Your Colleague, Artificial Intelligence

Written by: Reagan Flowers, PhD

“Standardized tests are ineffective tools in measuring a student’s talent and capacity to work smart alongside machines.”

Some people believe that “the fuel you need for AI is just pure data”[1], but that is only one component. You can have all the data in the world, but to make that data useful it must be understood and analyzed. No matter who is analyzing the data (i.e. engineers, computer scientists, artists, or artificial intelligence, etc.), they must first be taught the necessary skills to do their job with accuracy and efficiency.

This then leads to the concept of teaching students to be innovative in analyzing and finding patterns within data, starting as early as elementary school. Which creates challenges for educators who are required to teach students to pass standardized tests. Although such tests challenge students on straightforward problems with a clear solution, employers are relying more heavily on Artificial Intelligence (AI), something standardized tests have not been designed to measure.

Let’s face it, you are considered as being smart when you can problem-solve and utilize technology to create the best possible solution.  Testing should evolve to measuring the overall capacity of a students understanding and ability to interact with technology to solve complex problems.

The standardized testing process and language has created its own barriers. There are many people who criticize the testing movement and colleges that are making their admissions decisions more inclusive of accomplishments beyond standardized test scores.

AI is widely integrated in all aspects of our lives from the food service industry at McDonalds to the driverless vehicles that are sharing our roads. In the age of Industry 4.0, the academic gaps created by standardized testing are leading schools in the wrong direction, away from high skilled opportunities.  Standardized tests are ineffective tools in measuring a student’s talent and capacity to work smart alongside machines.

We are beyond the computer and automation age. Work platforms are increasingly more dependent on cyber platforms that can be integrated into our daily workflow.  Student’s must be taught how to work smarter with machines.



STEMing Up During Summer

Written By: Reagan Flowers, PhD

The first day of summer is fast approaching. Schools across the U.S. are preparing to downsize for the summer months and are re-tooling for the upcoming school year. There are students preparing for summer camps, adventures, and vacations; while others are preparing for whatever the day brings.

During the academic year, every student enrolled in a school excelled at learning something because of their teachers, mentors, peers, siblings, and/or family members.

I find summer to be a perfect time to add to students’ personal stories of achievement with experiences that add value and propels them towards what will come next in their learning journey.

Because students do not choose the life they are born into, making available summer STEM programs aid them in choosing paths, and seizing opportunities that will make their collective hopes and dreams a reality. It is important that our students understand that each of their paths are different. Their experiences are not all equal or equitable and as a result the road to accomplishing their goals could be longer or shorter and filled with challenges or lucky breaks.

No matter what some might think, summer for students offers a window of time that should be filled with learning experiences that are positive, enlightening, inspiring, challenging, engaging, fun, and empowering.

Let’s face it, whether we are working to achieve success with creating awesome memories or being a scholar, it will only be achieved through demanding work, commitment, focus, determination, endurance, gratitude, humility, thoughtfulness, failure, and a good balance of knowing when not to take yourself too seriously.

STEM summer experiences aid students in taking closer steps towards achieving the life they hope and dream for themselves. It is important that students are directed during the summer to not limit themselves, set grand expectations, and to push beyond urges to spend time on activities that will cause the valuable time of summer to slip away.  Resulting in having nothing good to show for their time.

The learning gains achieved during the summer months helps to remove barriers that limit opportunities, restrict exposure, and stifles competitiveness. Students that do their part as scholars, thoughtful leaders, and examples of what is good in the world, continue to make advancements and eventually take hold of futures better than what many of them inherited at birth.

All students can have awesome STEM summers whether enrolling in a camp or assuming a curious, creative, and innovative mindset that leads to STEM discoveries at home, in their neighborhoods, and city. I hope that within all our communities, we continue to be deliberate and unwavering in providing as many STEM summer learning experiences for children that their brains can hold.

The Diploma to College to Career Mismatch

Written By:  Reagan Flowers, PhD

It appears that minority students are less likely to enroll in college, remain in college, and are more likely to go directly to work post high school.  Factors impacting their choices to attend college are finances, access to opportunities, awareness, proper preparation, supportive networks, and exposure.  And for many minorities enrolled in college, they are first generation.

According to NCES, minority students are obtaining their high-school diplomas with completion rates in the U.S. for Hispanic’s being 76.3% and 72.5% for Black students. However, nationally these percentages are not representative of the number of minority students enrolling in colleges, 17% Hispanic and 14% Black.

The mismatch in the numbers does cause one to wonder how this has come to be.  I wonder if today’s high school graduates have determined that they will yield less of a return on their investment in a college degree if it is not in a STEM field.  Additionally, I wonder if high school graduates see more of an income advantage in forgoing a college degree and going directly to work in a blue-collar STEM field.  Looking further into gender numbers, there are more females enrolling in college than males.  The low enrollment numbers of males in college suggests that they experience more pressure to earn wages right after high school as opposed to females. The practicality of forgoing college long-term, in most instances, is not good. Such decisions create economic gaps and stagnation.

A growing trend are student success programs that colleges are putting in place to increase minority student enrollment and completion rates.  There are designated institutions such as HBCUs, MSIs, and HSIs that are intentionally and thoughtfully creating environments to improve their overall numbers.  And, there are groups such as AHSIEHBCU Faculty Development Network, and PennGSE Center for Minority Serving Institutions that are sharing best practices to help move the needle.

A recent presentation of C-STEMs research on minorities and females attitudes towards STEM education and careers at an AHSIE conference was fairly consistent with common themes being expressed by colleges from across the U.S.  We are not short on problems to solve, are working to eliminate the mismatches, and are increasingly using technology to identify and trigger responses to student academic and social challenges, sooner rather than later.

Brookings STEM Report

STEM Cell Economy Humor


The Brookings STEM Report offers an analysis of the occupational requirements for STEM knowledge.  How does “The Hidden STEM Economy” impact you?

stem_profile_thumb_16x9STEM Jobs

Prairie View A & M University of Texas Celebrates Women’s History Month

Thursday, 11:00 AM, March 7th at the John B. Coleman Library at Prairie View A & M University of Texas celebrates Women’s History Month:  “Women Inspiring Innovation Through Imagination: Celebrating Women in (STEM).”

Women’s History Month Flyer 2013 Dr.pdf FINAL COPYkmg 3-4-13

Saturdays Should Be Declared Permanent National Days Of Service

For schools to achieve desired outcomes with student achievement in America, it will require hard working American adults doing their part. Every Saturday of the year is a great day for Americans to take time out and volunteer for STEM learning projects at elementary, middle, and high schools.

VolunteerFact-300x293Real world experiences are vital to a student’s understanding of how to apply textbook content towards solving problems. When businesses engage in focused STEM opportunities, through community service projects that give back to classrooms, students, and teachers, they are in fact enhancing learning and enriching lives such that entire communities and economies are transformed.

CSTEM volunteers are appreciated and valued for their drive and understanding of the importance of giving back.  The most powerful thing about CSTEM volunteers is their service and investment of time, through which they convey knowledge and skills to teachers and students alike that they will hopefully always carry with them. It is in this spirit that we offer that Saturdays ought to be permanently recognized as the American Day of Service.

Celebrating Women Role Models in STEM

In celebration of women role models in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), STEMconnector™ unveils in hard copy and online its inaugural 100 Women Leaders in STEM publication. The heroines included in 100 Women Leaders in STEM share stories about their commitment to serving as mentors and sponsors of those who are next in the STEM jobs pipeline. 100 Women Leaders in STEM showcases the careers and initiatives of more than one hundred women leaders who are active role models for the underrepresented segment of women in America’s growing shortage of STEM professionals. Also included are insiders’ perspectives about the traits needed to advance in the STEM professions, and how women in particular can make a difference. The publication features profiles of leaders in the corporate, government and nonprofit sectors, including CEO´s, Presidents and key public officials. Also included are Opinion Editorials featuring interesting data and perspectives about women in STEM.

“We need you and we need this generation of women to stand up and serve as role models to encourage young women to develop the critical skills needed for the competitive workforce of tomorrow.” Senator Kirsten Gillibrand

“We need to be more aggressive in showing girls and young women role models and highlighting stories of successful leaders.” Susan O’Day, SVP and CIO, Disney

“It is fun when you see that light bulb go off and when you know you’ve helped someone see STEM in a different way.” Ellen Kullman, Chairman and CEO, Dupont

100 Women in STEM Profiles

Cecilia Kimberlin
VP, Quality and Regulatory
Adecco Group North America
Bernadette Rotolo
SVP, Applications Development and Maintenance
Aerospace Corporation
Wanda M. Austin
President and CEO
Aerospace Industries Association (AIA)
Marion Blakely
President and CEO
AES Corporation
Victoria Harker
Chief Financial Officer/President, Global Business Services
Aetna Inc.
Meg McCarthy
Executive VP, Information, Technology and Service Operations
Alliance for Science & Technology Research in America (ASTRA)
Mary Good
Dean Emerita, Donaghey College of Engineering & Information
Technology, University of Arkansas
American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
Shirley Malcom
Director of Education and Human Resources
American Association of University Women (AAUW)
Linda Hallman
Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer
American Chemical Society (ACS)
Madeleine Jacobs
Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer
American Geophysical Union (AGU)
Chris McEntee
Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer
American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)
Victoria Rockwell
Immediate Past President
Kris Rinne
Senior Vice President, Network Technologies
ATK Defense
Karen Davies
Vice President, Business Integration and Operations
Xiaochun Luo
Group Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer
BAE Systems, Inc.
Linda Hudson
President & CEO
Bayer USA Foundation
Rebecca Lucore
Executive Director
Beverly Wills Architecture Foundation
Beverly Willis
Founder and Co-Chair of Board of Directors
Boeing Defense Space & Security
Laurette Lahey
Vice President, Engineering, Flight and Controls
Bunengi Group
Savannah Maziya
Chairman and CEO
Cargill Incorporated
Jeanne McCaherty
Vice President/Regional Director, North and South Americas Texturizing Solutions
Center for Energy Workforce Development (CEWD)
Ann Randazzo
Executive Director
Center for Excellence in Education (CEE)
Joan DiGenaro
Cessna (A Textron Company)
Cindy Halsey
Vice President, Interior Design, Engineering and Development
Change the Equation
Linda Rosen
Chief Executive Officer
Padmasree Warrior
Senior Vice President Engineering, Chief Technology Officer
Coca-Cola Company
Rhona Applebaum
Vice President, Chief Scientific and Regulatory Officer
Michele Kang
Founder and CEO
CommuniCard, LLC
Sylvia Acevedo
CEO, CommuniCard/Commissioner President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics
Conrad Foundation
Nancy Conrad
Founder and Chairman
CSC Corporation
Sharon Hays
Vice President, Office of Science and Engineering
Reagan Flowers
Founder and Chief Executive Officer
Dell, Inc.
Adriana Karaboutis
Vice President and Global CIO
Deloitte Consulting LLP
Janet Foutty
National Managing Director, US Technology Practice
Discovery Education
Cindy Moss
Director of Global STEM Initiatives
Susan O’Day
Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer
Ellen Kullman
Chair of the Board & Chief Executive Officer
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Lisa P. Jackson
Express Scripts
Sharon Frazee
Vice President, Research and Analysis
Fluke Corporation
Barbara Hulit
Charlene Begley
President & CEO, GE Home & Business Solutions /Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer, GE
General Mills
Susan Crockett
Vice President, and Senior Technology Officer for Health and Nutrition
Girl Scouts of the USA
Anna Maria Chavez
Executive Director and Board Member
Girls Inc.
Judy Vredenburgh
President and CEO
Great Minds in STEM (GMiS)
Anna Park
Chief Executive Officer
Harris Corporation
Sherry Covell
Vice President, Intel Programs
Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation (HWCF)
Lisa Gable
Honeywell Technology Solutions, Inc.
Carey Smith
Linda Sanford
Senior Vice President, Enterprise Transformation
Ingersoll Rand
Neddy Perez
Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer
Intel Corporation
Diane Bryant
Vice President/General Manager, Datacenter and Connected Systems Group
Intellectual Ventures
Adriane Brown
President and COO
International Food Information Council Foundation (IFIC)
Kimberly Reed
Executive Director
ITT Corporation
Denise Ramos
CEO and President
JP Morgan Chase
Phyllis Campbell
Vice Chairman of the Pacific Northwest Region
Lynne Doughtie
Vice Chair – Advisory
Kraft Foods, Inc.
Jean Spence
Executive Vice President of Research, Development & Quality
L-3 Communications Corporation
Susan Opp
Corporate Senior Vice President, L-3 Communications Corporation/President, L-3 Communications Systems Group
Lanmark Technology, Inc.
Lani Hay
Founder, President, and CEO
Lockheed Martin Corporation
Sondra Barbour
Senior Vice President, Enterprise Business Services/Chief Information Officer
Manufacturing Institute (MI)
Jennifer McNelly
Marathon Oil
Annell Bay
Vice President Global Exploration
MasterCard Technologies
Joan Kelly
Group Executive, software Development
MCI Diagnostic Center
Colleen Payne
Founder and CEO
Microsoft Research
Jennifer Chayes
Managing Director, Microsoft Research New England/New York City
Miss America
Laura Kaeppeler
Miss America 2012
Lori Garver
Deputy Administrator
National Academy of Engineering
Catherine Didion
Senior Program Officer
National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity (NAPE)
Mimi Lufkin
Chief Executive Officer
National Association for Equal Employment in Higher Education (NAFEO)
Lezli Baskerville
Chief Executive Officer
National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT)
Lucy Sanders
CEO and Co-Founder
National Girls Collaborative Project (NGCP)
Karen Peterson
Chief Executive Officer
National Grid
Ellen Smith
Executive Vice President/Chief Operating Officer
National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI)
Mary Ann Rankin
President and Chief Executive Officer
National Science Foundation (NSF)
Cora Marrett
Deputy Director
National Science Resources Center (NSRC)
Sally Shuler
Executive Director
New Hampshire
Senator Jeanne Shaheen
New York
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand
North Carolina
Senator Kay Hagan
Northrop Grumman Corporation
Linda Mills
Corporate Vice President/President, Information Systems
PAST Foundation
Annalies Corbin
President and Chief Executive Officer
Peabody Energy
Lina Young
Senior Vice President, Information Technology
Heidi Kleinbach-Sauter
Senior Vice President, Research & Development Global Foods
Posse Foundation
Deborah Bial
President & Founder
Robin Saitz
Senior Vice President, Solutions Marketing and Communications
Peggy Johnson
Executive Vice President and President, Global Market Development
Lynn Dugle
Vice President Raytheon/President, Intelligence and Information Systems
Rockwell Collins
Nan Mattai
Senior Vice President, Engineering and Technology
Rolls-Royce Corporation
Lisa Teage
Director, Research & Technology Strategy
RTI International Metals, Inc
Dawne Hickton
Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Amy Alving
Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer
Sally Ride Science
Sally Ride
President and Chief Executive Officer
Siemens Foundation
Jeniffer Harper-Taylor
Society for Women Engineers (SWE)
Betty Shanahan
Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer
Society Of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE)
Pilar Montoya
Chief Executive Officer
Southern Company
Jennifer Grove
Workforce Development Coordinator, Gulf Power Company
State of Iowa
Kim Reynolds
Lt. Governor
Symantec Corporation
Janice Chaffin
Group President, Consumer Business Unit
Target Corporation
Beth Jacob
Executive Vice President, Target Technology Services/Chief Information Officer
Teach for America
Melissa Gregson
Managing Director, STEM Initiative
Teaching Institute for Excellence in STEM (TIES)
Jan Morrison
Alka Dhillon
Founder and Chief Executive Officer
Technology Access Foundation (TAF)
Trish Millines Dziko
Co-Founder, Executive Director
Ten80 Foundation
Beverly Simmons
Texas Girls Collaborative Project (TGCP)
Tricia Berry
Texas Instruments, Inc.
Melendy Lovett
Senior Vice President/President, Education Technology
U.S. Department of Defense
Laura Stubbs
Director, Science and Technology Initiatives
Mina Elias
Vice President, Service Delivery & Assurance National Operations
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
Karenann Terrell
Executive Vice President/Chief Information Officer
Senator Maria Cantwell
Sophie Vandebroek
Chief Technology Officer, Xerox /President, Xerox Innovation Group