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Thursday, September 25, 2008

Worried about the job market? Become an engineer!!

I'm taking a break from preparing a stem cell presentation that I will give in just a week (October 3--just shy of my birthday--no better way to celebrate than to talk about science Wink) to the general community. This should be enjoyable.  If you are in town it will be at the Parkland Community College Planetarium at 7pm--here is a link to the World of Science lectures. I believe it will set you back a whole dollar for admittance.  Basically, it will be a more comprehensive discussion about stem cells than what appeared on the Surrounded by Science program I filmed in May.


Three reports from April of this year by NSF indicate that the job market for scientists and engineers looks really good.  I will direct you to the story on ScienceDaily to read more!


Additionally, there is another brief story from February indicating that we need to train more scientists and engineers, and we are not doing a good enough job at this. From Science Daily again  John Brooks Slaughter, Ph.D., P.E., President and CEO of the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering, Inc. (NACME) noted last year that, ".... It is estimated that more than a half million engineers will be needed over the next decade to replace those who retire and that at least that many new engineers will be needed to fill the demand that will exist at the end of that period. We find ourselves importing talent and exporting jobs, not just because it is less expensive to have the work performed by lower-wage skilled workers in developing countries but also because we do not produce enough native-born, well-qualified scientists and engineers in our nation's colleges and universities."


And finally, from June of this year, a report was released by the National Academy of Engineering called "Changing the Conversation: Messages for Improving Public Understanding of Engineering" on the best way to convince young people to go into engineering: tell them that they will make a difference The four most effective statements they tested were:


  • Engineers make a world of difference.
  • Engineers are creative problem-solvers.
  • Engineers help shape the future.
  • Engineering is essential to our health, happiness, and safety.

One would think that it is the nerdy stereotype that is keeping young people from pursuing science, yet those conducting this story found that students just don't enjoy math and science nearly enough. Read more at ScienceDaily  Now what could we do about this?? I think more outreach by scientists who enjoy their work and some extra support to teachers in the schools in these fields might help. If the teacher is enthusiastic, then the students get excited about science. I believe I'm a little on the enthusiastic side, or so say my student evals each semester.


Come to think of it, I can hardly remember much of my elementary school science, except for burning some hair, talking about why shower curtains blow in toward you and an egg drop contest.  In middle school I remember cooking (and eating) some run of the mill Guam snails and....hmm, not much else.  I had a cool chemistry teacher in high school, a nice enough biology teacher and very hard to understand Indian teacher for physics. Now, my 8th grade math teacher, oh my!  She was scary and memorable, but I really learned a lot! She owned only three dresses, always drawled exaggeratively and nasally "Everyone's afraid of Fraaaaaaaactions!", stood in such a way in those hot Guam classrooms so the fan would blow up her skirt to cool herself off (eewww!) and, on the day when there were apples for lunch, if you were in her afternoon class, there would easily be more than a dozen apples on her desk!


My science path would probably be considered unusual since I always KNEW I would do something with science.  It is almost as if my path was laid out in metal and I was born with magnetic boots on my feet!  The lack of exciting science opportunities in my school couldn't stop me. Even modeling wasn't a digression since I learned some valuable things from it that I have been able to integrate into the way I conduct my life. Whatever I do, it will always have science associated with it!


OK, back to work! Until next time...

Kindly, Joanne

Thu, September 25, 2008 | link 

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Eponymously yours....

I FINALLY completed the histological eponyms powerpoint presentation I was working on!  I am very pleased with the final result.  I love that I pursued a personal approach to these scientific discoveries and learned more about the scientists who made them, as well as other things they had accomplished, besides, say, finding the Fallopian tube or a layer of the cornea or that tiny little duct in the liver!


You will find both parts to the presentation on the Famous Scientists page.  Please enjoy!!  Hopefully you will giggle as well as learn somethingI do my best to add a little humor to all of my presentations.  Science is way too fun to make it boring!


If you read my post from September 10 , you will find Paul Langerhans in the second part of the presentation.  He was responsible for finding the endocrine portions of the pancreas (secreting insulin and other hormones), although had no idea what he was looking at and guessed they were lymph nodes.  He also found certain cells in the skin which he thought were neurons but were actually macrophages (cells that eat other "objects" and present antigens to the rest of the immune system). More interestingly, however, he ran a clinic for TB (tuberculosis) patients and he had TB himself.  Lucky for him that he was able to marry the widow of one of his patients and enjoyed her company for three wonderful years before he himself succumbed to the disease.


Until next time....

Kindly, Joanne



Tue, September 23, 2008 | link 

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