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Report Suggests Russia Lacks STEM Field Gender Gap.

The Washington Post (4/24, Marks) reports a number of studies have suggested a “pipeline problem” in the US that has resulted in a shortage of women in the American computing workforce. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization released a report that found in Russia, 41 percent of scientific researchers are female, and three times more female inventors are in Russia than in the West. A researcher explained that in other nations, girls have “a slightly playful approach to STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering, Math], whereas in Russia, even the very youngest were extremely focused on the fact that their future employment opportunities were more likely to be rooted in STEM subjects.” Russian girls are also introduced to technology at an earlier age than in other nations. “As a result,” the Post writes, “young Russian girls view STEM more positively and this has resulted in a more lasting interest.”

Article posted: 04/25/2017

Wind Energy To Power Sound Transit Light-Rail Trains.

The Seattle Times (4/19, Lindblom) reports, “Sound Transit is trading some fossil-fuel energy for wind power starting in 2019, for light-rail trains running through SeaTac.” Sound Transit will purchase “10 years of wind power to replace a dirtier mix of electricity where its trains run in SeaTac, the agency announced Tuesday.” The light rail’s power supply “currently comes from Puget Sound Energy, where coal and natural gas together provide 59 percent of the portfolio.” However “the contract for 2019-28 will replace those fossil fuels under PSE’s new Green Direct program.”

Article posted: 04/20/2017

Companies Propose Solutions For Orbital Debris Threat.

Space News (4/3, Subscription Publication) reports that on Monday at the 33rd Space Symposium, companies provided updates on solutions designed to address the threat of orbital debris to US satellites. Ball Aerospace & Technologies has developed a simulation tool called Proximity Operations and Rendering (PROXOR), which Staff Consultant Susan Hagerty explained “enables the evaluation of performance of various architectures and algorithms” for Space Situational Awareness (SSA) functions. Launchspace Technologies proposed sending debris-collection units equipped with SSA sensors into low Earth orbit to help remove the millions of pieces of debris too small to be tracked with ground sensors. Also providing upgrades were Cosmic Advanced Engineering Solutions and Astra LLC

Article posted: 04/11/2017

Percentage of Women Majoring In Engineering Growing, But Still Low In Workforce.

The Charlotte (NC) Observer (4/4, Carballo) reports on the various struggles, and moments of growth, female engineers at all levels currently face in the male-dominated profession. The Observer highlights a range of women, from young female college students majoring in engineering, all the way to Marquette University’s first female dean of engineering. The Observer adds that according to a 2016 report by the National Science Foundation, the national average of women majoring in engineering is close to 20 percent, with that number falling to 15 percent in regards to the percentage of college-educated women working in the engineering industry.

Article posted: 04/05/2017

Federal, State Officials Increase Focus On K-12 Cybersecurity Education.

Education Week (3/22, Herold) reports “a stead drumbeat of reports” addressing cybersecurity issues prompted “new attention for nascent efforts to support cybersecurity education, including in K-12 schools.” President Trump was expected to sign an executive order that would direct several Federal agencies to review the nation’s cybersecurity education endeavors and recommend improvements, but he placed the order on hold. A later draft of the order “eliminated altogether the provision related to education and workforce development.” ED and several other departments support cybersecurity education and workforce-training initiatives, and leaders at the state level “have also pushed forward their own cybersecurity initiatives.” Meanwhile, the Cyber Innovation Center launched in 2007, and its founders established the National Integrated Cyber Education Research Center because they “quickly realized” that their efforts to prepare a cybersecurity workforce “would ultimately depend on K-12 schools.” Seventeen states have thus far approved the center’s curricular materials; however, “the scale and quality of K-12 cybersecurity education remains spotty.”

Article posted: 03/22/2017