All Posts Tagged With: "STEM"
An interview with the remarkable Will Guest
Will Guest, a 25-year-old University of British Columbia student, has earned an M.D. and a PhD and will soon patent an algorithm that could have implications for Creutzfeldt–Jakob Disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). In case you’re wondering, he skipped fifth grade, finished his undergraduate at the University of Manitoba in three years and completed his combined M.D./PhD a year ahead of schedule. After just returning from a vacation in China, we spoke about his route to success, the Canadian university system and how others can succeed.
In high school, what was your typical day like?
I went to high school in Winnipeg. We were able to work independently in our math courses so we could work ahead and complete our high school curriculum as quickly as possible and then we could take AP (Advanced Placement) courses. When we’d finished the AP courses, we could go on and actually take university courses in high school through the University of Manitoba. Fortunately, it was a pretty normal schedule. I wasn’t working day and night by any means. I enjoyed it.
Trudeau’s plan to enroll more Canadians misses the point
To read more by Colby Cosh, visit Macleans.ca
The Liberal Party of Canada held its third leadership debate over the weekend; you probably heard about how it led to an argument about the terrible things Martha said to Justin and what Marc said about what Martha said to Justin and whether or not there is actually anything in what Martha said to Justin… well, the news-cycle hivemind cannot help making things personal.
Something more interesting actually happened immediately before the debate, when Justin Trudeau published an op-ed on federal education policy—a self-evident attempt to deflect Marc Garneau’s criticisms of him for being a policy lightweight with no specific program. But I’m afraid reading the piece had me saying “If only!”
A Liberal Party led by me would make it the highest national economic priority to raise our post-secondary education rate…The Canadian promise, that if you get educated and work hard, you can guarantee a better life for yourself and for your kids, is being seriously questioned. Canadians are rightly concerned that their leaders have lost focus on the policy that is at the heart of this promise: access to affordable, high-quality education. So what should the federal role look like? It should be principled, specific and targeted at the overall goal of raising our participation rate from just over 50 per cent to 70 per cent.
Red Bull, Frankenstorm, Pippa, STEM & Toronto Fashion
1. A Korean student at Cape Breton University is expected to be deported today after an outburst involving threats to a residence adviser. The decision is despite arguments from his lawyer that the incident was the result of drinking too many caffeinated Red Bull energy drinks, reports CBC News. Red Bull may yet give this guy wings—in the form of an airplane back to Asia.
2. For the first time, the fossils of feathered dinosaurs have been found in the Americas—dug up in the Alberta badlands by a Canadian team, reports Maclean’s science scribe Kate Lunau. The bones are from the same ostrich-like dinosaurs that famously appeared in Jurassic Park.
3. Frankenstorm, a.k.a. Hurricane Sandy, could merge with another weather system just in time to do serious damage to Eastern Canada and the U.S. on or before Halloween. Scared yet?
Two Canadian schools dominate competitionEach year, thousands of math geniuses from hundreds of North American universities compete in the William Lowell Putnam Mathematics Competition, a six-hour test.
It’s one of the most prestigious—and lucrative—in the world. The winning team gets $25,000. The winning individual gets a scholarship to Harvard.
Naturally, teams from Harvard, MIT, and Caltech have won the most titles (55, 40 and 30).
But there are two Canadian schools whose students consistently do well too. The University of Toronto and The University of Waterloo each have 18 team titles and top five placements (Queen’s is next in Canada, with three). Waterloo’s wins are particularly impressive, considering the Putnam competition predates its birth in 1957 by a few decades. But those aren’t the only two Canadian schools to do well recently.
Here’s how our schools stacked up over the past five years.
Teams in the top 10
University of Toronto —4
University of Waterloo—4
University of British Columbia—2
Top scoring individuals (winners and honorable mentions)
University of Waterloo—13
University of Toronto —8
University of British Columbia—6
University of Alberta—1
And why they may want to reconsider
Today, the New York Times suggested that President Obama’s goal of training 10,000 more engineers per year, plus 100,000 more STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) teachers annually is unlikely to be reached.
For decades, the U.S. has been trying to up its output of STEM students. But the percentage of all students earning Bachelor of Engineering degrees has actually fallen from nearly 10 per cent of the total in the mid-1980s to 5.4 per cent in 2009-10. Computer engineering hit peaks of 4.3 per cent of the totals in 1984 and 2004, but has fallen again to 2.4 per cent in 2009-10. It’s a similar story in other STEM fields too, like biology. As more people are educated, it seems fewer are choosing STEM.
STEM students will get $60,000 each
Seymour Schulich, who already has several Canadian schools named for him, has announced he has donated $100-million to fund scholarships in Canada and Israel, reports Shalom Life.
The Schulich Leader Scholarships are meant to increase enrollment in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects, in order to spur innovation.
All graduating high school and CEGEP students in Canada and Israel who are planning to study STEM subjects may apply. Each winner will receive $60,000 over four years. Five Israeli and 20 Canadian Universities will award one scholar each in the first year of the program. After that it will grow 75 awards per year. United Jewish Appeal of Greater Toronto will administer the cash.
Schulich, a business leader, has already made donations that have resulted in the following things named for him: a medical and dentistry school at the University of Western Ontario, a library and a school of music at McGill University, a law school at Dalhousie University, an engineering school at the University of Calgary, an education school at Nipissing University and a business school at York University.
Money will create programs for under-represented youth
More students from under-represented groups will be encouraged to pursue careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and medicine) fields, thanks to $1.25-million from the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario.
“Our Government recognizes the importance of preparing young people for today’s high-tech economy,” said Conservative MP Peter Braid at the announcement in Waterloo. “By developing our next generation of scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematicians, we can help drive innovation and keep the economy growing in southern Ontario for years to come.”
The money goes to Actua, a science, engineering and technology outreach network that provides summer camps and classroom workshops delivered by university students. The funding will help create new programs for under-represented children, including Aboriginals, at-risk youth and girls.
Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Commerce released a study that showed women make up only 25 per cent of the STEM workforce, despite holding nearly 50 per cent of all jobs. They concluded that America’s economic growth is held back by the gender gap in STEM fields.
Nearly half say they have fewer children than desired
A new study in PLoS One found that women working in science are less satisfied than their male counterparts in a number of ways.
Most striking is the fact that 45 per cent of female science faculty members said they have fewer children than they desire, compared to only 25 per cent of male science faculty members.
Similarly, more female faculty said they have trouble balancing work and family life — 48 per cent versus 32 per cent.
The study also showed that women are slightly less satisfied with their incomes and slightly more dissatified with their working hours than their male colleagues are. They also claim to work one hour more per week on average than men (56 hours versus 55 hours).
The findings may help to explain why fewer women are attracted to jobs in science. Just last week, the U.S. Department of Commerce published a study that showed that women hold only 24 per cent of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Medicine) jobs, despite making up nearly 50 per cent of the workforce.
The PLoS researchers surveyed 1,302 faculty across 100 science departments.