollars, coordinator, at email@example.com, or visit occupystl.org, occupysiue.tumblr.com, facebook.com/OccupySIUE or youtube.com/user/OccupySIUE. For national coverage of "Occupy Wall Street," visit occupywallstreet.org.
The masterfully artistic arrangement of dance, music and theater, which portrays what saved, strengthened and sustained blacks from Africa to America, resulted in a regional award for its creator-Theodore H. Jamison, director of the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville East St. Louis Performing Arts Program.
Jamison recently won the Black Excellence Award 2010-2011 for Outstanding Achievement in Dance/Choreography for his piece, "The Blood," presented by the African American Arts Alliance of Chicago. Jamison was commissioned to do the piece by the Muntu Dance Theatre of Chicago, which is the largest African dance company in the United States.
"What was more compelling to me was to show the tie from Africa to America and how African Americans have come this far with our spiritualism and religion," Jamison said.
His 20-minute suite was part of Muntu's "This Far by Faith" concert, which was presented at the Harris Theater of Music and Dance in Millennium Park in downtown Chicago.
"The African-ritual part of the choreography was inspired by the late Katherine Dunham's 'Shango,' which is an Afro-Caribbean ritual," said Jamison, who was certified more than 25 years ago by the late dance legend herself, as a Master Dunham Technique instructor. Jamison has worked with the SIUE East St. Louis Performing Arts Program for nearly 28 years. Jamison choreographed the number under the direction of Muntu's artistic director, Amaniyea Payne, who, in her own right is also a keeper of traditions of cultures of the African Diaspora. The piece includes a live pianist, live percussion and a live vocalist, and covers various aspects of the arts including music, dance, theater and visual aids, Jamison said.
"Mr. Jamison, being the dynamic artist/choreographer that he is, gave Muntu Dance Theatre the opportunity to bring the energy/synergy of Katherine Dunham to the stage," said Payne, who designed and made all the costuming for the presentation. "The piece was very thought provoking, as well as a menagerie on the stage. It was spectacular."
Jamison also worked with Joan Gray, executive director of Muntu, on his production. Muntu in the African Bantu language means "the essence of humanity." The Chicago's dance company's mission is to "preserve and perpetuate the African aesthetic and its influence on world cultures, through education and professional presentation of dance, music and folklore." "Miss Dunham once said: 'Dance is a way of life,'" said Jamison. "The Muntu Dance Theatre exemplifies the philosophy of Miss Dunham through their embodiment and presentation of authentic rhythms, songs and dance of the African Diaspora." Jamison is scheduled to teach the Dunham Technique from January 25-28 at the International Association of Blacks in Dance Conference in Toronto, Canada. This will be his15th year teaching at the international conference.
Turnabout is fair play for the SIUE Opera cast as they open their new season, under the direction of Assistant Music Professor Marc Schapman, with a performance of Donizetti's Rita in the John C. Abbott Auditorium at 7:30 PM, Oct. 28-29. This rarely performed one-act gem, set at an inn along the road to Turin, features the wiley Gasparo vying in a game of chance to lose the hand of the overbearing Rita to the beleaguered Beppe.
Exciting newcomer, soprano Kyrstan Langer, stars as Rita, in her SIUE Opera debut, along with baritone Richard Ladd as Gasparo and tenor Daniel Werts as Beppe. For tickets, call the SIUE Box Office, (618) 650-2774. Tickets are free to SIUE students with a valid Cougar ID.
Southern Illinois University Edwardsville's Center for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Research, Education and Outreach recently was awarded a $10,000 grant from Vernier Software & Technology, based in Beaverton, Ore.
SIUE's STEM Center, as it is called, will use the money for tools to enhance its summer camp programs for area youth. Vernier selected 30 schools in the nation-10 elementary or middle schools, 10 high schools and 10 colleges or universities-to receive grants to celebrate its 30th anniversary. The awards were given to each institution, based on demonstrated financial need, as well as the inspiring stories each entity provided to explain how the money, if given, would be used.
"With nearly 2,000 applications in total, we were overwhelmed by the innovation and dedication demonstrated by educators nationwide for the betterment of STEM education," said David Vernier, co-founder of Vernier and a former physics teacher. "The 30 grantees are truly deserving of this recognition and the technology received through this grant will greatly assist with their ongoing efforts to expose students to many STEM disciplines in an engaging and hands-on manner."
To learn more about all of Vernier's 30th anniversary technology grant winners, visit www.vernier.com/30years. Vernier develops easy-to-use, affordable science interfaces, sensors and graphing/analysis software. According to its website, with world-wide distribution to more than 130 countries, Vernier products are used by educators and students from elementary school to college, and Vernier's technology-based solutions enhance STEM education, increase learning and build students' critical thinking skills. The company is committed to using Earth-friendly policies and practices, and offers a family-friendly workplace.
Southern Illinois University Edwardsville is an outstanding business school, according to The Princeton Review. The education services company features the school in the new 2012 edition of its book, "The Best 294 Business Schools."
According to Princeton Review Senior VP-PublisherRobert Franek, "We recommend Southern Illinois University Edwardsville to readers of our book and users of our site, www.PrincetonReview.com, as one of the best institutions they could attend to earn an MBA. We chose the 294 business schools in this book based on our high opinion of their academic programs and offerings, as well as our review of institutional data we collect from the schools. We also strongly consider the candid opinions of students attending the schools that rate and report on their campus experiences at their schools on our survey for the book."
"The Best 294 Business Schools: 2012 Edition" has two-page profiles of the schools with write-ups on their academics, student life, and admissions, plus ratings for their academics, selectivity, and career placement services. In the profile of SIUE, The Princeton Review editors describe the school as: "convenient, affordable and located close to a metropolitan area." They quote students attending SIUE who say "The School is great for students who want a great education but cannot afford to pay inflated tuition."
In a "Survey Says . . ." sidebar in the profile, The Princeton Review lists topics that SIUE students it surveyed were in most agreement about. The list includes: "Good peer network, solid preparation in general management, communication, interpersonal skills and doing business in a global economy." The 80-question survey for the book asked students about themselves, their career plans, and their schools' academics, student body and campus life.
"We're delighted that our students give positive ratings to key components of our MBA program," said School of Business Dean Gary Giamartino. " The Princeton Review recognition is a tribute to our outstanding faculty and students."
Stephany Williams, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville senior nursing student from Roodhouse, Ill., completed a 10-week externship with Mayo Clinic in August 2011. Williams was one of 100 student nurses selected to participate in the Mayo Clinic summer externship out of more than 1,000 who applied.
She was assigned to the orthopedic acute care surgical trauma unit at the Rochester, Minnesota facility, which is the unit she requested during the application process.
"Most patients that I saw were involved in serious vehicular accidents or had bone cancer," Williams said. "The patients dealt primarily with trauma to the arms, legs and spine, and received extreme surgeries that are typically not performed in most hospitals across the country."
Sheri Compton-McBride, instructor and director of clinical acquisitions for the SIUE School of Nursing, emphasized Williams's determination for success in the nursing field.
"Stephany is an amazing young woman, with a quiet demeanor," Compton-McBride said. "She is willing to take risks so that she may be exposed to all that nursing has to offer. She has demonstrated her dedication to growth, both personally and professionally."
Upon completion of the externship, Williams was offered a full-time position at Mayo Clinic in the orthopedic trauma unit to become effective after graduation in May 2012. "I am thrilled and honored to have been offered my dream job. I loved Minnesota, and I loved working at Mayo Clinic. I am so excited about the future."
In just a little over five years, this young pharmacist has written curriculum, trained pharmacists to become diabetes coaches in collaboration with the Illinois Pharmacist Association (IPhA), been instrumental in establishing immunization programs throughout Illinois-including ones at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville-and has created a statewide student competition for patient counseling.
So it came as no surprise when the Illinois Pharmacist Association recently selected Dr. Jessica Kerr to receive the Illinois Pharmacist of the Year Award, said Dr. Gireesh Gupchup, a pharmacist and dean of the SIUE School of Pharmacy.
"She's very passionate and energetic and is always looking to move the profession forward," Gupchup said. "Her enthusiasm is really infectious. She's truly a star."
But the 34-yerar-old pharmacist sees her work as being the bright spot. "It's hard to find a job that you love, that is also your hobby," said Kerr, who also won the Illinois Distinguished Young Pharmacist of the Year Award in 2007. "But that's what I found in pharmacy."
Kerr received her doctorate in pharmacy in 2001 from St. Louis College of Pharmacy and came to SIUE in 2005. She is an associate professor in pharmacy practice in the SIUIE Department of Pharmacy. Kerr also works with in the St. Louis Veterans Affairs Medical Center's Belleville office, where she helps patients improve their cardiovascular outcomes and empowers patients with diabetes to take ownership of their condition. She has worked collectively with the Illinois Pharmacists Association to train pharmacists to manage patients' diabetes within the Patient Self-Monitoring Program.
The mother of three continues to serve on the IPhA Board of Directors and remains active with other state and national Boards.
"Getting all this work done at times can be a challenge, but once I sit back and remember why I am doing what I am doing it boils down to this: I want to be a role model for my students and my own kids, and I want to give back to the profession."
Kerr said she feels the best way to do this is to continue her efforts within her community and to continue with her faculty advisor role for the SIUE Academy of Student Pharmacists organization.
T'Keyah Byrum, a senior at the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville East St. Louis Charter High School, didn't expect breast cancer to be part of her schedule. But after the disease met her in the classroom, the 18-year-old felt she didn't have a choice.
"When I found out that someone in our school had breast cancer, it really struck me," Byrum said. "And I wanted to do something."
The teenager organized a group of other Charter High School seniors and the students are sponsoring a Breast Cancer Awareness Program and Walk. A Charter High School teacher, who is in recovery, will be honored during a program at 2 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 19 in the Multipurpose Building at the East St. Louis Higher Education Campus. The program will consist of students presenting poetry, speeches and dance routines.
A Breast Cancer Awareness Walk will follow the program at 2:45 p.m. Participants will meet at the silver sculpture in the middle of campus. All participants are asked to wear pink. A suggested donation is requested of $2 for students and $5 for adults. Anyone is invited to participate and all proceeds will be given to Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure.
"We want to help raise money, but more than that we want to help raise hope," Byrum said.
The Charter High School seniors took on the project with just a little help from their senior advisors, Carolyn Kribs, Colin Neumeyer and Candice Jackson.
"I am extremely proud of our senior class for doing something so selfless and having put so much work into it," Kribs said.
Southern Illinois University Edwardsville's Friends of the Center for Spirituality and Sustainability (FCSS) continues its annual Celebration of World Faiths with an Oct. 29 colloquium, "Called To Care for the Earth: A Conversation with Women of Faith," at the Center (the geodesic dome), just west of SIUE's Morris University Center.
The event, scheduled for 7 p.m. that Saturday, is free and open to the public and will feature a discussion panel with Sr. Maxine Pohlman, SSND, who is with the LaVista Ecological Learning Center; Mary Lou McLaughlin, a Baha'i representative; and Anna Sandidge, a member of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers).
In keeping with its foundational principle of sustainability since its inception in 1971 and its mission to cultivate dialogue and collaboration among world faiths, the Center and the FCSS presents these women of diverse faith traditions, who will tell their stories of spirit-led commitment to respect and protect the Earth in all aspects of their lives.
Issues to be discussed also include "Exploration of Faith-Based Perspectives Regarding Upholding the Integrity of Creation" and "Celebrating the Commonalities of Diverse Faith Traditions."
A dessert buffet will be served and parking is free in Lot B, adjacent to the dome. Donations would be graciously accepted.
The FCSS is a support organization dedicated to preserving the CSS dome building and its grounds as an architectural treasure designed by R. Buckminster Fuller, a world-renowned visionary who was a member of the faculty at both SIUE and SIU Carbondale. The FCSS also works to cultivate interfaith understanding and good will on the SIUE campus and in surrounding communities, and to expand programming offered at the CSS. For more information about the Oct. 29 event, contact the Center, (618) 650-3246.
Mysterious shenanigans will take center stage Nov. 6 as the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Friends of Theater and Dance (FOTAD) present STARs & Scars, a gentle spoof on life at the University, at FOTAD's 15 th Annual Mystery Dinner Theater and Silent Auction. FOTAD is the support organization for the SIUE Department of Theater and Dance. Proceeds from the Nov. 6 event will benefit the organization's scholarship fund for SIUE theater and dance majors. Reservations must be made by Nov. 2.
Playwright S.J. Morrison is up to his old tricks weaving mystery and hilarious antics. "When an escaped criminal is discovered on an already ill-fated tour of the SIUE campus, it's up to the STARs tour guides to find the perpetrator," Morrison said. "With warring tour guides, a prospective chancellor candidate and a bizarre group of visitors, this romp through the SIUE campus promises to be filled with comedy, suspense and some light-hearted fun at the expense of the university we love."
According to Morrison, who has written several whodunit's for FOTAD's Annual Mystery Dinner Theater, it all adds up to a funny experience for the audience. "From the humorous tour guides to the improbable murder and the larger-than-life characters, this comedic mystery farce promises to entertain.," Morrison said.
STARs & Scars will be performed by FOTAD board members and several community supporters seen locally on stage. The 'whodunit' will be performed in the SIUE Morris University Center's Conference Center, on the second floor of the center. Doors open at 6:15 for viewing auction items, the play starts around 7 p.m. and dinner is served shortly thereafter.
FOTAD President Greg Conroy said the evening will feature plenty of laughs and good food. "This will be the perfect evening to combine a nice dinner with shopping for that unique Christmas gift. "And, if you have ever entertained the urge to play detective, this is your big chance because each table can guess 'whodunit' and go home with free tickets to one of the shows in FOTAD's annual family theater series, A Season for the Child," he said.
Tickets are $40 per person and include a full dinner. For reservation information, or to make a reservation with a credit card by Nov. 2, call the SIUE Fine Arts box office, (618) 650-2774, or, from St. Louis toll-free, (888) 328-5168, Ext. 2774.
Mara "Mitch" Meyers (BS '77, MBA '80), former marketing executive at Anheuser-Busch and founder of international advertising firm, Zipatoni, was the seventh alumnus to be the featured speaker at the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville School of Business' annual Power Breakfast on October 6. The Power Breakfast connects prominent alumni from around the country with their alma mater.
Meyer's knack for creativity was on display as she engaged an audience 95 people that included business students, faculty and alumni. She also spoke about her education at the University and how her background in accounting gave her a competitive edge in the field of marketing.
She spoke candidly about her career at Anheuser-Busch, as well as the ups and downs of running her own company.
Meyers began her career in brand management with the 7-Up Company. She was recruited by Anheuser-Busch to launch Bud Light using the "Spuds McKenzie" concept, which was her brainchild. She became the director of marketing for a new Anheuser-Busch Beverage Division making her, at the time, the highest ranking woman in Anheuser-Busch corporate marketing. She was named AdWeek's Woman of the Year in 1987.
After leaving Anheuser-Busch, Meyers formed Zipatoni Company, growing the firm to 350 employees, with offices in five states and billings exceeding $40 million a year. Since her retirement in 2003, she became a partner in two additional businesses, Maison de Chanticleer and CasaMima.
Mitch and her husband, Bob, currently split their time between homes in Glen Carbon and Colorado. Meyers also serves on the SIUE Foundation Board of Directors and was inducted into the SIUE Alumni Hall of Fame in 2010.
Video highlight from the Power Breakfast: http://www.siue.edu/business/video.shtml
Andreas Stefik, assistant professor in the department of computer science at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, received the 2011 Java Innovation Award at the recent JavaOne Conference in San Francisco, Calif.
The award, also known as the Duke's Choice Award, recognizes extreme innovation in the world of Java technology and is granted to the most innovative projects using the Java platform.
Stefik and his team of researchers were recognized for working to make the NetBeans development environment accessible to the blind and visually impaired. NetBeans is a specialized computer program that facilitates software development.
Computer programming is more challenging for the blind and visually impaired due to its visual orientation. With support from the National Science Foundation's Broadening Participation in Computing program, Stefik's research team aims to empower blind and visually impaired individuals to overcome the barriers of programming and ultimately obtain careers in the computing profession.
Stefik is thrilled to have been nominated and selected by Oracle Corporation, the industry group that presents the award.
"It's a prestigious award to receive and I'm frankly still in a bit of shock that my research group won," he said.
School of Engineering Dean Hasan Sevim said he is not surprised by the honor.
"Andy is a cutting-edge researcher in his field, and I expect him to continue to be recognized for his contributions in the future," he said.
Andreas Stefik, assistant professor of computer science through the SIUE School of Engineering, is holding the 2011 Java Innovation Award. Stefik's interview with NetBeans Zone, a social network for software developers, can be found at http://netbeans.dzone.com/news/sodbeans-netbeans-module-duke-2011-winner?utm
Traffic accidents place incident responders such as law enforcement, fire and rescue, and tow operators in danger every day. Huaguo Zhou and Ryan Fries, assistant professors of civil engineering in the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville School of Engineering, have developed a Highway Incident Management Operational and Training Guide designed to improve responder safety by creating a training that details the roles of all agencies.
With 14 training sessions scheduled by the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), the researchers were pleased to learn that the Transportation Research Board (TRB) published the innovative final report from this research in its weekly newsletter.
"The TRB's inclusion of Drs. Zhou and Fries' project report in the weekly newsletter highlights the excellence of their research," said Susan Morgan, professor of civil engineering and chair of the that department. "It also provides others with the opportunity to use what they have developed to improve highway safety throughout the United States."
After receiving positive feedback from pilot tests conducted in Chicago and St. Louis, the researchers released the manual to IDOT. A copy also has been sent to the National Fire and Police Academy to be considered for national accreditation. Zhou believes the report will become a key reference for many agencies in the future.
In fall 2009, the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville School of Engineering's undergraduate enrollment reached 926, a record high in the history of the School.
Since then, that record has been broken twice, with an enrollment of 1,000 students in fall 2010 and 1,007 in fall 2011. The graduate enrollment remained constant during the last these years at 230 in 2009, 241 in 2010 and 234 in 2011.
"What is remarkable is that not only do we have more students enrolling, but also we keep attracting more and more well-prepared students to our programs," said School of Engineering Dean Hasan Sevim. "The average math and composite ACT scores of incoming freshmen this fall reached a record high at 27.93 and 26.37, respectively."
Director of Engineering Student Services Loen Graceson-Martin pointed to new programs that improve the freshmen retention rate from 80 percent to 90 percent.
"We are continuing to get very academically talented groups of students into our programs," she said. "There are no excuse for not elevating the retention rate to 90 percent."
Cem Karacal, professor of industrial and manufacturing engineering and associate dean, recounted successful programs such as the 2+2 program with regional community colleges, the dual-diploma program in industrial engineering with the highly reputable Istanbul Technical University-Turkey, and K-12 outreach in the region.
"It is very rewarding to meet company recruiters at the Career Fair who tell us that they are back because of the quality of our graduates," he said.
The School of Engineering offers undergraduate programs in civil, industrial, electrical, computer, mechanical and manufacturing engineering, along with computer science and construction management. In addition, master's degree programs are offered in civil, industrial, mechanical and electrical engineering, and computer science. The school also has a very successful collaborative doctoral program with SIU Carbondale.
Susan Winters, director of the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Regional Nursing Program, has been selected through competitive application for the year-long Leadership Development Program for Simulation Educators, a faculty leadership development initiative offered by the National League for Nursing (NLN). The program is designed for those interested in assuming a leadership role in the research or administration of simulation programs in nursing education.
SIUE School of Nursing Dean Marcia Maurer considers it a great honor to have an SIUE Nursing faculty member selected for this prestigious NLN program. "In her role as the director, the knowledge and skills gained by Dr. Winters through this program will be invaluable as she guides the development and utilization of the simulation lab in the Regional Nursing Program on the Carbondale campus," Maurer said. "Simulation in nursing education has grown in its importance as the foundational element to actual clinical practice. Because nursing is a knowledge profession, we have an inherent obligation to ensure that our students go to clinical better prepared than ever before. Dr. Winters has a wonderful opportunity to work with the best in the field and then to incorporate best practices into the SIUE Nursing Program."
Winters has been a nurse educator for 19 years, teaching LPN, ADN, BSN, RN-to-BSN, and MSN programs in Illinois and Virginia. Winters has led the SIUE regional program at Carbondale since February 2010 and is responsible for all facets of the simulation laboratory, including the training of faculty members. After the completion of the NLN program, Winters says she hopes to utilize the information obtained to guide the design and operation of the regional program.
Among 20 nurse educators chosen from colleges and universities around the United States, Winter will study for a year under the direction of Pamela Jeffries, author of numerous scholarly articles on the subject and also editor of Simulations in Nursing Education: From Conceptualization to Evaluation (NLN, 2007). She also is a professor of Health Systems and Outcomes and associate dean for academic affairs at Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing. She is nationally known for her research and work in developing simulations and online teaching and learning. At Hopkins and throughout the academic community, Jeffries is well regarded for her expertise in experiential learning, innovative teaching strategies, new pedagogies, and the delivery of content using technology in nursing education.
To expand the science of nursing education while developing their personal leadership portfolios, participants in the NLN initiative program will spend the year engaged in varied activities that examine key issues on a dual track: research and administration, ultimately choosing a single area of focus. To kick off the program, participants meet for two days in Orlando in September, just prior to the NLN's 2011 Education Summit. Looking ahead, the group will participate in leadership development webinars; exchange ideas and best practices in simulation in private forums; review existing scholarly research; visit simulation centers around the country to evaluate resources and operations; consult with Laerdal representatives on equipment issues; contribute to a group project to develop or expand the Simulation Information Resource Center (SIRC) website; and attend conferences.
Dedicated to excellence in nursing, the NLN is the premier organization for nurse faculty and leaders in nursing education, offering faculty development, networking opportunities, testing services, nursing research grants, and public policy initiatives to its 34,000 individual and 1,200 institutional members.
Pictured in the back row, from left to right, are SIUE Chancellor Vaughn Vandegrift, Warning Coordination Meteorologist Jim Kramper from the National Weather Service Forecast Office in St. Charles, Mo., SIUE Police Chief Gina Hays and Kurt Driesner, a graduate assistant in SIUE Emergency Management and Safety. In the front row, left to right, are Thomas Brueggeman from Emergency Management and Safety, and Dave McDonald, director of that department.
Officials from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Weather Service today praised Southern Illinois University Edwardsville for completing a set of rigorous warning criteria necessary to earn the distinction of being a StormReady ® University.
NOAA, through the U.S. Department of Commerce, promotes nationwide community preparedness programs, using a grassroots approach to help them develop plans to handle local severe weather and flooding threats.
"StormReady encourages communities and businesses to take a new, proactive approach to improving local hazardous weather operations and public awareness," said
Jim Kramper, warning coordination meteorologist at the National Weather Service forecast office in St. Charles, Mo. "StormReady arms communities and businesses with improved communication and safety skills needed to save lives and property - before and during the event."
To be recognized as StormReady, a university must:
The program is voluntary and provides communities with advice from a partnership of local National Weather Service forecast offices, and state and local emergency managers. Starting in 1999 with seven participating communities in the Tulsa, Okla., area, StormReady now includes more than 1,600 communities across the country.
A team of researchers headed by Southern Illinois University Edwardsville School of Engineering Assistant Professor of Computer Science Gary Mayer has been awarded a $900,000 National Science Foundation Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers (ITEST) grant to study the effects of mentoring related to student interest in pursuing science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers.
The effort is a collaborative enterprise between SIUE and the University of Southern California (USC), with support from the KISS Institute for Practical Robotics (KIPR). Mayer will work with Sharon Locke, director of the SIUE Center for STEM Research, Education and Outreach and Brad White, senior researcher with the Illinois Education Research Council (IERC).
Introducing the popular Botball robotics competition, managed by KIPR, to communities unfamiliar with the program from the Southern Illinois and Southern California areas, 50 middle-school teachers will be prepared as mentors using four different training techniques. Approximately 500 middle school students from diverse backgrounds will be coached by mentors. Student participants' expectations of success and desire to take STEM courses and pursue STEM careers will be surveyed before and after the program and the results, along with feedback from the mentors, will enable researchers to examine the effectiveness of the different mentoring techniques.
"This grant is the result of us wanting to expand upon the outcome of previous research," Mayer said, explaining the latest grant funding was made possible thanks to work conducted by SIUE Acting Associate Provost for Research and Dean of the Graduate School Jerry Weinberg, who also is a professor of Computer Science, and SIUE Associate Provost for Academic Planning and Program Development Sue Thomas, who also is a professor of Psychology. Mayer continued, "We are looking at what we can do as instructors, how we can vary what our mentors do, and determining what type of influence different techniques have on students." The team plans to devise a framework that can be used by mentors to positively influence students' desire to engage in STEM activities - both for Botball and in a broader, more general context.
Mayer will also collaborate on the project with Stephen Marlett, SIUE associate professor of Curriculum and Instruction in the School of Education, Maja Mataric, professor of Computer Science, Neuroscience and Pediatrics at USC, and director of USC's Center for Robotics and Embedded Systems, and Ross Mead, SIUE School of Engineering alumnus and NSF graduate research fellow at USC. The USC location in multicultural Los Angeles and the diverse population around SIUE's own campus will allow the team to investigate the role of ethnicity in mentoring for STEM education.
According to the NSF website, the ITEST program "responds to current concerns and projections about the growing demand for STEM professionals in the U.S. and seeks solutions to help ensure the breadth and depth of the STEM workforce. ITEST supports the development, implementation, testing and scale-up of implementation models. It also supports research studies to address questions that point to solutions for building a strong, competent STEM workforce."
Some Southern Illinois University Edwardsville students will now be able to grab hold of a piece of "rock" and hang on or hang out in a new form of recreational sport designed just for them.
SIUE will officially open its Bouldering Cave with a ribbon cutting ceremony from 4:30-7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 20. The Bouldering Cave is located in the SIUE Student Fitness Center.
The structure, which is 10 feet by 20 feet, will allow individuals to enhance their rock climbing skills on short, low routes without the use of safety ropes and harnesses, said Keith Becherer, assistant director of Campus Recreation.
Installing the rock-like structure, built by Eldorado Climbing Walls in Boulder, Colo., was the result of a student focus group, which expressed interest in having a bouldering cave, said Michael Ostrander, director of Campus Recreation.
"What's exciting is that we were able to deliver in a relatively short time something of significant interest to students," Ostrander said.
The Bouldering Cave, he added, besides offering fitness and recreational benefits, also becomes a "club house" for like-minded individuals who are not interested in main-stream competitive sports.
"Climbers Anonymous members are all waiting anxiously for the cave to open," said Kevin Brady, president of Climbers Anonymous, a student organization through Campus Recreation. "Ultimately for us, it just means more fun and an opportunity to become stronger climbers."
Currently, the Student Fitness Center has a Rock Climbing Wall, but it can only be accessed when staff is on duty because of safety issues, Becherer said. However, with the Bouldering Cave, staff does not need to be on site because no safety devices are required. The Bouldering Cave will be open during the operating hours of the Student Fitness Center.