2019 AISES Leadership Summit: Planning STEM Futures in a Welcoming Cherokee Community
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STEM is here. STEM is evolving. STEM is the future. The AISES Leadership Summit is focused on honing strategies to enable science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) professionals and emerging leaders in STEM fields to think proactively about their goals.

This annual gathering focuses on the core competencies and capacities of individuals. It stimulates participants to think about their responsibilities and the impact of their work and studies on the global STEM community. It enables participants to stop, think, and plot their incredible life journey, and it supports them as they process the lessons and opportunities they come away with.

The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) generously sponsored and hosted the 2019 AISES Leadership Summit March 14–16 in Cherokee, North Carolina. The Qualla Boundary, the official name of this sovereign nation’s land, is adjacent to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in western North Carolina. This historic, scenic area is home to a close-knit community that proudly and graciously welcomed Leadership Summit participants as friends and relatives.

There was excitement in the room! Cherokee Principal Chief Richard Snead opened the Leadership Summit by sharing his message of goodwill from the Cherokee community. AISES is grateful to the EBCI community, tribal members, and Cherokee community partners that invested in the 2019 Leadership Summit, including the Cherokee Preservation Foundation, the Sequoyah Fund, Owle Construction, the Ray Kinsland Leadership Institute, the Cherokee Boys Club, and many programs of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.

Following Principal Chief Snead’s inspirational talk, the Cherokee Youth Council (CYC), a culturally based leadership program for students in grades 7–12, performed two social dances. The CYC is housed under the Ray Kinsland Leadership Institute at the Cherokee Boys Club and is funded by the Cherokee Preservation Foundation. EBCI Youth Ambassadors invited conference participants to join them in the Friendship Dance, bringing together friends and strangers in unity.

Once again, AISES designed and presented a top-notch conference of action-packed days filled with meetings, tours, and events. Complementing all the activities were multiple forms of learning, from written materials and workshops to a choice of over 30 conference sessions. Participants arrived from Canada and 31 states as far away as Alaska and Hawaii. Over 260 students and professionals, including advisors and chaperones, were part of this year’s gathering.

Within the Leadership Summit was a lineup of AISES program events. The Faculty Career Development Workshop was a daylong program for Native people preparing to become STEM faculty.

Pre-college Energy Challenge poster participants presented their winning concepts and had an opportunity to showcase their work before skilled career professionals, who offered advice and feedback. Each student’s project is based on an energy challenge affecting his or her community, and students use a two-phase engineering process to create a real-world solution.

“The AISES Leadership Summit is an extraordinary example of how a Tribal community is committed to the future of their people and sustainability of their workforce,” says Alicia Jacobs, Vice Chair of the AISES Board of Directors. “I have seen the value of increasing the representation of American Indians in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) studies and careers right here on the Qualla Boundary. The EBCI community through the exposure of a national organization such as AISES has a strong STEM presence within the professional body of the tribe along with our college students pursuing STEM fields, and down to our students at the Cherokee Central Schools level who are working on culturally-based STEM curriculum. The EBCI community, Executive Office and Tribal Council are setting a strong example for other tribal communities to follow when it comes to supporting STEM by investing in the AISES Leadership Summit.”

Investing in the Leadership Summit benefits us all. AISES could not accomplish the goals of the Leadership Summit without the support, involvement, and enthusiasm of our committed sponsors, which include the tribal programs and partners previously listed, along with BMM Testlabs, Chevron, HP, America’s Navy, University of North Carolina Asheville, General Motors, United States Department of Agriculture – Natural Resources Conservation Service, Double Rafter, and DiversityComm.

The Leadership Summit is an opportunity for STEM professionals, industry partners, and students to meet and interact with each other, as well as with the AISES board of directors, staff, and advisory council members. Together participants build a shared support base for the growth and development of essential leadership skills. Invest in yourself and you invest in the future.

Join AISES at the 2019 National Conference in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, October 10–12, 2019. We’d love to see you there!

 

Black and Female TV Directors See Gains but Not Latinx and Asian American Women, DGA Finds
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The Directors Guild of America’s latest breakdown of TV director employment shows major gains for women and for Black helmers overall but the numbers also spotlight the systemic lack of movement for Latinx and female directors of color.

The share of TV episodes directed by women during the 2019-20 television season across broadcast, cable and streaming hit a record of 34%, up from the 31% share that women commanded in the 2018-19 season and a big lift over the 16% share for the 2014-15 season.

The share of episodes lensed by directors of colors hit 32%, a notable increase from the 27% share in the previous season and 18% share in 2014-15. The DGA studied more than 4,300 episodes from the 2019-20 season, the primetime year that included the start of the coronavirus pandemic. A total of 1,268 DGA members were hired for episodic work last season, per the report.

Directors of color and women also made strong gains in the DGA’s measure of members who landed their first episodic TV directing jobs during the season. But the DGA’s detailed breakdown shows clearly the stagnation in building a pipeline for Latinx female directors and Asian American women helmers.

Latinx female directors accounted for only a 2.4% share of all episodes in 2019-20, while Asian American women just a 2.1% share.

The growth in African American representation — which reached 18% of episodes, up from 15% in the prior TV year —  was inflated slightly by the prolific work of one director who handled more than 150 episodes last season. The report does not name the helmer but it is believed to be Tyler Perry, the mogul multi-hyphenate who directs dozens of episodes annually for his TV productions including BET’s “The Oval” and OWN’s “The Haves and the Have Nots.” Because of this, Black directors accounted for 11% of total episodic TV director hires but 18% of total episodes last season.

Read the full article at Variety.

Demi Lovato reveals in new YouTube doc that she had 3 strokes and a heart attack
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Close up of Demi Lovato with studio keyboard in the background

By Nardine Saad

Never one to shy away from the intimate details of her personal life, singer Demi Lovato is laying it on the table in a new documentary, “Demi Lovato: Dancing With the Devil.”

And like hotel heiress Paris Hilton and singer Justin Bieber before her, Lovato’s YouTube Originals release sees the “Barney & Friends” alum readily sharing what really happened when she was treated for a drug overdose in July 2018 and how it left her with brain damage.

“I’ve had so much to say over the past two years, wanting to set the record straight about what it was that happened,” she says in the trailer for the four-part documentary, which debuts March 23. The trailer dropped Wednesday during the virtual Television Critics Assn. press tour.

“FYI, I’m just going to say it all, and if we don’t want to use any of it, we can take it out,” the “Confident” singer adds. “Any time that you suppress a part of yourself, it’s gonna overflow.”

Lovato, 28, who has publicly struggled with her sobriety and physical and mental health, revealed in the trailer that she’d had three strokes and a heart attack. She said her doctors told her she had “five to 10 more minutes” to live when she was hospitalized for two weeks before entering an in-patient rehab facility.

She survived, of course, and told interviewers that, like her cat, she’d had a lot of lives and now she was on her “ninth life.”

In a video call Wednesday, Lovato told the Associated Press that she still was dealing with the effects: “I don’t drive a car because I have blind spots in my vision. For a long time, I had a really hard time reading. It was a big deal when I was able to read a book, which was, like, two months later, because my vision was so blurry.”

But her endurance is surprising to those around her.

Continue on to the LA Times to read the complete article.

Bill Gates Says it Will Take Latin America 6 to 12 months Longer Than The U.S. to Control COVID-19
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In an interview about his latest book and several other pressing issues, Bill Gates sounded especially concerned when I asked him about the slow pace of COVID-19 vaccination in Latin America and other parts of the developing world.

The Microsoft founder and mega-philanthropist, whose Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has donated more than $1 billion to help combat the coronavirus pandemic especially in developing countries, told me that in the best case scenario the vaccines will control the virus in Latin America six months after the United States. But he cautioned that the delay could be much longer, perhaps of up to 12 months.

If things go well with the AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson and Novavax vaccines, “the inequity will be about a six-month” delay. “If things don’t go well with those vaccines, it could be nine to twelve months,” he said.

Gates lamented that, under the Trump administration, the United States failed to support the World Health Organization’s COVAX global vaccination program to help developing countries get 2 billion COVID-19 vaccines by the end of this year.

While president, Donald Trump withdrew from the WHO, and did not contribute funds for the COVAX program. His measures were strongly criticized by the scientific community, because you can’t defeat a pandemic if the rest of the world gets infected.

In addition, “the previous administration said that every American should have a vaccine before a single vaccine gets out of the country, which, you know, I don’t agree with,” Gates told me.

Fortunately, the Biden administration’s $900 billion COVID relief package includes $4 billion for the COVAX initiative, and “we encourage the Congress to finally show up to help the global effort,” Gates said. He added that “the Biden administration is very engaged in saying no, it’s not just America.”

Read the full article at Miami Herald.

Latin American Fintech Startups for the 2021 Acceleration Program
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Techstars together with Western Union are looking for Latin American startups that want to create the financial products that the world needs, and have announced the start of the call for their acceleration program that will be carried out remotely during 2021.

This program for fintech startups is led by mentors and takes place in 13 weeks, in which it is possible to connect entrepreneurs with up to 100 of the best Fintech mentors within the Western Union ecosystem and other recognized experts worldwide.

In addition, it offers consulting on fundraising issues, including a week with investors where projects with around 50 Venture Capital are introduced within the Techstars network. On average, each startup that has been part of this program has raised more than a million dollars of investment, representing a total market capitalization of more than 63 million dollars in its category.

In 2021, the third cohort of this program will be developed, which will select 10 startups at an early stage, preferably with an MVP ready to go to market. The program will kick off on July 19 remotely, with the possibility of spending the last weeks at Western Union headquarters in Denver, Colorado.

“We are specifically interested in Latin America because it is the region where entrepreneurs with incredible ideas are emerging; In addition, Western Union has a strong presence there, so we seek to continue to gain more traction by supporting initiatives that seek to revolutionize the way money is moved in the United States and emerging markets, ”says Elle Bruno, Managing Director of Techstars & Western Union Accelerator.

Applications will be open until April 7, 2021. For more information, you can visit the official site of Techstars & Western Union Accelerator.

Read the original article at Entrepreneur.

‘Learning Pods’ Taking Root in Black, Latino Neighborhoods
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New community collaborative offers a free service to fill an education gap exacerbated by the pandemic.

When school buildings abruptly closed last spring, many wealthy families quickly pooled their resources to pay for private teachers, academic coaches, and art instructors to supplement their children’s at-home schooling in small groups, or “learning pods.”

But most low-income parents, like Luisanna Amaya of South Boston, were faced with the impossible task of juggling work with the needs of young children trying to learn online.

Her 5-year-old son Jahdian had trouble sitting still and struggled to use the online platform where his teacher at Russell Elementary School put his assignments. He also needed help recording himself sounding out syllables, counting, and taking pictures of words he had been practicing.

Amaya had to help him and his 7-year-old brother, Osmany, while doing her own work as an assistant property manager at the Villa Victoria housing development in the South End.“When I say they were failing, I am not exaggerating,” Amaya said. “

If they got nine assignments, they only got to one.” Amaya eventually signed her sons up in a learning pod for low-income families. Almost immediately things improved.

The boys’ learning pod, in the gleaming basement of the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in the South End, is one of more than a dozen free pods opened in the fall by Community Learning Collaborative, a fusion of four organizations run by Black and Latino nonprofit leaders serving primarily low-income Black and Latino children.

Read the full article at Boston Globe.

Some Latino Groups More Wary of Covid Vaccine, so Messaging Needs to be Tailored
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close up shot of Latina nurse administering COVID vaccine to a patient

Experts are urging Biden administration officials to better understand the source behind Covid-19 vaccine skepticism across different Latino communities to improve vaccine rollout strategies nationwide.

Surveys have found an “element of fear and mistrust” about the vaccine, but such fears manifest differently across different Latino subgroups, according to researchers Gabriel Sanchez and Juan Peña in a Brookings Institution analysis published Monday.

At least 28 percent of all Latinos surveyed by the Latino advocacy nonprofit UnidosUS in October reported that they were unlikely to get vaccinated for Covid-19. Latinos of Puerto Rican and Mexican origins were the most likely to report they would not get vaccinated, overwhelmingly citing concerns over potential negative long-term health effects and side effects from the vaccine, according to disaggregated data from the UnidosUS survey.

“Given that Mexican Americans and Puerto Ricans are the two largest national origin groups among Latinos, with roughly 41 million Latinos from these groups living in the United States, this is a significant concern for the ability the reach the goal of herd immunity through high rates of vaccine uptake across the population,” Sanchez and Peña said.

Over a third of all Latinas surveyed by UnidosUS stated they will likely not get vaccinated, compared to 22 percent of Latino men.

“This gender gap in the likelihood of vaccination identifies how important it will be to conduct more in-depth research with the Latino population and to better understand what is driving fear and concerns about the vaccine to help devise solutions,” Sanchez and Peña said.

While President Joe Biden “has taken an important first step” by establishing a Covid-19 Health Equity Task Force within the Department of Health and Human Services, Sanchez and Peña said more needs to be done in order to improve trust in the vaccine among Latinos.

Read the full article at NBC News.

Monica Lozano Joins Apple’s Board of Directors
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By Apple Newsroom

On January fifth Apple announced that Monica Lozano, president, and CEO of College Futures Foundation, has been elected to Apple’s board of directors. Lozano brings with her a broad range of leadership experience in the public and private sectors, as well as a long and storied track record as a champion for equity, opportunity, and representation.

Prior to joining College Futures Foundation, Lozano spent 30 years in media as editor and publisher of La Opinión, the

Image Credit – (Monica Lozano is the newest member of Apple’s board. Photo: Getty Images)

largest Spanish-language newspaper in the US, helping shine a light on issues from infant mortality to the AIDS epidemic. She went on to become chairman and CEO of La Opinión’s parent company, ImpreMedia. Lozano continues to serve on the boards of Target Corporation and Bank of America Corporation.

“Monica has been a true leader and trailblazer in business, media, and an ever-widening circle of philanthropic efforts to realize a more equitable future — in our schools and in the lives of all people,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “Her values and breadth of experience will help Apple continue to grow, to innovate, and to be a force for good in the lives of our teams, customers, and communities.”

“Monica has been a pioneer in every organization fortunate enough to benefit from her vision and expertise,” said Arthur Levinson, Apple’s chairman. “After a thorough and fruitful search, I couldn’t be more confident in the positive impact Monica will have on our board and Apple as a whole.”

“I’ve always admired Apple’s commitment to the notion that technology, at its best, should empower all people to improve their lives and build a better world,” said Lozano. “I look forward to working with Tim, Art, and the other board members to help Apple carry those values forward and build on a rich and productive history.”

Throughout her accomplished career as a business leader, public servant, and philanthropist, Lozano has made an indelible impact on companies and communities in the US and around the world, earning awards from organizations like The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

In her role as CEO of College Futures Foundation, Lozano has been a tireless advocate for expanding access to higher education, partnering with philanthropic organizations, state and local governments, and local communities to improve opportunity for low-income students and students of color.

Lozano is a co-founder of the Aspen Institute Latinos and Society Program, and a former chair of both the University of California Board of Regents and the board of directors of the Weingart Foundation, a private philanthropic organization. Lozano is also a former board member of The Walt Disney Company.

Read the original article at Apple Newsroom.

In Minority Communities, Doctors Are Changing Minds About Vaccination
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two black women waiting in line outside buiding waiting for vaccination

Many Black and Hispanic Americans mistrust government officials, and instead have turned to physicians they have long known.

Like many Black and rural Americans, Denese Rankin, a 55-year-old retired bookkeeper and receptionist in Castleberry, Ala., did not want the Covid-19 vaccine.

Ms. Rankin worried about side effects — she had seen stories on social media about people developing Bell’s palsy, for example, after they were vaccinated. She thought the vaccines had come about too quickly to be safe. And she worried that the vaccinations might turn out to be  (Image Credit – The New York Times)                                      another example in the government’s long history of medical experimentation on Black people.

Then, one recent weekend, her niece, an infectious disease specialist at Emory University in Atlanta, came to town. Dr. Zanthia Wiley said one of her goals in making the trip was to talk to friends and family back home in Alabama, letting them hear the truth about the vaccines from someone they knew, someone who is Black.

Across the country, Black and Hispanic physicians like Dr. Wiley are reaching out to Americans in minority communities who are suspicious of Covid-19 vaccines and often mistrustful of the officials they see on television telling them to get vaccinated. Many are dismissive of public service announcements, the doctors say, and of the federal government.

Continue to the original article at The New York Times. 

Farmworker turned astronaut Jose Hernandez urges kids not to give up
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Astronaut Jose Hernandez in spacesuit smiling holding his space suit helmet

Former NASA astronaut Jose Hernandez spent most of his youth working the fields.

So many kids have struggled with remote learning, but Hernandez wants them all to know when it comes to their future, the sky’s the limit.

As a young boy, Hernandez picked fruits and vegetables alongside his family.

“We spent nine months in California, three months in Mexico, but those nine months I went to three different school districts,” he explained.

The family settled in Stockton. Jose couldn’t speak English until he was 12 years old, but STEM subjects spoke to him.

“I gravitated towards math because 1 + 3 is 4 in any language,” Hernandez said.

When he was ten, Jose told his dad he wanted to be an astronaut, so his father laid out a five-part recipe for success.

First, set a goal. Then recognize how far away you are from that goal.

“The third thing is you have to draw yourself a road map to know where you’re at to where you want to go,” Hernandez added. “And then I asked what’s the fourth? He said you’ve got to get an education.”

The University of the Pacific grad called hard work the fifth ingredient.

But his path was a difficult one.

“NASA rejected me not once, not twice, not three times but 11 times. It wasn’t until the 12th time that I got selected,” he said.

Hernandez would blast off with the crew of the Space Shuttle Discovery in 2009.

“It’s a ride that even Disneyland would be envious of because you go from zero to 17,500 miles an hour in eight and a half minutes,” he recalled.

Jose worked on the International Space Station during the 14-day trip, which covered 5.4 million miles.

“I wish we had a frequent flyer program,” Hernandez laughed.

He circled the globe 217 times but remains a down to Earth guy who tells kids how to realize their own dreams.

“Hard work and perseverance and not being afraid to dream big,” he said.

Continue on to the NBC 7 to read the complete article.

New Content Further Enables Public Libraries to Collaborate with Parents and Local Schools
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According to a soon-to-be released Kanopy survey of more than 730 librarians — primarily in the U.S. –50% of public libraries believe it is their responsibility to provide their local K-12 schools with streaming films that support their curriculum.

Despite that, just over 14% say they are currently collaborating with local schools to help meet their needs.

To help facilitate collaboration between public libraries and the communities they serve, Kanopy is adding a dozen Spanish-language videos from Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind Sesame Street,and 30 films from Highlights to Kanopy Kids. This carefully curated collection now includes a growing selection of more than 1,500 educational, age appropriate videos with parental controls covering topics from STEM to history and story time.

“Parents, educators and librarians know that having access to quality content is important,” said Darryl Eschete, Director of the West Des Moines Public Library. “The educational and instructional films that Kanopy offers helps our library make sure that we meet the strategic goal of supporting education and making content appropriate to all grade levels accessible wherever our patrons are.”

Licensed by libraries and free to kids, families and anyone with a public library card, the new selection of Spanish-language videos from Sesame Workshop include Listos a Jugar, a series designed to help children cultivate healthy habits, starring Elmo and friends as they “eat healthy, move, and play!” Sample titles in the series include:

  • Listos a jugar: A que jugaban papa y mama
  • Listos a jugar: Bañarse
  • Listos a jugar: El plato de Elmo no tiene verde

Covering topics such as imagination, bonding with family, and adventure stories, the new collections of videos from Highlights include:

  • Did You Know? series
  • Animal Adventures
  • Ready, Set, Snow!
  • Imagine That!

“In light of the pandemic, it is now more important than ever to help budget-strapped schools provide the online educational resources that students need to learn remotely,” says Kanopy CEO Kevin Sayar. “We are proud to partner with public libraries and important creators  like Sesame Workshop and Highlights to bring educational, thought inspiring films to children, parents and teachers around the globe.”

About Highlights

For over 70 years, Highlights has been dedicated to bringing Fun with a Purpose! This video collection by Highlights is built to foster curiosity, creativity, confidence and caring. Highlights has helped children become their best selves for generations by creating experiences that engage, delight, and foster joyful learning.

About Kanopy
Kanopy is a premium, free-to-the-user streaming platform available through universities and libraries. Through partnerships with iconic film companies such as A24, Criterion Collection, Paramount, PBS and Kino Lorber, amongst others, Kanopy’s critically-acclaimed catalog provides thousands of the world’s finest documentaries, award-winning titles, must-see classics, world cinema, contemporary favorites and kids programming to public library members, and students and professors at participating institutions, funded through state-aided supplementary programs and tuition. The Kanopy app is available on all major streaming devices, including Apple TV, iOS, Android, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, Samsung Smart TV, Chromecast and Roku. For more information, please visit www.kanopy.com.

About Sesame Workshop

Sesame Workshop is the nonprofit educational organization behind Sesame Street, the pioneering television show that has been reaching and teaching children since 1969. Today, Sesame Workshop is an innovative force for change, with a mission to help kids everywhere grow smarter, stronger, and kinder. We’re present in more than 150 countries, serving vulnerable children through a wide range of media, formal education, and philanthropically funded social impact programs, each grounded in rigorous research and tailored to the needs and cultures of the communities we serve. For more information, please visit www.sesameworkshop.org

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