Charu Sharma: The Future of Women in Technology

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Charu Sharma poss for camera with a smile

By Jaeson “Doc” Parsons

Charu Sharma is the founder and CEO of NextPlay.ai, a company focused on intelligently pairing employees with mentorship and cross-functional relationships. Companies, such as Square, Netflix and Asurion, use NextPlay’s mobile app to build mentorship programs to better equip their employees to build critical leadership and coaching skills.

Diversity in STEAM Magazine spoke with Charu about her background, her insight into women in tech, and the future of Artificial Intelligence.

Growing up in India, she describes her early life as a bubble where women were raised to be stay-at-home moms.

“I was on track to go study at the premier engineering institute in India,” she said, “but I was very attracted to the liberal arts education in the U.S. where I could study a range of disciplines from world politics to physics to film studies and develop my critical thinking skills.”

Her family was unable to provide for an American education, but she was able to gain a scholarship to study in the United States. Charu decided on Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts, which was the first institution in the United States where women could earn degrees.

“The values and culture at my college also hugely shaped how I looked at the world and the contribution I wanted to make in society,” she said.

While at Holyoke, Charu began as an intern at a startup called SumZero, which was funded by the Winklevoss twins of Facebook fame.

“I did meaningful business-critical work. And my mentor, the CEO of the company, was a young brown man. I identified with him. The next time I saw a problem, I built a solution for it. The power of role models is huge.”

For that reason, she started GoAgainsttheFlow.com, which through storytelling educated one million women around the world on starting their own businesses.

“I was lucky to have role models, and I wanted them to see someone like them in those shoes. In Go Against the Flow, I told stories of successful women entrepreneurs ranging from an 18-year-old college dropout to a woman in her 50s—they all went against the flow and wrote their destiny. Self-doubt holds us back more than anything else. Which is why it’s so important to create mentoring opportunities for young women so that they know their options and have someone cheering for them.”

Charu is working to effect change worldwide regarding the global opportunities for women. At her core she is driven by leveling the playing field to create real opportunities for women and minorities.

“I realize I’m part of a system and so I try to do three things. Do my part by mentoring women (and men) Creating systems at scale through my work at Nextplay for companies around the world. Partner with like-minded organizations and influencers to educate leaders around the world on creating equal access for their employees.”

Charu sees Nextplay as a conduit for providing equal access to advancement and growth for all employees.

“Nextplay is best in class in building such systems at scale, and I’d love to see us impact tens of thousands of organizations and billions of humans in a meaningful way.”

AI is an exciting new frontier and is being applied to everything from agriculture to health care. Her advice to new entrepreneurs is to fix the problem that they need to solve instead of focusing on becoming an AI company.

“Understand the path you want to follow. AI is becoming a massive field, and each stream requires different training and skills. So do informational interviews—and go find mentors!” she said.

Mentorship has taken center stage—and for good reason—as the experiences of Charu Sharma attest. Creating companies, which provide new avenues for individuals to pursue their dreams through entrepreneurship, will add more depth and opportunities for society as a whole. With the advances of AI and the leveling technology with these advancements, the inaccessible becomes accessible for groups once trapped by the barriers of an ethno- and gender-centric society. Through programs and companies like Charu’s the world becomes more accessible to the genius once hidden by ineffectual economic and social prejudices. The limits are bounded only by the imagination of the dreamers and their mentors.

Tech with a twist: Innovative youth program combines coding and dance

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Group of diverse girls dancing in the danceLogic studio

Numbers, stats and creativity are all integral parts of choreography — but they’re vital for coding, too. That’s the idea behind danceLogic, a program in Philadelphia that integrates dance and computer programming for 13 to 17-year-old girls.

“With dancing, you have to look at the steps and figure out how do they fit into one another. Same with coding,” said 14-year-old Nailah Shabazz, adding “basically, if I see myself coding and helping others, I think I can also bring in other people who look like me, to also want to pursue that field.”

For 14-year-old Lauryn Dorsett, the dancing part came easy – the coding, not so much. “The coding part is sorta hard at first when you think about it,” Dorsett said. “But once you really grow into it, and stay with it for a while, it starts to get easier.”

When she realized how much money she could potentially make with the skills, Dorsett said, she was even more intrigued. “Not all fields offer the same type of opportunities,” she said. “You can get far with this.”

Franklyn Athias believes that opportunity is everything. While working as a senior vice president at Comcast, Athias started danceLogic in 2018.

Originally, Athias only planned to focus on coding – but “he had trouble getting [kids] to participate,” according to his friend and co-founder Betty Lindley.

Lindley, who runs a cultural center, suggested he incorporate dance.

Athias wants people who might be intimidated by the math and science behind coding to understand that it’s like any other skill. “It’s always hard in the beginning,” he said. “This is why the dance part is so important, because a lot of young ladies came in and could not dance. But they practice.”

That’s what happened with Shabazz, who said she “inherited two left feet” from her father. “If I have the confidence to dance in front of a bunch of people and not be afraid of making mistakes, then I have the confidence to accomplish whatever goals I have in life,” she said.

“Something they thought was hard now became easy, right?” Athias said. “And it was all because of practice. It wasn’t anything else besides, ‘let’s try it, let’s get it wrong, let’s try it again and then boom.’ The smile comes on your face and say, ‘I got it, Mr. Franklyn.’ When that happens, he said, “the world is theirs.”

Athias wants danceLogic to help give back to the community. “I came from a very rough neighborhood, and someone introduced me to something that kept me out of trouble,” he said. “If I can help motivate some other person to do the same thing that’s the reward I get outta this.

When the girls finish the 14-week program, they’re rewarded too. Athias gives them iPads, so they can keep coding – he has no doubt they’ll keep dancing.

DanceLogic costs $50 total for the 14 weeks. The West Park Cultural Center, which runs the program, says it will never turn away anyone who can’t afford the cost. The center offers scholarships, too.

Continue on the CBS News to read the complete article.

Susan Olsen Shares Insights on Owning a Minuteman Press Printing Franchise in Leesburg, Florida

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Minuteman Press printing franchise - Susan Olsen and Team pose in store

Once an independent print shop, Minuteman Press in Leesburg is now a full-service Minuteman Press design, marketing, and printing franchise.

The Minuteman Press franchise in Leesburg, Florida is in good hands with Susan Olsen. Susan brings with her a 20-year retail career and a passion for helping others and getting involved in the community. Susan says, “We are a full service, locally owned and operated print and marketing center. We offer everything from offset/digital printing in-house to all types of promotional products that you can imagine. We are fast and friendly, and we are here to help you create and design anything you need to help your business grow.”

Like many people who felt stuck in their careers, Susan decided to become her own boss. She says, “My last job was as a General Manager at Staples. I got tired of making money for other companies and decided it was time to do my own thing.” Susan was able to take full advantage of Minuteman Press International’s conversion program and buy an independent print shop that is now her full-service franchise in Leesburg.

Why Minuteman Press? Susan explains, “It is really funny how it happened actually. I was horseback riding with a friend and talking about how I just wanted something different and was not really happy with my current job. We were talking about different things I could do and I told her my favorite part of Staples was the print and marketing. I was at home the next day looking at franchises for sale online and Minuteman Press popped up. I contacted Minuteman Press International and my Regional Vice President Jeff Robey reached out to me. He arranged for me to speak with other franchise owners right away. Talking to them got me more motivated and to dig deeper about the company. It has been a great experience from the beginning. I love the customers we service. I love the industry and I love how there is something different every day.”

Taking over an existing business means that Susan has hit the ground running and jumped right into helping her clients. Susan says, “The most rewarding thing to me is being able to come to work every day and plan out what I think are the priorities, meeting the customers when I am out in the field, and meeting other business owners through the different organizations I am in. I am in the local BNI and the Chamber of Commerce. I love volunteering and helping out in the community.”

Since Susan is a new business owner with no prior experience, she credits Minuteman Press with giving her a new career path that helped her become comfortable with becoming an entrepreneur. She concludes, “I went with owning my Minuteman Press franchise instead of buying a small mom and pop shop because I love the fact that I have their ongoing support. I believe there are a great deal of benefits to being with the Minuteman Press franchise as they continue to help me as I help my clients.”

Susan Olsen’s Minuteman Press franchise is located at 1417 E. Main St., Leesburg, FL 24748. For more information, call Susan and her team at (352) 728-6333 or visit their website: leesburg-fl.minutemanpress.com

Click here to learn more about how to sell your independent printing business with the help of Minuteman Press International.

About Minuteman Press International

Minuteman Press International is the number one rated business marketing and printing franchise that offers world class training and unparalleled ongoing local support. Started in 1973 by Roy Titus and his son Bob, Minuteman Press began franchising in 1975 and has grown to nearly 1,000 business service franchise locations worldwide including the U.S., Australia, Canada, South Africa, and the United Kingdom. Minuteman Press is ranked #1 in category by Entrepreneur 28 times and 16 years in a row, including 2019. Independent franchisee satisfaction firm Franchise Business Review has also named Minuteman Press International to its 2019 Top Franchises, 2018 Top Franchise Leaders, Top Franchises for Women, and Top Franchises for Veterans lists thanks to positive reviews from our owners.

At Minuteman Press, We Are The Modern Printing Industry™ providing high quality products and services that meet the needs of today’s business professionals and go way beyond ink on paper. Today, our centers offer innovative branding solutions and produce custom designs, promotional products, branded apparel, direct mail marketing, large format printing (banners and posters), signs and graphics, and much more. Prior experience is not necessary to own and operate a successful Minuteman Press franchise.

To learn more about #1 rated Minuteman Press franchise opportunities and speak with one of our experienced franchise representatives at no obligation, call 1-800-645-3006. Continue your franchise research, watch exclusive owner videos and access Minuteman Press franchise reviews at minutemanpressfranchise.com

Google announces literary activities to help kids evaluate and analyze media as they browse the Internet

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Mom and daughter looking at a tablet together

Google is pleased to announce the addition of 6 new media literacy activities to the 2019 edition of Be Internet Awesome. Designed to help kids analyze and evaluate media as they navigate the Internet, the new lessons address educators’ growing interest in teaching media literacy.

They were developed in collaboration with Anne Collier, executive director of The Net Safety Collaborative, and Faith Rogow, PhD, co-author of The Teacher’s Guide to Media Literacy and a co-founder of the National Association for Media Literacy Education. Because media literacy is essential to safety and citizenship in the digital age, the news lessons complement Be Internet Awesome ’s digital safety and citizenship topics.

Overview of new activities:
1. Share with Care: That’s not what I meant!
● Overview: Students will learn the importance of asking the question: “How might others interpret what I share?” They’ll learn to read visual cues people use to communicate information about themselves and to draw conclusions about others.

2. Share with Care: Frame it
● Overview: Students will learn to see themselves as media creators. They’ll understand that media makers make choices about what to show and what to keep outside the frame. They’ll apply the concept of framing to understand the difference between what to make visible and public online and what to keep “invisible.”

3. Don’t Fall for Fake: Is that really true?
● Overview: Students will learn how to apply critical thinking to discern between what’s credible and non-credible in the many kinds of media they run into online.

4. Don’t Fall for Fake: Spotting disinformation online
● Overview: Students will learn how to look for and analyze clues to what is and isn’t reliable information online.

5. It’s Cool to Be Kind: How words can change a picture
● Overview: Students will learn to make meaning from the combination of pictures and words and will understand how a caption can change what we think a picture is communicating. They will gain an appreciation for the power of their own words, especially when combined with pictures they post.

6. When in Doubt, Talk It Out: What does it mean to be brave?
● Overview: Students will think about what it means to be brave online and IRL, where they got their ideas about “brave” and how media affect their thinking about it.

Expanding resources to families
YMCA
We teamed up with the YMCA across six cities to host bilingual workshops for parents to help teach families about online safety and digital citizenship with Be Internet Awesome and help families create healthy digital habits with the Family Link app. The workshops, designed for parents, coincide with June’s National Internet Safety Month and come at the start of the school summer holidays.

Continue on here to read more.

What it Takes to be a Successful Woman in the Field of Architecture

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Gretchen Callejas poses for headshot in an outdoor setting

By Gretchen Callejas

Frank Lloyd Wright. I.M. Pei. Those are the familiar names of two of America’s best-known architects.

Wright’s distinct prairie-style homes dot the American landscape while Pei’s large but elegantly designed urban buildings and complexes are among the world’s most famous architectural works. Pei’s projects, among others, include the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and the controversial glass pyramid in Paris’ Louvre Museum courtyard.

But have you heard of Julia Morgan, who designed California’s famous Hearst Castle?

Or trailblazers such as Marion Mahony Griffin, the first woman to be officially licensed as an architect, and Zaha Hadid, the first woman to win the Pritzker Architecture Prize?

It isn’t surprising if you haven’t. According to a January 2019 article in ThoughtCo., which listed 20 famous female architects, the role that women have played in architecture and design often go under the radar.

While architecture has been a male-dominated field, that is not the case at Felder & Associates, where I have worked since its inception in 2012. We have four women and three men on staff. The forward-thinking leadership of the firm’s managing principal, Brian Felder, has played an extraordinary part in making our workplace a gender free oasis in an otherwise industry-wide testosterone-filled desert.

Why is architecture, like so many other professions, such a tough profession for women to crack?

According to a 2016 article in the Los Angeles Times, only 18 percent of licensed practitioners are women although they make up nearly half of U.S. architecture school graduates. This disparity sometimes is referred to as “the missing 32 percent.” Unfortunately, females leave the field in disturbingly high numbers after they’re confronted with lower salaries, given fewer career-building opportunities or find a lack of mentors, who champion for them.

Full-time female architects earn 20 percent less than their male counterparts, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Plus, architecture’s history as a male-dominated profession has contributed to an all-consuming workplace culture that leaves little flexibility for women expected to balance work and family. According to the Times article, 75 percent of female survey respondents had experienced sexual discrimination on the job, and 83 percent believed having a child would hurt their careers.

My personal observations and experiences have confirmed some of these disparities, but I consider myself lucky.

Fortunately, I’ve been able to maintain a successful professional career while balancing family because I have a husband who shares responsibilities and encouragement. Without his support, it would be more challenging to continue with a professional career.

And while I have quite a few female friends who are architects, I have never worked for a woman nor had a strong female mentor. Contractors and clients often assume I need to ask my male boss for help in understanding construction, codes or a design issue. When I approach a problem with the same assertiveness as a male architect, I’m sometimes labeled with the “B”-word.

Since I was a kid, I dreamed of designing buildings before I knew what that encompassed. And now as an adult would I encourage young girls to enter architecture? Absolutely. I would tell young women (and men) entering the field that determination and passion go a long way. You will be successful if you work hard, tune out the negativity and chase your goals with perseverance. If you want to be an Architect, then go be one.

I finally believe that I am in a position to give them a hand. I’ve been around enough to help guide them and try to be the mentor I never had. I’m pleased we have two young women working with us at Felder & Associates. Alma Johnson and Cathryn Sinclair graduated with architectural degrees from the Savannah College of Art and Design last year and are interning with us as project associates.

Sinclair says she believes the playing field is more level than ever before but there is always room for improvement.

“I hope to continue to see the gap close,” she says.

For Johnson, success is based on how hard you work.

“Now, the gender gap does exist, but I think that the world is evolving on a more modern idea of a woman in the workplace. I don’t see gender. I see what skill sets I need to acquire to be as successful as the candidate next to me,” Johnson says.

I hope their perspectives will remain true and their positivity high after spending 15 years or so in the industry. I suspect they will reflect on their early days as a time when they had to deal with an old and outdated set of standards.

One thing I know for certain. They are in a wonderful setting to avoid bias and discrimination working at Felder & Associates. We are, thankfully, treated equally regardless of our gender, and we treat one another with mutual respect and understanding.

My hope for young women in architecture is that they will continue to mentor the next generations of women architects, have equal opportunities and respect. One day we will be as well-known as Frank Lloyd Wright and I.M. Pei.

Gretchen Callejas is a project architect at Felder & Associates, where she specializes in historic preservation, adaptive reuse, small scale commercial architecture and high-end residential design. She is also LEED-accredited from the U.S. Green Building Council. Callejas earned Bachelor of Architecture and Bachelor of Science in Environmental Design from Ball State University and a Master of Fine Arts in Historic Preservation from Savannah College of Art and Design.

Citations:

  1. Craven, Jackie (2019, January). 20 Famous Women Architects. ThoughtCo. Retrieved from: https://www.thoughtco.com/famous-female-architects-177890
  2. Stratigakos, Despina (2016, April). Why is the world of architecture so male-dominated? LA Times. Retrieved from: https://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-stratigakos-missing-women-architects-20160421-story.html
  3. Newman, Caroline (2019, January). Three Generations Of Female Architects Seek To Bring More Women Into The Profession. UVA Today. Retrieved from: https://news.virginia.edu/content/3-generations-female-architects-seek-bring-more-women-profession

 

 

From Refugee Camp to Medical School

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Samixchha Raut standing outside casually posing in front of a tree

By Samixchha Raut

Eight years ago, I lived in Goldhap, a refugee camp in Nepal, where more than 7,000 people reside in just over 1200 households, without running water or electricity. Today, I’m 22, a senior at Rochester Institute of Technology, majoring in Biomedical Science and on a path to achieve my dream of becoming a doctor. I am studying for the MCAT exam to apply for medical school. It has been a long journey for me and my family.

My dad, a native of Bhutan, fled the homeland with his family. He settled in Goldhap, where he did construction work in a surrounding town, and later started repairing bicycles. He met my mother; they married and had me, and my two younger brothers. But there was barely enough food to go around.

In 2010, my family was able to immigrate to the United States, where we settled in Raleigh, North Carolina. I studied hard and earned a full scholarship to Rochester Institute of Technology. In spring 2018, I participated in a study abroad program with the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE). I spent six weeks in each of three locations – studying HIV/Aids Policy & Politics in Cape Town, Media, Gender & Identity in London, and Family and Child Development in Paris. The experience reinforced my commitment to be a doctor!

As a child, I was stricken with jaundice, and it wasn’t sure that I would survive. My parents worked extra hard and were finally able to purchase the medicine that made me better. Once I recuperated, I decided I wanted to be a doctor to help others.

While studying in South Africa, my class visited a township village, Zwelethemba. I felt like I was back in the refugee camp. The people were living in severe poverty. But you could see and feel the camaraderie and love among the villagers. Every child was being raised by the entire village. I pictured myself in them.

It took me back to our camp and to our struggles. I spent 13 years of my life in a refugee camp, living just like these people, and then suddenly, there was I among them as a scholar. It reaffirmed that I am on the right path. It’s important for me to become a doctor and pursue my passion of helping underserved people by providing them with adequate health care.

The study abroad experience was so valuable because I know if I’m to become a doctor and work with a diverse population of people, then I need to experience diversity. This exposure has boosted my motivation to work hard and give back to the community.

Continue on to Hudson Valley Press to read the complete article.

Get to Know the Scientist of the Year: Dr. Clarise R. Starr

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Dr. Clarise Starr poses at work smiling waering a bright red sweater

Dr. Clarise R. Starr—2018 HENAAC award winner for scientist of the year—is a supervisory biological scientist in the Aeromedical Research Department of the Air Force Research Laboratory, 711th Human Performance Wing, United States Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine, located at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.

As the Deputy Division Chief, she is responsible for the research portfolios for the division. She leads and performs research in biological surveillance, human performance optimization, and force health protection against biological threats. Dr. Starr also serves as the laboratory director for the biological select agent and toxin research mission.

Dr. Starr discusses her career and offers her words of wisdom with Professional WOMAN’s Magazine’s sister publication, HISPANIC Network Magazine.

HISPANIC Network Magazine (HNM): What motivated you to become a microbiologist?

Dr. Clarise Starr (CS): I was always fascinated by the way a virus could mutate and the potential impact of outbreaks on mankind. I read the Hot Zone by Richard Preston and the Coming Plague by Laurie Garrett when I was in college, and I was determined to play some kind of role in preventing the end of the world by these pathogens.

HNM: What advice would you give other women interested in pursuing a career in STEM?

CS: Find good mentors and a good tribe to encourage you, especially when you are frustrated, because the path to a STEM career is not always easy, but it is very well worth it. I have been fortunate to have good mentors from grade school all the way to present day that I can bounce ideas and thoughts off of, and I think that has been part of my success. If you are interested in science, tell your teachers, your Girl Scout leaders, your family, anyone, and ask if they know any scientists whom you can talk to. Talk to as many as you can and then find opportunities to participate in science when you’re in high school, either through science fairs, internships or summer programs if they are available. Science fairs sometimes are judged by people in the community who have a science background, so those are easy networking opportunities. The more people you can talk to about what your interests are, the more insight you can get about types of schooling you need and jobs that are out there that you may never thought required your interests or skill sets.

Looking for a STEM Job? Head to These States

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Focused scientist using tweezers in petri dish

Milken Institute’s 2018 State Technology and Science Index, a biennial assessment of states’ capabilities and competitiveness in a tech-focused economy, ranked the top ten states to pursue a STEM career.

  1. Massachusetts
  2. Colorado
  3. Maryland
  4. California
  5. Utah
  6. Washington
  7. Delaware
  8. Minnesota
  9. New Hampshire
  10. Oregon

“The success stories of states profiled in this year’s index reflect sustained efforts to not only build but to maintain their ecosystem,” said Kevin Klowden, executive director of the Milken Institute Center for Regional Economics. “Making the changes that are necessary to perform well on the State Technology and Science Index can contribute to stronger long-term economic performance.”

Massachusetts benefitted from the presence of major research universities, the availability of venture capital, entrepreneurial expertise, and a tech-oriented workforce, according to the report. The state was first in three of the index’s five composite indexes and finished third in another. Massachusetts continues to strengthen its position in tech and science by increasing public funding of neuroscience research, cybersecurity innovation, and startup development.

Utah’s move to fifth was driven by tech-sector employment growth – the fastest in the nation – averaging 4.3 percent annually. The state also had the most university graduates with degrees in science and engineering – 15.4 per 1,000 students. Utah stood out for the success of its universities in spinning research into commercial ventures.

Delaware rose to seventh from tenth, strengthened by an increase in venture capital invested in technology companies. The Legislature authorized a 25 percent tax credit for small companies (those with fewer than 25 employees) engaged in research and development in specific high-tech fields. The state ranks fifth in the number of business startups with 53.4 per 1,000 residents.

The State Technology and Science Index provides a benchmark for policymakers to evaluate their state’s capabilities and formulate strategies for improving STEM education, attracting businesses, and creating jobs in the tech sector. Indices considered in the report include the number of patents issued and doctoral degrees granted in each state.

“Investing in human capital and developing a STEM workforce is crucial for regional economies that want to attract large technology companies and the jobs they bring,” explains Minoli Ratnatunga, Milken Institute’s director of regional economics research.

In addition to the index, the report offers case studies that examine issues such as non-compete contracts that limit employee mobility, along with access to higher education in building a vibrant, adaptable workforce.

Drawing on this data, the report recommends four steps policymakers can take to improve their state’s competitiveness:

Increase scholarships and other financial aid to lower the cost of higher education for in-state students who plan STEM careers.

Better align STEM curriculums to make it easier for students to transfer credits from lower-cost two-year colleges to four-year institutions.

Encourage partnerships between higher-education institutions and private companies to provide students with work experience to improve workforce readiness and job placement.

Make employee noncompete laws less restrictive to encourage a freer exchange of ideas and talent among tech companies.

The index draws on data from government and private sources dating from 2015 to 2017, including the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the National Science Foundation, the Small Business Administration, the American Community Survey, and Moody’s Analytics.

Source: milkeninstitute.org

“Marfa Martians” beat out thousands of students to send their experiment to space

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Marfa Texas students win science contest and pose with teacher

Marfa, Texas — The stars at night are big and bright in Marfa, Texas. Inspired by cosmos, Colette Fowlkes, Ashley Marquez, Charlotte Browning, Daniela Fernandez, Madison Cash and Mabel Melgaard — all 10 and 11-years-old — decided to aim for the stars and enter a nationwide science contest.

Their team name is the “Marfa Martians.”

If they won, their experiment would be performed on the International Space Station by real astronauts. But winning seemed like a long shot. More than 23,000 students were participating, many in high school.

“I was trying to prepare them for not going on because they are young, and they surprised me every single time we go on to a next step,” said Cheri Aguero, their science teacher.

The girls even surprised themselves, trying to find a way to kill bacteria in space. The judges at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum were impressed and picked the Marfa Martians’ experiment to go to space.

“If you wanna do something and somebody says that you shouldn’t do that don’t let them pull you down, just do it,” Fowlkes said.

The girls celebrated by piling into the back of a truck to catch a glimpse of their future, and watched from afar as the ISS flew by.

Continue on to CBS News to read the complete article.

Mathematics’ Highest Prize Awarded to UT Austin’s Karen Uhlenbeck

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Karen Uhlenbeck stands in front of chalkboard filled with mathe equatons with her arms folded wearing a green sweater

Austin, TX–A professor emerita of mathematics at The University of Texas at Austin has received mathematics’ top international award for the year. The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters has named Karen Uhlenbeck its 2019 Abel Prize award winner.

The prestigious international award, modeled after the Nobel Prize, comes with a monetary award of 6 million Norwegian kroner, approximately $700,000.

“For more than three decades at The University of Texas, Karen Uhlenbeck conducted research that revolutionized geometric analysis and mathematics as a whole” said President Gregory L. Fenves. “She was an inspiring teacher and dedicated mentor to thousands of UT students, motivating them to reach great heights in their academic and professional lives. The Abel Prize is the highest honor in mathematics, and it is one that Professor Uhlenbeck richly deserves.”

Uhlenbeck was cited “for her pioneering achievements in geometric partial differential equations, gauge theory and integrable systems, and for the fundamental impact of her work on analysis, geometry and mathematical physics.” Her work has been described as some of the most important in 20th century mathematics, constituting revolutionary advances in geometry.

The President of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, Hans Petter Graver, announced the winner of the Abel Prize at the academy in Oslo today. Norway’s King Harald V will present the Abel Prize to Uhlenbeck at an award ceremony in Oslo on May 21.

Some of her most noted work focused on gauge theories, providing an analytical foundation for a number of concepts explored in modern physics.

“Uhlenbeck’s research has led to revolutionary advances at the intersection of mathematics and physics,” said Paul Goldbart, dean of the College of Natural Sciences and a professor of physics. “Her pioneering insights have applications across a range of fascinating subjects, from string theory, which may help explain the nature of reality, to the geometry of space-time.”

Continue on to the University of Texas at Austin to read the complete article.

What Every Parent Needs to Know About Kids and Screen Time

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According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), in 1970 children didn’t start regularly watching TV until they were four years old. Today, they report that children begin interacting with digital media at four months old. One look around and it’s easy to see that many children have their own cell phone, tablet, television, or other type of screen that is occupying a lot of their time and attention.

The problem with this is with all that screen time there are numerous ways that research shows it may be harming kids. From the smallest of toddlers who are glued to watching tablets and televisions, to teens who are using their devices almost constantly, it’s prompted concerns that every parent should be aware of.

“There is no denying that technology plays a major role in our lives today, but when it comes to our children we need to be aware of the challenges it can cause,” explains Reena B. Patel, a parenting expert, licensed educational psychologist, and author. “Children’s cognition skills are still developing, so it’s imperative that we take that into account when it comes to their screen usage time.”

In the same report, the AAP reports that 75 percent of children ages 0-8 have access to a mobile device, and that most one and two-year-olds are using a mobile device on a daily basis. This trend continues through every age group. The average 8-10 year old is spending around eight hours per day on various forms of media, and older children are spending more than 11 hours per day. A Pew Research Center report shows that 24 percent of teens go online “almost constantly,” and 92 percent of them report using their mobile devices on a daily basis.

As many would suspect, all of this screen time coming from phones, tablets, and televisions, raises some questions about how healthy it is. In a separate AAP statement, they report that the cognitive impact of the media depends on the child ages, the kind of programming or games they are playing, and social context of viewing. They find that there are both negative and positive outcomes.

When it comes to adolescents, screen time can have a negative impact. The research shows that adolescents who spend more time on electronic communication and screens (such as social media, texting, and gaming) and less time on non-screen activities have a lower psychological well-being. In addition, excessive media use has been associated with obesity, lack of sleep, aggression, sleep problems, and other behavioral problems.

Most parents realize that children also engage in learning activities and even have homework assignments they need to use screens for. They are a part of life and a part of their learning experience, as well as their entertainment one. Rather than sheltering kids from social media and screens, parents should strive for teaching them healthier ways to use them, and how to maintain a balance. With screens here to stay, it’s important that parents take steps to help keep their child’s time spent on them in check. Here are some tips to do just that:

  • It’s recommended that children under the age of two not be exposed to screen time at all. For children over the age of two, it’s recommended that the screen time be kept to one to two hours per day at the most.
  • Discuss the screen time challenges with your children, especially when they are adolescents and teens, so they understand the concerns. Ask your child what are the pros and cons of unlimited or excessive use of devices. Devise a plan for using screens, which limits the amount of time they can be used each day. When children are involved with developing the plan, they are more likely to follow the rules they helped create.
  • Encourage kids to create a balance between screen time and non-screen time. It’s important that kids of all ages engage in physical and social activities that do not involve the usage of screens. Encourage them to have real-life relationships, rather than their friendships being all online or done through electronics.
  • Create rules that will help give them boundaries about when they can use their devices. For example, no devices at meals, and no phones allowed in their bedrooms overnight.
  • Find non-screen activities that the whole family can engage in. This will help them create bonds and learn healthy social behaviors.
  • Use positive parenting techniques when working with kids to help teach them the limits of screen and social media time.
  • Be the example that you want them to follow. From young children to teens, they are watching what parents do when it comes to screen time. Parents who overuse screen time are setting that same example for their children. Having healthy screen habits will teach children to do the same.
  • Parents should be familiar with all the apps and devices their children use. They should have access to the social media apps as well. Ex: Instagram can be created and monitored from a parents account and note on social media pages that it is “parent monitored.” Also, become familiar with Internet safety, including setting parental controls, and how to avoid giving too much personal information online.

“This is an issue that we can’t ignore and hope that it gets better,” added Patel. “We have to take the time to address it, no matter how old our kids are. The technology may be newer to us, but it’s always been a part of their lives, it will continue to be part of their everyday lives and they need to know how to use it in a healthy and constructive manner. They need parental guidance to get there.”

Patel is the founder of AutiZm & More, and as a licensed educational psychologist and guidance counselor, she helps children and their families with the use of positive behavior support strategies across home, school, and in community settings. She does workshops around California, where she provides this information to health professionals, families, and educators. She is also the author of two children’s books that teach compassion and kindness, called “My Friend Max: A Story About a Friend with Autism,” and “Winnie & Her Worries,” both available on Amazon. To learn more, visit the website at reenabpatel.com.

About Reena B. Patel
Based in the San Diego area, Reena B. Patel (LEP, BCBA) is a renowned parenting expert, guidance counselor, licensed educational psychologist, and board certified behavior analyst. For more than 20 years, Patel has had the privilege of working with families and children supporting all aspects of education and positive wellness. She works extensively with developing children as well as children with exceptional needs, supporting their academic, behavioral and social development.  She was recently nominated for San Diego Magazine’s “Woman of the Year.” To learn more about her books and services, visit the website at reenabpatel.com and to get more parenting tips follow her on Instagram @reenabpatel.

Sources:

American Academy of Pediatrics. Children and adolescents and digital media. pediatrics.aappublications.org

American Academy of Pediatrics. Decreases in psychological well-being among American adolescents after 2012 and links to screen time during the rise of smartphone technologypsycnet.apa.org

American Academy of Pediatrics. Managing Media. healthychildren.org

Pew Research Center. Teens, Social Media & Technology Overview 2015. pewinternet.org/